2010年8月28日 星期六

Meeting Robert at Dayeh University

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大葉大學 (Dayeh University) 校景很美






圖片編號:002
My former roommate Robert Chen, who is from Mazu.



We graduated from the English Department of NTNU in 1985. After that 
we didn't see each other until this morning -- 25 years has/have
passed by just in the twinkling of an eye!








圖片編號:003
難得的相聚,讓我們留下「喜相逢」的印記!






圖片編號:004
一簇簇 火樣的鳳凰花 (下圖)(下下圖) 結出成熟、沉穩,有內涵的豆莢





2010年8月25日 星期三

給 (original + revised)

---- by 帆影 (Fan-Ying, one of my previously used pseudonyms) and published in Nantou Qingnian (南投青年), Issue 82, in June, 1973. A modified version of this article is attached far below, in a way that it can easily be compared with this orginal. 

唱機飄來遙遠的「流浪者之歌」.........

雖然我從未識過歌者,也不曾懂過歌者深沉的吟唱,但,隨著那震盪的琴音迴旋,我卻清晰地瞧見你的影子。----呵!一個多麼漂泊、落魄的靈魂哪!

不知哪天開始的,你含笑的臉龐消失了。「成長」在你的胸壑中播散著無限的感慨,而你也學會了頻頻喟嘆:「茫茫人海兮,何處是歸程?世路紛歧兮,何時方得正?」

那是個陰霾霾的日子吧,西邊海面的落日,撩起你憂懣的冥想,北方天際的寒星,勾起你抑鬱的遙思。於是,你像失去了什麼,一變而成無比的柔弱、多愁!儘管好友三番五次地施愛於你,你都沒領受,反將那片真情善意當作廢話。你獨自生活,心中缺乏目標與理想。

兩個月以來,你毫無「恢復」,竟越發墮落,整天埋怨這埋怨那,冰冷的臉上找不到愉悅的表徵.........連那些原先最親密的伙伴也一個個飛了。

啊!朋友!你為什麼要為那絲絲風雨感傷,為那點點雲霧惆悵呢?怎不放眼瞧瞧蒼天、白雲、青山、綠野,它們不是很幽閒、恬穆麼?而叢叢碧翠的林木,彎彎淡藍的溪流,不也跟過去一樣,極其欣然?

老唱吉普賽人的浪歌沒出息,老寫希臘式的B調曲子也會招人笑!雯說過:「這世界隨處都有陽光照明、星星閃耀和百花的芬芳!」又何必沉迷在夢中風景,畏避現實?

生活在渺茫的追尋,神秘的探索,乃至創造的衝動裡,是一件值得慶幸的事。你也承認:「生活沒有夢,沒有憧憬,未免太過空白」,然而,那並不是毫無目標的漂泊,毫無意義的織夢。我們應該勇於正視生活,讓生命的真實治癒精神的癱瘓!

不是嗎?青年人該是對這奧秘世界充滿激情,對這微妙人生充滿熱意的。何不收拾起飄泊的足步,朝一條你認為理想的路邁進?

無歇止的前進才是人生,而你要走的旅程還遠著呢!

不必發無謂的牢騷,更不用在妳已荒蕪的心園堆下太多「別人無法為你排解」的石子,就像前幾天,你一直問著:「人生是什麼?」誰能替你解答呢(包括你自己)?

----人生是一場夢,一場由無數小夢串成的大夢。

----人生是一齣戲,一齣有悲歡、有離合的戲。

----人生是一個迷,一個永遠猜不透的迷。

這些解釋都未使你滿意,但你能否認它們嗎?但願別把人生看得太好或太壞,世上的一切原是相對的,無醜陋顯不出美麗,無陰影亮不出光彩。只要你能尋得一處「歸宿」,那麼,縱然不能使生之旅到處充滿燦亮,也會不忘隨時撿拾一些花瓣,編成生命中可愛的斷簡!

偉大積自細小,完整的美也該是許多片斷的組合。

我的朋友呵!記住吧!當你努力於一種真、善、美的追求,便是人生最充實、最快樂的時刻。天地一沙鷗不是這麼說嗎?「天堂不是一種地方,一種時間,而是一種完美的狀態。」----讓生時麗似夏花,死時美如秋葉,便夠了。


------- 1973 年 6 月刊於《南投青年》第 82 期,此為作者原稿,題目:「給」。其實,文曾於同年 5 月 24 日先以「獻 喚 諫 箴」為題,刊於校內刊物《嘉師青年》第 10 期;那是經過國文老師批改過的版本。

  現將兩者逐段排列如下,黑色字為原稿,藍色字為修訂稿



唱機飄來遙遠的「流浪者之歌」.........

唱機飄來遙遠的歌聲,莫非是「流浪者之歌」.........



雖然我從未識過歌者,也不曾懂過歌者深沉的吟唱,但,隨著那震盪的琴音迴旋,我卻清晰地瞧見你的影子。----呵!一個多麼漂泊、落魄的靈魂哪!

雖然我不善於歌唱,也不懂歌唱者深沉的歌音,但,隨著那震盪的琴韻縈迴的旋律,我彷彿見到你。----啊!是一個多麼漂泊、落魄的靈魂影像哪!



不知哪天開始的,你含笑的臉龐消失了。「成長」在你的胸壑中播散著無限的感慨,而你也學會了頻頻喟嘆:「茫茫人海兮,何處是歸程?世路紛歧兮,何時方得正?」

不知哪天開始的,你含笑的臉龐消失了。「成長」在你的胸壑中播散著無限的感慨,你學會了頻頻喟嘆:「茫茫人海兮,何處是歸程?世路紛歧兮,何時方出人頭地?」



那是個陰霾霾的日子吧,西邊海面的落日,撩起你憂懣的冥想,北方天際的寒星,勾起你抑鬱的遙思。於是,你像失去了什麼,一變而成無比的柔弱、多愁!儘管好友三番五次地施愛於你,你都沒領受,反將那片真情善意當作廢話。你獨自生活,心中缺乏目標與理想。

那是個陰霾霾的日子吧,西邊海面的落日,撩起你憂懣的冥想,北方天際的寒星,勾起你抑鬱的遙思。於是,你像失去了什麼,一變而成無比的柔弱、多愁!儘管好友三番五次地安慰你,你都沒領受,反將那片真情善意當作廢話。你獨斷獨行,好像沒有目標與理想。



兩個月以來,你毫無「恢復」,竟越發墮落,整天埋怨這埋怨那,冰冷的臉上找不到愉悅的表徵.........連那些原先最親密的伙伴也一個個飛了。

兩個月,你的表現仍未「恢復」,反而墮落,整天埋怨這埋怨那,冰冷的臉上找不到愉悅的表情.........連那些原先最親密的伙伴也一個個遠離了你,然而你卻不在乎。



啊!朋友!你為什麼要為那絲絲風雨感傷,為那點點雲霧惆悵呢?怎不放眼瞧瞧蒼天、白雲、青山、綠野,它們不是很幽閒、恬穆麼?而叢叢碧翠的林木,彎彎淡藍的溪流,不也跟過去一樣,極其欣然?

啊!凡凡!你為什麼要為那絲絲風雨感傷,為那點點雲霧發愁呢?怎不放眼瞧瞧蒼天、白雲、青山、綠野,它們不是很幽閒、恬穆麼?叢叢的碧翠淡藍的彎彎溪水,不也跟過去一樣,生氣蓬勃,欣欣向榮嗎?



老唱吉普賽人的浪歌沒出息,老寫希臘式的B調曲子也會招人笑!雯說過:「這世界隨處都有陽光照明、星星閃耀和百花的芬芳!」又何必沉迷在夢中風景,畏避現實?

老唱吉普賽人的浪歌沒出息,老寫希臘式的B調曲子也會招人笑!說過:「這世界隨處都有陽光普照,星星閃耀和百花的芬芳!」又何必沉迷在幻境中避現實?



生活在渺茫的追尋,神秘的探索,乃至創造的衝動裡,是一件值得慶幸的事。你也承認:「生活沒有夢,沒有憧憬,未免太過空白」,然而,那並不是毫無目標的漂泊,毫無意義的織夢。我們應該勇於正視生活,讓生命的真實治癒精神的癱瘓!

在生活中追尋理想,探索人生的奧秘,乃至於創造美麗的人生,是一件值得喝采的事。你始終深信:「沒有夢的生活,沒有憧憬的未來,未免過得太『單調』『空白」,然而,追求理想並不是毫無目標的漂泊,毫無意義的織夢。我們應該勇於面對現實生活,讓生命的矯正精神的癱瘓!




不是嗎?青年人該是對這奧秘世界充滿激情,對這微妙人生充滿熱意的。何不收拾起飄泊的足步,朝一條你認為理想的路邁進?

不是嗎?青年人該對這神秘的世界充滿熱情,對這微妙人生充滿生氣的。何不收拾起飄泊的浪跡,朝一條你認為真正理想的路途邁進?



無歇止的前進才是人生,而你要走的旅程還遠著呢!

無歇止的前進才是人生,要走的旅程還遠著呢!



不必發無謂的牢騷,更不用在你已荒蕪的心園堆下太多「別人無法為你排解」的石子,就像前幾天,你一直問著:「人生是什麼?」誰能替你解答呢(包括你自己)?

不必發無謂的牢騷,更不用在你純潔的心園裡,堆下太多「別人無法為你排解」的石子,就像前幾天,你一直問著:「人生是什麼?」誰能替你解答呢(包括你自己)?



----人生是一場夢,一場由無數小夢串成的大夢。

----人生是一場夢,一場由無數小夢串成的大夢。



----人生是一齣戲,一齣有悲歡,有離合的戲。

----人生是一齣戲,一齣有悲歡有離合的戲。



----人生是一個謎,一個永遠猜不透的謎。

----人生是一個謎,一個永遠猜不透的謎。



這些解釋都未使你滿意,但你能否認它們嗎?但願別把人生看得太好或太壞,世上的一切原是相對的,無醜陋顯不出美麗,無陰影亮不出光彩。只要你能尋得一處「歸宿」,那麼,縱然不能使生之旅到處充滿燦亮,也會不忘隨時撿拾一些花瓣,編成生命中可愛的斷簡!

這些解釋雖然未能使滿意,但你能否認嗎?但願別把人生肯定得太好或太壞,世上的一切原是相對的,無醜陋顯不出美麗,無陰影亮不出光彩。只要你能尋得一處「歸宿」,那麼,縱然不能使生之旅到處充滿燦爛至少也會使隨時撿拾花瓣,編成生命中美麗的片斷



偉大積自細小,完整的美也該是許多片斷的組合。


偉大積自細小,完整的美也該是許多片斷的組合。



我的朋友呵!記住吧!當你努力于一種真、善、美的追求,便是人生最充實、最快樂的時刻。天地一沙鷗不是這麼說嗎?「天堂不是一種地方,一種時間,而是一種完美的狀態。」----讓生時麗似夏花,死時美如秋葉,便夠了。

我的朋友!記住吧!當你努力于一種真、善、美的追求,便是人生最充實、最快樂的時刻。天地一沙鷗」的作者說:天堂不是一種地方一種時間,而是一種完美的狀態。」----讓生時麗似夏花,死時美如秋葉,便夠了。




------ 以上 黑色字 為作者原稿,藍色字 為師長修訂稿。前者 1973 年 6 月以「給」為題,刊於《南投青年》第 82 期;後者於同年 5 月 24 日以「獻 喚 諫 箴」為題,搶先刊於《嘉師青年》第 10 期。
 
  雖說文藝界常有「一稿不二投」之說,但當時的實況是,校內刊物與校外刊物,猶如井水與河水,分流異地,互不妨礙也!
 
- - -

2010年8月20日 星期五

讀福音書的方法 (How to Read the Gospels)

---- by Jerry Liang (梁金連), who shared these ideas with his brothers and sisters at St. James' Church on July 24, 1994 -- quite a long time ago: Time flies!


【一】從聖經文學的角度來欣賞,以情感,自由聯想,著重認同,讀出「象徵意義」:美哉!

【二】從人文科學的立場來察考,以理性,比較分析,著重辨異,看出「歷史價值」:真乎?

【三】從宗教哲學的層面來思索,以信仰,統整吸收,著重啟示,找出「福音真理」:善也。


附記:以上【一】【二】似乎等於【三】

◎ 決定閱讀目的:讀後收穫是什麼?
是讀出「象徵意義」?或看出「歷史價值」?或找出「福音真理」?
或三者皆是?----若以上皆非,則須另訂定!(沒有閱讀目的,哪來讀後心得?)

◎ 出發點:如何與舊經驗結合?
以「文學欣賞」或「科學察考」或「哲學思索」為閱讀的出發點 (starting point) 嗎?
讀者是否已具備文學素養科學知識、和哲學理念?(善用舊經驗,求取新知識!)

◎ 應有的基本態度為何?
基本上,讀者的態度可分為情感的理性的、和信仰的三種;
此三種閱讀態度應並存(適度相容),不宜偏廢(或過於偏頗)。

◎ 具體的做法有哪些?
閱讀時,可試著採用「聯想」「分析」和「統整」等等各種不同的方法。

◎ 不同做法的著重點有何不同?
聯想→著重「認同」;分析→著重「辨異」;統整→著重「啟示」。

又記:
既然人人可以讀經,經文解釋的多樣性便無法倖免。
因為一個人的理解力有限,解經常會遇到很大的困難。
除了尋求教會(傳統)的協助,我們真心懇求聖靈的啟示,好讓福音的意義彰顯,救恩也得以成全。阿們。

- - -

2010年8月17日 星期二

The Covenant Renewed

---- by Jean Huang & Jerry Liang, translated by Jerry Liang; published in Friendship (the English news magazine of the Diocese of Taiwan) in May 2009.

Jerry Liang and his wife, Jean Huang, from St. James' Church
celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on Mount Sinai! 



Both my husband and I were born into traditional families, his parents believing in the deity En-Zhu-Gong and my parents in Ma-Zu. When we were young, it seemed to us that "God" was only an abstract noun and "Christianity" was just a name for one of the religions in the world. So, quite naturally, our wedding ceremony took place [on January 30, 1979] in accordance with the traditional Taiwanese folk customs, with a male pig sacrificed especially for blessings from gods and goddesses.

My husband Jerry and I have been richly blessed indeed. Although we lived in poverty in the beginning, we worked very hard, and we truly loved and helped each other. In order to make Jerry's dream come true, I encouraged him to quit his job at the elementary school where he had taught for seven years, and to apply for the English department at National Taiwan Normal University. Then, he became a student again!

It was then that God made Jerry know him much better. Having been inspired by something (he says he didn't know exactly what it was at first), Jerry took a selective course called "Biblical Literature." Jerry loves literature very much. God must have known that this subject would be a perfect key to open Jerry's heart and mind with. In the end, Jerry was so much moved by Jesus Christ that he decided to become a Christian and was baptized. Oh! How amazing it is that not only Jerry but also I and our son Tony have been Christians . . . for years!

On January 4 this year (2009) we attended a special ceremony at St. James' Church, in Taichung. It was Fr. Charles Chen and his wife Mary Jo's 50th wedding anniversary. To celebrate it, the congregation had arranged a cheerful party; yet more significantly, Bishop David Lai came and conducted a Christian matrimonial blessing at St. James'. This was extremely surprising and exciting to Fr. Chen and his wife, for 50 years ago they could only have a traditional wedding party, just as Jerry and I did 30 years ago.

This year, Jerry and I joined the Diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land. (How grateful we have been for God's amazing grace!) The group of us, 27 persons in all, including Fr. Chen and his family, was led by Bishop Lai in person, happily visiting various places in Israel, Egypt, and Jordan from January 26 through February 5.

Incidentally, weeks before we set off, we heard that war broke out around the area of Gaza. Like many members of the group, Jerry and I prayed really hard for this trip, which we had very much wanted to join.

The fact is the group set out on time, as scheduled; we had a meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable journey; and all of us were spiritually strengthened during the trip. With Lord God blessing us day and night, our heart and our mind were repeatedly renewed, and even our physical strength was improved to some extent.

Now it was January 30, the day for some of us to climb the holy mountain Mt. Sinai. This mountain is 2,285 meters above sea level. It is not as tall as Yu-Shan, the tallest mountain in Taiwan; however, it is totally made of rocks and stones, without any trees or green grass on it. And it is very steep. You could freely choose to climb it or to stay downhill. But Jerry and I decided to celebrate our 30th anniversary in a special way. We walked toward St. Catherine Monastery, at the foot of the mountain.

The mountain-climbing group, 16 or 17 of us, left from St. Catherine Monastery at 2:30 p.m. As it was recommended, each of us rode a camel on the first half of the uphill journey except Rev. Sam Cheng and his wife, who were strong enough to cover the whole journey on foot. Well, it was my first time to ride on a camel. A camel that was almost too small and thin to carry me! (Jerry told me later that those Bedouin boys were smart – they gave me a smaller animal just because I looked thinner than others.) I was excited. And I was a little scared whenever my camel suddenly moved quickly or swayed to one end.

My "camel boy" was very young, just like a 5th or 6th grader at the elementary school. But he was now helping her family make money. Suddenly, he asked me if I had cookies with me. I gave him all the chocolates in my bag. From time to time he yelled at the camel walking beside him and hit it slightly on its hips or hind legs with a stick. The camel would speed up at once, and I had to try my best to ride well along. I had a mixed feeling all the way uphill.

Jerry was behind me, on his bigger camel. Holding a new Nikon in his hand, he tried to take pictures of me while my camel and I were making a turn along the narrow path uphill (see one of those photos on the next page!) I saw him adjusting the lens with the other hand. I told him not to fall. This was especially important because he is suffering from a bone problem called osteoporosis.


Then, something terrible happened to me. My right leg -- the lower part of my right leg was hit by something heavy! A huge camel with no one on its back was walking down in the opposite direction when it collided with my tiny camel, side against side. And my leg was just rammed in between. What a sharp pain! Is my leg broken? If it is, how can I . . . Oh, no! May the Lord save me from the time of trial!


Seeing drops of blood on my leg, I felt rather discouraged. But I managed to calm down. When we arrived at the final point of camel-riding, I thought to myself: Jerry and I are looking forward to celebrating our anniversary at the top of Mt. Sinai, and we are halfway up the mountain now! With Jerry's approval and support, I continued to walk up the steep slope, step by step. The second half of the uphill journey was much more difficult than the first half. Jerry and I kept encouraging each other; we reminded each other that our Lord was (or is) with us all the time.

Lord God (the Holy Trinity) indeed takes good care of each Christian according to their needs. Jerry said so, emphasizing that what we want is quite different from what we need. I would rather believe what he said. But I just wondered if those who were staying at the foot of the mountain would regret not coming along with us. For instance, Fr. Chen would have come with us to visit the top of Mt. Sinai if he had not been kept down there by his family; he was eager to come!

About 4:20 p.m. one of our sisters stopped climbing the mountain; she was obviously too weak to continue. A few minutes later, a second woman gave up, telling her husband that she would return and wait for him at St. Catherine Monastery. Yet Jerry and I kept going, at a snail's pace! Then, as the stone steps became so steep and narrow, Jerry and I were unable to walk side by side. We had to move up very carefully, one after the other. And our chatting became a little bit inconvenient, or unusual.

"Do you think that in the animal world, the bigger would bully the smaller too?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Why did that big camel collide with my little camel? Did he do it on purpose?"

"Oh, we don't really know," Jerry smiled. "Maybe it is their way to greet each other. Maybe the bigger is the father of the smaller!"

Jerry reasoned that it was sensible for a father camel to "encourage" his youngster by tapping him on the side. I didn't agree. He then had a new idea, saying that probably both of us were wrong. The two camels that we had talked about might not be father and son; they could be a very strong husband and a dainty and little wife. "You didn't notice your camel was female, did you?" Jerry spoke with a funny facial expression. "Let me tell you the truth. Camels do not hug each other like humans; instead, a good couple of camels (husband and wife) show their love by kissing each other with their sides!"

Sheer nonsense! But I liked it at the moment because I was rather tired from walking for hours. I knew Jerry was fond of camels. At least he respected them. The phrase "Luo Tuo" (meaning camels) had been the name of his class from 1970 to 1975, when he studied at Chiayi Junior Teachers College. Since then, he and his classmates, all male, have called themselves Luo Tuo Brothers. They meant to be "people who can shoulder heavy responsibilities." In this respect, I would admit that Jerry has been a responsible man, though sometimes too imaginative to be practical.

Anyway I should thank God for granting me such a sweet family: my good husband and our good and interesting son! Our only son Tony is hardworking and responsible too, yet more humorous than his father. "I'll start to use 'Antony' as my English name from now on, because I've grown up," proclaimed Tony one day. In fact, he is going to get married soon. Oh, dear Lord! May you constantly bless this sweet family, and also all other families!

Now my watch read almost 5:00 p.m. We still couldn't see our destination, the top of Mt. Sinai; but we were not too far from it, I thought. Being high up on the steep slope, Jerry and I were very impressed by the grand, noble, and fantastic landscape. Light and shade in this natural "picture" became a sharp contrast: Hundreds of bare rock mountains were already darkened in gray, but tens of the high peaks were still shining in glowing colors. The setting sun was on the other side of Mt. Sinai, that's why only the tops of mountains were in the orange sunshine. Jerry took pictures time and again. I reminded him that we had been told to get to the top no later than 5:10.

Suddenly, someone shouted cheerfully from above, "Hooray! Here we are!" Others echoed, "What a wonderful view! Alleluia! Alleluia!" Jerry and I stepped up our pace, unusually excited. Then, just in time, the very same words "Thanks be to God! With God's help we've made it!" came out of Jerry's and my mouths spontaneously, in such a loud voice that both of us felt a little embarrassed.

As soon as all the 15 persons (we did count all) arrived, Bishop Lai gathered us in front of the only building on the mountaintop, that is, Trinity Church. We stood closely in lines, facing the setting sun. Bishop Lai prayed for us. And we started to sing "Amazing Grace" and so on. We sang with tears in our eyes. I noticed Jerry was deeply moved too. He put his arm around my waist, and I leaned against his shoulder. We became quiet. The setting sun seemed to be right in front of us, or a little bit lower than where we stood. The colorful clouds were floating in the cool breeze. I heard no birds or insects singing; but amazingly, I heard a voice whispering to me: "The Lord God has constantly blessed us; he will abundantly bless our family, and many, many others!"

As you can see, we have celebrated our 30th anniversary in a special way. On the holy mountain Mt. Sinai, our Love has been refined and our Covenant renewed. <#>

Our group from Central Taiwan

後註:今天是農曆七月七日,俗稱七夕,亦作「中國情人節」;謹將去年五月發表於台灣聖公會季刊 Friendship (友愛) (98 年第 2 期) 的舊作,貼入個人部落格,作為紀念!
......

2010年8月11日 星期三

Lao Ye [1]

---- by Mookoo Liang in March 2005


I have a dozen of “very close friends,” including an architect, a doctor, two clergymen, and . . . well, most of them are or used to be schoolteachers, so I usually call them by their surnames plus the Chinese word for “teacher” such as Li laoshi and Chen laoshi. But three of them I call in a more “intimate” way: Lao Zhan, Lao Wang, Lao Ye---with their surnames following the Chinese word for “old.” Of course, when you call your Chinese friends Lao A, Lao B, or Lao C, you don't mean that they are old people; you mean you and they have been good friends for a long time, or you mean nothing but “Hi, brother!” However, Lao Ye is actually the oldest one among my “very close friends,” who are either in their late 40's or early 50's; and he is definitely the most interesting friend of mine.

Lao Ye comes from a remote village in the mountains. In fact, his home village is next to mine; the two villages are bordered by a hill, with a graveled path winding up and down it to connect the two “small but beautiful” places. Beautiful places deserve special names: his home village is called Bei-gang-xi (implying a creek from the north) while mine is called Shui-chang-liu (meaning water flowing a long way). There are indeed two streams with the same names over there. With mountains, valleys, and fields in different shapes and colors; with the streams below, the sky above, and sometimes the breeze in between; with various kinds of birds, animals, fishes, and insects---such a beautiful place could have made a great many poets and artists. And Lao Ye is an artist who is very good at painting.

I don't like Lao Ye because he is a good painter, but because he and I are “birds of a feather,” just as my other “very close friends” and I are. In my mind Lao Ye is much more similar to me than the others. He also comes from a very poor family. His parents had been “peasants” working so hard but making so little money in those “old difficult days,” so he has learned how to restrain himself from overindulgence and how to enjoy a very simple life. Besides, among my “very close friends” only Lao Ye and I are Hakka people. Hakka people are generally regarded as being a little frugal or stingy, and inheriting the “hard-neck spirit” [2] from their ancestors, which means they would persevere in dealing with all kinds of difficulties.

Lao Ye is a typical Hakka person: once he has set a goal for himself, he will try his best to reach it. But talking about his shortcomings, some of our common friends joked behind his back, “Lao Ye is a niggard! No way will he invite us for a big meal!”

Well, I didn't really laugh at him when I heard such a joke. In my eyes he was a good example: He made good use of his time and money. He was busy with his teaching job, and with his creative work as well. From time to time he sketched still life, or drew birds and flowers, and yet most of the time he painted landscapes from nature. To create a picture of his own, he observed the natural scenery, decided what to adopt, modified or rearranged the adopted parts, and finally completed a beautiful and meaningful picture on paper. This time-consuming process, as well as the good result it might turn out, would make Lao Ye very pleased; so he kept on drawing and painting, no matter how much time and money he had to spend on a new piece of work, or on a personal art exhibition.

In the past few years Lao Ye was so busy that he couldn't afford coming to the weekend parties that my other “very close friends” hosted in turn. Regular comers to the party such as Li laoshi, Chen laoshi, Lao Zhan and Lao Wang would talk about Lao Ye. They sometimes gossiped about his love life. It was said that Lao Ye's wife was a “native,” daughter of the chief of an aboriginal tribe in central Taiwan. “No wonder she looks so pretty!” “Indeed, she has big and bright eyes!” “But she's too shy to come with us, isn't she?” “It must be the husband's fault: Lao Ye shouldn't have overprotected his wife . . . ” They began to laugh at Lao Ye again behind his back, saying that he might have been afraid of losing his wife as she was so young and beautiful.

Personally I agree that Lao Ye should have brought his wife out more often, so that she wouldn't have had to stay home alone so much time, since all of us except Lao Ye enjoyed our weekend parties together with our wives.

It seemed that Lao Ye's wife had never wanted to join the party; nor had Lao Ye himself participated much in our common “social life.” But both of them had been regarded as our “very close friends.” The fact is, whenever Lao Ye was in the midst of us, there would be a very pleasant atmosphere in the room (That's why we were fond of him). Lao Ye was kind of wise and sort of naïve. His funny stories always made us laugh; and when he was intentionally laughed at, his amusing manner usually helped him get out of the embarrassing situation in just a few seconds. He showed admirable self-control. His good and pleasant personality, as well as his sense of humor, was really remarkable. Knowing that he was going to retire from his teaching job, I expected that he would get more leisure time for chatting with us, and I looked forward to his wife's turning into a genuine member of the very-close-friends family.

Now Lao Ye retired from his job as an art teacher. “Life is short, art is long.” He retired at the age of 50, planning to give himself a number of years for painting---painting with all his heart, all his soul, and all his might.

How lucky he was to have been a teacher. Having taught (in the elementary school, then in junior high, and finally in senior high) for so many years, he came to a promising “turning point” at last. From now on, he would be paid the monthly pension by the government. Without having to work as before, he could possibly take better care of his family, and he was allowed more time and energy for drawing and painting. He was very pleased to have a new beginning, to obtain shengming de dier chun (that is, the second spring of life).

Naturally he was filled with gratitude. He was thankful that his parents had allowed him to get out of the mountainous village for further studies; he was also thankful for the particular system of education which the government had practiced in those years. If there had been no shi-zhuan (Teachers Junior College) where students were totally supported [3] by the government, if his father had wanted him to help with farm work in his home village, or if he had failed the shi-zhuan entrance examination, then his life after the age of 16 would have been completely different. Every time Lao Ye told me about those if's and then's, I was deeply moved because I had been in the same situation.

In a sense, Lao Ye and I were not only “birds of a feather” but also “leaves on a branch”---breathing quietly in the same sunlight, swaying gently in the same wind!

I hadn't seen Lao Ye or his wife in months. It was said that they went back to the mountains on weekends. Only on weekends could Lao Ye's wife follow her husband to a remote place, because she was still working near Taichung City, where the Ye's had been living for long---Oh, Lao Ye, Lao Ye! Your family name is “leaves.” The Chinese character 葉 (read as ye) literally means “a leaf” or “leaves.” You, whom I call “Old Leaf,” have established your own family; you got a beautiful wife, who also comes from the mountains; and she bore you two daughters, your beautiful new leaves!

Well, with the passage of time those new leaves must have grown up. I hadn't seen Lao Ye's children in YEARS. I wasn't sure if they were now studying in senior high or in college. And I really had no idea whether they would like to follow their parents to the mountains on weekends, or in a longer vacation. To my surprise, when my wife and I were planning to give a special party on January 1st to celebrate the coming of this New Year, we received an invitation from Lao Ye, whom we certainly would have invited as one of our important guests. Lao Ye's invitation showed that his first daughter was going to be married very soon in December last year. I was happy to go to the wedding party. Meanwhile, I was well aware that time flew!

The wedding party was held in a luxury hotel. The big hall for a ceremony and banquet was now crowded with Lao Ye's and his family's relatives and friends. At first, guests chatted cheerfully here and there, making a lot of noise. Then, when the music started and the bride and groom's procession came into the hall, all the guests stopped talking but gave a big round of applause; and all eyes were focused on the bride and groom, who were slowly and steadily stepping toward the main table in the front. Lao Ye and his wife, just like their son-in-law's parents, looked unusually happy that day. Yes, it was indeed a happy time, and the wedding was a great occasion for the two families.

Now the bride and groom were being led to each of the guest tables. They were supposed to drink a toast to the guests, from table to table. When they got close to where I was sitting, the bride suddenly called me laoshi and, turning to her dear husband, she excitedly said, “He was my first English teacher! He taught me when I was in the fifth and sixth grades (elementary school)!” Oh, my! Time flew fast, indeed. After years had passed by, I could hardly remember that I had taught “children's English” to those kids! I asked the bride curiously what school or college she had attended in years past, and what her major was. She replied with a sweet smile, “I majored in English literature, and yet I'm taking some education courses, hoping to become a schoolteacher some day.” I was pleased to hear that. At least I hadn't spoiled her interest in English when she was small.

A week after the wedding party, I heard Li laoshi and Chen laoshi say that Lao Ye's father “happened to die” on the very same day when Lao Ye's daughter got married. What a shame! It seemed that none of us had been told about it the previous week. I asked Lao Wang if the bad news was true. Lao Wang said, “That's true. Lao Ye's father caught a bad cold about two months ago, and was sent to one of the best hospitals in Taichung. No one would believe that he would pass away so soon---on his granddaughter's wedding day!”

Oh! It suddenly occurred to me that Lao Ye might have known that his father was then critically ill. He must have tried his hardest to wear a smile on his face, so as not to spoil the wedding party.

Well, a man can be a loving father and a true son simultaneously. Lao Ye was a true Hakka son, full of filial piety. In his first album of paintings, which he published and gave me in 1996, he included a photograph of his parents; and in the “Painter's Preface” of that album he told a touching story about his mother, who had passed away by that time, confessing that he couldn't have made so many paintings without his mother's encouragement. He deeply loved and respected both his parents. Now his father also passed away. I didn't really know what I should say to him. I just prayed for him in secret, hoping that he wouldn't lose the Hakka people's “hard-neck spirit.”

Without such a “hard-neck spirit” in him, Lao Ye wouldn't be the most interesting friend of mine. According to Lao Wang and Li laoshi, Lao Ye has another interesting “weak and strong” point that few people have known. He has been suffering from “achromatopsia” to some degree---being “partly color blind.” (This sounded rather unbelievable, but a bit sensible!) How could a partly-color-blind man have become an artist who is so good at painting?

In those years, color-blind young people were not admitted into shi-zhuan at all, for elementary school teachers were expected to be physically and mentally healthy, or they ought to be as “normal” as possible. How come Lao Ye was able to pass the physical examination to enter shi-zhuan? The fact is, Lao Ye so much cherished the chance for further study that as soon as he learned he had passed the first part of the entrance exam (some written tests on various subjects), he began to prepare for the second part of it, including a physical checkup. He managed to borrow a standard book used for checking color blindness, and studied (and learned by heart) all the pages with a colorful dotted number on each. Fortunately, he succeeded in getting through the “narrow gate.”

After that, his weakness dramatically became his strong point. While studying at shi-zhuan, his paintings were always impressive to his classmates and professors because he painted them in colors that would be slightly strange to the “normal.”

When the New Year's Day was approaching, my wife and I started to call our “family friends” by phone, inviting them to a dinner party at a restaurant (You know, I have a dozen of “very close friends” and so does my wife. All together we have about 20 so-called “family friends,” meaning that the husbands were originally my friends while their spouses were my wife's). Lao Ye argued that it should be his turn to give such a party this year. “You have played the host for the past two New Year's Days,” he said, “Let's just take turns, okay?” After a “warm” argument, we settled that two of us would throw two parties, one in January and the other in February. But we didn't give any party on January 1st, because Lao Wang (our good mutual friend) wasn't able to come that day.

Some of our friends jokingly said, “Lao Ye has changed; he's more generous than before.” Once again I felt it unfair to say so. As far as I knew, Lao Ye had been kind to others; he had been willing to help---especially the poor!

A couples of years ago, I was told such a story, which is by no means a fictitious one. After Lao Ye graduated from junior high at the age of 15, he came to Taichung City to take the shi-zhuan entrance examination, which lasted for two days. On the evening before the exam, he failed to find a hotel to stay at because he was unfamiliar with the city and because he dared not get into a “luxury” hotel that he thought would cost him too much money. He decided to spend the night, at least the first night, inside the train station. It was July, and it was not too cold there at night. But he was somewhat nervous, and felt too tired to read. After an uneasy sleep, he woke up at midnight and saw a man in his 40's or 50's walking toward him. The older man smiled at him and offered him some steamed bread. “For you, free of charge!” He then said to him, “You must be a student. Am I right?” Then they had a pleasant chat for a few moments.

The older man suggested that Lao Ye stay at his “humble dwelling” that night, saying that he was a veteran soldier (from Mainland China) who lived nearby alone. Lao Ye was very glad to follow that “good man” to his place. Then something terrible happened. While both of them were lying on the matted floor, the older man reached his hand to touch Lao Ye's private parts.

The first touch didn't mean anything to Lao Ye. “It might have been a careless act,” he thought. But the second, the third, and the fourth touches made this 15-year-old boy more and more scared. Lao Ye was then too naïve to know about homosexuality. What he really worried about was his money. With so limited money on him, he asked himself, “Is this man a pickpocket?” Thinking of this, he pretended he had to take a leak, and ran away from the place as fast as he could.

Lao Ye returned to the train station and hid himself in a corner until the next morning. He didn't have a sound sleep. So he bought and drank a bottle of Combat-P to refresh himself before going into the examination hall. It worked miracles! Then he bought and drank another two bottles for the same purpose. Since then, Lao Ye has liked Combat-P very much. He would like to refresh himself with a bottle of Combat-P whenever he has driven a long way.

After taking the first part of the entrance exam, Lao Ye was ready to return home. He came across with an old woman in shabby clothes begging on the street, for in those difficult days beggars were occasionally seen in a city or town. Lao Ye felt very sorry for the poor old woman. He checked to see how much money he had left in his pocket. Then he kept the needed fare for himself and gave all the remaining 65 dollars to the miserable woman.

“Good intention makes good fortune.” Lao Ye once told me that the Chinese saying hao xin you hao bao [4] was very true. He hadn't thought he would pass the shi-zhuan entrance exam, which was especially difficult for candidates from the mountain areas; however, it was probably because he had given the poor woman 65 dollars that Heaven granted him the chance. This was Lao Ye's account of his success in entering the “narrow gate.”

Lao Ye also told us something about his school life at shi-zhuan. He said that the five years when he studied at Taichung Shi-Zhuan were the most significant in his life. He studied hard and learned quite a lot. Like a happy bird flying sometimes fast in the forest and sometimes high in the sky, he enjoyed learning many different things and practicing various kinds of skills. His favorite subjects were Psychology, Counseling, and Fine Art, which was why, years later, he became a guidance counselor as well as an art teacher at a senior high school. Though located in Taichung City, the shi-zhuan campus was two or three kilometers away from the Bus Terminal next to the train station. Every time Lao Ye returned home from school, he “trotted or cantered” all the way from the campus to the Bus Terminal for a long-distance bus. He never took a city bus to the Bus Terminal. He thought that jogging was good for health and it also saved him some money.

As a “mountain boy,” Lao Ye had never seen a train until he came to Taichung for further study. He was so curious about trains that sometimes he would spend 20 or 30 minutes crouching just outside of the railing fence and watching the trains passing in and out of the station. What a naïve youngster!

Well, in the twinkling of an eye, the boy student has already become a retired teacher. Lao Ye is now much richer than before, in many a sense. To enrich his life, or to pick and gather beautiful things for his artistic creation, Lao Ye has been traveling here and there. He has been to Mainland China several times, taking lots of pictures of the Yangtze River, Yellow Mountain, the 1000-Isle Lake [5], etc. His vivid description of Yellow Mountain was most impressive to me. “Perhaps its most outstanding feature is change,” he said. “The mystic clouds drift in and out, changing the scenery from minute to minute as the mist rises and ebbs . . . ” During retirement, Lao Ye went mountain climbing regularly. He made friends with professional mountaineers, and he even bought a piece of land in the mountains where he built a small but beautiful villa.

At first I thought Lao Ye was building a villa in his home village Bei-gang-xi, but I was wrong. Lao Ye's villa was for his wife as well, so it was made in her home village Ao-wan-da. Oh, Ao-wan-da! I've never been there, nor have I learned what the name means in the aboriginal language. However, it sounds to me like “O Wonder!” in English for it is said that there are many maple trees there. “You don't have to visit Japan for red leaves!” Lao Ye joked about my previous four “educational trips” to Japan. “Just come here, and you'll be satisfied with thousands of beautiful maple leaves and me, an Old Leaf!”

I like Lao Ye because he is so interesting. He usually speaks in a “humorous” way---this particular “sense of humor” is a combination of some wise, some kind, and some naïve components!

During the party he and I hosted on February 6th this year, Lao Ye was asked how much he liked his new son-in-law. “The younger generation are hard to understand, aren't they?” asked Chen laoshi. Yet Lao Ye replied, “It depends. If you give them a careful examination, a proper oral test or something, then you'll know them much better.” All of us burst into laughter, asking at once, “Did you really interview your son-in-law?” “Oh, it was before he became my son-in-law that I asked him five questions,” Lao Ye seriously said, “Each question accounted for 20 per cent of the full marks. That young man was not too bad. He made up 85 per cent!” I was curious about the questions. The most interesting one was: “Could you list 10 shortcomings that my daughter possesses?” What a tricky question!

Generally speaking, Lao Ye was wise. But he would make some subjective remarks once in a while. For instance, he described the 1000-Isle Lake as “tremendously big and deep,” but then he exclaimed that he had tasted the most delicate clams at a restaurant near it, saying, “How fresh those clams were! They had just been picked up by hand from the 1000-Isle Lake!” Is it possible to pick up clams by hand right from the bottom of a very deep lake? Lao Ye was occasionally laughed at for lack of common sense.

All of a sudden, I thought of the tragic event [6] that happened at the 1000-Isle Lake on March 31st, 1994; I thought of the devastating earthquake that happened in central Taiwan on September 21, 1999; and I thought of the floods caused by the typhoon Mindulle on July 2nd, 2004. All these natural and man-made calamities made people very sad, yet the July-2nd floods caused Lao Ye to be “loudly and openly” laughed at. It was the third day after the floods. Like some other mountain villages, Ao-wan-da had been cut off from the outside world by serious landslides, and the rescue helicopter was the only way to carry food and medicine in and the sick and wounded out. Lao Ye and his wife had been reported missing. Then, when Lao Ye appeared on the fourth morning, we realized that he had got out of Ao-wan-da by taking the very last seat in the helicopter the previous afternoon. And all of us made fun of Lao Ye because he “escaped” without taking his wife with him.

“Why didn't your wife come out together with you?” I asked.

“Well, there was only one vacant seat in the helicopter at that moment,” said Lao Ye. “The helicopter was meant to carry the sick and wounded. You know, my wife and I were both okay---and safe!”

“But don't you think that women should have been rescued first?” I protested. “Your wife could have been scared to death, if there had been another storm last night.”

“My! I'm going back to her very soon. I've come out here to pay the monthly huiqian. In my family, paying huiqian [7] has been my duty, not hers.”

Lao Ye always gave me interesting reasons or explanation whenever I felt puzzled about what he had said or done.

The other day I told him that I had found several maple trees near my house so I wouldn't have to go as far as Ao-wan-da to see beautiful maple leaves. He said, “The maples in Ao-wan-da are really maples, called feng (楓) in Chinese; but the maples near your house should be called cu (槭) in Chinese. Look at their leaves carefully, and you'll see feng and cu are different, though very much alike.” 《The End》

= = = Notes = = = 

[1]  This story is fictitious; if it sounds like a true story, please bear in mind that what a storyteller regards as “truth” exists in his imagination rather than in the real world. This is my first statement. And my second statement is like it: When reading this story, please pay attention to its invisible parts as well as its visible parts, for it's hard for a storyteller to tell all things he wants to tell.
 
[2]  The “hard-neck spirit” is pronounced as “ngang-kiang jinsin” in the Hakka dialect. In Mandarin it is interpreted as “ying han, ying gutou” or literally translated as “ying-jing jingshen.”
 
[3]  In those years students of the Teachers Junior College called shi-zhuan did not have to pay any schooling fees; instead, they were given food, uniform clothing, lodging, and some “pocket money” by the government.
 
[4]  Literally, hao xin means “good heart, good intention” and hao bao means “good reward.”
 
[5]  The Yangtze, or formally called Chang Jiang, is the longest river in China. Yellow Mountain, or Mt. Huangshan, situated in southeastern China, is famous for the uniquely shaped pines, the fantastic rock peaks, the sea of clouds and the hot springs. As to the 1000-Isle Lake (called Qiandaohu in Mandarin), it is not very far from Mt. Huangshan. We remember that a tourist group of 24 persons from Taiwan was tragically killed in a boat by three armed robbers on March 31st, 1994.
 
[6]  See also [5].
 
[7]  Huiqian is an mount of money one has to pay, usually per month, for a particular “fund” organized by a group of friends and/or relatives who intend to help and to get help from the other members of the group.
 
- - -

2010年8月9日 星期一

象鼻山:照片共 4 組

圖片編號:001




圖片編號:002
桂林的地標----象鼻山
Elephant Hill, the best-known landmark of Guilin City










圖片編號:003
2010年7月25日「聖雅各員工旅遊團」合影於象鼻山前





象 的 鼻 子 ? ---- 像 不 像 ?

不管「象」或「不象」,先照個相(像)!




圖片編號:004


拍照的時候,我倆儘量展露笑容;
我告訴她,爸爸[我岳父]一定會要我們快樂,
他絕對不希望我們因為心裡懷念著他而愁眉苦臉!

= = = = = May the Lord bless him in heaven, and us on earth! = = = = =

The following picture was actually taken nine years ago, in 2001, when Jean and I visited Guilin
for the first time together with our parents, our brothers and sisters, and other relatives. 
Now my father-in-law (see picture below, the 1st from the left) has passed away.
How much Jean and I would miss him when we see this picture again!




2010年8月8日 星期日

生日禮讚

----- by 帆影 (Fan-Ying, one of my previously used pseudonyms) and published firstly in the literary supplement (台灣副刊) of Taiwan Daily on February 15, 1974 and then again in the school magazine Jia-Shi Qingnian (嘉師青年) on May 24, in the same year.

Since August 8th is Papa's Day in our country, I would like to quote this "old poem" to show my respect to my papa.

爸爸是挑擔子的能手
他的籮筐盛滿了溫情與愛
無論在
烈日懸空的田野
蠻荒峻峭的山腰
或者風雨交加的竹橋
爸爸挑擔子趕路的跫響
就像是一連串殷切的鐘擺

爸爸是栽果樹的能手
他的心園種滿了新苗與綠
無論是
雲幕輕拂的春季
火傘高張的夏至
或者秋冬遞換的時日
爸爸栽果樹雙手的脈搏
就好比一聲聲祈望的默語

爸爸是撰寫人生的能手
他的旅途充滿了蔓葛與刺
雖然是
十二歲就得犁田
十四歲便無父母
往後的日子尤多清苦
爸爸微微傴僂的背影
卻象徵一整頁光輝的戰史

後記:我的爸爸不是軍人、公務員、或工商界人士,我的爸爸只是一個平凡的農夫,雖然如此,我對他擁有無限的讚美與欽敬。這篇小文---寫於一九七四年孟春---作為獻給爸爸的生日禮物。

Oh, Dad! I love you so very much . . . May the Lord bless you and Mom for ever!
- -

2010年8月3日 星期二

English Sentences Noted (021--030)

---- The following English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.

21.  He was out by a mile.


The words in red are used by persons who watch the sport ‘baseball’. It is used when a runner clearly does not reach the base before the ball arrives.

他還差得遠呢!

本句源自棒球觀眾的說法,意思是,大家都看得一清二楚,當跑壘者還沒抵達壘包前,球早已傳到該壘了。



22.  I think you're really off base about that.

The words in red use part of the sport ‘baseball’ to describe a mistake in real life. It means that one person thinks the other person is certainly wrong in how they think about something. The contraction combines the words ‘you’ and ‘are’.

關於那點,我認為你真的錯了。

美語的 off base,源自棒球用語,是「完全錯誤」的意思。



23.  I'll have to fly by the seat of my pants.

The words in red are a phrase that is used when a person must do something without much planning or training. The contraction combines the words ‘I’ and ‘will’.

我得憑經驗[或感覺]瞎碰。

由於事前沒有計畫,或缺少訓練,只能臨時憑感覺碰運氣,憑舊有的經驗去做,這就是片語 fly by the seat of my pants 的含義。



24.  I'd like to touch base with you when you are here again.

The words in red are used many times when a person tells another that he or she would like to talk, see, or keep in contact with the other person. The contraction combines the words ‘I’ and ‘would’.

下次您光臨時,我再跟您聯絡。

片語 tough base (with somebody) 有「再次聯繫」之意,其實,這是比較不拘禮節的「非正規用語」。



25.  Tell the cabbie to step on it.

A cabbie is the person who drives a taxicab. The words step on it, when used to discuss driving or travel, mean that you want to go faster.

告訴計程車司機開快點兒。

口語中,有人管出租汽車司機叫 cabbie (亦作 babby)。而片語 step on it 相當於美語口語 step on the gas (踩油門;加速) 的意思。



26.  We're running late.

The words in red mean that the persons have not accomplished as much of their project as they thought they would by a particular time. The words also can be used to mean that they have not travelled as far as they had planned by a particular time. The contraction combines the words ‘we’ and ‘are’.

我們進度慢了!

本句 running late 可指實際旅遊的進度,趕不上原先的行程規劃;其引申義,則表示做任何事情的實際進度,落後於預期進度。



27.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach.

This idiom can be said by a person who orders more food than they are able to finish eating. (The food looked so good, that they ordered, or took, too much.)

我的眼睛比胃還大!(我點太多菜了!)

台語有一種說法:「肚子飽了,眼睛(目啁)還未飽!」意義相近,通常是在吃飽了的時候講的,表示菜餚很好,雖然快吃撐了,還想再來一口。



28.  I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Many people understand that when a chicken has its head cut off, involuntary reactions cause it to run for a short time aimlessly in many directions before it dies. The words in red are often times used by a person if they have too much to do in a very short time. The contraction combines the words ‘I’ and ‘am’.

我像一隻無頭蒼蠅,亂飛亂撞一通!

原文字面義:我像被斷了頭的雞一般,盲目地奔跑著。本句俚語,通常用來形容:短時間內有太多事要做,忙得團團轉,不可開交。



29.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This expression is oftentimes used to describe the unhealthy circumstance of a person who has so much work to do (or chooses to work so much) that they do not have time for personal matters in life.

只工作不玩耍,聰明的孩子也變傻。

時時刻刻,日復一日,唯有勤奮用功,而絲毫沒有娛樂或調劑,任誰都會受不了的,不單是 Jack (傑克) ---- Jack是常用英文名字,拿來做代表罷了。



30.  I'll get around to it when I can.

The words in red are used to let someone know that there may be something that needs to get done, but other things are more important at that time, and that the matter will be taken care of when enough time is available.

我會抽時間來處理。

本句主要用來告訴對方,此刻另有要事須處理,還沒法子做(或考慮)他所提的那件事;但是,只要時間許可,會馬上針對那事加以處理的。



---- The above English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.

2010年8月2日 星期一

English Sentences Noted (011--020)

---- The following English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.

11.  Your deciding not to go with me is a real about face from what we discussed.


‘About face’ is an expression used in the American military. It literally means to face the opposite direction. In this sentence the words ‘about face’ mean that one person changed their mind and decided not to go with the other person.

你決定不跟我一道去,實在違背了我們當初的約定。

About face 是美國軍隊中的用語:「向後轉」。本句指二人已講好一同前往某地方,不料其中一人改變心意,決定不跟另一位同行了。



12.  The earthquake was an act of God.

In America, an ‘act of God’ refers to a natural disaster like a flood, hurricane, earthquake, typhoon, tornado, hail storm, or cyclone. These are things which cannot be controlled by people.

那地震,天災也。

美語中 act of God 指天然災害,例如洪水、颶風、地震、颱風、龍捲風、冰雹…等等。這些災害,人類「無能為力、莫可奈何」,只好視之為 act of God.



13.  It added insult to injury.

This figure of speech describes something said or done that does not help a problem. For example, if someone falls and hurts themselves and another person says to the first person, ‘You are clumsy’, that is adding insult to injury.

那是傷害之餘,又加羞辱!

有點像中文「傷口灑鹽」「落井下石」「幸災樂禍」「火上加油」之類的成語;明知對方受傷了,還當面說些風涼話,叫人很難堪;也是很不道德的行為。



14.  I like arriving at a concert, or movie ahead of time.

This expression is used to say that the person likes arriving early to these events, usually so that they can become comfortable and relaxed before the event begins.

看電影、聽音樂會,我喜歡提早到場。

Ahead of time(提前、提早)作副詞片語,修飾句中的動詞。提早到達電影院、或音樂會場,可免除遲到所帶來的損失與尷尬。



15.  They are like 2 peas in a pod.

This figure of speech is used to describe persons (or, even, a child and his or her pet) who are alike in many ways and are inseparable.

他們長得一模一樣,而且形影不離。

如同一個豆莢裡的兩顆豆子(2 peas in a pod) 距離多麼接近,長相多麼相似啊!這又個比喻的說法,可用來形容兩個人,或形容一個小孩和他的寵物。


16.  Their discussion is all over the map.


The words in red are used many times, in many different ways to describe conversations, thoughts, emotions, even political promises that are not consistent, or regular. They even might be unpredictable

他們天南地北什麼都談,卻沒有一致的主題及看法。

Map 是地圖;而 all over the map 表明許多不同的地點或方向,分散各處,有極大的差異。此語,可指討論內容,眾說紛紜,或各說各話,莫衷一是。



17.  He lost so much weight during his illness that now he's all skin and bones.

The words in red describe a person who is very thin. It does not look like the person has much muscle. The skin looks to be very loose. The description is not a compliment. It is said with almost a feeling of being sad for the person. The contraction combines the words ‘he’ and ‘is’

生病這段期間,他體重驟降,現在只剩皮包骨了。

All skin and bones 說明瘦到「肉」都不見了,只剩下「皮」和「骨」。這不是讚美身材苗條(好看)的話,反而是帶著幾分同情的說辭。



18.  My airplane tickets to fly to Europe cost an arm and a leg.

The words in red are an often-used phrase to describe anything that costs a person much more than they expected they would have to spend.

我買的飛往歐洲的機票,價格高得嚇人。

買那張飛機票,竟然花掉我的一手一腳 (cost an arm and a leg)?這樣的形容實在很生動。平常,我們只會說「花去我荷包的一大半」之類的話!



19.  Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

This means that you should not assume that something will happen until it actually happens. It can be used for a variety of situations: spending money you cannot afford to spend because you expect to receive some money is one example. The contraction combines the words ‘do’ and ‘not’.

別過早打如意算盤。

原文字面義:不要在蛋未孵化前,就先數算[認定]會有幾隻小雞。很多時候,「計畫」趕不上「變化」。那些借錢玩股票的朋友,可要特別小心啊!



20.  I'm going to make hay while the sun shines.

The words in red have their history in American farming. Today, this expression is used to say that you are going to use the extra time that you have so that you can accomplish a goal. The contraction combines the words ‘I’ and ‘am’.

我要打鐵趁熱----把握「時機」締造「佳績」。

原文字面義:趁有太陽時曬乾草。農業時代 hay 是作為飼料用的乾草;即草料也。當今說這話,常有勉勵人善用時光,以締造佳績或達成目標之意。



---- The above English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.

2010年8月1日 星期日

English Sentences Noted (001--010)

---- The following English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.

1.  I was so angry with him that I almost lost it.


‘Almost lost it’ means the person almost lost control of themselves by saying something or doing something they really did not want to, like calling the person a bad name, deliberately knocking things over and making a mess, throwing something at the other person, or, hitting the other person.

他讓我十分生氣,我簡直忍不住要發飆!

Almost lost it 指瀕臨「發飆」「抓狂」的邊緣,快要控制不了情緒了。假若怒火延燒,無法及時冷卻下來,有可能就要摔東西、罵髒話,或動手打人了。



2.  Yes, you were a little hot under the collar.

The previous sentence talked about anger. Sometimes, when a person is angry, they get physically warm, and their face and neck can become a red color. The ‘collar’ refers to the area by the neck, where the top button of a shirt is closed.

沒錯!你有一點「臉紅脖子粗」了!

人,生氣到某個程度,會有身體發燙,臉部及脖子都變紅的情況。句中 hot under the collar 這個片語,說明衣領 (collar) 以下的部位很燙。



3.  I would like that burger with everything, but hold the mustard and tomato.

A ‘burger’ is a very popular food in the United States. When going to a restaurant, you can tell the person working at the restaurant that you do not want certain things on your burger. By saying to ‘hold the mustard and tomato’, you are telling them you do not want mustard or tomato on your burger.

我要的漢堡,裡頭夾什麼都可以,就是不要有芥末和馬鈴薯。

英文單字 hold 有多種含義,固然值得查考、細究;而本句中 “… with everything(,) but …” 這樣的表達,也算是常見的英文句構,宜多加揣摩。



4.  I would like my salad dressing on the side, please.

At a restaurant, you can tell the person working there that you want your salad dressing to be served in a little cup ‘on the side’ instead of covering the salad. That way, you can put as much or as little on your salad as you want.

請把沙拉醬另外放,不要直接澆在生菜食品裡。

在餐廳點菜時,可能用到這樣的句子。如果你指定沙拉醬(生菜食品的調味料)另外盛在小碟子裡,那麼,吃生菜時,想沾多少就沾多少,也就不會太濃或太淡了。



5.  My old man is old fashioned.

The words ‘my old man’ are American slang sometimes used by a person to describe their father. It might less often be used by a woman to refer to her husband or boyfriend. ‘Old fashioned’ refers to dressing or doing things in a way that was popular a long time ago.

我老爹是個老骨董—很守舊呢!

在這句美式俚語中 my old man通常指「老爸」而言;較少拿來指「丈夫」或「男朋友」。Old fashioned 可用來形容衣服款式(或做事方式)老舊、不合時宜。



6.  Buying that new DVD for that low price was a real steal.

The words ‘a real steal’ are an American figure of speech. It means that the price is a good bargain. A person could make a joke and say that for it to be bought at any lower price would almost be like stealing it.

以這麼低價買到那張DVD 實在太划算了。

美語中 a real steal 是一種比喻的說法,字面義與「簡直是偷來的」相近;在中文裡,還有「揀到了便宜」「物超所值」…等等,類似的表達。



7.  Having to do all that work in such little time is a tough row to hoe.

This sentence is using an image found in old agriculture. The words ‘a tough row to hoe’ refer to the rows of crops in the field. A hoe is a tool that a farmer uses to remove weeds. The word ‘tough’ means difficult.

短時間內要做完那一切工作,真難啊!

用 a tough row to hoe 來形容非常吃重(吃力)的一件事,意義很貼切;此處用的是從前農業時代,農人以手握鋤鬆土(或除草)的辛苦情景,其「意象」相當鮮明。



8.  It cost me a pretty penny to get my car repaired.

‘A pretty penny’ is an American figure of speech. A ‘penny’ is a coin. In American money, it is worth 1 cent. (Approximately .317 New Taiwanese Dollars). ‘A pretty penny’ means it cost a lot of money.

我的車子送修,花了我好多錢。

A penny 在美國貨幣中只是 a cent(一分錢),一枚硬幣而已;不過 a pretty penny(漂亮的一文錢)卻是很多錢。這是美國式的修辭,一種比喻的說法 (figure of speech)。



9.  The used car that I bought was in A-1 condition.

‘A-1 condition’ is an American figure of speech which means something being in the best condition possible.

我買的那輛中古車,性能極佳。

A-1 condition 指狀況特佳、性能「一等一」「一級棒」的意思。這也是美國式的修辭,一種比喻的說法。



10.  Stacking those boxes so high is an accident waiting to happen.

‘An accident waiting to happen’ is an American figure of speech that refers to possible danger that could come as a result of the way something is done, or the way someone acts.

那些箱子疊得這麼高,就等著發生意外吧!

美語中 an accident waiting to happen 是指「有可能發生的意外」。

---- The above English Sentences are noted by Warren Sevander in English and Jerry Liang in Chinese, which have been put onto the website of St. James' Language Institute.