There is actually a Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championship http://www.worldrps.com/ . They’d better hope nobody from
rambling physically and mentally in Wulai, a Tayal aborigine village in the mountains an hour's drive south of Taipei; various and sundry comments, criticisms, analyses, and snide remarks. firstname.lastname@example.org
It was pouring when I took these photos. 今天下午是我這一生看過最大的太陽雨與最扁的彩虹.。照相時雨極大。
This afternoon I saw the hardest sunshine shower and the flattest rainbow I’ve ever seen. Talakay tohuy balay, kwara utux.
This brings to mind the old English proverb, If it rains while the sun is shining, the devil is beating his wife with a leg of mutton.
This choice bit of profundity makes you wonder if a lot of British babies got dropped on their heads…
I do not like very much the American convention of calling teachers by their first name. This has sprung up within the last generation, coinciding with the great changes in educational theory that leave American high school graduates in last place among developed countries, and behind a good number of third world countries too. University standards are falling accordingly.
Transmission of knowledge, culture, skills, or abilities requires deference to authority. A hundred students out of a hundred may choose the wrong answer, but it’s still wrong. The classroom is not the place for democracy. By showing the teacher respect, the students consent to be taught: they accept that they need to do the work necessary to learn, to clear the prejudices and misconceptions from their minds to acquire new data. A good teacher knows what the students need and should not cater to their whims, because the teacher should have deeper vision than the students; if not, on what authority does the teacher stand at the front of the classroom? The students may decide for themselves what is fashionable. The teacher’s duty is to disregard fashion and teach what endures. The teacher should challenge the students with great ideas, rather than pull everything down to the Disney pop level for safe, easy consumption.from Overheard Everywhere www.overheardeverywhere.com
Teaching English as a Second Language, especially Vocabulary, I am acutely aware that I am quite literally putting words into my students’ mouths. An effective teacher changes the students’ behavior, starting with the ideas they think and the ideas they express. As such, it is useless so speak merely about teaching skills without molding character. Skills are built on the foundation of character. You can teach a slob a thousand times the importance of getting to work on time, but unless his behavior accommodates the teaching, he still gets fired for being late. Simply knowing without putting into action is at best vain, at worst hypocrisy = thus my utter contempt for Jean Paul Sartre, as great a hypocrite as any who ever lived. If you don’t believe something enough to put it into action in your own life, keep your mouth shut and pen still.
In college and graduate school (師大, National Taiwan Normal U), at the beginning of each class, when our teacher entered the room, we all stood up, bowed to the teacher who bowed to us, and were seated. We repeated this at the end of each class. One of our teachers (王北岳老師) said that when he was a grade schooler in Beijing, before the communist takeover, when the teacher came, all the boys and girls would line up outside the classroom to greet the teacher, exchange bows, invite the teacher inside, and exchange bows again. We would have done it.
On Overheard in
Student, after two-hour lecture on Charles Darwin: Yo, professor?
Teacher: Yes, Phyllis?
Student: That Charlie -- he da man!
Teacher: Indeed! Charlie is the man, Phyllis! Excellent!
Today is the birthday of one of the greatest teachers who ever lived, Confucius, who taught me how to think and behave; any transgressions are my own responsibility.
A high school in
That cracks me up: think of how serious and systematic Germans are, and you get a picture of teenagers grimly studying Happiness I, Lesson 1, steps i through iv, everything by the book. Oh no, I forget Step vii/b, I must be miserable! Then maybe failing a test in Happiness and dreading telling their parents.
“My Gott, Fritz, you can’t be happy, you got only a C in Happiness I, wipe that smile off your face!”
And the image springs to mind of the teacher flexing his cane and saying ominously, “Ve have VAYZ of making you smile!”
Qalux said, One day when we were in junior high school, Iban and I wandered off to the city. We were down by the
Happy Moon Festival! However, tonight when you admire the ‘moon,’ please be sure that what you are looking at is actually the moon. Sometimes a large egg rises in its place. I have proof: please note this photo I took on July 3 of this year. If that is not an egg rising over the mountains in Wulai, please tell me what it is.
Look carefully and do not be deceived by false moons!
Say a wise teacher – someone you have learned a lot from, someone you trust absolutely – tells you there is a bomb in a package; believing there is a bomb does you no harm and is even beneficial to your daily routine; disbelieving there is a bomb does you no good. What would you do? Would you take the teacher’s word for it and be careful about the package? Or would you insist on jumping up and down on the package to see if it would explode?
I have no experience of reincarnation, but I have learned so much from the buddhas, if they say it is dangerous, that’s good enough for me. Living as though I will carry responsibilities from this life into the future does me no harm, and lends a useful check on various exuberances, so why not?
Buddhism holds that ego is the source of reincarnation. Your hold on your ideas, your pleasures and displeasures glue you into the cycle of reincarnation. Jehovah and Allah may be gods, Satan may be a demon, but they are so burdened by their egos that eventually they will be recycled; their lifespans may be unimaginably long to us, but sooner or later, their lives as gods and demons will end and they will have huge piles of karmic debts to deal with. The goal of being a Buddhist is to free yourself from this cycle. That said, it is worth noting that if a Buddhist are not working to free himself from this cycle, he has wandered from the path of Buddhism and is flopping hopelessly in mud.
Buddhists cremate the dead, a cleansing ritual.
A Buddhist friend forwarded a series of photos of a Sky Burial, showing step by step the ritual by which the corpse is cut into pieces for the vultures. For Buddhists, this is a useful reminder of the impermanence of the flesh we love so dearly, and benefits the practitioner of the White Bones method.
However, the email came with the warning not to look at the photos while eating or after eating, for fear of wasting food.
This struck me as strange. For a meat-eater, one who has not progressed to being a vegetarian, what could be horrifying or repulsive about photos of an old man being prepared for Sky Burial? The photos look pretty much like any butcher’s counter. The Tibetan mortician dissects the corpse cut by cut, just like a butcher dissects a dead animal cut by cut.
To tell the truth, I think a butcher’s counter is more nauseating than a Sky Burial. In the photos, the corpse is an old man. Since he is Tibetan, I assume that when he died he was accompanied by his friends and family who comforted him and told mantras for him. After death, the man in charge of the burial respectfully prepared the corpse according to ritual, with a pious, sympathetic heart, telling mantras all the time, hoping that the dead would break free of the cycle of reincarnation to achieve total liberty and release from troubles and cares.
What a difference from the fate suffered by the poor animals destined to be stuffed down human throats! Butchers have very little care for the doomed. All animals cling to life and evade death; this is an immutable fact of evolution. To promote the survival of their species, all animals are attuned to the presence or danger of death. Flight or fight; they react with terror, fear, rage, anguish, or aggression. Meat animals such as pigs and cows are naturally predisposed to flight, so they struggle and cringe. If they do not cooperate in their murder, the butcher hits them, kicks them, and yells at them. Kosher murders intensify the poor creatures’ suffering. The butchers have no respect for their victims, and are in it only for the money, slice, chop, hack, look at this delicious piece of dead animal, bloody and ravished, just right for a steak, doesn’t that make you drool? Yummy yummy, dead pig! Yummy yummy, tortured chicken! Lick your fingers!
Sky Burials and a butcher’s counter, which one is more terrifying? Which one is more nauseating?
“Don’t ask me why I am a vegetarian; ask yourself why you’re not.”
Arrogance can be comforting, the belief that one is a blossom of cleverness springing from a dung heap of stupidity; a snug bit of emotional insulation. But it’s a risky delusion, leading to ill-preparedness, a sudden lack of balance, when reality comes crashing down and clever is no longer enough.
Jonathan Kellerman, Over the Edge
The news from Paris is that President Nicolas Sarkozy has begun to rein in generous benefits of powerful unionized workers with a speech demanding "a new social contract."
I’m all for it. Maybe we could get this guy to go to
前幾天看完Vanity Fair (英國 William Thackeray著，1846年)，同一日也看完儒林外史，這兩本書我很愛，各看了三四遍。
The 臺灣蘭鵲 Taiwan magpie (scientific name, urocissa caerulea, Tayal name, sipekay) is a beautiful blue bird with an elegant long tail. Unfortunately, they are tasty and the long tail slows them down, so their numbers were declining before they got protected a dozen years back. Now there are more of them, but these birds are easier to hear than to see. They flit from tree to tree, are very sensitive, and don’t like to be seen. Their horrible squawk is in strong contrast to their beautiful appearance.
The weather was too glorious to do anything worthwhile, so the dogs and I went for a walk. A flock of about twenty sipekay was moving uphill. I stood in the middle of the road watching them. After a while, a motorcycle came by. On it were a boy and a girl, both about 20, obviously up from the city for a jaunt in the mountains. Seeing me standing in the middle of the road craning my neck looking uphill, they slowed down and looked at me curiously. I told them, “There’s a flock of blue magpies in that camphor tree. This is a good chance to see them.” They looked at me blankly, said, “Oh” and kept going.
What makes this even sadder is, if some singer or actress starred in a television special 蘭鵲之旅 A Visit to Blue Magpies, or something equally inane, the youngsters would be glued to their television sets.
+ Hey, that’s a spiffy hat. What kind is it?
+ …. Huh?
+ ……well, uh…. Woof woof! Arf arf! Now what the heck kind of hat is that?
l * * *
Tree bark hat made by 阿美Amis aborigines on the eastern coast of Taiwan. From Balahu.
構樹 broussonetia papyrifera (亦名楮樹。鹿愛吃此樹葉)
The 鶺鴒/wagtail is a small bird, about the size of a sparrow but with a longer tail. It has a yellow tummy and yellowish grey wings. Usually it stays around streams and wetlands.
This noon I looked out and saw a wagtail walking across my 玄關/front porch. Not hopping, mind you, but walking, strutting even. You don’t see many wagtails around my place, and this is very definitely the first one I had ever seen taking a stroll past my front door. My three alert guardians were snoozing and didn’t notice when it walked right by them. I thought about getting the camera, but was afraid the bird would disappear, so I slipped out the door to watch what it would do.
What it did was keep walking straight out from the porch and onto the path. There, probably due to the uneven rocks, it displayed more typical wagtail behavior, wagging its tail as it strode from rock to rock, as bold as a lord. The dogs ignored both of us. The wagtail hopped down the stairs. Just as I was wondering if it was going to open the gate and let itself out, it took to the air and quickly vanished into the bamboo.
Come again, little friend, you’re always welcome. Just let me get my camera next time.
= means synonym
X means antonym
aversion = disinclined X willing
bear = tolerate
bigotry = partial
blemish = spot
cliché = proverb
coin = mint
compassionate X relentless
echo = resound
entire X partial
entire = purely
flair X taper
hunch = slouch
impetus = stimulus
learn = study
peter out = taper X sprout
keep up the good work!
a modern Samaritan
with all due humility, I have to admit that I am the very soul of consideration and enlightenment.
On the bus, I saw a boy, about high school age, wearing a white tee shirt with a single word on it:
I very kindly asked him if he knew what it meant, and upon receiving a negative answer, explained it to him.
What would life be without helpful strangers?
臺北車站看到一個很大的英文標語 UN for Taiwan，實在不知道講甚麼，看不太懂。當然知道是入聯的事，可是UN為甚麼沒有冠詞？話又說回來, The UN for Taiwan又是甚麼意思？好像是不完整的片語說，為臺灣的聯合國~~真不知道這是甚麼英文。
The UN for Taiwan可能是名詞片語吧：「給臺灣的聯合國」。語焉不詳。
The Tayal were originally headhunters; headhunting was a duty they owed their ancestors, and brought fertility to their fields. Traditional Tayal morals were very strict. A man who told a lie was expected to commit suicide (they didn’t have lawyers or candidates). Marriage was absolute: no fooling around, for men as well as for women.
Once I was sitting around with some Tayal, one of whom came from 宜蘭/Ilan, east over the mountains. He told me that one day ~~ I would guess this happened around 1930 or so ~~ his grandfather came home to find his grandmother in bed with another man. He immediately cut off both of their heads.
He was very proud of this. The other Tayal toasted and praised him. They were also proud of the moral standards of their tribe, even if standards are not quite so stringent any more.
I am reading Vanity Fair for, I believe, the fourth time. Thackeray vividly describes society in
Thackeray describes a trip to
Although I have never been to
語言表達法不同，中國話說「雨很大」，若直譯英文The rain is very big，不知所云。英語 It’s raining hard，它是下雨硬，這是中文嗎？
因為中國人都喜歡好彩頭，討個吉利，所以有成功高中、成功大學，大家都喜歡這類名號。幸當時教育部將成功大學譯音為Cheng Kung University。若譯Success University, 意味迥異，因為在英語文化，取Success University之類的名字，保證學店無疑。沒有為甚麼，文化、習慣不同而已。
前文提到語言不同所造成的問題。再如「公司」，眾所周知，英文是company，很簡單。可是用法不同。英文的company，汎指公司的全部人、財、器、屋、營業。中文可以說，「我們公司在路口那棟大樓的三樓，」但此句若講our company，意味整個公司在那棟的三樓，之外沒有其他據點。此例，若公司有其它營業場所，英文應講our office。
因為中、英文相差太遠，所以縱使簡單的字，也有陷阱。例如「花」, flowers，應該夠簡單吧？種花，倘譯plant flowers，很容易出問題。其一、plant只是將植物種植下去，然後是grow。其二，在英文，只有開花才叫flowers；很多人陽台上種萬年青、馬拉巴栗、元寶樹之類的綠色植物，說是「種花」，可是在英文要說是plants，因為沒有花朵。
烏來商圈賣的紀念品寫「烏來往事」，加英文Wulai Story。第一，國字很美，加英文字，我覺得並沒有增加美的效果，尤其因為一般選擇的英文字型呆板、沒有美感。第二，華人寫英文，通常亂大寫；英文不是每一字要大寫，此例story可以小寫。但大問題在于第三：Wulai story在英文沒有甚麼意義。一個紀念品上寫Wulai story，一般英語native speaker不知所云，因為這是中文，不是英文。英文可以寫memories of Wulai (Sabiy的精簡翻譯)。但不可寫成 In Memory of XX，因為這個意思是，追念亡者！
Eminent good sense
Wulai mountains: steep.
We’ve been having even more rain than usual in Wulai this year. Mornings may start, as today, yesterday, the day before, and so on, with the sun shining brightly, then presto, come noon you get lots of thunder and lightning, rain, rain, and more rain. Even though we are enjoying the beginning of ‘fall,’ and the humidity has dropped to 65%, the sun, when it is out, oppresses like molten lead. Nonetheless, hardy souls pedal their bicycles up to Wulai from the city.
Is it possible to ride an expensive bike wearing comfortable clothing? Apparently not; there seems to be an unwritten law that the more money you spend on your bicycle, the more gaudy and uncomfortable your outfit has to be. If you see someone pedaling along wearing nice, comfortable, loose cotton clothing in pastel colors, you can be sure their bike is only mediocre, or worse. People with custom built carbon frames are evidently required to deck themselves out in clothing so tight that it’s a wonder their blood can circulate, and in colors and patterns designed to sear the retinas of anyone within eyesight. As Frazz said, the amazing thing about the invention of the biking helmet is that no matter who wears one, no matter how you wear one, they always look dorky.
On the road from the city, packs of bikers toil along under the purgatorial sun, (which it must be admitted is preferable to the diluvial rain or the hellish lightning.) Thus the four I saw struggling uphill in the heat the other morning from Laga towards Tampya. But wait, what is this? Each rider had a styrofoam box jury-rigged to his back with the red plastic string ubiquitous in