Scooter Equality Before Marriage Equality? – 「多元回家」

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I had quite a good time at the December 10 rally in support of the gay marriage bill. While I was gearing up to head home, however, I saw this (rather cheeky) attempt at hijacking the rally by an organization lobbying for the rights of scooter and motorcycle drivers on the road. They were riffing on the slogan from the “Diverse Families” draft bill — a previous and more wide-reaching proposal that had included gay marriage that had failed to gain approval — 「多元成家」 (Diverse Families) and swapped out the 「成家」 meaning “to form families” for 「回家」, meaning “to go home”. So the altered slogan reads “return home by diverse means”. Maybe they were just showing their support for the cause, and racking up some publicity on the side, anyway, you’ve got to respect a pun at the end of the day.

MRT Poetry: ‘Better a Song’ by Bai Ling 捷運詩:白靈的〈不如歌〉

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This time it’s a reader contribution. My former co-worker snapped this poem on the MRT and sent it to me. The poem was written by Chuang Tsu-huang (莊祖煌 pinyin: Zhuang Zuhuang) who goes under the pen-name Bai Ling (白靈). He was born in Taipei’s Wanhua District in 1951 to a family from Fujian in China. After studying chemistry in Taiwan and teaching for a while, he went to the US to study a master’s at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He is currently a professor at National Taipei University of Technology and at one time took part in a grassroots poetry collective, including a period as the editor of a grassroots poetry publication. He has won a plethora of prizes for his poetry.

不如歌 Better a Song

平靜的無,不如抓狂的有
Better a manic something over a tranquil nothing
坐等升溫的露珠,不如捲熱而逃的淚水
Better a tear bubbled up in heat over a dewdrop awaiting the warmth
猛射亂放的箭矢,不如挺出紅心的箭靶
Better to land the bullseye than to loose an arrow in haste
養鴿子三千,不如擁老鷹一隻
Better a single eagle than to raise three thousand doves
被吻,不如被啄
Better to be pecked, than to be kissed

Mixing Taiwanese Proverbs?: 「相罵無好話,打架恨無力」 sio-mē bô hó-ōe, sio-phah hīn bô-la̍t

So by now everyone’s quite likely seen the photo below of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) choking Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chen Yi-min (陳宜民) over the latter’s attempt to disrupt the DPP’s passing of a holiday bill. The bill is an altered version of a KMT bill that the DPP had opposed while in opposition. The KMT reportedly has little opposition to the bill itself, but were objecting to what they see as DPP partisan hypocrisy in trying to pass a bill they had previously opposed and in passing the bill without allowing any time for debate. The KMT are not necessarily opposed to the practice of passing a bill without debate, but are rather a little miffed that the DPP is doing this despite praising and visiting students taking part in the Student Sunflower Movement, who were protesting the very same method of passing bills when the KMT was trying to pass a cross-strait trade-in-services act in 2014. Despite more publicity being given to the photo below, the KMT reportedly stuck the proverbial boot into a few DPP legislators too, but less conspicuously.

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Photo source: Wild East Magazine

Anyway, this post is not primarily concerned with politics, but rather with a Taiwanese phrase used by former New Party legislator Li Sheng-feng (李勝峰) when commentating on the scuffle on TVBS’s political chat show ‘The Situation Room’:

 

「相罵無好話,打架恨無力」 sio-mē    hó-ōe,  sio-phah  hīn bô-la̍t

Nothing good or auspicious is said when people are cursing at each other; people hate themselves for not being able to hit each other harder in a fight.

I originally thought that this was a mixture of two phrases in Taiwanese:

1. 「相罵無好話  相打無揀位」sio-mē     hó-ōesio-phah  kéng ūi which means “It’s easy to say awful things when arguing and to underestimate your strength in a fight”.

2. 「相罵恨無聲,相拍恨無力」sio-mē  hīn  bô-siaⁿ , sio-phah  hīn bô-la̍t which means “When in an argument, you hate yourself for not being able to shout them down louder, and in a fight you’ll hate yourself for not being able to hit them harder”, or, you’ll always try and find a way to bring the other person down.

But my (very gracious) Taiwanese friend called his mother in the south and she said that the phrase that the guy says on the TV program does actually exist and that it is the same as the meaning of No. 2 listed above. But she also pointed out that people in southern Taiwan say “hūn” instead of “hīn”.

Feel free to share your opinion or any similar phrases you have in the comments section.

 

MRT Poetry: Chen Ke-hua’s ‘Night’ 捷運詩句:陳克華的「夜」

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Another day, another opportunity to lean over someone to take a photo of the poem on the MRT behind them. This one’s by Chen Ke-hua and I thought it was pretty appropriate for this humid summer night.

夜     Night

沸騰之夜,     The Simmering Night,

將她最燙的一塊皮膚     Lays the most scalding piece of its skin

貼在我頰上。     Against my cheek.

我疼出淚來,說:不,     I cry tears of pain and say, “No”,

這不是我最需要溫暖的位置。     This isn’t where I’m most in need of warmth.

Chen was born in 1961 and was born in Hualien in Taiwan, although his family were originally from Wenshang in Shandong. After graduating from Taipei Medical University he started his career in medicine. In 1997 he studied at the Harvard Medical School, returning to Taiwan in 2000. He now works at the Department of Ophthalmology of Taipei Veterans General Hospital and as an assistant professor at the medical school of National Yang Ming University. As well as his medical career, he’s also a poet, an author, a painter and a photographer.

Update: Tea Trademarks in Taiwan

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I recently posted about a trademark lawsuit in Taiwan, involving Uni-President Enterprises Corporation’s tea brand 「茶裏王」 and 「阿里王 Ali One」. I pointed out in the post the difference in the second characters of each brand name. However, I recently checked the trademark database in Taiwan and found that Uni-President has registered both 「茶裏王」 and 「茶里王」 as can be seen below:

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You’ll notice, amusingly enough, that the character 「裏」 doesn’t even show up on the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office trademark search website – and is displayed as just a blank box. The missing character is pictured in the image, however.

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This makes the judgement I previously mentioned a little more understandable, given that two out of the three characters are the same (even if they have different meanings). You’ll also notice that the product ranges to which the second trademark is applied is broader than the first.

Here’s the registration for 「阿里王」:

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Interestingly, the English translation for 「茶裏王」, “King of Teas”, doesn’t seem to be a registered trademark. So many companies and brands adopting similar English names is allowed, like the one at the head of this article (King Tea).

啜飲室 ─ 啤酒也可以品!

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全玻璃店面

台灣東區到處都是Lounge Bar或個性咖啡店,雖然各有所長,但是能喝到的生啤酒也是大同小異,就是台灣啤酒或進口的豪格登、健力士黑啤酒等等。因此一位外國朋友帶我去一家只有玻璃窗為店面、沒有醒目招牌的小酒吧,我沒料到有機會喝新鮮的口味。

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二十個啤酒龍頭

一進去就看到有人在椅凳坐著、有些人站著喝各種顏色的啤酒,櫃台後有二十個啤酒龍頭,讓我想起西班牙的酒吧氛圍 ─ 就是一邊品好酒一邊跟朋友聊天,可惜這裡沒有西班牙式配酒的小吃。

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愛喝手工啤酒的台灣人一邊喝酒一邊聊天

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後面的牆上掛著台灣藝術家的作品

後面的牆上還掛著一些台灣藝術家的作品,不過人實在太多了,沒辦法好好地去賞畫。讓我意外的是吧台上方有二十多種手工啤酒(craft beer)可選。

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黑板上的二十種生啤酒種類

畢竟啤酒單是在黑板上寫的,你應該可以猜到販賣的啤酒是會換來換去的。我是看到啤酒單才知道這間酒吧的名稱也指明它的使命 ─ 啜飲室 ─ 提供一個空間讓在台灣的啤酒愛好者可以嘗試國內外的手工啤酒。

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啤酒酒單沒有裝訂,方便修改

「啜飲」所暗示的小口小口地喝也反映這空間是給人品酒的 ─ 就是跟西班牙和法國的喝酒方式相同,要慢慢欣賞酒的品味。上面印有「台虎精釀」徽章的杯子因此比一般啤酒杯小。

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看了那麼多陌生的啤酒品牌我沒想太多就點了那天晚上黑板上的第一號,也就是「五十五街精釀啤酒桂圓琥珀愛爾」(55th Street Amber)。味道比較淡(5.7%;NT$200/杯),我也很推薦給不習慣喝苦的朋友們。我一個朋友則點了比較濃的第十一號(10%;NT$300/杯)─ 「Ballast Point勝利海戰咖啡和香草波特黑啤酒」(Victory at Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee and Vanilla)。它味道應該是我們點的最苦的,略可品到咖啡味。第三個朋友點的是「惡魔之石垂涎印度淡愛爾印度淡色艾爾」(Stone Delicious India Pale Ale; 7.1%;NT$200/杯)。雖然沒有波特黑啤酒那麼苦,但是還是超過我喜歡的範圍。

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我回家後在網路上查到這三家啤酒釀製廠。我喝的那杯琥珀愛爾是一對夫妻在新北市新莊創立的啤酒釀製廠。

夫妻是歸台的哥倫比亞華僑游承亞和台灣老婆嚴若菡。他們釀的啤酒的過程中用到從英國進口的水晶麥芽和苗栗龍眼,也就是這杯酒比較不苦的原因之一。

Ballast Point和Stone Brewing則皆為1996年在美國聖地牙哥的啤酒釀製廠。

若要品到比較多種啤酒跟朋友去比較划算(多半的啤酒是NT$200/小杯)。

以下是啜飲室的推廣影片:

啜飲室 from Hallie Haller on Vimeo.

另外7月30日在台灣首度十日精釀啤酒週活動你有機會品到更多台灣精釀啤酒:

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啜飲室地址:106台北市大安區大安路一段16巷14號

Links:
臺虎精釀/啜飲室網址:http://www.taihubrewing.com/
啜飲室臉書粉絲頁:https://www.facebook.com/chuoyinshi
Ballast Point:http://www.ballastpoint.com/
Stone Delicious:http://www.stonebrewing.com/

提醒您:飲酒過量有礙健康 酒後不開車

Tea Trademarks and Chinese Variants: King of Teas/Ali One Tea Dispute 茶裏王/阿里王商標大戰

13730546_10102616344538349_1668283995_oI thought that the recent trademark dispute between Taiwanese tea brands 「茶裏王」 (King of Tea) and 「阿里王 Ali One」 that resolved in favour of the former was interesting because two characters 「里」 and 「裏」 have been seen by the Taiwan Intellectual Property Court as the same character.

「茶裏王」 was launched in the early 2000s by Tainan-based international food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, while 「阿里王 Ali One」 was launched in 2014 by a woman called Huang Yi-zhen (黃逸蓁).

The name 「茶裏王」 translates to “King of Teas” because the 「裏」, a common variant of the character 「裡」, means “among” or “in”  – so it’s literal meaning is “among teas a king”. 「阿里王」 however, just uses 「里」 as a phonetic particle as part of 「阿里」which alludes to 「阿里山」 (Alishan National Scenic Area) – which itself is a transliteration of the Tsou (鄒) aboriginal name for the area “Jarissang”. In fact, although 「里」 means “in” in simplified Chinese, in which it is used in place of 「裡」 and 「裏」, in traditional Chinese, it is only used as a unit of measurement (approx 500m) and for an administrative unit under township (neighborhood/village). Each district in Taipei has an individual li, as shown in the street sign below:

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While the 「王」 in 「茶裏王」 means “King”, the 「王」 in 「阿里王 Ali One」 appears primarily to be a transliteration of the English word “one”, hence the product’s English name. A similar example is the 「旺」 in 「旺旺集團」, which is anglicized using the English word “want”, to give you the Want Want Holdings Group – the company at the center of the media monopoly protests in Taiwan and my former employer. However, there’s also a sense that the 「阿里王 Ali One」 trademark is also playing off the use of the word 「王」 as both a transliteration and for its literal meaning as “king”, i.e. King of Ali (referencing Alishan, an important tea-growing area in Taiwan). So the case for the third character is not as strong as that for the second, in my unqualified view.

Thus, the Intellectual Property Court finding as quoted by this report on the trademark case would seem to be incorrect:

智財法院認為,「茶裏王」、「阿里王Ali ONE」商標都是用於茶葉商品,第二個字皆有「里」字,第三個字皆為「王」字,對消費者而言近似程度高,加上「茶裏王」商標使用久、知名度高,因此應給「茶裏王」較大的保護,今判統一勝訴,智財局須撤銷「阿里王Ali ONE」商標註冊,全案仍可上訴。

The Intellectual Property Court found that the trademarks “茶裏王” (King of Tea) and “阿里王 Ali One” are both used to market tea products, and that the second character in each is “里” while the  third characters in each are both “王” (King), so they are very similar for consumers. In addition because the “茶裏王” trademark has been in use for a long time and is very well-known. because of this, “茶裏王” should have greater protection, so Uni-President Enterprises Corporation won the case today, and the Taiwan Intellectual Property Bureau rescinds the trademark granted for “阿里王Ali One”, although the case is still subject to appeal.

The 「茶裏王」 bottles have recently been featuring thought-for-the-day style “profundities” (note the use of speech marks) such as the one below, which I thought was particularly apt to go with this post:

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Photocopy machines are used to remind you

That if you only copy

You’ll stay in the corner forever

Have you done something innovative today?

 

 

Taiwanese phrase: Pretence of diffidence when you really can’t help yourself -「愛甲給細二」/「愛食假細膩」 ài chia̍h ké sè-jī

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I was talking to my friend when he started talking about the vibe in Taipei bars, in the sense that people always complain about them every week, but still end up there anyway, due to fear of missing out. He said the following:
每周都出現在同樣夜店的人 嘴中總是掛著"I hate this place" “so boring here”但還是每周都出現,「愛甲給細二」。
(The people who turn up at the nightclubs every week are always saying “I hate this place” and “It’s so boring here”, but every week they turn up, they pretend diffidence, but they love it really despite themselves.)
The Taiwanese phrase he uses 「愛甲給細二」 is likely 「愛食假細膩」 ài chia̍h  sè-jī. This is equivalent 「貪吃假裝客氣」 in Mandarin, so “people who love to eat, pretending to be polite about it”.
There is also an alternate phrase with the same meaning in Taiwanese, which is pointed out at the Taiwan Language blog:
「iau(夭)鬼假細膩」  iau-kúi  sè-lī  which translates as “a glutton pretending to be polite”.
 Photo from Greed (1924) – Public Domain

MRT Poetry: ‘Mental Image’ by Yan Ai-lin 捷運詩句:顏艾琳的「意想圖」

There’s still plenty of nice poetry to be found on the MRT when you’re out and about in the city.

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意想圖

Mental Image

木訥之僧在街口肅立

An unaffected taciturn monk stands solemnly on the corner

他伸出雙手

With both hands outstretched

十指化為一隻缽

His ten fingers forming an alms bowl

化著路行者的隨緣心

Shaping the casual kindness of passersby

Yan Ailin was born in 1968 in Tainan. She graduated in history from Fu Jen Catholic University. She is a poet, a lecturer and an author.

N.B.  Variants of 「缽」 featured in a previous post.

 

 

《民意誰說了算?》 - 以理性心態來面對近年來隨著一波又一波社會運動而來的雜音

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我老闆的一位朋友田蒙潔律師最近出版了新書《民意,誰說了算?》。為了一探田律師的寫作理念,我及一位同事特地專訪了田律師。

田律師的經歷很有趣,在將近50歲時才到美國念法學院,並取得美國律師執照。2011年開始,田律師開始在社區大學裡上課,目的就是希望讓台灣人能夠對於社會上形形色色的輿論辨明事實與觀點,而不是被偏激的價值觀牽著走。

這本書能讓讀者看到台灣媒體界、法律界的一些問題。田律師一再舉出例子說明台灣媒體報導、電視新聞節目的過度主觀性 - 甚至有些記者在報導殺人案時莫名其妙的變成了無所不知的敘事者,在沒證據的情況下還能清楚地交待被害人在死前最後一秒的想法和動作。田律師認為,這一切的問題都是因為台灣的教育系統沒有著重分辯事實和意見。

在讀到這一點的時候,我便開始有些疑慮 - 這是相對於哪裡?田律師偶爾提到的「正常社會」到底為何?台灣人沒辦法分辯事實和意見,那歐美人就有辦法了嗎?那我在台灣大學的台灣籍碩士班同學怎麼都很理性?後來經過跟田律師的討論,我發現她針對的是體制性的問題,而不是個人問題。她論及「東方」沒有像「西方」一樣,從封建社會漫長地經過啟蒙時代而進入一個所謂的「現代性」,而是經過了「壓縮的現代性」(Compressed Modernity)時期便很快地從封建社會轉變成一個現代的社會。在過程中很多體制是借來的、或在殖民統治下被移植的,而不是自然從人民的需求或社會紛亂的結果而成形的。田律師坦言美國本身不是她的理想,而是美國體制的這種成形過程。儘管在本書中美國的法律界、新聞界常被拿來跟台灣的比較,但我覺得田律師指出的問題在每個國家都會有的,尤其是在現在一個資訊越來越多的、常規一直在改變的時代。

田律師在書中詳細地剖析台灣最近幾年的新聞議題,從洪秀柱的碩士學位是不是從美國一所「野雞大學」所取得,到黃丞儀遭天下撤文的事件是不是牽扯到「言論自由」問題、太陽花運動學生所抗議的服貿提案的審議過程是不是「黑箱」的、以及反課綱有沒有出現「日治」和「日據」兩個字眼。田律師不是單純的以她自己的主觀政治立場來反駁當事人,而是提供讀者一種發掘事實的辦法。換言之,她要的不是讀者聽她的,而是要讀者平心地、客觀地分析、判斷、印證事實。

這本書可以當作是最近幾年民粹政治的回應,目的是理清事情的真相如何、要怎麼以一個理性心態去應對隨著最近幾年的這一波社會運動而來的雜音。

田律師想看到的台灣人是以他/她職業為傲的、能夠以「思辯」(critical thinking)的方式分辯真相和假象的、能夠自制和自律的。

6月25日起《民意,誰說了算?》可以在博客來購買。

(謝謝Anita和Clarence校對)