Note: Obelisk’s Demise

IN MEMORY OF A GOLDFISH . . .

When you died a second time
and came back to life, I was worried you’d begun to make
a habit of it. You never did,
growing instead
easily to become the biggest fish in the pond
with a healthy curiosity for what lay beyond, overwater.
As a fully-grown giant,
you started fattening out sideways
and would orbit your sphere round and round the perimeter —
a trundling red planet
truly at home in your girth. I guessed
you were sick
when you took to planting yourself upside-down
in a clump of waterlilies,
poor, demented mermaid headstanding in ocean and waving her gauze
at some air-drowned mortal
like me: Farewell! Each day you waved
and each day, unfinned,
I’d wave you my dry human wave in return — Farewell!
till existence inside you shrank to a speck
and you sank
through the wreck
of your own dead weight

completely out of my depth.

Cantonese Podcasts: 陳文灝 Henry Chan Man-hou

Henry Chan 4

陳文灝 Chàhn4 Màhn4-houh6 (Henry) is one of the most beautiful people in Hong Kong ⸺ not for the way he looks but for the way he does. At the time this short video was made, he was the only staff member of the Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation [香港兩栖及爬蟲協會] and utterly devoted to the plight of amphibians and reptiles in the territory. It is an inspiring sight to watch him in action. And, of course, we can also enjoy listening to his Cantonese!

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

Grammar points:

Henry tends to use the final particles 囉 lō1 and 啦 lāa1 a lot in ways that don’t always match conventional explanations. According to Yip and Matthews, 囉 “gives a suggestion that what is said should be obvious”, and can be used with the word 咪 maih6 = “then” to indicate “an obvious conclusion” (Intermediate Cantonese, Unit 23). The Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary has various definitions, including “[final particle] showing argumentative mood or making emphasis” and “[final particle] expressing a changed condition”. Keep these in mind as you listen to Henry: it would seem that the very general idea of adding emphasis is what he often aims to achieve with this particle.

As for 啦 lāa1, we expect to see it with imperatives, with suggestions introduced by 不如 bāt1 yùh4, and as a marker of the items in a list (but not with the final item [?]). Sheik Cantonese has “livelier version of喇 laa3”, which suggests that its main function is to report changed circumstances and to indicate what grammarians of Mandarin call CRS (current relevant status). The idea of “liveliness” seems to mean that speakers use it to indicate that what they are saying has a bearing on the “matter at hand”, but even as I write these words I can’t help feeling that we are still far from grasping an essential use of this particle!

In the phrase 唔掂得, the word 得 dāk1 = is a verb particle used to express possibility or capability. Importantly, it follows the verb it modifies. So, in the phrase 又或者邊啲位唔掂得呀, 唔掂得 means “cannot be touched”.

順便 seuhn6 bihn6 is a very useful expression with the meaning of “conveniently; in passing”. This word has, I think, a sense of the English “and while you’re at it . . .”. There is also the sense, too, of “since you happen to be doing A, you might as well do B”. When you hear Charlotte say 有時過嚟幫手做義工,就順便可以見佢咁樣囉, she wants to indicate that she comes to do some voluntary work so that, “in the process”, she can get to spend some time with Henry.

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

Vocabulary:

義工工作 yih6 gūng1 gūng1 jok3= volunteer work
圍繞 wàih4 yíuh5 = to revolve around; to centre on
對 . . . 有誤解 deui3 yáuh5 ngh6 gáai2 = to misunderstand so. or sth.
專登 jyūn1 dāng1 = on purpose; deliberately
脾性 peih4 sing3 = disposition; temperament
坎坷 hām1 hō1 = ① bumpy; rough, rugged; ② miserable; frustrating; in bad luck
畸士 kēi 6*2 = a loan-word for the English “case”; an instance
充公 chūng1 gūng1 = to confiscate
投放感情 tàuh4 fong3 gám2 chìhng4 = to project one’s feelings (onto sb./sth. else)
使命 si3 mihng6 = a (personal) mission (MW: 份)

This video lasts for 4:56 minutes. Scroll down for the Cantonese transcription, rough English translation and notes. To watch the video, click here.

To check anything in the transcription and for standard jyutping romanization, please refer to the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

The video also includes quite a number of captions referring to the species of the amphibian or reptile shown, together with a nickname. I have included all these inside square brackets.

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

我叫 Henry
My name is Henry

噉而家係香港兩栖及爬蟲協會現時唯一嘅員工嚟㗎
At present, I am the only employee of the Hong Kong Society of Herpetology

● 嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 is associated with explanations, and adds a hint of what English might cover with the phrase “just in case you were wondering”. We meet a second example later on, in the sentence 噉係我哋其中一位教育大使嚟嘅 = He is one of our educational ambassadors

噉我平時主要呢,就攪一啲環境教育活動啦
Most of the time, for the most part, I run activities [connected with] environmental education

● The phrase 我平時主要呢 is literally something like “I usually importantly”, but I have tried to make the English natural. The use of 呢 at the end of a clause (when not an information-question particle) crops up several times in this video and may have to do with continuous states. Keep an eye (an ear) out for other instances in the course of the interview.

同埋都會照顧領養中心入便嘅兩栖爬蟲動物嘅
In addition, I take care of the amphibians and reptiles in the adoption centre

噉喺工餘時間呢,我都會以生態做一啲畫畫創造啦
In my spare time, I like to [會] make art based on the environment

● The modal verb 會 wúih5 is associated with habitual actions. English uses the so-called “present tense” (!) to achieve the same result.
● The character 以 yíh5 in 以生態 functions as a co-verb working together with the main verb 做 = to make (some creative artworks) using/making use of/based on the environment.
● In this case, 啦 lāa1 is being used to signal the items in a list.

亦都會行吓山呀
And I also like to do a spot of hiking

● Here, 吓 háah5 serves as an aspect marker. Yip and Matthews link it to what they call “the delimitative aspect”, which boils down to doing something “for a little while” (see Intermediate Cantonese, pp.74-75).

同埋都會去其他嘅 NGO 做一啲嘅義工工作囉
And I also go and do volunteer work at other NGOs

噉所以我一個禮拜入便時間都可以話係圍繞住生態
Therefore, you could say [可以話], all the time in my week revolves around the environment

● The verb 圍繞 wàih4 yíuh5 means “to revolve around; to centre on”. 住 (or 著) jyuh6 is another aspect marker covered briefly in Unit 19 of Basic Cantonese by Yip and Matthews. They sum up its function as describing “a continuous activity or state without change”. They note too that only certain verbs can take this marker, making it a bit unpredictable.

圍繞著大自然咁樣
Revolves around the natural world

標題:《我與兩栖爬相見歡》
Headline: I Am Delighted to Meet Amphibians and Reptiles

一般我哋嚟講嘅兩栖爬動物呢
Generally, the amphibians and reptiles we refer to in conversation [嚟講]

Here, 嚟講 is not the one we usually meet in phrases such as 對於我嚟講 = as far as I am concerned. Instead, it means something like “come to speak of”.

多人熟悉嘅
The ones most people are familiar with

有青蛙啦、或者娃娃魚啦
Are frogs or salamanders

● Here is another instance of 啦 lāa1 being used to signal the items in a list.
[Caption: 虎紋蠑螈豆豆 / The Tiger-striped Salamander, “Dau Dau”]

龜啦、蛇啦、蜥蜴、[Caption: 東部箱龜 / Eastern Box Tortoise] 甚至 eh 鰐魚咁樣嘅
Tortoises, snakes, lizards, and even crocodiles and such

[Caption: 血蟒爬妹 / Sumatran short-tailed python, “Little Sister Paa”]

點解當初想,啫,選擇呢份工呢
Why initially did I want to pick this job?

又或者我覺得係兩爬選擇咗我
Perhaps instead I felt that the amphibians and reptiles picked me

● 又 yauh6 has a special role to play in the Cantonese organization of ideas. I have heard it described as designating “a parallel situation”, so it usually follows some previous statement with further clarification or, in this case, a kind of reversal.
● The full term for “amphibians and reptiles” is 兩栖及爬蟲 léuhng5 chāi1 kahp6 pàah4 chùhng4. Henry sometimes reduces this to 兩栖爬 and sometimes even further to 兩爬!

喺香港可能好少有啲機構係專做一啲兩爬嘅保育工作啦
There are probably few specialist organizations in Hong Kong that do work to protect amphibians and reptiles

[Caption: 星點龜 / Spotted Turtle]

好多人對佢哋有誤解呀
Many people have misunderstandings about them

或者忽視咗呢類嘅動物
Or have ignored such animals

[Caption: 北部鑽紋龜 / Northern Diamond Back Terrapin]

希望可以做一啲嘢
[I] hope to be able to do some things

[Caption: 東部箱龜 / Eastern Box Turtle]

運用自己知識去幫助呢啲動物
Making use of my knowledge to help these animals

呢個品種叫非洲球蟒啦
This species is called the African Ball Python

噉佢個花名叫波仔
His nickname is Little Ball

噉係我哋其中一位教育大使嚟嘅
He is one of our educational ambassadors

[Caption: 非洲球蟒波仔, African Ball Python, “Little Ball”]

因爲我哋其實譬如讀生態去野外睇呢
Because actually we go and study about the environment and go into the wilderness to look at it

● 野外 yéh5 ngoih6 = the countryside

我哋譬如見到一條蛇都唔會特登專登去攪佢
[When], for instance, we see a snake we won’t go out of our way to annoy it deliberately

● 特登 dahk6 dāng1 = “on purpose; deliberately”. 專登 jyūn1 dāng1 means the same thing.
● 攪 gáau2 = ① disturb; annoy; bother ② stir; mix; blend

噉所以嚟到呢度
So [when] we come here

嘩,要 ah 要拎上手,要照顧佢
Wow, we have to handle it [拎], we have to look after it

● 拎 nīng1 or līng1 = ① carry or hold with a hand; lift up ② to take away/out; bring over ③ to make use of sb./sth.

其實都係要一個心理關口要克服囉
Actually, there is a psychological barrier one must get over

接觸耐咗就發現其實
Having had prolonged contact [with them] . . . [you] discover that actually

好多蛇都 . . . 你只要知道脾性呀
There are many snakes . . . as long as you understand their nature

● 脾性 peih4 sing3 = disposition; temperament

又或者邊啲位唔掂得呀
Or which places cannot be touched

● Here is another instance of 又或者, indicating a parallel situation.
● 掂 dim3 = to touch. In the phrase 唔掂得, the final 得 dāk1 = is a verb particle used to express possibility or capability. Importantly, it follows the verb it modifies.

其實佢都會好 friendly
Then they will be friendly

In my experience, “they; them; their” etc. is often expressed by the singular 佢 kéuih5 when it is a matter of non-human beings and inanimate things.

對你冇戒心嘅
Without any mistrust of you

● 戒心 gaai3 sām1 = be weary of; cautious; vigilant; keep one’s guard up; distrustful
[Caption: 中國水龍單眼仔 / Chinese Water Dragon, “One Eye”]

噉我哋中心入便嘅動物其實都好坎坷
The animals in our centre have actually had a miserable time of it

● 坎坷 hām1 hō1 = ① bumpy; rough, rugged; ② miserable; frustrating; in bad luck

譬如巴西龜呢啲
For instance, the Red-eared Slider ⸺ these

街市十蚊廿蚊買到一隻
You can get a hold of [買到] one of these for 10 or 20 Hong Kong dollars

● 廿 yaah6 = a colloquial way of saying “twenty”

[Caption: 巴西龜,Red-eared Slider “Ping Ping”]

少啲人有興趣會領養
Few people have any interest in adopting one

[Caption: 盾臂龜,皮蛋 / African Spurred Tortoise, “Preserved Duck Egg”]

通常陸龜都比較受歡迎啲啦
Generally, tortoises are rather more popular

陸龜 luhk6 gwai2 = (land) tortoise

[Caption: 凸臂鰐龜,小鋸鰐魚 / Snapping turtle (?), “Little Saw Alligator”]

噉亦都係我覺得,啫, 動物俾咗個 ah 「價值」佢
But then, too, [I] also feel, that is, in the case of animals, [once] they are given a “value”

就變咗 . . . 一啲人俾一啲物種嘅動物會被人忽視或者歧視囉
As so [變咗] . . . some kinds of animals may be overlooked or discriminated against

● 變咗 bin3 jó2 = a word showing consequence, i.e. “so; consequently”
● 物種 maht6 júng2 = species

要清潔呀、喂食呀
I have to do the cleaning as well as feed [the animals]

● Here, Henry Chan uses 呀 āa1 (?) to indicate the items in a list. I cannot say whether 啦 lāa1 and 呀 are simply alternatives, or whether some underlying rule determines which one is used . . .

做一啲記錄呀
Do some record-keeping

有病嘅,甚至幫手喂藥之類啦
I even help to give the sick ones [有病嘅] their medicine

● Note the use of 嘅 ge3 here. It forms an indefinite noun meaning “the sick ones” or “the ones that are sick”. We have already encountered this use of 嘅 to make indefinite nouns in the phrase 多人熟悉嘅 = The ones most people are familiar with

好小嘅譬如搬搬抬抬,同埋聽電話接缐嘅
Minor duties include doing a bit of lifting and carrying [搬搬抬抬] and answering the phone

都 . . . 都需要幫手
I help out doing all these

有一批鑽紋龜啦
There was a group of Diamondback Terrapins

佢,其實,嗰畸士一開頭有充公返嚟一百幾隻嘅
The group [佢], as a matter of fact . . . that case [involved] over a hundred tortoises that were first of all confiscated

● 畸士 kēi 6*2 = case. It is sometimes also written as K事.
● 充公 chūng1 gūng1 = to confiscate

但因為本身佢可能走私運送途中啦
But because itself they were probably on the way to be being smuggled somewhere

● 本身 bún2 sān1 = itself. This usually comes after the thing it modifies, but I have the feeling that佢 kéuih5 is implicit here: 但因為佢本身佢可能. It has been omitted to avoid repetition.

已經可能好受壓呀,已經好多病呀
They had already been put under a lot of pressure and had many illnesses

太擠迫呀,嚟到已經救唔返
Too crowded together, and by the time they came [here] it was too late to save them

● 擠迫 zāi1 bīk1= cramped (?)

噉最尾而家得返九隻
[Until] finally there were only nine left just now [而家]

● There is a tone-change in 最尾 jeui3 mēi5*1, meaning “final; last place” according to Sheik Cantonese. Here, “finally” seems more suitable.

當我清理佢哋嘅尸體時候
When I checked the corpses of the dead tortoises

● 清理 chīng1 léih5 = to clear; to put in order; to check up

都見到,啊,尋日仲好好哋嘅
I could see that, ah, they were still OK yesterday

但係今日突然間已經走咗
But today suddenly they were gone

●  Here, 今日 gām1 yaht6 sounds as if it is being pronounced *gam at.

不過,其實,eh 而家對得耐咗都習慣嘅
However, now, as a matter of fact, having faced [such things] for a long time, I am used to it

● I am not sure about 對得耐咗. My understanding is that 對 deui3 is a verb meaning “to face”, followed by a resultative (?), giving us “to face (something) for a long time”. The aspect marker 咗 jó2 suggests that the speaker has already realized this long-term facing of animal death and has therefore become accustomed to it. Compare this to an earlier comment Henry makes: 接觸耐咗就發現其實 = Having had prolonged contact [with them] . . . [you] discover that actually.

我投放感情比較多,所以反彈比較大囉
I project my feelings [into the animals] quite a bit, . . . the rebound is big

● 投放 tàuh4 fong3 = to put into circulation; to throw in
● 反彈 fáan2 daahn6 = (to?) rebound; rebound

Henry Chan 3

所以以後,啫,可能有啲新嚟嘅動物
So after [this], that is, perhaps some new animals will come

就 . . . 可能冇咁擺太多感情落去
Then . . . I don’t think I’ll put so much of my emotions into [them]

● It is unusual to say 可能冇咁擺太多感情落去, but the man is clearly very upset at this point. Normally, one would say可能唔會擺太多感情落去.

因爲驚走之後
Because I worry that [if/when] they die

唔開心咁樣
I’ll be unhappy

Charlotte speaks:

有時過嚟幫手做義工
Sometimes [I] come over and help out as a volunteer

就順便可以見佢咁樣囉
And in the process [順便] I can get to see him

● 順便 seuhn6 bihn6 = conveniently; in passing. This word has, I think, a sense of the English “and while you’re at it . . .”.

噉我都知佢忙嘅,係呀
I know he’s busy, yes

● Here, 都 dōu1 seems to add emphasis, rather than to mean “also”.

噉所以我都盡量睇吓有啲咩
So I do everything I can to see if there is anything

可以用我自己嘅方法大家夾
I can do to bring us together [夾] using my own methods

● The character 夾 gaap3 has quite a number of meanings. I recently came across 河國榮 Gregory Rivers using it to mean “compatible; on the same wavelength”: 噉啱發覺我身邊啲朋友 / 全部都係香港人 / 啫,我哋,唔知點解我哋好夾嘅. However, in this context, Charlotte seems to use it to mean “to come up with a time or to agree on a time” when both of them are free.

一啲共同嘅時間出嚟咁樣
To have some shared time [共同嘅時間] to go out

啫,我哋讀書呀、讀嘅嘢呀,出嚟做嘢呀、甚至係放工得閑做嘅嘢
I mean, our study, the things that we study, our going out to work, and even the things we do in our free time

● In this list, Charlotte uses 呀 āa1 to enumerate the individual items.

都係同自然生態有關咁樣
Are connected with the natural environment

Henry speaks again:

Eh 有時都會幾攰,但係有滿足感嘅
Sometimes [I] am quite tired, but feel a satisfaction

用盡每一分每一秒囉,可以話
Having made use of every minute and every second, you could say

因爲都係有份使命喺度啦
Because there is [a sense of] a mission here

因爲如果譬如我唔喺度嘅
For instance, if I weren’t around

咁就冇人再照顧中心入便嘅動物
There’d be no one to take care of the animals in the centre any more

都提住自己唔好咁易去放棄呢樣嘢囉
A reminder [提著] to oneself not to give up this thing

● From the context, 提住(著)seems to mean “to remind” or “keep reminding oneself”. In Unit 19 of Basic Cantonese, Yip and Matthews point out that “verb + jyuh6 can mean something different from the simple verb by itself” (p.101).

Cantonese Podcasts: Hong Kong Newts

Thomas Browne_Hong Kong Newt Tai Po Kau

When I was living in the village of Cheung Shue Tan back in the late 1990s, I would often walk up to 大埔滘 Tai Po Kau just to unwind a bit. If you sit down beside one of the mountain streams up towards the picnic area and watch the crystal-clear water patiently, eventually you will catch a glimpse of the schools of small fish strong enough to hold their own against the current. Once or twice, to my surprise, I also saw small creatures with legs like lizards moving through the water in slow-motion like space-walking astronauts. What I saw, perhaps, was the Hong Kong newt.

This newt (or 香港瘰螈 Hēung1 Góng2 ló2 yùhn4 in Cantonese) was once thought to be unique to Hong Kong and so for a time served as an animal-totem or mascot of the Region. In her book Hong Kong (1988), Jan Morris includes it in her list of “esoteric wildlife” to be found in the Colony: “there were also crab-eating mongooses, an unusual variety of newt, 200 kinds of butterfly and thirty-two kinds of snake” (18).

Although specimens of Paramesotriton hongkongensis have been since discovered in coastal areas in Guangdong province, concerned individuals such as 陳文灝 Henry Chàhn4 Màhn4-houh6 and the self-effacing Ah Sam continue to make efforts on behalf of this threatened animal in Hong Kong. In this short video, made in 2016, the problem of catchwaters is outlined, as well as the impact these have on the newts, which prefer the waters of mountain streams in which there are large rocks to soften the force of the flow.

There is plenty of useful vocabulary here for eager students of Cantonese, including 陷阱 haahm6 jehng6 = trap; 生猛 sāang1 máahng5 = full of life; lively; 栖息 chāi1 sīk1 = to inhabit; and 耗費 hou3 fai3 = to expend (energy). As for grammar, there are some noteworthy uses of classifiers or measure words, 條 tìuh4 being the measure word for “newt”. In addition, we are treated to a couple of instances of 嗮 saai, a “particle of quantification” (see Intermediate Cantonese by Yip and Matthews) ; several uses of 啫 jē1 (“merely; only”), that very handy downplaying final particle; and one example of 冇得, a verbal structure that seems to indicate a general inability to do something.

You can watch the video here, but if you would like to see the Cantonese transcription with a rather patchy (my apologies!) English translation, then please read on.

To check anything you’re not sure about, please refer to the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary for further help.

Finally, there’s a very moving and heart-lifting video about 陳文灝 Henry Chan Man-hou in Cantonese here. Unfortunately, it has no English subtitles, but the man’s passion for animal protection comes through pretty clearly, nonetheless!

Photograph:香港大埔滘:香港瘰螈 Hong Kong Newt, Tai Po Kau, Hong Kong (Thomas Brown on Flickr, 2011)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Headline: 引水道變奪命深淵:近危動物死路一條

● 引水道 yáhn5 séui2 douh6 = a catchwater ● 奪命 dyuht6 mihng6 = a life plucked away; a life taken away by force ● 深淵 sām1 yūn1 = abyss ● 近危動物 káhn5 ngàih4 duhng6 maht6 = (?) endangered animal

Catchwaters Become Deadly Abysses: A Death Road for an Endangered Animal

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

一年前我哋報道過
A year ago, we ran a report

郊區引水道壁
(About how) the walls of catchwaters in non-urban areas

● Note: The noun 郊區 gāau1 kēui1 is a bit of an interesting problem. Dictionaries such as Sheik Cantonese give the meaning as “suburban district; suburbs; outskirts”, but since country parks in Hong Kong are known as 郊野公園, the meaning in this context virtually equates with “non-urban areas”, that is, areas where wildlife is still able to flourish.

Continue reading “Cantonese Podcasts: Hong Kong Newts”

Cantonese through News Stories: Public Consultation on Animal Cruelty

Capture_Animal Cruelty_25 APR 2019

Ever wondered what a “grey area” was called in Cantonese? The answer won’t surprise you: it’s 灰色地帶fūi1 sīk1 deih6 daai3. Unfortunately, many of these still exist in the realm of animal cruelty, so it is a fine thing that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is trying to strengthen law enforcement in order to reduce maltreatment. In this report from TVB’s 陳逸思 Chàhn4 Yaht6 Sī1, there’s some useful vocabulary related to the keeping of pets as well some interesting grammatical points involving a special use of 就 jauh6, the noun-suffix 者 jé2, and a helpful specimen of the sentence-final particle 啫 jē1 in 我唔小心啫.

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

12 new words:

1. 殘酷對待動物 chàahn4 huhk6 deui3 doih6 duhng6 maht6 = cruelty to animals
2. 飼養(動物)jih6 yéuhng5 = to keep as a pet; to rear
3. 瘧待 yeuhk6 doih6 = to abuse
4. 寵物 chúng2 maht6 = a pet (animal)
5. 棄養 hei3 yéuhng5 = to abandon (a pet animal)
6. 照顧 jiu3 gu3 = to look after; to take care of
7. 膳食 sihn6 sihk6 = meals; diet
8. 甚至 sahm6 ji3 = even to the extent of
9. 授權 sauh6 kyùhn4 = to authorize
10. 危急 ngàih4 gāp1 = critical; desperate (juncture/time)
11. 拯救 chíng2 gau3 = to save; to rescue
12. 於是乎 yū1 sih6 fù4 = so; therefore

*For jyutping romanization, you can cut and paste any Cantonese vocabulary in this post onto the Sheik Cantonese website (http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/) for checking.

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

據了解,漁護署聽日開起就修訂《防止殘酷對待動物條例》諮詢公眾,加強當局報法權力同埋刑罰,建議殘酷對待動物者最高可以被判監十年。
It is understood that, starting from tomorrow, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department will hold consultations with the general public about revising [修訂 sāu1 ding3] the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, strengthening the power of authorities to report/take legal action [報法 bou3 faat = ?] and to punish [刑罰], and suggesting that the maximum [penalty] be ten years’ imprisonment for people who treat animals with cruelty.

Note: The common character 就 jauh6 has an interesting use in written Cantonese, one that means “concerning; regarding; about”. It precedes the verb that it co-ordinates with:  就 . . . 諮詢公眾 = will hold consultations with the general public about. Also, 者 jé2 is commonly used to make expressions equivalent to “a person who does; a -er”. Next, observe how 開起 hōi1 héi2 is used after time expressions to convey the item of “starting from (a particular time)”.

漁護署 is short for 漁農自然護理署 = Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Public Consultation on Animal Cruelty”

Eastern Grey

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

So — here you are at the end of your health,
breathless — between ribs —for the first
last time in your life.
I can see now distinctly
that the sharp, black claws on your long narrow “hands”
would for me in the flesh mean gruesome pain,
or worse, and I wonder at the thick pads of skin
at intervals, like calluses,
on the underside of your massive tail: kangaroos too
have their thousands of secrets
they take with them back
to the Earth. At least
at last you died in the quiet of your own breath,
no victim of engines or the periodic cull.
At least at last
you were never mauled.
On a sheet of shade-cloth folded in two for strength,
we drag you away from the side of the dam
past a row of young trees instantly solemn at attention
out of the glare of relentless fox-
and eagle-eyed daylight. Death
and a radiant natural dignity
viscerally interfuse in the minutes-long lull
after your hastily improvised above-ground burial
when we still feel your weight, solid but fading, in the vivid dull ache
of our arms.

Photograph by Visit Grampians, http://www.visitgrampians.com.au

The Anatomy

I am the thin, long vein that runs almost to the tip of a hare’s right ear,
keeping the blood-flow going night or day ―
whatever the animal happens to feel in itself.
I enjoy
the ever so gentle physical tumble of corpuscles in circulation
and currents along the river of transparent serum
for which I am both the funnel and bed.
Dew means nothing
to me, nor jaune morning sunlight
on the mown, low hills, nor scents of the latest fox
smeared across stone. Simply, I am a single story of work
done well, an open extended invitation
to life’s micro-vital throb, to all red’s
obvious-unknowable venturous middle names.

“Messenger of the Gods” by 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

japanese deer_evette kwok_31 dec 2018

奈良鹿

相傳「雷電之神」騎著白鹿降臨奈良現在嘅春日大社,從此奈良鹿就被稱為「神的使者」,長住喺奈良公園內,充分體現咗人類可以同野生動物和平共處嘅動物。

Nara Deer

Legend has it that the Spirit of the Thunder and Lightning made a visit to what is now the site of the Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara, riding on the back of a white deer. For this reason, the deer of Nara are known as the “Messengers of the Gods”, and they have lived in the deer park there for over one hundred years, serving as a shining example of how human beings can live peacefully together with wild animals.

《蛙文》/ Frogscript 14 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:兔仔》

郭少鳳著

今日嘅心情真係好興奮,終於可以去期待已久嘅大久野島,又叫兔仔島。顧名思義,兔仔島,當然住咗好多兔仔,今日嘅目的就係要同佢哋打招呼!

香港呢個地方並冇野兔,唯一見到嘅都係寵物兔。細細個住土瓜灣時,我好鐘意去一間舊式寵物店,去睇金魚、倉鼠、葵鼠、兔仔……記得喺檔口有兩個鐵籠,一邊放咗好多倉鼠,另一邊就有好多白兔:嗰度啲兔仔全部都係白色,攪到我曾經以為兔仔一定係白色。我最鐘意睇倉鼠,佢哋腳仔雖然短短,但行動自如,成日捐嚟捐去,好得意、好好睇。嗰時我麻麻地鐘意睇白兔,雖然佢哋隻隻都白雪雪,好可愛,好似好天真無邪咁,但細心一望,白兔嘅眼睛全部都係血紅色,唔識點形容,但感覺邪邪地,令到我驚驚地。後來長大後,見過灰色、米黃色嘅兔仔,認識到兔仔嘅眼晴可以係黑色,先開始有所改觀。

去兔仔島,要先到一個叫忠海嘅地方,搭渡輪過去。賣船飛嘅地方有兔糧賣,細細包,即刻一人買一包,仲留意到用英文寫住:回程時,憑兔糧嘅紙袋,可以到收銀處換一份小禮物。

啱啱撞正復活節假期,又係星期日,有好多日本遊客:有情侶,亦有攜老扶幼嘅一家大細,向著同一目標出發 – 去拜訪兔仔。船程大約 15 分鐘,快過排隊買飛同埋等上船嘅時間。

一上岸,碼頭附近已經聚集咗好多遊客,但我嘅眼光當然唔係放係佢哋身上,好快已經見到一隻兔仔,米黃色,肥嘟嘟,好優哉遊哉咁伏喺大樹下。我小心翼翼、慢慢安安靜靜咁走去佢身邊,佢冇咩反應,愛理不理咁。於是採取利誘攻勢,攞包兔糧出嚟。連包裝都未打開,旁邊突然出現一隻灰色兔仔,向我要兔糧。兩隻兔仔一齊喺面前出現,呢個情景實在太可愛了,吸引咗一個拎住紅蘿蔔條嘅日本小男孩,走過來同佢哋打招呼。

眼前真係有好多好可愛嘅兔仔,不過細心啲睇,唔對路 wor,佢哋個樣都唔似野兔,而係寵物兔嘅樣,只係身上多了一點點灰塵。記得喺英國見到嘅野兔,體形比較修長,冇咁圓潤,啲毛毛睇起上嚟比較粗硬,但身手十分敏捷。於是找找原因,原來大久野島曾經有一段黑暗嘅歷史 – 係一個生產毒氣嘅秘密基地,一直都冇人定居。

大久野島嘅兔仔嘅來源有兩個講法:有人話啲兔仔係用來做實驗嘅工具,當戰事結束後,所有工作人員都要撒退時,佢哋將兔仔放生;另一個講法就話啲兔仔本來係工作人員嘅寵物,撒退時就冇帶走佢哋。無論如何,兔仔已經變成兔仔島嘅居民同明星!

碼頭聚集太多人,於是決定環島行一個圈,順便睇睇兔仔係咪真係有傳說中講到咁多。沿路,有野餐同露營嘅地方,人潮不斷、但「兔潮」也不斷,雙方勢均力敵。直到進入樹林,雖然兔仔冇之前咁多,但都真係唔少;相反,遊人嘅數量真係得返好少,間唔中先見到三、兩個。樹林裏面嘅兔仔明顯怕醜好多,佢哋冇咁主動咁問你攞嘢食,但一餵佢哋,佢哋就食過不停。仲有係,佢哋冇咁鐘意比你摸,唔似碼頭嗰啲任摸唔嬲。我估樹林裏面嘅兔仔,慢慢回復野兔嘅本性啩⋯⋯

環島行咗兩、三個鐘頭左右,慢慢行到碼頭,搭船返去忠海,憑兔糧小紙袋換過小禮物,心裏不禁要讚一讚日本人:小禮物嘅目的就係要我哋帶走自己嘅垃圾,減少兔仔島嘅負擔。離開時心裏面產生咗一個問題:唔知冬天,冇咁多遊客時,啲兔仔夠唔夠嘢食?嘻嘻,其實我心知冇可能唔夠嘅,不過我都暗地決定,下次一定要揀冬天、比較靜嘅日子嚟探兔仔!

Ōkunoshima Rabbits

Continue reading “《蛙文》/ Frogscript 14 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok”