Cantonese through News Stories: Joshua Wong Disqualified from November Elections

Joshua Wong Speech_29 OCT 2019

Introduction

District council elections are (at the time of writing) still expected to go ahead in Hong Kong this Sunday, on 24 November. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the young politician who has played an important role in the advocacy of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in America has, not surprisingly, been prevented from contesting. The reason for his exclusion? Perhaps the Orwellian word 思想警察 sī1 séung2 gíng2 chaat3 is a hint to us all . . .

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13 new words:

裁定 chòih4 dihng6  = to rule (in a legal sense); ruling
曲解 kūk1 gáai2 = to misinterpret
政治理念 jing3 jih6 léih5 nihm6 = political belief(s)
審查 sám2 chàah4 = to investigate; to examine
政治篩選 jing3 jih6 sāi1 syún2 = political screening
理據 léih5 geui3 = argument
摒棄 bing3 hei3 = to discard; to reject; to abandon
綱領 gōng1líhng5 = programme
提倡 tàih4 chēung1 = to advocate; to promote
迫不得已 bīk1 bāt1 dāk1 yíh5 = have no other choice; have no alternative
詮釋 chyùhn4 sīk1 = to elucidate
擁護 yúng2 wuh6 = to endorse; to support

效忠 haauh6 jūng1 = to devote oneself heart & soul to; to pledge oneself to

*For correct jyutping romanization, you can cut and paste any Cantonese vocabulary in this post onto the Sheik Cantonese website.

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(Opening)

參選區議會南區海怡西嘅黃之鋒被選舉主任裁定提名無效,係今屆去選唯一因爲政治主張被裁定提名無效嘅參選人。
Joshua Wong, a candidate in the district council elections for South Horizons West has had his nomination ruled as invalid by the returning officer. He is the only person running in this round of elections to have had his nomination ruled as being invalid on account of [his] political position.
Note: 屆 gaai3 is a measure word used with activities that occur on a regular basis. It is reminiscent of the English word “round”. In Cantonese 今屆 gām1 gaai3 = “this round”. It is also used in the sense of “this year’s . . .”, as in 今屆嘅香港小姐 = “this year’s Miss Hong Kong” and 今屆「狀元」 = “this year’s [crop of] ‘number one scholars’”.

黃之鋒質疑係政治審查,認爲選舉主任曲解佢嘅政治理念。
Wong said he suspected it was political examination (? = witch-hunt), and was of the opinion that the returning officer had misinterpreted his political beliefs.
Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Joshua Wong Disqualified from November Elections”

Hong Kong Footpath: Interview in Cantonese with Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee (Part 1)

Professor Chan Siu Chee IMAGE RESIZED

“Hong Kong Footpath” or 舊日的足跡 Gauh6 Yaht6 Dīk1 Jūk1 Jīk1 is a weekly interview program broadcast on Sunday mornings on RTHK Radio 1. Featuring outstanding people from all walks of life, the interviews are a fabulous source for spoken Cantonese: spontaneous, lively, and often dealing with those crucial make-or-break points in an individual’s pursuit of a chosen career. The downside is that they also feature all those typical difficulties encountered by learners of the language: rapid speech, difficult accents, and unfamiliar vocabulary as well as hesitations, interruptions, two or more people speaking at once and a slurring of words (I believe the technical term favoured by linguistics is “apocopation”).

For this reason, I have begun to transcribe some of the interviews with the help of a native speaker. The first interview is with 陳肇始 Chàhn4 Siuh6 Chí2 Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, current Secretary [局長 gūk1 jéung2] for Food and Health, and was aired on 10 March 2019 to celebrate International Women’s Day. She speaks fairly clearly for most of the interview, but is very fond of sentence particles: so far, I have counted 43 uses of 噉 and 79 uses of 呢!

Here, I present approximately a quarter of Part 1, but will continue to add further instalments as we complete them (as well as correct any mistakes or gaps!). Note that the podcast version of the interview begins with part of the news broadcast, followed by some ads as well as interview highlights; the interview proper doesn’t get underway till just after the three-minute mark. The interviews are also broken up with songs: you’ll be overjoyed to learn that the transcript omits these.

For the podcast of this interview, please visit Hong Kong Footpath.

 


 

三月婦女節。佢係食物及衛生局局長陳肇始教授。

Part 1a【3:12】

車淑梅:早晨!今日呢係三月十號吓。噉前日呢係婦女節。噉唔知道呢,今日呢一位嘅局長,嘉賓,會唔會好重視呢一次節日呢,係我哋食物及衛生局局長陳肇始教授。早晨!

婦女節  fuh6 léuih5 jit3 = International Women’s Day

嘉賓 gāa1 bān1 = distinguished guest; special guest

陳肇始:早晨,淑梅姐。

Note: Adding 姐 jē1 after a woman’s name, as Betty Hung points out in Speak to Me in Cantonese, is to show respect. For a man, the title 哥 gō1 is used (p.116).

車淑梅:早晨,你好!

陳肇始:你好。

車淑梅:重唔重視婦女節㗎?

陳肇始:重視,當然重視呢,作為即係一個婦女呢。我諗每一年三 • 八呢,大家都有好多唔同嘅活動嘅。噉,都係尤其是係一啲嘅女性團體呀、組織呀咁。噉,都係興祝翻即係女性,我諗,對嗰個社會嘅貢獻。噉呢都係好重要嘅,亦都係令大家去即係記得呢個日子呢。噉但係呢我諗即係每一次三 • 八呢,都會諗一諗【4:00】一啲即係女性嘅問題㗎。我諗喺香港呢,我哋自己婦女人口呢,同男士都係差唔多吓,咁呀多少少咁一樣。噉有時候會衍生帶嚟啲乜問題呢咁?噉都係諗嚟諗去又諗翻啲工作, 例如我哋好多時而家醫生,女醫生嘅數目有開始多喇咁樣,好好呢,我哋而家讀大學喇,其實呢,女性學生呢,都係多過男仔嘅 . . .

三 • 八 is the date 8 March, on which International Women’s Day is celebrated

Note: 興祝 hīng1 jūk1 means “to celebrate (a particular occasion”). In Lesson 1 of Current Cantonese Colloquialisms, it crops up in 母親節嗰日,你哋點同阿媽興祝呀? = On Mother’s day, how will you celebrate with your mum? (p.11). The adding of the aspect marker 翻 fāan1 suggests that something is brought back or recalled on that day (for example, the contribution women have made to society).

衍生 hín2 sāng1 = to derive; to come out; to flow from

Note: In 諗嚟諗去又諗翻啲工作, the aspect marker 翻 fāan1 suggests a kind of return: roughly, “I think about this and I think about that and I link things back to work in my thoughts”.

車淑梅:[unclear]

陳肇始:噉所以呢,就會諗諗吓就會諗咁遲啲咁樣如果係即係多咗女醫生嘅時候,噉其實我哋工作上有冇特別嘅需要,有一啲唔同一啲嘅安排呀、配套呀,吓,咁樣樣喇。噉因爲好多女性嘅員工呢,都係可能去做到一個位嘅時候呢,噉或者都係想係會照顧吓家庭呀咁樣樣。【5:00】噉所以呢,就變咗要全面兼顧嘅時候呢,我哋喺即係工作上呀、配套呀、其實都係要去有啲唔同嘅安排嘅,吓,例如好似呀我最推廣嘅母乳餵哺啦,吓,咁呀係咪喺我哋嘅工作間嗰度要多啲呢啲嘅設施喇等等。

配套 pui3 tou3 = package; support (I often hear government officials using this term. Perhaps “support” is the closest translation here. Something less definite than concrete “arrangements” [安排] seems to be the main implication).

兼顧 gīm1 gu3 = to give consideration to two or more things. Perhaps the implication here is that most doctors in future will only work part-time.

母乳餵哺 móuh5 yúh5 wai3 bouh6 = breast-feeding

車淑梅:都要呵。

陳肇始:係呀,所以呢,呢啲就諗諗吓就諗呢啲嘢喇。

車淑梅:好呀。咁呀即係唔怪得呢我哋香港呢係一個真係非常之咁令人羡慕城市呀,譬如話呢,就喺醫療服務方面呢,就係全世界最平最靚最正架吓,即係各方面都係細心去照顧到。唔怪得喇, 我哋成爲全球最長壽嘅嗰個地方咁樣。咁既然女嘅即係醫生越來越多呢,但唔知點解局長就即係嗱啱啱上任局長嘅時間 2017年 7月1號呢,你當時嘅全個班子裏邊,得一個女士嘅啫。你當時嘅心情係點樣樣呀?

全球最長壽嘅嗰個地方 = that place with the longest life-spans on earth. The noun 長壽 chèuhng4 sauh6 = longevity

班子 bāan1 jí2 = “organized group”, according to Sheik Cantonese. Here, it seems to refer to what Carrie Lam now calls her 問責團隊 mahn6 jaak3 tyùhn4 déui6*2 or “accountability team”, a group comprising senior officials in charge of a whole department.

陳肇始:其實,當時嘅心情【6:00】,亦都冇乜好特別嘅,因爲呢,我都習慣咗,即係過去我做副局長嘅時候呢,就多啲即係女性嘅副局長啦 咁。噉但係其實有好多同事都係男男女女都有嘅,所以我又冇一個好特別嘅話,呀作爲女性,咁又有冇咩特別呢咁。噉當然而家就我特別呢,多一啲婦女嘅團體呀、組織呀咁,都係好希望呢,我哋去支持佢哋。噉所以呢,我亦都即係特別呢,係因爲我係第一個女性嘅局長呢,我都覺得呢,佢哋嘅工作呢,係可以俾多啲支持、多啲鼓勵佢哋囉。

車淑梅:係。有冇諗過自己係一個政府嘅架構裏邊係做得咁高層呢,即係 細個嘅時候會唔會諗呢啲呀?

架構 gaa3 kau3 = ① infrastructure, framework; ② architecture (Sheik Cantonese). In this context, perhaps “within a government structure” or even “within the make-up of a (particular) government” (?).

陳肇始:細個嗰陣時冇嘅,其實真係冇,我其實喺我嘅 . . . 即係 . . . 一路人生嘅每一個部分呢吓,我嘅工作呢,尤其是其實都冇特別安排嘅 【7:00】。基本上都係我非常之努力去做。噉亦都係 . . . 有一啲唔同嘅機會就出現咗。噉於是乎,噉我又去嘗試。噉,呢個又亦都係 . . . 盡 . . . 我覺得係 . . . 即係 . . . 最緊要係盡力呀,出盡我嘅全力吓,一百嘅 percent,二百嘅 percent 咁去應對,吓,我每一日嘅工作。噉我覺得呢個係最緊要。 其實嗰個做咗出嚟呢,嗰個效果呀、結果呀,嗰啲呢,其實呀 . . . 當然我哋都有個目標嘅,噉但係呢,我覺得唔係咁 . . . 唔係最重要嘅。對我嚟講呢,盡全力,吓,去做呢,係最重要呢。

Note: Chan Siu-chee at first uses 盡 jeuhn6 on its own (which sounds a bit incomplete), before going on to use the expressions 盡力 jeuhn6 lihk6 and 出盡我嘅全力 chēut1 jeuhn6 ngóh5 ge3 chyùhn4 lihk6, both of which mean something “to give one’s all; to do one’s best”.

車淑梅:噉實在呢,少年志願係乜嘢嚟架呢?

Note: The question 少年志願係乜嘢嚟架呢 is basically equivalent to “What did you want to be when you grew up?” The key word in Cantonese 志願 ji3 yuhn6 = aspiration; goal; ideal; desire. I get the impression that the host Chē1 Suhk6 Mùih4 likes to ask her guests this question!

陳肇始:少年志願?其實呢,我諗唔同嘅時間都有啲唔同嘅志願嘅。好奇怪嘅,即係 . . . 好細嗰陣時候【8:00】我媽咪係醫生呢,噉我都就係想做醫生嘅。噉細個屋企有好多聽筒嗰啲咁呀都係同我妹妹玩嗰啲嘢。噉就亦都 . . .

聽筒 tēng1 túng4*2 usually means “earphones, headset, headphones”, but in this medical context, “stethoscope” is clearly indicated.

車淑梅:. . . 爸爸呢?

陳肇始:爸爸係做生意。

車淑梅:哦!

陳肇始:係呀,係呀。噉但係呢,亦都係有一個階段好鐘意做先生嘅,因爲呢,就開始返學嘅時候呢,我覺得呀,先生改簿嗰啲都好得意嘅。噉呀係 成日自己係攞啲公仔書呀嗰啲嚟度改呀嘗試咁樣。噉所以即係唔同嘅時間都會想做唔同嘅嘢咁樣囉。

Note: 改簿 gói2 bóu6*2 literally means “to mark a notebook”. In this context of teachers [先生] and schoolwork, I am guessing that Chan is referring to the marking of student work written out in exercise books.

車淑梅:係。噉點解又唔行即係醫生嘅道路,又會成爲一個醉心護士一個人呢?

醉心 jeui3 sām1 = to be engrossed in; to be infatuated with

陳肇始:呀,其實呢,呢個都係好特別嘅。我媽咪個診所呢,其實其中一個護士呢,佢個女呢,係同我都係,大家都係一齊玩呢咁一樣咁。噉佢嘅媽咪呢,好想佢嘅女會做護士嘅咁。【9:00】噉我同佢好好朋友。噉大家都傾,你做乜,你做乜咁樣。噉於是乎就一齊去,嗰陣時候,一齊去考喇咁樣。噉就一路一路咁樣樣。

車淑梅:哦,咁樣嘅。其實,我聽聞你呢就麻麻哋你自己名「陳肇始」,其實個名係幾特別㗎喎。點樣你會話麻麻哋呢?

Note: 麻麻哋 màah4 máa4*2 déi6*2 is commonly used as an adjective meaning “so-so”, indicating a less-than-enthusiastic response to something. Here, intriguingly, it is used as a verb meaning “to regard something as being so-so”. What Chē1 Suhk6 Mùih4 says can therefore be translated as “Actually, someone told me that you regarded your own name ‘Chan Siu-chee’ as only being so-so”. She then goes on to ask: “How is it that you could say ‘so-so’ (about your personal name)?”

陳肇始:其實 . . . 又 . . . 都唔係麻麻哋,只不過細個陣時候呢,讀小學呢,噉我哋讀小學嘅時候呢,小學中學都係,我哋用英文名嘅。噉所以呢,大家都其實基本上唔係咁知道大家啲同學嘅中文名。噉先生呢,就 尤其是小學嘅時候呢,就耐唔時呢,會叫每一個同學企起身,就講你嘅中文名俾大家聽吓啦咁。噉但係每一次當我講嗰陣時候呢,噉我先生呢,一定「吓?」咁「吓」我一次。噉,我就覺得,咦,係咪有好怪,係唔係有乜問題呢?【10:00】其他同學都冇「吓」,但係呢,我講完又吓, 我要再講多一次。噉呢個感覺呢,就好似覺得我個名點解咁嘅,點解先生好似有啲懷疑嘅咁。噉點解我又唔好似其他同學改嗰啲名。點解我媽媽又改呢個名嘅。噉其實有少少呢個咁樣嘅感覺嘅。

耐唔時 noih6 mh4 4*2 = now and then; from time to time

Note: 吓 háa2 is equivalent to “huh?” in English and is used to express the sense of being puzzled by something. Here, with creativity, Chan Siu-chee turns it into a verb, with the approximate meaning of “to respond to something by saying ‘huh?’”!

Note: Don’t forget that 改嗰啲名 just means “the names given to (other students)”. 改名 gói2 méng2 means “to name (a child); to give (a child) a name”.

(To be continued . . .)

Cantonese through News Stories: Hundreds of Dead Fish in Kwun Tong

 

Kwun Tong Dead Fish Image Two_19 OCT 2019

Introduction

Most of the news in recent months has been pre-occupied with the human realm. Here is an environmental story concerning the fish of Hong Kong and a recent incident in Kwun Tong, where hundred of dead fish appeared in mysterious circumstances.

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12 new words:

對出 deui3 chēut = on the outside of; next to the outside of
漂浮 pīu1 fàuh4 = to float
烏頭 wū1 táu4*2 = grey mullet (fish)
嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 = a final double particle
承辦商 sìhng4 baahn6 sēung1 = contractor
跟進 gān1 jeun3 = to follow up
每逢 múih5 fùhng4 = every time; whenever
換季 wuhn6 gwai3 = change of season
水質 séui2 jāt = water quality
魚類  yùh4 leuih6 = fish (a general term)
排除 pàaih4 chèuih4 = to exclude; to rule out (the possibility of . . .)
惡劣 ok3 lyut3 = vile (in this context = hazardous to fish)

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觀塘海面出現大批死魚。
A large number of dead fish appeared on the surface of the sea at Kwun Tong.
Note: 大批 daaih6 pai1 is commonly used to refer to a large number or a large amount of something. You occasionally also hear 分批 fān1 pāi1 = “in batches”.

Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Hundreds of Dead Fish in Kwun Tong”

New YouTube Site in Cantonese

Berlin Goes Cantonese 2_1 NOV 2019

Berlin Goes Cantonese is an innovative YouTube channel that presents news and information about Germany in Cantonese. The channel was recently launched by Toby, a resident of Berlin who spent five years in Hong Kong in the 1980s and has since gone on to become a dedicated and highly proficient speaker of the language. In his first programme, he says that his aim is 通過 Berlin Goes Cantonese 首先我想分享同德國有關係嘅消息, and this is precisely what he does! But he is also keen to pass on information about Germany’s culture, tourist sites, as well as introduce some typical examples of German cuisine.

Program One kicks off with a famous comment from a former mayor of Berlin, who once said that 柏林好窮,但係好性感 (Berlin is poor, but it is sexy)! Toby goes on to explain that although Berlin is not as economically successful as other German cities, it enjoys a rich cultural life, is “a very green city” [好綠嘅城市], and attracts large numbers of younger people. He shows us some of the sights of Berlin, including its most beautiful street [柏林最靚嘅街], Unter den Linden, Museumsinsel (a whole island of museums), Checkpoint Charlie, and Eastside Gallery, among others. He concludes with a brief introduction to a popular German snack-food.

Toby is planning to put out new episodes of Berlin Goes Cantonese on a regular basis. Anyone interested in learning Cantonese should take a look and be inspired by Toby’s example. He certainly brings great energy to his language studies!

Please visit Berlin Goes Cantonese.

《新心界》:第一章

ButterfliesHK_Butterfly_3 APR 2019

• 「食蝴蝶嘅男人」

一聽到呢把帶有外國口音嘅聲音,阿綠就知道係屬於鐘意食蝴蝶但一啲都唔黐線嘅男仔。

突然諗翻五年前,一股衝動咁去鳳園蝴蝶保育區嘅情景。嗰日係十一月,天陰陰,所以遊客並唔算多,方便阿綠一個人慢慢欣賞飛嚟飛去、七彩繽紛嘅昆蟲。好好彩,佢一去到就真係可以同好多好多飛行中嘅珠寶打招呼,包括藍色搶眼嘅巴黎翠鳳蝶、小巧玲瓏嘅斗粒銀線灰蝶、四翼奪目嘅幻紫班蛺蝶、同埋身材脆弱嘅絹班蝶!除咗被昆蟲嘅外觀吸引之外,阿綠仲陶醉於佢哋廣東話嘅命名!蝴蝶嘅辭彙深深迷住佢。

因為專心投入觀賞鳳園中嘅自然景象,所以對於四圍一路未有特別注意,突然間靜謐嘅氣氛一下子遭受破壞。有個女人用著整蠱嘅口吻、半講半笑咁大聲提出疑問:「噉,你點解經常嚟呢度?」被問嘅男人毫無猶豫答:「當然因為好鐘意食蝴蝶!」。幾把女性聲好似合唱般哈哈大笑起嚟,無情咁嘲笑嗰個男人唔太標準嘅廣東話發音。不過奇怪嘅係,男人好似一啲都唔介意咁,繼續解釋佢食蝴蝶嘅怪癖,向住呢幾個仲未笑完嘅女人加一句:「其實,我覺得蝴蝶真係好好味!」跟住,女合唱團又一次哄然大笑,無情咁將鳳園嘅寧靜氣氛破壞。

阿綠聽到呢番對話之後,就覺得真係好攪笑。嗰個外國人今日太過黑仔,因為將「認識蝴蝶」講成「食蝴蝶」,所以令人誤會,另外,由於講歪音,將「蝴蝶好美麗」表達為「蝴蝶好好味」難免喺香港人面前「出盡洋相」。但係,阿綠繼續一面賞蝶,一面回想啱啱嗰場鬧劇。就算嗰個男人廣東話發音有問題,但係阿綠都好配服佢努力咁運用呢種一啲都唔易學嘅語言。香港有唔少外國人,長期安頓喺呢個城市,日日有數唔清嘅機會同本地人接觸,但係除咗日常生活最為基本嘅要求之外,譬如「幾多錢?」,「一碗雲吞麵」之類,就根本唔識點用粵語表達對世界嘅獨特諗法或者分析個人嘅感情。諗到呢一點,佢即刻覺得頭先表演嘅「戲劇」實際上唔係咁得意,甚至乎令到佢內心唔舒服,只好靜靜咁嘆一啖氣。

五年前嘅回憶又繼續湧入腦海中,到而家嗰把引人發笑嘅聲音再次迴響,阿綠覺得好有趣。一個五十歲嘅外國男人跑到佢面前,好冇禮貌咁話:「你唔好喐!你綠色嘅頭髮上有隻燕鳳蝶!」哇!眾所周知,燕鳳蝶係好少香港人見過嘅蝴蝶,除咗喺鳳園保育區之外,睇到佢嘅機會真係唔多。綠色頭髮嘅女人又驚訝又尷尬,趕唔切作出任何反應時,外國男人攞出部手提對住佢個頭部不停影相,影咗幾張之後就突然停止,望上天空自言自語咁話:「飛走啦」。嗰陣時,四圍就變得非常之寧靜,寜靜嘅程度同英文所講嘅「連大頭針跌落地上都可以聽到」幾乎一樣。

「你睇吓!」外國男人本意想將手機電話中嘅蝴蝶相片同阿綠分賞,但係話口未完就有另一意思,因為嗰隻啱啱飛走嘅燕鳳蝶突然飛返嚟,飛到佢哋隔離嘅開花植物上。好明顯,呢種蝴蝶同家燕一樣,唔單止係形態上相似,連飛行嘅速度都差唔多一樣,一樣咁快脆。平時,燕鳳蝶鐘意喺高處樹梢上面迅速飛旋,對於特登嚟鳳園睇佢嘅參觀者嚟講,蝴蝶好似故意整蠱佢哋咁。不過如果你運氣好嘅話,燕鳳蝶會忽然變乖,放慢飛行速度,仲有機會喺四圍嘅叢叢花朵上逗留,快速飛走嘅願望都已經忘記得一乾二淨啦!

「你睇吓。青+見=靚!」綠色頭髮嘅女人覺得呢種表達方式又奇怪又得意,佢當然唔知道呢個講法係男人向廣東話老師嚴太借嚟嘅。每次上堂介紹新嘅生字時,嚴太特別鐘意採用呢一種頗有數學味道嘅方法教學。譬如,目+言+川=瞓,火+局=焗,心+堅=慳,男+女+男=嬲等等,正因為嚴老師發明嘅呢種教字方式,男人已經學到好多中文字,所以睇報紙就冇乜問題,不過較罕見嘅字,包括綠色頭髮女人嘅名字 – 林若黛中嘅「黛」字,仍然會令到佢一頭霧水。

林若黛被被初次見到嘅燕鳳蝶徹底迷住,因為呢隻蝴蝶已經近在咫尺,所以可以清清楚楚咁觀察到呢種昆蟲嘅特徵。燕鳳蝶擁有各個吸引人嘅特質:最令人注目嘅係,佢對前翅上有一大部分係透明嘅,翅膀中間好似鑲嵌一塊小巧嘅玻璃,眼前呢隻蝴蝶向馬纓丹嘅花朵伸直口器,準備吸食花蜜,林若黛可以透過前翅膀嘅玻璃窗仔見到一粒粒黃色、紅色同埋粉紅色嘅馬纓丹花朵!更為突出嘅特點,係蝴蝶後翅上有一對細長嘅翅尾,而翅尾嘅長短同蝴蝶嘅軀體部分係一樣長嘅,樣子令人聯想到一個裝有兩條絲帶嘅小型纸鷂。而且,猶如絲帶一樣,呢兩對翅尾喺燕鳳蝶飛翔嘅情況下耐唔耐會颯颯作響,因此,通常係首先聽到,之後先至見到呢啲愛飛往高處嘅燕鳳蝶。能夠喺離大埔工業邨咁近嘅地方﹐見到如此美妙嘅蝴蝶,真算係一個奇蹟!

阿綠嘅注意力漸漸地由蝴蝶偷偷轉移到外國男人身上,佢嘅出現嚟得太突然,令到阿綠變得過份慌張,冇法冷靜從容咁望佢一眼。外國男人身材高高哋,所以容易令人有一種屹立於他人嘅印象。不過佢奀瘦嘅身材郤會為矮細嘅人士,帶嚟唔少精神上嘅安慰。外國男人顯然冇乜與眾不同嘅體力,身體嘅瘦削亦反映喺佢嘅面上,心情好嘅人會用「憨厚」或「腍善」嚟形容佢,殘忍嘅人或者選擇「戅直」,「烏𠿬𠿬」等褒義嘅辭彙。男人藍色嘅眼睛略略露出一線憂鬱嘅情緒。短短嘅頭髮已經有唔少地方變白變灰,亦都暗示出內心深處積累多年嘅個人哀傷。不過,林若黛睇得出佢肯定唔會食到蝴蝶!

外國男人意識到自己被仔細觀察嗰一刻,就向綠色頭髮嘅女人回以微笑。

「我姓陳,叫之一,陳之一,“之一”之“之”,“之一”之“一”,認識你好開心。」佢用啲古怪嘅方式嚟自我介紹,令到對方好難唔記得佢叫乜名。

「陳之一?」林若黛唔太相信自己對耳仔,食蝴蝶男人嘅表達習慣真係同講嘢一様咁好笑。

「香港姓陳嘅梗係好多,我只不過係其中一員,所以咁樣改名。你呢,你貴姓呀?」佢零舍認真咁為自己嘅稱呼加以解釋。

綠色頭髮嘅女人顯得有啲唔自在,好似唔太願意話俾佢知呢啲私人嘢,不過同時感到咁樣做對陳之一冇禮貌。經過一番猶豫之後,佢終於低聲回答話:「我呀?姓林,木+木嘅林,不過多數人叫我“阿綠”。」佢忍唔住摹仿外國男人特有嘅講法嚟解析自己個姓。

「真好!“綠”字嘅讀音同英文一個單詞都好接近,即係“好運”嘅意思。噉,你估自己算唔算係一個好有運氣嘅人?」

阿綠瞬間露出一種無以名狀嘅表情,目光像流星般出現一副拒人於外嘅顏色。片刻之後,佢以一種古怪嘅笑聲掩飾自己嘅感情。

忽然,呢兩個人同時決定離開鳳園,雖然佢哋之間未有協議,但係一齊行開,阿綠行喺前面並陷入沈思,陳之一跟隨後面並四週觀望。喺呢種罕有嘅半親暱嘅沈默之中,佢哋經過保育區入邊各個地區,包括裳鳳閣同薑花小俓,亦經過一個傳統墓穴,代表呢處嘅風水想必唔錯。對風水有興趣嘅阿綠心諗,如果自己死咗之後仲可以享受咁靚嘅環境,應該好幸福。接近出入口嘅時候,陳之一注意到一張指示牌,上面以大字印有“沙螺洞”呢個地名,令到佢聯想到大嶼山嘅沙螺灣,尤其係面對機場嗰間優美嘅天后廟,古廟裏邊又神聖又靜謐嘅氣氛,同飛機發出嘅巨聲嘈音構成明顯嘅對比。難道將來一日,又平靜又偏僻嘅沙螺洞會遭到同樣嘅毀壞?

行去小巴站方向嘅時候,喺一幢豪宅出面,阿綠忽然間企住腳,啤啤貢咁望住啱啱行過嚟嘅一個女人。陳之一簡單咁問一聲「邊個?」,阿綠同樣簡約回答:「明星。」男人聽到答案之後就覺得好攪笑,喃喃自語:「明星應該喺天黑之後先至見到。日頭睇佢好似唔對路。」阿綠一啲都冇理佢呢番騎呢嘅獨白。

冇耐,小巴就到站。上車嘟咭之後,佢哋喺小巴最孻屘兩個空位坐低,未幾,小巴就開出。呢排乘客好多,不過大多數都唔似拜訪蝴蝶保育區嘅遊客,而係住喺附近居民嘅工人姐姐。小巴離開屋苑後就經過鳳園路隔離嘅一條溪流。溪流雖然好細,但係溪水清澈無污,兩岸草木長得零舍茂盛。陳之一特別鐘意香港呢啲市鎮週邊被忽略嘅荒地。

忽然,阿綠開口話:「好奇怪!啱啱見到嘅燕鳳蝶中有啲後翅冇翅尾,一啲都唔似家燕。係咪有啲燕鳳蝶天生冇翅尾?真係好可惜!」

「唔係喎!我估應該係遭受雀仔襲擊㗎,鳥類可能喺食蝴蝶時,只咬到翅尾嗰一部分,因此蝴蝶僥幸脫逃,獲得活下去嘅機會。第二次被雀喙啄住時,就會犧牲剩翻嘅一尾,從此就變咗兩翅都冇嘅。真係好犀利,通過呢類方式,身體軟弱嘅蝴蝶可以迴避想吞下佢嘅雀仔,維持自己嘅生命!」

阿綠心諗呢個男人扮嗮昆蟲專家咁,演講式嘅口氣真係好討厭。雖然如此佢忍唔住自言自語:「係呀,我都係咁㗎啦,為咗維持生活,只好放棄兩條翅尾,我同呢啲燕鳳蝶完全一樣!」

陳之一感到莫名其妙,望住佢一陣,粒聲都唔出。

小巴好快就到達終點站。當時,大埔嘅街道到處都好迫,真係一個名副其實迫滿嗮人嘅禮拜六下晝。一時衝動之下,阿綠問陳之一係咪肚餓,不如陪佢去食嘢?平時鐘意出街食廣東菜嘅男人即刻答應,建議去就腳嘅街市揾食肆。兩人沿住南運路穿過一浪又一浪嘅人群,冇耐喺街市入邊,求其揾間舖頭坐低。點菜之後,就十分悠閒咁一面呷茶,一面睇吓四圍嘅其他顧客,雖然好熱鬧,但氣氛格外輕鬆。空氣中彌漫著茴香氣味、叉燒氣味,唔知點解令到陳之一覺得特別舒服。今日去鳳園真係玩得好開心。

兩人各顧心思咁食飯,阿綠忽然提出問題,問陳之一究竟係邊度人?聽佢嘅口音,想必係英國人,但係佢唔敢肯定。

「我係澳洲大金山人,」佢毫無猶豫回答。

「澳洲!咁啱得咁橋,我下個月打算去澳洲墨爾本過聖誕。」

「即係我湊大嘅地方!」

「你頭先係咪話你係“大金山”長大囉?我係咪攪錯?」

「一啲都冇犯錯。十九世紀,你啲祖先叫墨市做“大金山”,都係同一個地方。你一定知道,美國三藩市叫做舊金山。噉,你去澳洲做乜?渡假?」

「揾父親. . .」

「揾父親?」陳之一用一種充滿驚奇嘅目光凝望阿綠一眼。

「其實唔係“揾”佢,而係“探”佢。不過,我未去過澳洲,因此可以講係半揾半探,」阿綠匆忙加以解釋,以為陳之一對於“揾父”呢一講法冇法聽明。

食完飯俾錢之後,佢哋離開咗大埔墟就分手。為咗幫助阿綠進一步熟悉墨爾本,外國男人自動建議為佢搜集一啲資料,再度聯絡。

因為佢住喺沙田第一城附近,陳之一先搭車去大圍,然後轉車到沙田圍地鐵站落車。行過沙角邨時,進入沙田圍路上嘅嘉樂金沙餅店,順便買咗三個豆沙餅做為聽日上晝配茶嘅食物。嗰時嘅晚霞真係好靚,因此佢改變主意,唔即刻返屋企,決定行去城門河畔散散步,未見到條河佢已經聞到河水半鹹嘅氣味。河上偶爾會見到鱗片亮晶晶發光嘅魚,莫名其妙咁嘗試由水中跳入天空去。

河畔途徑行過一個疑似隱蔽青年嘅男仔(陳之一心諗呢類人係咪可以叫做“隱蔽青年”?),佢身穿一件蔚藍色嘅T恤,上面用大字寫有「寂寞是我最好的朋友」,令到陳之一一見難忘,永遠唔會忘記。男仔經過之後,陳之一又轉過身,唔捨得咁再望吓嗰個人,此刻竟然瞥到T恤背面亦都有字,今次係「我不再害怕」,呢次嘅震撼比第一次大得多,陳之一因此只好目送呢五個字,年輕人漸漸在眼中消失,但呢五個字依然烙低喺佢嘅雙眼上。

外國男人嗰陣時突然間諗翻阿綠有關燕鳳蝶嘅話:「我都係咁㗎啦,為咗維持生活,只好放棄兩條翅尾。」佢心諗阿綠講得啱,處於呢個世界好容易遭受破壞,受到損失。不過,從另一方面睇,損害有時可以保持生命,甚至乎為生命加深一層含義。由此可見,損失同埋生存好似係一個五蚊銀仔嘅兩面,密不可分。

真係好微妙:一隻蝴蝶,兩個人獨特嘅反應,三種截然唔同嘅生活模式!

 

攝影:butterflieshk.wordpress.com

 

 

Practice IS Perfect

Dam Flotsam Twigs RESIZED_13 AUG 2019

It’s no easy thing learning another language, perhaps especially when that “other language” happens to be Cantonese! Patience is really important.

On my last trip to Hong Kong, I went to see a language teacher one of whose textbooks I found (and am still finding) very useful. She told me about a student of hers who picked up the rudiments of Cantonese in two weeks! We all love a success story with talent winning out against the odds, but this particular anecdote was pretty deflating for me, I confess. In my case, Cantonese is a matter of years. Actually, I’m into my second decade already . . .

I have no great gift for languages: to me, language is the great gift, one that can never be exhausted. If you’ve ever read the Moomintroll books by Tove Jansson, you’ll recall there’s a character called Hemul who is a very conscientious kind of creature. For a time, his big passion is stamp-collecting, but then one day he is thrown into utter crisis when he manages to acquire the last remaining stamp his collection needs to be complete! What will he do now? Suddenly a huge emptiness gapes open in his life.

I’m sure in my case there will never ever be a Hemul moment! No matter how much I learn, there is always more to be learnt. As Thomas Sterner points out in The Practising Mind, practice itself has to be the focal point for any dedicated language-learner:

I understood that there was no point I could reach where I would feel that I had finally done it, that I was as good as I needed to be, and that there was no need to improve because I had arrived at my goal.

However, rather than sadden ourselves with goals we never seem to reach, we need to learn to enjoy the process itself, to find optimum joy in that and, as Sterner recommends, to experiment with ways “to build the stamina necessary to continue in an infinite study”.

When I first got my puppy, he was only eight weeks old and could fit inside a shoe-box. Six months later, he is nearly full-grown and takes all my energy to lift off the ground! The strange thing is, I could never see that growth from day to day: I guess it happens too close up to be appreciated. Maybe learning a language is like that, too: invisible to the naked eye. But trust in the pleasures of regular, heart-felt practice and perhaps the result will (more or less) take care of itself, a natural progression.

 

Photograph: Rocks & Flotsam down by the Dam

Cantonese through News Stories: Simon Cheng Man-kit Held in Detention

Geng Shuang Mainland foreign Ministry_22 AUG 2019

If you were unsure why the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance has provoked such outrage in Hong Kong, the recent case of 鄭文傑 Simon Cheng Man-kit is a perfect instance of what is at stake. Cheng, trade and investment officer at the British consulate in Hong Kong, disappeared on the evening of the 8 August on his way back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen. Finally, on 22 August, 耿爽Gáng2 Sóng2 (Mandarin: Geng Shuang) informed the world that Cheng had been placed under “disciplinary detention” [行政拘留] by Shenzhen police for fifteen days and warned the British not to go on “fanning flames and lighting fires”, a reference to the 2019 Summer of Protest. To date, no one has been informed of Cheng’s whereabouts.

On 22 August, the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times reported that Cheng was being held for a violation of article 66:

The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday that Cheng was under administrative detention in Shenzhen. On Thursday, police in Shenzhen’s Luohu district told Global Times that he was detained for violating article 66 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Penalties for Administration of Public Security. The article includes solicitation of prostitutes. 

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12 new words:

外交部 ngoih6 gāau1 bouh6 = Ministry of Foreign Affairs (PRC)
證實 jing3 saht6 = to confirm, to verify
行政拘留 hàhng4 jing3 kēui1 làuh4 = disciplinary detention
治安管理處罰法 jih6 ōn1 gwún2 léih5 chyu3 faht6 faat3 = public security administration punishment law
處罰 chyú2 faht6 = to punish; to penalize
僱員 gu3 yùhn4 = employee
香港公民 Hēung1 Góng2 gūng1 màhn4 = Hong Kong citizen
敦促 dēun1 chūk1 = to urge; to press
發表錯誤言論 faat3 bíu2 cho3 ngh6 yìhn4 leuhn6 = to air/express incorrection opinions/views
指手畫脚 jí2 sáu2 waahk6 geuk3 = to make indiscreet remarks or criticisms
煽風點火 sin3 fūng1 dím2 fó2 = to inflame and agitate people; to stir up trouble; to incite discord
失去聯絡 sāt1 heui3 lyùhn4 lok3 = to lose contact with sb.

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(Introduction)

外交部證實英國駐香港領事館一個港職員被深圳警方行政拘留。
The mainland Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a Hong Kong employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong is being held in “disciplinary detention” by Shenzhen police.

(Main story)

  • 耿爽 Gáng2 Sóng2, spokesperson for the mainland Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Mandarin)

你提到的這個人因爲違反中華人民共和國治安管理處罰法,被深圳警方處以行政拘留15天的處罰。
The person you are referring to has been punished by Shenzhen police with disciplinary detention for 15 days for breaking the public security administration punishment law of the People’s Republic of China.

這名僱員他是香港公民。
This employee is a Hong Kong citizen

他不是英國公民。
He is not a British citizen.

他是中國人也就是說。
Which is to say, he is Chinese.

所以完全是中國自己的内部事務。
For this reason, this is in all respects [完全] China’s own internal matter.

外交部指,英方喺香港問題發表錯誤言論,敦促英方唔好再指手畫脚同煽風點火。
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the British has expressed incorrect opinions on the matter of the Hong Kong question, and urged Britain to refrain [唔好再 mh4 hóu joi3] from “making indiscreet remarks or criticisms” and from “inflaming and agitating people”.

英國外交部早前表示,高度關注駐港總領事館一個男職員由深圳返香港期間被拘留嘅事。
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office had earlier said that there was a high degree of concern for the detention of this male employee of the British consulate, detained by Shenzhen police on his way back to Hong Kong.

嗰個男職員本月八日晚坐高鐵由深圳返香港期間同親友失去聯絡。
Close friends lost all contact with that male employee on 8 August while he was travelling on the Express Rail Link from Shenzhen to Hong Kong.

2019年8月21日

Related reports:

+ Hong Kong Free Press (in English)

+ BBC (in Chinese)

+ Update published in the Hong Kong Free Press on 21 November 2019
UK gov’t summons China ambassador over ‘torture’ of former consulate staffer