Friday, December 31, 2010

天大的發現!!原來唐朝已經有泰雅扗京市,並且讀書有成,為唐玄宗的侍讀(老師)

其人幼年貧苦,博覽群經,武則天時舉進士,登文學優贍科。曾任縣尉、監察御史、光祿卿等官,清正平恕。舊唐書曰,「雖居吏職而篤學,手不釋卷,謙虛謹慎,深為玄宗所禮。」果然Tayal balay!!

何以知其為泰雅族?因為其名為馬懷素:Mahuway su!感恩、感恩!!


好了好了,很冷,下次不敢。

不過,我看,下次還是會再犯。

Monday, December 27, 2010


昨晚烏來1C,屋頂結霜!真難得!再冷的話,我可能要找找看,我到底還有襪子嗎?可是好像沒有鞋子...
ooooh! 1 C in Wulai overnight and frost on our roof! I think I have some socks somewhere, and I may still have a pair of shoes? If it gets any colder, I may need them.
or not. If bare feet are good enough for the dogs, they’re good enough for me, at least as long as there's no snow on the ground. I wish!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

好像今天臺北縣改成新北市。今天嗎?上網查,找不到甚麼新聞。也罷。我本來想看有沒有新聞解釋為甚麼要這樣大費周章改制,因為我實扗不懂。

祝大家行憲紀念日快樂。

Apparently today Taipei County becomes New Taipei City. Why, I have no idea, and there's nothing about it in the online news. Oh well. Happy Constitution Day to one and all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


ptasan Abus

Facial tattoos have long been an important Tayal institution, but to bring them under control, the Japanese warlords banned the practice during their occupation of Taiwan. There has been much talk of reviving the tradition, but for men, the qualification was headhunting, which has also been banned. Other qualifications have been suggested, such as success at hunting (otherwise known as poaching) boar.

Abus, a Wulai Tayal, has long wanted to have his face tattooed, and I have egged him on for years. He has always been wary of the taboos connected with the tattoo, but finally, he thought of a way to get around that. Traditional tattoos for men were vertical. He got horizontal tattoos.

He said, "祖先哪有甚麼麻醉藥?沒有,要忍!所以我去文面的時候,我就不用麻醉,我就忍。Mxan balay!!很痛!!Our ancestors had no anesthetics, so when I got my tattoos done, I refused anesthetic. It hurt!!"

(I took this photo the other night with my cell phone. I’ll try to get a better one, with a camera during the daytime, and post it.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

忍!忍!要忍耐!只要再忍耐四天,就不需要被霹靂轟炸,到哪裏都播放最難聽的聖誕節垃圾音樂!!

Only four more days and we will, for another year, be free from the constant bombardment of vulgar Xmas music. Be strong!

Friday, December 17, 2010

大約十年前吧,颱風吹倒了一棵櫻花樹。我鋸一節一節,每節長四尺,扛回家放,想等它穩定了看怎麼雕。可是大概沒放好吧,蛀掉了。

沒辦法,放著放著;最近買了一個燒木柴熱水爐,就想把朽櫻燒掉。拿鋸子鋸時發現,外面一層爛了,可是裏面的紅心,堅硬如石,很難鋸。

劣材一蛀就壞到底。好材,經風吹雨打,或許外層有些蛀,卻不損內扗的堅實。

人生也如此。

About ten years ago, a typhoon blew down a large cherry tree nearby. I cut it into sections about four feet long and brought it home to cure, and then carve. I must not have stored it properly, because it rotted.

I left it where I put it. Recently we bought a wood burning water heater, so I figured I might as well saw up the cherry wood and burn it. When I put saw to wood, I discovered that even though the outside had rotted, the heart was red and rock hard.

Through years of hostile conditions, inferior wood rots to the core. On the surface, good wood may not look great, but its heart is stronger than before.

People are like that, too.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

實扗沒有感覺到有這個需要,但是臺北縣即將變成新北市。因為改制,所以從前的鄉民代表會一律要廢除,鄉民代表另請高就。

問題是,鄉民代表會的剩餘、還沒花完的經費,鄉民代表怎樣也不肯歸公,所以這陣子就拼著老命將這些經費消耗掉,以免鄉民代表會取消時有多餘的錢要歸公。出國、住高級大飯店,甚麼都有。

納稅人,你賺錢賺的很辛苦,但要知道,鄉民代表要消耗這些公帑,也很辛苦。

Thursday, December 09, 2010

官位最高景頗族人,是雲南省副省長黃毅先生。黃先生身兼數職,包括雲南省海峽兩岸交流促進會名譽會長。今帶團來臺訪問,也拜訪臺灣景頗族。可惜閻光明前會長生病住院,不得來。孔大發會長請我們參加;我參加景頗族的活動,當初是緬僑會的簡明有先生介紹的,與幾年不見的長輩朋友見面,很開心。

The Jingpo (景頗, Jinghpaw, Kachin) at the highest level of government office is Mr Huang Yi, the Vice Governor of Yunnan Province. Among his many other offices is Honorary President of the Yunnan Cross Strait Exchange Association. He is in Taiwan now, leading a delegation of the Association.

He made time to visit Mr Zit Hkun Chang Sau (孔大發先生), President of the Taiwan Jingpo Association, who invited us to come along. Former President Xu Lang Ying (閻光明先生) is in the hospital, and unable to come. Mr Chian Mingyou (簡明有先生) of the Burmese – Chinese Association, who first invited me to Jingpo activities six or seven years ago, was along, as was Dr 何翠萍女士 Ho Ts'ui-p'ing, an anthropologist at Academia Sinica who studies the Jingpo. First we met at the 雲南同鄉會 Yunnan Association in Taiwan, and a small group went to a Yunnan restaurant for lunch. Zit Hkun had told me he was going to come in traditional Jingpo dress, but showed up in a dapper suit and tie. I asked what happened to the Jingpo outfit? He said, You can't wear a Jingpo outfit without a sword, and I just couldn't get on the bus wearing a sword, so I decided that rather than come without a sword, I would wear conventional clothing.

Mr Huang had met Zit Hkun some years ago when he (H) led a Jingpo delegation to Taiwan, so they had a lot to catch up on. Zit Hkun also had to catch up on his Jingpo. After so many years in Taiwan, he has lost some of his native language. Huang spoke to him in Jingpo, and Zit Hkun answered in a mixture of Jingpo and Mandarin, causing considerable mirth among the company. Jingpo came back to him very quickly with use.

Mr Chian is Chinese from Burma. He grew up in central Burma speaking Jingpo, and indeed went to Jingpo language schools until he was 12, when his father said, We're Chinese, you have to improve your Chinese language skills.

Huang presented Zit Hkun with a Jingpo turban and bag, as well as books with invaluable records of the Jingpo, including one of the Burma Road from WWII. Dr Ho, who has known Huang for many years, was presented with a scarf ("A Jingpo khatag"). To our surprise, Huang gave a Jingpo hat to me, and a scarf and bag to Chao, along with several books about the Jingpo.

But all in all, I have to say, we sorely missed Lazum wan Bau/金國光先生, who died a year ago. I wish he could have been there.



a proud Jingpo

for more on the Jingpo, please go here: here: here: here: here: here: here: here: and herefrom 2007; here from 2006; here: here from 2005; here from 2004.


for photos, please go to Flickr: here:


and on YouTube, please go to my channel here;: and search "Jingpo".
Originally uploaded by Yugan Dali

Monday, December 06, 2010

Recently I spotted a wasp practicing yoga on a window screen.











Sunday, December 05, 2010

點點滴滴的歷史,不是甚麼了不起的偉業,是我們的生活。很容易流過去,淡忘了,拾不回來。


烏來教堂,本來在現在籃球場後,是木造房。後來改建;族人到溪邊撿石頭扛上來,用石砌牆蓋屋。過了若干年,石頭不夠密,下雨會漏水,才改現在的鋼筋水泥。部落的人需要石材,就一個一個的把石頭搬走,現在無剩了。

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Overheard on Election Day

二十歲出頭、受過教育女生:新北市在哪裏?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

吃素拜佛未必是修行、

誦經念佛亦可落外道、

气通經脈易入旁門、

腳結跏趺常墮異端、

唯有直心是道場、

起心動念是關鍵、

反照自心、了了分明、

乃能了生脫死、

壬午小雪記

不吃素、不拜佛、不藉假修真、實難成就、但學佛之道無它,了生脫死而已、

一九五三次

Friday, November 26, 2010

A brilliant conversation, recorded live:

A: You've been coughing a lot.

B: I know, so I have decided to quit smoking.

A: But you don't smoke.

B: Yup, that makes it a lot easier.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." James Madison said that.

The chief of TSA says if you do not submit to the scanners, you are causing delay.

Right. They install these useless, time wasting procedures to chip away your Constitutional rights, and if you do not meekly go along, you are the one causing the delays.

Terrorists aim to spread terror and cause fear. They won.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who needs science fiction monsters when you can find spiders like this?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Overheard near 琵琶湖 (臺東)

騎單車的媽媽跟初高中的小孩說,「可以學的東西太多,永遠學不完。」

Mother riding a bike to her junior high school age kid: "There are so many things you can learn, you can never learn everything."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mwah qutux byahoq ngasan ta soni.

今天下午一大群烏鴉在我們家前盤旋,我出去看。剛好一隻五色鳥,可能霧濃視線不好,可能飛太快,來不及轉彎,撞牆了:撞上書房外牆,把自己打昏了。

我手給牠,牠棲上來了,我念佛、念咒,教牠下次要小心一點。約莫十分鐘,牠振翅飛走了。一飛入樹叢就不見了。

This afternoon, I went outside to watch a flock of crows, maybe forty all told. Suddenly, a Muller's barbet, maybe flying too fast, maybe confused by the fog, flew into the side of our house and knocked itself silly.

It perched on my hand. I comforted it for about ten minutes, and then it flew away. In a moment, I had lost it in the trees.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In my mother’s day, children were taught to spell words aloud using ‘double’ for repeated letters. Better, b-e-double t-e-r, boot b-double o-t, or grinned g-r-i-double n-e-d.

One day a boy in her class was reciting the text: Up, up, Mary, the sun is rising. In a loud, clear voice, he read: Double up, Mary, the sun is rising.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


motorized cockroach

Sunday, November 07, 2010

談鄒語、談族語

由于八八水災的關係,今年內人被派到阿里山災區作舞蹈治療,我跟去遊山玩水,有一個意想不到的收穫,就是對鄒語有些初步的認識。為了讓治療師在團體中講鄒語,我到處請教鄒族人,把所學教治療師。鄒語深奧、幽雅、活潑,結構緊湊,進退有份,歷史悠久,真是人類的瑰寶。

但令人擔憂的是,這個深處高山、不入凡世的古老語言,怕被主流語言沖走。工商科技文明有很多方便、優點,但「與世界接軌」、「全球化」的必然副作用是抹煞地方色彩、個人特質。地方不受重視,只有商品化的電視明星地位崇高,個人沒有尊嚴,只有剎那間當紅的歌手值得景仰。這種局勢,很淒涼,因為我們不在舞臺上、燈光下,不得作主,不得問好不好、善惡,只能追,但已經很明顯,怎麼追也追不上。永遠處于被動、被領導的地位,不許有自己的想法、不容有自己的創意。

社會變遷是必然的,無法阻止,也沒有必要阻止,因為雖有弊,亦有利。但這種變化又快又無情,往往讓人不知所措。人失去定位、對祖先文化失去信心,不知自己是誰,就茫然,茫然很可能自暴自棄、酗酒、不務正業,由個人的落魄,導致團體、族群的解體。所以雖然說無法阻止社會的變遷,但必須影響它改變的方向。尤其鄒族文化根基深厚、族人很團結,住山上遠離都市所以外來影響稍微可以緩衝。可是如果不想辦法、付諸行動,阿里山淪落為國際主流之外的小觀光據點,族人淪落為附屬人員:想法、穿著、語言、生活起居與大眾沒甚麼不同,沒有特色、沒有專長,這種下場相當可悲。

假如只能說主流語言、族語淡忘不用,地方就沒有自己的聲音;主流的著眼點不一定合乎地方的需求。地方人士為地方的特殊、各別情況著想。誰比鄒人更了解Tapangu ho Tfuya大邦與特富野的川林、Patungkuonu ho Hohcubu玉山與塔山的峰巒?誰比泰雅更了解llyung Msbtunux ru llyung Mkgogan大嵙崁溪的水、Babaq Wa’a ru Silogan大霸尖山與拔刀爾山的峰嶽?原住民為山著想,但主流的想法往往無法兼顧地方的需求:例如,烏來泰雅的祖靈祭已經完全變質了,因為撥款的縣政府要的是提高觀光業者的利益,並不重視泰雅的祖先。在今日的工商社會,倘若失去地方特色,只能當邊緣化的消費者;廠商不了解山地部落的情形,也必然不肯特別為山地部落生產商品,造成惡性循環:地方人勢必失去特色、生命力、創意。

如果語言失傳的話,鄒族的獨特宇宙觀、思想模式必定跟著消失。剛開始,與祖先的想法、生活有些隔閡,久而久之,不了解祖先的思想、生活,便疏遠,沒有感情。倘若宇宙觀、思想模式消失,即使舉行儀式、祭典,只留空殼子,可以廢除,或著僱用幾個便宜的臨時演員舉行。可是這樣的話,當鄒人還有甚麼意義呢?

假設鄒族失去語言、特色,對大環境影響如何?藝術品地位崇高,因為給我們獨特的啟發。如果沒有『桃花源記』,我們很難在心裏有那麼一片淨土,我們思想空間就比較狹小,我們少一種思維模式。但是,『桃花源記』是陶淵明一人一時的創作;語言蘊藏亙古以來無數人的生活經驗、創意、人生觀、宇宙觀。一種語言失傳,則減少人類思攷角度、減弱處理問題的能力。民主的前提,是每一個人的聲音重要、每一個人要參與、每一個人要貢獻他獨特的生活經驗。如果大家都同化、全球化、看同樣的電視節目、向同樣的時尚看齊、想法大同小異,對民主政治是莫大的劫數。原住民應該肯定自己的長處,應該強調自己的特色、發揮自己的專長,社會非常需要這股力量。

當然,我不屬于鄒族,鄒族的問題不能讓外人解決,但我觀察,我提出個人很有限的看法。也許是我個人背景、喜好使然,但我認為,把族語傳下去,應為原住民首務;族語是族人獨特的寶藏,並且可以家家戶戶為它盡一份力。

語言要傳要斷,是六七歲的小孩作主的。如果小孩彼此講這種語言,它就傳下去;如果他們生活中不用這個語言,頂多苟延殘喘。如果大人經常講這個語言,小孩子就學會;如果大人經常跟小孩子講這個語言,小孩子更能學會;如果大人認為語言可有可無、不在生活中重視,小孩不學,語言絕響。好在,十歲以下的小朋友吸收語言輕鬆愉快。如果生活中學習,不需要太多時間,也不需要太痛苦,跟小孩講幾種語言他就會幾種語言(南美洲某山區裏,每一個人流俐說八、九種語言;南非十一種官方語言,滿街的人全都會說)

多項研究證明,會操多種(兩個以上)語言的小孩比較聰明;到高中,成績普遍比一般單語言學生高;此外,會幾種語言的小孩,理會觀念的能力比較強。依我的經驗,我發現會說山地話的人,不管成年小孩,學英文比較容易。

學校教母語固然重要,但語言的傳承,首要需依家人日常生活中講。很多原住民語有斷層,許多年輕父母族語不流俐,這就必須依賴祖父母傳。語言能不能靠學校傳,只要看臺灣英語教學便知。臺灣英語教學徹底失敗,其中一個原因,是因為只用在教室裏,著重文字、書寫。小孩學語言,是依照語音,不是文字;是養習慣,不是理解文法。(如果不准小學生寫英文字、不准小學生、國中生學音標,臺灣的英語實力立刻提升。)

族語教學,往往僅限于認識單字:頭是tunux,眼睛是loziq,耳朵是babaq;頭是fnguu,眼睛是mcou,耳朵是koyu;很多烏來的泰雅小孩只會這些族語單字,但說不出一個完整的泰雅句子,更不用說對話。不會說句子,不知道句子的變化,縱使學很多單字,但這個語言不能活用(很多學英文的學生也有這個困難;單字「背」了,但不會用;背字但不會唸、不能活用,背了也無益)

我認為,學校的族語教學,應不只是覆誦單字,且可設計簡單、生活化的對話,讓小朋友練習與同儕用族語對話。(這種教法的效果,我可以肯定,因為我小學三年級,學校辦了幾堂法語教學。老師的教法,是編一些簡單的對話,叫學生兩個兩個上台表演:我到現在還記得那幾句對話。)

但我建議,這種對話,應著重現實生活的實用語。從前有一本小學泰雅語教本,教織布機各種配備的專用術語。織布機固然重要,可是學生縱使學會了單字,也很少機會用。我認為小孩比較有興趣學的是玩耍的用語、打球的用語,「我餓了、我累了、我睏了、你餓了嗎?你累了嗎?我不餓。我不累。去哪?回家、到學校、去游泳」一類可以在日常生活中用的字句;學會了可以與同儕說。小學生大概很少聊到織布機。

近年來因為流行講「本土文化」,所以意思意思在學校設母語課;雖然寥勝無,但一週兩個小時語言課是不夠的。必須天天在學校講母語,但也不能滯于老師在講臺上講課、一排一排學生坐著聽。族語教學,校外教學尤其重要,不能一直關在教室裏進行,因為高山族的語言本來不是在教室裏生長的。很多字、很多詞,要踏到山上,了解山林,才明白。例如,「姑婆芋」,植物學上只有一種品種,但泰雅語分bkayaw與kmunang兩種(有毒與無毒),需實際觀察才能了解。芒,分mikuy與bnciq,mikuy比較窄,bnciq比較寬,植物學上只有一種品種,但實際上有差(bnciq可以蓋屋頂,mikuy不行)。我想,每一種原住民語類似的情形也很多。原住民在臺灣生活六千年的豐富認識、經驗,往往蘊涵在族語中。這種對草木禽獸的深刻知識如果失傳,是全人類不可彌補的損失。

當然也應該舉行族語演講、歌唱、話劇、說故事比賽、表揚說母語家庭、舉行族語日或週(校內說族語)、野餐、老人說故事、健行等等。部落國小國中老師有許多漢人,也應該鼓勵他們學幾句簡單族語,在課堂上使用,以示對族的肯定、關懷、支持。一方面,小學生很敏感,另一方面景仰老師;如果發現族語不被老師重視,很容易失去興趣。

族語受不受重視,不僅為學校的事。烏來溪流上游準備放水,沿岸廣播,用國語、閩南語警告,卻沒有泰雅語的廣播。不懂國語的泰雅不多,加上泰雅很機靈,應該不至于被水困住,但重點在于,這個古老的、臺灣特有的語言受不受重視?如果烏來溪畔廣播也說泰雅語,對這個語言、對這個族群,是一個肯定、是一個鼓勵:大社會重視你們。小孩子自然對自己的族文化比較有信心、有興趣。臺灣原住民的語言,尤其是泰雅、塞夏、鄒語,全世界學術界視為人間瑰寶,唯獨我們臺灣才不重視,任其流佚;天天高喊「愛臺灣」,同時不珍惜這種遺產。很多人花很多時間、精神、金錢學英語、日語、法語、西班牙語、韓語、德語,甚至于學手語也大有人在,只是沒聽過有人學原住民語言。愛臺灣,只是說說而已嗎?

聽說新學年,苗栗泰安的泰雅辦泰雅語幼稚園,可喜可賀,因為小朋友習慣日常生活中講的語言才能傳下去。如果每一個部落可以舉辦族語幼稚園,最好不過。假如國小繼續以族語授課(例如美勞、體育等)更好。但如果族語幼稚園辦不成,或者部分小孩不能上,開族語安親班、玩耍團、課外活動也很有效。尤其幼稚園、安親班、玩耍團等請族裏耆老參加,小孩可以習得純正的族語、了解祖先的文化,同時老人家可以給新生一代傳下祖先的寶貴知識、經驗。可以請老一代的族人教傳統的玩法:花鼓、弓箭射法等等。族老引入課程活動,為大家肯定本族文化,也聯絡感情、增強族群向心力。

寫了很長一篇,只怕看倌您累了。諒我這麼囉嗦,但事情迫切。一方面,臺灣原住民語即將絕響,隨而各族淪為歷史古蹟,臺灣失去了一個很貼身的特色,奔向「與世界接軌」的空白臉孔社會,世界少了這群文化是莫大的損失;但另一方面,傳承尚未斷緒,習慣說族語的長輩,大有人在;這是莫大的寶庫!只要想清楚如何有效地將語言傳給下一代,立即付諸行動,原住民仍然可以做自己的主人,燦爛的古老文化可以賦予新生命、新氣象;原住民可以揚眉吐氣、肯定自己的祖先、文化、語言的獨特內涵;在主流社會的地位提高,並且可以為社會做出更大的貢獻。整個臺灣大社會,也應以這種特色為榮:只有我們有的,別人都沒有。珍惜吧!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Seeking the logic behind mundane practices can be fascinating. Consider the Mohawk hair style and the cowboy’s bushy mustache. What practical reason could there be for these vanities (monstrosities)?

The Mohawks have always been ferocious warriors. In the days before firearms, they shot at practically anything moving with their bows and arrows. In the heat of a fight, the bowstring was apt to get tangled in the warrior’s hair, so they shaved the bowstring side of their head. Then to even things out, the other side, and thus the Mohawk.

Out west, cowboys rode across high, arid, treeless plains under a sun so unforgiving that their famed cowboy hat did not always offer protection to protuberances. The protruding lips were especially vulnerable to scorching, so a bushy mustache shaded them.

But still looks awful. As to the Mohawk, 看人吧。On Abus, okay. On you, maybe not.

Friday, November 05, 2010

How extraordinarily blinded we are by our preconceptions!

I saw an interesting clip on YouTube of a Saudi cleric explaining very carefully that god created woman to have her head covered, that her hair and neck, and preferably her neck, should not be visible, and that it is a simple fact that a man who sees a woman’s neck is apt to rape her.

IMHO, I would say it is a simple, easily observable fact that the vast majority of men in this world spend their lives around women whose hair, face, and neck are uncovered, and only a tiny minority of these ever take it into their twisted little minds to rape a woman.

Rape, of course, has nothing to do with sexual pleasure, and everything to do with power and control. Maybe he meant that Saudi men are so desperately unsure of themselves that they need to assert their power and control over women.

If Saudi men were willing to submit to strictures as onerous as those they impose on their womenfolk, I might more readily honor their claims that all should obey the word of their god. Were they not so eager to degrade their women at every chance, I would more readily believe their claim to respect women.

But come again? What sort of stupid god would create a woman’s beautiful face and require it to be covered?

Before the Christians reading this blog (hello? anybody there?) get too righteous about the Saudis, please read 1 Corinthians 11: 6… if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair. Paul goes on to explain that 7: For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8: (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9: Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) 10: That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.

This argument rests on the supposition that you believe that Eve was made from Adam’s rib, a supposition almost as believable as the notion that Spider Woman created humankind. I do remember enough of my days as a Lutheran to know that women were required to wear veils lest the sight of their hair stirred the angels hovering overhead to lust. In my childhood, adults rarely went out bareheaded anyway, and women always wore their hats in church; whether fashion or piety, I cannot say.

Paul continues with some marvelously self-proving logic: 14: Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, 15: but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering. Frankly, no, I have never learned from Nature that long hair degrades a man, although it does get in the way.

In Ephesians 5:24, Paul reaches the conclusion that wives should be subject in everything to their husbands. So the Muslims are far from holding a monopoly on misogyny. Or bad logic.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

What happens to Viet Namese army commandos when they get discharged? Well, of course, they come to Taiwan to sell duck meat, what else would a good communist do?

Perhaps some background on this enigmatic comment is required for the younger generation: in earlier years, the dedication and purity of the communist ideals of the VN army was idolized to the point of nausea. Today’s Taiwan Yahoo has an article about police tracking down illegal immigrants ~~ Taiwan has them too, I'm legal and documented ~~ two young men working at a duck meat stand turned out to be illegal immigrants, and one of them had been in VN Special Forces. He still got caught.

He said he just wanted to "make more money." A noble motive, one I wish Ho Chi-Minh were able to hear: the voice of a new generation, brought up in communist Viet Nam. Actually, there is a large number of Viet Namese working in Taiwan, legally, illegally, and matriomonially, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever detected in any of them the faintest trace of communist ideology.

He who laughs last, laughs best.


Monday, November 01, 2010

I once knew someone who went to high school in a remote region of southern China during WWII. Because of the war, the students were tucked in a secluded place where they would be safe from the marauding Japanese imperialists. Wars come and go, but the education of the youth has to continue.

As did all the other students, he lived in the dorm. He assured me that they never, ever snuck out of the dorm at night. The reason was that in the morning, they frequently found tiger tracks just outside their dorm.

That's one way to keep them indoors!

我從前認識一位先生,抗戰時在廣東北部靠近湖南一個偏遠山區念高中。因為日本軍閥蹂躪,他們學校暫設扗此僻靜、安全的地方,好讓他們專心念書。天下久安則亂、久亂則安,但是後生的教育是天大的事,不可斷。

學生全體住校。他說,雖然高中生很皮,但是天未暗,他們全體自動進宿舍,不需要老師催,而且他們晚上絕對不會偷偷地離開宿舍。原因很簡單:他們早上起牀打掃校園,經常扗宿舍門外看到老虎腳印。

Friday, October 29, 2010


Why we always carry flashlights outdoors after dark

This morning Yumin's barking woke me up… nothing new there. He had apparently spotted a snake, and I knew he would not stop barking until I went out to thank him.

When I opened the back door, I found a snake skin draped over the door. I suppose it had just shed its skin when Yumin spotted it. This is probably the skin of a 大頭蛇 square-head snake (Taiwan tree snake, Keelung cat snake, Boiga kraepelini). They’ve been around lately. Fortunately, they are not very poisonous, and they spend most of their time in trees, but you still don't want to get bitten by one. Better to carry a flashlight, no?