Sunday, April 29, 2007
当年做寫字楼後生,除了阿Don 对我好之外,「大老細」、他的伙伴、和其他人都視我如無物。不過自從和阿Don 談過之後,也明白了打工仔的生涯,我受人二分四,雖然仍拒絕說Yes Sir !! 但寫子楼的咖啡、奶茶、送信、打掃等雜工,都是照做,總之就是「一腳踢」。就因為我是年輕的後生,很多人都对我沒有介心,所以常看或聽到寫字楼階層部門之間的勾心鬥角,閒言閒語,光怪離奇的事,但当然是視而不見,聽而不聞,只是記在心裡,之後和阿Don 談。記得有一次,我因事遲放工,臨走時見到某主任的寫字楼房門半掩,正想和他關門,但在門縫中看到他正和一女人打得如火如荼,我趕忙後退,希望沒有給他們發現。那主任在英國留學,娶了西婦回港,所以我知道那女人不是他的妻子。不知是否心理作用,之後那主任对我這後生也開始有打招呼。其實拈花野草的高級男職員大有人在,我和阿Don 就暗自說,這間公司的男人,真是名乎其實的火麒麟,週身癮。
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
有一次我問阿Don,大老細是「火麒麟」董事,当然他叫到,我們就要做,但鄧勤和唐老是「海利」僱員,不是我們波士老闆 Boss Men,我就不需要和他們 Yes Sir! 前,Yes Sir! 後。阿Don 年紀約比我大八年,在「火麒麟」做了近四年,对做人処世經驗,当然比我這個入世未深的反叛青年多。『在香港這個社会,』阿Don 解釋,『有財就是有勢,你和我是做白領階級謀生,朝九晚五,但求一日三歺,年脕双糧,打工仔的生涯,逆來順受,說多声 Yes Sir! Yes Sir! 又有什么關係。』我雖然不同意這個為五斗米而折腰的理論,但也明白阿Don 的処境,他是個有上進心的人,很想往北美留學,但家庭兄弟姊妹多,父母只能供他至中五,之後就要他綴學,做工賺錢回家,幫補入息。阿Don 日間返公司捱,夜晚就上夜校讀,都是為了實現他出洋留學的願望。
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
『阿 Don, 同我去「海利冷氣」,叫鄧勤簽信封內三份合同。』
『Yes Sir ! 』
阿Don 是「火麒麟工程有限公司」的低級文員,而我卻是最最下級的寫字楼後生,所以大老細發令, 阿Don 受令,而我就是那送信的跑手。
「火麒麟」是一間小形的公司,專營設計和製造冷氣輸送系統 ventilation duct work,寫字楼在香港中環某戲院大厦楼上,全机構除了大老細外,還有兩個合伙人,鄧勤和唐老,他們是「海利冷氣」的工程司。「海利」顧客買了冷氣机之後,当然需要輸送系統,於是鄧勤和唐老就 sub-contract 給大老細的「火麒麟」公司,大家關照,其中詳細內容,就不是我這個年輕初出茅廬的後生需要知曉的。總之大老細和合伙人,要阿Don 和我做什么,我們就 『Yes Sir ! Yes Sir !』的去做。
(下回續 / To continue)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Every time when the media announces the anniversary of a well-known event or the passing away of a high-profile person, it always stirs up an emotional response in me: "How quickly time has gone by!!" Such was my reaction when the radio announced the death of Boris Yeltsin, who had been instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Here are examples of other events:
* 90 years ago: Canadian-led assault at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917;
* 65 yrs ago: Bombing of Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941;
* 44 yrs ago: Cuban missile crisis of October 1962;
* 43 yrs ago: Assassination of US President JFK on November 22, 1963 (classic boomer question: "Where were you the day when Kennedy was shot?");
* 17 yrs ago: Murder of 14 young women at l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989;
* 8 yrs ago: Avalanche death of 23 years old Michel Trudeau at Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, B.C. on November 13, 1998;
* 6 yrs ago: Passing away of his father the Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau on September 28, 2000;
* 5 yrs ago: World Trade Centre attack by terrorists on September 11, 2001;
I am sure other people will have their own important "milestone" events and experience etched into his/her personal memory board.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Apr 20th: Could anyone please tell me how to get rid of the blank space above? Is it a format problem with Blogger?
But of all seasons, spring is the one that really has a "sunshining" effect to many Canadians, when we can unload the winter jackets and mittens and scarves and be able to sit outside; when everything starts to bloom, the daffodils and the crocuses; and when the geese start to head north again to their northern habitat. There is the summer vacation to look forward to, the boat to go into the water or the garden fence that needs a new coat of paint. Spring is a transition period when we can clean up what is left from last winter in the yard and put in new flowers, vegetables and plants for the months to come. There is a rhythm to the four seasons, and spring is very much an important part of it.
Oh well, it's no use complaining about the late spring and I do not intend to start yet another discussion on what we should do about Climate Change. Cool or not cool, I have taken my bike out and will ride to work starting today.
Summer will come !!!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
My youth winged and soared above the earth;
My soul whispered its dreams amongst the hills.
I didn't see it coming, this fallen angel of habit;
Till it was too late, thirty years hence.
Mr. Tao's writing often reflected his love for freedom and nature. His poems serenaded the peace and quiet of living in the countryside, away from the "rat race". He despised people's habit of chasing after earthly desires which trapped us like caged birds and farmed fish. To him, freedom is like the bird that returns to the forest and fish that swims back to the deep lake. In the last two lines shown above, he literally said: "I made a mistake and got tangled in the dusty web of this materialistic world. And, I was gone for 30 years."
少無適俗韻，性本愛丘山。誤落塵網中，一去三十年。羈鳥戀舊林，池魚思故淵。 開荒南野際，手拙歸園田。方宅十餘畝，草屋八九間。 榆柳蔭後園，桃李羅堂前。曖曖遠人村，依依墟里煙。狗吠身巷中，雞鳴桑樹巔 。戶庭無塵雜， 虛室有餘閑。久在樊籠裡，復得反自然。
For those of you who like Chinese poems and pictures of mountains, here is a bilingual website called "Mountain Songs". I will let you judge the work of the different translators who undertook the arduous tasks of translating old Chinese writings into English. The mountain pictures are quite nice (especially Omei Shan 峨嵋山 - I still have fond memories of the two-day hike up that steep mountain).
More info abt some of 陶淵明's poems (text in Chinese): http://web2.tcssh.tc.edu.tw/school/guowenke/books/gudianshici/127.htm#10
Related link: (updated 20100425)
* Space's blog article: "桃花源記"
Monday, April 16, 2007
Tribute 1: Here is the poem entitled "Qingming" from Du Mu 杜牧 written in the 9th century / late Tang Dynasty:
I take the liberty of translating it into English, as follow:
Amidst the spring drizzling rain;
Our thoughts are soaked in pain.
"Shepherd, we need respite from our pilgrimage!"
And he points far at the wineshop in the Apricot Flowers Village.
Tribute 2: Here is the famous Qing Ming Festival Scroll 清明上河圖 "Along the River During Qingming Festival" painted by the Chinese painter 張擇端 Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145 AD) in between the Northern Song and Southern Song Dynasty. I quite like the accompanying music in the background as the scroll unfolds itself.
Friday, April 13, 2007
這位在國際影壇有名的女星,演出超過65套影片,包括电視集Falcon Crest。在1993年,法國總統François Mitterand頒給她一個榮譽的Légion d'Honneur,表揚她对藝術界的貢獻。在1996年10月, 意大利政府名她為Cavaliere della Republica,有為國爭光之意。在1999年她投名競選欧盟國会Parlement Européen的一個政位,但不成功。她在攝影和雕刻方面,也有成就,在好几個國家開了展覽会。
在婚姻愛情方面,她在1949嫁了南斯拉夫医生Milko Skofic,生一子叫Milko Junior,但兩夫妻在1967年分居,1971年離婚。同年,57歲的“Lollo”與23歲的拉佛爾斯(Javier Rigau Rifols)搭上了關係,有些人就仳評那男人是想「掏古井」,那女人是不肖的勾引無知少男,誰会預料這「不正常」的戀情竟持續22年。在2006年10月,79歲的珍娜羅露寶烈吉妲,宣佈要和45歲的男友結婚,這段花边新聞,在欧、美、亞洲都有報導。
珍娜羅露寶烈吉妲Luigina Lollobrigida, 是上一代家傳戶曉的國際女明星,有人說她可與另一出名的意大利巨星,蘇菲亞羅蘭Sophia Loren並駕齊駒。她不但在电影、藝術、和政治方面都有大胆的表現,上了年紀之後,她更打破了道德「指南針」,对傳統覌念挑戰,指出愛情是不受年紀限制。那么在旁覌者來說,她是娛樂界的奇女子,還是道德家眼中的壊女人,那我就讓讀者自己作一個見解了。
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
SUGAR BUSH / CABANE A SUCRE (法文)
All You Can Eat (任您吃) !! Adult $11 / Students $9 all taxes included
MENU: Ham; Roast Pork; Beans; Omelette; Side Bacon; Hash Brown Potatoes; Homemade Beets, Pickles, Red Onions and Ketchup; Pancakes; Maple Sugar Pie; Buns; Butter; Tea/Coffee/Milk; Unlimited Supply of Maple Syrup; Maple Toffees on Snow.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
For most of us, we are somewhere in between the extremely autistic person, whose sense of internal "self" (if it exists) has little to do with the society, and the blind individual, whose internal "self" is being conceptualized and redefined through interactions with the outside world. While the debate on "nature" vs "nurture" might be rekindled with every new research report, I would submit that the conceptualization of "self" is something that ought not to invoke vigorous debates. In essence, it is a combination of what we have from birth (as in the case of the individual who was born blind) and the degree to which we are able and/or willing to find meanings to the information and stimuli around us (as in the case of the autistic's ability or the lack thereof to decode). An average person is born with an internal, genetically-based sense of "self". It is part of the body-and-soul package, an imprint if you may. The concept of self starts to form early in childhood and is molded by our experience as we grow and age. If I may use "think" and "conceptualize" interchangeably, "self" is "I think therefore I am" plus "I do not think, therefore I still am."
POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO VICKY'S QUESTIONS
So, what are the answers to the questions posed by Vicky? Based on the diagnostique above, I would boldly postulate that the soul is the "electronic manual" that comes with the body. As long as the body is living, the soul has meaning and is therefore "alive". I do not believe in the separation of body and soul. To me, the thinking part is very much part and partial of the moving parts (the body). When the body ceases to function, it stops providing the soul with form and energy and renders the "electronic manual" irrelevant and inoperable. Now, I am not saying that the memory of the individual also evaporates into thin air. In fact, I still remember very much my father in the various stages of my relationship with him and of course we still have lots of his pictures in the family photo albums and around the house. But, there is no doubt in my mind that when the family agreed with the hospital doctor to "pull the plug", his consciousness (or whatever was left at the time) extinguished and flamed out the moment the life-support was taken off him.
Now, if the soul is the manual to the body that gives it form, then the conceptualized "self" is the collective meaning of what the owner writes on the manual. Some owners are meticulous and are quite clear as to the meaning of his/her purpose in life. Others are less articulate and less sure as to who they are. They do not have a very strong self and will continue to imitate pop culture or be subjected to peer pressure. Yet others such as the autistics may leave the manual blank (other than the genetic imprint) or else fill it with something that the society cannot understand or relate to. To the person who was born blind, he/she already has a very strong idea what his/her manual is saying but needs to make sure it fits in and makes sense to others as well. There is a continuous process of self conceptualization and realization.
WITH RESPECT TO THOSE WHO ARE RELIGIOUS
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it would have been presumptuous to expect anyone to be able to answer satisfactorily the two fundamental "why" questions about life. The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a diagnostique to the two key words 'soul' and 'me' and let the readers draw their own conclusions. However, in doing so, I have unexpectedly surprised even myself by inferring that there is no such thing as a soul that exists after a physical death. This might have offended those whose faith says otherwise. I truly apologize because it is not my intention to impose my views on readers. I do recognize however that the human soul might exist outside of the Newtonian universe and might take on forms that are beyond the comprehension of a mortal like me. Again, I just would like to re-emphasize there is no deliberate intention to challenge or put any faiths or religions into questions.
* Body-and-soul is a package deal. The soul comes with your body. That's why my soul is in my body and your soul in yours.
* The soul is the "electronic manual" of the physical body with a genetic imprint at birth. The body gives the soul form and energy - so the latter becomes "alive". A person's "self" (why me is me) evolves through a process of self conceptualization and realization that renders him/her the ability to decode meanings and distinguish self from non-self.
* The human soul might exist outside of the Newtonian universe in a form that the author cannot prove or disprove.
Friday, April 06, 2007
This discussion paper will attempt to answer my blogger friend Vicky's February 20, 2007 questions (see note 1): Why my soul is in this body? Why me is me? Obviously, these are existential questions that have been asked countless times since the beginning of human existence and the author does not pretend to have woken up one day and Eureka! found the answer. Rather, I would attempt to do a diagnostique of two human conditions whereby the readers could perhaps draw their own conclusions.
THE TWO HUMAN CONDITIONS
Before I present the two human conditions, I would like to first of all draw your attention to the two key words in Vicky's questions: Soul and Me. For thousand of years, both religious and non-religious studies have pointed to the existence of a "soul" which could be a separate or separable entity apart from the physical body. A recent movie even suggested that a human soul might have a certain weight in grams. However, the concept of "me" is more encompassing in that when we say "me" or "I", we usually refer to both the thinking part as well as the movable parts - the body that "houses" the former. Here, we are talking about a concept, who I am, as opposed to an entity, what it is.
The two human conditions I would like to present are: Autism and Blindness (see note 2).
In layman's terms, autism is the "inability" (from the point of view of a society's majority) of an individual to interact with the people around him/her in a "normal" manner. I use quotation marks for two reasons:
* The definitions of disability and what is normal are often value-based as opposed to science- and legislation-based (similar example: people's different views on homosexuality).
* The nature and degree of autism across the population is a continuum (e.g. from a habitual daydreamer, to the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man, to a completely non-responsive autistic.)
Similarly, the definition of blindness (visually challenged) follows more or less the same arguments, so I would not repeat them here.
For individuals with extreme autism, the "self" might not exist, or he/she might have a sense of "self" but it is so detached from other members of the society that it is almost like an isolated universe by itself. I call it a sense rather than a concept because this "self" could be a very passive entity, reacting to sounds and external stimuli as opposed to actively seeking and conceptualizing the information available to formulate a higher awareness and gain the ability to distinguish self from non-self. In another word, the sensory faculties are there but the de-coder for meaning is either on a different frequency from the rest of the society or else it is shut off. There is no conceptualization process to make any linkage between the inner "self" (if it exists at all) and the outside world in a meaningful way to the individual and the people around him/her.
On the other hand, a blind person who was born blind will have no initial idea as to how his/her pre-conceived "self" situates in the outside world and relates to other members of the society. I would suggest that the individual, with an acute sense of "self" internally, will want to continuously seek external information to bridge the gap between the inner and outer worlds. The conceptualization becomes a continuous process to adapt, learn and redefine the inner "self" so that it can relate to and present itself to the outside in a way meaningful to the individual and the people around him/her.
1. Original exchange with Vicky: (8:59 下午, 二月 20, 2007 張貼在 Lotus and Cedar) vicky 已針對您的文章「心眼 / In My Mind's Eye」留下新意見：
* Vicky: I also have these questions, why my soul is in this body? why me is me? But i can't figure out.
* Haricot: Good questions !!! When I have time, I will attempt to do a diagnostic on the concept of "self". Don't hold your breath though, as I have been quite busy lately.
2. Williams, D. "Somebody Somewhere - Breaking Free from the World of Autism". ISBN 0385254474. p231 "... The pianist had been blind from early infancy and now had glass eyes. I spoke to him about meaning blind. I talked to him about seeing objects without meaning. He talked to me of depth of meaning without seeing ... ."
Thursday, April 05, 2007
自閉症作家唐娜、威廉姆斯的【此地無人】/ Donna Williams' "Nobody Nowhere - The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic"
Shattered dreams, broken glass,
Echoes of a shattered past,
Too many names strewn about,
The kind that one can live without,
They're the shadows here, within,
That tear apart personality.
(Williams, D. "Nobody Nowhere" ISNB 0-385- 25372-9. p35)
Donna Williams came from a dysfunction family in which the parents fought and bickered and there were plenty of alcohol abuse and beating incidents. The poison environment along with her physiological and psychological pre-dispositions have caused the little girl to become an autistic child. Twenty six years later, as an adult woman, she "woke up" and decided to fight her autism, rediscover her "self" and try to be integrated back into this complicated human society. The book "Nobody Nowhere" is a first-person account of her struggle.
(其它資料: 自閉症兒童家長指南 / Other info: Guide to parents with autistic children
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
In spite of all these or perhaps because of it, I always have this urge to push myself to the limit, to see how far I can go regardless of what people say. I have always been aspired by the Greats of sports: from the Iron Man of Asia 楊傳廣, the legendary Chinese Olympian who recently passed away; to Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera Watson who fell to their deaths while making their bids to climb the 8000 metres plus Himalayan peak Annapurna in 1978; to Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon; and the list could go on.
Over the years, I have learnt to enjoy different sports/exercises, such as basketball (based on my mother's cause-vs-effect theory that the sport could make me grow taller, as "evident" from people who played the game), volleyball, racket ball, bicycling, swimming (open-water, in lakes), sailing (owned a Fireball once), canoeing (still have my aluminium canoe), curling (played third but never skipped), skiing (cross-country, downhill/alpine, and telemark), rock climbing (was leading 5.10 to 5.11 before reaching my limit and took a 35-ft fall on a 500-ft cliff), snowshoeing (love it, especially climbing hills), ice skating (on frozen lakes and canals), and more recently running marathons (just finished my 8th in Rome). But frankly, I am not very good at any of the sports, even by amateur standard. Nonetheless, I continue - humbled but not discouraged by ranking and results, resolved to improve but not paralyzed by a burning desire to compete and win.
And, just like everyone else, including the Greats, I will hit my age yield- or stop-sign at some point and will then have to accept the reality of aging (even though there is this eighty some years old east-Indian marathoner who keeps on breaking records in his age category of one in races). Eventually, I will have to settle for something more gentle on the muscles and joints. But in the mean time, as long as this "bod" of mine is still functioning reasonably well and can still heck the grinding 42.2 Km marathon distance and other physical and mental demands, I will continue to do my personal bests (PBs) in the various sports that I like and enjoy being just an amateur athlete.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
But still, Rome is where my heart resides. Like many foreign visitors to the Eternal City, I was fascinated by and attracted to the many "must-see" tourist spots such the Colosseo and Piazza Spagna. But unlike many tourists, I did not stay in a hotel in the downtown core. I did a lot of running/jogging to visit the different quarters of Rome and even suburbs not frequented by tourists. When I travel, I always like to interact with people in the neighborhood rather than relying on what the tourist department is advertising. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing the latter, and in fact I have done it a lot of times myself, especially when there is not enough time to "go native".
Fortunately, the circumstances in Rome were different and I was able to spend time running all over the cobble-stoned streets of Rome. Some of my fondest memories include the little neighborhood coffee shop where I regularly had my cappuccino and cornetto (the owner always asked me, with a smile in Italian, whether I was out running again), the friendly corner store where I satisfied my materialistic desire for Italian fashion by paying 9 euros each for a dozen of form-fitting shirts (too bad Gucci didn't get my business), the white-hair watch-maker who proudly wrapped up the old style tick-tock watch that he had just sold me (while I was only too aware of the GPS-equipped Garmin digital that I was wearing), and the kind pedestrian in Ottavia who patiently tried to explain in Italian that I was 10 kilometres off-course from La Storta (now I know my left/sinistra from my right/destra). These memories, along with my romantic connection to Rome, will always stay with me for the rest of my life.
Thus, when I was taking these pictures on top of the Cupolone of the Basilica, my emotional self was actually running through the streets of Rome below, covering every cobble stone that might tell me more about the history of the Eternal City and the people that had been living there for thousand of years. And, as I am writing this, my heart is still there staying warmly with the one I love. Cuori in Roma. Acqua in bocca !!!
(from a Secret Admirer)
Sunday, April 01, 2007
在我來說,我的「雄志」就只是完成,故此心理沒有壓力,在我跑的8個馬拉松賽之中,這是我第一次真正享受沿途跑程的風景,而這美麗的羅馬永恒城Eternal City,她也沒有給我失望,讓我跑和看盡了鬥獸場Colosseo、長橢圓形的馬西莫賽馬場Circo Massimo、巴拉蒂諾山丘Palatino、聖保祿大殿Basilica di San Paolo、金字塔Piramide di Caio Cestio、聖彼得廣場Piazza San Pietro、1960年羅馬奧運之主運動場Foro Italico、愛蒂公園Villa Ada、納沃娜廣場Piazza Navona、人民廣場Piazza del Popolo、西班牙廣場Piazza Spagna、特萊威噴泉Fontana di Trevi、厄瑪努爾二世紀念碑Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II等等出名勝地。
賽事完畢,我到附近的一間小食店熱食櫃檯 Tavola Calda,飲了杯咖啡Cappuccino。回想雖然時間比不上在加拿大的好,但是結果成績,仍是在計劃預期之內, 自己盡了能力,沒有走傷,完成了第一個在欧洲長跑的馬拉松。我從心底裡發出了一個微笑,也就付了咖啡賬,離開巿中,帶著愉快滿意的心情回家。