《蛙文》/ Frogscript 4 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:馬騮》

郭少鳳著

記得第一次見到馬騮係好細個嘅時候,當時得7、8歲左右,阿姨、姨丈同媽咪帶住我哋幾個細路仔一齊去野餐。沿住山中樹林行呀、行呀,喺溪邊啲水氹仔裏面,我哋發現有好多小生物,見到蝌蚪丶魚仔同蝦毛,於是我哋呢班細路仔除低鞋襪丶摺高褲腳,開始喺呢啲水氹仔度一邊玩水,一邊捉佢哋。

突然間,有一大群馬騮出現,啲馬騮喺我哋身邊經過。由於太大群,起碼有幾十隻,感覺好似俾佢哋包圍住。最記得有一隻好大隻,深棕啡色嘅,面部同屁股都有一大片深紅色嘅皮膚,我同佢咁啱四目交投,可能佢塊面紅噹噹,覺得佢個樣好似惡惡哋,當時身邊冇大人,週圍又有咁多馬騮,即刻唔敢出聲,企定定咁目送佢哋離開。佢哋走嗮之後,第一時間跑返去同三個大人報告,佢哋笑住講:呢度係馬騮山,梗係多馬騮啦﹗

香港呢個馬騮山,其實叫金山郊野公園,真係住咗好多馬騮,但唔講都唔知,佢哋嘅祖先原來唔係香港嘅原居民,係從外地移民過嚟。好早以前,馬騮係隨著香港興建水塘而嚟,當時山邊生長著好多有毒嘅植物馬錢,成株都有毒,但最毒嘅就係佢嘅果實。有趣嘅係呢種果實唔單止對馬騮冇毒,更加係馬騮喜愛嘅食物,於是當時嘅政府引入咗兩種馬騮,恆河猴同埋長尾獮猴,期望可以控制馬錢嘅繁殖,盡量防止佢哋嘅果實跌入水塘、污染水源。所以我哋而家見到嘅馬騮都係呢批移民嘅後代。

馬騮同我哋人類一樣都係靈長類動物,可能因為呢個緣故,佢哋都係群居、階級觀念好重嘅動物。佢哋嘅領袖有保護老弱婦孺嘅責任,而家諗返起,當日同我四目交投嗰隻大馬騮好有可能係其中一隻大佬,負責𥄫住我呢個人類,唔俾我騷擾佢哋。

我係一個十分鐘意行山嘅人,行山嘅一大嘅樂趣係可以遇見唔同嘅動物,每次都會數下自己見齊各大類嘅動物未:昆蟲嘅種類同數目非常多,一定會見到;喺樹林遇見林鳥真係唔難;爬蟲及兩棲類只要俾心機去搵,都總會遇見,尤其係蜥蜴;唯獨係哺乳類,再俾心機,行十次都未必見到一次!香港勝在有馬騮山,想睇哺乳類,只要走一趟一家大細都啱行嘅家樂徑,都一定可以見到馬騮!

可能太容易見到馬騮,香港有一批人好鐘意餵馬騮食嘢,佢哋可能擔心馬騮冇嘢食,又可能想近距離接觸馬騮,又或者佢哋唔想浪費野餐時食淨嘅食物,無論政府做咗幾多呼籲,佢哋都繼續餵馬騮,攪到馬騮們嘅胃口同行為都有好大嘅轉變。人類嘅食物多數係香口、有好多調味料嘅食物,馬騮一定會鐘意。但係佢哋食多咗之後,會令到佢哋冇咁鐘意平時食開嘅嫩葉同埋果實。最慘係當我哋攞住膠袋,佢哋就以為一定有食物,佢哋會搶膠袋而唔小心整傷我哋。攪到又有一批人而家驚咗啲馬騮,所以大家都係聽吓話,唔好餵飼野生動物!

其實馬騮真係好有趣嘅一種動物,記得有一次行山,行到攰攰哋,於是坐低休息吓。本來好寧靜嘅樹林突然傳嚟一啲因樹枝搖動丶枝條磨擦而發出嘅吱吱聲。聲音越嚟越近,又越嚟越多,好快就見到一隻大馬騮喺我哋旁邊經過,第一隻經過了,又有第二隻、第三隻…慢慢見到毛色較淺、身型較修長嘅年青馬騮們互相追逐、玩耍,喺樹上跳嚟跳去,各顯身手!跟著見到一隻馬騮媽咪抱著一隻好得意嘅馬騮啤啤行,第一次見到覺得好神奇又温馨,因為啤啤係例吊、四肢緊抱著媽咪嘅身體。

又有啲馬騮鐘意跳去樹上較高、枝條較幼嘅地方,停下來,搣最嫩最翠綠嘅樹葉嚟食,你可以見到佢哋對樹葉好有要求,搣落嚟睇睇,見到唔鐘意嘅佢地會掉咗去,再搣,搣到鐘意嘅先放入口,令我即時諗到一種茶葉叫「馬騮搣」,係一種比較高貴嘅鐵觀音,真係好想而家可以即時嘆返杯。唔知啲茶園老闆有冇考慮過真係訓練啲馬騮幫手採茶,不過一諗到啲馬騮仔咁百厭,又點會肯乖乖地咁採茶呢!

img_5647_hong-kong-monkey.jpg

“Frogscript • Monkeys”

As I recall, the first time I saw a monkey was when I was a little girl. I was only seven or eight, my mother took me on a picnic together with her sister, her sister’s husband and several other children. We walked through a mountain forest and, by the side of a stream, came across some small pools in which we discovered all sorts of little creatures: tadpoles, tiny fish, as well as shrimp. At this point, the children in our group took off their shoes and socks, rolled up the legs of their pants, and started playing in the water-pools and at the same time trying to catch something.

All of a sudden, a large pack of monkeys appeared out of nowhere and went past near to where we were playing. Because there were so many of them — several dozen, at least — I felt as if we were being surrounded. What struck me most of all was the great big one: he was dark-brown in colour, but on his head and on his bottom there were large patches of bright-red skin. At the moment our eyes met, I had the feeling that he was rather ferocious — perhaps because of his red face — and, because there were no grown-ups around and because there were so many monkeys, we didn’t dare make a sound. Instead, we stood perfectly still and watched them as they continued on past us. As soon as they had gone, we ran back to the adults to tell them what we’d seen. Laughing, they said: “This place is called Monkey Mountain. There really are a lot of monkeys here!”

This “Monkey Mountain” is actually a place in Hong Kong called the Kam Shan Country Park and a large number of monkeys really do live there. However, what many people don’t know is that the ancestors of these monkeys were not native to Hong Kong but immigrants from elsewhere. Many years ago, monkeys were introduced here along with the building of reservoirs. Back in those days, the mountains were covered in a poisonous plant known as maa chin. All parts of this plant are toxic, but the fruits are especially so. Curiously, however, these fruits are not only not poisonous to monkeys but are something they really like to eat, and for this reason the government of the time introduced two species — rhesus monkeys and macaques — in the hope that they would control the growth of maa chin and thereby avoid to the fullest possible extent their fruits from falling into the reservoirs and polluting the water supply. The monkeys we see today are all distant relations of those immigrants.

Like us, monkeys are primates and it is probably for this reason that they live in packs and place a lot of emphasis on the notion of status. The pack-leaders are responsible for taking care of the old, the weak, and the less powerful, and now when I think back to my childhood meeting with monkeys, it is quite possible that the large animal I locked eyes with was one of those strongmen whose job it was to keep a close eye on us human beings just to make sure we didn’t get too close.

I am extremely fond of hiking, and one of the great pleasures I get from going into the mountains is the possibility of meeting with different kinds of creatures and keeping count of whether I’ve seen representatives from each of the major animal families: since there are many different kinds of insects existing in large numbers, I can count on seeing some of them; in forests, there is really not much difficulty in coming across a few woodland birds; in the case of lizards and amphibians, I have to be in the mood to hunt them out, but I always manage to meet some of them, especially lizards; but when it comes to mammals, even if I’m really in the mood, I can go out hiking ten times and not have even a single sighting! We’re fortunate that Monkey Mountain exists in Hong Kong. If you feel the urge to see some monkeys, all you have to do is walk along a leisure trail suitable for all members of the family and you won’t be disappointed!

Perhaps it’s too easy to see monkeys in Hong Kong. There are certain people who like to feed them — perhaps worried that they don’t have anything to eat, or possibly in the hope of having closer contact with them, or even perhaps because they don’t want to waste any food they didn’t finish during their picnic. No matter how many appeals the government makes, they go on feeding the monkeys, thereby drastically changing both their eating habits and their behaviour. A great deal of human food is fried in fat or oil and contains a large number of flavourings and so monkeys are sure to take a liking to it. Eating a lot of such treats can make them less fond of the tender leaves and fruit they usually eat. The worst thing is the plastic bags we carry with us: monkeys think there is sure to be food in them and so try to snatch them away and, in the process, accidentally causing harm to us. As a result, a number of people are now afraid of monkeys. For this reason, everyone should take heed of the warnings not to feed wild animals!

Actually, monkeys are very interesting animals. I remember hiking one day and sitting down for a rest because I felt rather tired. All of a sudden, the hitherto calm forest filled with the sound of branches thrashing and rubbing against one another. This sound got closer and closer, and grew more frequent in the process, and before I knew it a large money passed by right next to me, and after that a second one, and then a third . . . Gradually as I watched I saw the younger monkeys with their lighter coloured fur and longer bodies chasing one another, clowning around and jumping back and forth in the trees — each one doing what it did best! After that, I saw a money mother carrying a very cute monkey baby as she walked. So magical and sweet was my first impression, because the baby was hanging upside-down, holding tightly on to its mother with its arms and legs.

Some of the monkeys preferred to jump right up to the tops of trees where the branches were at their thinnest and remain up there, plucking off the most tender, emerald green leaves and eating them. You could see how demanding they were in their tastes: once they’d picked a leaf they’d inspect it carefully, and if they saw something they didn’t like, they’d throw it away and pick another, and then another, until they found one to their liking and pop it in their mouth. I was reminded of a kind of tea known as “Monkey Picked”, a kind of quite high-grade Iron Goddess Oolong tea, and I wished I could have enjoyed a nice cup of it myself at that moment. I wonder if the owners of tea-plantations have ever actually considered training monkeys to pick their tea-leaves for them — in reality, when I think how mischievous monkeys are, I can’t imagine them behaving well enough to do the job properly!

Translated by Simon Patton

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