1. English Literature 英文文學 (March 三月 2010)
I read a lot. In fact, if I'm in my house, I'm probably reading. I like books a great deal, and if I had to choose between a good book and a good movie I would pick the book every time. 我很喜歡看書,實際上只要是在家的時間,我大概都在看書.如果要在電影和書當中選一項,我一定二話不說選擇一本好書.
Sometimes people ask me about what English novels they should study. This is partly because I occasionally teach English at the University, but I have had teachers at the elementary school ask me as well. I am no Professor of English, but I suppose that reading so much entitles me to some kind of opinion.有時人們問我什麼英文小說適合選讀,通常是大學學生或是國小老師,因為我在大學兼過課也是國小的外籍教師,我不是英美文學的教授,但是也因為我閱讀廣泛使得人們願意採用我的意見.
My opinion is that a lot of people in Taiwan waste too much time reading books that no one finds interesting. And that's a shame. There are plenty of fun English books out there, but everyone just seems to read a narrow selection of "the classics" and then stops. What follows below are some suggestions for further reading.我認為很多人在臺灣浪費了很多時間看一些無趣的書,這真的很可惜,因為有那麼多精彩好看的英文書沒被發現,每個人似乎把自己的閱讀範圍限制在"經典",在這之後就放棄了.下面是我認為適合當作延伸閱讀的讀本:
1. The King James Bible.聖經(英語「 欽定本」)
No, I'm not trying to convert you to Christianity! It's just that the Bible - especially the King James version - has had a profound effect on both the English language and Western culture. In other words, it can be a good means of understanding us foreigners!不要認為我在鼓吹你信教,只是這本聖經對英文與西方文化產生很大的影響,它可以幫助你瞭解我們這群"外國人"!
2. James Ellroy's novels.詹姆士．艾洛伊的小說
James Ellroy writes about sex, violence, and profanity. If you want to learn A LOT of bad words in English his books are definitely a great place to start. Several of his books (The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, etc.) have also been adapted into movies.如果你想要學英語髒話,那他是很好的選擇,有些他的書也被拍成電影.
3. Isaac Asimov's novels.以撒·艾西莫夫的小說
Isaac Asimov wrote two major series of books, the "Foundation novels" and the "Robot novels". Personally, I think the Foundation novels are better. These books are a great way to build up your science vocabulary. Asimov's "I, Robot" was also made into a movie.他的小說分為"基地系列"和"機器人系列".我認為他的"基地系列"比較好,如果你要增進你對科學方面的字彙,那麼它們是你很好的選擇,電影"機器公敵"的原作就是他的作品.
4. "Walden," by Henry David Thoreau.亨利·戴维·梭羅的湖濱散記
Thoreau was a strange guy. "Walden" pretends to be a journal of the year he spent living alone in a cabin in the woods, even though there is evidence that he wasn't as "isolated" as Walden makes him out to be. Just the same, Walden has had a great influence over Western thinking about nature and man's relation to it.梭羅是個怪人,"湖濱散記"記載的應該是他獨自在樹林小木屋居住的過程,但是有證據顯示他跟本不像書中所寫的那樣離群所居.雖然如此,這本書影響了西方對自然與人的關係的看法.
5. Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Books" and "Kim".鲁亞德·吉卜林的"叢林之書"和"基姆"
The English in these books is actually quite difficult, though easier than some parts of the Bible. Kipling lived in India during the height of the British Empire, and his stories are a good snapshot of that era. "Kim" is probably the most Buddhist of Western books.書中的英文有點難,但是比聖經簡單.吉卜林在歐洲的殖民時代居住在印度,從他的書中可以看到當時的生活片斷與佛教的影響.
And I'll stop there. By the way, many of the above books are available in Chinese translation. I would highly recommend them if you have the time?大概就是這樣,以上的書應該都有中譯本,我強烈推薦你在有空的時間來認識它們.
2. Buying Land in Taitung 臺東置產 (March 三月 2010)
So lately my wife and I are thinking about buying land here. This seems like an easy enough proposition, but of course when you really sit down and think about it your head starts to spin.最近我們開始想要有自己的家,聽起來好像蠻簡單的,可是等到坐下來考慮一些細節後,頭就開始脹痛了.
For one thing, there is land for sale EVERYWHERE. How to choose? Should we live in the city? Should we live father out? Land is much cheaper as you move away from the city, and generally more scenic. I find myself attracted to the idea of living in either Tai Ma Li or Li Ji, but it would be a long drive to work in the morning.事情是到處都有賣屋及賣地廣告,那是要住市區呢?還是住外圍些呢?當然離市區愈遠地愈便宜而且風景較好,我本身比較喜歡太麻里及利吉,只是那又要考慮每天通勤的問題.
Size is also an issue. We definitely want a piece of land big enough to have a yard in, but beyond that we're really not sure how much land we need or want. Some of the land toward the mountains is (forgive the pun) "dirt cheap", but I'm not sure about having THAT much land. If it was too big, it would be a lot of work to maintain. There are also zoning ordinances to consider, since lots of certain sizes carry their own restrictions and taxes.我們現在的想法是要有一個院子,至於地要多大,那我們完全沒概念,有些遠些的土地真是很便宜,只是有那麼大的地也是另一種困擾,應該是不好照顧吧!而且還有其他有關農地的法律問題和稅金的多寡問題.
And then there's whatever someone has built there already. We're not so picky about what kind of house we live in, but of course it has to be in good condition. If not, we'd have to tear it down and build another house, and that would be an additional investment of both money and time.還有的是地上已有的建築物,我們對要住什麼樣的房子不是很挑,但是當然是在能防颱的最低限度上,如果還需要拆掉重蓋,那又是額外要考慮的費用了.
It's a hard decision to make. We're far away from committing ourselves in any direction, but once you start thinking about this - really thinking about it - it can be hard to stop. Before you know it you are in a world of bank loans and compound interest. You are signing papers and worrying about the future.我們只是剛開始考慮買房而已,只是一認真想這些問題時真的很難放下,只是我們不想糊里糊塗就買房,因為未來的貸款問題會是一個沉重的壓力.
I have to keep reminding myself that the cost of a thing can often outweigh the benefits of owning it. It's easy to get stars in your eyes when you are thinking about purchasing something so important, but I think it is best to be careful.我必須常常提醒自己:有時失去的會比擁有的多.因為做這決定的當下很容易變得貪心與虛榮,真是要小心才好.
3. Wildlife in Taitung 臺東野生動物 (March 三月 2010)
I think animals are very interesting. I like teaching about them, I like learning about them, and more than anything I like watching them. Animals, when left to their own devices, do some amazing things. 我喜歡動物和在課堂上教小朋友動物,更喜歡學習有關動物方面的知識和觀察牠們,在自由的環境下,牠們常會有出人意料的動作.
Which is not to say that I like zoos. Actually I do like the Taipei Zoo, but most of the other animals in most of the other zoos in Taiwan (or the USA, for that matter) just look depressed to me. I would prefer that they were free, as I am, to engage in whatever questionable behaviors they wish to engage in. 雖然我喜歡臺北市立動物園,但這並不是說我喜歡動物園,因為大部分在臺灣或美國動物園裡的動物看起來都很不快樂,我希望牠們能自由自在地想做什麼就做什麼.
Fortunately, in Taitung there's no zoo, so I don't have to feel sad about Formosan Black Bears kept in less-than-hygienic conditions. In Taitung, if you want to see animals you have to go up into the mountains and seek them out. In Taitung, the animals still have a fair amount of room to move around and do amazing things. This is good. 幸運地,臺東沒有動物園,所以我沒有機會看到臺灣黑熊被關在小小的空間裡,在臺東想看到野生動物就要到山上才有可能,臺東的動物還有相當的空間生存和活動,那是值得慶幸的.
What follows are some of my favorite Formosan animals. As far as Taitung is concerned, probably the best place to start looking for them is the Forest Recreation Area in Jer Ben. They have an interpretive center there, and there is no shortage of monkeys to be found in that place. Beyond Jer Ben, anywhere in the mountains would do. Just be careful of those snakes, killer bees, and poisonous butterflies! 下面是我喜歡的臺灣物種,在臺東要看到牠們可能要到知本森林遊樂區,他們那裡有個遊客中心介紹附近的動物,最常見的是猴子,當然在其他山上也可能見到牠們,只是要小心路上的蛇,虎頭蜂和有毒的蝴蝶.
[Pictures of various Taiwanese animals omitted]
Anyone interested in researching this topic further is encouraged to visit Wikipedia's List of Protected Animals in Taiwan. That is where I got all the pictures you see above! 如果你也對動物有興趣,可以到維基百科,那是我找到以上這些照片的地方.
4. Garbage 垃圾 (April 四月 2010)
Garbage makes me sad. I don't know why so many people want to throw their garbage everywhere. Taitung is such a beautiful part of Taiwan, and people still throw their garbage everywhere.我不知道為什麼人們喜歡亂丟垃圾?在臺灣,臺東是一個漂亮的淨土,可是還是有許多人喜歡到處丟垃圾,每次想到這個就讓我覺得惋惜.
Is it laziness? Is it ignorance? A little bit of both? Whatever the reason, I really wish some people would become more aware of how they are affecting the environment. We only have one Earth, and all these plastic bottles and drink cups are going to be with us for a long time. Most of them, of course, wind up in local rivers, and from these rivers they are washed into the ocean.是懶惰?是無知?還是兩者皆是?不論是那一個理由,我衷心地希望人們想想他們對生存環境所造成的影響,我們只有一個地球,而這些塑膠瓶,飲料杯都會影響我們許久,大部分這些瓶瓶罐罐都經由本地河流沖刷到大海.
I was reading about the (Great) North Pacific Garbage Patch the other day. The North Pacific Garbage Patch is a big island of garbage in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, washed there by the "conveyor belt" of ocean currents called the North Pacific Gyre. 前些天讀到有關北太平洋環流系統的報告,大太平洋垃圾塊是在太平洋中央的垃圾島,由北太平洋環流系統的海流沖積在一起.
Most of the North Pacific Garbage Patch is invisible to satellite photography, since the plastics that comprise this island tend to congregate just below the surface of the water. The heat of the sun degrades these plastics, and as they degrade they are consumed by fish in the ocean. These plastics then pass into our food chain, and I can assure you that if you eat fish, you have probably at some point also eaten plastic.衛星照相絕大部分無法顯示北太平洋垃圾島,因為它們處於海面下,日照將它們分解為細小的聚合物再進到魚的肚子裡,然後則進到我們的食物鏈中,我相信我們在吃魚的同時也吃進部分的塑膠製品.
Some might think the North Pacific Garbage Patch is not their problem. Actually, I think it's everybody's problem. Yes, the currents that create the North Pacific Garbage Patch might not originate in Taiwan, but - and you might have guessed already - there is now also a South Pacific Garbage Patch. All that garbage from Taiwan has to be contributing to at least one of them!或許你認為這是在北太平洋才有的問題,事實上,它是每個人的責任,造成垃圾島的洋流可能不是由臺灣附近出發,但是(你可能已經猜到)還有南太平洋的垃圾島,這可就與臺灣脫不了關係了.
I'm not trying to say that we need to "Save the Planet." I think that the idea of humans saving any planet is ridiculous. What I do think we need to consider is saving the quality of our environment, and perhaps also saving ourselves. Besides that, all the garbage on the road is just hard to look at. It speaks of shortsightedness, and a lack of consideration.我不是說我們要救地球,因為這種說法太可笑了,我認為我們需要拯救我們居住的環境品質,也許也是救我們自己,除此之外,路上的垃圾真是有礙觀瞻,它說明了人們的短視與無知.
5. Sports in Taitung 體育活動 (April 四月 2010)
What is the most popular sport in Taitung? I'd have to say bicycling - hands down. SO MANY new bicycle shops have opened here, and new bicycle clubs and competitions are appearing all the time.什麼是臺東目前最受歡迎的體育活動呢?我想應該是騎腳踏車,這裡開了許多新的腳踏車店,也不時地舉行相關的活動與競賽.
I, for one, am glad to see more people out of doors and exercising. I just wish more people would use bicycles to commute to work? There are really too many cars on the road, and most of the people I know live very close to where they work. Leave the car at home!我很高興看到大家到戶外活動,希望有越來越多的人利用腳踏車上下班,我們已經有太多的車子在路上跑了,其實很多人上班的地方就在住家附近,把車子留在家吧!
Aside from local cycling events, sports in Taitung is a big topic. Next week, for instance, we have three days off for the National High School Athletic Games, which Taitung is hosting this year. I know that the city and county governments have been putting a lot of time, money, and energy into this event, and hopefully they will be satisfied with the result.除了腳踏車活動,運動現在是臺東熱門的話題,很快地,下星期就是將持續三天的全國中學運動會,今年由臺東舉行,全臺東縣市為了這個活動花了許多的時間,金錢與精力,希望他們能得到滿意的成績.
While cycling (and, for that matter, the High School Games) is more of a "Taiwanese thing" here, surfing seems very popular among the foreign residents. I can't say that I have been surfing yet, but I would like very much to try it someday. As it is, lately I am attempting to get in shape for the "Flowing Lake" Triathlon next fall, so aside from running, bicycling, and swimming I haven't given much thought to other forms of exercise.騎腳踏車(或是全中運的運動項目)屬於臺灣人的運動,衝浪就比較是外國朋友的運動,我還沒有試過衝浪,但是我也很想那一天去試試看,最近我積極地為秋天時在"活水湖"舉辦的鐵人三項作準備,也就是跑步,騎腳踏車和游泳,除了這三項,我還沒有想到其他我想嘗試的運動.
Which reminds me - the Green Island Marathon is only about a month away! Those interested are encouraged to visit the Taitung Urban and Rural Athletic Association website for details. I'll be there as a participant in the 5K race, and also as a volunteer interpreter. See you there?對了,綠島的馬拉松距離現在只有一個月的時間,有興趣的話可以參考以上的網址,我將參加5公里的健康路跑並且幫忙國外選手的語言溝通,你也來參加喔!
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