《新心界》: 第七章 「普通話嘅叛徒」

Scene from La guerre de boutons, with Lanterne carrying the flag she has made


● In the elegant surroundings of the Loke Yew Hall at Hong Kong University, the 2019 Cantonese Speaking Contest for Western speakers takes place. Fortunately — or unfortunately (he can’t tell which) — Chan Chi-yat has been chosen to speak last, after the other eight speakers. After listening to a series of brilliant speeches by young, confident, fluent, ambitious contestants all determined to win, Chan finally gets his turn to take the stage, but his performance is interrupted by a mysterious woman holding a giant flag, and he collapses under the spotlights in a fit of nervous exhaustion . . .

Soundtrack: “Aerial Boundaries


令到陳之一囉囉攣嘅係,陸佑堂已經坐滿人,揾到較好嘅空位真係一啲都唔容易。安排今次活動嘅粵語推廣組織真係相當聰明,除咗舉辦廣東話演講比賽之外,亦設有廣東話歌唱大賽,估計大多數嘅觀眾係為聽歌而嚟。不過,無論如何,大堂裏面嘅人群已經達到人山人海嘅地步。

揾好座位之後,陳之一就好唔願意咁同朋友告別,勉勉强强咁行到前面嘅舞臺,睇睇有冇負責人可以告知活動嘅具體安排。好快就揾到一個職員,胸前掛上印有“文敏昌” 嘅名牌。呢個人叫“文敏昌”。一見到,外國男人腦中一閃,諗返頭先喺文武廟見到嘅文昌,同一日遇到文昌,又撞到一個叫文敏昌嘅人真係一個好奇妙嘅巧合。一般嚟講,咁樣嘅巧合只能喺小説裏面發生!從文先生口中得知,今日合共有九位參賽者。名單上排最孻嘅偏偏就係陳之一。排最尾嘅澳洲葉公雖然當堂放鬆咗少少,但另一方面又認爲自己好黑仔,要好有耐性咁聽晒其他人嘅表演,先至可以「考驗」自己。

八位參賽者都比阿一年輕得多,穿著極有品味,髮型亦具氣派,一睇就知道佢哋擁有以下嘅特質:自信、外貌出眾、自我推廣能力、説服能力、活潑、表演欲強、好勝等,令到陳之一覺得自己同呢種場合顯得格格不入。比賽開始後,情況同陳之一嘅想象一式一樣:無論話題係「名馳天下嘅高速鐵路」、或者「“全力以赴”——食物及衛生局局長陳肇始嘅職業道德」、又或者「香港出色嘅動作片:拳頭上嘅幽默」、又又或者「財富嘅歌利亞——李嘉誠同佢白手興家嘅發跡史」,參賽者嘅廣東話表達能力都超級㜺鬼,每句話都塞滿俚語、俗語、潮流術語、典故、歇後語、唐詩宋詞,聽起嚟就好似一次廣東話語言博覽會!其中一個人甚至為現場觀衆唱出粵劇《凄涼姊妹碑》入面嘅一個片段,聲音竟然相當唔錯,贏到大多數人嘅熱烈掌聲。

唔使問阿貴,「憨厚樸素」呢四個字一般都唔會喺呢類場合出現。為咗贏得比賽、增加競爭力而炫耀自己嘅語言天分,當然惹人鍾意,甚至可以令人不禁企起身高呼喝彩。但係過咗一兩鐘頭之後,邊個仲會記得嗰一刻嘅短暫衝動?﹗陳之一絕對唔想用語言香港人面前擺甫士:佢心底裏最想達成嘅目標係一樣更加恆久、一種類似内在光芒嘅效果。所以,佢呢次演講幾乎注定徹底失敗。

當觀眾贈予第八位參賽者嘅洪亮掌聲逐漸減退之後,陳之一便企起身,慢慢行到舞臺正中嘅咪高峰位置。觀衆嗰刻見到嘅到底係邊一類人?身穿嘅西裝雖然整齊清潔,但款式已一早過時,髮型十分一般,表情亦韶華已逝,根本睇唔出半點自信心。唯有嘅特點就係佢脚上穿上一隻紅色、一隻綠色嘅鴛鴦襪,為呢個可憐嘅外國人添加一點點人情味。

光𥋇𥋇嘅燈光令到陳之一覺得好唔舒服,為佢帶嚟一種心理上嘅裸體感,覺得自己好似赤裸裸咁喺人面前表露無遺。不過,佢懂得耐心等待雜聲消失,成功令到每一個觀衆都同佢一起停頓,一起分享一下呢種難得嘅集體寂靜。當大堂嘅期望到達高峰嗰一刻,澳洲稻草人就開口:

「我今日想講嘅係我個人嘅經驗,講一講我最終背叛普通話嘅原因同過程。」

陳之一呢句說話即刻為坐滿陸佑堂嘅觀衆帶嚟一番騷亂,好似幾百隻野蜂蠢蠢欲動、嗡嗡作聲。唔通呢個馬騮衣排骨精會無緣無故咁對興致勃勃嘅大家潑冷水呢?無論如何,外國人不慌不忙咁繼續演講落去。

「我喺 1981 年上大學二年級就開始學中文,而當時所謂嘅「中文」係指普通話:根本冇其他選擇。老實講,因為當時嘅我,對於中文呢個概念完全係一嚿雲,所以好樂意接受呢種安排。學咗兩年繁體字之後就改學簡體字,我亦同樣乖乖地服從。好認真又好勤力咁學習魯迅嘅短篇小說《故鄉》、毛澤東《在延安文藝座談會上的講話》等等課程資料。我學中文嘅『生涯』就以呢種獨特嘅模式開始。

奇怪嘅係,呢種以普通話為主嘅學習方式,慢慢於無形中令我產生某種錯敗感。譬如每次去墨爾本唐人街食中國菜,買中文書,或者上詠春功夫堂(好可惜,上過幾堂就放棄咗),我周圍所聽所見嘅幾乎都係中國南方廣東人,而佢哋所講嘅語言係我聽唔明嘅廣東話。(其實,我長大嘅城市早就被廣東話命名為『新金山』,又有人用『美利濱』呢一稱呼,但最終由墨爾本取代。)你好容易想像得到,對於已經上咗三四年中文堂嘅我,有幾咁矛盾同埋尷尬!

我都唔知由幾時開始,不經不覺咁學識咗分辨『語言』同『方言』。語言係高雅、標準、正式,亦能夠負載文化嘅精粹;方言反而係粗魯、唔合格、非正式、缺乏文化內容嘅劣貨。雖然喺我周圍、現實環境中嘅華人多數用廣東話溝通,但係只期望盡快學好中文嘅我,對這種狀況視而不見,聽而不聞,將注意力全部放喺官方語言普通話上面。換句話,我嗰陣時嘅做法正正屬於『借咗聾耳陳隻耳』。」

聽到呢段略帶幽默色彩嘅説話,有唔少觀衆嘅情緒開始略略放鬆,但係同一時間,有部分人忍唔住吟吟沉沉起嚟,低聲指責陳之一,話佢抹黑緊普通話。

「不過,無論如何,當年我啲普通話都冇乜進步。雖然經過多年嘅艱苦練習,熟讀唔少中文字,對於閱讀報紙、流行文學作品等都冇問題,但係我一開口同內地人溝通,成條就會打嗮纈,攪唔清楚對方想講咩嘢。亦唔能夠清楚表逹自己嘅諗法,雙方根本唔啱牙。普通話同我之間好似有一個無法跨過嘅障礙物? . . . 」

「障礙物」?阿綠覺得呢個選詞唔對路。何況,陳之一啱啱講出呢一個字眼,突然覺得聚光燈十分刺眼而感到頭暈,手腳無力、身體發軟。佢其實仲有好多說話想講:譬如一個用普通話講話時條脷會打撠嘅人,點樣透過學「第二種中文」,最終領略到「解撠」嘅秘訣。不過,要表達呢個想法遠遠超過澳洲男人嘅語言能力,令到佢陷入一個力不從心嘅處境。世界上係咪有啲嘢永遠都無法解釋得一清二楚?陳之一心諗,呢個問題應該可以幾肯定咁回答:「係」。

去到呢一刻,陸佑堂大門突然打開,行入嚟嘅係一個短髮嘅阿婆,佢身材矮少、戴眼鏡、著得好斯文,樣貌和藹。最初,澳洲叛逆者估佢係遲到嘅觀衆。其他觀衆開始留意到陳之一眼定定咁望住陸佑堂大門,於是都照樣擰轉頭睇睇。陳之一好驚訝咁發現阿婆左手揸住一支大過自己身體嘅國旗。然後,佢便慢慢舉起一隻手嚟,將支旗――係邊國家國旗嚟?英國?陳之一唔知點解眼花花,眼前一片模糊不清――阿婆將支旗高持喺凌空中,跟住就將支旗嚟搰去,搰嚟搰去,令到男人聯想到一隻五彩繽紛嘅巨大蝴蝶,輕輕咁左右飄飛。去到呢個時候,呢個神秘阿婆好似故意引起陳之一嘅注意,當兩個人眼神互相接觸時,陳之一就察覺到佢一直喺度講緊一個詞語,一次又一次,又一次又一次,好像念咒般重複講落去。同一時間,觀衆已經對演講者甚為不滿,有啲甚至乎喝倒采,結果令到外國人無論點樣集中精神聆聽,都無法聽到阿婆講乜。不過,澳洲男人一路睇一路諗,嗰個女神般阿婆對咀唇嘅動作真係太過熟悉,斷估一下,一再重複嘅唔通係「自由」?

文敏昌正準備上舞臺宣佈提早結束比賽,陳之一當時仍然好頭暈,神志亦開始好唔清晰。然後,高個子陳之一就正如樖樖高樹遭受颱風「山竹」吹襲,忽然被自己心裏面嘅颱風吹冧。阿綠即刻跳起嚟,嗱嗱聲急步走到舞臺前面睇睇佢究竟發生乜事。

Light Duties

Photo by Kris Lucas on Pexels.com

It had rained. The trees in the yard held the drops proudly, as if aware, devoted to the task.

— Riikka Pulkkinen, Truth


It’s a duty, to be spangled.

In the surface tension of a droplet
night and its coal-cold dark
commemorate crystal.
Lit up at dawn on flawless
bare-born trees, they hold keen light
like we hold breath: hushed
and (for a short time) stopped
aliver in our tracks.

Learning Cantonese: 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei’s “Watching the Waves”

噉其實喺我嘅諗法裏邊呢 | 就係其實因爲喺,呃,而家香港都係處於疫情裏邊呢 | 噉喺一種比較,呃,嚴峻嘅 | 一種社會嘅氣氛地下呢 | 其實我就係想大家都會可以好似 | 我安排嘅呢啲小嘅角色咁樣 | 喺一大浪嘅嗰種壓迫感底下 | 其實係應該可以好似一架船咁樣呢 | 喺一個大浪裏邊游走 | 係好靈巧咁樣呢,喺度穿梭喺一啲大浪嘅嗰種翻騰嘅形勢底下 . . . 」

Art, says the people behind the Under the Bridge Art Project, should be a force in “connecting the community and comforting people”. In a worked entitled “Watching Waves”, landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Jeun Hei sets out to do precisely this, encouraging Hongkongers to steer a course through the treacherous contemporary situation with the help of dexterity and faith.

Whoever worked as the sound technician for this video knew exactly what she was doing: Wong’s eloquent flow of speech comes through with great clarity, making it a delight to listen to. And the atmospheric piano soundtrack chosen to accompany his words complements it beautifully, without ever once drowning them out.

The grammar of the voice-over is straightforward, but there are a few points worth noting. Firstly, Wong uses the sentence-final double particle 嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 on several occasions to suggest emphasize something is, perhaps with a hint of “and this is what something is in essence”. He uses it first to define who he is for viewers — 我係一個風景畫家嚟㗎 = “I am a landscape painter” — and later to characterize his artwork “Watching Waves” — 係一個大浪嘅一個風景嚟㗎 = “is a vista with huge waves in it”.

Secondly, transformation in Cantonese is often handled by means of 做 jouh6 to form a link between the verb and the outcome of the transformation. For instance, “the spray magically transforming into birds” is expressed as 幻化咗做一啲雀仔, where 幻化 is the verb and 一啲雀仔 refers to the result of the change. I’ve noticed too that the idea of translation form one language into another is often rendered as 譯做.

In the vocabulary department, there are some wonderful things, especially an appearance by the verbs 冚埋 kám2 màaih4 = “to cover” and 搲 wé2 = “to seize” (although it has a number of other meanings as well). Other items for any Cantonese learner’s vocabulary list are: 情景 chìhng4 gíng2 = scene; 兇險 hūng1 hím2 = in a very dangerous state; critical; 仔細 jí2 sai3 = careful; 浪花 lohng6 fāa1 = spray (literally, “wave flowers”); 嚴峻 yìhm4 jeun3 = stern; severe; rigorous; grim; and the four-character phrase 屹立不倒 ngaht6 lahp6 bāt1 dóu2 = roughly, “to stand firm; to stand tall & unwavering”.

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

我係黃進曦 | 我係一個風景畫家嚟㗎 | 今次呢,「橋裝龍匯」呢一個 project 呢 | 我係兩條橋墩柱上面呢 | 其實我設計一個大浪嘅情景 [啦] | 噉每條柱呢,都係一個大浪嘅一個風景嚟㗎 | 噉但係呢,呃,大家睇嘅時候呢 | 其實應該會 . . .

● 橋墩 kìuh4 dán2 = bridge pier; an earthen or stone structure under a bridge | ● 情景 chìhng4 gíng2 = scene; sight; circumstances

My name is Stephen Wong Chun Hei. I am a landscape painter. On this occasion, for the “Under The Bridge Art Project: Once Upon A Dragon Interchange” project, I have designed scenes [depicting] huge waves on two pillars [representing] bridge pylons. Each pylon features [係] a vista with huge waves in it. However, when people look at [the work], they really ought to be able . . .

【1:00】. . . 感受到個大浪嗰種壓迫感啦 | 又或者一種兇險嘅感覺啦 | 噉啊裏邊呢,呃,除咗嗰大浪之外呢 | 其實如果大家睇仔細少少呢 | 係應該會見呢,會有一船仔呀 | 會有一啲 | 呃,小島呀,上面有一樖吹歪咗嘅樹呀 | 甚至乎呢,你會見到喺個大浪嗰個頂嗰度呢 | 嗰啲浪花濺起嘅時候呢 | 又會幻化咗做一啲雀仔嘅 | 噉其實喺我嘅諗法裏邊呢 | 就係其實因爲 [喺],呃,而家香港都係處於疫情裏邊呢 | 噉喺一種比較,呃,嚴峻嘅 | 一種社會嘅氣氛地下呢 | 其實我就係 *jai 想大家都會可以好似 | 我安排嘅呢啲小嘅角色咁樣 | 喺一大浪嘅嗰種壓迫感底下 | 其實係應該可以好似一架船咁樣呢 | 喺一個大浪裏邊游走 | 係好靈巧咁樣呢,喺度穿梭喺一啲 . . .

● 壓迫 [ng]aat3 bīk1 = to oppress; to repress | ● 兇險 hūng1 hím2 = in a very dangerous state; critical | ● 仔細 jí2 sai3 = careful; attentive | ● 吹歪 chēui1 mé2 = cf. 吹 = to blow + 歪 = askew; crooked | ● 頂 déng2 = the top (part); here, “the crest (of a wave)” | ● 浪花 lohng6 fāa1 = spray | ● 濺起 jin3 (chín2?)  héi2 = to splash (up) Note: Someone has commented in a forum on the Sheik Cantonese website about the colloquial pronunciation of 濺: “On reflection, I suspect chín2 is a pronunciation specific to HK, created by analogy from 淺.” | ● 幻化 waahn6 faa3 = to change magically | ● 嚴峻 yìhm4 jeun3 = stern; severe; rigorous; grim | ● 游走 yàuh4 jáu2 = roughly, “to swim away from” | ● 靈巧 lìhng4 háau2 = dextrous; nimble; skilful; ingenious | ● 穿梭 chyūn1 sō1 = to shuttle back & forth

. . . to get a sense of the oppressiveness of that huge wave, or a feeling of being in a very dangerous state. In [these paintings], apart from the huge waves, if you look more carefully, you should be able to see some small boats [一啲船仔], some small islands with a tree on [each one], bent crooked by the wind, and you should even be able to see, on the crest of the wave, when they spray splashes up, the spray magically transforming into birds. Actually, in my conception [of these images], now Hong Kong is in a situation where there is an epidemic and in this rather severe atmosphere, I really wanted people to be able to [act] like the small roles [小嘅角色] I have arranged [in my work] — oppressed by that enormous wave, like a boat, [they] ought to be able to move out of the way of the wave, and with great ingenuity, shuttle in and out [穿梭] . . .

【2:00】. . . 大浪嘅嗰種翻騰嘅形勢底下 [喇] | 又或者呢,可以好似飛鳥咁樣呢 | 當個大浪埋你嘅時候 | 反而呢,係令到你更加有力量去跳躍起[喇] | 甚至乎呢,又好似喺一啲小島上面嘅嗰樖樹咁呢 | 嚟堅守住自己一啲嘅信念 | 噉你就可以搲緊,呃 | 一啲令到你可以企得穩嘅泥土 [啦] | 噉就可以屹立不倒喇 | 噉呢一啲呢,都係我自己覺得 | 喺疫情裏邊大家有一種,呃,可能好無助啦 | 又或者係覺得聽日都唔知 | 有冇辦法計算到嗰個大家嘅命運點一樣呢,可能係 | 如果大家都係好似我安排呢件作品裏邊 | 我頭先講嘅 | 有呢一種信念底下呢 | 其實應該係可以令大家 | 安心一啲去一齊面對呢一個疫情

● 翻騰 fāan1 tàhng4 = to seethe; to rise; to churn | ● 形勢 yìhng4 sai3 = situation; circumstances | ● 冚埋 kám2 màaih4 = roughly, to cover completely; to engulf” | ● 跳躍 tiu3 yeuhk6 = to jump; to leap; to bound | ● 堅守 = gīn1 sáu2 = to stick to; to hold fast to; to stand fast | ● 信念 seun3 nihm6 = faith; belief; conviction | ● 搲 wé2 = to seize | ● 泥土 nàih4/làih4 tóu2 = earth; soil | ● 屹立不倒 ngaht6 lahp6 bāt1 dóu2 = roughly, “to stand firm; to stand tall & unwavering” | ● 安心 = ōn1 sām1 = feel at ease; be relieved; to set one’s mind at rest

. . . of the seething aspect [嗰種翻騰嘅形勢] of the waves, or like flying birds you should — as the wave comes crashing down — gain a greater strength to jump out [from underneath], or even like the trees [growing] on those small islands, you should hold fast to your own beliefs. You should be able to grab hold of some earth that will enable you to stand firm, to stand tall. All these things, I get the feeling, are present at a time where there is an epidemic and everyone possibly feels a sense of helplessness or feels that they have no way of calculating just what their fate might be like tomorrow, perhaps [I’m not sure if I have understood the previous sentence correctly]. If everyone has faith in the way I have arranged it in this work, as I said just now, then this ought to be able to help us all to feel a bit more at ease [安心一啲] in facing this epidemic together.

The Feather Diviner

By haphazard, I find them in all weathers —
these giant-magnificent eagle feathers —
and at all times outdoors I must look exactly where I am going
since there is no way of knowing,
ever, how or when I will find
the next one. Sometime, the rare quills come trundling across bare dirt in the wind;
sometimes, wedged — or pinned —
they slant in spiked razor grass; or sit still in the close-knit, twig-meshed cage
of some dead shrub. Whatever the case, these are the wages
paid out at random by mystery,
tokens of a rippling altitude that will always seem far beyond me,
who am Earth-bound, by nature. Yet, vicariously,
I can ripple after a fashion to this exclamation-marked treasure,
humbled, astonished, to the pink grave core —in equal measure —

and consequently turned out of this world robuster towards the sun.

Meetings with Hong Kong Buddhist Nuns

My only close encounter with a Hong Kong nun is something I have never forgotten. I saw her on two or three separate occasions at Tai Po Market MTR station in the late 1990s. She would stand in a corner of the concourse at peak hour, sounding at regular intervals a small metal bowl she held in the palm of one hand. It was a beautiful gesture: a timely reminder to slow down and pay a little more attention to where we were and what we were doing. I’d like to think that not a few of the people who rushed on past her at the time, later in a sudden flash of recollection and understanding, got to thinking about that almost invisible woman dressed in grey.

I was reminded of the nun by several recent encounters in the pages of my Hong Kong books. The first, dating from the early 1950s, is described by Martin Booth in Gweilo, and happened when he was only eight years old. The setting is Ngong Ping, on Lantau Island:

There came a soft shuffling sound from over my shoulder. I turned to find myself being observed by two Buddhist nuns. They wore grey, long-sleeved, ankle-length habits and their heads were shaven, so it was quite impossible to judge their ages. Around their necks hung simple necklaces of wooden beads. Not sure what to do, and heedful of Mr Borrie’s warning, I stood up and stepped back on the path. They watched me go, impassive looks upon their faces. I sensed that perhaps they were young and wanted to talk to me, this strange, small gweilo from the other world of which they occasionally heard talk but had not seen for many years, nor perhaps ever would again. (“Hiking to Buddha”)

The visit to Ngong Ping left a profound impression on Booth, and he returns to the episode in both his novel Hiroshima Joe (1985) and in a section of his Hong Kong notebook, The Dragon and the Pearl (1994), where he tries to reconcile his idyllic memories of his stay in the monastery — marked by austere accommodation and timeless ritual — with the changes time has brought, particularly the colossal Buddha statue, said to have cost some HK$60 million. However, in neither of these alternate accounts does he mention that pair of silent nuns.

G.S.P. Heywood came to Hong Kong in 1932 to work at the Royal Observatory. His book Rambles in Hong Kong (1938), is his very romantic love-letter to the countryside of the Territory. His encounter with nuns took place in Lam Tsuen, at the Ling Wan Nunnery near Kwun Yam Hill:

Some way to your left as you come down from the pass into the Pat Heung valley is a nunnery, standing in a wooded defile under the great rocky shoulder named Kwun Yam, the “Goddess of Mercy”. The white buildings, with their garden and lily-pond, were once hidden away amongst the trees, and had a wonderful air of quietness and serenity. One hot summer day, as I was passing by, the nuns courteously hailed me in, and provided me with water to wash in and tea to drink.

When I was refreshed they showed me round some of the buildings, of which they had good reason to be proud, for they were beautifully kept. I saw the temple, with its altar and images, and the reading room, and a belfry up in a tower, where an old nun sat with a great book open in front of her and every now and then chimed a deep-toned bell which hung from the roof above.

Many of the trees are now gone, and the belfry is only an empty shell; though some of the charm of the place has been lost, the nuns are still there, cheerful and kindly as ever.
(“Lam Tsun, Pat Heung, and Ping Shan”)

Here as in the Booth passage there is a quiet, nostalgic comparison being made between Heywood’s early visit to the nunnery sometime before the Japanese invasion in 1941 and a later one after the war, during which many of the sheltering trees had been cleared for firewood and the belfry had been damaged. Heywood himself had also suffered terribly during those difficult years as an internee in a Japanese prison camp, so those pre-war memories must have carried particularly poignant overtones for him.

An American, Christopher Rand first went to China in 1943 and later based himself in Hong Kong. By accounts, he was a great walker, and once wrote “I have theories about why one should do it — that it is good for the health, is conducive to thought, makes one able to observe things close at hand, etc. — and I think all these arguments are sound, but the main point is simply that I enjoy walking; I feel calm and happy while doing it.” His 1952 book Hong Kong: The Island Between focuses on the complex political issues concerning mainland China, but it ends with a light-hearted, lyrical sketch of Lantau Island where he spent a few months. He was actually staying in a place quite close to Ngong Ping when he had the following experience:

I never saw a wheeled conveyance on Lantao — not even a wheelbarrow. The fastest human you saw was a man or woman shuffling at the Chinese jogtrot, perhaps with a loaded shoulder-pole. Often you would see little figures like that far away on a hillside path. The paths were now level, now steep and flagstoned like dragons’ backs — gracefully curved, and at times appearing to hang out over thin air. Most people you met on the paths were good at walking downhill in the fast, bent-kneed fashion of mountaineers. Sometimes when going uphill you would overtake a little shaven-head nun or lay sister with two big bags of rice on her pole-ends. You could hear the hard breathing as you passed.

Sometimes it was so still you could hear water dripping hundreds of yards below. One of the nicest sounds was of nuns’ chatter combined with a splashing brook and wind in near-by trees. Most of the mountain’s convents were in a hillside area called Lok Wu, and when I walked on a slope that happened to face this, a mile or so away, I could often hear the nuns there talking intimately.
(“Lantao”)

These three encounters by a trio of writers quietly suggest that the Hong Kong Buddhist nun lives life at a slower speed than the rest of us, unobtrusive, and closer to the natural rhythms of the world, and consequently capable of an unexpected and powerful intimacy. Here, by way of a conclusion, is the tiny poem I wrote as a fragile tribute to my own encounter:

At Tai Po Market Station, the Buddhist nun
performs still-points with her gong
in the avalanche of peak hour
.

Learning Cantonese: 彭靖 Pang Jing, Full-time Nude Model


所有甫士都係模特兒自己決定嘅 | 所以其實係有一個尊重裏邊 | 擺甫士係一個被動嘅主動 | 雖然你畫我啦,但係甫士係我揀㗎嘛

彭靖 Pàahng4 Jihng6, an artist herself, currently works as a full-time nude model for those people passionate about life-drawing. This video from Apple allows us to get an inkling of the motivations and challenges that necessarily accompany this highly unusual human transaction, and Pang’s poise and candour add a strongly positive note to her presentation.

Interestingly, the original report began with a complementary section about male nude models, but their treatment could not have been more different: their faces were deliberated blurred out, their voices were distorted to avoid recognition, and they were referred to using pseudonyms rather than their real names. The way the activity of modelling is viewed by society in Hong Kong is starkly distinguished along gender lines, it would seem.

After the tragic demist of Apple, this video was removed from circulation, but back-ups can be found on YouTube, both a full version and the version given here, which deals only with Pang Jing. That is why you’ll find two sets of timings in the transcription.

The main language-highlight of the video is the adjective 𠮩𠹌 līu1 lāng1 = “odd; strange; rare”. The last time I came across it was in October 2019 in a TVB news report in which an older woman described the closure of MTR stations during the anti-extradition protests in the following terms: 而家都唔開,噉變咗𠮩𠹌 = “now they’re all closed and things have got strange”).

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

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Caption: 彭靖 | 全職裸體模特兒 | 身體是什麽 Pang Jing | Full-time Nude Model | What is a Body Anyway?

彭靖:身體係咩?其實好簡單。身體就係我體現呢個世界 . . . 一個載體囉

● 載體 joi3 tái2 = carrier; vector | ● 體現 tái2 yihm6 = to embody; to incarnate; to reflect; to give expression to

Pang Jing: What is a body anyway? Actually it’s very simple — the body is this carrier which [enables] me to embody [體現] this world.

Caption: 26歲 | 視藝畢業生做女模特 | 鍾意試新嘢 26 Years Old | Visual Arts Graduate and Female Model | Fond of Trying New Things

彭靖:好鍾意試新嘅 | 同埋好奇心好強 | 第一接觸其實好新奇囉 【4:00】| 就係有計時呀 | 然後有好短嘅一分鐘嘅姿勢畫到15分鐘 | 跟住之後畫畫吓就覺得好奇 | 就想試到底係咩感覺

● 試新 si3 sān1 = roughly, “trying new things” | ● 好奇心 hou3 kèih4 sām1 = curiosity | ● 新奇 sān1 kèih4 = strange; novel; new | ● 計時 gai3 sìh4 = reckon by time; calculate by time | ● 姿勢 jī1 sai3 = posture; gesture | ● 好奇 hou3 kèih4 = curious; inquisitive

Pang Jing: [I] really like trying new things plus [I] have a strong curiosity. The first time was really quite a novelty [好新奇]. There was a set amount of time [計時]. And then, after a short post lasting a minute, [we] painted for 15 minutes. Actually, after painting for a while I felt curious, and so wanted to give it a try, to find out what it actually felt like.

記者:要做裸體模特兒 | 所謂嘅門檻同標準嘅

Reporter: If [you] want to be a nude model, there are no “thresholds” or “standards”.

彭靖:以前做呢,係,係肉肉的種圓潤女生嘅 | 但係嗰陣我都對自己冇乜話要,譬如唔好食嘢 | 跟住 *gyu 好瘦返少少先去,冇呢

● 圓潤 yùhn4 yeuhn6 = mellow & full; perhaps “filled out”

Pang Jing: Earlier when I modelled, I was a fleshy, well-rounded [圓潤] kind of young woman. However, at the time I didn’t say to myself that, for instance, I mustn’t eat, getting myself thinner before I went [and modelled] — there was nothing like that.

彭靖:【1:00】因其實大家都有共識 | 係,呃,畫人體寫生嘅時候,就唔會影相、亦都唔會錄影、亦都唔會個電話出嘅 | 得一次,即係 *je,兩年半兩年 | 有人影相,我咪即刻喝住話 | 喂!做乜影相呀?」咁囉

● 共識 guhng6 sīk1 = a consensus; a common understanding | ● 寫生 sé2 sāang1 = to paint from life; to draw, paint or sketch from nature | ● 喝住 hot3 jyuh6 = (?) to shout loudly at sb. to make them stop doing sth.; to tell sb. off

Pang Jing: Because actually there is a common understanding between everyone, the understanding that when you’re sketching the human body, you can’t take pictures, record or take out your phone. The only time was around two, two and a half years ago. Someone was taking photos, so naturally I immediately told them to stop: “Hey, what do you think you are doing taking pictures?”

記者:畫之前可以同畫家商量一個姿勢可以維持幾耐

● 商量 sēung1 lèuhng4 = to consult; to discuss; to talk over

Reporter: Before the start, [the model] can discuss [the issue of] how long to hold a pose with the artists.

彭靖:所有甫士都係模特兒自己決定嘅 | 所以其實係【5:00】有一個尊重裏邊 | 擺甫士係一個被動嘅主動 | 雖然你畫我啦,但係甫士係我揀㗎嘛 | 而我做 model 嘅時候其實亦都有擺 . . . 畫家嘅經驗落去 | 就係有時候可能會特登做啲𠮩𠹌啲嘅動作呀,挑戰吓佢哋 | 有啲人好鍾意畫某個部分嘅 | 佢只不過係器官 | 你覺得淫唔淫褻呢,就好睇你個腦到底諗緊啲咩 | 啫,我可以人睇 | 唔代表我隨時隨地都可以俾人睇 | 亦都唔代表【2:00】我無所謂咁俾人睇囉

● 甫士 pōu3*1 6*2 = a pose | ● 特登 dahk6 dāng1 = deliberately; intentionally; on purpose | ● 𠮩𠹌 līu1 lāng1 = odd, strange, rare | ● 器官 hei3 gūn1 = a [bodily] organ | ● 淫褻 yàhm4 sit3 = obscene; an obscenity

Pang Jing: All poses are decided by the model. For this reason, there is a sense of respect at work here [喺裏邊]. Posing is an active passivity — although you are drawing me, I get to choose the poses. What’s more, when I am modelling, I am actually also putting my experience of being a painter into [what I do]. Sometimes I will deliberately do a movement that is a bit strange, just to challenge them a bit. Some people really like to sketch a particular part. They [佢] are all just organs — whether you think they are obscene or not depends on [就好睇] what exactly is going on in your mind [你個腦]. I mean, [Just because] I can let other people see [my body], doesn’t mean [唔代表] I am willing to do so any time, any place, and nor does it mean I am completely indifferent [無所謂咁] to letting people see [me].

Caption: 裸體、性 | Nudity and Sex

彭靖:nudity 可以同 sex 冇關囉 | 啫,唔 nude 都可以有 sex 同埋慾望嘅出現㗎嘛,有時候 | 性其實你有接觸嘛,你要有情感,無論身體上嘅交流 | 定係情感上嘅交流 | 都係同你裸露於人前係兩件事嚟㗎喎 | 其實我真係冇【6:00】任何包袱 | 亦都冇任何障礙需要跨過㗎

● 慾望 yuhk6 mohng6 = (n.) desire; wish; lust | ● 裸露 ló2 louh6 = uncovered; exposed | ● 包袱 bāau1 fuhk6 = usu. a load; a weight; a burden; perhaps “hang-up” in this context | ● 障礙 jeung3 ngoih6 = an obstacle | ● 跨過 kwāa1 gwo3 = to step across; to go beyond

Pang Jing: Nudity may be unrelated to sex. That is, sex and desire can appear when there is no nudity. With sex in fact there has to be contact, there are feelings. Regardless of whether it is a physical exchange or an emotional one, it is a different thing from being exposed [in front of] others. Actually, I really don’t have any hang-ups [包袱] and there are no obstacles that need to be got over.

彭靖:其實呢,係好開心嘅,因為 . . . 好多唔同風格啦 | 唔同 media 啦、唔同嘅地方啦、然後唔同我嘅神情啦 | 但係其實雖然好唔同,但都係我囉 | 當你 nude 嘅時候,嗰個狀態其實 | 無論身體上同情感上都好赤裸 | 你會好容易地流露你 . . . 嗰陣覺得係開心定係唔開心 | 然後有啲畫家係可以捕捉落嚟 【3:00】| 然後完咗之後問,阿靖最近係咪唔開心?| 然後能夠觀察到呢一啲好微細嘅嗰啲情緒嘅嗰啲畫家 | 就已經成爲朋友

● 神情 sàhn4 chìhng4 = an expression; a look | ● 赤裸 chek3 ló2 = (adj.) bare| ● 流露 làuh4 louh6 = to reveal; to betray; to show unintentionally | ● 捕捉 bouh6 jūk1 = to catch; to seize | ● 微細 mèih4 sai3 = very small; tiny

Pang Jing: As a matter of fact, [I] am very pleased, because . . . [there are] lots of different styles, different media, different settings [地方], and then [there are] my different expressions, but actually despite the significant differences [好唔同] they are all [still] me. When you are nude, [being] in this state where you a naked in both a physical and an emotional sense, it is easy to reveal, unintentionally, whether you are feeling happy or not in that moment. Later, the artists might be able to capture [what I am revealing], and after that when they have finished, [they might] ask, “Ah Jing, have you been feeling unhappy lately?” Then those artists who are able to observe those minute [changes] in those moods have become my friends.

Caption: 啱啱分手 | I Had Just Broken up

呃,從來都未試過發生嘅 | 幾跟住啲音樂又好觸景傷情咁樣 | 跟住我就坐坐下就兩行眼淚咁樣囉 | 我情感嘅流露其實係可以嘅 【7:00】| 跟住,嗰個 owner 就知道就問我需唔需要休息一下 | 佢哋好理解,亦都好明白 | 啫,好慶幸嘅係,遇到嘅畫家都係好人囉

● 分手 fān1 sáu2 = to art company; to say good-bye; to split up | ● 觸景 = ? cf.  觸景生情 jūk1 gíng2  sāang1 chìhng4 = the sight strikes a chord in one’s heart; recall old memories at the sight of familiar places | ● 慶幸 hing3 hahng6  = to rejoice

Pang Jing: It had never happened before. And then music can strike a chord [and bring up] painful feelings, and it made my sit there with two lines of tears streaming down my face. I think it’s OK to show your feelings. As a result, when the person in charge realized [what was happening], [she] asked me if I needed to take a break. They really understand; they have a good grasp of the situation [好明白]. [I] rejoice [at the fact that] the artists I have come across are all good people.


記者 Reporter:陳煥欣 | 煥 wuhn6 = shining; glowing
攝影 Photography:梁志恆、潘志恆
剪接 Editing :陳曉筠 | 筠 wàhn4 = bamboo skin; gwān1 used as a place name in Sichuan province

Learning Cantonese: 周冠威 Kiwi Chow “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your home, Hong Kong?”

Kiwi Chow has been in the news recently because of his new film, Revolution of Our Times. This 4-minute video about him was made by Ming Pao in May 2020. You can watch the video here.

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周冠威:《十年 ● 自焚者》係個問題 | 問香港人,你願意為香港 | 呢個家願意犧牲幾多?| Kiwi Chow: Ten Years, Self-immolator is a question | Asking the question, “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your home, Hong Kong?”

Caption: 文化後浪 | Cultural Successors

Caption: 唔好睇死香港 | 唔好睇死自己 Don’t Give up on Hong Kong | Don’t Give Up on Your Self

Caption: 周冠威 Kiwi Chow 執導《十年 ● 自焚者》| 近作:《幻愛》| 金像獎最佳導演提名 Kiwi Chow is the director of Ten Years, Self-immolator | Most recent film: Beyond the Dream | Nominated for the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Director

Caption: 重睇《十年》唔好睇死香港 | After Watching Ten Years Again, I Don’t Give up on Hong Kong

周冠威:幾年前我拍《十年 ● 自焚者》| 隔咗一段時間我睇翻《十年 ● 自焚者》 | 我好深刻感受到係時代已經比我想象嘅更差 | 其中一個畫面講緊一嘅防暴警察 | 用個警棍去撲我嘅主角 | 我同攝影師都有一啲嘅爭辯 | 使唔使拍咁誇張呀?| 但係好可悲 [睇] // 過去一年 | 呢一啲咁嘅畫面係不停我哋新聞裏邊 [去] 出現 | 《十年 ● 自焚者》係個問題 | 問香港人,你願意為香港 | 呢個家願意犧牲幾多?

● 防暴警察 fòhng4 bouh6 gíng2 chaat3 = riot police | ● 警棍 gíng2 gwan3 = a truncheon; a police baton | ● 撲 (or 㩧) bōk1 = to hit on the head | ● 攝影師 sip3 yíng2 sī1 = photographer; cinematographer | ● 爭辯 jāng1 bihn6 = argument | ● 可悲 hó2 bēi1 = sad; lamentable

Several years ago, I made Ten Years, Self-immolator. After a certain amount of time, I watched it again. What made a deep impression on me is the fact that the period was even worse than I had imagined. There is a scene in it dealing with some anti-riot police who are beating our main character with their truncheons. I even had some arguments with the photographer about this. Was it really necessary to film the scene so violently [咁誇張]? The sad thing is that when we look back over the past year, scenes of this kind have been constantly appearing in our news [programs]. Ten Years, Self-immolator is a question | Asking the question, “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your home, Hong Kong?”

【1:00】19年嘅呢場運動 | 我見到好多人為香港犧牲 | 甚至比你想像中嘅 | 更加有强大嘅意志去走出 | 你可以走上街頭 | 可以為啲公義嘅價值去發聲 | 為真相去抗衡 | 好多人話,呢啲年輕人係買唔到樓哇 | 或者係生活條件唔係咁優越啦 | 噉所以去抗爭去打平 | 唔係囉 | 睇香港嘅法治越嚟越低落 | 佢睇香港嘅自由越嚟越 [遭] 鉗制 | 我哋嘅和平游行示威嚴重地俾打壓 | 我唔知道將來會點 | 但我好相信有好多嘅可能性 | 因我曾經睇死我自己 | 但係我睇錯咗 | 我以前係一個學業成績唔夠理想 | 去讀演藝學院嘅人 | 但我好想讀電影學院 | 但我讀唔到 | 我睇死我自己 | 噉我經歷俾到我就係 | 人真係有好多可能性 | 你唔好咁自大去睇死你自己啦

● 意志 yi3 ji3 = will | ● 發聲 faat3 sēng1 = (?) | ● 抗衡 kong3 hàhng4 = to contend with | ● 法治 faat3 jih6 = rule by law | ● 鉗制 kìhm4 jai3 = to clamp down on; to suppress | ● 演藝 yán2 ngaih6 = the performing arts | ● 自大 jih6 daaih6 = self-important; arrogant

[During] the [protest] movement of 2019, I saw many people make sacrifices for Hong Kong and even to make a stand [走出嚟] with a stronger will than you could have imagined. You could take to the streets. You could speak out for the value of justice [or] contend for the truth. Many said that the reason these young people went out to struggle for fairness [爭去打平] was because they couldn’t afford to buy their own home or because their living conditions were not as good [as others]. That’s not true. In their eyes, the rule of law in Hong Kong was getting weaker and weaker, while freedom in Hong Kong was being clamped down on more and more. Our peaceful demonstrations were severely repressed. I have no idea what the future will be like, but I firmly believe that there are a great number of possibilities. [I say this] because I once gave up on myself. But I was wrong. I was once someone who went and studied at the Academy for the Performing Arts and whose results were far from ideal. I really wanted to study at the Film Academy, but I couldn’t manage to get in. I gave up on myself. My personal experience [taught me] that any person has many possibilities. You shouldn’t be so arrogant as to give up on yourself.

【2:00】你唔好 [咁] 自大,你唔係上天 | 你唔好睇死香港啦 | 當人睇一樣唔睇死嘅時候 | 你就覺得有盼望

● séuhng5 tīn1 = to go up into the sky | ● 盼望 paan3 mohng6 = to hope; to wish

Don’t be so arrogant or you won’t reach the heights [上天]. Don’t give up on Hong Kong. When a person doesn’t give up on something, then you will feel that there is still hope.

Caption: 近作《幻愛》| 相信自己可以改 | His Most Recent Film Beyond the Dream | Believe that One Can Change

過去一年 | 喺 *hei 香港發生嘅嘢 | 我覺得係整體上嘅集體嘅創傷後遺症 | 我哋| 喺 *hei 過去一年釋放咗好大嘅情緒 | 我哋需要去梳理 | 而希望達致一啲嘅療癒 | 我係一個電影導演呢 | 我當然相信電影嘅力量 | 我希望我嘅電影係可以拍到多點人嘅善良 | 去梳理我哋嘅過去 | 我希望《幻愛》[呢個] 電影都間接上可以彌補到呢個位置 | 呢套係一套愛情片 | 裏邊所探討嘅就係 | 每一個人都有一啲嘅過去,[一啲嘅] 情緒要去梳理、要去療癒 | // 一個更加新嘅路 | 經過同人同人嘅關係去療癒自己、去療癒對方 | 原來我嘅情緒唔單止係我自己一個 | 我唔孤單嘅 | 我同好多人同樣

● 梳理 sō1 léih5 = (?) to put order into; to organize | ● 善良 sihn6 lèuhng4 = good and honest; kindhearted | ● 間接 gaan3 jip3 = indirect | ● 彌補 nèih4 bóu2 = to make up; to remedy; to make good | ● 探討 taam3 tóu2 = to inquire into; to probe into

What has happened in Hong Kong over the past year is I think as far as the whole is concerned [整體上] a collective post-traumatic disorder. Over the past year, we have released a great amount of emotion. We need to work through this [梳理] in the hope of reaching some degree of healing. I am a film director. Of course, I believe in the power of film. It is my hope that my films will spark kindheartedness in more people, and help us to work through our past. I hope the film Beyond the Dream can, indirectly, help to make good in this regard [呢個位置]. It is a love film and what is probed in it is that everyone has a past, has some emotions that need to be worked through. Only then can one walk a whole new path [更加新嘅路]. By mean of relationships with others one can heal oneself and the other. My emotions it turns out don’t belong to me alone — I am not alone. There are a lot of other people like me.

【3:00】一個精神病患者 | 佢已經康復咗 |佢睇完《幻愛》同我講翻 | 我睇呢套戲,我多咗盼望 | 我就係呢種感覺 [] | ,我希望睇呢套戲 | 係俾到人有力量 [囉] | 將來我唔知發生 [緊] 啲乜嘢 | 你唔好睇外在環境得[與] 唔得 | 你睇定唔啱 | 我希望懷住呢種可能性 | 去繼續去走 | 你有啲 你追求嘅價值你好 believe [相信] 嘅 | 你繼續去啦

A person who had suffered from a mental illness and later recovered said to me after watching Beyond the Dream, “Watching this film has given me more hope”. This is the kind of feeling I am talking about. That is, I hope that watching this film will give people strength. I have no idea what will happen in the future. Don’t worry about whether the external environment is OK or not. Worry about what is right. I hope that by holding on to this sense of possibility I can continue to go on. You have values you pursue which you believe in: keep going then.

Caption: 不要看行不行,要看對不對 (《十年 ● 自焚者》)| It’s not a matter of whether it’s feasible. It’s whether it’s right

Silent B (For Those who have to Make Themselves up out of No One)

Nathan Prayre stares inwards from an odd angle
at himself: Who is this stranger
stronger in conscious than me?
He minds
the abrupt unwelcome of all the personality’s lame haberdashery —
is this the desert of forty days
once so faithfully promised in scripture? Awake by night
to a stray patch of phantom glow on his bedroom wall
and the work of laboured breath,
he prays for tears — or sleep — or comfort
in precisely that order, pleading
to the active no one in himself
for the chance of a trace of a truce
with non-human human-being
or even some ever-so-slight side-benefit of the doubt.

My Head Still Hangs in the Clouds (東平洲 Tung Ping Chau)

I stand at the back of the boat, letting the scene do most of the thinking
for me. The jagged coast
with its rugged panorama won’t let go, but the engines chant
only the chance of a wide-opening sea. Absentmindedly
I watch waves break on inaccessible shores —
over and over — so many waves —
and only the one, short, four-letter word, in English,
for them all. Particular trees rarely distinguish themselves.
What covers these Hong Kong hills is a lush self-centreless green
drawing equally from water, land, and sky
a sane amalgam, staunch in the name of growth
and complemented by rock’s gaunt bone,
rich in its way with echoes and undergalaxies of life,
but still forever-stranger to this animate animal whirl —
look, here it comes now: flat chat billow-bellowing out of Big Indigo
with my very own NEXT DEEP BREATH.

Learning Cantonese: Long Yuen’s Modern Pan

噉從中我哋都可以介紹翻,即係, 咦, 稻米係咩嚟啦 | 點解要種米啦 |  咦,原來中間有好多生態㗎喎 | 香港嘅歷史文化原來係咁㗎喎 | 噉希望多啲人去關注翻、留翻住我哋一啲嘅綠色嘅環境

Pan was a rural god in ancient Greek belief, and an embodiment of the spirit of Nature. I think he would be proud of his contemporary incarnation in Hong Kong, 劉善鵬 Làuh4 Sihn6 Pàahng6, an environmental manager who goes by the English name of Pan, an able and self-deprecating fellow who likes to refer to himself as 煎 Pan or “Frying Pan”!

In this video, part of RTHK’s fascinating “Hong Kong Ecologists” series, we get an overview of the work that The Conservancy Association is doing in a place near 上水 Sheung Shui called 塱原 Long Yuen, a stretch of freshwater wetlands that grows rice and other crops as well as providing a habitat to a large number of birds and frogs. Management of this region, soon to become an environmental park, obviously involves a delicate balancing between the needs of agriculture and ecology.

The most interesting grammatical feature of Pan’s speech is his frequent use of the aspect marker 翻 fāan1 which, as I mentioned in my last post, often appears in unexpected contexts. Although the basic meaning is “again”, it often implies that an action has resumed after an interruption. This meaning is suggested in 喺〇九年都喺塱原種翻稻米 = “In 2009, we also planted a rice crop in Long Yuen again”. Sometimes, it seems to imply “restoration”, a taking back of things to an earlier state, as in 噉希望去維持翻塱原你原本好多嘅啲水田嘅環境 = “in the hope that [we] can preserve the place and bring back a large number of these paddy-field environments to the way they used to be”. Pan also uses it with verbs such as 調查 = to survey, 反映 = to reflect, 介紹 = to introduce and 關注 = to show concern for, suggesting that it has various other nuances that serious learners might like to ponder!

As for the vocabulary, there’s a delightful instance of the verb 抰 yéung2, which Sheik Cantonese defines as ① to unwrap; to display; to uncover ② to shake off; to jerk; to flick. The last time I came across it was in a Buddhistdoor interview with Queenie Chu, who used 抰走 to refer to flicking an insect off her clothing rather than squashing it. Here in 會成籃擺落去抰走啲泥沙、昆蟲呀咁先攞去賣嘅, it indicates the removal of soil and insects from basket loads of plants before they are taken off to market to sell.

Other items include: 現存 yihn6 chyùhn4 = extant; in stock; 農作物 nùhng4 jok3 maht6 = crops; 產卵 cháan2 léun2 / léuhn5 = to lay eggs; to spawn; 數據 sou3 geui3 = data; 求偶 kàuh4 ngáuh5 = (?) to look for a mate; 西洋菜 sāi1 yèuhng4 choi3 = watercress; 逗留 dauh6 làuh4 = to stop (at a place); 石屎森林 sehk6 sí2 sām1 làhm4 = a concrete jungle; 體驗活動 tái2 yihm6 wuht6 duhng6 = roughly, “activities for learning through practical experience”; 陣間 jahn6 gaan1 = soon; in a moment; in a while; 講解 góng2 gáai2 = to explain; 下旬 haah6 chèuhn4 = the last ten-day period of a month; 收割 sāu1 got3 = to reap; to harvest; to gather in.

This video has now been archived on RTHK’s Podcast 1 website here.

If you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

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記者:面積大約五十公頃塱原 | 位於香港新界北區 | 係香港現存最大片、最完整嘅 | 淡水農耕濕地 | 由四百幾塊農地連接組成 | 大嘅地方當然需要有管理員 | 自長春社嘅劉善鵬,就係其中一位管理員 | 除要不時同農夫溝通 | 都會進行一生態調查 | 又會透過唔同嘅活動 | 向公衆同埋小朋友介紹呢個地方

● 公頃 gūng1 kíng2 = a hectare | ● 現存 yihn6 chyùhn4 = extant; in stock | ● 完整 yùhn4 jíng2 = complete; integrated; intact | ● 農耕 nùhng4 gāang1/gāng1 = (?) to cultivate | ● 連接 lìhn4 jip3 = to join; to link | ● 長春社 Chèuhng4 Chēun1 Séh5 = The Conservancy Association | ● 不時 bāt1 sìh4 = frequently; often

Reporter: With an area of approximate 50 hectares, Long Yuen — which is located in North District of Hong Kong’s New Territories — is Hong Kong’s largest and most complete [最完整] fresh-water agricultural wetland [淡水農耕濕地]. It is made up of over 400 linked plots of farmland. Such a large place obviously [方當] requires administrative personnel. One of these is Lau Sin-pang, who is from [嚟自] the Conservancy Association. Apart from keeping in frequent communication with the farmers, he also conducts ecological surveys and, by means of different kinds of activities, introduce this place to the general public and to children.

Caption: 劉善鵬,長春社助理保育經理 | Lau Sin-pang, Assistant Environmental Manager with the Conservancy Association

劉善鵬:我叫煎 Pan 呀 | 塱原度做咗大概差唔多十年喇 | 我長春社同香港觀鳥會 | 〇五年開始就嚟到塱原同當地嘅農夫去合作 | 噉一齊去做一啲生境管理 | 噉包括係去維持一啲水田啦,噉同埋引入一啲新嘅水田農作物 | 例如慈菇、馬蹄 | 喺〇九年都喺塱原種【1:00】翻稻米 | 噉希望去維持翻塱原你原本好多嘅啲水田嘅環境 | 噉啲動物就可以喺度息 | 塱原其實主要有兩大類嘅保育對象啦 | 第一類就雀仔 | 仲一個大嘅家族希望去保護就係青蛙 | 噉原來青蛙佢哋會使用淡水濕地去產卵去繁殖嘅 | 噉雖然話佢係農田 | 噉但係上面去棲息嘅生物其實都幾多嘅 | 最新嘅雀仔數字都有三百一十六種 | 噉其實都超過,呃,香港總數嘅六十個 percent

● 香港觀鳥會 Hēung1 Góng2 Gūn1 Níuh5 Wúi6*2 = the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society | ● 生境 sāng1 gíng2 = habitat | ● 維持 wàih4 chìh4 = to keep; to maintain; to preserve | ● 水田 séui2 tìhn4 = paddy field | ● 引入 yáhn5 yahp6 = to lead into; to draw into | ● 農作物 nùhng4 jok3 maht6 = crops | ● 慈菇 chìh4 gū1 = arrowhead, katniss (Sagittaria sagittifolia) | ● 馬蹄 máah5 tái4*2/tàih4 = water chestnut | ● 稻米 douh6 máih5 = rice (crop) | ● 棲息 chāi1 sīk1 = to perch; to dwell | ● 保護對象 bóu2 wuh6 deui3 jeuhng6 = roughly, “the object of protection [efforts]” | ● 家族 gāa1 juhk6 = a clan; a family | ● 使用 sái2/sí2 yuhng6 = to make use; to use; to employ | ● 產卵 cháan2 léun2 / léuhn5 = to lay eggs; to spawn Note: According to Sheik Cantonese, léun2 is the standard reading for the character 卵, while léuhn5 is a variant | ● 繁殖 fàahn4 jihk6 = to breed; to reproduce

Lau Sin-pang: My name is Chin Pan (“Frying Pan”). I have been working in Long Yuen for roughly ten years. The organization I work for, the Conservancy Association, together with the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, has been working together in Long Yuen with the local farmers since 2005. Together we have been doing some environmental management. This includes preserving some of the paddy fields. It also involves introducing [引入] some new paddy-field crops such as arrowhead [慈菇] and water chestnut. In 2009, we also planted a rice crop in Long Yuen again, in the hope that [we] can preserve the place and bring back a large number of these paddy-field environments to the way they used to be. Creatures of various kinds [動物] could then inhabit this place. In fact, there are two main kinds of creatures that are the object of protection [efforts] here in Long Yuen. First of all, birds. The other big family [大嘅家族] that [we] hope to protect are the frogs. As it turns out [原來], frogs make use of fresh-water wetlands for breeding. Now although these fields are under cultivation, there are many creatures inhabiting [棲息] them. [According to] the latest bird figures, there are 316 [different] kinds. This is more than 60% of the sum total for Hong Kong.

記者:作為管理員,煎 Pan 佢哋當然要知道喺厘塊土地上面生活緊嘅 | 除咗人以外,仲有咩動物 | 佢哋嘅數量有冇多到?| 厘啲數據可以話係佢哋嘅成績表 | 今晚佢就進行緊青蛙生態調查

● 數據 sou3 geui3 = data | ● 成績表 sìhng4 jīk1 bíu2 = ① school/academic report; student report card; school record ② table of results/scores

Reporter: As a manager, Chin Pan and his team [煎 Pan 佢哋] naturally need to know what is living here on this patch of ground. Apart from human beings, what other creatures are there and have their quantities increased? You could say that such data is their table of results. This evening, he is doing and environmental survey of frogs.

劉善鵬:噉我哋都會去調查翻我哋嘅對象到底有冇使用我哋嘅管理嘅生境啦 | 呢塊田可能米田 | 我哋會到幾多個品種或者個數量係多定係少嘅 | 反映翻其實到底我哋嘅田係有冇【2:00】成效呢,對於個生態 | 青蛙有個特性 | 就係呢,佢哋夏天,尤其是落完大雨之後啦 | 雄性嘅青蛙係會求偶會叫嘅 | 噉我哋會憑聲音呢,去判斷嗰塊田嘅青蛙嘅多少啦 | 品種呢,因為唔同青蛙叫嗰,呃,聲音都唔同嘅個品種 | 幾有趣嘅,我哋,呃,發覺呢,呃,原來塱原一個農耕嘅環境呢 | 好多嘅微小嘅生境呢,都係一啲農耕嘅設施 | 例如洗菜池啦 | 噉啲農夫收割完啲通菜、西洋菜呢 | 會成籃擺落去抰走啲泥沙、昆蟲呀咁先去賣嘅 | 我哋發覺原來夏天呢 | 都好多青蛙會走落去繁殖,咁會好多蝌蚪嘅 | 你都幾意外地 | 原來都係製造咗一個生境呢啲嘅生物去使用囉

● 成效 sìhng4 haauh6 = an effect; a result | ● 雄性 hùhng4 sing3 = male | ● 求偶 kàuh4 ngáuh5 = (?) to look for a mate | ● 憑 pàhng4 = to go by; to base on; to take as a basis | ● 發覺 faat3 gok3 = to find; to detect; to discover | ● 微小 mèih4 síu2 = small; little | ● 洗菜池 sái2 choi3 chìh4 = roughly, “a pool for washing vegetables in” | ● 通菜 tūng1 choi3 = water spinach; Chinese spinach (also known as 蕹菜 ung3 choi3 and 翁菜 yūng1 choi3 | ● 西洋菜 sāi1 yèuhng4 choi3 = watercress | ● 抰走 yéung2 jáu2 = roughly, “to shake off”  | ● 泥沙 nàih4 sāa1 = silt; soil; earth | ● 蝌蚪 fō1 dáu2 = a tadpole

Jin Pan: We will conduct a survey [to find out] whether the objects [of our protection efforts] [對象] are making use of the habitats we are managing. This patch of land is probably a rice paddy. We will find out [揾到] whether the numbers of certain species have gone up or down. This reflects whether in fact our fields are effective [有冇成效], in terms of the environment. A characteristic of frogs is that, in Summer, especially after a heavy shower of rain, the males will call in order to find a mate. On the basis of the sound, we judge the number of frogs on that piece of land and what species there are, because different frogs have different calls. Quite interestingly, we have found that that Long Yuen is basically [原來] an agricultural environment [and] many of the micro-habitats [within it] turn out to be agricultural facilities [設施], for instance, washing pools for vegetables. After the farmers have harvested [their] water spinach or [their] cress, they tip whole basket-loads [of vegetables into the ponds] to get rid of the dirt before taking them off to sell. We have found that as it turns out in Summer lots and lots of frogs will go into these ponds to reproduce, and there are lots of tadpoles. This is quite surprising. As it transpires, a habitat has been made for these creatures to make use of.

劉善鵬:噉我哋會做聽聲去做一個,呃,記錄嘅 | 噉首先其實我哋第一樣我哋會熄燈啦 | 燈呢,對於青蛙都有影響嘅 | 噉我哋想靜止咗 | 等啲青蛙習慣咗個黑夜嘅環境 | 就開始做記錄 | 噉啊暫時一種澤蛙啦 | 噉我哋會再逗留【3:00】可能五分鐘 | 噉啊聽吓,有啲咩青蛙叫囉

● 熄燈 sīk1 dāng1 = to put out the light; to turn off the light | ● 靜止 jihng6 jí2 = static; motionless; at a standstill | ● 澤蛙 jaahk6 wāa1 = literally, “pond frog” | ● 逗留 dauh6 làuh4 = to stop (at a place)

Jin Pan: We make a record based on? what we hear. First off all, we turn off our torch [熄燈]. Lamp-light has a [real] influence on frogs. [Then] we want to [想] stand still to allow [等] the frogs to get used to the night environment.  Then we start to make a record. Just for the moment, [there is] a pond frog. We stay around for maybe for five minutes, listening out for what kinds of frog-calls there are.

記者:稻米由落種到收割都牽涉到大量人力 | 煎 Pan 佢哋喺唔同時段 | 會同小朋友同埋「石屎森林」中嘅大人 | 舉行唔同嘅體驗活動 | 等大家可以更加了解水田嘅特性 | 農田呢,可以俾到個空間呢好多雀仔、好多動物呢 | 可以喺度生活甚至生 BB 嘅 | 噉我哋陣間呢,會落田呢,就會做一個,呃,除草嘅工作

● 落種lohk6 júng2 = (?) to plant seeds | ● 牽涉 hīn1 sip3 = to involve; to concern; to drag in | ● 石屎森林 sehk6 sí2 sām1 làhm4 = a concrete jungle | ● 體驗活動 tái2 yihm6 wuht6 duhng6 = roughly, “activities for learning through practical experience” | ● 陣間 jahn6 gaan1 = soon; in a moment; in a while | ● 落田 lohk6 tìhn4 = (?) to go into the fields | ● 除草 chèuih4 chó2 = weeding

Reporter: From planting to harvest, rice involves a large amount of human effort. Jin Pan and his team [煎 Pan 佢哋] conduct different kinds of hands-on activities [體驗活動] at different times for small children as well as adults from “the concrete jungle”, enabling everyone [who participates] to better understand the special features of the paddy fields. (Jin Pan speaks) Land cultivated for farming [農田] can provide many [different] spaces for a large number of birds and animals. Here they can live and have babies. In a moment, we will go down into the fields to do some weeding work.

劉善鵬:咁大個泥俾我有得放 | 透過教育嘅活動啦,咁帶啲小朋友過嚟呢 | 噉講解呢,農田上面嘅一啲嘅功能啦,我叫 | 噉第一樣嘢就食物啦,咦,農田有食物喎 | 噉第二樣嘢,就,,原來今日玩得好開心 | 農田係一個開心、休嘅地方嚟嘅 【4:00】| 噉第三樣嘢,我哋就覺得就重要啲呢,就係 | 我哋會介紹一啲小動物俾佢聽啦,呃,雀仔啦、青蛙啦 | 噉 就等佢知道,咦,原來平時食物製造出嚟嘅過程呢咁  | 原來都提供到一個空間俾啲動物住

● 講解 góng2 gáai2 = to explain | ● 休閒 yāu1 hàahn4 = ① to lie fallow ② to be not working; to have leisure; to be idle

Jin Pan: I can take that, such a big [piece of] dirt. By means of educational activities, we bring the children [down] here. [I] provide some explanation about some of the functions of the fields. Firstly, [it’s about] food: there are things to eat in the fields! The second thing is that it’s great fun: the fields are a fun, leisurely place. Thirdly, and the thing we feel is more important, is that we can introduce [children] to some small creatures such as birds and frogs. This enables them to learn that in the normal process of producing food, spaces are also provided for the creatures to live in.

劉善鵬:而家十一月,係啦, 噉我哋秋收啦 | 噉我哋今日呢,用咗半朝時間呢,噉就收咗塊田啦咁樣 | 今年好呀,啲田。我哋收成都有少少豐收

● 秋收 chāu1 sāu1 = the Autumn harvest | ● 收成 sāu1 sìhng4 = a harvest; a crop | ● 豐收 fūng1 sāu1 = a bumper harvest

Jin Pan: Now, in November, that’s right, we [have] the Autumn harvest. Today we have spent half [our] morning harvesting a field. This year it has been very fine, this field. Our harvest has been a small bumper harvest.

Long caption: 塱原已於2019年12月下旬成為政府土地。由於塱原擁有生態價值,塱原濕地將會經過期約三年的改善工程后,成為自然生態公園。

● 下旬 haah6 chèuhn4 = the last ten-day period of a month| ● 為期 wàih4 kèih4 = (to be completed) by a definite date

At the end of December 2019, Long Yuen became government land. Due to the fact that Long Yuen possesses ecological value, The Long Yuen Wetlands will become a Nature and Ecology Park after undergoing improvement works lasting approximately three years.

劉善鵬:種米嗰個過程其實幾有趣呢 | 呃,要動用到好多人呀 | engage 到多啲嘅公衆參與啦 | 所以今日見到,咦,好多大朋友、小朋友啦,都過嚟 | 幫手收割 | 噉從中我哋都可以介紹翻,即係 *je, 咦, 稻米係咩嚟啦 | 點解要種米啦 |  咦,原來中間有好多生態㗎喎 | 香港嘅歷史文化原來係咁㗎喎 | 噉希望多啲人去關注翻、留翻住我哋一啲嘅綠色嘅環境

● 動用 duhng6 yuhng6 = to put to use; to employ; to draw on | ● 大朋友 daaih6 pàhng4 yáuh5 = adults (lit. “big friend”); I suspect that this is a humorous invention based on the word for “child”, 小朋友 (lit. “little friend”) | ● 收割 sāu1 got3 = to reap; to harvest; to gather in

Jin Pan: The process of growing rice is really quite interesting. You have to draw on a large number of people and “engage” many members of the public to take part. And so, [we] see so many “big friends” [that is, “adults”] as well as children come [out] today to help with the reaping. In the process [從中], we can give an introduction to what rice is, why it is planted — oh, so growing rice has a lot of ecological [aspects] to it! So that’s why Hong Kong’s history and culture is like that! We hope that more people will pay attention to our green environments and look out for them more.