Friday, December 29, 2006

年尾趕交貨 / Year-end Rush


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.

下雪了 / Skier's Delight


終於下雪了!!!一個滑雪者的願望,豐雪 :)

Finally, it's snowing !! A skier's delight - Let's have more of the white stuff :)

禮物盒日 / Boxing Day


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.

第34街的奇蹟 (1947) / Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


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

母親與孩子 / Mother and Child

這幅塗鴉之作,或許有中西合璧的意思,左边是國会,右面是龍柱,母親的旗袍上有鳳凰,孩子穿的,是這裡常見的小童衫,十字架有點宗教意味,那烏鴉或許是代表死亡或疾病,人物和整體來說都是相合的。我從未有拜師,業餘图畫手筆,請不要見笑, 祝各位新年愉快 !!!!

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

冰雨 / Freezing Rain

(Chinese version of "冰雨 / Freezing Rain" posted on Dec 23 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

冰雨 / Freezing Rain

(英譯 English version posted on Dec 25 2006)




Friday, December 22, 2006

白色聖誕 / White Christmas


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

街頭露宿者的心声 / Homeless Man Speaks

Yesterday, I read an article on the Globe and Mail about the blog by Philip and Tony of Toronto. Philip, who has a MBA from Harvard and teaches a computer science course at the University of Toronto, met Tony near a coffee shop. Tony once had a family and his last job was a driver. Unfortunately, he was laid off and his wife passed away about seven years ago. His children could not take care of him and without income, he ended up living on the street. However, even as Tony's age approaches 60, he is strong as ever. He has his integrity and way of looking at the world and the necessary will and wisdom to survive in the harsh Canadian environment, especially when night temperature could dip to 20 or 30 degrees centigrade below zero.

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

街頭露宿者的心声 / Homeless Man Speaks




相片: 「菲臘普」攝,請上他和「東尼」的網看全文

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

利益衝突 / Conflict of Interest

An Asian friend of mine, who had just moved to Canada not that long ago, asked me earlier today whether he needed to thank his boss and colleagues with gifts during the Christmas and New Year celebration. At first I thought he was just joking, but then the frankness in his eyes told me it was not a hypothetical question. He genuinely wanted to thank them !! In the Canadian work environment, the practice of giving and receiving gifts during festival season really put both parties into a difficult situation. Does it mean the recipient is therefore obliged to look after the other person's interests? Is the giver trying to exert undue influence? More seriously, does the transaction raise the suspicion of corruption? This is no joking matter. So, I quickly explained to my friend that if a close colleague is getting married or having a child, he could pool money with other co-workers to buy a gift. But avoid giving cash (so-called "unmarked bills") or sending a big gift privately. I advised him to reconsider carefully, drop this idea of giving out personal Christmas/New Year gifts, and instead, buy a box of good chocolates and share them with his boss and colleagues. This way, he would avoid getting into the embarrassing and difficult situation I had just described. From a human resources management policy perspective, good work values and ethics means free from both real AND perceived conflict of interest. The latter means a person's actions and behaviours should not put him/herself into a situation that could create the perception of a conflict. Perhaps some people might say this approach is cold and inhuman. However, a clear and transparent conflict of interest policy will have the positive result of protecting individual workers, the institution, the investors/stakeholders, and the society as a whole.

Chinese Version:
This English article is based on the Chinese version I wrote. To read the original, please click:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

利益衝突 / Conflict of Interest

今天有一個從亞洲來了加拿大不久的朋友,他問我在這裡聖誕新年大節日,需不需要送禮給上司或同事,多謝他們這一年內,对他工作上的幫助。我起初以為他是說笑罷,但他誠懇的眼光告訢我,這不是一個他虛設的問題,他是真想多謝他們!! 在這邊的工作環境,過年過節送禮,令双方面都難做。受了禮的就是不是一定要「關照」对方?送禮的又是否在扯「關係」?嚴重的更会被疑是貪污行賄,不是開玩笑的。於是我忙告訢友人,工作單位內,相熟的人結婚,生兒女等,都可和其他人合送禮物,但不要送現金,和避免單对單,沒有第三者知道的大賀禮。我告訢他心思考慮,打消了這個聖誕新年送禮的念頭,倒不如買一盒上品的「巧克力」, 公開請上司同事共吃,那就避免踏入上述的尷尬困境。在人事管理政策的角度來看,廉政不單止是完全沒有利益衝突,而是要在行動舉止上,都不要自困於会被人懷疑的尷尬地步。或許有人說這是太沒有人情味,但這公私分明的政策,是有保謢個人、机構、投資者、和社会的作用。

English Version:
I have translated this complete article into English, please click here:

Monday, December 18, 2006

趙梅伯教授 / Professor Zhao Mei-bo

When I was young, I had the fortune of belonging to a mixed choir conducted by Professor Zhao Mei-bo. What I learnt during that short period of time was something that I find useful for the rest of my life. Even today, the image of this internationally renowned pioneer giving us his instructions, pointers and advice still live vividly in my memory. Of all the things he taught, including rhythms, breathing and basic singing techniques, what I found the most unforgettable was his teaching on the art of expressing emotions in our singing. As I mentioned in my exchange with some of you yesterday, human emotions come deep from the bottom of our hearts. They radiate from our inner core to the outside world. It does not matter what the objects of our passion are, be it musical instruments, songs, or literature, we must play, sing, or write with our inner emotions !!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

趙梅伯教授 / Professor Zhao Mei-bo

年輕時,有机会參加一個在趙梅伯教授指揮之下的歌詠合唱團,時間雖短,但學到的卻是終生受用。這位國際音樂界老前軰,当年所指點、教導、和所說的,至今仍瀝瀝在目。隨學了柏子、呼吸、和基本的唱歌方法之外,留在我腦海最深刻的,就是怎樣放感情入唱的歌曲中。正如昨天回覆網友時談到,熱情是出在人的心底裡, 內向外的表示,不論我們喜愛的是樂器、歌曲、或文章,我們都彈、唱、或寫出一個感情來 !!!

(图片: 宁波日报/2005-09-26/王路)

Updated 20101229:
Here is one of the pubications written by The Professor

++++ Updated 20120130 +++++

Source: 國家文化資料庫 National Repository of Cultural Heritage

國家文化資料庫 系統識別號:0006045297
外文姓名:Chao Mei-Pa
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。
1932年在日內瓦音樂院舉行獨唱會,由其師維南先生擔任伴奏﹙Maurice Weynandt﹚。
1933年獲得布魯賽皇家音樂家聲樂頭獎、羅雷亞學位與愛爾乾獎金, 復求教於世界著名歌劇家安素﹙Ansseau﹚與克拉貝﹙Crabb'e﹚。
WEAF ﹚介紹中國音樂並演唱法國近代名曲與中國民歌。
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。
Holy City﹚「聖城」。
1964年高足李冰在英獲亞培尼獎﹙Albani Prize﹚
1971年於辛浦森大學﹙Simpson College﹚任聲樂與合唱主任
1972年應聲樂大師齊諾貝干﹙Gino Becchi﹚之請第二度赴歐
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
1978年任教於福特希爾大學﹙Foothill College﹚
1983年演唱德布西的「有福的女郎」 ﹙La Damoiselle Elue﹚
1987年指揮台灣國家實驗合唱團首次演唱普朗克﹙Poulenc﹚ 「榮耀頌」
1991年南加州長堤州立大學主辦「An Afternoon with Prof. Chao Mei-Pa」
獎項:1975年當選美國全國「傑出教育家」﹙Outstandi月Educator ofmerica﹚
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。
1935年巴爾的摩出版「黃鐘」﹙Yellow Bell﹚英文版

Saturday, December 16, 2006

內向与外向 / Introvert & Extrovert

In the North America work environment, it appears that the extroverts are in a slightly advantageous position than their introvert colleagues. I am basically an introvert, who enjoy the quiet nights, running alone in the wee hours of the morning, and skiing in the woods under the moonlight in the winter, when the snow is falling. But for work reasons, I spent a lot of efforts converting and refining my introvert personality to that of an extrovert. I now can comfortably go up to the stage to chair a meeting, analyze and articulate policies, address hundreds of guests, or shoot the breeze with total strangers. But deep inside, after taking off my work outfit, I am still the same voyageur, who enjoy the still of the night, jogging and skiing under the silvery moonlight.

Friday, December 15, 2006

內向与外向 / Introvert & Extrovert

在北美社会工作,在升職方面, 似乎外向的人,是比內向的同僚,処於較優的位置。其實我基本是內向的人,我喜愛夜靜,喜欢一個人凌晨跑步,冬夜白雪紛飛之際,在山林月光之下滑雪。但為了工作所需,費了不少功夫,把自己內向的性格,加工提煉,改變為「外向」。現在可以隨時上臺,主持会議,硏討政策,或向数百來賓致詞,或与素不相識的陌生人寒喧。但在我心底裡,脫了那工作外衣,我仍是那個喜欢夜靜,喜欢在那水銀瀉地的月光之下,跑步或滑雪的旅途者。

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thoughts on Global Competitiveness (Part 2) / 世貿竸爭 (下篇)


世貿的第二個基本問題,就是怎樣定斷每一個經濟中心發展轉變的速度。常聽聞市民關注,覺得應被保留的建築物和歷史遺物,都被投資者毀壞鏟平,以發展為名, 起了醜陋的大厦和停車場。支持保謢文物的人,就說發展實在太快,社会不應該只是經濟掛帥。但在投資者來看,除舊立新,是理所当然,發展越快就越好,保証不会在世貿市場,被淘汰出局。



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thoughts on Global Competitiveness (Part 1) / 世貿竸爭 (上篇)






Tuesday, December 12, 2006

愛情的分叉路 / What could have been .... ?



Monday, December 11, 2006

愛情的分叉路 / What could have been .... ?

I came across the picture of my first love when I was the least expecting it. I was doing some research and there it was, staring out of the page at me. The emotional impact was similar to dropping a stone into the middle of a peaceful and quiet pond: The concentric ripples could be felt right across the time span that links the past to the present and the stone just went straight to the bottom, stirring up all kinds of old memories.

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

Thoughts on Global Competitiveness (Part 2)

Another thorny issue that often arises from the discussion on "Global Competitiveness" is about the pace of change. More specifically, people are concern that old heritage buildings and landmarks are being bulldozed over, only to be replaced by ugly high-rises and parking lots, all in the name of prosperity. The conservationists would argue that heritage loss is bad while the developers would say new development is good.

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

Thoughts on Global Competitiveness (Part 1)

In today's highly competitive global economy, every nation recognizes that "knowledge" is the engine for growth and prosperity (thus the term "knowledge-based economy"). Many leaders of developed countries are investing their future in key areas such as science and technology, business management, policy making/implementation, and international trade. Their approach is largely based on being at the right place, at the right time, and with the right people. Many learn from other countries and then add value to what they have learnt, thereby gaining an advantage over their competitors. For the country that originates a good idea, it should not just feel proud and contented but must continue to push the envelope further lest it be left behind.

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

洗錢 \ Wasting Money

好几年前,父母親移民來加拿大不久,一日和他們逛亍,父親行過一間商店,突然止步,指著門口的招牌,以奇異的眼光对我說:「我相信加拿大人都是喜欢洗錢的罷。」我想想,不是呀,加拿大人,通常都不会將錢財揮霍浪費,我的朋友中,有那個人的手袋,價値是可以養活非洲一村人一個月的伙食呢?,「老竇」呀,您這話從何說起?正想回答之際,卻再細看那招牌,不覺啞囗無言,父親一點也沒有看錯, 廣告是明顯的說:『COIN WASH』

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

天地人:策略概念 / Strategic Thinking: Heaven Earth People

In Chinese history, Heaven, Earth and People represented and defined the concept of the world of the Middle Kingdom, from the Emperor down to the ordinary peasants. Having heard my explanation of this feudal system concept, my Canadian born colleagues found the idea intriguing and suggested that the western society could borrow and apply this Heaven-Earth-People model to basic business management. Of course, they are not referring to the blind superstition of worshipping heaven and earth, but rather to the systematic approach to business strategy: the right time, the right place, and the right people. This is not really the first time that my colleagues learnt about and appreciated Chinese strategic thinking. I mean, if you go to the local bookstore and look under Business Management for, say, Sun Zi's "Art of War", you will probably find a dozen translated versions by different authours, who all attempt to dissect, analyze and apply the twenty-five thousand years old manuscript to modern use. However, out of the million of readers who read great classics such as the Art of War, Dream of the Red Chamber, the Floating World of Flowers and Mirrors, and secret manuscripts on martial art and Zen, there are only a hand-full of people who really appreciate the true meanings of these writings. As Sun Zi said circa 512 BC: "There are only five basic tones, but the variation of the five makes great music; there are only five basic colours, but the variation of the five makes great paintings." His point was that with the same five tones and colours, ordinary folks could only make lousy music and pictures and yet these same elements would create masterpieces in the hands of genius. Colleagues and friends here and abroad, I will conclude by saying that learning is a life-long journey and that we should strive to explore, learn and appreciate the richness of the thousands of years of history and culture.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

天地人: 策略概念 / Strategic Thinking: Heaven Earth People

在中國的歷史中,天地人,就是古代時期,上至君臣,下到庶民,他們所看到的整個世界及其定義。我前数天把這個舊的封建覌念,解釋給在加拿大長大的同事聽,他們聽後,大感興趣,認為今時今日的西方社会,仍可向中國歷史借鏡,應用「天地人」的原理,作為辦事之基本方法。他們所說的,当然不是拜天拜地的迷盲信仰,而是從天時、地利、人和的系統化策略角度來看。這也不是第一次我的同事,对中國的策略有接觸和認同。如果您到這裡的英文書局,在商業管理一欄看看,單是【孫子兵法】一書,就有不同的翻譯版本和作者,將這二千五百多年前的戰策,加以分析、研究、和應用。不過,無論是讀什麽書, 紅楼夢、鏡花緣、孫子兵法、武林秘笈、達摩禪修等,讀是一回事,真真正正能夠領悟到真理的人,就真是寥寥可数了。正如孫子在公元前五百多年說:『聲不過五,五聲之變,不可勝聽也。色不過五,五色之變, 不可勝覌也。』這就是為什麼,同樣的音調和顏色,在凡人手中,總是兒科音樂,塗鴉之作,但同樣的五音五色,在樂聖畫聖的手中,就成為朽世傑作!同事朋友們, 學無止境,数千年的歷史文化,我們還是要努力去深造,領悟其中奧妙!

自行車與我 ∕ Bicycle and Me

I mentioned in my previous article "Dream Maker" how I longed to own my bicycle when I was little. However, my family wasn't rich at the time. So, I used to just borrow my friend's tricycle and peddled up and down the long corridor of the apartment building. Boy, did I ever have fun !! When I grew older, my father earned a little bit more and we said goodbye to the nasty landlady who owned the little partitioned cubicle that we used to call home. Much to my delight, there was a bicycle rental place near our new residence. So I would rent a bike after school and played "cutting each other off" in the nearby empty parking lot with my neighbourhood friends. I wasn't the best, but not the worst either in terms of my skills. As to the idea of owning a bicycle, my father's response was still a disappointing "no" every time. Of course, after I entered secondary school, other teenager interests took over and the idea was in the backburner for quite a while.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

自行車與我 ∕ Bicycle and Me


冬至 / Old Man Winter

「冬天老人」終於在這裡駐腳了!上星期,天氣還是溫暖的十五度攝氏,但前数天,突然來了一場冰雨,城市由深秋的灰黃色,一夜之間,變成了白茫茫的一遍,氣溫也下降至零下五度左右俳佪。我們較年青的當然高興啦,因為滑雪、溜冰、冬天露營等的冬天活動季節開始了。苦了卻是那些上了年紀的,地上封了冰雪,寸步難行。我的母親也自閉在家,呆了兩整天。可幸城市的清雪工人,不分晝夜,剷了街上和行人路的積雪,又灑了鹽來溶解結了冰的地面,母親又可自由出入,我也小一點担心了。您或許会問: 為什麽這裡叫「冬天老人」,不叫「冬天阿婆」呢?那我就不知道了。

"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

『幸福的六年』 / My Son Autumn Snow 秋雪 - A Life of Six Years

I heard of the song and story about "Autumn Snow" the first time when I was visiting Christie's blog site. I am not keen on supporting commercial advertisements but do find this particular song special and meaningful and the words not commercialized or tasteless. I am therefore taking the liberty of providing the readers with the following information for consideration, with the hope that the broadcast song will help us better appreciate and understand the short but treasured six-year life of "Autumn Snow". My concluding thoughts: Life and time are precious and must not be wasted.

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

『幸福的六年』 / My Son Autumn Snow秋雪 - A Life of Six Years

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

Megan Williams / 美勤、威廉斯

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

Friday, December 01, 2006

美勤、威廉斯 / Megan Williams

我上早幾個月,在羅馬偶遇到一個加拿大的寫作家,名叫美勤、威廉斯。她是在Toronto多倫多長大,在滿地可McGill University大學畢業,跟著接受了Pulitzer Fellowship獎學金,在美國Columbia University哥倫比亞大學讀新聞寫作。這位美勤的才女,文筆和創做力什佳,有好幾間大的報紙和傳媒界也登了她的大作,例如:香港南華早報,加拿大的Globe and Mail等。在北美和歐洲的電臺網絡,也有記錄了她書寫或閱讀有關非洲,巴爾幹半島,和意大利的文化、政治、經濟、和日常生活之感想。我最近讀了她的近作『Saving Rome救援羅馬』,甚欣賞她寫有關九個女人,住在羅馬的故事,永恒的古城,短暫的人生。
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