Friday, December 29, 2006
In the last few years, I usually took the days between Xmas and New Year off. However, I could not afford it this year because of my own commitment and not because of my boss' expectation. I plan to take March off to travel to Europe and do a marathon and would like to start work early so I will not have to rush at the end of February.
Finally, it's snowing !! A skier's delight - Let's have more of the white stuff :)
初來加拿大,真以為聖誕之後一日,就是「打Boxing」拳擊日,後來才知道是和聖誕禮物盒有關。十二月二十六日仍是假期,但很多公司都以這星期作為Boxing Week Sale,所有貨物都有減價和折頭,商場顧客擠擁。我沒有什么需要,也就不去爭購。反正埾誕太商業化,就失去了原本節日的意思。
When I first came to Canada, I thought that "Boxing Day" was really a day for punching each other out as opposed to dealing with the gifts. Anyway, December 26th is still a holiday and many retail stores are using the Boxing Week to sell goods at great discount prices. The stores are full of bargain hunters but I am not one of them because I simply do not need anything. I do find that the true meaning of X'mas is lost when the whole thing becomes too commercialized.
火鳮已入焗爐裡,又凖備放DVD入机 "第34街的奇蹟 Miracle on 34th Street",每年都有看這1947年拍的黑白片,可能是先入為主的關係,總覺得新拍的不及原片好。雖然外面沒有雪,但屋內卻有節日氣氛。
The turkey is in the oven and I am ready to put the DVD with the move "Miracle on 34th Street" into the machine. Every year, it has almost become a tradition that I see this 1947 black and white movie. Perhaps I am biased, I do like the original one better than those made later. Well, there is definitely a festal atmosphere inside the house even though there is no snow outside.
Monday, December 25, 2006
This picture is just a doodling with a mix of east and west elements: On the left is the Parliament building, the right a column with a carved dragon. Embroiled on the mother's chi-pao is a phoenix. The child wears an outfit that is quite common in Canada for kids. The cross might have religious implication and the raven is perhaps a symbol of death and illness. In that sense, the people and objects are all complementary to each other. I have never taken any art lessons, so please excuse the amateurish look. Bonne Année !!!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Last Friday, I was the last one leaving the office. Before I left, I sent out an electronic card to my colleagues and workers in the regions, thanking them for their support in 2006. As I said a few articles back, many organizations were discouraging exchange of gifts, so an electronic card was the most straight forward and simplest. As I exited the office building, the temperature dropped from +23 inside to -1 degree outside. It was drizzling and the rain blurred the neon-light signs from across the street. For an instant I thought I was back in Hong Kong on Nathan Road shopping and preparing for my trip to study overseas. The traffic light changed from green to yellow and the impatient pedestrians who tried to go around me on both sides soon brought me back to reality. I pulled my hat down to my eye brows, pulled the collar up to my chin, took a deep breath of cold air, and merged myself into the tide of homeward bound workers on Christmas Eve.
Upon arriving at the home doorstep, the temperature was still hovering around -1 to -2 degrees. The light shower had turned into freezing rain that coated the sidewalk and the street with about half-an-inch of ice. Under the street light, the water crystals shimmered in the cold air. My neighbors who had come home before me were all sitting around the fireplace having their supper. I could hear the faint laughter through the window frame. Once inside the house, I did not bother to take off my jacket but went straight down to the basement to the spot where my father had used to keep his odds and ends. For years, my father had been the one hanging up the Christmas lights and ever since his death, there had been no decoration outside. For whatever reason, I decided to find and hang up the Christmas lights myself this year, in his absence.
The freezing rain was still coming down but it started to peter out. I stood next to the window, looking at the Christmas lights my father had left behind. The string of decorative lights twinkled in the cold winter air, just like old time. I sipped a mouthful of hot tea to warm myself up and thought to myself: "This seems like a new beginning."
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
This year's weather is really strange, maybe it has something to do with Global Warming, We are four days away from Christmas and yet the temperature is still around zero degree and the thin snow on the ground has all disappeared. This morning, I even saw a few Canadian geese hanging around instead of flying south. In this northern country, the absence of snow during Christmas really hampers the festival spirit. Until the snow flies, customers will not rush out to do more shopping and children will not be able to build snow castles and snowmen. Normally by this time in December, I would have already started my skiing. But with such warm weather, my ski boots and skis will just have to wait till the temperature gets colder.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
In the blog "Homeless Man Speaks", Philip reports and sometimes interprets what Tony says. The rich text and pictures provide the readers with a good sense of Tony's view points as well as his stories about life on the street. For example, in one post, Philip asked Tony about his wish, and the latter responded: "I would have my wife back." In another, he was asked about his expectation of the blog's impact on the readers. He thought hard and replied that it was really important that the young people be brought up properly so they would not get into trouble later in life.
Dear friends, there are many homeless people in this world and I am not expecting that we will be able to help everyone of them. However, during Christmas and New Year, when we are together with our family and friends, I would suggest that we should appreciate what we have, how lucky we are, and think about the homeless people such as Tony.
Photo credit: Taken by Philip, please see the blog by Philip and Tony at http://homelessmanspeaks.wordpress.com/
相片: 「菲臘普」攝,請上他和「東尼」的網看全文 http://homelessmanspeaks.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This English article is based on the Chinese version I wrote. To read the original, please click: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2006/12/conflict-of-interests.html
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I have translated this complete article into English, please click here: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2006/12/conflict-of-interests_20.html
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Here is one of the pubications written by The Professor
++++ Updated 20120130 +++++
1925年受教於英國男高音赫伯、凱夫﹙Mr. Herbert Cave﹚。
1926年受教於著名俄國歌劇家男低音賽利凡諾夫﹙Prof. P. Se1ivanoff﹚
1932年受聘於布魯賽爾聖樂社﹙Concerts Spirituals﹚ ，擔任華格納之﹙Parsifal﹚孟德爾桑的﹙Elijah﹚與亨利舒滋﹙Schutz Henri﹚ 的神曲中獨唱員，並任比京電台廣播公司獨唱員。
1935年在巴爾的摩舉行盛大獨唱會，由T. Arthur Smith Bureau主辦、由施大使夫人、Peabody音樂院院長夫人、約翰、霍布金斯大學﹙John's Hopkins University﹚校長Wood夫人及Hans Kindler華盛頓交響樂團指揮夫人等四十餘位名媛贊助。
1976年當選「兩百年來美國著名公民 ﹙Notable Americans of the Bicentennial Era﹚
1976年擔任Mu Phi Epsilon聲樂獎金評判
1977年高足露絲‧韓得森﹙ Ruth Henderson﹚贏得加州音樂教師協會主辦全州高級聲樂比賽頭獎
1983年演唱德布西的「有福的女郎」 ﹙La Damoiselle Elue﹚
1991年南加州長堤州立大學主辦「An Afternoon with Prof. Chao Mei－Pa」
|重要展演或作品發表紀錄:||1932年著「黃鐘史」：La Cloche Jaune 法文版，由比京聯合大學出版社出版，並由法國利昆大學重版。|
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
As mentioned in a previous article, I thought I had put away literally my emotional luggage and everything had been under control. Life has reminded me once again that I am not the sole director. That night, I couldn't help but sobbed a little, not so much because of "What could have been ...?" but rather, of my reflection on the factors and circumstances at the time that inevitably would cause us to go our separate way in life. There is no self-rationalization or regret. As I look back at that juncture in life, I feel quite emotionally with a strong sense of wisdom gained, but innocence lost.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
So, is the "new" always better than the "old"? This is almost like asking: "How much memory should I have?" As human beings, the reason why we survive is partly because we both remember and forget. The "remember" part is easy: We learn from the past, and build upon our experience. After all, civilization is mostly an accumulative process. The "forget" part is not as apparent but equally beneficial. Imagine if you have to make a decision and there are thousands of voices in your head from past generations and ancestors (not just your parents and spouse) telling you what you should or should not do. Or, if you can still feel vividly every little physical and mental pain you have since the day you were born. At some point, it is beneficial to be able to forget or at least to park part of our memory into storage. So, I would submit that whether a particular "heritage" item (building, landmark, etc) should be conserved or let go will depend very much on how much present AND future "value" (social-economic, cultural, environmental, geo-political, etc) the society is assigning to the said item in the bigger context of societal/human development and progress. As the words "heritage" and "value" are often defined subjectively if left unchecked, it is important that all stakeholders agree on the definitions and the decision-making criteria and process.
In closing, I would like to quote what the Chinese strategist Sun Zi said in 512 BC: "The wise leader will always think about benefit when he is in a risky situation, and risk when he is in a beneficial situation. Risk and Benefit are just like the Ying and the Yang; they come in pair and from within each other. They are not mutually exclusive and must be considered and balanced in the development and implementation of a strategy." I would suggest that the same principle applies equally well in 2006 AD when we talk about the 'good' and 'bad' of Global Competitiveness.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Some people might suggest that we should not take a narrowly defined view of global competitiveness that creates win-loss situations between nations, especially at the expense of the developing and under-developing countries. The more liberal minded would suggest that human beings are all equal and that we should therefore cooperate rather than compete. After all, our difference is skin-deep (pun intended) and our universal human traits are more dominant than our cultural differences.
I do not disagree fundamentally with the "universal" view of humanity. Human being as a species does share a lot of commonalities across cultural divides. However, I would submit that healthy competition for a higher reward, be it the Olympic gold medal or the Nobel Prize, is good for our global village, as long as the ultimate benefits (e.g. eradication of small pox, research on AIDS and cancer) are being made available to many rather than just a few. The challenge is of course the choice of the primary reward system (e.g. profit) and the mechanism(s) by which the benefits are distributed to the rest of the world (e.g. multilateral trade). I will leave this challenge to my more learned friends in the micro- and macro-economic fields to explain and tackle.
(to be continued)
Friday, December 08, 2006
Several years ago, shortly after my parents had immigrated to Canada, we were window-shopping on the street one day when, all of a sudden, my father stopped in front of a shop, pointed at the front-door sign, and made a strange comment: "Canadians, they sure like to waste money." My immediate reaction was: "No, Canadians are generally frugal and I don't know anyone who owns a handbag that would cost enough money to feed a whole village in a developing country in Africa for a month. Where are you coming from, Dad?" But then, just as I was about to give him my two cents worth, I took a closer look at the sign, and was completely speechless. Sure enough, my father was right. The sign clearly said: "COIN WASH" which in Cantonese is the same pronunciation as "WASTING MONEY"
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
"Old Man Winter" is finally here to stay! Last week, the weather was a nice +15 degree C. Then several days ago, we were hit by freezing rain. Overnight, the city changed its colour from a late autumn kind of yellowish grey to pure white. The temperature too dropped and hovered around -5 degree C. Of course, (relatively) young folks like us were just jumping with joy; it's the beginning of another season of skiing, skating, winter camping and other winter activities. Unfortunately, "Old Man Winter" was bad news for the older folks, who could hardly walk on the ice and snow covered roads. My mother basically locked herself up for two whole days. Lucky for her and other seniors, the city's snow crew worked hard days and nights, removed the accumulated precipitation off the streets and sidewalks, and sprinkled salt to melt the icy surface. Finally, much to my relief, my mother was able to go out again. Now, you might ask: Why do people say "Old Man Winter" and not "Old Woman Winter"? That, I must say I don't know.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Here is the website where you can find the advertisement song of the Life Insurance Company 明治安田 in Japan:
If you are searching for the words of the song and other related information about the "Treasured Six Years", please visit Christie's blog site:
Sunday, December 03, 2006
我在這邊,還是第一次聽到這首有關「秋雪」的歌和故事,資料是從博友Christie 那処找來。我通常都不支持商業性的廣告,但發覺這廣告歌很特別,什有人情味,曲詞也不是商業化,庸俗之流,故將資料排列轉載如下,供各人參考,估計播放了之後,讀者对「秋雪」短暫但幸福的六年生命,有一個更深的認識。想到: 生命和光陰,我們都是要珍惜的!
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Several months ago when I was in Italy attending a book-club function, I happened to meet Ms. Megan Williams, a Canadian journalist who now lives in Rome. Megan grew up in Toronto and graduated from McGill University in Montreal. She was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Fellowship and furthered her journalism study at Columbia University in the United States. Megan (whose first name in Chinese is pronounced as beautiful美 and hard-working勤) is well known to the international media and her work has been published in many newspaper, including the South China Morning Post in Honk Kong and the Globe and Mail in Canada. You can also find recordings of her great work by several international broadcasting corporations in North America and Europe on the website. Her written articles and audio recordings also cover happenings in Africa, the Balkans, and Italy. She especially likes to write about Italian culture, politics, economics and everyday life stories. I enjoy tremendously her recent book "Saving Rome" in which there are nine short stories about ex-pat women living in Rome, each depicts a transient life in the Eternal City.
(Credit: Pictures and info from www.megankwilliams.com)
Friday, December 01, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
1. Apply domestic methodologies or strategies to overseas operations and wonder why the results are poor.
2. Internal and external policies are not harmonized, resulting in serious conflicts that affect the domestic and international agenda and operations.
3. In terms of human resources management, fail to hire reliable international experts or "old hands" to act as "go-betweens" for the organization and foreign clients.
4. Inadequate protection of intellectual properties which end up being used in contravention of license agreements or being pirated outright by foreign associates.
5. Do not have sufficient knowledge and working experience with foreign legal systems, sectoral structures, official and un-official negotiation processes, and other fine points in the management of international affairs.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
1. Poor human resources management resulting in loss of trust from senior and experienced science and technology (S&T) personnel.
2. Funding for long-term S&T projects are cut in favour of short-term political or economic gains.
3. There is a mismatch between the S&T policy and the organization's investment plan, resulting in a push-and-pull type of situation.
4. The future of the organization's S&T products is jeopardized because of inadequate protection of intellectual property (IP) rights.
5. Without clear policy direction, the gap between what the S&T personnel do and what the market and customers want widens.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(2) 立政之前,沒有清楚解釋,或與受政策影響之人仕團體交談, 政策推行之日,羣眾嘩然,反对和拒絕合作,机構內部醖釀局面。
(3) 由於沒有足夠的人力物力去支持,或因其它因素,立成的政策遭遇實行的困難, 變了「紙上談兵」。
(4) 机構內部有意見分歧或矛盾, 不能言行一致,原本緊密的政策,開始發生漏洞。
(5) 政策沒有明顯的「責任框架」, 詳細表明怎樣才算成功, 什麼就是失敗,机構內誰人負責, 政策何時「日落」或「重申」等項目。
(1) Need assessment and policy objective are poorly articulated in the diagnostique and analysis work, thereby resulting in a policy that is less than adequate or even not applicable.
(2) There is a lack of communications/consultations with the people or groups that will be impacted by the policy. When the policy comes into effect, these people become upset and refuse to cooperate, which leads to a crisis situation.
(3) People and/or financial resources allocated to the launching and implementation of the policy are insufficient to assure success. This and other factors may cause the policy to remain just a paper exercise.
(4) There is a sharp division of opinions or irreconcilable conflicts within an organization over the policy. Without consistent and cohesive support, the well-meant policy begins to fall apart.
(5) There is no accountability framework that clearly defines success/failure (i.e. performance measures or indicators), roles and responsibilities of the parties involved, and specific target dates (including policy sunset/renewal).
Monday, November 27, 2006
1. Some organization invests more in their furniture than employees.
2. Those in the front-line dealing with customers are the least client-oriented.
3. Internal office politics create silos and an unhealthy work environment.
4. There is no human resources planning to complement the organization's 3- to 5-year strategic plan.
5. Decision-makers and employees are not communicating, good ideas remain unused and there is an organizational disjoint vertically.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
上述的分離,卻與因經濟、工作、或其它原因而分離的情况不同,雖然痛苦的情度或許是一樣,但前者是婚姻破裂問題,後者是双方理智的選擇。當然,歷史亦有許多受環境所迫,沒有選擇餘地的分離。例如許多在1900年代過來的「金山阿伯」,在加拿大1923-1947 Chinese Exclusion Act 拒華入境法律的二十四年間,就不能與妻子兒女見面。有部分幸運的就終能與他們的配偶和孩子團聚,但有很多就孤零零的客死異鄉, 困窮到屍骸骨頭都沒有人料理,被政府草草地葬在公墳,無名地埋沒了在「金山」之下。
在今時今日的社會, 我認為精神和情感上的分離,是可以在宗教或愛的大前題下進行「搶救」的。因經濟、工作、或其它原因而分離的,我想仍是個人理智的選擇。無論在自己控制之內或之外,分離總是一件痛苦的事。不過, 我們既是現代歷史的一部分,就要以現代人的方法和眼光去解决上述的分離問題。在加拿大落根的,也就要加上學習上一代華人的辛酸史。在這方面來說,我們除了宗教,也要相信自已的獨立和信賴能力,把眼光放遠一點,以積極的想法,希望一個較好的將來。時代流轉,我們今天分離的感受,也就是明天告給後人的故事了。
Saturday, November 25, 2006
This is quite different, although just as painful in many ways, for couples who have to separate for economic or other reasons. They are married but are separated and live as singles in different cities. A historical example was the many Chinese men in the early 1900's who had come over to "Gold Mountain" and then faced the harsh Chinese Exclusion Act 1923-1947 and were unable to see their family for decades or for life. The lucky ones were able to reunite later with their spouses and children. But, many died lonely and destitute and their bones were buried in mass graves under the "Gold Mountain".
In the modern-day context, I would think couples in the former case can be "rescued" if love can be rejuvenated (a big 'if' without a religious anchor, I presume). However, in the latter case, it's a matter of personal choice and priority as well as circumstances within or beyond one's own control. Nonetheless, both cases are equally challenging.
We are all part of history, including couples who are married but live like singles, married couples who live as singles in separate cities, and Canadians of Chinese descent whose ancestors went through the hardship of separation. I would suggest that in addition to faith in religions, one also has to believe in self-independence and reliance with a certain degree of hope for the future. As witnesses to these changes and as we are taking roots today, we will be the story-tellers to the generation of tomorrow.
Friday, November 24, 2006
When I was very young, my father did not earn much and my mother was a full-time homemaker. Our family rented a partitioned cubicle that was owned by this obnoxious landlady. The four of us all slept in one make-shift bed which also became my playground during the day. Since we were not well off, I learnt to make a lot of my own toys out of pop-bottle caps, used cigarette cartons, walnut shells, and whatever spared materials that I could find. However, the one toy I really wanted at that time was a tricycle. Many times I asked my parents if they could buy me one, and every time the answer was a disappointing 'No!' I don't know whether you had similar feeling and experience in childhood, but for me, I came to the realization at an early age that I would be my own dream maker, as my parents were often not in a position to help.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Having followed San Wen Ji's "aquarium" story, I come to the conclusion that Mr. Tortoise fits into what my old teacher described as "the 50-Percent Solution" type of workers. For them, the ultimate goal in life is just to pass, never to get overly ambitious, always choose the most relaxing way to earn their monthly wages. Hey, but why not if they can get away with it, right?!! The problem is that: Learning is like rowing a boat upstream, getting lazy will not get them anywhere. The 50-Percent mentality marks the beginning of the end of one's career.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Here is the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) of the Canadian Army, to mark the end of Remembrance Day 2006 and to especially remember the Canadians soldiers who died in Hong Kong during World War II:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
According to Wikipedia:
在法蘭德斯戰場（英文：In Flanders Fields）是在第一次世界大戰其間的最重要的詩作之一，也被認為是那個時期最流行的詩。這首法文迴旋詩體的英文詩是加拿大的軍醫約翰•麥克雷中校(英文： John McCrae )在目睹了他的年僅22歲的戰友 Alexis Helmer 中尉的死，於第二天1915年5月3日所作，同年12月，發表在英國倫敦的雙周刊 Punch 上。法蘭德斯是第一次世界大戰最慘烈的戰場，盛開着虞美人花。因為這首詩，虞美人花成為全球國殤紀念日佩花。
Translation into Chinese by Wikipedia:
Photo credit: Facebook user "Canada Remembers"
Related info below: http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/searches/soldierDetail.asp?ID=6009
|Canadian Army Medical Corps|
|No. 3 General Hospital|
Place of Birth:
Next of Kin:
|Janet Eckford McCrea, mother, 211 Paisley Street, Guelph, Ontario|
Address at Enlistment:
|At sea, between Canada and England. Wired his desire to enlist from the ship.|
Date of Birth:
|November 30, 1872|
Trade or Calling:
Prior Military Experience:
Place of Enlistment:
Date of Enlistment:
|September 22, 1914|
Age at enlistment:
|6 Feet Inches|
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Saw service in:
Cause of Death:
|Died of Illness|
Date of Death:
|January 28, 1918|
Age at Death:
|Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France|
|IV. H. 3.|
Prisoner of war:
|LAC Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 7202-2|
|Canadian Virtual War Memorial|
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
|Link to Toronto Star article - Guelph house commemorates Flanders' poet McCrae (November 10, 2009)|
Named on Nominal Roll for No. 3 General Hospital (McGill), embarkation Port - Montreal, Ship - S.S. Metagama, and dated 06 May 1915.
|Lieutenant Colonel||Canadian Army Medical Corps||No. 3 General Hospital|
|Major||Canadian Artillery||1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery|
|Lance Corporal||Canadian Infantry||85th Battalion|
|Memorial to John McCrae at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres|
|Hand written "In Flanders Fields" dated Dec. 8 1915|
|Soldier, explorer, physician, educator and poet. Author of "In Flanders Fields", possibly the best known poem in the world. Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) was born in Guelph, Ontario, studied medicine at the University of Toronto where he graduated at the top of his class. He enlisted and fought in the Boer War in South Africa. On his return he took a fellowship at McGill University in Montreal. McCrae served as a special professor in pathology at the University of Vermont, an associate of medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and a lecturer in pathology and medicine at McGill University. He was also employed as a pathologist at Montreal General Hospital and as a physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital ( Montreal) for Infectious Diseases.|
When the First World War began in 1914, McCrae enlisted as the Brigade Surgeon in the First Brigade of Canadian Field Artillery. He was responsible for a field dressing station at the front and treated those wounded during the Second Battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915. As well as performing his duties as surgeon, he also served in the Artillery, when needed. In the summer of 1915, McCrae was transferred from the artillery Brigade to the Number 3 Canadian General Hospital in Wimereaux, France, where he was second in command of medical services.
On January 24, 1918 he was appointed as consulting physician to the First British Army, the first Canadian so honoured. 4 days later, on January 28th, McCrae died from pneumonia, complicated by meningitis. He is buried at Wimereaux Cemetery in France. At McCrae's funeral procession, Generals and nursing sisters stood side-by-side, silently watching the cortege pass.
While an extraordinary soldier and physician, Colonel McCrae is best known for his poem “In Flanders Fields”. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrae had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrae composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”. His famous poem has become the lasting memorial to the war.
|Newspaper Extract||8/21/1918||The Battle of Amiens - Account by Captain R. J. Renison C.C.|
|Newspaper Extract||11/11/1921||In Flanders Fields - Stephen Leacock on John McCrae|
|War Diary Entry||6/1/1915||1st. Canadian Field Artillery Brigade|
Article from: 中時人間副刊
Title: Women Blossom Only After Age Thirty / 女人三十才含苞
Author: 劉黎兒 (20061022)
Translator: Haricot (Chinese to English)
" ............. Women younger than thirty are not mature emotionally and intellectually, nor are there any expectations either from themselves or others that they should be. They have gone through lives in a fog, floating from here to there without purpose. Their state of affair at this point is neither planned nor designed, and the encounters are more by chance than by appointment. However, age thirty is the magical turning point, when women start to think about their lives and their future. Colorful dreams and passion for a purposeful life emerge. They begin to take charge and decide what kind of a woman they should become. Age 30 is the age of awakening, when women realize their past is as valuable and murky as used bath water. During the transition period between age 28 to 32, women reckon that life has just begun rather than ended. All of a sudden, panic strikes and there is this urge to change and redesign their lives. By the time they are 33 or 34, many women have already changed their jobs, their lovers, marriages, etc ......."
After reading the full text of the above article, and the comments by our blogger friend Wendelin, I started to think about the old saying "Men at age 30 blossom like flowers; Women at Age 30 are nothing but used tea leaves !!". But, if that is old, conservative thinking of the past, then why did the author bring this up at this day and age in 2006? Why is there a need to specifically remind women that their lives blossom only after age 30? Is the author afraid that some modern women still fall prey to the old thinking, thus the article? I do not understand, nor do I agree with the author that women before 30 do not have the foggiest idea what they are doing. So it is with trepidation and mixed feelings that I decided to take the chance and publish this for readers to ponder over the subject matter and come to their own conclusions.
中時人間副刊 / 女人三十才含苞 / 劉黎兒 / 2006-10-22
『.......... 三十歲之前的女人，心智要多成熟不容易，自己或別人也沒對自己太期待，總是懵懵懂懂、晃晃蕩蕩，好壞靠機運以及邂逅居多，但三十歲之後，女人的方向、人生色彩感都開始出現，自己可以決定要當什麼樣的女人，女人最珍貴的時期從此起跳；三十歲之後，如果因循二十八、九歲的調調懞然而曖昧度過的話，過了兩、三年 便會驚覺自己的人生現在才開始，女人作為女人既未結束，才要開始，便會匆匆忙忙想要改變自己，許多女人都在三十三、三十四時全部重來，像是換工作、換情人等......... 』
我讀完全上列之全文,再細讀 Wendelin 博友自己的評述,就回想起這「男人三十一枝花,女人三十爛茶渣」的舊說法.但如果那是保守的思想,為什麼在 2006 年,仍然需要特別指出,女人三十才含苞?難道就如作者所述, 三十歲之前的女人,總是懵懵懂懂?我就是不明白和不同意,故此冒被炮轟之險,在此供讀者參考,作結論.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Motherhood love is an intrinsic response in many mammals. However, human love appears to be more than just simple instinct. It is a universal energy force that binds and repels our species.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
我用手数,這棵樹大約有一百二十五個年輪,換句話說,樹的種子是在公元 1881 年落在這裏的泥土下發芽,過往百年多,它「看」着這個世界在它週圍轉變,直到 2006 年為止.
I counted approximately 125 tree-rings across the diameter of the trunk. In another word, the seed that was this tree found its way into the soil and started growing in AD 1881. It stayed on this spot and witnessed the world changing around it, until the year it was downed, in 2006.
鄰居後花園,有兩棵五至六層樓高的大樹,過往夏天,很多雀鳥都在此起巢為家,松鼠也有数隻住在樹洞內.但在今年秋天的一場大風兩中,其中一棵被吹斷了一大半,可幸那数百公斤重的樹身沒有倒在居屋那方向,但卻壓壊了鄰居後園很多東西.後來樹醫生 tree doctor 來看,診斷兩棵樹都已介入暮年,樹心已非常軟弱,實不能活得長久.鄰居無夸,為安全計只得請樹專家 tree expert 砍下那兩棵老樹.為了紀念這兩位「百年樹人」,特攝数張照片, 在此為証,留作記錄云.
In my neighbour's backyard, there were two really old trees that measured five to six stories high. Over the years, it provided shelters for nesting birds and dwelling squirrels. Unfortunately, during a rainstorm last autumn, one of the trees was almost completely knocked down. Luckily, the hundreds of kilograms of wood did not fall onto this side of our houses. But it sure caused a lot of damages to our neighbour's backyard. When the tree doctor came, the prognosis was not good; both trees had its days and the core was too rotten for them to survive another storm. For the sake of our safety, my neighbour had no choice but to hire the tree experts to have the two trees cut down / put under. In view of the Chinese' respect for very old trees, I took some pictures as witnesses to these two hundred-years old tree "people", for the record.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
In the old school of thoughts, every scholar was supposed to remember the four goals of achievements, in the following order: Refine yourself which meant academic and spiritual refinements. Get married which usually referred to the young man putting his House in order. Govern the state/nation which meant landing a job with the government and becoming a mandarin. The last goal 平天下could mean flattening your enemies and/or bringing lasting peace to the world (depending on how you use the Chinese word 平). Perhaps it was a generation-gap thing, as a youngster I just couldn't accept such teaching. I thought: Great, it is going to take my whole life just to refine myself to perfection and be ready to get married. Without match-makers to do the screening and matching, and given the high divorce rate, the chance of getting it right the first time is very slim and not easy. Then, there is no more annual countrywide scholar examination that will provide a launching pad into the emperor's court to govern the nation and conquer the world. So, I decided at the time that my four goals would be: Pack up; Leave home; Self reflect; and Travel the world !! Obviously I was heading the opposite way of what my teachers were expecting. Well, many years have gone by and I now find myself well settled in Canada. While I am not a global trotter who leave footprints in every corner of the world, I have been lucky to be able to travel all over North America and a few other continents. Yes, I have seen quite a bit of the different faces of the world. I wonder what the comments from my old teachers would be if I run into them today.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I am convinced that the Heartless People and the Mini Meanies are neighbours. As I asked in my post "The Floating World of Mirrors and Flowers" several days ago, are there many heartless and meanies among us? I hope that with the united will of the majority, righteousness will always prevail and that I will encounter less of them in our modern society.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
On Halloween night, there weren't as many kids out as last year because of the drizzling rain. However, those who did come out were all dressed up as cute little angels, panda bears, supermen, etc. Beside the kids' parents, there were also other adults out trolling at night, such as the young-at-hearts who just wanted free entertainment and cheap candies. And then, there were those whose motives were not quite as clear, so let's listen to the following story and then you can tell me whether it's true or not.
On Halloween night, a taxi driver picked up a fare, a young and beautiful nun. The male driver was all "sexed" up and with a pretended sad face, he said, "All my life I have been waiting for this moment, my wish to be able to kiss a nun. I wonder if you could help me fulfill this dream of mine." The nun was much taken aback, but recovered quickly and said, "I am willing to help but my first kiss is reserved only to the brothers of my faith. Are you a believer?" At that point, the male driver was hot-on-the-trot and quickly replied, "Of course, I am a believer!" The nun had no choice and gave the man the kiss he wanted. Filled with excitement and joy, the cab driver could not help himself and shouted, "Ha!! I am not a believer; I just waned to steal your first kiss !!" The nun replied, "I am not a nun, I am just a guy dressing up as a woman on Halloween night."
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
This is what I visualize when I am practising my Qi:
* Rest: Qi settles in the Dan Tian; Mind stays calm as still water.
* Move: Form and mind merge as one; Will thrives amidst chaos.
I often use these two "mantras" (for lack of a better word) to gather myself together before I go too far down like a fallen kite.
Monday, October 30, 2006
I wish I were at Renée Fleming's performance in Rome last week. As the French newspaper Le Monde says about her: "Voix parfaite sur toute les tessiture, souffle infini, timbre charnel, fruité ... Renée Fleming est la perfection même." Her new CD "Homage - Age of the Diva" will come out tomorrow and I will make sure I get one. Renée has such a great voice. I would suggest you listen to her on Decca's http://www.decca.com/features/reneefleming/homage_site/ (try it, the songs are great) and also visit her official website http://www.reneefleming.com/ (nice picture of the singer and info on her new releases). She is also mentioned on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renee_Fleming .
Sunday, October 29, 2006
When I first read the story "Heartless City" in one of the Chinese Classics "The Floating World of Mirrors and Flowers" (my translation), I was in junior high and did not have much experience. My book report was basically a transfer of words from book to paper with little understanding of the authour's deeper meaning. Now that I am, relatively speaking, more mature, my interpretation of the same story is quite different. Without sounding too negative, I do find that there are people coming from the Heartless City living among us. You may encounter them at work, in love affairs, or during wars. You just can't tell that under the suit or dress, there is a big hole where the heart should be.
Haricot / 微豆
Saturday, October 28, 2006
In the old days of the ocean liners, people used to describe students going overseas for their education as "soaking in sea-water", a term that also inferred to their heavily Chinese-accented English upon their return. For Chinese Canadians who have lived here for a long time and are using mainly English and/or French on a daily basis, I wonder whether their Chinese is evolving the other way. Come to think of it, do you notice any English or French "accent" in the way I write my Chinese? Oui ou non?
In the movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, 2001), there is a scene in which the old woman was telling the main character: "Falling in love is not love, the long journey after is." Don't you think there is certain truth to that?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I looked out the window this morning and watched flakes of snow floating down from the sky. For some odd reasons, first snow often makes me feel happy and melancholy at the same time. Perhaps, it reminds me of first love - an exciting beginning that is not expected to last.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Whether a marathon is going to be easy or hard may depend a lot on the health of a person's mind and body as well as his/her time goal. If an individual does regular exercise and the doctor tells him/her there is no problem with running long distance, then the training might take any where from four to six months. During this period, a set time goal may determine the required weekly milage and speed. Here is a suggested website to get people started:
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
我曾探訪阿根庭的首都Buenos Aires,非常喜欢那地方,它有「南美巴黎」之稱,有很多建築物就像從歐洲搬來的一樣.我起程離開加拿大時是初冬,到達南美就是初夏,有可能是天氣關係,就覺得那裏真的有很濃厚的拉丁美洲熱情風味,男和女都穿得很上潮流,毫不保守.如果您有机会逗留,就一定要嘗嘗那边的夜生活.他們的晚歺是在九時以後才開始,吃完几乎是十一時至午夜,剛好是探戈舞精彩表演的開場時間,真是旦旦笙歌!阿根庭和大多拉丁美洲國家(除巴西外)都是說西班牙語,我因懂法文,故此看指示街招都不大有問題,但交談就是另一回事了.我不知由您処到南美要多少時間,但由Buenos Aires到Uruguay的首都Montevideo就只是一水之隔,不妨一遊.其他國家,如智利,巴西都不太遠,也可趁机遊覽.往南美最好是参加旅行團,自理旅遊也可,但就要非常非常之小心,很多我到過的南美地方,保安和看更的都有机關槍,黑店和黑的士行兇也有聽聞.大城巿旅遊區就沒多大問題.
微豆 / Haricot
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Not far away from where I live, there is a farm that is my favorite marathon training ground. At this time of the season, there are hundreds of Canadian geese and other varieties of birds feeding on the grains that are left over from the fall harvest. The geese usually start their journey somewhere near the Artic Circle and every year they will pass by this area en route to their southern destinations thousands of miles away. Whenever I go running in the farm area, I always take the opportunity to enjoy the fall scene and take some pictures of the countryside.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I just finished my 6th running marathon and am taking a week off to give the body a chance to recover. Some people said life itself is a marathon, albeit a very long one, and in both the physical and emotional sense. If the comparison holds, then the question arises as to why all the efforts when the end does not seem to justify the means. Au contraire, I would submit that the quest to find out the capability and limits of ourselves (and of our partners and co-runners) is really a part of defining our existence. From that perspective, it's not so much the success or failure of our race at the end that is important, but rather the knowledge of who we are during the journey. The internal motivation of self-discovery differentiates those who continue and those who give up because of a lack of external reward.
微豆 / Haricot