2014年6月30日 星期一

Lotus (蓮花 )

The Lotus

On the day when the lotus bloomed, 
alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not.   
My basket was empty and
the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again, a sadness fell upon me, and
I started up from my dream and   
felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance
in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and
it seemed to me that is was
the eager breath of the summer    
seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near,
that it was mine, and  
that this perfect sweetness had blossomed  
in the depth of my own heart.

Rabindranath Tagore.








愛梭羅(El Zorro) 譯


2014年6月22日 星期日

Another Weekend "joke"

A really long time ago when I was about 8, I read in Chinese translation a wonderful tale by an author who gave me lots of pleasure. His children's tales were first published in 1837 in the land which has since become famous in Hong Kong for its "blue can cookies". The author is Hans Christian Anderson. The name of the tale is "The Emperor's New Clothes."

It's a really short story and goes something like what follows.
A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and showing off beautiful clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid".
The king is delighted and orders them to go to work immediately.
Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished.
They mime dressing him.
The Emperor sees nothing but can't admit that he's not fit for his position.
The Emperor's ministers can't see the clothes either but pretend that they can for exactly the the same reason.
The Emperor then marches in procession with pride before his subjects.
Not wanting to be seen as "hopelessly stupid", the townsfolk play along.
Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out, "The Emperor has no clothes!"
The cry is then taken up by others.
The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true but continues the procession.

Hans Christian Henderson appeared to be writing tales for children. Reading the story decades later, it begins to look as if he might not be writing just for children. We now read articles from the north saying that "one country two system" does not really mean "one country two systems" but that we need to understand that if necessary, a state of emergency can be declared unilaterally by the government north of our borders and that instead of judicial independence and the separation of powers, even our judges are part of the "governing machine" and  it's explicitly demanded of them that they should give "assistance" to the executive branch of our government. Have "truth" and basic "honesty" become "commodities" in the political market, with corresponding daily fluctuation in their "market value" according to conditions of the political market and those who have power to manipulate such a "market"? Do we lack "worldly wise" politicians here who are prepared for the sake of eagerly anticipated "favors" from those who have power to dispense the same agree with whatever is said by our "collective Emperor" from the north who is said to represent the "people" . What exactly does the word "people" mean in that context?  Have words lost their their ordinary meaning? Have we entered the world not only of Hans Christian Anderson, but by an ironic twist of fate, also that of Lewis Carroll's "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland", where it has become not at all easy to tell any more what is real and what is illusory, where words may sometimes mean the exact opposite of what they normally mean? Or have we not already entered that bleak world of 1984 depicted by George Orwell ruled by Big Brother, where "double-speak" rules the day? Does democracy not mean democracy as it has always been traditionally understood? Does universal suffrage not mean universal suffrage as is normally understood? Have some of our politicians been magically transformed into narrators of fiction ? Has the time not come for us little nobodies to act like the little boy in Hans Christian Henderson's tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" by telling the Emperor what we see with our own eyes and the eyes of our political conscience? 

2014年6月15日 星期日

Weekend Fun

Not only is this weekend hot, it's polluted. There's hardly any movement of air. The pollution index in many parts of HK went up to almost 10. It's not a joking matter. So I sought refuge in the swimming pool. But there can be other reliefs too from such pollution.

A woman called her husband and asked him to pick up some organic vegetables for dinner on his way home. 
The husband arrived at the store and began to look all over for them and couldn't find them.
He decided to ask a food stacker where they were.
The guy "What are you talking about? "
The husband said, "These vegetables are for my wife. Have they been sprayed with poisonous chemicals? "
"No sir, you will have to do that yourself."


The leaders of Europe are all sitting around a table at the Copenhagen Climate Change summit.
After the initial pleasantries, Gordon Brown speaks first. “I will end climate change, just like I ended boom and bust! I will be tough on Climate Change and tough on the causes of climate change! Britain will spend “£200 billion on fighting Climate Change this year!”
Before Brown has even sat back down, Angela Merkel of Germany begins to speak.
“That’s nothing! We will spend €300 billion on fighting climate change!”
Nicolas Sarkozy of France speaks next; “We will end zis climate change. We will spend €1 trillion on fighting climate change!”
Attention now turns to the president of Armenia, he stands and meekly announces: “We have budgeted to spend $1,000 on fighting climate change over the next 10 years.”
People around the table begin to snigger.
Embarrassed, the Armenian president slams his fist onto the table and shouts “Ok, ok, we will spend $100 trillion on climate change!”.
The sniggering around the table has now become hysterics;
“How will you afford that?”
“Well” the Armenian president began, “The real figure was a bit low, so I just made some up. Isn’t that how it works around here?”

Two planets meet. The first one asks: “How are you?”
“Not so well”, the second answered “I’ve got the Homo Sapiens.”
“Don’t worry,” the other replied, “I had the same. That won’t last long.”

An environmentalist dies and reports to the pearly gates. 
St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an environmentalist–you’re in the wrong place.” 
Thinking that heaven could never make an error, the environmentalist reports to the gates of hell and is let in.
Pretty soon, the environmentalist gets dissatisfied with the environment in hell and starts implementing eco-friendly improvements.
After a while, global warming, air and water pollution are under control.
The landscape is covered with grass and plants, the food is organic, and the people are happy.
The environmentalist has become a pretty popular guy.
One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”
Satan replies, “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got clean air and water, the temperature is better and the food tastes better, and there’s no telling what this environmentalist is going to fix next.”
God replies, “What??? You’ve got an environmentalist? That’s a mistake–he should never have gotten down there; send him up here.”
Satan says, “No way. I like having an environmentalist on the staff, and I’m keeping him.” God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”
Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”

Thinking of going out? You'd do much better to stay indoors and watch football on on squawk box!

2014年6月8日 星期日

Weekend Fun

It' was so hot and there was so much smog. No chance of any good photos. So in I went into the pool. Fortunately, there's weren't that many people really interested in swimming. They just wanted to laze around the pool, get a tan and be able to tell their friends later that they actually bestirred themselves for a real good dip. They would'nt be lying. Their chest would be as far the water went up to. And if they got their hair wet, it'd probably be the result of sprays from naughty kids splashing around the pool or from the shower head in the swimming pool changing room. Swimming is good. I'd be very surprised if anyone who had ever been into a swimming pool were to tell me that he/she had never once peed in the pool.

Here's a thoughtful pool sign: 

"Welcome to our _OOL.
Notice there is no "P" in it. We'd like you to keep it that way.
We don't swim in your toilet.
Please don't pee in our pool." 

Here's another swimming pool joke:

Bill Gates decided to hold a contest for the lawyers. Whoever wins gets to handle all of Microsoft's business.
The day of the event, the Gates' estate is swamped with lawyers, all eager for the nod from the richest man in the world.
"Gentlemen," Gates starts, "please follow me."
He leads them to an enormous swimming pool.

It's filled with piranhas.
He snaps his fingers. With that, a servant opens the door.
A cow rushes out and stumbles into the pool.
In no time at all, all that's left are some cow bones.
Gates says, "Any man who can swim the length of that pool shall represent me in all my business and personal dealings."
Instantly, a lawyer named Carl pitches into the water.
Furiously he swims across the pool, hauls himself out and stands there panting.
"Bravo!" shouts Gates. "You have proven to me how much you want my business."
"Yes, of course, but there's something I want even more than that" Carl gasps.
"What's that?"
"The name of the bastard who pushed me in."

Desert Island
A man was stranded on a desert island for 10 years.
One day a beautiful girl swims to shore in a wet suit.
Man: "Hi! Am I happy to see you."!
Girl: "Hi! It seems like you've been here a long time. How long has it been since you've had a cigarette?"
Man: "Ten years!"
With that, the girl unzips a slot on the arm of her wet suit and gives the man some cigarettes.
Man: "Oh thank you so much!"
Girl: "Now, tell me how long it's been since you had a drink?"
Man: "Ten years"
The girl unzips a little longer zipper on her wet suit and comes out with a flask of whiskey and passes it to the man. 

Man: "Oh. Thank you so much. You are an angel"
Finally the girl starts to unzip the front of her wet suit and asks the man bemurely,
"So tell me then, have you been bored?"
The man looked at her and said excitedly: "Oh, my God, don't tell me you've got a surfboard in there too?" 

Happy weekend.