Thursday, November 30, 2006

Top Five: International Business / 國際事務五項

1. 以本地方法或策略,搬上國際「戲臺」,後果当然欠佳。
2. 机構內政和外政不調和,有衝突或矛盾,令本地和外地業務行政均受影響。
3. 在人事管理方面,沒有國際事務專家,或可靠之外地「中間人」和外客打交道。
4. 未能護衛智慧產權,被外客灠用或複造。
5. 不明白外國之法制系統、工業組織、官方和非官方之談判過程,及其它國際事務細節。

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

Top Five: Managing Science & Technology / 科技管理五項

1. 人事管理不善,有經驗之科技人員,对机構信心大失。
2. 受政治或經濟「短視」之影響,未能以足夠之人力物力,支持較長期性之科技項目。
3. 科技政策未能與机構之投資計劃吻合,形成半拉半推之不平衡狀態。
4. 未能護衛智慧產權,科技生產前途堪慮。
5. 沒有明確之政策方針,科技部「閉門做車」,與顧客和市場需求脫了節。

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

Top Five: Policy-making in Organizations / 机構立政五項

(1) 基本分析工作不足, 目的和需求不清楚,令至選立的政策不善,或根本是藥不对症。
(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

Top Five: Human Resources Management / 人事管理五項

1. 有很多机構,老闆对傢俬,比对僱員還重要。
2. 與顧客接觸最多的,就是最「黑口黑面」的。
3. 內部鬥爭,各自為己。
4. 人事計劃不存在,與机構的三至五年長期計劃方針脫節。
5 下情不能上達,好意見不受重用,上層與僱員脫節。

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


剛剛讀完了 Mad DogRuth 寫關於現代夫婦關係的文章。我認為康希牧師在新加坡指出的, 是兩人之間精神和情感上的分離,只有夫妻之名,而無夫婦之實,他提醒教會成員, 不要失去了婚姻的神聖定義,淪至如中國人所謂「同床異夢,貎合神離」的地步。

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

同床異夢,貎合神離 / Same Bed Different Dreams, Same Togetherness Different Destinations

I read the articles written by both Mad Dog and Ruth regarding modern-day couples. I think Rev. Kong Hee康希牧師 in Singapore was referring to the loss in spirituality and meaning of marriage among some of his congregation members - married but still live a single life, or as the Chinese say: "同床異夢,貎合神離 Same bed different dreams, same togetherness different destinations."

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

願望是自製自成的 / Dream Maker

我兒時家窮, 父親入息不多,母親是家庭主婦,我們住在一個「惡死」包租婆木板間隔的尾房,一家四口一張床,最記得一回家就是上床玩。我們家庭沒有餘錢,很多玩具都是我用剩餘物資,例如「荷蘭水」蓋、香煙盒、核桃殼等自製的。但是年幼的我卻很羡慕他人有自行車,於是常問父母親可不可以買一架給我,當然,答案每一次都是失望的。我不知道您們年輕時有沒有這種感覺和經驗,就是所有要達到的願望,都是要自製自成的,父母很多時都不能幇忙。

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

人生但求五十分 / The 50-Percent Solution

閱讀【散文集】有關「水族館」的來龍去脈,發覺「烏龜」先生似乎就是我以前老師說的,「人生但求五十分」那種人: 沒什麽上進之心,只求僅僅合格,以最休閒的方式,換取得每月最好的薪酬,又何樂而不為呢?!! 問題就是: 學如逆水行舟,不進則退,有了這種心態之後,也就是工作走下坡的開始了。

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

間諜秘笈: 色性丶权力丶金錢 / The Secret Spy Manual: Sex, Power and Money

Back in the Cold War years of the 60's, there was a joke going around: After spending a lot of efforts, one of the superpowers was able to obtain the enemy's Secret Spy Manual. With much anticipation, the chiefs gathered around and opened their prize book, only to find that the manual contained just one page and three words - Sex, Power, and Money. Although the joke came out in the 60's, these same three words actually have a good grip on many people throughout human history, from the east to the west, from ancient villages to modern states. Over the 5000+ years of Chinese history, from the creation of mother-earth to the present days, there have been no lack of stories about power struggles, warring states, and the beauties whose smiles toppled the Great Wall and the Country. In the western civilization, one needs only to examine the stories of Caesar's assassination, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and in more recent years the British King who gave up his throne for his beloved American Countess (which was more love than sex). We are no strangers to these stories. Even today, we still quite often see these types of sagas being played out on different international, political, and commercial stages in both the public and private sectors. It appears that in this new millennium with all our technological wonders, some human beings are still at the same stage of evolutionary development as our ancestors thousands of years ago and still have that instinctive lust for Sex, Power and Money.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


聽說六零年代世界冷戰之時,有如下的一個笑話: 某國費了不少人力物力,終於取得了敵方的間諜秘册,但打開一看,只得一頁,上有三個字,就是:「sex性愛、power權勢、money財利」雖然這是数十年前的笑話,但細想不論在東在西,從古至今,似乎很多人都就走不脫這三個政治的因素。在数千年的中國歷史, 由盤古初開起,爭權奪位,一笑傾城、再笑傾國的故事就多得很。在西方文化,凱薩大帝被刺,莎士比亞的名著 Hamlet,不愛江山愛美人而退位的英皇(是love of the opposite sex),都是人所共知的故事。時至今日,在國際、政治、投資的公商領域,甚至工作環境中,也有很多時遇見或聽聞有關這方面的故事,就是和好色、弄權、貪財其中一個有關。故此不禁想到,難道在這千禧年的新紀元,科枝一日千里的社會,有些人的本能就和前人一樣, 數千年沒有進化?

Mile Swim

I learnt swimming from my father at the Southern Chinese Swimming Club in Shawkiwan, Hong Kong when I was really young. He taught me all the basics, from dog stroke, to back stroke to frog (breast) stroke. When I was in secondary school, I taught myself the cross (free style), or what I thought was free style. I would show off my "techniques" in swimming pools and at beaches, and the thought of continuous learning never entered my mind. It was when I joint the YMCA/YWCA here a few years ago that I realized how little I had known about swimming. I was not bad with short/medium distance, but when it came to the mile swim, all the imperfections in my swimming techniques showed up and multiplied exponentially. Did it ever cross my young and proud mind that I would have to learn swimming all over again? Of course not !! The mile swim really taught me a good lesson about life-long learning.

Monday, November 13, 2006



Eye Witness

As we journey through life, I find that quite often we become willingly, unwillingly, or by coincidence, the eye-witness of an event in progress or a turning point in history. I am not talking about being an official witness in court or in Parliament. I am referring to those of us who will re-tell (in our old age) the stories to future generations as to what we see today on television, on the street, or during a trip and how we feel at the time. All these information that are posted on the web, including the images recorded on cameras or cellular phones, will be part of our stories to tell in the future.



Saturday, November 11, 2006

加拿大軍人: 2006國殤紀念日 - 在法蘭德斯戰場 / Canadian soldiers: Remembrance Day 2006 - In Flanders Fields

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.


UPDATED 20131028

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:




UPDATED 20131108:

Photo credit: Facebook user "Canada Remembers"

Related info below:

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae 
Died: January 28, 1918

Regimental Number:
Survived War:
Canadian Army Medical Corps
No. 3 General Hospital
Place of Birth:
Guelph, Ontario
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:
Marital Status:
Prior Military Experience:
Place of Enlistment:
Valcartier, Quebec
Date of Enlistment:
September 22, 1914
Age at enlistment:
6 Feet Inches
40 Inches
4 Inches
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Saw service in:
Cause of Death:
Died of Illness
Battle Died/Wounded:
Date of Death:
January 28, 1918
Age at Death:
Buried at:
Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France
IV. H. 3.
Prisoner of war:
Ethnic Origin:
LAC Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 7202-2
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Research Notes
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 ColonelCanadian Army Medical CorpsNo. 3 General Hospital
MajorCanadian Artillery1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery
Lance CorporalCanadian Infantry85th 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 Extract8/21/1918The Battle of Amiens - Account by Captain R. J. Renison C.C.
Newspaper Extract11/11/1921In Flanders Fields - Stephen Leacock on John McCrae
War Diary Entry6/1/19151st. Canadian Field Artillery Brigade

Men at age 30 blossom like flowers; Women at Age 30 are nothing but used tea leaves !!

Before you shoot me, the messenger, please read the article below that was quoted by Wendelin in the blog " La Casa de los Espiritus 精靈之屋"

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.



在各位思者發炮之前,請先看看下列由 博友 Wendelin的「精靈之屋」雙重轉貼過來的一段文章:

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

除了天倫之外 / Beyond Kinship Love

熱血哺乳動物之中的母愛,是自然天生而來的,但人類的愛, 似乎就比較複雜了!我想愛就像宇宙能力的一種, 維持人與人之間的吸引和抗拒力.

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

百年樹人 / Hundred Years old Tree "People"


Last respect

百年樹人 / Hundred Years old Tree "People"

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.

百年樹人 / Hundred Years old Tree "People"

百年樹人 / Hundred Years old Tree "People"

百年樹人 / Hundred Years Old Tree "People"

百年樹人 / Hundred Years old Tree "People"

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

修身,齊家,治國,平天下 / Refine One-self; Get Married; Govern the Nation; Bring Peace to the World

以前在老師教導之下,各莘莘學子,就都要牢記於心:「要先修身,次齊家,後治國及平天下.」或許是代溝的原因,年青的我就不接受那一套,我想:光是修身就是一輩子的功夫.齊家一事,如眾所知,不再是媒婥之言,首婚次嫁,離離合合,找一個終身的伴侶就不容易.治國平天下就更不像以前一樣,上京考試,一舉成名天下知,就可榮昇步入宮廷,處理國家大事. 故此一早就决定了自己的去向,就是要「收身,離家,自覺,遊天下. 」這當然和老師的願望背道而馳.時光流轉,今天的我,在加拿大住了很多年日,雖未曾踏足世界每一個角落,但可幸有機會遊遍北美,也到過其它好幾個地方,見了很多世面.如果今天遇到舊時的老師,他們又會怎樣想呢?

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


在我家的深處,在一個不常到的地方,就放了很多雜物,是多年積聚的回憶,每一件東西都代表那一段時日光景,是歡樂的,痛苦的,麻木的,成功或是失敗的,都像一件件歷史見証物,沾到手上,時光倒流,往事如煙,就在腦海中浮現.但在這些雜物中,卻有一個上了鎖的大皮喼,已有很多年沒有打開來看.其實也知道內裏存的是什麼,就是年青我熱戀時寫的日記,和一些大家一同拍攝的舊照片.但每一次想開喼來看,總是沒有勇氣,又將大皮喼放回那深處.自己也不明白這無名的恐懼,是不是害怕開了之後,就要面對現實,不能否認那年少氣盛,又不成熟的自我,還是恐怕舊情復發,觸動那深埋多年的慯心事,戀心淚,一動真情,就難以自拔呢? 其實人就是很矛盾,又想向前走,又忍不住要回頭看.人生日記就是自己手寫,但旅途中的故事,就滲入了其他很多人,既有萍水相逢,泛泛之交的,也有那無緣無份,年少無知的戀人.故事和戲是可以找人拍,歌是可以找人唱,但情之一物,又怎能找人照顧呢?

鎖上青年情感的手提箱 / The Suit Case

Somewhere deep in the basement not frequented by visitors, there is a collection of articles from an era gone by. Each piece represents a moment in time that might be happy, painful, paralyzed, successful or failing. Each piece is a witness to my own history, a mere touch of which will magically bring me back to the past, to a place where wisps of memories sing and dance in front of my eyes. But among the collection, there is a locked suitcase that, for whatever reason, I never have the courage to open and look inside. I know exactly what the contents are - a collection of letters to my first love and pictures of our time together. Several times I managed to unlock the suit case, but was not able to conquer this nameless fear and bring myself to actually opening it. Perhaps I am afraid that touching the photos inside will bring me face-to-face again with this youth who was so self-centre and immature. Or, perhaps reading the old letters will open the flood gate of emotions and unearth to the core years of love, bitterness and tears, to the extent I will be swept into a vortex of deep depression. How ironic it seems that we human always want to move forward and yet are often haunted by the past. We always want to be the master of our destinies and hold the pens that write our diaries, and yet our journeys inevitably will involve other people, be they ordinary friends or as in my case, my first love. Life is dramatic to the extent that one can hire actors and actresses to play it out for us on stage and in cinema. One can even hire someone to write, sing and serenade one's life story. But for the core love itself, one will be forever responsible.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The "Mini Meanies" in the Floating World of Mirrors and Flowers

Yuen Luk Luk's October 25th post on "Cursing the Mini Meanies" reminds me of the story in Chapter 19 of "The Floating World of Mirrors and Flowers":
..... After a few more days on the road, our travelers Tong-O and Ninth Uncle arrived at the City State of Qin Ran. Tong-O asked, "Ninth Uncle, have you been to this place before? I heard that the citizens here are short in both their statues and characters." Ninth Uncle replied, "The people here are famous for being defensive and mean and they speak with fork tongues. They will mislead you by saying sweet is bitter, salty is bland to make you all confused. Such is their practice here, so don't be too surprised." They disembarked, walked up to the city gate, through which they crawled through, and found themselves inside the city proper. The streets, lanes and steps were all so narrow and small that moving about was not exactly an easy task for our travelers. At the city centre, Tong-O and Ninth Uncle came upon the inhabitants who were no more than a foot tall for adults and four inches for children. To defend themselves from predatory bird attacks from above, they huddled close and walked in groups of three to five and carried weapons with them. Their postures were defensive and the speeches were equally barbed with poison, trickery and double-talks. Tong-O sighed, "I can now see why they are called Mini Meanies." .......

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.



.... 走了几日,到了靖人國。唐敖道:「請教九公:小弟聞得靖人,古人謂之諍人,身長八丸寸,大約就是小人國。不知國內是何風景?」多丸公道:「此地風俗磽薄,人最寡情,所說之話,處處与人相反。即如此物,明是甜的,他偏說苦的;明是咸的,他偏說淡的:教你無從捉摸。此是小人國歷來風气如此,也不足怪。」二人于是登岸,到了城郭,城門甚矮,彎腰而進,里面街市极窄,竟難并行。走到城內,才見國人,都是身怪不滿一尺;那些儿童,只得四寸之長。行路時,恐為大鳥所害,無論老少,都是三五成群,手執器械防身;滿口說的都是相反的話,詭詐异常,唐敖道:「世間竟有如此小人,倒也少見。」....


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

2006 萬聖節故事 / Halloween Story 2006

萬聖節脕上,下着微微細雨,到來拍門叫「Trick or Treat !!」的小朋友比舊年少,但有出來的就化裝得多姿多彩,有天使,小熊貓,超人等,真是非常cute.成人中除了有伴同子女的父母之外,也有一些童心沫老的「大牛龜」來湊熱鬧,找尋免費娛樂和糖果吃.也有趁機混水摸魚的,以下就是一個這類的故事,是真是假,由您定斷罷.


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."
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