Friday, September 30, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I wrote this in 2007 and never posted it.
In Soldiering Ahead (Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2007), Holly Yeager said, “A set of behaviors exhibited by officers best able to achieve operational excellence and motivate good soldiers to stay in the army. At the top of the list: keeps cool under pressure; clearly explains missions, standards, and priorities; sees the big picture; provides context and perspective. The ability to make ‘tough, sound decisions’ on time was also among the most prized skills. Despite the growing value of collaboration, military leaders know better than most that, ultimately, hard choices need to be made – sometimes with lives hanging in balance – and only one person can be in charge.”

I suppose I am out of step with the times. When necessary, I explain to my students that, no matter how intoxicating slogans and ideals of democracy may be, there are two places democracy does not belong: in the military and in the classroom. An entire class of students may write, “I listen a news and am exciting,” but it’s still wrong.

A teacher is not usually placed in such dramatic situations as a military officer, but I would say that a good teacher has the qualities Yeager describes. Teachers need a thorough grasp of their subject, but there is no need to the foibles of fashion and fad. Fashions fade, fads wither, but a good teacher teaches for a lifetime. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today is Confucius's Birthday and Teachers' Day. It used to be a national holiday, but a decade ago, President Chen decided education wasn't important enough to merit a holiday and canceled it.
This year the Tsai administration decided to partially reinstate Teachers' Day as a holiday, with no day off for teachers. Clever. For some reason, teachers were not pleased.
The typhoon decided things. Today is a holiday for everyone to clean up after the typhoon. It's a good day to reflect what needs cleaning up inside, too.

Monday, September 26, 2016

正要右轉進巷子,後面追撞;司機坦稱工作很累、恍神,一撞緊急踩剎車,結果踩到油門。我們被推上騎樓柱子。我們平安沒事。一個小姐剛好要從柱子前面過,幸好看到我們衝來,閃開、跌倒了;腳、腰有點皮肉傷,救護車送醫院,還好沒事。我一直想,如果她那時低頭滑手機,根本不會看到我們的車,後果不堪設想。願大家平安,千萬不要疲勞駕駛、走路千萬不要低頭!阿彌陀佛。We were about to turn right into an alley when we got hit from behind. The driver told us honestly that he was sleepy and not paying attention. When he hit us, he panicked and slammed on the brakes; unfortunately, he stepped on the gas by accident and drove our car into a column on the sidewalk. A lady was just walking in front of the column. She saw us coming and dodged and fell. Fortunately, she got away with only some scrapes on her waist and feet. I shudder to think what would have happened if she had been immersed in her cellphone and not seen us coming.
May we all be safe, don’t drive when you’re too tired, and keep your eyes open on the street, whether you’re walking or driving! Amitabha. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Friday, September 23, 2016

今晚聽了一場極豐富的演講/講故事,Sasunud講述創造的理念、到帛琉傳陶藝的經歷。We went to a very rich talk this evening. Sasunud Mavaliu (Paiwan) told about his artistic endeavors and his experience transmitting the art of pottery to Palau.

Knife by Sasunud 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is addiction a learning disorder?上癮是學習障礙?
When starving, when in love, and when parenting, being able to persist despite negative consequences—the essence of addictive behavior—is not a bug, but a feature,” Szalavitz writes. Perhaps addicts are wired for extra love, obsession, and creativity in ways that can be productively channeled, Szalavitz suggests, such as in the arts, or in advocating for more progressive drug policies…. The learning they’ve done in overcoming addiction is visible and may make them smarter and stronger in the long run…. With addiction, the vast majority of people do recover,” Szalavitz says. “And that’s a really important thing for people to realize.”  


Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Let this beautiful song remind you that we are a nation of immigrants.
The songwriter Peter Jones’ great-grandfather John Hunt left Ireland during a famine, at the age of 13. These letters were written to him by his father, from 1858 to 1893. Around 1980, Jones found the letters in a box in his family’s attic, and they inspired this song.
Kilkelly Ireland 1860, my dear and loving son John,
You good friend the schoolmaster Pat McNamara,
So kind to write these words down.
And your brothers have all gone to find work in England,
The house is so lonely and sad,
The crop of potatoes is sorely effected,
The third to a half of them bad.
And your sister Bridget and Patrick O'Donald
Are going to be married in June.
Mother says not to work on the railroad,
Be sure to come on home soon.
Kilkelly Ireland 1870, my dear and loving son John,
Hello to your missus and to your four children,
And may they grow healthy and strong.
And Michael has got in a wee bit of trouble,
I suppose that he never will learn.
Because of the dampness, there's no turf to speak of,
And so we have nothing to burn,
And Bridget she's happy you named a child for her,
Although she has six of her own.
You say you've found work but you don't say what kind,
When will you come on home?
Kilkelly Ireland 1880, Dear Michael and John my sons,
I'm sorry to give you the very sad news,
That your dear old mother has gone
And we buried her down at the church in Kilkelly.
Your brothers and Bridget were there.
You don't have to worry, she died very peaceful,
Remember her in your prayers.
And it's good to hear that Michael's returning,
With money he'll surely buy land,
The crops have all failed and people are selling
For any price that they can.
Kilkelly Ireland 1890 my dear and loving son John,
I suppose that I must be close on eighty,
It's thirty years since you've gone.
Because of all the money you sent me,
I'm still living out on my own.
Michael has built himself a fine house,
And Bridget’s daughters are grown.
And thank you for sending the family picture,
Such lovely young women and men.
They say that you might even come for a visit,
What a joy to see you again!
Kilkelly Ireland 1892, my dear brother John,
I'm sorry I didn't write sooner to tell you,
The dear old father has gone.
He was living with Bridget, she says he was cheerful
And healthy right up to the end.
I wish you had seen him play with the grandchildren
Of Pat McNamara, your friend.
And we buried him down alongside of mother
Down at Kilkelly churchyard.
He was a strong and a feisty old man
Considering his life was so hard.
And it's funny the way he kept asking about you,
He called for you at the end.
Why don't you think about coming to visit?
We'd all love to see you again.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Donald Trump defends his vulgarity as just locker room talk. Maybe that’s how he thinks teenagers talk in the locker room, but he is seventy. A presidential candidate should not advocate sexual aggression.
I guess it depends on what kind of people you associate with, but that is hardly how normal people talk in locker rooms.
Click HERE for an inside view of such talk. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

到臺北原住民當代藝術館看Eval Malinjinnan(布農)的個展。說實話,在臉書上看過照片,我到展場面對面看作品,感覺很不同。作品的生命、茁壯、氣度、細節,需要看原畫才比較有感覺。只有十七張畫,但是極為豐富。在濟南路、金山路口,很值得去看!展到十月一日。
If you have a chance, be sure to visit the exhibit by Eval Malinjinnan (Bunung) at the Taipei Indigenous Contemporary Art gallery LINK. The paintings are outstanding, bridging traditional ideas and modern concepts. Take heart, there is more to art in Taiwan than that stupid Yellow Duckling!

Saturday, September 10, 2016


製陶是帛琉失傳近百年的一項文化技藝與知識。根據1909年德國民族誌學者Elisabeth Krämer之記載,帛琉婦女會用當地的陶土製作多種功能的陶器,如甕、鍋子、盤子及油燈等。有些製陶技術僅限某些家族或氏族擁有,也有村子以製陶聞名,成品則透過交易流通。但後來隨著新器物的引進,帛琉人已不再製陶,且連最基本的採集及處理陶土的知識都已完全失傳。
2010年,總統出訪帛琉時,對於同是南島的友邦,送上了排灣族的陶壺與琉璃珠,在傳統製陶工藝已經失傳的帛琉引起了震撼。原民會文化園區管理局隨後與帛琉國家博物館簽訂文化交流協議,推動兩地原住民族之學術、文化與觀光交流。屏東縣牡丹村的排灣族陶藝師華恆明先生(族名Sasunud Mavaliu)便於2011年獲選為文化交流大使,於該年四到十月間至帛琉開設陶藝培訓工作坊,協助帛琉復振傳統陶藝。
在這期間,華恆明先生共培訓了七十餘名帛琉學員,其中十餘名足以擔任陶藝種子教師。學員們結業時,帛琉社區暨文化部及帛琉國家博物館特地自十月起舉辦為期一年之「陶藝成果展」,展示學員們作品的同時,也紀念帛琉陶藝復振的成就。華先生因協助帛琉復振失傳近百年的製陶技術並振興相關產業,被帛琉學員們敬稱為Sensei SunudSunud老師)。其後,這些學員持續投入陶藝創作,成品也於2012年及2016年代表帛琉參加了四年一度太平洋地區的文化盛會-太平洋藝術節。時至今日,陶藝已成為帛琉國家藝術的一環。
Somewhere over the rainbow 帛琉紀行」專題演講
地點:The Lightened 咖啡廳(台北市溫州街7453號)


地點:The Lightened 咖啡廳(台北市溫州街7453號)

Friday, September 09, 2016

The Gunfighter, a short film. This is fun.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

帝嚳又是誰?大戴禮記、五帝德:宰我曰:「請問帝嚳。」孔子曰:「 取地之財而節用之,撫教萬民而利誨之,歷日月而迎送之,明鬼神而敬事之。」禮記、祭法:「帝嚳能序星辰以著眾。」簡而言之,帝嚳在天文有很多發現、貢獻、建樹。

Thursday, September 01, 2016

“When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others. Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety.”