Wednesday, May 30, 2007

河畔小徑 / Path along the river bank

Now that the weather is warmer, I am riding my bike to and from work again. The trip is about 10 K each way if I take the scenic route along the river bank as opposed to taking a shorter commuter route through downtown traffic. I enjoy the exercise as well as the view along the way. The photo here shows an area that I pass by twice a day and as you can tell, I am not the only one using the bike path. There is a whole population of birds that hang out around this neighbourhood and they use the near-by islands as their nesting ground. There are so many birds that I can hear them long before I can see them.

The Canadian goose in the foreground is one of the geese I showed you in a previous blog article. There are other families of geese, as well as drakes and ducks, red-wing black birds, loons, the odd herons and cranes, and of course seagulls, lots and lots of gulls. Apart from my fair feathered friends, I have also seen ground hogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and even signs of otters and beavers in the water.

One may ask what the wildlife survives on. Well, for one thing, there are lots of insects, fish, frogs and clams in that river. The birds also seem to like feeding on the vegetation, grubs and worms on the islands. And, of course, there are always people throwing crumbs of bread at the fowls, although the sign nearby clearly says "Please don't feed the birds".

I must say I always enjoy my bike ride on the path along the river bank, rain or shine. Not only do I save the environment by not taking my car to work, I also have a chance to stay closer to nature (in an urban setting) and enjoy seeing some wildlife that I would have missed if I am not taking a self-propelled mode of transportation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2007年春季馬拉松訓練 (成績) / Marathon Training for Spring 2007 (Outcome)

我在五月六日的網誌,曾說道: 成功的馬拉松賽跑者,正如爬山家一樣,需要有適当的伸縮性和决斷力,能夠分析現實処境,明白利與害的關係,知道自己之目的和限度,然後在進與退之間作一個快擇。想不到,在五月二十八日馬拉松賽跑之日,我所說的竟成事實,給了自己一個意想不到的考驗。

星期六賽事前那晚,我忙著做家務,煮歺用膳之後,收枱洗碗,又將積聚一星期的衣服洗淨,由洗衣机放入乾衣机,忙這忙那,到了半夜才休息,睡了不足四小時就怱怱起床,將運動衣襪放入背囊,沒時間弄食,急急飲了一罐流質早歺liquid breakfast,就叫了的士往馬拉松賽起點。

賽事在七時開始,槍声一起,三千六百九十多個男女健兒,就開始那42.2公里的路程。在大約5公里之後,我肚子畧感不適,但我告訢自己,那只是暫時性的。到了10公里,我知道那罐流質早歺,似乎與我不合。在12公里,無有辦法,要面对現實,犠牲了宝貴的七分鐘時間,與早歺分了手。之後,要作一個决定,就是要加速搶回那七分鐘,還是放棄原定的時間目標time goal,接受一個平庸的個人成績。可幸星期日早上天氣陰涼,氣溫徘徊在攝氏12度左右,对長跑有利,所以我决定選擇前者。心意一决,腳步如飛,42.2公里之後,我不只取回那失去的七分鐘,成績還比原本目標又快了七分鐘,雖然不是我的個人長佳表現Personal Best,但在我參加的八個馬拉松賽中,時間也不算差,比上一次在羅馬跑還快了三十分鐘。

1. 流質早歺是少吃為妙Non, non, pas une bonne chose pour les coureurs
2. 心理可以影響一個人对一件事的看法和做法,如果我一早决定放棄,平庸成績就是意料中事。
3. 沒有錯,我現在兩腿疲倦不堪,但正如Tour de France單車好手Lance Armstrong說:『Pain is memorable, quitting is forever !!』不可信乎?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

情場如戰場 / Je m'en souviens

每次聽到尤雅唱【往事只能回味】,我就回想在香港時,一段失去的情,当時真是傷心,現在也不能忘記,那情永遠都会是我「失落」的一部份。但「失落」只是一個 (如網友「古思哲」說) 『心靈留下的烙印』。無錯,情場如戰場,「掛彩」的机会很高,但結了疤痕之後,就要重新開始,幹嗎?難度在這新時代,還要守活寡,一世做自己懊悔的奴隸?在人生旅途中,舊愛是我們過往的一部份,不能改變,也不能否認。新愛不是取代舊愛,新愛是人生展望將來的開始。而我說的新愛,就不一定是男女戀情,我說的就是对大自然和生命一個新的看法。

Thursday, May 24, 2007

人生挫折 / When life gets tough

有很多時,在死胡同裡,繼續鑽牛角尖不是辦法 ...


There are times when life gets tough and there seems to be no end in sight ...

In a cul de sac -
Grid-locked. A thought:
You too, can you canoe?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

我愛夏日長 / Summer Time ... and the Living is Easy

Just as people are grumbling about the spring that never was, Environment Canada announces a high of 30 degrees C for tomorrow. This is good news for the locals as the weather has been mostly cool for the last three months, with night-time lows sometimes dipping into the single digit. People living in the Great White North do like the fact that we have four distinct seasons with very different sceneries. However, we do feel cheated if there is no respite from the long cold winter. So, here is to warmer weather with a folk song from the deep south ...

Summer Time

Summer time, and the livin' is easy.
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high.
Oh, yo' daddy's rich,
An' yo' mama's good-looking,
So hush little baby, don't you cry.

One of these mornin's, you goin' rise up singin'.
Then you'll spread yo' wings an' you'll take the sky.
But till that mornin', there's nothin' gonna harm you,
With yo' Daddy and Mammy, standin' by.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

籠鳮有食湯鍋近,野鶩無糧天地寬 / Born Free

Several days ago, I watched an old movie called "Born Free" in which the main characters raised three orphan cubs, sent two to the zoos, but eventually set the third one free. It was a real story that spoke, in essence, against animals in captivity.

After watching the movie, I wonder whether the same concept applies to humans. Sometimes, we can be our own captives because of our inability or unwillingness to shift our paradigm on career, relationship, materialistic goods, etc. I am not advocating running into the wild, living "off the grid" like a hermit, or turning ourselves into Buddhist monks/nuns. The majority of us need to earn a living to sustain the basic necessities of life, support our families, and seek meanings in life. I am talking about people who hate their jobs, feel entrapped in unhealthy or abusive relationships, or cannot get off the materialistic treadmills. There are so many excuses for not making changes in life that they remain in that state of perpetual despair and eventually grind themselves to a miserable halt.

As the Chinese saying goes:

『籠鳮有食湯鍋近』 The caged chicken is so preoccupied with the daily feed, that it does not notice the boiling water near-by.

『野鶩無糧天地寬』 The wild duck is not guaranteed its daily meals, but it is free to fly all over the world.

In closing, I would like to share with you the lyric of the theme song of "Born Free".

Born free, as free as the wind blows,
As free as the grass grows,
Born free to follow your hearts.

Live free, and beauty surrounds you,
The world still astounds you,
Each time you look at the stars.

Stay free, where no walls divide you,
You're free as a roaring tide,
So there's no need to hide.

Born free, and life is worth living,
But only worth living 'cause you're born free.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Canada Goose / 雁行成数, 北雁南飛, 魚雁常通 (攝映图片:小鵝的家庭)

Canada Goose / 雁行成数, 北雁南飛, 魚雁常通 (攝映图片: 父母和七隻雁兒)

雁行成数, 北雁南飛, 魚雁常通 (文章) / Canada Geese

住在楓葉國,每年春季和秋季,舉頭望上天空,都可以看到上百的加拿大野雁,飛越南北的「移民航線」 migratory routes,記得最看得多的一次,是在魁北克省Province of Quebec的Cap Tourmente野生保護区,環境部官員估計,那脕上有接近一萬五千隻的 Canada geese在那処聚集。野雁的「續航力」很強,可以不停十六小時,在三千公尺高空,用快速的氣流風 tail wind幫助,飛几近一千六百公里的旅途才停下來休息。加拿大野雁的飛行領域很廣闊,由北極圈 Arctic Circle至美國中南部,但也有些在冬天飛往英倫三島及其它欧洲城巿避寒。

加拿大野雁Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 大約有分七種類 sub species,每隻成年的雁,平均重量是三至九公斤 kilograms,展翼一百三十至一百七十公寸 centimetres。雌和雄外表都沒大分別,它們佩偶之後,就多是一父一妻制,同偕白首二十五年多的壽命。一对野雁每年生約八隻疍,但不是每一個都有生存机会,如我昨天攝映图片所示,有一個家庭有七隻雁兒,但另一对父母卻只得一隻孤苦零丁的獨生小鵝gosling。但無論是七隻還是一隻,那做父母的總是寸步不離。

以前香港人好飲好食,我們孩子們聽人說起「鵝」,就大流口水,只会想起燒爉舖的脆皮鵝,和潮州店的滷水鵝,但現在提到goose,腦海就聯想起: 『雁行成数』, 『北雁南飛』, 『魚雁常通』的意思,是不是我的環保意識增強,還是自己对人生的覌念比較以前成熟一點,那就不知道了。

Thursday, May 17, 2007

無憂無慮的童年 / Golden Childhood Years

I took a snap shot of these two boys swinging on the tree. In the picture, they seem to be so care free and enjoy their present so much. Sure, the parents will eventually spoil the fun by announcing "It's time to go home!" But in the mean time, who cares! They are having a good time to see who can swing the highest and hang upside down the longest. So, what if one falls off and scrapes the knees. Big deal!! Unlike adults, they are willing to take some risks and even hurt a little, and in no time they will bounce right back. Yes, those precious, golden childhood years !!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

樹林邊緣 / L'orée du bois

I must say I had some difficulties writing the last series of articles, not because of the complexity of the subject matter, or the analysis required to substantiate my point of view, but rather, because of my indecision throughout as to whether I should be focusing on the trees (the examples) or the forest (the overall concepts) - a classical faux pas of not being able to tell the trees from the forest. I managed to finish the three articles, after switching back and forth a little bit, and essentially ended up somewhere in between. Hopefully, I have brought the readers to the edge of the wood / l'orée du bois, where you are not far from the trees, and yet can still see the forest.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

对『目的、旅程、手段』概念作一個分析 / Examining the Concept of 'Means' and 'End'


1. It is a means to an end. / The means is the end. / The end justifies the means. 這三個英文概念寫法雖然相近,但应用和意思卻大有分別。
2. 在行動之前,应該清楚目的、旅程、手段的聯系性。
3. 如果目的是重要,就要分析和選擇適当的手段或方法。
4. 如果旅程就是目的,那就要注視現實發展,珍惜每一分秒。
5. 如果您仍在戀愛中,那就儘量享受那旅程罷!


To read the first part of this series, please click here:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

对『目的、旅程、手段』概念作一個分析 / Examining the Concept of 'Means' and 'End'

例二: 「為求目的, 不擇手段」 / The End Justifies the Means

今晚重看1972年,由馬龍白蘭度Marlon Brando領銜主演的舊电影【教父】The Godfather / Le Parrain,之後想到劇中的人物,很多都是屬於「為求目的,不擇手段」那類人。有人或許会說,那只不過是电影故事,但如果我們搜索世界歷史,無論中外遠近, The end justifies the means的例子就多得很。

在環保方面,仍然有很多國際企業,以投資為名,賺錢為實,專在沒有染污法例的「第三世界」Third World設廠。在先進或發展國家,在有权有勢的階層中,因貪污被受審的大有人在。最駭人聽聞的,就是最近某恐怖份子用的手段,以孩子作掩護和犧牲品,來達成襲擊傷亡之目的。如果以2007年的新聞,和1972年的故事比較,結論就是現實是比虛構的還要殘酷。


1. 任何一個人、一個机構團体、或一個國家,都可以找有一個「無懈可擊」之目的和理由 (我要養活家庭、我們要維護投資者利益、我國要保偉宗敎信仰國家安全等等),來辯証他或他們所選擇的行動或手段,是正確、正義、和沒有犯錯的。

2. 但問題就是: 什么是「正确」手段?什么是「不擇」手段? Does the end justify the means?


Friday, May 11, 2007

对『目的、旅程、手段』概念作一個分析 / Examining the Concept of 'Means' and 'End'

例一: 結婚是戀愛的墳墓 / Honeymoon is Over My Dear


如此說來,前者就是利用手段、方法、或計謀來達到結婚目的 A means to an end。而後者也是達到同樣目的,但他們的旅程仍在繼續,換句話說,那旅程本身已演變成為他們之目的 The means becomes the end !!! 表面上,兩者似乎都是殊途同歸,結婚生子,但痛苦快樂之分別,也就是他們自己知道了。


1. 以結婚生子為目的, 戀愛就只是一個手段。目的達到後,有些人会『過橋抽板」,不付責任,什至另結新欢。A means to an end.

2. 以快樂為目的,戀愛就是一個旅程。結婚生子也就是這旅程的一部份,但不是目的。The means is the end.

(下續) Please click here:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

影響和說服力 / The Power of Influence and Persuasion

In our society, we are often bombarded by TV programs that portrait itself as reality; advertisements that tell us to shop till we drop; and opinions that are presented as the truth, and nothing but the truth. At the same time, we learn from our judicial system that some people at the top rung of our society, who once had the power of influence and persuasion, are being prosecuted for fraud and inappropriate behaviours that, surprise surprise, were largely driven by greed.

There is no doubt that one of the most valued competencies of CEOs and senior executives is their ability to exert the power of influence and persuasion. They all have the skills and techniques to rally the troops, secure buy-in from stakeholders, and fuel the fire of our desire to take actions. Ironically, these same people are also the most discipline when it comes to keeping their own emotions in check. Strategies and decisions are often based on cold calculated logic that is devoid of any so-called irrational thinking.

However, what often seems to lack in these modern day executives is what I call the value-and-ethic factor which, if used properly, will complement their leadership competencies and, more importantly, guide their ambitions in the achievement of personal and organizational goals. Here I am not talking about charity or philanthropy, but rather the corporate responsibility of protecting the public good and societal assets. For those who have the power of influence and persuasion, they have a responsibility to maintain public trust by attesting to their strong moral fabric within the legal framework of the society. Public trust is a society asset, without which, our cohesion will weaken.

燃燒別人的情緒, 靠技巧;
冷卻自己的思想, 靠修養;
維護大家的信任, 靠公德。

(Reference/Acknowledgement: The above was written based on some high-profile stories on the front-pages of Canadian newspaper in 2007, as well as a chance review of three articles “我對直銷的一些想法” posted on June 28, 2006 by the authour of “The Bryan Way”. I took the liberty of quoting the first two lines from the said blog and added the third line here to round-out my thoughts.)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2007年春季馬拉松訓練 / Marathon Training for Spring 2007

I just began Week #16 of my 18-week marathon training program. Today's long run was 20.8 miles and I felt all right after. From here on, I would decrease the training mileage and give my body a chance to recover. The upcoming running marathon will be my 2nd this year and 8th overall.

Training for cross-country skiing or running marathons takes up a lot of a person's time. One really has to plan four to five months ahead, set personal goals, be very discipline (rain, snow or shine), spend hours on week-days and week-ends skiing or running, monitor injuries and progress, and be willing to change goals when circumstances change. The last part is the most difficult. It's a bit like mountaineering when, within sight of the summit, a decision has to be made to go on, take a lesser objective, or turn back. It's often a battle between the heart (I must succeed) and the head (but what are the risks and at what price). Just like our journey in life, marathon training is constantly a balancing act and a judgement call; and more often than not, the end does not justify the means, especially when there is a high risk of lingering injuries.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

浣熊 / Raccoon

Last night, a couple who were strolling on the street knocked on the door and told me there was a raccoon on my roof. I stepped outside into the cool night, and sure enough, there it was, perching underneath a niche in between two roof lines, pretending that it was part of the house. In the dim moonlight, the animal appeared to look more like an oversized fat cat. It must weigh around 8 kg and measure maybe 80 cm long. Although it was motionless, it never took its eyes off me. Raccoons are extremely smart and mischievous animals. They are known to use their pair of 'thumbs' (though not opposable like human) to open up lidded garbage cans, closed containers, and even latched doors in search for food. Raccoons are omnivores and are known to go after small birds and animals, and of course, vegetable in people's garden.

For fear that my uninvited guest might chew through the shingles or the sidings of the house and move in with me, I climbed onto the roof and tried to scare it off. You should have seen the ensuing human vs raccoon race around the roof. In the end, the raccoon, with its four legs, better night vision, dexterity, and intelligence (although I would rather call it animal instinct), won the chase. Given that it was getting late and knowing the raccoon's strategy was trying to make me fall off the roof, I admitted defeat and left it on the roof. I was sure it would find its way back down from the roof into my backyard where it would go back and had a good laugh with its family. Didn't I tell you there are lots of bloggers with names like 'coons' or 'raccoon furs' on the Internet?

* Photo credit: 維基百科 Wikipedia

* References on 浣熊 / Raccoons:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

七十二行: 寫字楼後生 (五、六) / 72 Occupations: Office Boy (Part 5 & 6)

(五) 暑假告別

我在「火麒麟」做了一個暑假,九月返回中學,繼續我的學業。在臨辭行之前,我和阿Don 往吃最後的一歺「百鳥歸巢」,之後我們就各散東西,失了聯絡,也不知道他能否實現他入大學的願望。在那短短数月中,我初嘗了香港「打工仔」的生涯,除學了很多謀生哲理和技能之外,我也很髙興和自傲,第一次能夠以自己的勞力,賺到一點薪金,人工雖低,但那是我成長獨立的分水線。

(六) 父親的秘密

很多年之後,我和父親談起我第一份自己賺錢的暑期工。我說:『打工仔生涯,真不是易做。当年我雖然是低薪的寫字楼後生,但卻從未有【為五斗米而折腰】,我賺的錢,完全是靠我自己勞力賺來的。』父親聽後不發一言,望著我很久,內心好像有很大掙扎,終於他下了個决定,用慢和沈重的語調說:『你還記得中學的時侯,你是無韁之馬, 我和母親都很担心你暑假無所事事,誤入岐途,所以用人事關係,為你找了一份寫字楼後生工作, 你在「火麒麟」的薪金完全是我付的。』


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