《蛙文》/ Frogscript 7 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:曱甴》

郭少鳳著

住係村屋嘅我,對大部份嘅昆蟲都有免疫力,多數都唔會驚佢哋,所以如果喺我返工嘅辦公室出現昆蟲,我都會主動幫手活捉佢哋,再喺校園內嘅花圃放生。除非係我最驚嘅大曱甴,同事一定會想盡快消滅佢哋,佢哋通常都難逃一劫。

驚大曱甴係一個童年陰影:喺我六、七歲左右,我記得有一次啱啱換咗條學校嘅運動褲,當時覺得隻腳(小腿)又痕又痛,咁我咪隔住條褲係咁𢯎,點知原來有隻大曱甴喺褲腳裏面,俾我摙爆咗丶𢯎死左(佢死無全屍,身首異處),我仲記得嗰恐佈様同嗰陣臭味,我知其實隻曱甴比我慘十萬八千倍!但自此之後,我就好驚大曱甴。

喺嘉道理工作嘅時候,我諗係我人生中最唔驚曱甴嘅階段。我嗰時每兩個星期就會帶一班高中生走入樹林,喺呢個大自然班房,學習樹林生態。每次帶學生上山,最好玩嘅地方就係揾到唔同動物。

有時會見到金邊土鱉,又叫山曱甴,我一啲都唔驚山曱甴,見到佢仲會覺得好開心。通常喺介紹佢俾同學仔認識時,趁女同學仔尖叫前,同佢哋講,呢啲曱甴一啲都唔揦鮓。我吔平時驚曱甴,最怕佢哋污糟,因為城市內嘅曱甴多數係來自美國、德國同埋澳洲嘅「非法移民」,佢哋會喺坑渠、廚房暗角、甚至辦公室匿埋同居住;但呢種山曱甴住喺樹林,進食同分解枯葉及腐肉,係樹林嘅清道夫,真係比我哋乾淨得多。

香港人同曱甴一齊生活太耐了,慢慢地令香港人對曱甴產生咗「感情」。周星馳將《唐伯虎點秋香》呢套粵劇翻拍成一套無厘頭攪笑電影,其中一段關於曱甴寵物嘅情節,成功咁為曱甴賦予咗一個街知巷聞嘅花名,叫做小強。香港人都相當接受,原因好簡單,曱甴雖然細細隻,卻可以遍佈香港呢個大都會:各家各戶用盡一切辦法,都無法將佢哋徹底咁清滅:殺蟲水及曱甴藥餌越用越多,只會增加佢哋嘅抗藥性,身體會越來越強壯;甲甴屋雖然會吸引曱甴走入去,痴實佢哋嘅腳,令佢哋有入無出,但同時會吸引越來越多曱甴走入你屋企。仲有佢哋繁殖力又強,生命力又強,叫佢哋做小強真係當之無愧。

有時我都會諗,人類不停咁破壞大自然,總有一日會用盡所有天然資源,如果而家唔改變對大自然嘅態度,人類總有一日會滅亡。吊詭嘅係,當人類滅亡後,經過一段時間,大自然母親一定會有自己嘅方法重新恢復過來,噉,到時會由邊種生物主導控制地球呢?我心裏面隱隱覺得,小強曱甴係好有機會嘅…

Cockroach Image_MAY 2018

“Frogscript • Cockroaches”

by Evette Kwok

A resident of a village house, I enjoy immunity with regard to the majority of insects and am generally not afraid of them. For this reason, if an insect makes an appearance in at the office, I will, of my own accord, catch it alive and release it into the garden-beds of the university campus where I work. That is, unless it is a cockroach. In that case, my colleagues will want to exterminate it as soon as possible, meaning that unfortunate insect is doomed.

My fear of cockroaches is a shadow from childhood days. When I was about seven or eight, I remember changing into a pair of school tracksuit pants and feeling both itchiness and pain in one leg (my calf) so scratched on the spot. As it turned out, there was a cockroach in one leg, and I had managed to both strangle and scratch to death (it was dismembered in the process, the head having become separated from the body). To this day I remember the look of that mangled creature and the horrible smell, although I realize that the fate of the cockroach was a hundred million times worse than mine! But from that day onwards, I was they really gave me the creeps.

I think I was least afraid of cockroaches when I worked at Kadoorie Farm. Every fortnight I would lead a party of high-school students on a forest walk to learn about forest ecology in nature’s very own classroom. The best part about taking students up into the hills were the different creatures we would see each time.

Sometimes we would see a kind of insect known as the Eastern Opisthoplatia. This is also known as a mountain cockroach, and I’m not afraid of these at all — I even feel cheered up when I see them. Generally when I introduced these insects to my students — and before the girls had a chance to start screaming — I would tell them that this kind of cockroach wasn’t at all laa jaa or dirty. We normally steer clear of cockroaches because we are disgusted by their filthiness. Because urban cockroaches in Hong Kong are, for the most part, “illegal migrants” from America, Germany and Australia and so live in drains, dark kitchen corners, and even tucked away hiding in offices. Mountain cockroaches, on the other hand, live in the forest, eating decomposing leaf litter and rotting flesh, making them the street sweepers of their environment and are actually much cleaner than we are.

People in Hong Kong have lived with cockroaches for so long that they have in the course of time come to develop certain “feelings” for them. Stephen Chow turned an Cantonese opera into a silly comedy called The Flirting Scholar, and one of the scenes in it about keeping cockroaches as pets successfully created for the cockroach the common nickname known to all, Siu Keung or “Little Toughie”. Why did the people of Hong Kong pick up on this name so readily? The reason is simple. Although cockroaches are small in size, they have spread throughout this huge city of Hong Kong. Moreover, people have tried everything but they have not been able to wipe them off the face of the Earth: new types of insects spray and special poisonous baits are always coming on to the market, but all they do is increase cockroach resistance and make the insects stronger. And although the so-called “cockroach houses” (or “cockroach bait stations”) can entice cockroaches inside where their feet get stuck fast and they can’t get out again, they also attract greater numbers of the creatures into your home. Add to this the fact that their powers of reproduction are strong and their ability to survive is strong and they really are worthy of the name “Little Toughie”.

It occurs to me sometimes that humankind’s relentless destruction of the natural world and their eventual exhaustion of all natural resources will — if we don’t hurry up and change our attitude right now — one day lead to the dying out of human beings on this planet. The weird thing is, after the disappearance of humankind and once a certain period of time has passed, Mother Nature will find ways to restore herself and when she has done so, which creature will lead and control the Earth? I have this vague sense that at that moment Little Toughie the cockroach will have her chance . . .

Translated by Simon Patton