紙張不要隨地亂放

有人亂拋香蕉皮,令後面的人滑倒,是電視裏常見的情節。不過在現實生活中,紙張其實比蕉皮更危險。因為隨街吃香蕉的人畢竟不多,但亂丟紙張的敗類卻有不少,而紙張一樣容易令人滑倒。

現在街上到處都有人派傳單,有些人隨手拿了,隨手就丟在路上,十分缺德。不過,這還未算最壞。

最無品的,是把傳單丟在樓梯上。

我每天上班,都要走一條又長又斜的樓梯進入地鐵站,而那裏滿地都是亂丟的單張。試想象,繁忙時間有多少人會仔細看路?萬一有人滑倒,再加上骨牌效應,後果會怎樣?

寫這個,是因為今早上班時,不經意發現公司門下夾著兩張紙。那是茶餐廳的外賣紙,顏色還與地板相當接近。

真是豈有此理!那人為其麼其他地方不放,偏偏要放在正門底下?那是人人必經之處,踏中滑倒的機會極高。我們這樓層還有孕婦,萬一弄得人家胎兒有甚麼閃失,真是冤枉之極。

那人是故意把傳單放在當眼位置,加強宣傳效果,還是根本沒有想到當中的危險?後者的話,簡直無腦;前者的話,就是極度自私和不負責任。

於是我馬上把外賣紙拾起,丟進垃圾桶。

不過事後回想,應該先打電話給餐廳,反映一下其員工的做法有何不妥,否則下次可能會有人中招。我這次有欠周詳了。

How much is a kidney worth?

I was utterly shocked to hear that a 17-year-old schoolboy in China sold one of his kidnies for 20,000 yuan.

The boy confessed (only after his parents started to suspect) that he saw an internet advertisement offering cash for kidney. Somehow the Great Firewall of China, which blocks out even the most innocent words so efficiently, allowed such ads to roam free.

But why did he need the money so desperately? Not to save his parents, or any other real emergencies as you might be thinking.

He bought an iPad 2.

When a 17-year-old believes a tablet is more important than his kidney, it is an alarm that something is seriously wrong with the society.

I know China is highly materialistic these days but this is really too far. If some gadget can drive a teenager to hurt himself like that, then it can probably also cause someone to hurt others. At least the boy kept the damage to himself. No, what about his parents?

Let’s hope he can live well with just one kidney and never has to use the Dialysis Apps.

打九九九浪費警力記

今晚,發生了一段小插曲。

晚上九時四十五分左右,家人突然看見對面山上有閃光。起初,我們只是覺得奇怪,後來見燈光在固定位置持續閃了五分鐘,才想起可能有行山人士被困,正在打信號燈求救。雖然無法確定是否真的有人遇險,但救人的事寧可信其有。於是,我們決定報警。

報警後大約十分鐘,一隊三人的消防員便到了我家,從露台觀察閃燈的位置。不久,另一隊消防員也到達(原來之前已有其他人報案,所以前後有兩隊消防員)。最後,管理處人員和警察也上來了。

然而就在消防員過來期間,那燈光開始沿山坡向下移。到第一隊消防員到達時,燈光已經過了山腰。最後,我們十幾個人就看著那手持電筒的人,慢慢走到山下的馬路,安全離去。吹漲。

幸好,只是虛驚一場。

起初還擔心會被指亂報警。不過,那些消防員和警員一直相當認真和有禮。記得有一次,在地鐵站看見有人滑倒受傷,也是很快便有警員和救護員等一整隊人馬到達,可見早已有周詳的應急方案和嚴謹機制。這背後是對人命的重視,與鄰近地區的草率馬虎迴異。

至於那山上的人兄到底在做甚麼,無從知曉。不過,他多數不知道人家為了他,勞師動眾了一番。總之經過今次後,我覺得還是不要行夜山的好,一來這活動本身危險,二來萬一讓我這種好事之徒看見,說不定又會引起甚麼誤會!

Brownies

Not the chocolately dessert. I’m talking about brown-banded cockroaches, disgusting critters that began populating my kitchen about two months ago. These are small cockroaches. The adults are a little bit over 1cm, while the babies can be smaller than a sesame.

They’re very hard to catch because of their superb alertness and agility. One slight movement of your hand is all it takes to send it darting into the nearest gap, even if you’re at a considerable distance. The adult males are an even bigger problem, because they can fly. I should have played more badminton.

The infestation reached a peak in May when there were so many of them that I could easily kill more than a dozen every night. On the positive side, though, it was a perfect training for hand-eye coordination.

Worse, they had expanded to the living room. Something must be done before they invade our beds.

So we turned the whole kitchen around. We dragged out the refrigerator and sanitized the space behind it. We cleaned every surface, sprayed every gap with insecticide, and poured bleach into every drainage outlet. We also mined the place with roach baits. That quickly reduced their presence to the occasional one adult or two.

And now, not a single brownie has been seen for two straight weeks.

Silver Cross Pub, London

I was having lunch with my dad when I noticed this girl sitting by the window. The light brightened her face, which formed a beautiful contrast with the pub’s dim interior. I knew I had spotted a good photo opportunity.

She was sitting at the far end of the room, so I had to exhaust the digital zoom of my camera. As a result the photo is a bit blurry and grainy, but in this case I think it adds to the atmosphere.

I like how the light highlights the tips of her hair.

Saveur de France,燒鳥

今天上openrice,才知道Saveur de France已經結業,真後悔沒有多去幾次。

這家位於荷李活道的小店,主打法式小食,特別是crepes。吃過他們的芝士火腿crepe,淡淡咸香的餅皮外脆內軟,真不知香港還有哪裹可以吃到。

聽說朱古力蛋糕也不錯,可惜已經無緣再試。

為甚麼我喜歡的餐廳,總是很快關門大吉?

可能,是我總喜歡那些隱世小店,貪其「只此一家」的風味,而這些店通常都抵受不了租金暴漲。

在被我「詛咒」的餐廳中,印象最深刻的,是位於尖沙咀的「燒鳥」。

這家店只有十幾個座位,專賣日式串燒和丼飯,特別之處在於是真真正正的「一人檔」:煲飯、燒肉、洗碗、招呼、收銀,完完全全由日籍老闆「一腳踢」。

那時我剛出來社會工作,每當工作不如意,晚上便會到這裹,叫一碗「燒豬肉飯」(老闆廣東話說得不好,總諗成「燒焦肉飯」)。眼見老闆為了謀生,忙得滿頭大汗、分身不睱,自己小小的挫折算甚麼!老闆那股毅力與拼勁,竟然成為我的工作動力。

現在的我,已經沒有當年那股儍氣,卻也多了一份冷漠,很多的冷漠。

敬佩還敬佩,老闆的經營手法,實在值得商確。

午飯時間,一碗丼飯加一罐汽水,只售十八元?雖然是許多年前,但也實在太便宜。我敢說,即使收四十元一個餐,也不乏人問津。

不久,「燒鳥」也結業了,聽說是捱不了貴租,日藉老闆也不知去向。

直至幾個月前,在一家日本餐廳遇見他,才知道他當了餐廳經理。說來慚愧,不是他主動向我打招呼,遞上名片,說自己來自「shuuryuu」,我還認不出他。往日被汗水濕透的T裇,已經換上筆挺的西裝,但敬業的眼神一如當年。

不過,我不懂日語,他的廣東話和英語也不好,只能簡單客套幾句。

聽說由於日本核事故,日本餐廳的生意大減,希望他的工作不要受到影響才好。

Precarious position

I haven’t written anything for a while because I’ve been very busy. Basically, my workload has doubled starting from March, but that’s another story.

I’d written about the appalling behaviour of some of my colleagues in the toilet and, understandably, people would want to avoid any contact with the toilet seat.

But that does NOT mean anyone should squat ON the toilet seat. I know someone has been doing this because I can see the footprint. Worst, people can’t aim when they assume such an awkward posture, and as a result not everything landed at where they’re supposed to land.

I’m not even sure if the toilet bowl is designed to support the full weight of an adult man. I dare not imagine what will happen if it breaks; the pieces are very, very sharp.

Whoever’s been doing this, I hope you slip and plant your foot into whatever you deposited, and sprain your ankle.

Two months to go

I’ve finalized the plan for my long-haul trip this year.

This one will begin with two days in Barcelona, where we’ll board the Liberty of the Seas for a five-day cruise in the Mediterranean. After that we’ll spend two days in London and 2.5 days in Paris.

This is mainly to fulfill Dad’s dream of a cruise holiday in the Mediterranean and visiting Europe. Mom refuses to come with us because the mere mention of the word “ship” makes her seasick, and she fears long-distance flight.

越光米

某連鎖超市的壽司櫃枱,有以下廣告:

中文:為了帶出壽司最佳口感,本專櫃轉用較佳質量之越光米

英文:In order to enhance the best taste of Sushi, our counter has used the highest quality of Yue-Guang Rice

英文翻譯文句不通,自不必說。這次要談的,是「越光米」的譯法。

凡翻譯之前,都必須先了解原文的用途,和要達到的效果。這則廣告,無疑是標榜該店採用優質日本米種,用日本米製作日本菜,以「和味」作招徠也。

既然如此,「越光米」應該以其日語原文的拼音翻譯,即koshihikari rice。譯成普通話拼音yue-guang,有何「和味」可言?

一般老外食客,未必懂得甚麼是koshihikari rice,不過見到yue-guang,肯定不會聯想到日本米。換言之,宣傳效果盡失。

除非,該店的「越光米」不是正式日本越光米種,不便稱為koshihikari。

超市職員並非賣字之人,不應苛求其語文水平。英文寫得不好,尚情有可原。可是把「越光米」譯成yue-guang,卻反映其common sense不足。這,才是最大問題。

Episodic dream

Have you ever had dreams which are connected like episodes in a mini-series?

Yesterday, during my afternoon nap, I dreamed of myself being kidnapped in a shopping mall. Turned out my takers were a crime syndicate which kidnap women and sell them for prostitution. I wasn’t cross-dressing in the dream, nor do I have any secret desire to do so in real life, if that’s what you’re thinking. The reason for my involvement was not explained at all. In fact, by the time of writing, these are all I remember about the dream.

The story continued during my slumber last night. This time, me and another male captive managed to escape. How we did this was forgotten, but eventually we were rescued by a police squad conducting a massive raid on the kidnappers’ HQ. Next thing I knew, I was in the police van with several officers. The higher-ranking one, a petit woman resembling a particularly sinister-looking person I knew in university, aroused suspicion about her real identity by mispronouncing “prostitute”. We were then taken back to the same mall to “reconstruct” our capture. Suddenly my “co-captive” pushed me to the floor, saying he saw someone’s head shot to pieces by sniper fire. We hid behind the sofa of a Pacific Coffee outlet, when a not-so-bright waitress came and asked if we want anything. With great exasperation, we convinced her to leave us alone before her action exposes us. Then we moved behind a folding screen. The screen had little square holes on it, so it wasn’t the perfect concealment. Hearing ominous footsteps of someone approaching, I peeked out of the small holes, and the dream ended in a cliffhanger.

It was as intense as watching an episode of 24, and was probably why I woke up this morning with a splitting headache.