2018年10月30日 星期二

The Three-Character Poem 三字經 3

The first part of the Three-Character Poem can be found here.  The second part can be found here.  The Three-Character Poem (or "Three-Character Classic") consists of 1071 characters arranged in three-character sentences.

This time I'm including the introduction to the poem found in the All in One 三字經, published by 世一文化事業股份有限公司 (ACME Cultural Enterprises Co., Ltd.) in 1992.  I'm not sure why I didn't do this for the first entry.

After the introduction you'll find the third part of the poem, this part numbering 294 characters.  This would bring us about 1/3 of the way through the Three-Character Poem.

Oh, and it's worth mentioning that any translation of the Three-Character Poem is very loose, and involves a lot of "reading between the lines."  All published editions of this work contain copious notes and commentary, and it's only from these notes and commentary that any translation is possible.  If you're not "seeing" the English verses in the Chinese text, this is why.  By way of further explanation there are also notes at the bottom.

I placed periods at the end of every four lines of the poem.  This was done to enhance its readability, and also reflects the way in which the poem is presented and explained in the book.

前言 Introduction

在西風東漸之後, 今日的臺灣又面臨日, 韓文化的大肆流行, 雖然在服飾, 裝扮上, 也許流行復古的傳統中國風味, 但令人擔心的是中國文化及傳統倫理觀念的日漸式微, 我們的孩子會在這股外來文化的洪流中, 逐漸失去對傳統文化的認識及接受文學作品薰陶的機會.  As Western [and other] cultures began to infiltrate [China], modern Taiwan experienced an influx of Japanese and Korean culture.  Even though foreign costume was very popular, and even though this popularity was the reason it replaced more traditional Chinese forms of dress, it caused people to worry about the weakening of traditional Chinese culture and ethics.  Our children were swept up in the fervor over foreign cultures, and were gradually losing an appreciation for their traditional culture and not developing an appreciation for [our] culture's literature.

三字經是我國古代學塾所用的兒童啟蒙教材, 全書內容均以三字為一句, 便於郎讀, 易於背誦.  孩子除了可以從中吸收知識外, 更重要的是了解待人接物的方法及處世的原則, 建立正確的人生觀.  The Three-Character Poem was used by our country's academics in ancient times as a primer for children.  The whole book consists of sentences composed of three characters, which are easy to both memorize and recite.  Aside from absorbing information from it, children can also learn how to deal with people, and the principles upon which the world operates.  [All of these things help them] establish a proper outlook on life.

三字經相傳是宋人王應麟所撰, 現今的版本曾經章炳麟修訂.  本書採章炳麟修訂版本, 並於書末增錄王應麟原著全文, 供對照參考.  The Three-Character Poem was written by Wang Ying-lin during the Song Dynasty.  The current version was edited by Jhang Bing-lin.  The book you hold in your hands is this same version edited by Jhang Bing-lin, and can checked against the original version written by Wang Ying-lin.  [This version has been] appended to the end of the book for reference.

本書內容編排除列出原文, 加上注解及白話翻譯外, 並附有和原文相關或延伸的故事, 也等於是原文的補充說明, 讓孩子能因而更了解經文的意義, 也更喜愛本書.  This edition of the book includes the original text of the poem, annotations,vernacular translations, and includes stories related to or derived from the poem.  These are presented by way of explaining the poem and helping children understand its meaning, and also to increase their appreciation of it.

三字經的內容包含甚廣, 舉凡天文地理, 科學常識, 歷史知識, 人格教育, 品德培養, 生活倫理... 等, 均在其中, 是孩子啟蒙文學的最佳選擇, 也是孩子進入古文世界的第一步.  The scope of the Three-Character Poem is very broad, including astronomy, geography, math, common knowledge, historical facts, character building, the cultivation of morals, ethics and more.  Aside from these topics, [the Three-Character Poem] is also the best example of a literature primer, and represents a child's first step into the world of ancient literature.

三字經 The Three-Character Poem (3)

It is said water, fire,
Wood, gold and earth,
These five elements,
Gave rise to all things.
The heavenly stems (1),
From "jia" to "guei",
The earthly branches,
From "dze" to "hai".
It is said that through its orbit,
The sun moves among the planets,
It is said that the equator,
Lies around the Earth's middle.
Below the equator,
It is very warm (2),
We Chinese people,
Are in the northeast.
It is said the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers,
It is said the Huai and Ji Rivers,
These ocean-going rivers,
Stand out among rivers.
It is said Dai and Hua Mountains,
Song, Heng and Heng Mountains (3),
These five peaks,
Are famous among mountains.
It is said scholars and farmers,
It is said laborers and merchants,
These four types of people,
Make the country better.
It is said kindness and justice,
Decorum, wisdom and honesty,
These five ideals (4),
Cannot be disregarded.
That which grows from the earth,
Includes flowers and trees (5),
These plants,
Fill up the waters and land.
There are insects and fish,
There are birds and land animals,
These animals,
Can fly or walk.
Rice, millet and beans,
Barley, broomcorn and unsticky grains,
These six grains,
Are eaten by all people.
Horses, cows and goats,
Chickens, dogs and pigs,
These six domesticated animals,
Are raised by all people.
It is said happiness and anger,
It is said sadness and fear,
Love, disgust and greed,
Are seven native emotions (6).
Green, red and yellow,
Also black and white,
These five colors,
Comprise all the eye sees.
Sour, bitter and sweet,
Also spicy and salty,
These five flavors,
Are all the mouth savors.
Musky, burnt and sweet-smelling (7),
Also freshly-killed and rotten (8),
These five scents,
Are all the nose smells.
The "melon flute," clay and leather (9),
Wood, stone and metal,
Also bamboo stalks,
Make eight types of instrument.
It is said the flat and rising tones,
It is said the falling and "fourth" tones (10),
These four sounds,
Should be used harmoniously.
Paternal grandparents three generations back (11),
From your father to yourself,
From yourself to your children,
From your children to your grandchildren.
From a son to his children,
To grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
In these nine generations,
All people are ordered.
The love between father and son,
The deference between husband and wife,
The care of siblings for each other,
The younger children should respect this.
The younger should give way to the older (12),
Friends and scholars,
The king should exercise discretion,
Ministers should do their utmost.
These ten virtues,
All people should pursue,
When pursuing them,
One cannot waver.
The two types of funeral clothes (13) ,
The big "gong" and little "gong",
Also the finer hemp clothes,
Are of five types.
Etiquette, music and archery,
Chariot-driving, the study of Literature and mathematics,
Six ancient arts,
Are not practiced now.
(Now) there is only the study of Literature (14),
Which all should follow,
Acquiring the knowledge of words,
Reciting the "Shuo Wen" (15).
There is the ancient way of writing (16),
The big and little "Jwan",
 Leading to the "tsao" and "li",
Do not confuse them.
If one studies Literature,
One cannot fear its difficulty,
If one understands,
One can comprehend the source of knowledge.
All those who begin study,
Must concentrate upon it,
Those who understand the value of words,
Should study punctuation.
Those who study Literature,
Need a good foundation,
When one completes the study of characters, sounds and meanings,
Then come the four books (17).
The Analects of Confucius,
Has twelve chapters,
Many students,
Recorded the edifying words (18).
Has only seven chapters,
Elucidates morality,
Explains righteousness.
He who wrote The Doctrine of the Mean,
Was Confucius' grandson Dze-sse,
The middle way does not change,
The source remains the same.
He who wrote The Great Learning,
Was Dzeng-shen, student of Confucius,
From the cultivation of yourself to the cultivation of your family,
Comes the perfection of earthly things.
Understanding the Classic of Filial Piety,
Knowing the four books,
Then the six works (19),
Can be studied.
The Classic of Poetry, the Book of Documents and the Book of Changes,
The Rites of Zhou and the Spring and Autumn Annals,
These are the six works,
Which are studied.
There is the Book of Lian Mountain (20),
There is the Book of Guei Tsang,
There is the Book of Jhou (21),
Three books in all.
There is continuity and ministerial advice,
There is imperial admonition (22),
There are oaths and commands,
This is the deep meaning of the Book of Documents.
Our honored Lord Jhou,
Wrote the Rites of Zhou,
Established the six types of ministers,
And preserved national order.
The "big" and "little" Dai (23),
Summarized the Book of Rites,
Narrated the saints' messages,
And the complete rituals.
It is said the songs of 15 countries (24),
It is said the "Ya" and "Song" songs,
These four odes,
Should be recited by all.
The Classic of Poetry was forgotten,
The Spring and Autumn Annals were written,
They contain praise and condemnation,
Distinguish between good and bad.
The three lords Jwan (25),
There was Gong Yang,
There was Dzuo Shr,
There was Gu Liang.
After understanding the famous works,
You can study every type of philosophy,
Select their key points,
Remember what is important.

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1. The "heavenly stems" or "ten heavenly stems" are an ancient Chinese system of counting.  In this system you go from 甲 or "one" to 癸 or "ten."  This number systems figures a lot into Taoism, and each "number" in the system can have magical, astrological, or even philosophical meanings.

The "earthly branches" is in some ways very similar.  Ancient astronomers, observing the orbit of Jupiter, divided this orbit into periods of twelve years.  Each of these twelve years was later assigned an animal in the Chinese zodiac.The "first year" 子 or "dze" could be correlated with the rat, and the "last year" 亥 or "hai" could be correlated with the pig.  As with the "heavenly stems," many interpretations of the "earthly branches" are possible.

2. Very warm for people in ancient China, that is.  As they approached the equator it would have gotten warmer and warmer, and very little was known about the southern hemisphere when this poem was written.

3. 恆山 and 衡山.  In Chinese they sound exactly the same.

4. "五種不變的法則," or "five unchanging laws."  I used the word "ideals" above because I think it makes more sense for Western readers.  The Chinese is more in line with a kind of universal law as opposed to an ideal.

5. I translated 草 as "flowers," but "flowering plants" is closer to the poem's usage.  The next line uses 植物 or "plants," and using "plants" twice seemed repetitive.

6. The poem uses 具 or "equipped with," implying that everyone is born with these emotions.  This is why I used "native" in the above translation.

7. 羶 more literally translated means "the smell of sheep," but I thought musky was more to the point of this section.  香 isn't necessarily sweet-smelling, but rather anything that smells good.

8. Since 腥 encompasses the smell of blood, meat, fish and other "offensive" (臭) smells I chose to translate it as "freshly killed."

9. 匏瓜 is a type of melon, but in this passage 匏 signifies a type of musical instrument.  I couldn't find any name for this instrument, so I decided to call it a "melon flute."  There's a picture here.

10. According to the book, Chinese (Mandarin) doesn't employ this sound anymore.  I assume it was replaced by the falling/rising tone.

11. Why paternal and no maternal?  In traditional Chinese thinking the woman marries out of her own family and into her husband's.  Thus the custom of a wife/mother "returning" to her family during Chinese New Year.

12. This part reiterates Confucian ideals.

13. The tailored (usually white) kind and the roughly cut hemp/burlap kind.  The first kind is commonly seen at Taiwanese funerals.  The next line, 大小功 also refers to two types of funeral dress.  There's a picture here.

14. The "now" in the line above refers to the Song Dynasty, when the Three-Character Poem was originally written.  The scholar class/Mandarinate had given up the ancient arts of warfare for the study of Literature alone.

15. The 說文 or "Shuo Wen" is the abbreviated title of 說文解字, a book studied during the Eastern Han Dynasty.  It formed a basis for future studies of Literature.  (It was was basically a big dictionary)

16. The 古文 are the very ancient characters inscribed on oracle bones.  The big and little "jwan" or 篆 were character systems used from the Jhou Dynasty to the Chin Dynasty.  The 隸 "li" and 草 "tsao" were later writing systems derived from the big and little "jwan."

17. The 論語 or Confucian Analects, 孟子 or Mencius, 大學 or The Great Learning, written by one of Confucius' disciples, and 中庸 or The Doctrine of the Mean.  These are the four great books of Confucianism.  I've studied the first two and only glanced through the second two.

18. The words Confucius spoke, that is.

19. Deeper, more difficult works that can be studied after the four books mentioned above.  These six works include the 易經 or Book of Changes.

20. Still more obscure books.  Couldn't find any English name for 連山 (連山易) on Wikipedia.  I'm guessing it's less familiar to Western audiences.

21. This book is also called the Book of Changes and deals with the same subject matter.  I'm not sure if the two books are identical or not.

22. Sorry to get all wordy here.  This section discusses a king's interactions with his ministers.  It's all very Confucian and hard to phrase in English.

23. Scholars during the Eastern Han Dynasty.

24. Literally ALL countries, but it was ancient China and they only cared about 15, all of which are now part of China itself.  There's a fine line between "ode" "song" and "poem" in this section.  This section refers back to the 詩經 or Classic of Poetry.

25. Three famous scholars who interpreted ancient texts.  They each wrote famous commentaries on the subject.

2018年10月26日 星期五

Shiao Ye Liou 小野柳 / Jia Lu Lan 加路蘭

It was super cloudy last weekend, so keep in mind that the places in these pictures are twice as pretty when the sun is out.  上周末雲層很厚, 所以記得, 太陽出來的時候這些地方的風景更美麗.

This sign is just north of Fu Gang, which is in north Taitung City.  The East Coast National Scenic Area extends from here all the way to Hualien.  這個地標在台東市北邊的富岡的北邊.  東海岸國家風景區是從這裡開始一直到花蓮縣.

Shiao Ye Liou (or "Little" Ye Liou") is just past the sign for the East Coast National Scenic Area.  In case you're wondering, the "Big" Ye Liou is near Taipei.  Both places are famous for their rock formations.  過東海岸的地標就到小野柳了.  "大" 野柳在台北附近.  這兩個景點的岩石形成都很有名.

It's a very quiet place if you know where to go.  Most tourists go down the same path to the same set of rocks, but there's another, quieter part near the old campground.  如果你知道怎麼走, 就可以找到比較安靜的地方.  大部分的觀光客都會走同一條步道到相同的石頭, 可是舊露營區附近有比較沒有人的地方.

Near the parking lot there's an interpretive center which explains how the rocks here were formed.  Next to the interpretive center are a few stalls selling ice cream and T-shirts.  停車場附近有一遊客中心介紹這裡的岩石形成.  在遊客中心旁邊有些雜貨店賣冰淇淋跟T恤.

Across from Shiao Ye Liou you'll find this old boat.  It looks like it's been here forever, but it's really only been here a few years.  I guess someone just thought it would be something for tourists to take pictures of.  小野柳對面有這艘舊船.  看起來像在這裡很久的樣子, 但是它是在幾年前被放到這來的.  我猜有人覺得放在這邊給觀光客拍照很酷.

Behind the boat there's a tiny paved road that leads up into the hills.  This particular hill belongs to the military, and is where they keep their telecommunications equipment.  On Google Maps this is labeled "Monkey Mountain," though I've never heard of it referred to by that name.  船後面有一條路上坡.  這個小山坡是軍事營地.  他們在山坡上安裝他們的電信設備.  在Google Maps上這座山坡叫 "猴子山", 可是我在台東還沒有聽說過這個名稱.

The road leads through a lot of unused land where graves poke through the trees.  Then it turns into a dirt track, and approaches a village not far from Jia Lu Lan.  這條路經過很多空地和雜草裡的墳墓.  墳墓之後那條路變成一條泥巴小徑, 並通往加路蘭附近的小村子.

This is Highway 11.  Around the corner to the left is Jia Lu Lan, a popular destination just north of Shiao Ye Liou.  The peak in the middle is Dulan Mountain.  這是台11線.  在前面轉彎的地方是加路蘭.  加路蘭位於小野柳的北部, 是一個很受歡迎的景點.  前面的山是都蘭山.

Jia Lu Lan is basically just a place to see the ocean.  There are several sculptures placed within it.  When the Mainland Chinese tourists were still coming this place was a madhouse, but since then it's quieted down nicely.  加路蘭基本上只是一個看海的地方.  這裡還有些雕塑.  大陸客最多的時候這裡好誇張, 但是現在觀光客變少了.

The grass in Jia Lu Lan has seen better days.  This place is blazing hot in the summer, and typhoons blow a lot of the topsoil away.  加路蘭的草地變少了.  夏季時這裡超熱, 颱風季時風會把很多表土吹走.

The coastline looking south.  Not good for water sports but excellent for fishing.  Most surfing takes place further north, from Dulan onward.  岸邊往南看.  不適合在這裡戲水, 可是滿適合釣魚的.  從都蘭往北的海岸可以衝浪.

My favorite thing about this area is the coconut palms.  I ride my bike through this area every Sunday, and seeing the trees sway back and forth along my route always makes me happy.  這個地區裡我最喜歡的東西是椰子樹.  我每個禮拜天會騎腳踏車經過,  看路邊的樹搖來搖去讓我很高興.

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2018年10月20日 星期六

Hello, Taitung Person 台東人你好 4

In the Hello, Taitung Person entries I'll be interviewing local residents.  They decide what kind of biographical information to include.  Some people are more private individuals, and I respect that.  Others are happy to make their presence known, and I respect that too.  在 "台東人你好" 這些文章中我會介紹當地的居民.  這些資訊是他們同意分享的.  有的人比較重視隱私,  有的人則開心地讓他人更認識自己.  我尊重這二者不同的做法.

All numbered questions were chosen randomly from a list of 52 questions.  下列編號的問題是隨機由五十個問題中選出來的. 

The thoughts and opinions expressed below belong to the person offering them, and may not be shared by the person writing this blog.  下列是被訪問者的想法與意見, 與寫這個blog的我不一定一樣.

First Name 名字: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
Last Name 姓: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
Chinese Name 中文名字: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
Employment 工作地點: Cram School Teacher 補習班老師
Country of Origin 國家: Canada 加拿大
Age 年齡: 36 years old 三十六歲
Length of Residence in Taiwan 居住在台灣的時間: 12 years 十二年
Place of Residence in Taitung 住在台東地區: Near the RT Mart 在大潤發附近
Favorite Color 最喜歡的顏色: blue 藍色

1. Q: What are your thoughts on local night markets?  你對地區的夜市有什麼看法?

A: Uh, the Taitung night markets are smaller than other night markets I've been to around Taiwan.  They're smaller, cozier, but they still have all the good food and the games.  They're just a little bit smaller.  Like most things in Taitung.  嗯, 台東的夜市都比我在其他地方去過的夜市還小.  它們比較小, 比較舒服, 也還是有大部分的夜市美食跟遊戲.  只是比較小而已.  跟台東大部分的東西一樣.

Q: Final answer?  這是你最後的答案嗎?

A: Final answer.  最後的答案.

2. Q: What are some problems specific to the area you live in?  你的社區有什麼特別的問題?

A: Well, I've only lived there for two or three months.  Um, I'd say... there aren't many problems.  Quite a few stray dogs, um, that aren't well taken care of, and... a little more garbage than I'm used to.  I live in an area with a lot of fields, empty fields, so they're not very well-kept.  我目前只住了兩, 三個月.  嗯, 我想說... 問題不多.  流浪狗很多, 嗯, 沒有被照顧好的狗, 還有... 路邊的垃圾比我之前住過的地方多.  我住在空地比較多的地方, 所以這個地方比較沒有人管理.

3. Q: Which is better, Kaohsiung or Taipei?  Why?  高雄, 台北哪一個城市比較好?  為什麼?

A: I have been to Kaohsiung I think two times in my 12 years in Taiwan.  I've stayed the night there twice, once for a party and once just as a stopover next to the train station.  I've never actually been to Kaohsiung during the day.  Taipei... Taipei is a nice international city, it's quite busy but convenient.  I don't like big cities, so I'd like to say Taitung?  I know it's not an answer, but... I don't like big cities so... Taipei is cool for a big city, but I'm in Taitung for a reason.  I like small cities.  我住台灣的十二年內只有去過高雄兩次.  我在那裏過夜兩次, 一次是參加聚會, 還有一次是在那裏等隔天的火車.  我還沒有實際在白天看過高雄.  台北... 台北是國際性的好城市, 又繁忙又方便.  我不喜歡大城市, 所以我想回答是台東.  我知道這個答案不行, 可是... 我不喜歡大城市, 所以... 對大城市來說台北不錯, 可是我住台東是有理由的.  我喜歡小城市.

4. Q: What do you like to drink?  And what do you not like to drink?你喜歡喝什麼?  你不喜歡喝什麼?

A: I like to drink... In the mornings?  I like to drink yogurt drinks and coffee.  Um, every day - all day long - I drink water.  I mean, usually I just mostly drink water.  Um... and in the evening, after work, I often have a beer or whiskey.  我喜歡喝...  早上的時候嗎?  我喜歡喝養樂多跟咖啡.  嗯, 每天 - 整天 - 我都在喝開水.  嗯... 晚上下班之後我常常喝一杯啤酒或是威士忌.

5. Q: Describe the most irritating Taiwanese person you've ever known.  把你認為的最煩的台灣人形容一下.

A: Uh, this is...  真是的...

Q: Might want to be careful with this one.  回答這個問題要小心一點.

A: I have to... have some coffee before I answer this.  The most irritating Taiwanese person I've ever known...  I could speak for maybe, uh, I can't speak of one specific person, but I can speak for a general kind of person.  Um, the kind that kind of treats foreigners as if they're zoo animals to be... to be asked questions, and taking pictures of.  Some people, just... they don't know... or I'm a Westerner, so I'm speaking from a Western perspective, but they don't have the same boundaries as foreigners, so they'll maybe be a little too forward.  Um, they'll want to take pictures and they'll ask what's your salary.  The person I'll meet them and I'll say my name, and the second or third question in is "How much money do you make a month?"  So that's totally unacceptable in Western society.  Um, and often they'll say, "Oh my child speaks English, speak to this teacher," and the child's frozen, they can't speak.  They're so nervous. 我需要... 先喝點咖啡再回答這個問題.  我生活中最煩的台灣人... 我可以說, 嗯, 我不會特別指某一個人, 可是我可以說一個大概.  嗯, 看外國人像看動物園裡的動物... 像問問題和拍照片.  有的人只是... 他們不知道... 我是西方人, 所以我有西方的觀念, 可是他們的界線跟外國人不一樣, 所以他們太積極.  嗯, 他們想跟你合照或是問你的薪水多少.  我碰到這種人時說了我的名字後, 通常第二或是第三個問題就是 "你一個月賺多少錢?"  對西方社會來說問這種問題很沒禮貌.  嗯, 通常他們也會說: "我的孩子會講英文, 跟這位老師講."  然後孩子嚇一跳, 不說話, 他們非常緊張.

6. Q: What do you like to eat?  And what do you not like to eat?  你喜歡吃什麼?  你不喜歡吃什麼?

A: Uh well, if we go with Taiwanese food I like... stinky tofu's good, I love the sauce, the pickled cabbage.  The garlic and the spice just make it awesome.  I like, um, da chang bao shiao chang, the Taiwan hot dog I guess?  That's pretty good too.  I like the sour vegetables on that.  Got a good flavor to it.  I don't like dou hua.  Cold tofu, as a dessert, I just don't understand.  So, but I mean, I like to eat I guess similar to a lot of foreigners.  A lot of meat and potatoes.  Lots of vegetables.  Cheese.  Nuts.  I eat a lot of nuts.  Dairy, yogurt...  如果討論的是我喜歡的台灣料理, 我喜歡臭豆腐.  我喜歡上面的醬料和泡菜.  蒜頭跟香料讓它更好吃.  我喜歡大腸包小腸.  可以叫它台灣熱狗吧,  那個東西也很好吃.  我喜歡酸酸的菜在上面.  口味很讚.  我不喜歡豆花, 我就是不懂冷的豆腐當甜點.  我喜歡吃的我猜跟大多數的外國人一樣,  很多的肉和很多的馬鈴薯. 很多的蔬菜,  起司,  堅果.  我吃很多堅果,  乳製品, 酸奶...

7. Q: How could Taiwan's relationship with your home country be better?  如何讓台灣跟你國家間的關係更好?

A: I suppose my home country could recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, independent nation.  Other than that, I think Canada is... fairly supportive of... Well, again I'm not really well versed in this, but Canada is doing some trade deals with China and they're becoming closer.  More and more linked economically with China.  So, just if Canada thought more about Taiwan, or if Taiwan had some more representation in Canada, or - I don't know - some high profile member speaking for them?  我想我的國家可以承認台灣是個自由跟獨立的國家.  除了這件事之外, 我想加拿大都... 支持... 可是我對這件事情不熟, 但是加拿大跟中國有貿易協議, 所以這兩個國家越來越緊密.  加拿大經濟越來越靠大陸的市場.  所以, 如果加拿大多考慮台灣的話, 還是台灣在加拿大的代表更多, 還是 - 我不知道 - 一些身分地位較高的人為台灣發聲?

8. Q: Have you ever had Tunnel 88?  What was your experience like?  You know, the rice wine?  你有沒有喝過八八坑道高粱酒?  你的經驗如何?  你知道嗎?  那種米酒...

A: Yes, I have.  What was my impression?  My experience was... I felt like I had just drank rocket fuel.  It was not pleasant.  It is no the type of alcohol I prefer.  I mean, I haven't drank it to excess.  I'll try a little.  我喝過.  我的印象是?  我的印象就是... 剛剛喝火箭燃料的感覺.  很不舒服.  我不會再選那種酒.  我的意思是我沒有一次喝到醉.  我可以喝一點點.

9. Q: Have you studied Chinese?  Where and for how long?  你學過中文嗎?  在哪裡?  多久?

A: Um, I did a lot of independent study.  I studied the Audio-Visual Chinese books.  All five - all six, actually, 'cause three has an upper and lower.  Or it did back when I studied.  So I studied those independently.  Before I came to Taiwan I bought a "Learn Chinese" - with a CD - book so I could study.  So I could count before I came to Taiwan...  It was a British book.  It taught the Beijing accent.  But I mean it gave me a base for when I came here.  So I studied all those Audio-Visual books for five years, and every week I would have one-on-one classes, so I never went to a school or an institution, but I always studied.  I would always have one or two hours of one-on-one class a week.  Um, where I'd just go over the homework that I'd done, and I'd read.  I'd get them to help me with pronunciation, grammar, listening, any questions I had.  And um, I just always made sure I had social groups where people wouldn't speak English to me.  So, I'd play basketball, or go to the gym.  I tried to immerse myself.  So no formal education, but lots of informal.  嗯, 我大部分自己學習.  我學過實用視聽華語的課本.  全五本書 - 其實是六本書, 因為第三冊課本有上跟下冊.  我當時讀這些課本的時候是這樣子.  所以, 我自學那些課本.  我來台灣前買了一本Learn Chinese課本跟光碟.  所以我來台灣前已經會數數.  是英國出版的, 都是用北京人的口音.  我的意思是那本課本給我一個學習基礎.  我讀那些實用視聽華語五年的時間, 每個禮拜上一次一對一的課.  嗯, 我跟老師討論那禮拜的功課, 也跟他閱讀.  他幫我修正我的口音, 文法和聽力, 他也回答我的問題.  我另外會找不想講英文的朋友.  所以我會去打籃球或是去體育場.  我都是找全中文的環境.  沒有正式的上課, 大部分自學.

10. Q: In what ways is Taiwan better than your home country?  台灣哪裡比你的國家更好?

A: Uh... the climate is much warmer.  I like the tropical climate.  Um, people say, "Yeah, but it's too humid in the summer," well, I'd rather have the Taiwanese summer than a Canadian winter.  It's way too cold in Canada in the winter.  Um, the lifestyle's quite relaxed in Taiwan.  We're in Taitung, so there's always mountains and oceans nearby.  In Canada it can be very stressful to make ends meet, the rent's too high, the cost of everything's so high in Canada.  And the Taiwanese people are incredibly friendly?  Well, Canadian people are as well.  Well, they're different countries.  I like the lifestyle in Taiwan.  You can go outside in shorts and sandals.  嗯... 氣候比較溫暖.  我喜歡熱帶氣候.  嗯, 有人說: "夏季的時候這裡太濕熱," 可是我覺得台灣的夏季比加拿大的冬季更好.  加拿大冬天真是太冷了.  台灣的生活方式很輕鬆.  我們在台東, 附近就有好山好水.  在加拿大生活費很高, 房租也很高, 在加拿大什麼都很貴.  台灣人也很親切.  雖然加拿大人也很親切.  只是兩個國家不一樣.  我喜歡台灣的生活方式.  可以在戶外穿短褲跟涼鞋.

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"Taiwanese," or Something Like It
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2018年10月12日 星期五

What's Going On In My Apartment 我的公寓現在發生的事

Sorry, I can't bring myself to sort through the local news this week.  There's not much going on anyway.  Much of what little "news" there is has to do with local elections, and these kinds of news reports only serve as advertisements for local candidates.  很抱歉!  我最近不想看台東的新聞.  反正也沒有什麼重要的事發生.  地區新聞大部分都跟選舉有關, 有的反而比較像候選人的廣告.

晚上 5:21 p.m.

I'm sitting here typing this.  As I'm sitting here I'm thinking about what I should type and what I should not type.  I'm also thinking about work, and I'm also thinking about last week's entry in this blog.  People on Facebook liked it, though the group of random strangers on Reddit thought it was "stupid" or "wrong" without going on to explain why in any meaningful way.  Was what I wrote there really so offensive?  So misguided?  So ignorant of political realities?  Or is this just too sensitive a subject to talk about, given the thin-skinned "experts" on the topic?  我坐在這裡打電腦.  我坐這裡的時候想我要寫什麼和不要寫什麼.  我想著工作, 也想著上禮拜寫的文章.  臉書的讀者都喜歡, 可是在Reddit有一些不認識的讀者回應說那文章很笨, 或是錯的, 但沒有清楚的說出他們不喜歡的原因.  真是因為我寫的文章那麼可惡嗎?  那樣子寫真是錯了嗎?  我根本不知道台灣與大陸的關係嗎?  還是這種事情最好不要講, 因為 "網上的專家" 不會接受我的意見?

I know I shouldn't get too invested in online chatter (especially Reddit), and I'm probably being oversensitive because I haven't gotten enough sleep.  I woke up at 4 a.m. today to watch the Seattle Seahawks play the Los Angeles Rams, and to make it even worse I wasn't able to sleep during my lunch break.  我知道不應該放太多心思在網路聊天上(特別是Reddit).  我有點難過的原因大概是沒睡好.  我今天早上四點起床收看西雅圖海鷹隊對洛杉磯公羊隊的美式足球賽.  更煩人的是中午休息的時間沒辦法睡午覺.

晚上 5:35 p.m.

My wife just walked in the door.  She gets off work in Guanshan at four in the afternoon on Mondays, and after that she rides her bicycle to the Guanshan Train Station.  From the Guanshan Train Station she takes the train back into Taitung City.  From the Taitung Train Station she rides a scooter back home.  我太太剛剛進來.  星期一的時候她從關山下午四點下班.  下班以後會騎單車到關山車站.  再從關山車站坐火車到台東市.  最後從台東火車站騎摩托車回到我們家.

Right now she's talking to some of our cats and boiling two packages of dumplings that we bought at Carrefour yesterday.  She just asked me what I was doing and I said "Typing."  她正在跟我們家的貓講話, 也在煮我們昨天在家樂福買的兩包水餃.  她剛剛問我在做什麼, 我回答 "打字."

晚上 5:43 p.m.

My older daughter has been home almost as long as I have.  She rides her bike home from her senior high school, and as I sit here typing she's in her room playing with her phone.  We keep asking her if she wants a new phone and she keeps saying "No."  我大女兒到家的時間跟我差不多.  她每天從高中騎她的單車回家.  我在這裡打電腦的時候, 她在自己的房間玩手機.  我們一直問她要不要買新手機, 她每次回答說: "不用."

I often worry about my older daughter.  She says she wants to find a full-time job this summer, and not bother with college.  She also says she wants to work in Taiwan, and that finding a job in Seattle doesn't appeal to her.  I think she's a very responsible girl, and she's worked jobs in Taiwan for a while already, but I worry that she's "settling" for a summer job in Taiwan because it's the easy choice, and because it's what she knows.  Time will tell.  我常擔心我的大女兒.  她說暑假要去找一份全職工作, 不要去大學念書.  她也說要在台灣上班, 她不想去西雅圖找工作.  我覺得她是一個很負責任的人, 也在台灣打過工, 可是我擔心她暑假留在台灣工作是因為她覺得這是最安全的選擇. 時候到了就知道了.

晚上 5:47 p.m.

My younger daughter is the last to arrive home.  The homeroom teacher of her junior high school class has been keeping the class later, so she doesn't get to leave until 5:30 or so.  My wife just asked her if she wants a fried onion cake with her dinner, or just dumplings.  My younger daughter replied that she only wants dumplings, but she wants twenty of them because she's really hungry.  She's just gone into her room, closed the door, and I have no idea what she's doing now.  Maybe her homework?  我的小女兒是最後到家的.  她國中導師最近讓他們留在學校越來越久, 所以她5:30左右放學.  我太太剛剛問她晚餐要不要吃蔥油餅, 或是餃子就好了.  女兒回答說餃子, 可是她要吃二十顆餃子, 因為她很餓.  她剛進去她的房間裡, 把門關上, 所以我現在不知道她在做什麼.  有可能她在寫她的功課.

晚上 5:51 p.m.

Our cat Jojo is lying in the hallway between the kitchen where my wife is cooking and the laundry basket.  She is watching me type this.  Her hippo doll is on the floor, in front of her, where she left it last night.  我們貓Jojo趟在走廊, 在廚房跟洗衣籃中間.  她在看著我打電腦.  她的河馬娃娃在她前面, 她昨天晚上就把它留在那裡了.

晚上 5:55 p.m.

I can't see our other cat Christmas from where I'm sitting.  I think she's in my older daughter's room.  My older daughter is by far her favorite person, and she likes my older daughter even more when she smells sweaty from school.  Christmas is a funny cat.  從我坐的地方看不到我們的貓Christmas.  我想她在我大女兒的房間.  我的大女兒是那隻貓最喜歡的人.  那隻貓特別喜歡她剛放學有汗臭味的時候.  Christmas是一隻滿好笑的貓.

晚上 5:57 p.m.

Our cat Muffin is sitting on the floor next to Jojo.  Muffin loves nothing more than to eat, and she's probably waiting for my younger daughter to feed her.  Feeding the cats is one of my younger daughter's chores.  我們的貓Muffin坐在Jojo的旁邊.  Muffin最喜歡吃飯, 她大概在等我的小女兒餵她.  餵貓是我小女兒的工作之一.

晚上 5:58 p.m.

Our cat Stripey is sitting behind the living room fan.  Stripey is the weirdest of our cats, and he has some kind of mouth infection that makes him drip saliva all over the floor.  We've taken Stripey to the vet several times, but the vet says there's nothing we can do about it.  我們的貓Stripey坐在電扇後面.  他是我們家最奇怪的貓.  因為嘴巴感染的問題, 他的口水一直滴到地上.  我們帶他去看過好幾次獸醫, 可是獸醫沒辦法治癒他.

晚上 6:01 p.m.

I can't see our cat Smokey either.  This is because she hides in one of our bedrooms, away from the other cats.  Our four other cats despise Smokey, and were I to leave the bedroom door open either Christmas or Jojo would go in there and torture her unmercifully.  Smokey is a sweet cat, but she only gets along with human beings.  我也看不到我們的貓Smokey.  因為她都躲在我們的臥室裡, 不想跟其他的貓在一起.  其他四隻都非常討厭Smokey.  如果我沒把臥室門關上的話, Christmas或是Jojo一定會毫不留情地追咬她.  Smokey很可愛黏人, 可是她只適合跟人類在一起.

晚上 6:05 p.m.

I'm on the deck watching the sun go down.  The construction guys stopped their work on the sidewalks for the night, though they'll be back at it tomorrow.  A few scooters drive by downstairs, and I can hear people cooking dinner on the floors below.  Our neighbor - the nice lady who works at Chu Lu Ranch - is at home, and through our open front door I can hear the weird taxi driver guy who lives down the hall.  我在陽台看日落.  樓下的人行道施工的工作人員決定天黑休息明天再來.  幾台摩托車經過大樓.  我也可以聽到樓下鄰居在煮飯.  在初鹿牧場上班的那位親切的鄰居小姐也在家.  從打開的前門可以聽到走廊另一頭的那個奇怪的計程車司機的聲音.

I'm on the roof.  On my way up the stairs I could hear the sound of the building's two elevators going up and down, the echo of my own footsteps, and cicadas chirping from various trees.  From the roof I can see the lights of downtown Taitung, Jer Ben, Beinan, Shr Chuan, Highway 11, and in the middle of downtown there's Li Yu Mountain, where there are no lights at all.  我在大樓屋頂上.  我走上樓梯的時候聽到大樓那兩座電梯往上往下的聲音, 我腳步的迴聲, 還有樹上的蟬聲.  從屋頂可以看到台東市區, 知本, 卑南, 石川, 和台11線的燈,  和城市中間有完全沒有燈的鯉魚山

晚上 6:13 p.m.

And now my younger daughter is talking about burning her fingers on a plate of dumplings.  My wife is telling her to turn on the fan.  They're all sitting behind me, it's time for dinner, and I should go eat.  現在我的小女兒說她的手指頭一碗餃子燙傷了.  我太太叫她開電扇.  他們坐在我後面, 晚餐的時間到了.  我要去吃飯了.

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2018年10月5日 星期五

"Taiwanese," or Something Like It

People often ask me if I'm a Taiwanese citizen.  They ask if I have a Taiwanese I.D. card, or if I voted in the last election.  I guess it's mostly because I've been in Taiwan for so long.  They figure that anyone kicking around this country for almost two decades must be fully Taiwanese by now.

I'm always a bit sorry to tell them that no, I'm not a Taiwanese citizen.  I've never even looked into the process of "switching over," (though I've heard that it's horrendous*).  My wife is a Taiwanese citizen, and both my daughters have dual citizenship, but I remain the resident alien.  I'm still unable to vote, still unable to travel with a Taiwanese passport, and still unable to have a more personal opinion about what Taiwan should or should not be.

Part of the reason for this lies with the way most Taiwanese people identify with their own country.  By way of explanation, let's pretend for a moment that Taiwan isn't a country, but rather a sports team, and you're thinking about joining this team as a player.  You like their uniforms, you admire their skill on the field, and you're wondering if you have what it takes to make the cut.

...but the players on this team can't even agree on what to call themselves.  They're not even in agreement that they're a team at all.  Some of the players think that their team is only part of another team, in the same division.  Other players think that the other team is really part of them.  Still other players think that yes, they're definitely a team, and the other team is definitely separate, but they're all ready to switch to the other team if the season takes a turn for the worse.

I ask you, would you join such a team?  Would you feel comfortable with teammates who didn't think they were even on a team, or teammates who were really playing for the other side?  Would you feel comfortable with teammates ready to leave at the slightest opportunity?  Of course you wouldn't, and this is one of the reasons that I remain (exclusively) American.

Don't get me wrong, I love Taiwan.  I love the life this island has given me.  I love the good times I've had here, and even the bad times have been a learning experience.  In some ways I might even be more "Taiwanese" than American.  In some other ways I don't just love Taiwan; I am Taiwan, in that I - along with many other foreign residents - am part of what makes this place what it is.

But again I have to wonder, what IS this place?  Is it Taiwan?  Is it Chinese Taipei?  Is it... China?  When even Taiwanese people are afraid to answer this question there's a serious problem.  And I've found that as the years have gone by this problem has only gotten worse.

If you think it's bad in Taiwan, you should see interactions between Taiwanese people and Mainlanders outside the country.  Every so often you'll see a Taiwanese person (meekly) pulling out the R.O.C. flag, or whispering that they're (ahem) "Taiwanese."  And what does the nearest person from Mainland China do?  Pardon my French here, but more often that not they completely lose their shit.  Arguments ensue.  Explanations are offered.  And in the end - I'm sad to say - the Taiwanese person thus interrogated usually backs down, puts the flag away, and lapses into silence.  It's a sad thing, and I've seen it happen many times.

Aside from this there's the fact that I can't really blame other countries for wavering in their support for Taiwan.  The government here is doing a really bad job of explaining the situation to the rest of the world, and even if they did a better job I'm not sure how much good it would do.  China's position is obvious: "Taiwan is ours," but the Taiwanese point of view involves a lot more equivocation.  You just can't expect other nations to understand the "one China principle" or "one country, two systems."  Such bureaucratic explanations are too far beyond their day-to-day concerns.

So yeah, I can't see myself applying for that Taiwanese passport any time soon.  I won't be voting in any elections.  I also won't be using a new I.D. card.  Of course I would like to do these things, but for me it's a matter of identity.  Why would I give up my old identity for one that's so uncertain?  Why would I give up my citizenship for one that even Taiwanese people can't agree on?  I'm sorry to say it, but it seems like a losing bet to me, especially when I think of the continuing pressure Mainland China is putting on the island.

I'm not saying that I've written the idea off completely.  Maybe one day I'll be applying for citizenship in a country that didn't produce the likes of Donald Trump.  But if that day comes it's still a long way away, and it will await a time when people in Taiwan (or people in China, or both) can reach more of a consensus.  Right now it's a waiting game, even if I remain optimistic about how things will turn out.

And who knows?  Maybe a consensus on what Taiwan really is will emerge sooner than we think.  Maybe people on this island will come to agree more on what their country stands for, and from such an agreement international recognition will follow.  Reaching this kind of agreement is of course not without certain perils, but I think people in Taiwan can get there.  Maybe, once they do, I'll have a better idea of who I am, and of what country I belong to.

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Hello Taitung Person 台東人你好 2
Social Studies 社會 6, First Semester 上, Unit 1 第一單元

*After writing the above I looked into the process.  In case anyone is confused, it's the R.O.C. government that demands new citizens renounce their allegiance to another country.  The requirements for attaining R.O.C. citizenship are here, and the requirements for renouncing American citizenship are here.

Renouncing U.S. citizenship is a very long and involved process, and is not to be undertaken lightly.  The process starts with making an appointment at A.I.T. and talking to a consular officer.  You then have to fill out several forms and file taxes for the previous five years ("expatriation tax").  After this you pay U.S. $2,350 and take the "Oath of Renunciation."  After you receive the Loss of Nationality document you then start applying for R.O.C. citizenship..

The R.O.C. does accept dual citizenship in certain cases, but odds are that you don't fit the bill.  The government sometimes also awards citizenship to expats who've performed some act of "lifetime service" in Taiwan, but those thus recognized are often so old that the government's bestowal of citizenship comes off as more of an insult.

It's also worth noting that Taiwanese immigration laws are under intense scrutiny, and changes will be implemented in the near future.  With the drive to incorporate more foreign residents into Taiwan's society (and especially with the move to make English one of Taiwan's official languages) it may become easier to acquire citizenship in the future.

P.S. I also translated this entry into Chinese, but after showing it to two Taiwanese friends they (strongly) advised me not to publish it with Chinese text.  Their thinking was that this issue is just too sensitive, and the manner in which I discuss it above is too off-hand.  I hope this isn't an act of cowardice, but it did seem to me that if I was going to offend people, the entry in question ought to be more to the point.