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 !!!

A Ford Galaxie 500 4-door sedan that was once a police car

* Wikipedia

(... 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)

* Photo Credit:,_Alberta
* Province of Alberta:
* City of Grande Prairie:

Monday, October 29, 2007


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

(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


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



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.



(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: ;
* Chinese translation of Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad" 田含章中文翻譯ISBN 9867291743 :
* Globe and Mail review:

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


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:

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: )
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