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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that election in Taiwan is nothing more than a melodrama full of tears, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

 

Election in Taiwan is a carnival festivity; the hierarchy of high and low, rich and poor is temporarily debunked when candidates implore electorates to give them a vote. The common populace enjoys a transitory delusion of their power, knowing that after the festivity, everything will be restored to its former state; the high and low, the rich and poor will resume their respective roles.

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Discourses everywhere:

As if we don't know how to love our mother, social media taught us the ways---Flowers, gifts, feasts make this grand day a commercialized holiday. "Buy your mother something," so said the commercials. We are hailed by the dominant discourse, inescapably, resignedly and unknowingly!  Once the Festivity drops, everyone goes back to the normal world with dear mothers standing at the kitchen sink, washing toilets, drying laundry, making bed...... 

A structuralist analysis:     

"I love you, mother!" means "I'm always forgetting you!" Always without you in my mind, acutally, mother. But this day enforces the memory of you, eliciting the sentiment of gratitude in me, which lies dormant, languid, undisturbed in the depth of my heart. The space for a mother is monotonous. The sound of a mother, while sonorous, meets a dead end. Unlike lovers' world, mother' world is full of soliloquy without passionate or due response from the other side. Love message beckons an immediate and frenzied echo; mother's message waits for time to reverberate.

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Fifty years of romance writing didn't awaken Giong Yao (瓊瑤)from the illusion of love. From the turbulent era of WW2 (幾度夕陽紅) to today's technological world, (花非花霧非霧) her kingdom of Love remains perfect, passionate, and eternal. The medium of Love may change from letter writing to email, smartphone and skype, but the essence of Love remains the same. It's violent tempests or burning flames to consume lovers away. Say "I love you" a thousand times and her fictional lovers don't feel exhausted by the soothing words, but the audience do! Love, once expressed verbally, loses its mysterious luster and becomes jejune. Oscar Wilde perceived this well: "The essence of love is uncertainty." The most unbearable part of romance is when lovers confess their love and are accepted by their beloved. The beginning of marriage is the end of romance. No wonder, Giong Yao's kingdom of Love is populated by unmarried lovers suffering from either unrequited love or temporary misunderstanding. And her lovers are always willing to die for Love, as if they had nothing else to do in life except to love. [sigh]  Aye, one should always remember the friar's warning in Romeo and Juliet:    

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so----

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民視專訪陳樹菊,不少人受到激勵與感動。在熱血沸騰之餘,我不禁沉思,她怎麼做到的?所有勵志的故事,總能撩撥我們的情緒,但一時的慷慨激昂總敵不過長久養成的怠惰習氣,我們無法如故事主角般的精進不懈。陳樹菊的慷慨義行是布施的最佳典範,這篇專訪讓我們學習到布施的真諦和方法。

很多人行過布施,捐贈物資是最普遍的做法。有愛心似乎就做得到布施,但問題是能持續多久? 質有多純?量有多大?有閒錢,心血來潮,為響應某個救災活動,或是企業為節稅的捐贈,這些都是布施的表相。它真正的內涵,是要在任何時、處都能生起才算。每天的心念緣著它,為利益一切眾生廣行布施,不論是有形的物資或無形的精神。陳樹菊做到了這些。她為何能做到?因為她的見解正確。布施不能光靠一時的情緒,它能長久的關鍵在於念死無常的觀念深植於心。所以說「知難行易」一點也不錯。所謂知難,指的是正確觀念的建立並不容易。對於某個信念深信不疑,不再動搖後,照著它去做其實並不困難。問題是信念要達到不動搖的程度,必須親自去實證體會後才可得。

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clip_image001作者: 洪秀瑛、林志勳╱台北─浙江連線報導 |2012530 上午5:30

章子怡爆出陪睡風波,陸媒《博訊》甚至踢爆她靠陪睡大陸前重慶市委書記薄熙來等,10年撈了32億。曾在大陸發展的田麗,29日直言,對章此聞「不意外」,「但做這種事無恥」,她還分析,陪睡市場很競爭,台星都快沒陪睡的空間了!田麗說,「潛規則」永不滅,各國皆然,「就是嫖客和高級妓女的行為,這現象在演藝圈很普遍,只是有些沒爆出來。」她說,市場經濟是有需求必然有供給,由此形成「產業鏈」,有買家就有賣家,想鑽門路的就會鑽,不願做的,拿錢砸還是不做。

The sensational news highlights the moral issue of prostitution. It is because the “criminals” have a high social status that this incident got special attention. If the working class commits the crime, the society wouldn’t give a damn about it. The fact is, prostitution is forbidden in law but condoned in real world. This article aims to explore prostitution from the perspective of morality, clarifying its “should” and “should not” by the libertarian and Kantian philosophy respectively. The line of argument is borrowed from Michael Sandel’s two books, Justice and What Money Can’t Buy.

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On my second viewing of Good Will Hunting, some lines still moved me to tears, especially Sean, the mentor’s remark about Life and Art. When he uttered these words, it seemed as if he was talking to me, not Will Hunting, the genius kid he was trying to help. Besides these, the part dealing with true friendship is also touching. These significant lines were illustrated as follows:

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The instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves.  -----Buddha's teaching        

With the upcoming Presidential election in Taiwan on January 14, many overenthusiastic voters suffer from insomnia, anxiety, or illusion, collectively called “election syndrome.”Caught specifically during the election season, this disease causes obsessive voters physical and mental disorder. According to psychiatrists, it is hard to dissuade such people from getting too caught up in the election. Tranquilizers may help if the election fever disrupts their normal daily routine to an excessive degree.

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Recently, there was a sensational news about the romance between Taichung City Deputy Mayor, Hsiao Chia-chi's (蕭家淇) 18-year-old son and his 40-year-old female cram school teacher. According to the report, this romantic liaison began after Hsiao’s son entered college this summer, and was prohibited shortly after Hsiao knew this affair. Hsiao revealed how shocked he was initially by the fact that such an affair befell his son, only to admit later that perhaps falling for one's teacher is a rite of passage for his son’s mental growth. Interestingly enough, before such an enlightenment dawned on him, he fiercely accused the teacher of seducing his innocent son, who had the misfortune to fall prey to her female erotic power! (「課業輔導到床上去這像話嗎?」「她怎麼會對一個剛上大學、沒談過戀愛的小男生下手!」Now, the cram school teacher has fled to China, and Hsiao's son publicly lamented on his Facebook profile how adults’ interference caused him to lose everything.

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Based on Roland Barthes’ analysis of the flood in Paris, 1955, this essay aims to examine the ravage of tsunami in Japan, 2011 with a similar semiotic approach.

The big flood brought by a massive tsunami of March 11, 2011, caused numerous deaths and serisous damage in the northeast coast of Japan. Despite the trials and agonies inflicted by Nature, the flood takes on two implications--- festivity and solidarity.

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     Just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taipei 101 has become a landmark in Taipei. It is a must-see for both tourists and locals. Tourists may be attracted by the modern architecture itself, while the locals can't help seeing it everwhere they go.

     A tower, according to Roland Barthes, is always a dream and function, an expression of an ideal and also an instrument of a convenience (6). The duality of the tower finds its origin in the Babel myth. Babel is a tool for humans to communicate with God; meanwhile, it symbolizes a dream to compete with God. Hiding behind the visiting of a tower is exactly Hubris!

     The panoramic vision of a tower is appealing in that we get the temporary control of space and time. For example, when we perceive Taipei from Taipei 101, our mind tries to decipher the mutation of the landscape nearby. We seek spontaneously certain familiar locations from our knowledge. In other words, the astonishment of space plunges us into the depth of time. And we all fall into a state of anamnesis. The current identity is dropped in the panoramic vision. We are merged into history while we are trying to recognize known sites. And a feeling of sublime rises with the inspection of history. Ah, this is civilization we witness; how great mankind are!            

Reference

Barthes, Roland. The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies. Trans. Richard Howard. Berkeley: U of Calif. P, 1997.

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以遲暮之心重讀琦君的菁姐,對於那眷戀過去的情懷,別有一番滋味在心頭! 陳去非的「臨江仙」中有這麼一句:「長溝流月去無聲,杏花疏影裡,弄笛到天明。」是怎樣的執著,讓人只顧弄笛,忘了夜深,也忘了時光的流轉,直到天明? 能這樣弄笛的人應該是最幸福的人了! 心中只為一件事,不為一個人而活。做個徹底的美學家吧,可愛的菁姐。活在藝術裏,即便是高處不勝寒,總勝於悲歡離合的情愛世界。寧可起舞弄清影,也不要望眼欲穿的等待。等待是被閹割的女人姿態;追尋、探索是男人的氣度。執著於情愛的女人是原始的叢林,只能被動的等待探險家的開發。讓張愛玲的名言絕跡江湖吧,菁姐!「女人一旦愛上一個男人,如賜予女人的一杯毒酒,心甘情願的以一種最美的姿勢一飲而盡,一切的心都交了出去,生死度外!」情愛之毒酒不可飲;Emily Dickens的詩行要謹記啊: “The Sweeping up the Heart / And putting Love away / We shall not want to use again / Until Eternity---掃淨心中之癡 / 移走愛情 / 我們不想再碰它 /直至長眠時 

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Prologue

In the play Blue Bird, each person is said to be born with a gift from their previous life. A pair of lovers are unwilling to be separated from each other when their life comes to an end. Before they embark on the journey for next life, they are anxious to know how they can recognize each other in afterlife. The woman says, “I’ll take the gift of ‘sadness’to my next life so that you can recognize me easily.” So, from generation to generation, “sadness” becomes a distinguishing mark of lovers. The couple without true love have no such privilege! And happy is the man who can do without love all his life, for he carries no such gift as “sadness” from his previous life. 

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FRIAR LAURENCE
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

                           Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene V 

 

The passion comes and goes, like a fire and power. Once consumed, it dies out so quickly.  Shot by Eros' arrow of love, everyone becomes blind to a certain extent. To have the sweet taste of love, one cannot gulp it down voraciously and hastily; instead, one should sip it like aromatic coffee. Slowly and carefully, you taste its true essence; otherwise, what you feel is nothing but bitterness. The advice Friar Lawrence gives to Romeo is immortal in that it points out moderation as the best policy in life.

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What is best about Jane Austen is that her description can always be manifest in people around you. Lizzy’s mother in Pride and Prejudice fits my grandma so well: “she was a woman of mean understanding, little information and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous.” And Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park is the exemplar of the dominating and snobbish middle-class women: “---trying to be in a bustle without having anything to bustle about, and laboring to be important where nothing was wanted but tranquillity and silence.”About the deep and eternal happiness, Austen also gives us some light. It’s  solitary walk, reflection, and appreciation of the beautiful nature that tranquillize our minds! And no quote on marriage is more famous than this: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

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The nature of reflection is sadness. For a happy memory, we lament over its transitory existence ; for a sad memory, we experience again its heart-piercing pain. So, what’s the use of reflection? We reflect, as Roland Barthes claims, in order to be unhappy instead of being enlightened. Reflection is like vomiting; we throw up what is inside us, and then we calmly resume eating. And this is life!

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Roland Barthes has a piercing insight on the nature of lovers' embrace:

Embrance, according to him, is a "motionless cradling" in which we are enchanted and bewitched. In such a state, we enjoy the "voluptuous infantilism of sleepiness." This is return to the mother's womb. By embrace, we experience two subjects at once, one the maternity and the other, genitality. A shocking yet precise comparison of a lover as a child getting an erection    

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Buddha is a great Master of Life. What he teaches lightens up the darkness of my life:

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.

The instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

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