Monday, December 31, 2007

Please Be Patient with Me :)

Since this computer belongs to the inn keeper, I might not be able to respond to any of your comments. Please be patient with me. l will try to get back to you asap, if not here in Vermont, then in Canada. Thank you for your understanding !!!

Haricot
(Green Mountain)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2008年1月l4日註 (see comments from 米果):
【对『目的、旅程、手段』概念作一個分析 / Examining the Concept of 'Means' and 'End' 】的網址是:
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/05/examining-concept-of-means-and-end_15.html

Happy New Year from Green Mountain, Vermont !!!

Here I am sitting in front of an Apple computer in a bed-and-breakfast inn deep in the Green Mountain of Vermont, USA. It has been snowing for the last twenty-four hours and the forest is just completely covered with pristine white snow. This afternoon, I put on my X-country skis and went for a quick trip to the Sugar Bush area and back. The powder snow was almost up to my knee. The snowflakes were falling from the sky and the scenery was just like the miniature world inside a Christmas snow-globe (I wonder if I would have fallen off the face of the earth if a giant were to come along and turn the world upside down). As I glided effortlessly forward, it was like dancing in an outdoor ballroom full of falling snowflakes. Along the way, some kids were tobogganing on a steep hill, laughing and screaming their heads off as they bombed down the snow-packed trail. Ah, the joy of childhood, how I remember those days - except that I was in Hong Kong, there was no snow, and everyone was screaming their heads off !!!

I took a zig-zag course up the hill and then skied down telemark style - bending both legs and keeping the arms out on the side to keep my balance. The powder snow was so thick that doing a face-plant (i.e. falling forward head first into the snow) could actually be fun, but I did not perform one!!!

Back in the inn, the keepers' cats Snowball and Smokey were waiting at the door as I stepped inside. They mewed and wanted to be patted.  I changed into dry clothes, made myself a cup of Vermont coffee, and sit down in front of the fireplace to warm up.

As the year 2007 draws to a close, I must say I am deeply content to be here in the deep of Green Mountain, enjoying the beautiful powder snow, the quietness of the wildness, the crackling fire of the wood-stove, the company of the people around me, and the hospitality of the inn keepers and their cats. 

Happy New Year everyone !!!  

Friday, December 28, 2007

加拿大冬天雪景: 大家熱熱鬧鬧就好了 / Canadian Winter Scene: Be Happy When the Sun Shines






今早起床,陽光普照,氣溫只是零下一兩度。我開了一杯自製的Chai Latte之後,穿上了大衣,連手襪和帽子也不戴,就走出門外,看看晨早的雪景。街上行人不多,相信有很多人仍在放聖誕假期,在被窩中沈睡夢鄉。一杯溫暖的奶茶貼著我的胸口,屋簷上的冰條 icicles,在陽光下開始溶化丶蒸發。在這裏過嚴冬的數隻黑烏鴉ravens,也趁著這好天氣,在樹上你吵我鬧,嘩嘩大叫。不久,兩隻松鼠也從樹洞伸出頭來,看看那些烏鴉鬧的是什么活劇。加拿大冬天中的生命,就是這樣,有机会就要爭取時間,享受那溫暖的太陽,珍惜那好時光,因為嚴寒的冬天還未過一半,在一月和二月,氣溫將会下降至零下二十至三十度,那時大家想要這么熱鬧,也就未必可能了。

(懾影图片: 屋簷上掛的冰條,抱著積雪的樹枝)

聖誕大歺 / Christmas Dinner

Here is the menu on Christmas day:

A bottle of Champaign;

One oven-baked stuffed turkey complete with gravy and cranberry sauce;

Mashed rutabaga;

A glass of Champaign;

Mashed potato with herbs;

Light fried Brussels sprouts with fresh garlic;

More Champaign :)

Steamed pudding with Christmas sauce;

Freshly brewed coffee;

Chocolate coated cookies;

Another sip of Champaign mixed with fresh orange juice this time ...
(You get the picture @_@ )

(Photo 攝影图片: 聖誕大歺)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Gone Cooking !!!

I have to go prepare Christmas dinner and will respond to your comments after ... talk to you all later !!!

2007年聖誕日: 國王, 皇后,和芭蕾舞孃 / 2007 Christmas Day: The King, The Queen and The Ballerina



Ballerina: "I wish I could be as rich and beautiful as the Queen."

Queen: "I wish I could be as light and free as the Ballerina."

King: "Don't mind me, I am just the King around here."

Even with their dreams unfulfilled,

(what do you expect from three figurines on a Christmas tree)

they still live happily thereafter.

Merry Christmas Everyone !!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

聖誕前夕 / Christmas Eve

聖誕前夕鈴声響
何苦痛寫淌血文

祝福原是兩面刀
解鈴還需繋鈴人

以上是十二月廿四日聖誕前夕,在Xiao Zhu網誌上的留言,她的原文請到這裏看: "聖誕..."

2007年12月 聖誕和新年 / December 2007 Christmas and New Year

Season's Greeting
Joyeux Nöel
聖誕及新年快樂 !!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

人力資源管理: 在工作環境可否有友情或愛情? ∕ Human Resources & People Management: Should we sanction friendship and love affairs at the office?

從踏入社会做工開始,就發覺無論是「文」(例如: 行政 Administration),或是「武」(Science and Technology 科技等),所有職業或專業性的同事, 大部份都遵守一條「隱形」的工作道德規例Protocol on Values and Ethics,就是大家尊重对方,不会培養出和工作决定有利益衝突Conflict of Interest 的友情或愛情。但对一小部感性重(但未必一定是理性輕)的同事,很多時就真是說時易,做時難。人与人之間,在工作環境日久相処,大家都会由陌生人,經時日轉變為同事,但問題就是: Professionals 職業人員应否(而不是可不可以)越超那隱形的界限,進入了朋友,或什至戀人的關係領域?

当然,如果其中一個丶或双方都是結了婚的,不論是在工作環境內或外,法律和社会是有明文規條,对於婚外偷情發生關係的人,雖不至像以前要將「奸夫淫婦」放入豬籠浸死,但仍会多加以留難非議。但如果双方都是未婚成年人,或是離了婚丶但還未續娶再嫁,那么做工作主管的又应否加以攔阻,或暗示不滿?

在我個人來說,工作場所中,我可能心裡对一兩個同事較友善,但外表上仍是一視同人,公私是很分明,儘量減少了在工作和友情之間的利益衝突。例如昨天和机構的總裁道別,我和他相識的時日不少,臨別時總有點惆悵之感,但習慣了職業上的關係,仍只是大家握手道別,說声Au Revoir。在我的告別会farewell party,和几位友好的同事道別,我也沒有灑下半滴離別的眼淚。或許人們会說我是「墨守成規」,但在工作場所找尋友情或愛情,我還是不願冒那利益衝突的風險。或許遲點当我情緒回復「正常」的時候,我会和總監和其他友好同事聯絡。

真正的友情是可以經時間考驗,但建築在利害上的人事關係,我相信是会很快被冲淡和忘掉。Give relationship its freedom. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007年秋天的大風雪 ∕ The Autumn Snow Storm of 2007


(攝影图片: 2007年秋末大風雪襲擊加拿大)

窗外的橫風橫雪終於緩慢了下來,雖然飄雪仍在冷空氣中飛舞,但沒有風寒指數wind chill factor,出面零下十五度的天氣還不太差。我戴上帽子和手套,穿上了大褸和雪靴,一踏出門外,身体就半沈沒在屋外的積雪中,想不想這個秋末從美國Texas「德克薩斯」州上來的大風雪,竟帶來了這么多煩惱。我原本是打算駕車出外逛逛,欣賞夜靜的雪景,但看看埋在深雪中的汽車,也就打消了這個念頭。回到屋內,順手拈了本加拿大小說家 Margaret Atwood 「瑪格麗特‧愛特伍」作的 "Life Before Man",躲入溫暖的被窩,靜靜等待風雪夜後黎明的降臨。

Related Link: 風寒指數 / Wind Chill Factor
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/02/wind-chill-factor.html

Sunday, December 16, 2007

蠶兒和螞蟻的故事 (2007) / The Silkworm and the Ant Story (2007)


Little Silky woke up sulky.
Standing on his hind-legs he felt tippy.
All around him his siblings were busy;
Eating nothing but heaps of mulberry.

"Why are you feeding us my dear maiden?
What is in your mind while being patient?
Do I not deserve an answer?" cried the silkworm.
"Where are my neighbours with their silk oh so laden?"

But the factory owner refused to answer.
A sly smile, then her eyes seemed wide and tender.
With gentle fingers she cleared the leaves and picked up Little Silky;
For a moment he could see the worm-farm and even farther.

Ocean of mulberry trees stretched out to the horizon;
With million of silkworms clinging and feeding like prawns.
From tiny hairline babies to oversized yellow adults;
Their lives resembled an orgy of one big eating marathon!!

"This is meaningless," complained the silkworm.
"I will stop eating until I can really come to term."
Thinner and thinner Little Silky had become;
But under the wrinkly skin his mind was steadily firm.

"You are starving yourself for no good reason.
You will only bring forth your own desperation!!"
Little Silky lifted his head and looked around;
But there was just the wind touching rows of moving curtains.

"Over here on the ground," said Little Anty.
"Stop looking for meaning that is way too fancy.
Our purpose in life is to work, work, and work.
Spit your silk so people can look pretty and pansy."

"Eat till your belly bloat yellow and transparent.
Weave your cocoon just like your long lost parents.
When they put you all dressed into boiling water;
It's only to kill you and make the silk more softened."

"Arrrrh!!" screamed the silkworm his white coat ashen.
"I am not ready to meet my Maker up there in heaven!!"
Without a word Silky started to eat and make his retreat;
Into the shadow and behind the mulberry curtain haven.

Legend has it that of all the silkworms abound in the farm;
Only one broken cocoon was ever left on the ground.
On a bright moon-lit night above the ocean of mulberry trees;
There was a little moth celebrating its freedom newly found.

後語 Postscript: 如蠶作繭,自困其身
唐白居易:「燭蛾誰救護,蠶繭自纏縈」
宋代陸游:「人生如春蠶,作繭自縛裡」

以上是我回憶葉聖陶1931的童話【蠶兒和螞蟻】之後的感想。但我不敢保証故事是以蠶兒變為飛蛾而完結。如果您有葉聖陶的原文,請供諸同好。

The above is based on my memory of Yeh Sheng-Tao's children story "The Silkworm and the Ant" written in 1931. However, I cannot say with certainty that the story eneded actually with the silkworm metmorphorsizing into a moth. If anyone has the original text, please feel free to share.

(攝影图片 ∕ Photograph image: (Wikipedia) 作繭自困 ∕ Silkworm cocoons)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

再說愛情丶痛苦丶人生 / Love, Pain and Life

《夢舊》白居易

  別來老大苦修道,煉得離心成死灰。
  平生憶念消磨盡,昨夜因何入夢來?

愛情是我們人生的一部份,是我們記憶成長的過程,白居易說得好,無論我們怎樣修丶怎樣煉丶怎樣去嘗試忘記,那情懷憶念總是不能完全忘掉。如果我們盲目的走入死胡同(cul-de-sac),讓自己的腦和自己的心打長期內戰,到最後很可能是会兩敗俱傷。心裡的痛苦,如洪水丶如猛獸,是可以治的。我說的不是借酒消愁,或用葯物來麻醉自己,我說的是將痛苦对您的負面影響減低,將洪水變為運河,將猛獸變為寵物。它們不是消失,只不過是由控制您的主人,變為受您管理的夥伴和手下。

愛情與人生 / Love and Life

我在讀大學時被愛情困纏,真是欲生欲死,做有很多自毀的事情,但在眼淚濛濛之中,我仍是有一個求生的念頭,知道時間是可以冲淡痛苦,知道風雨之後是有天明,知道我的知識和經歷,是可以幫助很多沒有机会入學的人。我不是聖人(Mother Theresa),但我知道我在這世上的用処(usefulness)是超越我自私和用事的感情。現在回想,我很幸運当年沒有放棄一切,時間的確是把我磨煉得更堅強和成熟,在這悠長的人生旅途中,我也實在幫助了很多人,也開創了自己的事業,再次投入新戀情,旅遊世界,享受了很多欢樂的時光。人生是多瓣和多片面的(life is multifaceted),愛情只是其中一部份,請不要為一小部而放棄了全部。

(以上是最近在網友「古思哲」処的留言感想)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

送行 / Send-Off


上星期机構的同事主管,在總部舉行送行儀式,boardroom內擠滿了人,除了我自己部門熟識的人之外,其他在工作上有聯絡的外界partners 和stakeholders也有出席,最令我感動的是有一些已退了休的上司和僱員,聽到我離職的消息,也特別回來机構,送我一行。其實我也曾多次替他人送行,不過這一次是自己在「水銀燈」下,感覺也就不同。正是:『勸君更盡一杯酒,西出陽關無故人。』

Thursday, December 06, 2007

滿地可(蒙特婁理工學院)大屠殺 / Tuerie de l'école polytechnique de Montréal / Montreal Massacre at Ecole Polytechnique



十八年前,在一九八九年十二月六日,加拿大滿地可14名工程部女學生被狂漢 Marc Lépine (né Gamil Gharbi) 在校園槍殺,記憶猶新丶猶駭!!! 十八年後,全國下半旗及靜默一分鐘紀念。她們在生時還是那么年輕,未死之前,瞳孔是充滿著美好的希望丶職業丶和前途。

Geneviève Bergeron (n. 1968)
Hélène Colgan (n. 1966)
Nathalie Croteau (n. 1966)
Barbara Daigneault (n. 1967)
Anne-Marie Edward (n. 1968)
Maud Haviernick (n. 1960)
Maryse Laganière (n. 1964)
Maryse Leclair (n. 1966)
Anne-Marie Lemay (n. 1967)
Sonia Pelletier (n. 1961)
Michèle Richard (n. 1968)
Annie St-Arneault (n. 1966)
Annie Turcotte (n. 1969)
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (n. 1958)

(攝影图片 / Photo Credit: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_massacre)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

開懷集 / Raising Fund (Fun)

1. Skeptics Society: "... Please be reassured that this is a real newsletter from your Society requesting your financial support. All donations must be in real money. On second thought, we will accept only certified cheques."

2. Poor People United: "... Your donation will help fight poverty around the world. We will inform you of where to send money once we have sufficient fund to re-activate the rental mailbox."

3. Anarchy Americana: "... Our proposed governance structure with the Regional Director of Branch 3A reporting to the National Executives will ensure all authorities, roles and responsibilities are clear to everyone. Please mail your vote as well as your membership renewal fee by end of this month."

4. Magic-Cure-All: "... According to Mrs. Smith, despite her husband's failing health, he spent his dying years perfecting this cure-all drug that will prolong life as we know it. Please send your donation to Doctor Smith's Memorial Fund, attention Mrs. Smith."

5. Brooklyn Bridge for Sale: I have some prime land in Florida as well. Please send your inquiry, I mean enquiry, to this blog.

(版權所有,隨便翻印)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

「黑莓」手机 / BlackBerry Handheld Device




在最近六至七年間,我和「黑莓」手机可說是形影不離,每天早上七時「黑莓」自動開机,我喝早茶時瀏覽和分析各地來的电子郵件,看看行事曆,之後才出門上班。在寫字楼內做工多靠电腦电話,但出外開会則靠「黑莓」手机,以便和員工通訊。下班後回到家裡,臨睡之前,又再收發電郵,和時區不同的机構同事,或其它有關人仕聯絡,管理和計劃未來事項。

無可否認,有了手机,朝九晚五可以變成24/7,週末也会成為工作時間表的一部份,所以有很多擁有「黑莓」的同事,承認是上了不能自拔的"crackberry"「莓」毒癮,在工作踏車mouse treadmills上跑到面紅耳熱,還是不能停下來。

「黑莓」手机和我將会在月尾分手,手机雖然是死物inanimate object,但個人和机器双位一体這么多年, 分手時總有點悵然的感覺,就像監犯重獲自由之前,对那多年的獄室,仍是有點留戀。

攝影图片:「黑莓」與黑莓之間的快擇 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

大衛柯能堡之【巨塔殺机】: 鉄石心腸 / David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises": Hard Men and Women


(Photo Credit: 大衛柯能堡之【巨塔殺机】 / David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises"; 維果莫天森 Viggo Mortensen; 娜歐蜜華茲 Naomi Watts; 文森卡索 Vincent Cassel)

You recognize the type when you get to know them - angular face (over a round one), tight lips, calculating minds, and a half-smile that seems to telepath "We can be friends, but don't ever screw around with me." Actually those are the softer ones among the hardest - at least they telepath !!

Don't get me wrong. I have known lots of good people in my life and I expect to meet more during my journey. But, the presence of hard men and women does not escape our notice in the movie "Eastern Promises" directed by David Cronenberg. They are like ghosts among the living, always lurking in the background; like razors in the cold wind, sharp and feelingless.

So, how do they become hard men and women? Is there a genetic disposition to becoming one - cold blood that runs through hot veins? Or should they blame it on their upbringing, perhaps by parents who did not cuddle their children or show affection in public? Or by society that weeds out the kind-hearted and rewards the hardened survivors?

I don't have an answer; and I did not get one from David Cronenberg.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

過渡時期 / Transition Period

(Transition = 從一個階段過渡到另一個階段)

Yesterday, I chaired for the last time the taskforce that I have been leading. People still couldn't believe I am leaving and those who heard the news for the first time were floored. I am not particularly sad to leave. Maybe my emotion hasn't erupted yet. Sure, I will miss many of my co-workers and the files (in that order), but my departure is of my own choice, something that I have planned for quite a while. December is going to be a busy month for me. There will be documents to shred, paper to throw out, and files to give away. My co-workers are organizing a farewell party for me at the beginning of next month. There will be office Christmas parties before people go on vacations and before I close up shop for good.

My routine in the months to come will change. So, instead of rushing to work in the morning, I might be enjoying a cup of tea, reading the morning newspaper, and contemplating the state of national and world affairs. There will be time to do exercise during non-rush hours. Already, I have started my cross-country and alpine skiing season last weekend, having bought myself a day pass to the park.

Transition is from one stage to another 從一個階段過渡到另一個階段. I will find my own way as the months unfold.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

人生與事業 / Life and Career


我已正式向机構上層提出辭呈,在2008年初讓位於賢。很多朋友同事在电網上看了這個宣佈,都大為震驚,很多人說:『看您這么年青,為什么要辭退這份管理好職位?』加拿大西部的區首,從溫哥華來急电說:『我上星期和您在多倫多開会,您還未有談及退職,這事從何說起?』

在管理階層中,我發覺有很多事業心太重的人,他∕她們在不知不覺中,做了工作職務的奴隸,曾經有一段時期,我也是那樣子,一天24小時,睡眠5小時,其它就是忙這忙那,分身不暇。但自從波士M突然腦癌逝世,和秘書H車禍橫死之後, 我对人生與事業,就有一個很清楚的概念,就是不会把事業替代人生。

沒錯,每一個人都需要入息來支持生計,也要对社会有所貢獻,但我对入息需求不大,知足者常樂,而对社会貢獻,覺得除了做工外,亦可以有很多種形式,不一定要在公司僱員的關係下發展。所以我在未來歲月,不会隨便浪費金錢,更加不会浪費光陰,要把人生計劃實踐。

波士和秘書離去已有多年,但他∕她們年輕的面孔,卻永遠不会在我腦海中忘掉,我為這兩位同事,暗自不知流了多少眼淚,一方面是我对他∕她們一份隱藏的友情,未能完全表達,而另一方面,是感嘆人生過程的短暫和無常,我們大家都像在候机室中,留一会兒就要告別的旅途人,他∕她們已提早告別,而我自己這段新的人生旅途,卻還是剛剛開始。

(Photo taken by myself in Rome earlier this year)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

初雪 / First Snow

昨晚在我睡夢中,冰冷的秋雨轉變為飄雪,今早醒來,往窗外一看,出面是白茫茫的一片。每年的初雪都給我帶來一個更生丶喜悅的感覺,就像新學生上第一課,手指觸摸那新的校服和書籍,或像孩提時隨父母搬入新屋,嗅到剛完成的裝修油漆氣味,或是在午夜街燈之下,接第一個初吻,大家相近短促的呼吸,軟軟的胸脯在一起一伏。初雪在陽光下閃燿,我站在窗前,留戀這一剎那間的情感,因為我恐怕這種驚悅新奇的感覺,很快就会被現實社会的競爭丶憂慮取代和麻木,在我腦海中消失和忘掉。

滑雪勝地:瑞士聖莫里茲 (相片) / Alpine Skiing in St Moritz, Switzerland (photos)

The photos I posted around March 28 2007 re "Glacier skiing on the VADRET DA MORTERATSCH" in St. Moritz, Switzerland are at the following:
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html

滑雪勝地:瑞士聖莫里茲 / Alpine Skiing in St Moritz, Switzerland

I just love skiing. Watching the video (posted by someone else on YouTube), I wish I could go back to the Alps this winter !!!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the ride :)

ps: Please also go see the photos I posted around March 28 2007 "Glacier Skiing on the VADRET DA MORTERATSCH"

Monday, November 19, 2007

願望歌 - Sung by the Lennon Sisters / May You Always - Larry Markes (lyrics) and Dick Charles (music)

這是我在人生挫折崎嶇路途上,常唱給自己聽的其中一首歌曲,雖然是上一年代的金曲,但細聽其歌詞歌意,亦不乏对今時今日的網友,在低潮逆境時,有加以鼔勵,不可放棄之作用,故在此貼上網誌,就算是大家分享的「加油」歌罷



May You Always

(Lyrics and music by Larry Markes and Dick Charles)

May you always walk in sunshine,
Slumber warm when night winds blow;
May you always live with laughter,
For a smile becomes you so.

May good fortune find your doorway,
May the bluebird sing your song;
May no trouble travel your way,
May no worry stay too long.

May your heartaches be forgotten,

May no tears be spilled;
May old acquaintance be remembered,
And your cup of kindness filled.

And may you always be a dreamer,
May your wildest dream come true;
May you find someone to love,
As much as I love you.

May your heartaches be forgotten,
May no tears be spilled;
May old acquaintance be remembered,
And your cup of kindness filled.

And may you always be a dreamer,
May your wildest dream come true;
May you find someone to love,
As much as I love you.

References:
* Lennon Sisters singing "May You Always" on the Lawrence Welk Show / YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opm1zuEHZUU
* Photo credit: Wikipedia / The Lennon Sisters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennon_Sisters
* More Blog info about The Lennon Sisters: http://shirleygrrl.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lennon Sisters May you always


願望歌 - Sung by the Lennon Sisters / May You Always - Larry Markes (lyrics) and Dick Charles (music)
Please click the following link for lyrics and more info: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/11/sung-by-lennon-sisters-may-you-always.html

Source: YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opm1zuEHZUU

Friday, November 16, 2007

煩惱的由來 / Sources of Our Trouble

在人生旅程,挫折常有,看看自己和所識朋友之中,麻煩的主要原因,統概有二。

1. 如蠶作繭,自困其身
這些麻煩多是自己開始招來的,例如和有夫之婦或有婦之夫發生戀情,吃禁果是短期內非常興奮快感的事,但後果卻是長期痛苦日子的由來。另一個例子是死心不息,藕斷絲連,和一段注定沒有前途的愛情繼續糾纏,我不是提議情場戰友,把感情冰凍麻木,而是鼓勵未開始一段情之前,可要想想結果大約會是怎樣。如蠶作繭,有些是困死了自己,有些卻能破繭而出,重獲自由, 我想那就是情感(心)和理智(腦)的分別。

2. 甕中之鱉,釜中之魚
麻煩有很多是外來環境、人事因素做成,例如在工作上,給別人栽贓嫁禍,竊嫌有罪, 成了衆矢之的,代罪羔羊。另一個例子是親戚丶朋友丶同事丶同鄉丶祖宗丶祖家有難,而被殃及池魚,牽連入煩惱的旋渦,事小的是上法庭打官司,嚴重的是種族屠殺,捲入誅九族滅門之禍 (one of my friends is a Tutsis from Rwanda)。在這種情形,我相信一定要多用理智,小用情感,儘力來打出困境 (and hope for the best and justice when it's all over)。

非常明顯,我不是「宿命論」者,不相信我們一生前途,是在誕生之前,已受時辰丶八字丶星宿所支配定斷,反之,我是相信做人和做事都要儘力而為,或許我的自由鬥志未滅,仍滲有很濃厚的存在主义思想。

Sunday, November 11, 2007

加拿大軍人 - 2007年和平紀念日: 一個軍人苦痛的回憶 / Canadian Armed Forces-Remembrance Day 2007: The Final Flight of 626 - Hank's Quest





Dedicated to Airman Hank and all Veterans

Your quick glance peers through

My material world in slices

Quietens all my sensory and perceptions

Contradicts upbringing and conventions

With focus on your painful glance

I reflect upon my relevance

Through words and pictures I begin to understand

The quest and final flight of Veteran Hank.


Hank's Quest

Shot Down in Flame

Searing flames dance around the metal frame

Sandy, the crew - God they are in pain

But the scream of those who soon depart

Marks silently the journey that just starts !!

Sixty years I retrace my steps in vein

Buried from my family my living pain

To wrestle with the flames that danced

And put closure to this fate of chance

Years of war, peace and glory

Means so distant to me in Calgary

Crushed are the bones of my crewman friends

Burnt are the fleshes of Airman Hank

Death is near but I am spared

Hospital in England provides us with care

Guinea Pigs we are in kinship and spirit

Healed are our faces by tears from the visits

Guinea Pigs we called ourselves in jest

The years go by - we are counting less !!

The family they are grown up now

My face hides what still gnarls

The night of that fateful flight

Down from the falling sky

Quest for the crushing site

My hope faltering ...

Like a kite.
Resolution at the Site
I breathe in the trees, the flowers and the beautiful field

My son's hand rests reassuringly still

How I wish I did not grow old

Just like Sandy, Charles

and Harold


Back to Calgary

Although I can feel death's stare

There is no need to be scared

My journey soon rejoins with Mary Rose

My heart, my ashes, body and soul

The bomb has left the crippled plane

The load that kept me years in pain

A chapter is closed in my heart

The Club has always been a part

The country enlists all her sons

The Good Lord calls us one-by-one

There is no need to take and pick

On the Final Flight of 626


Epilogue

In October 2005, I was greatly moved after listening to the CBC broadcast about a true World War II story "The Final Flight of 626". This poem is dedicated to Veteran Hank who witnessed the death of his fellow crew members Sandy, Charles, and Harold, as the plan was going down. He ended up in the burn unit of a hospital in England where he met others like him. They called the hospital the Club and themselves the guinea pigs.

After the war, he married to Mary Rose and started his family. But the memory of that fateful flight always haunted him. Sixty years later, after the death of his wife, he decided to go back to England and to locate the crash site where his friends had died. With local help, he retraced the flight path and was able to found the spot where the plane fell out of the sky. With his son besides him, he could almost see his young self, laughing and joking with Sandy, Charles and Harold - except only one of them had grown old. Upon returning to his home in Calgary, he found peace in himself, had closure on this chapter of his life, and looked forward to joining his wife on the Final Flight of 626.

Photo credits:
* Women of the War Years: http://www.airmuseum.ca/wowy02.html
Other references:
* Info on airplanes: http://www.airmuseum.ca/
* Info on the Avro Lancaster: http://www.aviation-history.com/avro/683.html
* World War II Poems from Kathleen Lowe Oliver, Battle of Britain, R.A.F.: http://www.freewebs.com/ww2poems/
* Taiwan's "228 和平紀念日" is different, according to this website: http://www.yzu.edu.tw/E_news/250/information/1.htm

Friday, November 09, 2007

李安電影: 【色丶戒】看後感想 / Ang Lee's Movie: Reflection on “Lust, Caution”



十一月三日晚看完李安的電影【色丶戒】"Lust, Caution"之後,在離開戲院時,心中實在有一種悵然之感。這映畫戲的故事是描述第二次大戰,日本倭冦侵華之時,一對愛恨男女之間的七情六慾丶权力性交丶和金錢政治的衝突。

男主角是個「漢奸」,是為日本偽滿州國大東亞共存共榮效力而從中取利的「走狗」,但李安沒有將這個角色,像七十年代李小龍的愛國功夫片集一樣,特意將這人加以小丑(醜)化。反之,這男人是個頗聰明,又愛財、愛权、和愛色的政治商人。他初次以暴力佔領女主角身体的時候,是当代男人以性慾發洩权力的表現,出發點是純粹滿足個人自私的生理和心理需要,但在這無意義,但有高潮的肉体交換中,他卻不慎動了真情。

女主角初時是個不經世道的女學生,对現實有點茫然,对人生和電影戲劇界限分別,不什分得清楚,故此当一羣天真的熱血愛國青年,邀請她做行刺計劃的「餌」,以色相誘惑那男人的時候,她感到一陣莫名的興奮,不特願意奉獻初夜給一個男學生,而且還化妝劃眉,實習控制男人的床上功夫。在這色誘的期間,這年輕的女學生是又愛又恨地扮演兩個不同的角色:媚惑的殺手情婦(femme fatale),和一個動了真情的女孩子。

到了最後,当七情六慾丶权力性交丶和金錢政治發生嚴重的正面衝突之時,他和她都要作一個快擇取捨。

那男人的决定是比較明顯,女孩子是刺殺間諜,是犧牲品,他雖然曾經動情,愛過她,但在形勢丶前程丶妻子、和財物相比下,他和她只是在那一剎那間,時丶空丶和愛情偶然混合的副產品,但当時空現實回復「正常」的時候,他還是要下令鎗决她和她的年青夥伴。在吊鐘敲出行刑時間前的數分鐘,他獨自一人,在黑暗中坐在他和她曾經做愛的床上,為這一段愛情故事流下了一滴熱眼淚。

女主角到了最後還是决定返回現實,作為一個動了真情的女孩子,吐露了全盤刺殺計劃,出賣了國家和同學,給「漢奸」一個逃生的机会。撇開政治不談,這個選擇在人生旅程,男女愛情方面,是「对」還是「錯」,我相她在臨死閉眼前也不能真正給自己一個明确的解答。在我來說,我悵然的原因,是她在臨被鎗斃前,仍不知道他是有心郎還是無心漢。在一顆明耀的鑽石介指,和一滴在黑暗中閃爍的眼淚之間,我相信她是会選擇後者。

一江醉, 一夜春 / Poems: Waiting for My Lover

一江醉 / 一夜春

人遠去 , 我獨留
未忘情 , 不了愁
秋風紅了葉 , 春露珠胎結
江海自飄零 , 兩岸共綢繆
任憑半杯 , 盼望圓月
醉澆一襟愁 , 瀉銀千里會
卻道思憶成流 , 但願蟬蜎長久

話說当年,某少女在香港懷了孕,來北美找她的男友,但美國關口看她情形,不准她入境,於是乎她影隻形單,孤清清一個人在溫哥華租了間柏文等候,一大兩細的身影在窗前徘徊,盼望郎君從美國傳來佳訊,真是非常淒涼! 我去探她的時候,因工在身,不能久留,只能給她精神鼓勵,和替她買些基本的日用品,留下緊急電話号碼。後來她男友終於在羅省辦妥手續,接了她落美國結婚。本來此事我已忘記了大半,但看了「Xiao Zhu」的 “一江醉”後,往事又浮現在腦海眼前,所以有感而發,寫了如上的“一夜春”。

Xiao Zhu原稿:
"一江醉(回 Shek)"
人遠去
未忘情
秋風紅了葉
江海自飄零
任憑半杯
醉澆一襟愁
卻道思憶成流

(二零零七.十一.一)
posted by xiao zhu at 9:59 PM on Nov 4, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

吃得苦中苦,方為人上人 / Alone as a Foreign Student

記得初來楓葉國,除了不習慣西方言語和風俗之外,寂寞丶思鄉丶情緒丶愛情和其它因素,都对身心健康有很大的影響,現在事隔多年,有如下的回想感受:
(1) 我們是走江湖的,不是猛龍不過江啊!!
(2) 失敗成功,都是全靠自己,再不能倚靠父母家庭。
(3) 成長過程加速,不特訓練自己之獨立能力,眼光角度也廣闊了很多。
(4) 吃得苦中苦,方為人上人。

No regrets !!

微豆
(加拿大)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

记得初来枫叶国,除了不习惯西方言语和风俗之外,寂寞丶思乡丶情绪丶爱情和其它因素,都对身心健康有很大的影响,现在事隔多年,有如下的回想感受:

(1) 我们是走江湖的,不是猛龙不过江啊!!
(2) 失败成功,都是全靠自己,再不能倚靠父母家庭。
(3) 成长过程加速,不特训练自己之独立能力,眼光角度也广阔了很多。
(4) 吃得苦中苦,方为人上人。

No regrets !!

微豆
(加拿大)

(Above message was posted in simplified Chinese at: 一个人在国外
http://www.douban.com/group/topic/2145109/ )

Saturday, November 03, 2007

釣魚攝影图片 / Some Fishing Photos





While I enjoy fishing, I do not have a large collection of fish pictures. In fact, I seldom bring my camera on fishing trips for two reasons:
* I don't want to get it wet
* A camera is added weight when I portage a canoe and camping gears through the woods

Anyway, here are some pictures of my favorite fresh-water game fish I used to catch in northern parts of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as other lakes and rivers of Canada and USA.

Photos: Pickerel, rainbow trout, northern pike catching frog, people catching northern pike, northern pike lurking under water
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pike
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_pickerel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trout
http://www.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/fish/nyfish/fish.html

And, here is my favoruite song when I go fishing.

Summertime sung by three singers:
- 艾拉•費茲潔拉 和 路易斯•阿姆斯特朗 Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong's Summertime
-
Janis Joplin - Summertime (Live Gröna Lund 1969)




Friday, November 02, 2007

福特銀河系500類型大房車 (下) / Ford Galaxie 500 Full-size 4-door Sedan (Part 3 of 3)



So now you understand why every time I see a big blue sedan, my heart will go into high gear and my sweaty palm will instinctively reach for my driver license. Despite the strange experience and the lingering memory of that summer in Grande Prairie and the Peace River Region, I must say the Galaxie 500 was one heck of a nice American classic made in the days when gas was cheap, cars were big, summer was hot, and fish were jumping.

Oh, did I tell you I had to pay three dollars to the big Indian fellow who guarded the stream that ran through the native reserve near High River. Well, there are lots of fish in them lakes and rivers up north, but I will have to tell you my fishing stories some other time.

Photo: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Galaxie

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

福特銀河系500類型大房車 (中) / Ford Galaxie 500 Full-size 4-door Sedan (Part 2)

Well! Well! Well! We didn't even manage to go outside the city limit before the first cop spotted us, sounded the sirens with flashing lights, and pulled us over. "May I see your driver license please, and the vehicle registration too." said he politely. We all nervously looked at each other and didn't know what we had done wrong. After checking our papers, and verifying meticulously our photos, faces, and ages, the cop waived us away. The Ford Galaxie 500 hit the highway but before we could breathe a collective sigh of relief, a patrolman in a ghost car jumped out of its hiding place, pulled us over, and asked to see our IDs and papers. This happened pretty well every time we entered a new township as if the local RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) had been alerted by his colleagues of our estimated time of arrival.

It finally dawned on us that four young looking Asians driving a full-size American sedan through some small towns in northern Alberta must have stuck out like a sore thumb in the eyes of the local authorities. It did not help matter when the short driver could hardly see over the dash-board (a thick phone book might have solved the problem), looked under age, and all the passengers were nervous and stuttered in broken English when being questioned. We were lucky that all the cops were nice, acted professionally, and did not put the car in pound and us in jail !!!

Photo:
A Ford Galaxie 500 4-door sedan that was once a police car http://www.galaxieclub.com/internationalcarshow/memcarpix/62/rbrt-johnson.html

Reference:
* Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Galaxie

(... to be continued)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

福特銀河系500類型大房車 (上) / Ford Galaxie 500 Full-size 4-door Sedan (Part 1)


(Photo: City of Grande Prairie from the air)

The first time I saw a Ford Galaxie 500, I was working as a labourer for the lumber industry around the City of Grande Prairie up in northern Alberta. Hauling logs and lumbers in a saw and planer mill was bone-crushing hard work but the pay was good. Every two weeks, I would have enough to pay for food and rent, and deposit the rest into the local bank for my university tuition. Having done my maths, I figured I could not afford a full-size sedan, not even a used one. So I convinced my three fishing buddies that a vehicle could really expand our fishing territory beyond the Grande Prairie city limit and into other parts of the Peace River region, especially the pristine, fish-rich lakes and streams up High River. I told them the fish there were so big and hungry that you had to hide behind trees to put the bait on.

Once the fishing story was told, my friends needed no further persuasion and the four of us eagerly pooled our hard-earned money together and bought the second-hand blue Ford Galaxie 500 listed in the used car column of the local paper. However, before we could go too far with our fishing expedition, there was one little problem that prevented us from bagging those giant northern pikes and fat pickerels - none of us had a valid Canadian driver license. So, we decided to give each other driving lessons and, Lord and behold, we all succeeded in passing our road tests. Finally, with our driver licenses stored in the glove compartment and our fishing gears packed in the car trunk, the four of us hopped into the full-size American car and hit the road.

(... to be continued)

References:
* Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Prairie,_Alberta
* Province of Alberta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta
* City of Grande Prairie: http://www.cityofgp.com/Default.htm

Monday, October 29, 2007

日本摺紙藝術 / ORIGAMI ANIMATION

From time to time, I forget how to make the crane. So, here it is for myself and others who like origami.

ps: Not to belittle the art, but the paper crane always reminds me of Harrison Ford's movie "The Blade Runner".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

普通話翻譯英語 / Lost in Translation: Chinglish

上海地鉄錄影: 普通話翻譯為半中半西的「英」語。

A video from the Shanghai Subway, China.
Lost in Translation: Chinese + English = Chinglish

http://www.cbc.ca/news/photogalleries/chinglish/index.html

(Reference: Anthony Germain, CBC News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada.)

人力資源丶人事勞工關係管理: 職業道德和價值觀 / Human Resources and Labour Relationship Management: Professional Ethics and Values

今天下午,機構上層管理和員工開會,討論職業道德和價值觀,這個特別會議,是有鑑於謀界最近的一些報導,似乎是和公司的保密資料有關係。這種事情發展可大可小,嚴重的是機構信譽和投資者信心大損,上層管理和員工大家不信任,有什麼風吹草動就疑神疑鬼,大大削弱了勞資雙方合作精神。小者,機構需要公開澄清公司立場,或要立刻改變行政方針,真是又費時、又失事。

雖然公司可以展開內部調查, 可以殺雞儆猴,拘捕和控訢嫌疑員工,但此舉只會引起謀界更大的興趣,導燃員工和工會組職的不滿,而且可能只是治標而不治本。通常來說, 員工挺而走險,向外界大爆內幕,不是一朝一夕、突然發生的事,同時也多和受賄賂無關。員工向謀體洩密,主要出發點有三:
1. 窮途末路,無處發洩
2. 懷恨在心,報仇心切
3. 維持公義,理直氣壯

作為機構上層管理的行政長官,在人力資源丶人事丶和勞工關係方面,不單止要亡羊補牢,和員工討論職業道德和價值觀,強調守密的重要性,和有關觸犯法律的嚴重後果,而據我來說,最重要的是要同時積極支持員工,願意聽取他/她們的意見,大家作一個明白,防止長期性不滿情緒的積聚。結論:

一個平庸的僱主,只能用金錢收買員工的勞力,只能令手下口服。
一個精英的主管,是不用錢財嬴取手下的敬仰,並可令各人心服。

Reference: 2007年1月13日的網誌 人力資源管理: 口服,心服 / Human Resources (People) Management

Monday, October 22, 2007

黑色幽默: 冷嘲、反語、諷刺 / Dark Humour: Mocking, Irony, Sarcasm


Just in case someone takes my recent writing at face-value, I would like to point out the articles "Halloween Story 2007" and "The Penelopiad: Point of View" were both written as the "Dark Humour" genre, in that serious topics such as end-of-the-world, killing, death, rape, and murder are treated in a humorous or satirical manner. I have hidden beneath the veneer of words, elements of irony, fatalism and sarcasm, which some readers might not have discovered.

Here is another example of my dark humour, a poem that I wrote many years ago, when my direct supervisor was dying of brain cancer and people in the office were eyeing his position even before his body had turned cold.

Pushing daises, six feet under;
Vultures circling, makes me wonder.


The ironic part is that: I was the one that won the vacant position in the end.

(Photo Credit: "Hopscotch to Oblivion" from Wikipedia)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

希臘神話【潘妮洛普】: 觀點與角度 (下集) / Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad": Point of View (Part 3)


Here are the chilling words from the 12 maids' point of view, as they sang in unison, their feet twitching and dangling in the air.

我們是女僕/你殺了我們/你背棄我們
我們在空中舞動/赤裸的雙腳抽搐/這算哪門子公平
追著女神、女王或淫賤女子/跟前跟後/你只顧找自己的樂子
我們做得太少/和你相比/你便覺得我們不好
你有長矛/你有語言/供你差遣

我們擦光/死去的情郎/濺在地上椅子上
還有樓梯和門上的血/我們跪在水中/而你死命地瞧
我們的赤腳/這算哪門子公平/你舔舐我們的驚恐
那讓你快樂/你舉起手/看我們墜下
我們在空中舞動/你背棄我們/你殺了我們

(節錄田含章中文翻譯ISBN:9867291743 )

Facing the accusatory eyes of her 12 maids in Hades, Penelope was visibly apologetic for not being able to protect her maids and regretted not being strong enough to stand up like a woman, tell the truth, and take the blame. From Penelope's point of view and through her voice: "... Now that I'm dead I know everything, ... Those of you who may catch the odd whisper, the odd squeak, so easily mistaken my words for breezes rustling the dry reeds, for bats at twilight, for bad dreams ..."

So, the next time, when you find yourself wandering alone in the dark forest, what look like tree branches could be the 12 maids' legs twitching in the air as they are hanged by their necks; and if you listen carefully, you will know that the sound of winds blowing through the leaves are actually the soft, silent moans, sorrow and woes of the thirteen women still in Hades.

Epilogue後語: I highly recommend Ms. Atwood's book "The Penelopiad" and the play of the same title, in which both the writer and the playwright ably tell the story of Homer's "The Odyssey", through the point of view POV of his wife Penelope and the 12 maids. "The Penelopiad" was premiered in the summer of 2007 by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK where it received excellent review. The theatrical adaptation I saw was co-produced by the RSC and the National Arts Centre in Canada in the fall of 2007.

Other sources of info:
* Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Penelopiad ;
* Chinese translation of Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad" 田含章中文翻譯ISBN 9867291743 : http://www.locuspublishing.com/product.asp?book=1111MH002&pageMode=abridgement
* Globe and Mail review: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070804.wpenelope0804/BNStory/Entertainment/Theatre/

希臘神話【潘妮洛普】: 觀點與角度 (中集) / Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad": Point of View (Part 2)


Meanwhile the suitors were closing in like hyenas eyeing the prize woman and her physical and monetary assets. To fence them off, Penelope concocted up a scheme with her 12 maids in which the latter would sacrifice their bodies to satisfy the lusts of the suitors, thereby sparing Atwood of a Penelope rape scene. The maids were less fortunate. (Lesson #3: Always read the fine prints of your employment contract.)

When a tired Odysseus came home and found his house full of men, he did what any rational husband would have done - he killed all the suitors and hanged the 12 maids for not keeping the place clean. While Homer concluded his story by saying Odysseus and Penelope lived happily thereafter, Atwood couldn't help but pointed out the gender inequality and the raw deal given to the thirteen women of ancient Greece. After death, Penelope and the 12 maids ended up in Hades, which is sort of a dead zone in hell (i.e. very dead) and they were stuck there for eternity; while Odysseus was no where to be found, probably womanizing with the likes of Helen of Troy in heaven.

The maids were obviously bitter about the whole experience and their unison monologues, songs and dance of death told the sad story of woman slaves in those days. (Lesson #4: Gender Equity is still an issue, three thousand years after Homer.)
...... to be continued 下續

Friday, October 19, 2007

希臘神話【潘妮洛普】: 觀點與角度 (上集) / Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad": Point of View (Part 1)


“Now that I'm dead I know everything”

『我現在既然死了,就什麼都明白了 』

Do you ever imagine what your point of view (POV) could have been if you were to live another person's life or see the world through the eyes of others? It could be argued that the recent popularity of reality TV and gossip news of celebrities is just a reflection of our collective "voyeurism" desire to glimpse into other people's lives and escape the more mundane and even miserable ones of our own.

However, from a writer's perspective, the use of a different point of view (POV) can be a really powerful tool to tell an otherwise too familiar story. Such is the case with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood瑪格麗特‧愛特伍when she tells the story "The Penelopiad"【潘妮洛普】that is loosely based on Homer's " The Odyssey" 荷馬的【奧迪塞】. Now many of us have read the Greek legend and are quite familiar with the main character Odysseus 奧迪修斯who fought the Trojan War特洛伊戰役. He could have gone home to his wife Penelope for supper had he not poked the eye of the Cyclops whose Dad happened to be a God. The angry father cast a spell on his son's bully, or bad food, and Odysseus and his men spent the next 20 years wandering in the Mediterranean high sea trying to find their way home. (Lesson #1: Don't poke people's eye).

While readers are familiar with Odysseus' odyssey, little was told by Homer about life on the dark side of the moon, the long 20 years endured by Odysseus's wife Penelope. Ms. Atwood skilfully used the POVs of Penelope and her 12 maids to reveal what had happened. In the play "The Penelopiad" that I saw recently, Penelope and the maids had died and were in Hades recounting the missing 20 years. Essentially, after a long wait, Penelope found out that: (a) Odysseus was not coming home for supper any time soon; (b) her husband was not with the "septic bitch" Helen of Troy, root cause of Penelope's jealousy and misfortunes; and (c) she did not know where Odysseus was. (Lesson #2: Keeping track of the whereabouts of your young husband is harder than you think.)

.... to be continued 下續

[Photo Credit: Globe and Mail]

Sunday, October 14, 2007

秋風起,紅葉落 ∕ Fall Rhapsody




遊山之時,有感而發,速寫景色如下:

楓樹梧桐紅如火
秋風落葉人煙罕
蓬萊島上鳥雀稀
北雁南飛弱水寒
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here are my thoughts to go with the photos I took:
Hiking in the hills of Canada,
Leaves crunching under my boots.
Fall is the most splendid,
The pictures sure portrait my mood !!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

萬聖節的故事: 二零零七年 / Halloween Story: 2007


It is that time of the year when people want to hear scary Halloween stories. So, here is one that has been told and re-told since 1950 ...

Nobody knew when they arrived. But little Tommy Green sensed something was amiss when the new visitors took over all the service stations in town and even opened this fancy new restaurant right in the middle of nowhere. Tommy's hometown was not exactly what you would call a big town by any stretch of the imagination. If you counted all the dogs and cats and chicken and added them to the total human population, you might come up with about three hundred detected life forms, max (Tommy learnt this from watching Star-Trek reruns on the only available TV channel in town, when it was not broadcasting Gospel Hours).

The town folks, including Tommy's parents, were all happy with the service they were receiving from the new arrivals. Sure, the military had always warned the residents not to have close encounters with strangers from outer space, especially those who had landed on nearby Roswell. But wasn't it the same military who had always denied the existence of UFOs and little green men until the latter arrived en mass one Halloween night? Besides, who wouldn't like to be pampered and served left right and centre, as if you were indeed the master of the universe!! Rumour had it that the visitors had even written a special manual on how to serve human and were inviting people to visit their out-of-this-world class resort at Roswell.

Anxious to find out what was going on, Tommy decided to talk to his big buddy Johnny Stout. You would recall from a previous episode that Johnny was the one who had saved the cat from the well and bailed out Tommy as well. When Johnny heard Tommy's idea of sneaking into the fancy restaurant to take a look-see, he was not amused. However, his curiosity got the better of him and he agreed to go along, but just this once.

In the dark of the Halloween night, after all the trick-or-treaters were off the street and the restaurant was closed, the two of them entered the kitchen through the back door. It was dark inside and they could hardly see anything. Luckily, Johnny had brought along a glow-in-the-dark head band from last Halloween and they were able to find their way into the office. Under the dim green glow, Johnny was flipping through the special manual on how to serve human when all of a sudden the light in the office came on and the place was swamped with hissing little green men. Horrified, Tommy instinctively started running toward the back door exit. Johnny was right behind him and would have been able to make it if not for the manual he was carrying.

As Tommy dashed through the backdoor and headed into the forest, he turned back and saw Johnny's green-lit face poking through the half-opened door. Just as he was being pulled back into the building by his captors, Johnny yelled to his little buddy: "The manual, it's a cook book!!!"


(Note 1: My 2007 Halloween Story is adopted from the original "To Serve Man" written by Damon Knight in 1950)

(Note 2: Here is my Halloween Story from last year: Nov 1, 2006.)

Photo credit:
References:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

馬拉松賽跑訓練: 身体和意志 ∕ Running Marathon Training: Mind over Body

I just finished running my 9th marathon, the 3rd this year. My time wasn't that great, not even close to my PB (Personal Best), but I am glad I did it. During the summer months, I had been quite busy and in the last four weeks leading up to the event I unsuccessfully tried to increase my mileage. Alas it was too little too late and I ended up with 21 km (instead of 33 km) being my longest LSD (Long, Slow, Distance) training run.

If my goal had been the half-marathon, it would have been just right. However, I had set my sight on the full-marathon, and the battle between body and mind began at the 21.1 km mark during the race. With each pounding of the foot, my body was telling me to give up and accept the inevitability of my first DNF (Did Not Finish). On the other hand, my mind just would not accept defeat and reminded me to "Draw not from the well of physical strength, but from the mental belief that you can do it." Well, it was true: My well was running dry and there was little left to draw from. In the end, the mind won and the lingering self-doubt cast by physical discomfort dissipated.

After what seemed like ages, I finally crossed the finish line with not a gram of energy left. As I was resting in the recovery area wolfing down a bowl of chilli, I was still amazed by how the mind had been able to take control despite the body's protest. That leads me to believe that where there is a will, there is hope and that no matter what, as long as the mind is willing, the body will not give up.

(Reference: My last article on Marathon Training: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/09/marathon-training-dnf.html )

Sunday, September 30, 2007

靜坐常思己過,閒談莫論人非 / Finding Peace in Solitude








Often in the middle of chaotic augments, I remember the old Chinese saying: 『靜坐常思己過,閒談莫論人非』which roughly translates to: "Find solitude to think about one's own shortcomings; don't gossip about other people's weaknesses." This is not exactly the same as:『各家自掃門前雪,莫管他人瓦上霜』, which means "Clear the snow in your driveway and don't worry about the frost on your neighbour's roof". The former is reflective of one's imperfection and therefore the need to stay humble before passing judgements, while the latter advocates the virtue of minding your own business. However, going to the extreme, both can be deadly when people stay passive and apathetic, refuse to help others and lose all sense of community/social responsibility.

Having spent the last two blog posts on 「港男港女」, I find it necessary to stay out of the fray on an issue that I cannot quite related to - having been in Canada for so long - and find some peace in solitude, at least for the time being.

(Photo: Canadian River Scene in Early Fall / / 攝影图片: 十月初秋加拿大河景)

Friday, September 28, 2007

【從風雨而飛】的新開始 ∕ A New Beginning after the Storm

Having spent more time this morning reading Elvis' blog posts he left behind in HK, I am beginning to have a better grasp of what he was trying to say. While 臥虎 has identified a few overarching issues (such as sexual politics and gender equity) based on the exchange btwn Elvis, Daisy, and others; my friend might have missed the essence of the author's more basic message, and that is: We are all products of the society and it's up to us to take actions and make things better (as opposed to: If you can't beat them, join them).

While I doubt very much if the vacated 擂臺 in HK will ever regain its previous glory, popularity and excitements, I look forward to reading Elvis' new UK-based blog 【從風雨而飛】。I am sure he will find new adventures in Europe and continue to enlighten his readers in HK and across the pond with interesting stories and viewpoints.

Reference:【從風雨而飛】
http://www.following-the-wind.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

某「臥虎藏龍」先生对【怒插港女】的評語 / Sexual Politics, Gender Equity, and Showing Off

(序: 網絡是跨越世界的公用媒介,讀者中不乏臥虎藏龍之人仕。某先生因其職責關係,故此只能用筆名發言,請諒。)

微豆: 您看完了【怒插港女】網誌上的数篇文章,有怎樣的感想?

臥虎: 首先我覺得那語帶相關的題目非常刺眼,如果作者說是開玩笑,那實在就是一點也不好笑,選用的暴力字眼是太過份了。

微豆: 但那些文章內容呢?

臥虎: 作者的寫作能力是出乎意料的好,文章引用了很多中西參考書籍,可說是受過教育和社会洗禮的知識份子。但雖然他打響了『男女平等』的口號,以保衛男性尊嚴為名,但主題卻仍走不出了「色性」的出發點。

微豆: 我不大明白您的意思,可否作個舉例?

臥虎: 如果作者是以『男女平等』作為大前題,那麼他就不需要用Tracy和George做愛的故事來做背景,諷刺「港女」的弱點。那是sexual politics, 不是gender equity。說俗一點,前者是「媾女」,後者是「人权」。

微豆: 那麼您对那個和【怒插港女】作者打对頭劇,住在九龍塘高尚住宅區,賺中環高薪的28歲女律師覌感又如何?

臥虎: 網絡森林,龍蛇混雜,我們怎知道作者的真實身份、年歲、和背景。如果【蘭開夏道】作者自報的個人資料是凖確,我就覺得她是非常淺簿和自視過高,以為在港大畢業,在外國浸了数年鹹水,就完全明白了歐美上流社会的舉止風俗,看不起那些「落後」的中國「土包子」和「土包女」。真正來說,她自傲自豪的時裝la mode,在羅馬、巴黎、紐約就真是a dime a dozen。

微豆: 但您不能否認,她在香港是受高薪的職業女律司,值得「一麈 」罷?!!

臥虎: 如此說來,我與部長往外國參加的國讌,與各國大使館ambassadors和 military attachés 打交道的相片,豈不是都应該登上網誌,自吹自擂?我總覺得一個人的成熟美,一個人的self acceptance,不論是男是女,都是有之內而形於外,不用攻擊別人來抬高自己。「港男」「港女」的是是非非,噓噓嚷嚷,我想都是我們成熟過程中的一個小枝節。

微豆: 多謝您的評語,我知您職責在身,不能暢所欲言。待我們留意事情發展,看看兩位網主,会不会隔洋掛免戰牌罷。

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

References:
怒插港女】網主之 "不叫"
http://strikingkonggirls.blogspot.com/2007/08/blog-post_30.html

蘭開夏道】網主之 "以貌取人"
http://daisy-lancashire.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html#4549805276543643612

Monday, September 24, 2007

馬拉松賽跑訓練: 出師未捷? / Marathon Training: DNF?

I will be running my 9th marathon, and the 3rd one this year. As much as I want to get myself psyched-up, I cannot help but feel bitten by the greatest fear of all marathon runners: DNF, which stands for "Did Not Finish", or in non-technical, layman's term: "You blew it, bud!!"

While runners are usually competitive in nature (either against others, themselves, or time), many do recognize that human beings are not built to last forever, as much as we want to push the limit. In endurance sports, I find that it's usually my body's muscular-skeletal structure that yields first before I reach my aerobic capacity limit and hit the anaerobic wall. If you take the target running pace of 90 steps per minute (which is also the ideal pace for cycling), and multiply it by 60 minutes, that comes to 5,400 strikes per foot over a one hour period. Thus for runners whose finish time is from 3 to 5 hours, each foot will have struck the road surface 16,200 to 22,000 times, with a force equals to 2-3 times the person's weight.

In prep for the upcoming race, my weekend LSD (long, slow, distance) run is now maxing out at 22 km, which is far below my usual 33 km mark. Given the inadequate training, all I can hope for is to finish the 42.2 km race in reasonable time without incurring any injury. I sure don't want to have a DNF, at least not till I finish my 10th marathon next year.

As I heard Grete Waitz (who won the New York City Marathon nine times!!) once said: "... We all have a finite running life ..." In other words, no matter how good an athlete is, he/she will eventually use up all the foot-strikes and run into the 'yield' sign, and finally the 'stop' sign. I think that is true for marathon running as well as life in general. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ References:
* Grete Waitz: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grete_Waitz
* 8th Marathon: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/05/2007-marathon-training-for-spring-2007.html
* 7th Marathon (Rome): http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/04/rome-marathon-maratona-della-citta-di.html
* Other blog posts on marathon training: http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/01/training-for-marathon-trail-running-or.html
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2007/01/marathon-race-personal-best-pb.html
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2006/10/training-for-marathon.html
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2006/10/running-marathons.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

風雨夜歸人: 工作過勞 / A Workaholic's Stormy Night: Burnt Out

I remember my father used to tell me: 『盡職守責, 問心無愧。』which translates roughly into English:“It is important to be able to face yourself in the mirror each morning, instead of hiding behind hypocrisy and half-truth.”As a teenager, I promptly dismissed his lecturing 教訓 as old fashion, nothing more than a feeble attempt to nag the blacksheep of the family, me. Of course, I would work hard. Of course, I would try my best .... well, most of the time, and well, only if I want to. Little did I know my Old Man「老豆」(as in 『竇燕山,有義方』) had actually succeeded in sowing the seed of Chinese work ethics and instilling in me a strong sense of responsibility, so much so that I turned into a workaholic (Father can never win!).

In the last six to seven years, I often worked late into the wee hours of the night without being asked, and when some people wanted to shift blame my way, I would actually "swallow" it. I often told colleagues that old joke: "I have a very responsible job here. If anything goes wrong, I am responsible." But seriously, I actually believed in "the buck stops here" at my level and refused to play office politics. Unfortunately, my holier-than-thou principle only exacerbated my workaholic tendency, until one dark, stormy night (cliché!), I found myself working past two o'clock in the morning and missing the last bus going home. That night was the longest and the most uncomfortable night in recent memory. I couldn't run home because of the storm. Thunders and lightning were cracking up and the sky was pouring wet. I was quite stuck in the stuffy office with no food and no drinks, exhausted, burnt out and had no place to sleep.

Well, I cannot blame my father for turning myself into a workaholic. I don't need to go to AA or rehab to understand that "the buck stops here" (hey even Amy Winehouse has started eating to gain weight, so there is hope for everyone). With my present assignment, I no longer work on weekends (okay, I confess, I bring files home but I don't open them). I am even able to restrain myself from reading email on my Blackberry during breaks at the opera house. Oh yes, I have come a long way to rediscover myself and to "get a life", a second life perhaps. My count-down has begun and by the end of this year, I will take a nice long break, to allow myself some time to rest, to reflect and to do things I always want to do but can never find the time.

It was a long stormy night.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

青春舞曲感想 (四) / Circle Game of Youth (4)

The song "The Circle Game" sung by Joni Michell reflects on youth, growing up and life in general.

青春舞曲 Qīngchūn Wǔqǔ - 中山大学合唱团 Sun Yat-sen University Chorus

This is the interpretation of the song by the mixed choir of 中山大學。

青春舞曲感想 (二) / Circle Game of Youth (2)

前言

最近與網友「風信子」 和 「新鮮人」 談及青春的三部曲: 個人成長、磨練閱歷、和做化修為,以下是其中節錄:

風信子: 『... 磨練總使人感到挫敗氣壞,同時也加速個人成長增添閱歷,是好是壞實見人見智,但願他日回顏,扣除今日的是與非,心仍可找到點滴光景回味,青春他其實並沒白長 ~』
新鮮人: 『... 只怕當大家明白時,青春己隨風而逝了!』
風信子: 『... 再回眸有時已是百年身,既慨時光飛逝,也嘆為何當年如斯執意?奈何青春總愛跟年歷背道而馳』 
微豆: 『青春已逝,成熟的空虛?』
風信子: 『... 磨練是雖要時間的,但感觀上的空虛與否,則要看個人做化跟修為了 ~』

青春舞之三部曲

首部『個人成長』: 近代先進國家的年青人,比上一兩代成熟得早和快, 自信心和主覌很強,再加上日新月異的媒介及科枝發展,和代溝的因素,他/她們对処理人生、愛情、和事業的方法和態度,是自伩完全和父母不同。所以在這青春舞曲的首部,感受節拍多是輕鬆、愉快,充滿熱力、夢想、和欢笑声。但在這成長的早期,一顆小小的空虛種子,已開始在幼嫩的心靈中發芽。

中部『磨練閱歷』: 從無憂無慮的階段, 年青人很快地離開中學、大學、老師和父母,投入社會的大染缸,接受那現實的洗禮。在變幻無常的愛情、職業、生活的衝擊下, 嘗盡了喜、怒、哀、樂等的七情六慾,。這是青春舞曲的中部,感受節拍有輕快抒情、有緩慢沈重,四重唱的音韻起落,也代表了人生無常和際運高低。多年的磨練和閱歷,沒錯是充實了經驗和体歷,但是心內的空虛也隨著時日長大成熟,開始懷疑少年無憂無慮時『太陽下山明朝依舊爬上來,花兒謝了明年還是一樣地開』的永恆定律。

末部『做化修為』: 從中年到暮年,時間如古代計時器hourglass內的沙粒一樣,越漏越快,上一代父母和親戚很多已經不在,歲月不留人,正是『惜人已乘黃鶴去』,自己也開始感到力不從心,這是一段困難的過程。在乎個人做化修為,這青春舞曲最後的一段,可以有樂覌和悲覌的結局。

樂覌: 在這時刻,退休之後回顧自己的一生,也看看新的一代,『長江後浪推前浪,世上新人換舊人』,也感到心內這人生的空虛是有後人塡補,那從孩提時開始發芽長大的空虛是終於成熟了,得到了一個答案。所以雖然是『我的青春小鳥一樣不回來』, 但感受節拍仍是有強烈的獨奏意式形態,『別的哪喲喲!別的哪喲喲!』是歌頌人生、自然、和造物。

悲覌: 在這離大去之期不遠的時刻,心靈仍是感到非常悲痛,对「不枉此行?」這個問題還是有一個大問號,回憶往事,唏噓後悔不爾,灰色的人生像濃霧一樣,遮蓋了所有年青時欢樂的時光。在這青春舞曲的末段,感受節拍是悲愴、軟弱,『別的哪喲喲!別的哪喲喲!』是「生不願來,死不願去」的呼嚎,『美麗小鳥一起無影踪』是悔恨造物弄人,唱『我的青春小鳥一樣不回來』是臨死的絕望末句,之後聲樂停頓,就像小鳥飛在天空劃的弦線一樣,無影無踪的消失了,那成熟的空虛終於完全蓋沒了這段人生的存在。

我不是音樂家,也不是哲學博士,以上只不過是重溫小學時期唱的【青春舞曲】,以成年人的思想作一個重寫。風信子,新鮮人,和微豆(客覌的我)說的都沒有錯,但樂覌或是悲覌的結局,卻就是在乎每個人自己决定的青春舞三部曲了。

Reference:

http://ctitin.blogspot.com/2007/09/crying-in-party-easonchan.html

青春舞曲感想 (一) / Circle Game of Youth (1)


【青春舞曲】 新疆民謠 佚名

太陽下山明朝依舊爬上來,
花兒謝了明年還是一樣地開,
美麗小鳥一起無影蹤,
我的青春小鳥一樣不回來,
我的青春小鳥一樣不回來。
別的哪喲喲!
別的哪喲喲!
我的青春小鳥一樣不回來。

Friday, September 14, 2007

一年回顧 / A Year in Review

In the evening of June 8, 2006, I was at home sipping tea and surfing the Net when I happened to come across San Wen Ji's 散文集. What caught my immediate attention was the way the author characterized the blog: 『散落在文字裡情感的收集,為之“散文集”』.It conveyed a sense of being frank and open, of sharing thoughts, and of capturing fleeting sentiments that otherwise would have been forgotten with the passage of time. There were also snippets of thoughts on work issues that reflected the author's workplace experience. San Wen Ji's blog rekindled my desire to write (outside of work), something that had been buried over the years for various reasons. I have always been a creative person - not that I am a professional artist - and that side of me yearns to find an avenue to express myself. As well, I had the desire to retool my Chinese language skill, having used only English and French in Canada for many years.

My blogging started two months later and my first post entitled "Lotus and Cedar: Site under construction" on September 14, 2006 depicted a ruin site in Rome with the caption "This is going to take a while ....." The posting reflected my belief in personal rebirth, revitalization, and reacquainting with the past. The pen-name “微豆∕Haricot”was chosen to signify that I am one of the beans in a pod that in turn is one in a field of millions in the country and, of course, "Haricot" represents the European liaison and French connection.

Looking back, here are some observations and thoughts:
* I find blogging satisfying but also time consuming if I want to go beyond just chitchatting.
* Wikipedia's information are "relatively" more reliable compared to other blog-based sources. I have to remind myself that there is no institutionalized quality assurance/control of public info on the web.
* It's always a challenge to pass judgement on the nature and type of info to be posted. Once in the public domain, personal data, statements, and multi-media materials (video, pictures, etc) become non retrievable and can be used by anyone in any way, shape or form, with or without the author's permission.
* I greatly appreciate the thoughtful comments from my blog friends and readers who are always polite and respectful of other people's opinions.
* I am surprised by how much my writing style and choice of subjects have expanded over the short 12 months. To me, a web-based "second life" (and I don't mean Second Life) is one way to complement but not to replace my life in the real-world. In that sense, there is no difference in between blogging and creative writing, painting for fun, watching a movie, reading a novel, or talking to people.

In closing, I have learnt a lot since the first blog appeared a year ago. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and reflections with my friends/readers on the web, without imposing on anyone. I intend to follow my original "Blog Statement" that says:
"My bilingual blog (English and Chinese) offers a wide variety of topics, including: my daily thoughts; romance/love; traveling pictures of Venice, Rome and other cities; memories of my youth in Hong Kong; running marathons; and other aspects of life in Canada."

It's getting late. So, I will say to my global friends/readers: See you / 就此擱筆 / Alors, à la prochaine / Grazie, ciao !!!

微豆∕Haricot
(September 14, 2007)

References:

San Wen Ji - First visit

Lotus and Cedar: Site under construction

Friday, September 07, 2007

絕望與希望 / Desperation and Hope


In days, we hear the rhetoric of war, flowered in righteousness;
In wars, we taste the violence of man, flavoured in blood;
In darkness, we see the characters of man, shrouded in hatred;
In peace, we feel the heat of hatred, packaged in words.
Is there no end to this vicious circle?
Is there no mother to comfort the fatherless child?

Draw deep for your passion and zest;
Draw deep to the fountain of truth to test.
For man was once a dear child of hope;
For nature is always the mother who copes.
Dawn is not too far from the eyes that see;
Dawn will shine through all men and beasts.

(攝影相片/Photo: 2007年攝於羅馬梵蒂岡博物館 / Vatican Museum, Rome 2007)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The above is in response to Xiao Zhu's Sept 2, 2007 blog article:

°°°°°°

Waiting for the dawn
Waiting for the truth dawning upon men
But I'd be scared to see the light
for my eyes have been addicted to the darkness
The complexion of the war never turns good
Yet it does not damp my passion and zest....
....I thought
No, too weak am I
Your warmth did bring me new breath
It won't last for long
Couldn't I ask for more
No
Too weak am I
Waiting for the dawn
Waiting for the truth dawning upon men
Longing for the peace in mind
Longing for y.....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

聽海 (四) / Beyond the Sea (4)

The song "La Mer" was given unrelated English words and called "Beyond the Sea" (sometimes known as "Sailing") which was a hit for Bobby Darin in the early 1960s
English lyrics: Jack Lawrence 1912
Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere, waiting for me,
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing;
Somewhere beyond the sea,
He's (She's) there watching for me.
If I could fly like birds on high,
Then straight to his (her) arms I'd go sailing.
It's far beyond a star,
It's near beyond the moon,
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon.
We'll meet beyond the shore,
We'll kiss just as before.
Happy we'll be beyond the sea,
And never again I'll go sailing!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

聽海 (二) / Beyond the Sea (2)

Just like many of my local friends who are from Atlantic Canada or the west coast, I too identify my childhood with growing-up next to the sea. I can remember putting dried shrimps 蝦米乾 into a glass jar tied to a rope and lowering it into the deep green harbour water to catch minnows. At around age eight, I graduated into using bait and hook and would spend many hours after school casting my line to catch little rock bass石九公. If there was a run on sticklebacks 泥鯭 (stingy fish with poisonous barbs that thrived near sewage outfalls), I would be among the line of anglers all trying to jostle for the best positions to maximize our catch. Being small, I would have to stand on tip toes, lean over the railing, and whip my 8-pronged octopus hook 八爪鈎back and forth trying to snag up as many as three fish in one strike. The challenge was to take the wriggling fish off the hook without being stung. I am always amazed that I did not die young of blood poisoning from the fish poison, or the virus that came with what the fish had eaten.

Anyway, I survived into adolescent, avoided being a "Darwin Award" recipient, and started dating. Naturally, the seaside at night was the favourable necking place for hormone-rich young lovers. Since there was no drive-in and no cars for any back-seat hanky-panky, many a nights were spent enjoying the sea, listening to the waves, and watching in dreamy state the city lights reflecting off the harbour front. As my relationship with the sea intensified, so was the tension with my father who obviously did not agree with adolescents dating. Temper erupted, angry words were exchanged, and the parents almost gave up. Meanwhile, the inexperienced young lovers did not faire any better, temper flared, hurtful words were exchanged, and the relationship ended.

Even up to these days, as I lie in my bed at night, far away from where I was born, I can still hear the sea calling - the sound of lapping waves, the smell of a thunderstorm, the taste of salt in the sea breeze, and the reflection of the harbor lights at night. Although many years have gone by, the sea will always be there, listening to the young lovers' secret vows of eternal love. In exchange, the young ones will always remember the sea and the memories of those youthful days, when life was full of promises, joy and tears. And time stands still.

(Source: YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooqDc0Ig174 張惠妹 A-MEI 唱 【聽海】)

聽海 (一) / Beyond the Sea (1)

(see next blog article)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

【烈血暴潮/裂血大風暴】: 為弟弟雪冤之『天網恢恢,疏而不漏』 / "Mississippi Burning": Justice for a murdered brother - the sentencing

The criminal trial of the cold case that I had mentioned back on January 26, 2007 finally came to a close. James Seale, once a KKK member who had been accused of murdering two young blacks in Mississippi in 1964, was found guilty and given three life sentences. While his co-accused, now a born-again Christian, actually apologized to the families of the victims, Seale denies his guilt and remains defiant till the end. Given his advanced age and poor health, Seale's supporters think the sentence is too harsh. However, to the older brother of one of the murdered victims, Seale deserves the punishment, having already enjoyed 43 years of freedom after mercilessly taking away the lives of two innocent young men. There is no winner in a situation like this. As to the CBC reporter David Ridgen, he never would have thought that his investigative journalism would end up being key to solving this cold case when he started his journey across the Canada-US border.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amy Winehouse - Teach me tonight

Amy Winehouse at age around 19, before the tattoo and body piercing, and Rehab.

Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

Selected Songs of Amy Winehouse

艾美懷豪絲 (二): 心靈的紋身 / Amy Winehouse (2): Tattooed in the heart

我在YouTube取錄了艾美懷豪絲,19歲左右初成名時的音樂,和現在23歲少婦期的歌曲作一比較。在這短短四年之間,她的天賦歌喉沒大多變,天才仍在,但主題卻轉變了很多。

這是我最近買了的磁碟(黑色會)所載的歌CD / Here are the selected songs of Amy Winehouse's CD 【Back To Black】:

1.Rehab(戒了吧)
2.You Know I'm No Good(你知道我不好)
3.Me & Mr Jones(我與瓊斯先生)
4.Back To Black(黑色會)
5.Just Friends(只是朋友)
6.Love Is A Losing Game(愛是失敗遊戲)
7.Tears Dry On Their Own(淚已乾)
8.Wake Up Alone(孤獨醒來)
9.He Can Only Hold Her(只想抓住她)
10.Wake Up Alone(骯髒戰役)

Will Amy Winehouse perish like Janis Joplin?

軀体的紋身可隨時日冲淡消失,但心靈的紋身又会不会是永久不滅?

艾美懷豪絲 (一): 命運開的玩笑? / Amy Winehouse (1): Hook, line and sinker - life's cruel joke?

1. Hook
在北美社会,上了毒癖或酒癮而不能自拔的人實在不少, 他們多是在年青時,禁不住好奇心,想扮cool「有型」,或家庭環境有問題,脫離了正常成長的軌道,或是生命有挫折,開始飲酒、吸大麻、或服食葯物。到了成年之時,有自制能力的還可以自拔,最多是逢場作興,偶一為之 (social drinkers, "recreational" drug users),但那些身和心抵抗力低的人就變了癮君子(addicts),生命完全受「物品」控制 (substance addiction)。

2. Line
就以23歲英國女歌手Amy Winehouse艾美懷豪絲為例,她天賦音樂天才,唱歌很有獨特的風格,前途實在不差,但問題就是她不能自控,毒癖和酒癮已開始毀壞她的聲譽,上月她以「身体欠佳」理由(at least that's her agent's line),取消了歐洲演出行期,跟着八月來北美的計劃又告吹,報載她可能因毒物O.D.(over dosed)問題而入治療院rehab。

3. Sinker
中國古語有云:『天將大任于斯人也,必先苦其心志,勞其筋骨,餓其體膚,行弗亂其所為,然後動心忍性,增益其所不能。』但如果在藝壇有了名氣,在公共場所的攝光燈、水銀燈照射之下,卻因私人理由,再不願擔負這個「大任」,想下台又容不容易呢?近代中、歐、美的明星歌手,在藝海浮沈,而始終逃不出自溺命運的實在不少,例如: 比莉哈樂黛Billie Holiday、瑪麗蓮夢露Marilyn Monroe、珍妮絲賈普林Janis Joplin、林黛、莫愁、陳百強等,他/她們都像墜落的彗星,在臨終前為覌眾發出了最大的光茫,在我們腦海中留下了一個不滅的印象。但他∕她們的短暫的生命,就是不是為了大眾娛樂而犧牲?是可惜,還是可嘆?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

水獺屋 / Beaver Lodge





I want to show you pictures of the beaver lodge (house) that was built right in the middle 0f the lotus pond behind the island where I spent the last long weekend. For those of you who do not know what a beaver is, please consult wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver#Lodges .

Beavers are found in lakes and rivers all over North America, where there are trees to chew on and fresh water to swim in. They belong to the rodent family, which means their teeth keep on growing and they must gnaw on tree trunks and branches to keep their teeth in shape. You can actually see their tooth marks on trees that are half chewed or completely felled.

Beavers are industrious critters - that's why the expression "as busy as a beaver" (像水獺/河狸一樣忙碌). They would chew up a tree and use the branches along with some mud to build a beaver lodge. The entrance is always dug under water so land-based predators cannot enter their house. Once coming out of the water inside the lodge, the beavers dry themselves in one den and live in another. While beavers spend a lot of time swimming and diving, they cannot breathe under water. In fact, that's how trappers hunt the animal, by setting up an underwater trap, drown the poor thing, and then skin it for their pelt. I was skiing once up north and came upon a frozen skinned beaver. It was one of the most unsightly wilderness scenes I have ever witnessed.

Beavers also use branches and mud to build beaver dams so they can have their private swimming pools upstream. The problem arrives when their habitat is too close to human beings and the latter always use dynamites to blow up their dams so water can flow again. Nevertheless, beavers continue to thrive along side with human. So the next time you walk along the river bank and hear a big k-plunk, it's the sound of a big flat beaver tail hitting the water, which is how beavers warn each other of the arrival of a bi-pied predator called man.
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