Monday, March 28, 2011

依賴電腦核子等髙科技的摩登時代 / Modern Life & Technology Crashes

Several weeks ago, T's laptop crashed and so K and I offered him the use of our desktop until such time when he could afford a new one.

Laptops are not cheap here in Ottawa. The mid-price range is abt $500-700 and if you add Microsoft Office, antivirus, expanded memory, extended warranty, etc, plus the 13% HST (harmonized sales tax) on top of everything, you are looking at abt CAD$1,200. Assuming your marginal income tax rate is 33%, it means you need to earn $1,800 to buy that laptop. Ouch !!! Can one live without a computer?

On Saturday I received an urgent text message saying S couldn't turn on his new laptop. Luckily, Best Buy was able to fix the problem for abt CAD$100 parts and labour - it was the power supply. Money aside, S was only too happy that the computer had not crashed and that he did not lose his data.

Presently I am typing this article on my BlackBerry and I will send it wireless for posting onto Blogger. But what if the BB crashes, my desktop computer stops working, and the Blogger server shuts down? With the loss of hardware, software, personal data, and external internet links, can I go back and live a 'primary life' without modern technologies? Or will the new reality remain just a shadow of my 'secondary life' past?

And the last time I checked, the nearest nuclear facility is at Chalk River, upstream of Ottawa's water supply.

I think I better start learning how to collect rain water, grow vegetable and raise chickens in the backyard. Okay, I will trade you 180 chickens for one laptop, battery included.
Sent from BlackBerry

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Canada's Federal Budget is Going to be Defeated

With the NDP leader pointing his thumb down and siding with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois, a federal election on May 2nd or 9th is almost a certainty.

Haricot

Sent from BlackBerry

從社交接吻談起:「第一次」 / Social Kiss: My "First Time"


我初來加拿大的時候,对社交接吻型式一竅不通,第一次被「洋女」主動擁抱,我實在是有點手足無措,她和我是半生半熟的朋友,我当然不打算親嘴,以免被嫌「乘机索油」,但如果不是「救生員」式接吻,那么是輕吻她的腮子,還是熱貼她的臉兒?是先左後右,還是先右後左?我的「第一次社交」真是雞手鴨腳,像徵式蜻蜓點水半秒鐘,耳根一下子也就紅透了。現在我回想当時情景,真是覺得好笑!!

不過做人總有「第一次」:

第一次上學: 是在灣仔晏頓街XX兒童書院。

第一次逃學: 初中「較腳」往戲院看下午場。

第一次粗口: 在灣仔舊楼板間房內和弟弟學人「炒蝦拆蟹」。

第一次抽煙: 在中環卜公碼頭上層學人吸「雲絲頓」。

第一次留堂: 卸責沒有往聖士提反女子中學練歌,被挍長記過留堂 。

第一次賺錢: 在中環「麒麟公司」做寫字楼後生,之後才知道「人工」是父親貼錢支付。

第一次蝕錢: 黃金 one troy ounce 買入 $400, 賣出 $350 。

第一次拍拖: 放學後和文理書院女友在大会堂附近「拖手仔」。

第一次接吻: 開完派对後送女友回家,在「李寳龍臺」街燈下。

讀者看了我上列的(不)光榮史,可能会問: 『你的第二次又是怎樣?』 就像接吻一樣,人生每一個階段的開始,第一次總是充滿好奇和幻想。如果是悲劇,第一次就像燒紅了的刀子,在腦子留下了一個難忘的烙印。所以明白了事情發展的去向,我們第二次是会比第一次熟練,又或者根本就沒有第二次。

References:

「李寳龍臺」 -- place of my first kiss, still remember it after all these years ... I wonder where she is now. * Wikipedia / 西環七臺: ".... 西環七臺是香港堅尼地城的一個歷史悠久的住宅區和街道群,東為李寶龍路,西為山市街。堅尼地城在填海前,房屋依山而建,而在山上開墾用作建屋的平地稱為「臺」。西環七臺約有70至80年的歷史,七臺分別為太白臺、羲皇臺、青蓮臺、桃李臺、學士臺、李寶龍臺和紫蘭臺。 ... 這些臺的名字跟中國唐朝詩人李白有關,原因是該住宅區的地產商李寶龍十分鍾愛李白之故。而後人為了紀念這位地產商,住宅區於另一邊的街道被命名為李寶龍路,其中一個臺則命名為李寶龍臺。..."

* Wikipedia / 李寶龍路 (photo credit)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

日本天災人禍之「蝴蝶夫人」 / Disasters in Japan: Madame Butterfly

我以前的同屋多年前搬了去日本住,在那処和千葉美女結婚生女,加日友好,樂也融融。 但最近仙台地區的地震海嘯,和發電廠連續發生的核子爆炸,實在令他对下代的健康擔心不了,回歸之念頓然萌生。他很想帶年幼的女兒回加拿大,逃避幅射塵染污之險,無夸扶桑國民族本性倔强,倫理覌念又和楓葉國大有分別,他的「蝴蝶夫人」就是要和女兒留在千葉老家,和她父母家庭共存共亡。友人愛妻心切,但又感到要保護半加裔的女兒,現正是心急如焚,不知如何是好!

異國情鴦有兩個「老家」,但未成年的孩子呢?当有天災人禍,意外緊急,要决定去留的時候,他∕她們又是屬於那一個老家?異族通婚,兩囗子除了要真誠相愛之外,還額外需要互相明白大家文化背景的分別,盡量遷就,把男女關係放在一個平衡的支點上。但有了子女之後,這個支點承擔的壓力是加重了,平衡是傾斜了,孩子在日常家庭生活中佔了一個很重要的地位。

老同屋向我吐苦水,但我這個外人除了給他精神上的支持之外,又能夠給他什麼意見去說服「蝴蝶夫人」呢?!


註: 「蝴蝶夫人」只是借用語,我当然不希望他們悲劇收場。

Photo Credit:

* TravelPod: Madame Butterfly - Chinese temple in Nagasaki

* Wikipedia / Japan * Woodblock print of 「冨嶽三十六景 神奈川沖浪裏」 [Fugaku Sanjūrokkei - Kanagawa oki nami ura, "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji - The Great Wave off Kanagawa"]; First publication was between 1826 and 1833.

Note: The artist name is Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849); signature top left reads 「北斎改爲一筆」 [Hokusai aratame Iitsu hitsu, "by Iitsu, formerly known as Hokusai"]

Friday, March 18, 2011

对日本的天災人禍,大地震,怒海嘯,核輻射有想/Some thoughts on the fall-out from Japan's recent natural and man-made disasters: earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear radiation



最近在日本發生的一連串不幸事件,其嚴重情度不單止令人震驚, 舉世觸目,而且還引出了一些很不友善丶「連鎖反應」式的反日情緒。

我在香港長大時,耳濡目染,看了很多例如【財叔】丶【三毛】丶【精武門】等 抗日故事,聽了不少長者憶錄在三年零八個月中經歷的慘况,而自己也曾經支持「保衛釣魚台」運動,所以在離港時實在是对 「蘿白頭」沒有什麼好感。

但過到來北美之後,發覺有很多膚淺的「鬼佬」(嘿嘿,白種人統稱!),根本就看不出唐人丶日本人丶和其他亞洲人的分別,總之黃皮黑髪的就是偷襲珍珠港的「日寇」,或是在北韓或北越森林的「共匪」敵人。喊呀! 我這個中國人可不是從扶桑丶越南丶或朝鮮移民來的!!

多年之後,我經歷了中西文化的交流冲擊,西方文化的洗禮浸染,飽受明顯或暗藏的種族歧視,明白了『世間剃頭者,人亦剃其頭』的道理。請不要誤解,我仍对日本軍國主义者沒什好感,但這並不代表我就要醜化所有日本人,对喪失家人的平民幸災樂禍,对受輻射威脅的生環者落井下石。

所以每当我聽到有人說: 『不要救援幫助那些侵華的倭人。』或做謠生事說: 『地震海嘯是日本人自作孽,秘密在海底爆炸核武器所做成,而核電廠堆芯熔毀是他們特意自製的陰謀,用來掩飾核試洩漏出來的幅射。』 我懇告這些種族主义者: 『日本軍國主义有罪,但請不要醜化和歧視那些無辜的孤兒寡婦及倖存平民。』 並懇請勿忘我們中國人優良的傳統道德:『己所不欲,勿施於人』!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

幽默: 外交關係政策萬花筒 ∕ Foreign Relations Policy - A Tongue-in-Cheek Peek Through the Kaleidoscope

The following is something from "Crouching Tiger" aka 臥虎 on foreign relations policy (don't miss the related links and references listed at the end!!):

" ...... While conversing with my friends or surfing on the Internet, I observe that people's foreign policy views can be as diverse, colorful, and at times diametrically opposite as the shifting pieces in a kaleidoscope. So, here is a quick tongue-in-cheek peek:

The Ugly Americans: Whatever the US supports, we oppose!!

The Asian Boss: We will do whatever it takes to thump the Americans and become the global economic and political power house.

The Empire Builders: What is mine is mine. What's yours will be mine (I mean yours but I am controlling it). We especially like joint ventures to develop your resources (I mean your economy).

The Free Traders: We believe in trade liberalization and investment sans frontier. So what if our transnational corporations protect their own interests by supporting an oppressive regime. In the end, better economy will benefit the poor there too (we think).

Wide Eyes Shut: I will go to bed with you (with my wide eyes open). As to your atrocities, I see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing (with my wide eyes shut).

Straightly God-sent: 9/11 is God punishing this faggot-infested country. The Westboro Baptist Church will protest wherever and whenever we want. Our members want to rid the world of homosexuals (who cares about wars, starvation, or little girl's funeral!!).

The Bully: Do what I say or I will shoot you knee-cap and hurt your sister. No, that's not our official foreign policy. Ask the big guy in the shade there if you want to find out.

The Multilateralists: We strongly condemn your action and we will hold an emergency session to talk about it all night long. Tomorrow, we will release a Press Release - that is after everyone has agreed on the wording of our joint statement, or a watered down version thereof.

The Unilateralists: You're either with us, or against us.

The Red Necks: Nuke 'em!!!

The Conspiracy Crowd: Obama is Muslim!

The McCarthy Crowd: We are fighting foreign infiltrations and threats. Now answer me: Are you, or have you ever been a member of....

The Learning Channel host: All foreign policies should be vetted through Alaska where we can see Russia.

Sleeping with the Elephant/Donkey: Our foreign policy is perfectly aligned with the 49th parallel. We strive to keep that border open, permeable but not porous!!!

The Bleeding Hearts: Come one, come all!! We treat everyone equal, those who are in line and those who jump the queue.

The Money Solution: Pour in more financial aid please!!

Training the Trainers: We are sending embedded military advisers to train the local soldiers. This is not our war (quote, unquote from Robert McNamara's Vietnam past).

The Humanitarian Priority: We are there to build schools and hospitals and to improve gender equality. In return, our strong men in the developing world promise their political alignments and voting support at the UN. What politically tied aid?

And finally, Out of Alberta: North-South trade relationship takes priority over East-West politics. Sorry, Calgary!!

I am sure if you shake your foreign-policy kaleidoscope from time to time, you will come up with something completely different!! And isn't that how speech writers come up with Talking Points for their bosses?

True to northern tradition, I apologize profusely if I have offended anyone in my rant. ....."

Notes from Haricot:
* I hope you share Crouching Tiger's kaleidoscopic insight and sense of humour :O
* I have added some links (below) that are somewhat related to 臥虎's points.

Related links / References:

* The Ugly Americans
"... The Ugly American is the title of a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. ...The novel takes place in a fictional nation called Sarkhan (an imaginary country in Southeast Asia that somewhat resembles Burma or Thailand, but which is meant to allude to Vietnam) ... and describes the United States' losing struggle against Communism - what was later to be called the battle for hearts and minds in Southeast Asia, because of innate arrogance and the failure to understand the local culture. The title is actually a double entendre, referring both to the physically unattractive hero, Homer Atkins, and to the ugly behavior of the American government employees. In the novel, a Burmese journalist says "... A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They're loud and ostentatious." Ultimately, the phrase "ugly Americans" comes to be applied to Americans behaving in this manner, while the positive contributions of the Homer Atkins character are forgotten. ... The story of this novel was made into a film in 1963 starring Marlon Brando as Ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite...." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ugly_American)

* 『凡是敵人反对的我們就贊成,凡是敵人贊成的我們就反对』
是1967年香港暴動左派的口號,源自中國文化大革命〈毛主席語錄〉: 『凡是敵人反對的,我們就要擁護;凡是敵人擁護的,我們就要反對。下定決心,不怕犧牲,排除萬難,去爭取勝利。』
(1967 Hong Kong Riot Slogans: http://chrisleung1954.mysinablog.com/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=2159665 )
(1967 Hong Kong Riot video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k72kXzx_2XE)

* "You're either with us, or against us." or variations thereof has been repeated by many, including then US President George W Bush.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_either_with_us,_or_against_us )

*
The Westboro Baptist Church:
" 美國堪薩斯州的威斯特布路浸信會(Westboro Baptist Church),由弗雷德•菲尔普斯(Fred Phelps)創立,成員大部份是創立者菲尔普斯的親人,是一家族教會。威斯特布路浸信會沒有與美國任何浸信會組織有聯繫。威斯特布路浸信會有一個叫 God hate fags 的網站 ...
* On May 14, 2008, two days after the deadly 2008 Sichuan earthquake, WBC issued a press release thanking God for the heavy loss of life in China, and praying "for many more earthquakes to kill many more thousands of impudent and ungrateful Chinese" ... In January 2011, Westboro announced that they would picket the funeral of Christina Green, a 9-year-old victim of the 2011 Tucson shooting. ... In relation to the war in Iraq, a WBC flier says "in His retaliatory rage God is killing Americans with Muslim IEDs ... The Church believes that Barack Obama is the Antichrist, and that he forms an Unholy Trinity with Satan and Pope Benedict XVI, who they believe is the False Prophet. ..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church)

* Evelyn Beatrice Hall, (1868 - 1919?): "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Beatrice_Hall )

* "Nuke'em !!" was a popular phase during the Cold War Era (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Strangelove )

* Obama is Muslim:
Talk radio host Mark Williams, a leader in the populist Tea Party protest movement, described Obama as an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" in remarks on his blog. When Williams appeared on the CNN show Anderson Cooper 360 in September 2009, he was asked if he really believed these statements, and he responded: “He's certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country, what else can I conclude?”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_religion_conspiracy_theories)

* McCarthyism:
"... In December 2010, US Congressman Peter King (R-NY) announced that when he became chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee he would hold hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims. Despite saying,"The overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding citizens," he also claims that Islamic clerics are telling their congregations to ignore extremism. King cites Justice Department statistics show that over the past two years fifty U.S. citizens have been charged with major acts of terrorism, and all fifty individuals were motivated by radical Islamic ideologies. The first hearing, held on March 10, 2011, was entitled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response...” "... Organisers say hearing is vital to US security, but critics say it raises spectre of McCarthy witch-hunts ..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mcarthyism )
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_T._King#Radicalization_hearings )

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/10/AR2011031002045.html )(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/10/muslim-hearings-peter-king-us-congress )

* Sarah Palin's Foreign Policy Experience:
".... The initial 40-minute session aired September 24 and 25, 2008. Sarah Palin and (TV journalist) Katie Couric discussed Rick Davis and the economy. Palin defended her comments on how Alaska's proximity to Russia enhanced her foreign policy experience:
COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign-policy experience. What did you mean by that?
PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land — boundary that we have with — Canada. It, it’s funny that a comment like that was — kind of made to cari — I don’t know. You know. Reporters —
COURIC: Mocked?
PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.
COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.
PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our— our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia—
COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We— we do— it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where— where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is— from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to— to our state. ..."
(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin_interviews_with_Katie_Couric)

* Sarah Paulin as The Learning Channel TLC's Alaska reality-show host: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin%27s_Alaska

* Sleeping with the elephant:
'"... Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau often called up the old metaphor that being America's neighbour, 'is like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, if one can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt'.... "
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_%E2%80%93_United_States_relations )

* The Bleeding Hearts:
This could refer to the policy issue associated with managing legitimate and illegitimate refugee claimants arriving at our door steps.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displaced_person )

* The Money Solution:
This could refer to the provision of financial and other forms of foreign aid without considering its effectiveness, efficiency, long-term sustainability, and the probability of achieving foreign policy objectives and results.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_aid )

* Robert McNamara 羅伯特•麥克納馬拉:
"... During President John F. Kennedy's term, while McNamara was Secretary of Defense, America's troops in Vietnam increased from 900 to 16,000 advisers, who were not supposed to engage in combat but rather to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. ..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_McNamara#Vietnam_War )
(Robert S McNamara, "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam", ISBN 0-8129-2523-8, 1995)
(http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/64642-1 - one hour long)
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHdMeHxDg90&feature=related)


* Foreign Aid:
" .... 外援 (或稱援助) 指國際政治上,特別是經濟上的,對某國或社群提供協助以解決人道危機或達成社經目的。經濟上的援助常分贈予及借貸兩類。外援除了政府與政府間的援助外,近年來國際組織及非政府組織也有不少的外援計劃。面對不同的狀態,人道救援指的主要是處理意外或災難的抒困及救助。而 發展基金 旨在創造永續的經濟發展以改善社經狀態。..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aid )

* Tied Aid:
" ... Motivations for tying aid: In the OECD report The Tying of Aid, it was found that the motivations for tying aid were both economical and political. From the economic point of view, the donor country aims to raise its own exports. However, the study found that the exports related to tied aid were minimal. ... The Tying of Aid thus concluded that the more important reason for the practice was political. Historical relations, trade relationships, geopolitical interests and cultural ties, all are examples of the political motivations behind the tying of aid ... donors support countries with which they have, or hope to have, strong ties. ..."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tied_aid)

* Canadian International Development Agency CIDA: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_International_Development_Agency )

* Canada's Foreign Relations / DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada-US_border )
(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada-US_Free_Trade_Agreement )
(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Canada )
(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Foreign_Affairs_and_International_Trade)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

中産勞動階層的購物商場 / Shopping Mall for Middle, Working Class Folks

This is one of the shopping centres along Ottawa's Merivale Road which is dotted with strip malls. I often sit on this spot before/after going for a workout in the YMCA gym upstairs.

The mall traffic is slow this Sunday afternoon, with more ppl shopping for groceries than buying clothes from Go-Pals. You won't find any high-end goods in this little store. Most are imports from Bangladesh and other developing countries. The sign in front of me, in an attempt to entice the frugal shoppers and those who are tight on their family budget, shouts loudly: "Buy One Get One 50% Off !!"

The ppl walking past by me are mostly ordinary, working class folks: men wearing jeans and baseball caps, women wearing non-brand name ski jackets with toddlers in tow, ear-budded teens with worn-out pack-sacs busy texting to friends, retired seniors walking slowly and aimlessly/purposely on canes.

You won't see any newly-rich or flesh-and-flash types in this mall. This is where you meet the Joe's and Josephine's of main street. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-rich. But as my HK blogger friend Fresh Designer pointed out, it's important to be in touch with reality (see his comments posted at "不為五斗米折腰 / Speak Truth to Power")

And this mall is part and parcel of that reality.

Photo credit:
I took the above photo with my mobile device

Sent from BlackBerry

Friday, March 11, 2011

微軟視窗7家用進階版作業系統: 用拼音或IME手寫板輸入中文(繁體)字 / Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition: How to input Chinese using Pinyin, or the IME Hand-writing Pad



我自從在電腦安裝了微軟視窗7家用進階版作業系統 (Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition Operating System) 之後, 以為是要多化錢買Professional Edition專業版 或 旗艦版 Ultimate Edition 才可以輸入中文。可幸在網上看到了YouTube user Caiscompuer 的提示,轉憂為喜,學識了怎樣用拼音或IME手寫板輸入中文(繁體)字。為了大家方便,我在此將安裝方法寫下,与各位分享。(註: 如果您想知道怎樣安裝微軟視窗作業系統XP的繁体中文輸入法手寫字盤,請參考下面的相關鏈接。)

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition Operating System: How to input Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan) using Pinyin, or the IME Hand-writing Pad

Step 1: Go to CONTROL PANEL, select REGION AND LANGUAGE, select KEYBOARDS AND LANGUAGES, select CHANGE KEYBOARDS. You now have the menu TEXT SERVICES AND INPUT LANGUAGES.

Step 2: Choose GENERAL. Your DEFAULT INPUT LANGUAGE is listed, e.g. ENGLISH (CANADA) - US. Now, under INSTALLED SERVICES, click ADD. The ADD INPUT LANGUAGE menu pops up. From the check-box, select CHINESE (TRADITIONAL, TAIWAN), click the +KEYBOARD sign below it, select CHINESE (TRADITIONAL) - NEW PHONETIC or whatever your preferred input language, click OK on the top-right, you are back to the GENERAL tab of the TEXT SERVICES AND INPUT LANGUAGES menu.

Step 3: Under INSTALLED SERVICES, the box should now show an added language: CH CHINESE (TRADITIONAL, TAIWAN)/KEYBOARD/CHINESE (TRADITIONAL) - NEW PHONETIC. Click on NEW PHONETIC, then click PROPERTIES on the right side of the box. The MICROSOFT NEW PHONETIC IME 10.1 SETTINGS menu pops up. Click the KEYBOARD tab, and choose HANYU PINYIN as your preferred keyboard layout. Click OK at the bottom. You are back to the TEXT SERVICES AND INPUT LANGUAGES/GENERAL menu. Click OK again and again till you return to REGION AND LANGUAGE/KEYBOARDS AND LANGUAGES and eventually back to the CONTROL PANEL.

Step 4: You are now done with installation. Let's see how everything works. Open up a software (e.g. Microsoft Word) where you need to input Chinese. On the task bar (usually at the bottom of the screen), click the LANGUAGE BAR. You should see two input languages popped up for your selection: EN ENGLISH (CANADA) and also CH CHINESE (TRADITIONAL, TAIWAN). Click on the latter and a new LANGUAGE BAR shows up. Click on CHINESE (TRADITIONAL) -US KEYBOARD, then choose CHINESE (TRADITIONAL) - NEW PHONETIC. Now, bring the cursor to where you need to input Chinese and start typing pinyin with the keyboard. But if you want to input Chinese by hand-writing, click on TOOL MENU, then click on IME PAD. The pad pops up and you can start inputting/writing Chinese with the mouse !!!

Voila!!!

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Links to other related lotusandcedar blog articles:

* 微軟視窗作業系統XP的中文輸入法 ∕ Microsoft Windows XP's Input Method Editor IME for Chinese (Oct 28, 2009)
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2009/10/xp-microsoft-windows-xps-input-method.html

* 微軟視窗作業系統XP的繁体中文輸入法手寫字盤 ∕ Microsoft Windows XP's Input Method Editor IME Hand writing Pad for traditional Chinese (Oct 3, 2008)
http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.com/2008/10/xp-microsoft-windows-xps-input-method.html

Alternate Options:* Here is an alternate software (free) suggested by a friend from China:
正宗笔画输入法 (诺基亚笔画输入法电脑版) http://www.tt001.com/?source=g (Note: I have no experience with this software. Download and use at your own risk. I am sure there are also other options on the Internet, or from commercial suppliers).

References:
* YouTube user Caiscompuer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVC-U9E6_Y&NR=1

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

不為五斗米折腰 / Speak Truth to Power

前言:

中國名戰略家孫子有道:『... 將在外,軍令有所不受。』, 歸隱田園的陶淵明亦有云:『.... 不為五斗米折腰。』如果一個人肯冒受解僱之險,不畏強权,敢為手下出頭出口, speak truth to power,無論您同意與否,那豪氣實在是很令人欽佩。以下是有關我同事阿占的故事。

真巧合,阿占!

我在2月20星期日早上無意中翻到報紙生死版時,心血來潮,手指沾著訃聞頁不放,一個熟悉的面孔浮出來向著我笑 .... 怎麼是您啊? 真巧合,阿占! 但是,為什麼您不辭而別 ??!!

阿占是我在某机構做主任時「印刷和外展部」的經理,在我印像中,他是一個勤力盡責的得力助手,無論在机構內外,阿占都甚得人心,顧客常告訢我他們很喜欢占叔的友善態度和一流服務,而他的手下亦很樂意為這位經理人效力,幫手推廣按需印刷 (on-demand publications ) 和加強对外界通訊 (out-reach & external communications) 的服務。

無奈好景不常,楓葉國受世界政治經濟問題影響,上頭下令要施行緊縮政策,在銀根短缺的情況下,我要在財政預算作一個去丶留丶取丶捨的快擇。我和總幹事 瑪嘉烈 相討之後,大家同意了一個不裁員政策 (deployment but no layoff),但她指令我要和屬下提供給上層一個總體削減目標。第二天我召集了五位經理人,宣佈這人所共知,但還未被証實的壊新聞。

怎樣向員工解釋?

在令人窒息的会議室內,阿占是首先發炮,提出強硬的抗議!!

- 「印刷和外展部」阿占: 我們歷年來都默默承受了財政削減的壓力,買少見少,這一次緊縮会是 the last straw that breaks the camel's back,上層這樣做法是不是再次劫貧濟富?您叫我怎樣向員工解釋?
- 「水務部」經理: 「印刷和外展部」說得对,經濟不穩,軍心搖動,人人自危,不是好現像。我們水務部明白「水為財也」的道理,五行缺水,財政削減將会对人力管理及事業發展有不良後果。
- 「知識產權部」主管: 我們顧客的 Intellectual Property 需求和部門受配的資源是成反比,長此以往下去,机構的 IP 权益和顧客服務將受嚴重負性影響。
- 「地務部」經理: 我這個運作多年的檔案已到達最後成熟階段,全國的机構支部都已和聯邦及省政府有關部門談判成功,得到政治和政策兩方面的支持,我們勢成騎虎,机構上層切不可臨陣退縮,自取滅亡。(Hint hint: Don't cut our own throat)
- 「法律部」主管打完場說: 從法律覌點來看, 老總是有責任保証机構不会觸犯國際和國家法律,或破壞与其它合作組織的官式合同或承諾。反之,非法律約束的默契是很難執行和落實,所以我認為,強制性法律責任以外的方案,是应該作為我們削減目標的起發點。
- 「印刷和外展部」阿占: 主任,我要再強調我的立場,代表我的員工指出,雖然印刷和外展不是在強制性法律業務之內,但机構仍需要我們支持加拿大總部和各支部的外展活動。如果主任要廢除我轄下員工的行使職責,我一定会再向上層作強烈抗議,因為那將会是一個非常短視的措施。

打工仔

当晚我放工回家,悶悶不樂,想到: 在感性上我們做僱員的可以視上頭為昏君,說苛政甚于猛虎,但在理性方面來說,世界經濟不景是現實,机構資源短缺是問題,除非上層的决定是和我個人的道德價值覌大有出入(例如: 強迫施行沒有必要的裁員政策),否則作為一個專業人士 professional ,我是会偏向理性的選擇和决定。

不過話得說回來,從阿占 receiving end 的角度來看,大家做手下的同舟共濟,互助渡過難關,支持上層所謂 team work 是理想,但作為一個「打工仔」,次次 budget cut 都要逆來順受,忍氣吞聲,永遠受「捱打」卻是事實。所以阿占雖然終於接受我的最後决定,但他卻從沒有放棄他的 fighting spirit,而我亦尊重他「不為五斗米折腰」speak truth to power的意見,繼續給他精神上的支持。

最後戰役

在財政風暴過後一年多,我競選某副總裁職位成功,与阿占及其他∕她同事告別,跳槽往另一机構繼續寫我【戰爭与和平】的故事 (註: 這就是我以前說的【修身丶齊家丶治國丶平天下】LOL !!!),我与阿占分道揚鏢之後,大家疏了聯絡,我偶爾会從舊同事口中聽到他在机構改組後事業的起落高低,但我卻從沒有意料到阿占的最後戰役是來得這麼突然!!

現在重想,在那困難的事業旅途中,我和阿占的關係是在洶濤駭浪中受到考驗。在人生的旅途中,我們像浮萍一樣,相遇丶分手。而在那星期日的早上,我和阿占又再次重聚,但那是巧合?還是緣份?


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

Photo Credit:
* I took this picture at Kinh thành Huế, Huế, Vietnam on Jan 27, 2011 around 10h17

References / Related links:

*【孙子兵法九变篇】:「凡用兵之法,将受命于君,合军聚众,……涂有所不由,军有所不击,城有所不攻,地有所不争,君命有所不受。」

* 【晋书陶潜传】: 「吾不能为五斗米折腰,拳拳事乡里小人邪。」

* 【多維历史】: 金庸詳解「不為五斗米折腰:并非嫌官小」"..... 陶淵明的【飲酒詩】第十首寫道:「在昔曾遠游,直至東海隅。道路回且長,風波阻中途。此行誰使然?似為饑所驅。傾身營一飽,少許便有余。恐此非名計,息駕歸閒居。」最后這四句,正是說不能為了區區一飽,因而影響到名聲。看來「不為五斗米折腰」,應該解釋作「不能為了區區一飽而折腰 」,而不是解釋作「不能為了五斗米的官俸而折腰」。再者,后者這樣解釋,似乎陶淵明語意之中有些嫌官太小,推論起來,如果有了高官俸祿,他的腰就不妨一折再折了。事實上陶淵明歸隱之后,朝廷曾征他做官,權貴曾和他交結,他都婉辭謝絕,可見他并非嫌官小而不為。..."
(source:
http://history.dwnews.com/big5/news/2010-12-13/57188578.html )

* 【魏志楊阜傳??/辛毗楊阜高堂隆傳】: ".... 孔子曰:『苛政甚于猛虎』今守功文俗之吏,為政不通治體,苟好煩苛,此亂民之甚者也。當今之急,宜去四甚,并詔公卿郡國,舉賢良方正敦樸之士而選用之,此亦求賢之一端也。..."
(Source:
http://www.millionbook.net/lszl/c/chenshou/sgz/025.htm)

***** For privacy protection purpose, names, places, and time of events have been modified in this blog article. *****

Sunday, March 06, 2011

旅遊泰國 曼谷 瓦因和漢寺: 自由 / Travel to Thailand's Wat Intharawihan in Bangkok (Part 4): Of Birds and Man

Not far away from the place where I was about to take the dog photo for my blog article "申請輪迴轉世 / Dog Day Afternoon in Bangkok"), I came upon these two individuals who were sitting near the temple gate asking visitors for money.

(a) On the left, a woman was selling birds to visitors who would then set the birds free. Her sign said: "In this temple, you give freedom to the birds, you will have good luck and happiness in your life forever." I didn't ask her who had caught the birds and deprived them of their freedom in the first place.

(b) On the right, a man with an amputated leg(s) made his claim on a sign that said: "Please help for a handicaped (sic), I need money for a hospital." With his specially made bicycle, the umbrella and other set-up, he must have been there for the long haul.

As a kind-hearted visitor to the Buddhist temple, are you prepared to give money to either one or both of them?

To be frank, I did not give to neither, for the following personal reasons:

(a) Giving the bird-lady money would just encourage her and/or her associates to catch more wild birds for sale. Later into the SE Asia trip, I gave money to another tour guide who bought a fish from the market and helped it escape the frying pan by setting it free into the river (btw: He was not introducing an invasion species into the ecosystem!).

(b) Even if the man's claim was legit, it would still make more sense to give money to help a village/community/group as opposed to just one individual. Later on when K and I were in Laos and Cambodia, we made donations to MAG (the
Mines Advisory Group), a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation that clears landmines, UXO (unexploded ordinance) and other remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide; as well as to CPI (Clear Path International), a sister organization that serves landmine and bomb accident survivors, their families and their communities in targeted countries.

As I was walking thru the temple gate, there was one fleeting thought that went thru my mind:

At least the birds might have a chance to fly free. But a person who lost his/her limb(s) from landmines and other mishaps would never be freed of the living memory.

Of Birds and Man!!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Related links:
* Lotusandcedar blog article: 申請輪迴轉世 / Dog Day Afternoon in Bangkok
* Mines Advisory Group (MAG): http://www.maginternational.org/about/
* Clear Path International (CPI): http://www.cpi.org/index.php

Photo Credit:
* I took all three photos on Jan 10, 2011 at around 10h30 inside Wat Intharawihan in Bangkok, Thailand 泰國 曼谷 瓦因和漢寺.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

坎帕尼亞水牛奶酪 莫薩里拉芝士 / Mozzarella di Bufala Campana



當 K 住在羅馬時,我們經常步行到附近雜貨店,買一些紅番茄和坎帕尼亞水牛奶酪/莫薩里拉芝士,回到她住處後,將它切片用來製作小點心。在渥太華,我雖然可以在本地買到冷凍品,但實際上,質量是不如那些在意大利新鮮製造的一樣好。

維基百科: ".... 坎帕尼亞水牛奶酪 莫薩里拉芝士(Mozzarella)是一種意大利鮮奶芝士,又稱水牛芝士。它是用水牛的奶製成的,水牛的奶與一些添加物混合後經過揉捏、延展,然後切割(意大利語 mozzare 其實就是切割)。新鮮的莫薩里拉(莫扎里拉)芝士只能保存12至24小時。

Below are more info from Wikipedia, if you are interested:

" .... Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala) is a mozzarella made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo rather than from cow milk. In Italy, the cheese is produced in areas ranging from Rome in Lazio to Paestum (near Salerno) in Campania (Campania felix「幸運鄉村」), and there is a production area in near Foggia, Puglia. The Italian city of Aversa, Caserta is recognized as the origin of buffalo mozzarella.

Buffalo mozzarella is an important industry in Italy which is home to the €300m ($430m) a year industry. ... The most famous of the families who make buffalo mozzarella in Italy are the Serra and Citarella families. They are known as the founders of the buffalo mozzarella tradition. ... Italy produces around 33,000 tonnes of its trademark mozzarella from buffalo milk every year, with 16 per cent sold abroad, mostly in the European Union. France and Germany are the main importers but sales have been expanding in Japan and Russia.

Apart from Italy, its birthplace, buffalo mozzarella is manufactured in many locations around the world. There are producers in Switzerland, United States, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, United Kingdom, Colombia, Thailand, Egypt, India and South Africa, all using milk from their own herds of water buffaloes. Some scientists believe that Italy and Bulgaria have the best dairy water buffaloes....."

References & Photo credit:

* 維基百科:
莫薩里拉芝士
* Wikipedia:
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana

Friday, March 04, 2011

夜間在麗都運河上滑冰(溜冰) / Skating at Night on the Rideau Canal

Earlier tonight the weather forecast said the temp would go above freezing on Saturday. So I grabbed my pair of cross-country ski boots, snapped on my skating blades onto the Salomon binding, and headed out to the Rideau Canal. It was 22h55 when I jumped onto the ice and headed south toward Dow's Lake. Even tho the temp was quite warm at -3 deg C, there were not that many ppl on the canal at this time of the day.

Upon reaching the Dow's Lake Pavilion, I turned around and skated all the way to the north end of the canal (i.e. downtown Ottawa at the National Arts Centre) before heading back to Argyle Street where I started. My watch read 23h45. The non-stop round trip of abt 16 km took me 45 minutes, yielding an average speed of slightly less than 3 min per kilometre.

Haricot
2011-03-04

Update 2011-03-05: As I am writing this, it is pouring rain out. Am I ever glad I went skating last night before the National Capital Commission closed down the world's longest skating rink. Unlike many of my HK friends who hate the cold, I just love winter sports!!!

Photo credit:
* Wikipedia / Rideau Canal
* Skating on Rideau Canal at night - http://www.bbcanada.com/bb_traveller/edition95/

Thursday, March 03, 2011

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