Monday, December 31, 2007


假設你坐飛機被劫機,半夜下降,根本不知道是甚麼地方,把你趕下飛機,問你行李要帶不要帶?也許你行李裝的都是冬衣,這是熱帶,但是好歹總是帶比丟好,對不對?因為行囊縱沉重不合用,或許幾件衣服可以典賣,買適合的衣服或者食物。有了這個行李再想辦法。

以前聽過人說,中國悠久的歷史很沉重,留下很重的包袱。確實,中國傳統社會是農業時代的產物,時代突然變了,許多方面與世事,銜接不上。

但從另一方面來看,它是一個浩瀚的源頭。畢竟累積幾千年的生活經驗,無論各種藝術(從字畫到烹飪到刺繡、建築、歌舞、傢俱)、哲理、文章詩詞曲、歷史、稼穡、武藝、小學(即字形音義學)、天文等等,無不有卓越成就,捨棄它作啥?

子曰:遊于藝。真好玩!不玩,可惜。

沒有人教你囫圇吞棗、盲從、折腰;你不加思索一味接受,反而辜負了殷裔叔梁家的孔仲屔先生。孔子絕不盲目崇拜、保守祖先留下的禮樂;他取捨有方,應和世勢。故繫辭下傳曰:窮則變、變則通、通則久。

窮則拋棄的話,是一種逃避心態,既不健康,又無益于世。

中華道統,肇于農代,自有不合今世。說西潮、說洋化,不如說現在臺灣工商化。若干所謂「西風」,于西亦為不古(所以從前美國古板夫看不慣時潮,諸如男生蓄長髮、女生穿褲子等等,一概歸咎共產黨的陰謀)。社會有生命,當然會演變,不變就窒錮;若緊抓傳統不予變,傳統會枯竭。以前的口號,復興固有文化,我常問:復興哪一個固有文化?三代?六朝?穿長袍,要復興滿清文化嗎?要衣逢掖之衣?冠章甫之冠?

今世如斯,臺灣工商化,是好現象,因為到清末,華夏文化快被學匠悶死,把活生生的孔子用鐵鍊鎖緊,儒學上了桎梏不得舞動,社稷已硬化,即將窮,不變就不通。莫怪「西風」;倘自身站穩,西風吹不動。反像大樹有枯枝,颱風一吹,死木颾颾吹走,樹幹彌堅,正好生新芽。

冬天衣服在熱帶穿,不會變通;可是有這件衣服,

好歹也可以把褎子剪掉、扣子不闔上,總比精光無衣好。

Saturday, December 29, 2007

晉、潘尼、乘輿箴:人主所患,莫甚于不知其過;而所美,莫美于好聞其過。若有君于此,而曰,「予必無過」,惟此言而莫之違,斯孔子所謂「其庶幾乎一言而喪國」者也。

陳總統曰,「阿扁我有錯嗎?阿扁有錯嗎?」

Friday, December 28, 2007



This morning when I went out the front door, I noticed a small rock that wasn’t supposed to be there… then it started moving. A turtle, about the size of the first knuckle on my thumb.

Reference: those humongous things on either side of the turtle in the second photo are my fingers, and those ropes are dog hair.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

times change!

Guess who said this? “I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, ‘We’ll do it this way; so should you.’”

Sounds like a protest against the war in Iraq, where thousands of Americans and more thousands of Iraqis have died in the struggle to impose American ways on Arab society.

The speaker was President George W Bush, about seven years ago.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

民進黨當初強調本土文化;陳總統執政,最成功的本土化,是給英文加上很濃厚的本土味。若學英文是為了國際溝通,奉勸君盡量不要看臺灣到處寫的「英」文。但這些//文當作謎題猜,有時候很好玩,可是謎底可真難猜耶!

路上有人塞一分房地文宣給我:先題外講一個問題,在臺灣這種傳單往往叫dm,可是dm的意思是direct mail,不是郵寄不講dm;可以說flyer。斯flyer非飛,而指白紙,如flyleaf是也。言歸正傳:文宣例行加//文標題,第一題差點把我難倒了:BY EXPORT NO.6 OF METRO TAIPEI STATION, SO CONVENIENT!何謂export no.6?偷看一下中文:捷運江翠站六號出口…. 不可否認,「出口」是export的意思….

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Taiwan being neither Christian nor Western, Christmas has never been much here, except among the Aborigines, who are Christians so they can look down on the heathen Chinese. December 25 used to be celebrated as Constitution Day, but President Bean knocked that off the calendar because it doesn’t fit his political ambitions.

Long ago, when dancing was not permitted as being bad for public morals – yes, hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when the government of Taiwan felt duty bound to place morals over political expediency – a time long gone – in those days it was sort of a game. College students would spend what they thought was a typical American Christmas: gather on Christmas Eve, play records (Moon River, The Green Green Grass of Home, Knock 3 Times) as loud as possible, dance (foxtrot and waltz), and drink yourself into a coma, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? and the police, often tipped off by neighbors who couldn’t stand the racket, would try to break up the parties and confiscate the record player: a real public service if you ask me. Now you can dance any time you like, as much as you like, so the fun’s gone out of that. If you think that’s fun. Silent Night, anybody?

For some years, the business community tried to turn Xma$ into a commercial opportunity, so consumers were bombarded by all those Xmas carols you hate: the good ones never made it to Taiwan. Frosty the Snowman, Winter Wonderland, yuck! Jingle Bells ad nauseum. In Taiwan snow is as rare as horses, so how are consumers going to be titillated into spending big bucks by songs about one horse open sleighs? Much less when they don’t understand English lyrics.

Fortunately, the last couple years, Xma$ has petered out, so in the city you are not subjected to such a relentless blitz of ugly commercial Christmas songs and store girls wearing elf hats. The aborigines still celebrate Christmas as it should be celebrated, in church, but nobody pays them much attention. They used to go caroling; every year, a few nights before Christmas, they could come at midnight and sing a carol for Dali Watan, the old Chief. Aborigines are superb singers, so that was a treat. This year either I slept through it or they did.

To each his own. Here is a Christmas memory from cousin Kurt, who was yanked out of high school in California and hauled off to Cambodia, where his father, my uncle Jim, was running an airline after the pizza business in Viet Nam slowed down. Kurt?

When I was living in Cambodia with Zack and Jamie at Xmas in 1972 the Filipinos that worked for my dad cooked a young pig in an underground pit that they dug in the front yard and placed coals and leaves all around this small pig (shoat??) and covered it up for hours on end. They finally pulled it out at dusk and we began feasting. It was one of the best meals I have ever had, not just because the pork was literally falling off the bone but because people were drinking and badly singing Christmas songs and the whole feeling was pretty magical. Very weird in wartime Cambodia when at any moment a B-40 rocket or two could be flying in. Had not thought of that for many a year. This year I drank a quart of milk to celebrate the day.

Riotous living, Kurt! A whole quart? Anyway, happy constitution day to all.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I have a couple cardboard boxes stuffed loosely with old paper bags and whatnot that I use for archery targets. When I am not shooting, I stack them out of the way, out of the rain, along the east side of the house.

This morning I discovered that an ingenious beagle had made a nest out of my targets. He’s protected from the back by the step, and from the front by the box my new bread-making machine came in.




Sunday, December 23, 2007


養狗仁者,我希望你們給愛犬植晶片。我今天遇到一位beagle獵兔小姐,善心人在路上揀到的,狗妹迷路了;因為沒有晶片,不知是誰家的狗(…不知狗的養人是誰)~~~那位beagle妹很乖,讓我難以置信,與Yumin算同一種品種的狗。可是她看起來有點不安,因為不知她老家在何方,身旁都是陌生人。如果早已植入晶片,一驗便知了誰家養,人狗重逢,不是很開心嗎?

所以,我希望,如果你養狗,一定要給牠()植晶片!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Think of a natural community of wildlife, such as those on the plains of Africa. Probably the image that comes to mind is huge herds of antelopes, wildebeests, and zebras, with lots of giraffes, a bunch of elephants, and circling around a couple lions and a pack of painted dogs. In any community, prey far outnumber predators: herbivores outnumber carnivores.

There cannot be too many predators lest predators eat more than an environment can sustain. The rule is 10:1. Ten units of food produce one unit of energy, so ten units of grass produce one unit of zebra energy, and ten units of zebra energy produce one unit of lion energy, so one unit of lion energy is one hundred units of grass. For this reason, predators are scarce.

Predators usually attack animals smaller than themselves. To take down large prey, smaller predators hunt in packs; think of wolves and dingoes. But because of the energy conversion restriction, large predators cannot form large packs. A pride of lions may have ten lions all told. Even a wolf pack has only about that number.

Large packs or herds appear among herbivores; again, think of those endless herds of large mammals on the African savannah, or troops of dozens of baboons. Large carnivores do not band together; big herds of large animals are herbivores (I am discussing life on the land; porpoises may hunt fish together.)

I am using the terms carnivore and herbivore conveniently. All animals are omnivores. No carnivore is 100% carnivorous, no herbivore is 100% herbivorous. Tigers eat grass from time to time, and even a panda or a koala eats the occasional bug or shrew amongst the leaves. Carnivore and herbivore refer to the balance of diet; no need to be pedantic.

The human being is a large animal. We are larger than 99% of all species of life on earth. The natural grouping for human beings is about 150 persons in one group; in other words, a much larger herd than arises among carnivores. To drive the nail home: large carnivores do not form large groups; large groups of mammals are herbivores. This is just one of many observations that point out what you should be stuffing your face with: nature designed you to be a vegetarian.

Because of the Great American Steak religion, Americans in particular like to see a past peopled by The Great Hunter striding across the Pleistocene clubbing animals to eat. In truth, the diet of human beings has never been predominantly carnivorous, excepting Inuit. Meat has always been eaten sparingly, mostly as a status meal, with the bulk of the diet procured by women out gathering.

But consider the Inuit meat diet: in the Artic before the 20th century, the seals, whales, and fish Inuit ate were entirely free of chemicals and pollution, and did not have the kind of fat domesticated animals (excluding you and me, naturally) develop. Try to find any meat today that is free of ghastly chemicals and toxins.

Plants may have been sprayed with pesticides, but investigations comparing the most polluted vegetables with the least polluted meat show the meat carries 40 times more chemicals than the plant.

Obviously, you are free to eat whatever you please, nails and ground glass if it takes your fancy. But if you want good health, figure out what nature designed you to eat: vegetables, grains, fruits, and nuts; nothing with a face. You want to know what good health is? Knock off the meat.

Friday, December 21, 2007

公車上的跑馬燈寫

請勿大聲喧嘩

這好難!!我一直設法遵守,可是實在拿捏不住,大聲喧嘩與小聲喧嘩的界限到底何在?我希望公車處可以明確指示。

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A young couple, about 20, on the MRT(Taipei subway), very hip very fashionable, both dressed daringly in black: she, heavy green eye makeup, five or six cheap shiny earrings in her left ear; he, a black baseball cap with cheap shiny metal ornaments and the visor turned towards 2 o’clock oh how audacious! They: leaning against each other heads together, not exchanging a word, totally ignoring each other as they concentrate intensely on the life and death matter of busily playing video games on their cell phones.

Is it any wonder the divorce rate is so high?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It’s a scene all Americans who have taken a long car trip as or with kids recognize. Big Brother and Little Sister are bickering in the backseat.

BB: Moooom! She touched me!

LS: I did not!

BB: You did too!

LS: You started it!

BB: Did not!

LS: Did too!

Mother: Okay you two, stop it right now!

BB: Moooom! She touched me again!

LS: I did not!

BB: You did too!

LS: You started it!

Mother: Little Sister, keep your hands to yourself! Stop touching your Big Brother!

BB snickers.

LS: But he touched me first!

BB: Did NOT!

Mother: Stop it right now, both of you!

LS: But he touched me first!

Mother: I don’t care who started it! Stop it right now!

LS: You’re no fair! You always take sides! I hate you!

Father: All right, that’s ENOUGH out of BOTH of you! Stop it right this instant!

Mother: You two stop bickering so Father can concentrate on driving.

LS: But he touched me first! I hate all of you!.

Mother to Father: Can’t you do something about your kids?

Father: Don’t make me come back there!! If I have to stop the car, YOU’LL BE SORRY!

LS to BB: See? It’s all your fault!

If you recognize this scene, you understand what’s going on in Taiwan’s politics. Little Sister, the reigning DPP of President Chen, is going out of its way to provoke reactions out of the KMT. In almost eight years in office, President Chen has done nothing constructive, but everything possible to divide the popular consensus: he’s renamed the post office, renamed the airport, he’s trying to rename Taipei’s favorite landmark, the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial: nickel and dime stuff that doesn’t accomplish anything, done solely for its irritation value.

Mother you could say is the US, trying to keep down the squabbling and avoid a wreck. You can probably figure out who Father is.

Monday, December 17, 2007


L M Boyd, in his column Trivia wrote: “Go stand next to a wall. Put your right foot sideways against it. Put your right cheek against it, too. Keep them there. Now try to lift your left foot. Can’t do it, can you? Thought not. Nobody can.

Mom threw down the gauntlet: “Think you can do this without falling down?”

I couldn’t take that sitting down. I lined the outer edge of my right foot and stuck my right cheek against the living room wall, then tried to pick up my left foot. I discovered that your whole center of balance is off. Repeated experiments showed that you can pick up your left foot, but you can’t keep it up. Intrigued, I tried various ways of holding out my arms, pressing, bending knees. Then I happened to look outside. The dogs were watching me intently.

Good things dogs can’t talk. “I just can’t describe it. We looked in and there he was, with his lips all twisted up, flinging his arms to and fro. We thought it must have been some sort of attack.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Bible may not specifically forbid parents to kill their offspring, but the laws of the state of Illinois most definitely do, so during summer vacation, our Sunday School at the Lutheran Church in Ottawa, Ill. had activities during the week to keep us out of our parents' hair.

The activities were pleasant, with lots of arts and crafts projects. In particular, there was one where each little monster excuse me each tyke was given a clear yellow plastic V shaped slat, some Elmer's glue, and the letters D, E, G, I, L, O, O, S, and V. These the child glued onto the plastic thing so you had a nice clear yellow plastic sign, suitable for placing on a desk, proclaiming GOD IS LOVE.

All very well, until my sister Steph was put to work on this project. She was sent home in disgrace, clutching her piece of yellow plastic onto which she had very neatly glued

I LOVE DOGS.

I remember admiring her handiwork and ingenuity ~who would have imagined you could arrange the letters to spell anything but the approved slogan?~ but the Authorities deemed it blasphemous. I disremember what awful punishment was meted out, or promised her in the afterworld, but I do know that when it was my turn for that activity, the teachers hovered over my desk so constantly and intrusively that I ended up with most of the letters glued onto my nose and forehead.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

歐陽修送徐無黨南歸序:孔子弟子,有能政事者矣,有能言語者矣;若顏回者,在陋巷、曲肱飢臥而已;其群居則默然,終日如愚人。然當時群弟子,皆推尊之,以為不敢望而及。

Friday, December 14, 2007

“I don’t know what is wrong with those two. Every time they got together they would end up fighting. They would fight at least four out of five schooldays every week. When they got to school they would be friendly and chat with each other, but sooner or later, for some reason, they would start fighting. They would fight until they were both bloody, and then go off to eat noodles together, hand in hand. They’d be great friends until the next day. Then they’d fight again, and then become friends again. This went on and on.

“We got tired of all their fighting, so one morning when they started up again, a bunch of us chased them out of the schoolyard. That didn’t stop them, but there was a policeman there. He took them off to the police station and had them stand at attention all day long. They couldn’t move or talk until the police let them go after dark. As soon as they got out of the police station, they went off to sing karaoke together. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.

“One day they were fighting again in the classroom. You know those red felt tip pens teachers use to mark papers? They were stabbing each other with one of those when Teacher walked in. They both turned on Teacher and started beating him up. The police came and put them both in the reformatory, and I haven’t seen them since.

“I bet they’re still fighting each other every day in the reformatory. That’s fine with me, just so they don’t bother me with all that fighting. I sure can’t figure out what’s wrong with those two.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In March I accrued a pile of bisque fired pottery with plans of野燒firing them on an open fire (if you’re interested, please read this blog for January 17, 2006)I arranged my bricks, procured metal cans (for燻燒), stacked wood, and waited for good weather.

March. We’ve had a lot of rain this year, even for Wulai, and Wulai is rainforest.

Finally, on Sunday it stopped raining. On Tuesday, I had time to clear up my firing spot; the firewood had sprouted some intriguing fungi, and the ground and bricks were thoroughly soaked. I set a fire to dry things out.

Yesterday I had to go to the city to teach, but again, I set a fire to parch the soil a bit. Last night I got off the bus at the bridge and lifted my eyes to a sky bright with stars.

I went to bed smiling with the idea of starting the fire up early so I would have a good bed of flame in the afternoon.

This morning I woke up just in time to hear the rain begin to fall.

Maybe next year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Author Larry McMurtry said, “We came as pioneers, we worked extremely hard, for a time we prospered; then the old folks died and their children died; little by little hard-acquired land got sold and vanished, making it a close question as to what exactly we won. Strong lives, I suppose.”

Francis Parkman crossed the Great Plains to the Rockies in 1846, with great difficulty, danger, and suffering. He was keenly aware that the whole savage beauty of the region would soon be swept away, and in The Oregon Trail wrote that when civilization reached the Plains, they would lose their danger and charm.

An interesting comment that bears reflection. In places Parkman stood guard all night long to protect his companions from attacks by wolves or Indians, now you can probably get a Big Mac in an air conditioned mall. Progress!

The elders in this photo are my mother’s grandparents.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

從前,如果家中少女足不出戶,日日夜夜守在家裏,稱為深宮閨秀,家族為榮。

現在,如果家中少女足不出戶,日日夜夜守在家裏,稱為宅女,家族煩惱不已。

Monday, December 10, 2007

A very interesting difference between the West and East, specifically China, is that in the West, gods are born and not made, but in China, gods are made and not born. Every god in the West, from Zeus to Jesus, was born a god, but not so in China. Chinese gods are ordinary people who have achieved divinity by experiencing life to the fullest and learning its lessons through and through: 媽祖本是湄州一姑娘,關公初為漢末一勇將;所以古人說,「釋迦不從地湧、太上不從天生」。

I am not sure which is the cause and which is the result, but Western society, specifically Europe, has had classes: the hoi polloi led by the aristocracy and royal family. In China, with its 科舉 civil service exams, any boy who learned to read and write could take the imperial exams and rise to power and prominence. This system was inspired by Confucius, who believed 有教無類 that education should be available to all, and that 犁牛之子,騂且角,雖欲無用,山川其捨諸? what matters is virtue (achievements + reflection) rather than birth.

If you ask me, the Chinese attitude is far more democratic (although saying that is, obviously, reading modern priorities into ancient thought).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

臺灣的女孩子那麼好騙嗎?

坐車下山,我後面一對約二十七歲男女,男的說:「烏來我很熟,我常來,上禮拜蔡總經理帶我來,招待我泡湯,前幾個禮拜是林董事長請我來吃飯。」一直講。車子靠近污水處理場,遠遠看過去,男的說,「前面那一家很貴,上次黃老闆請我來玩,花了好多錢,可是裏面裝潢很豪華,一定花了好多錢。」

公車開過去,女的看前面的招牌說,「這是污水處理場。」

男的不慌不張說,「是嗎?大概換了老闆。」

On the bus to the city, I was sitting in front of a couple about 27. The man kept bragging in a loud voice about how well he knew Wulai (he didn’t). As we approached the sewage treatment plant, he said, “That spa up there is very expensive; I’ve been there, and they spent a fortune on the decoration.”

As the bus passed, the girl read the sign and said, “The sign says it’s a sewage treatment plant.”

The guy calmly said, “Oh really? Must be under new management.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

一支球隊要面對重大挑戰時,好的隊長應該如何?是給所有隊友加油、敉平他們之間的衝突、加強實力呢?或者破壞團隊精神、強化他們之間的衝突、跟他們說夢話?

陳總統在幹什麼?

陳水扁很可惜。如果他打從一開始就設法建設臺灣、為民眾福祉提出切實、可行的計畫,以博得大家的支持,國民黨就完蛋了、臺灣獨立在望。可是他將近八年來提出了哪一項實際為民眾著想、為臺灣謀福的計畫?沒有。他處處加強對立、努力分化、極化。儘管他每次當選,都是因藍營分票僥倖而上,從來沒有一次是得票律過半,可是要當市長、總統,需要多大的福報呀!他不珍惜福緣、造福民眾,誠讓人扼腕!

說實話,陳水扁非常須要國民黨,因為民進黨只會造勢,不會作事。他的政策,一味提出一些不可能實現的夢話(臺灣入聯等等)讓對方跳腳,然後說,「沒辦法作事,反對黨礙事。」臺灣人情味還很濃;陳總統如果有眼光、有心胸、有愛心服務臺灣人民,人民必定愛戴,國民黨永不翻生。可是事到如今,他讓臺灣走上分裂對立的路,直接收恩的,是中國共產黨。

今天中正紀念堂牌樓拆字,引起風波。請問,這樣作,對我們臺灣吃衣住行有多少實際好處?如果真心要臺灣好,是不是應該盡量減少衝突、促進和氣?請說:是衝突生財呢?或者和氣生財?陳水扁盡量破壞臺灣的團結、和諧,能讓臺灣獨立嗎?

照理說,陳水扁也不是笨蛋;他應該可以想出這麼簡單的道理。也許他認為,在他任內,臺灣大亂,中共就來收拾,所以他可以不上法院被告。也許吧。否則,他的行為真令人百思不解。

有夢最美,沒錯,可是偶爾也要醒一下面對現實。

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

That’s what you get for reading too fast. I just saw a headline that said

Violent Hamsters Progress in Iraq

Huh?

Oh, Violence Hampers Progress in Iraq

As if we needed a headline to tell us that! I prefer my version. Bring the soldiers home, send over the violent hamsters!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Vanity Fair was published in 1848. In Chapter 62, Thackeray described how Amelia, in her early thirties making her first trip to Europe, “was introduced for the first time to the wonders of Mozart and Cimarosa.”

I have often admired how fortunate we are to have recordings. I have CDs of Casals, Glenn Gould, Segovia, Dennis Brain. My favorite choice of music is the Baroque recorder, which is too subtle to ever become popular. Even still, recorder artists put out recordings of even obscure composers. I have recorder music composed by even such unsung (no pun intended) composers as Blavet, Dornel, Baston, and Naudot on CD and I can listen to them any time I please ~ how fortunate we are!

此篇本欲與一日文聯刊,那天找不到。

Monday, December 03, 2007


臺北小市民生活歷史綴筆,單車篇

由于美援、華僑的投資,民國六十年的臺灣經濟慢慢起飛,但是民眾生活尚不堪稱優渥。很多人積蓄買第一部機車,威士牌真威風!可是腳踏車還是極普遍的交通工具,算一家重要財產。新的時候用塑膠包裝架子、手把,一般買單車的人不把塑膠拆下,一方面很得意要讓大家看到是新車耶!另一方面,保護車子,可以騎久一點。很久沒看過這種情形。

又,買車鈴要加價,所以一般買單車的人手煞車不上油,「採」煞車聲音尖銳刺耳,邊騎邊輕煞車警告路人,每次聽,牙齒痠毛髮豎。很久沒聽過這種煞車。也好。


Taiwan’s economy in the 1970s was taking off with help from USAID and investments from overseas Chinese, attracted by successful diplomacy. In those days, people were using their savings to buy their first motor scooter, but the bicycle was still an important means of transportation and an important investment. When people bought a bicycle, they would leave the plastic wrappings on the frame and handlebars, not only to let everyone know they had a new bicycle, but also to keep it looking new. It’s been years since I last saw a bicycle wrapped in plastic of varying degrees of disintegration.

As they rode, bicyclists would touch their hand brakes, which were never oiled, so they gave off a piercing shriek: more effective than a bell. That’s a long-gone sound I don’t miss a bit.





Photos of Taipei 信義路新生南路附近around 1972, by Talovich

post #1234.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Here’s something I saw on an eBay store based in Beijing:

Welcome to my eBay, all projects come the selfish person the collection. Very happy can serve for you.

想了好久,怎麼有這麼獨特風的英文?終于明白:私人收藏:私人亦可謂selfish

Saturday, December 01, 2007

現代生活實在方便,欲各種資訊,垂手可得。要聽Telemann的音樂,TelemannCD到處買得到,店裏沒有就上網訂。要看龔賢、雪舟的畫,翻書上網,歷歷在眼前。

韓愈讀荀子,說「晚得揚雄書」,而後又言,「及得荀氏書,又知有荀氏者也。」老師大儒如昌黎先生,晚年方讀揚雄書、知有荀子,古者一書難求,由此可知。

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some important news from Taiwan that I forgot to report.

There used to be gold and copper mining on the northern coast of Taiwan. You can still see some of the derelict works.

In the evening of September 22nd of this year, two thieves bored a hole through a chimney in one of the deserted factories, because they had heard that there were metals left over that could be sold. They worked for two hours with hammers, drills, and other tools to make a hole large enough for an adult to crawl through; there is some concern for their health, because the site is contaminated with heavy metals. They went to all this effort in order to steal two lead plates, each weighing over sixty kilograms; each plate is valued at around NT$1,000, so for all their effort, they would have netted a haul worth about US$62.00. Don’t forget that they not only had to bore that hole through the chimney to get in, but they also had to haul 120 kilograms of lead out and make their getaway. Just as well for them that they got caught in the act.

上述文依2007/09/24 00:09 記者:記者呂國寶、秦蕙蘭/基隆報導

兩名竊賊22日傍晚跑到台北縣濱海公路附近的廢棄鍊銅場,拿著簡單的工具,鑿破廢棄煙囪,闖入偷鉛塊。價值不到兩千元,卻重超過六十的鉛塊,讓他們耗盡體力,當場被巡邏員警逮個正著。

高聳的白色煙囪,底下竟然破了個洞,差不多可以容納一個成人鑽狗洞,原來這個洞是這兩名竊賊花了兩小時的傑作,鐵鎚、鑿子地上一整排工具都是竊賊的最佳幫手,他們先將煙囪牆壁打破一個大洞再鑽入行竊,60多公斤的金屬鉛竟然只價值一千多元,竊賊累個半死換來的代價,卻是被巡邏員警人贓俱獲。

員警說:「竊賊看上三支大煙囪,他們聽鄰居講裡面有廢棄的鉛片可以拿來換錢。」兩名竊賊因為聽聞廢棄工廠有寶物遺留,才會冒著被污染的危險前往探險,現在寶物沒有找到,倒是先要到牢裡好好反省一翻。

Thursday, November 29, 2007


捷運詩 : 詠雲 :李敬邦

不從塵世不從龍

渺渺乘風上九重

出岫無心歸去也

眾山頭上化奇峰

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


前不久往山裏走,徑旁有一隻死禽。沒外傷、沒腫,所以我猜是錦蛇、南蛇絞死;沒幾隻蒼蠅,所以我猜剛死不久,也許我與狗來,驚擾了蛇,棄禽藏草中。

我沒看過那麼美的鳥。顏色鮮艷:赤、橘、藍、金。大小如雞,但尾長六十餘公分。也不知從何而來,因為斯山林,我偶爾走走,無它人涉足,附近也沒人住,怎會有這隻奇美異鳥?鮮麗羽毛,光亮耀眼,雖哀其死,卻難轉目。憑弔,看禽屍暴列逕邊,實不忍;往草叢輕擲。可是我先恭敬默念,與異禽要幾跟尾羽,一則以留念、觀賞,一則以辨認,究竟屬何種鳥?

後來請教賞鳥專家賴鵬智先生,才知道這是紅腹錦雞。可是這不是臺灣鳥種,怎麼會在野山密林中遇上?不解。

我看到錦雞,又驚又喜,又悲其死;讓我想到鳳凰。我們現代生活,真是多采多色;除了彩色攝影、彩視、燈光、螢光色彩,我們的衣服化學染,顏色鮮明。古人衣服都是草染,他們平日看不到我們習以為常的印刷、攝影等鮮色。如果是古人在曠山中遇奇色錦鳥,震撼比現代人更強烈。難怪有鳳凰之說,見斯紅腹錦雞,真如目睹神鳥。

A few weeks ago, while I was walking through the jungle, I came across the dead body of an extraordinarily beautiful bird. It looked like it had just been killed by a snake, which my dogs and I probably scared away. I plucked a few tail feathers and deposited the bird into the grass where I figured the snake would be. Nobody but me ever goes into that part of the jungle, and there are no houses near. I cannot for the life of me figure out what that bird was doing there. I have asked around, but nobody raises such birds.

The noted bird watcher Bird Lai has identified this as a red golden pheasant, not native to Taiwan. To give you an idea of how beautiful the bird was, here is a photo of a red golden pheasant taken by Bobby Castlebury of Brookston, Texas. Many thanks to Bobby and Aileen Castlebury of www.castlebury.net for kindly allowing me to use this photo!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I wrote this on September 21, 2002.
I had forgotten about it,
but remembered it talking with Sabiy.
I thought I lost the file one of the times my computer crashed, but I was able to find a copy.

Earthquake Boy

Liquy is, in a word, a good boy. When he was grade school, his father died. Ever since, he has been a great comfort to his mother, and a hard worker who is always willing to help his grandparents with rough work on the mountainside.

When he graduated from junior high, his mother didn’t have enough money to send him to high school. Liquy worked to earn what money he could, and won a basketball scholarship to a school in central Taiwan for aborigines.

In the fall of 1999, four Tayal boys from our village went down to central Taiwan to begin their classes. Upperclassmen from the same tribe showed them all around the beautiful mountains surrounding their school, so by the time classes began, Liquy was familiar with all the paths nearby.

Just after 1 AM, September 21, 1999, the island was struck by powerful earthquakes, 7.3 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was practically right under Liquy’s school. The four Tayal boys from Wulai rushed out of their dormitory as it collapsed around them. They took to the hills. They ran through the shaking mountains all night. When the sun rose, they reached a Tayal village. The villagers told them, “Everything’s okay, stay here with us. We’ll take care of you. We’re all the same tribe, so don’t be shy.” The boys were spooked, though, and after a rest, kept running. They reached the ridge across from the village and stopped for a rest. Just then, without warning, an enormous landslide buried the entire village. If Liquy and his friends had stopped there, they would have been interred there too, with all the people in the village. They kept running. Eventually, an Army helicopter found them, still running through the mountains, and took them to safety.

Liquy returned to Wulai. After a rest, his mother told him he should go back to school. The aborigine school was destroyed, but they found a nice school for him further south, in Minhsiung, on the plain where few earthquakes hit.

Few, but not none. Several days after Liquy entered school in Minhsiung, the plain was wrenched by a 6.8 earthquake, and again, Liquy’s dormitory fell down around him.

No more school. He came back to Wulai. We didn’t see him. He never left the house. His mother said he slept all day, and would sit quietly all night long.

After a couple months of this, his grandmother came for him. “Liquy, I need to chop some bamboo to make runners for the bean vines in my vegetable patch, but your uncle Silan is off in the mountains hunting boar. I am too old to chop bamboo by myself. Will you come help me?” For the first time since he came back north, Liquy left his house. He came to the bamboo grove in back of my home with his grandmother, and they spent the morning chopping bamboo. I offered to help, but his grandmother told me very quietly, “Liquy and I can handle it today.” Liquy nodded to me in greeting, but kept working wordlessly. If he noticed that his grandmother was chopping bamboo just as fast as he was, he didn’t say anything.

A few days later, his grandfather came. “Liquy, I need to check the pipes that bring our water from the spring. Silan hurt his wrist when he was hunting boar. I need someone to help line up the pipes and join them together. Will you come help me?” I saw them out tracking the pipes. Liquy smiled weakly, but said little.

I asked Silan, “Did you get any boar when you hurt your wrist?” He smiled and showed me that both of his wrists were fine, and no, he had not been out poaching boar, but he admitted that he did go off to hide in the mountains when Liquy came to chop bamboo.

Several days after that, Silan went to his sister’s house with his right wrist wrapped in a huge bandage. “Liquy, I need to check my traps, but my wrist is hurt, so I can’t climb very well. Will you come help me?”

Tramping through the mountains, Liquy came back to himself. Now he races to and from work on the motorcycle his grandparents bought him, and his smile is back. We’ve had dozens of earthquakes this year, but now, they don’t shake him. But he has said nothing of going back to school.

2007,11,25 note: Liquy has a job in a bank now

and a beautiful girlfriend, a Tayal from the eastern coast.

But he still has no intention of going back to school.

Friday, November 23, 2007

duh

Am I misunderstanding something again? I read a headline on Yahoo, Sex Offenders Have Higher Rate of Mental Illness: Men convicted of rape or other sexual offenses have a much higher-than-average rate of serious mental illness and history of psychiatric hospitalization, a new study suggests.

Excuse me? I thought rape and sexual offense was mental illness.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

從前從前一個小村子裏有個大美人,就是住在河邊柳樹旁杏樹下的梅霜。那梅霜呀,不僅是墮雁沉魚之貌,並是乖巧嫻雅的一個好姑娘,她的刺繡,連縣城裏的大爺們,看著無不咨嗟稱詠。甚至,縣裏父母官娶媳婦時,特定要梅霜為他兒子繡一件喜袍。從此,梅霜名聲大噪,遠近大家豪門搶著訂梅霜的刺繡。梅霜雖然年裁十七八,也未字人兒,但她的荷包,卻可一天比一天重。

有一日呢,城禮一位巨室老奶奶,央請梅霜到她那兒會會面,並教導一下老奶奶孫女的針技;梅霜雖禮讓推辭,老奶奶堅持,姑娘便不熬,大叔二叔陪同下,赴城與老奶奶會一會,甚是愜意。

可是梅霜畢竟是鄉下村姑,沒見過世面;在她老家,全是務農為業,所以每一個人頭上,就是一頂斗笠。信不信由你,可是梅霜進城之前,沒看過帽子耶!她一看,奇怪,再看不怪,三看就愛。她與老奶奶問起,老奶奶知道了居然有人只看過斗笠沒看過帽子,教丫頭翻翻箱子,搜了三頂帽子,送與梅霜,作為紀念。

話說那梅霜回鄉,頭上戴著帽子,全村的人出來看、觀賞、討論。每一個人贊同,梅霜頭上戴帽子,的確美上加美。沒幾日,開店的張老爺就派媒提親,梅霜應允了,從此過著幸福快樂的日子。

村子裏其它姑娘看著,自量貌不得與梅霜比,可是帽子總可以比。所以村子裏所有姑娘,將斗笠往薪火扔,再也不戴,日夜絞盡腦汁設計帽子、製造帽子。一下子全村未婚姑娘,每一個頭尚戴的,是精緻巧妙的帽子。很快,選媳婦的要點,移到帽子。帽子不精巧的姑娘,沒人要娶。

就在茲時氛下,姑娘全心投入帽子,家務丟到後腦,不肯掃地、不肯起火、不肯顧竈、不肯澆菜,只肯為帽子。

另一方面,選媳婦的要求,只求帽子,慢慢造成很多不快樂的婚事,因為只看帽子不看人。

家家戶戶新婚夫妻,大多鬥嘴摔碗過日子。村子的爺們愈看,愈覺不妥。因此他們決定禁戴帽子,一概要戴斗笠;也強調,帽子再也不許可作為婚姻繩墨。他們說,

再也

不許

以帽娶人。

………

筆者說:看官,我已經給女主角取名梅霜,本就該心裡有數,很冷很冷。

筆者歎:很難想像,我竟花了我生命寶貴的三十分鐘編纂這麼無聊的故事。

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

現在臺灣政策,鼓勵生三個小孩,因為怕人口老化,三十年後一個納稅人養幾個退休人等。


我常覺得執政黨沒有遠見、缺乏想像,這點可為證。三十年前,沒有人猜想到電腦、網路等等對社會的影響;三十年前,全世界有幾個人開業賣行動電話?三十年後的經濟型態,沒人能預測,但可以保證兩點:

一,不是我們現在能想像的。美國教育部預計,二00年最強勢的十種職業,在二00四年根本不存在:六年科技變化太快,十年內需要利用現在仍不存在的科技解決我們現在尚未認出的嚴重問題。其中一項已經看出端倪了:快則十年慢則二十年,石油抽空了。對社會、對經濟的影響一定弘遠龐大,多生寶寶能解決嗎?

二,三十年後,人口多為患。三十年前油輪需要的人員大約幾十個;現在超大油輪大到三十年前無法想像,船員七八個就夠了:自動化。

自動化、電腦化,生那麼多孩子幹麼?等他們來收我們的爛攤子嗎?可憐他們吧!

政要思想仍囿于丁多族旺的農家觀念;畢竟臺灣社會裏重男輕女,大有人在。有問題的話,丟給女人:經濟問題也用子宮緩和,反正女人生來就是要為男人多生貴子,勞苦一下嘛!又不是沒有給妳房子住!我如果是女性的話,我看政府鼓勵多生,我會問,誰要幫你生那麼多孩子?有本事,男人自己生生看!

擔心納稅人不夠養退休人,不如減少不必要的浪費:少開路、簽約時已落伍的昂貴武器少買、抽煙或酗酒或吃檳榔的人喪失健保、不要浪費納稅員辛苦賺的錢強迫推行沒有意義的公投、大官少ㄟ錢、不要花巨款與些許無法舉足輕重的小國玩「外交」遊戲、減少沒有實用的工程等等,其實有很多方法可以減輕納稅人的負擔。

希望執政黨不要一直用農業社會的習性來看現狀。鼓勵多生孩子,可能合農村阿公阿媽的想法,而不可否認,執政黨欠他們的人情很大,因為不是農村阿公阿媽有耐心坐遊覽車,還有誰會參加執政黨的街頭秀?

可是我深深感到,臺灣民主必須突破黨爭的僵局。為民造福,不在于用爭權手段,更不在于不何時需的老舊思想。