Experience it Yourselves

Changes in one’s attitude, brought on by the many ups and downs of life, translated…

Is marriage a good thing?  I’m thinking, that it’s different based off of everybody’s experiences, and the answer, only one knows.

A couple of years ago, an old friend of mine talked about the ups and downs of her marriage, said that if she could have it to do all over again, she would’ve have chosen to get married; and, a short while ago, she’d talked to me about her daughter, and how well her and the members of her family are getting along, with that look of bliss all over her face.

I’d smiled and asked, didn’t you regret getting married from before?  She’d become stunned, then asked me, “Did I say that?  But, if you ask me that same question now, all I can say, that you need to experience it yourself to find out.”

Like drinking a cup of water, only you would know if it’s hot or cold; the life in marriage, with a mixture of sentiments.  Or maybe, marriage is not good or bad, it all depends, on how you see it as.

And that, is the importance of attitude, perhaps, when this friend came to the writer from before, her child was acting up, and she and her husband had an argument, that, was why she first stated, that marriage wasn’t the right choice for her, but, as the time passes, she and her family got along better, and, she’d started thinking, that being married, and having children is actually, a good thing.  This just showed, how unless you’d, experienced things from top to bottom, you can’t jump to conclusion on if something is good or bad for you.  You must give it enough time for life, to run its course…

The Principal of Liugui Elementary Worked in the Distant Region Schools for Forty-Five Years, Had Slept with Nothing More than a Straw Mat for a Whole Year in the Classrooms

This just showed, the dedication of school officials here, from the Newspapers, translated…

The principal of Liugui Elementary School worked as a classroom instructor for forty-five years, and turned to work as principal for Liugui and Taoyuan, these two distant region schools, the first school was located in Tengji, Taoyuan, back then, there was NO busses, he’d had to walk for five hours uphill to work, he’d stayed in that school for sixteen years before he came back down slopes.  Long-Chuang Huang qualified for the retiring age at the end of this month, he said, he will keep working in the disaster prevention centers, to give all he can, that he wasn’t going to leave his educational post that easily.

Huang was born under the fires of Kinmen, graduated from Teacher’s College back in 1972, was sent to the tallest and farthest Baoshan Elementary’s Tengji Branch to teach, back then, the mountain regions of Tengji was still under construction, there were NO busses, he’d needed to walk, or hitch a ride from the forestry cargo trucks.

“With the steep slopes on one side, a sharp drop on the other, it’d, left a deep impression on me”, Huang told, that back then, it would take him a total of five whole hours, to walk into the Liugui city district, that if he’d hitched a ride from the trucks, it would save him half the time, but, heading downhill was what scared him, the passengers needed to hold on to the wood, to steady themselves, and there were incidence where the natives were crushed to death by the logs; and, being trapped in the mountains by typhoons for months on end became norm, and, the letters he wrote to his families took one whole month to get to them, and vice versa.

六龜國小校長黃龍泉將畢生歲月貢獻在偏鄉學校,手上拿的「多功能防災頭套」是他所發明...the phto of the man, with the disaster prevention device he’d invented, photo courtesy of UDN.com…

Back when he’d started teaching, not only was the traffic quite inconvenient, there weren’t any dormitories for the school instructors, Huang had taken a straw mat, and just camped out in the classroom floors for an entire month, it wasn’t until he got transferred back to the Baoshan Elementary School’s main campus, did his career of camping out on the floor end.  Three, four decades ago, there were a lot of school teachers from the cities who couldn’t adapt to this way of life, but Huang stayed on teaching for sixteen years totally, he’d started teaching closer to the cities back in 1987 at Liugui Elementary School.

As he’d started working as a school principal, Huang had worked in schools in Taoyuan’s Zhangshan, Jienshan, as well as Liugui, and part-timed as the elementary school principal for Baoshan Elementary, and, he’d had a total of twenty-four years spent in Baoshan Elementary.  In his teaching career, he’d worked as the principal of Liugui Elementary twice, the second time he’d returned, was because of how nobody wanted to return back to the school after the Morakot Typhoons that nobody wanted to go to the distant region of Liugui to work.

Because his mother is elderly, three years ago, Huang wanted to retire, back then, the city government had twice attempted to have him stay on, even the close by school’s officials came to ask him to work a bit longer.  Huang said, that there’s a high transferring rate for the instructors teaching in the distant region schools, that children in these areas should have their fair chance at a good education too, that only when the newcomers hold on to this belief, will they last long enough there, that after he retires, he’d intended to work as a committee member of the disaster preventions unit set up by the Department of Education.

This, would be how dedicated this man is to what he does, he’d started out as a school instructor in a place that needed his services the most, and became a principal, worked in the distant region schools, and weathered through a lot of dangers going to and from work, but that still didn’t ruin his passion about offering the services he was offering to the locals.  And that, is the dedications of school officials we all want to have, in the schools all around, isn’t it?





The Story Capsule

from the writer of this article, taken off of UDN.com…圖/阮光民

Saving the inspirations for later, when you’re, mature enough, not throwing anything away, because it can be used again, how someone becomes inspired to create, translated…

Actually, All Those Old Buildings Have This Ability, to Not Say a Thing…with the Present and the Past, Coexisting in the Same Space & Time, and the Past is Able to, Have Conversations with the Distant Futures.

The Train Station that Stayed Still in 2007

Toward these broken, misshaped stories, I’d, swallowed them all down like those cold medicine capsules, down into my throat, like how those passages in the mountains swallowed the trains whole too.

That, is how those box trains were, with a group of people, wrapped inside, standing or sitting until it’s their stops.  As the train pulled into the station, people get on, people get off, some with stories that they carried, some were, taking their stories elsewhere.  Every capsule served its purpose, all the trains contained, many stories.

With the tourism blooming in Neiwan, Hsinchu, the local governments kickstarted the plans to make the routes, built up those comic-book railroads, with the comics summer camps too, and there were comic drawing contests, with Neiwan as the subject matter too.  In the summer of 2012, I’d gone there, to get the inspirations for my art, and for the very first time, I alighted the Neiwan Routes.

The route had the originally mountain surrounding sights, the orange-yellow colored trains passing to and from Zhuzhong, Ronghwa, Zhudong, Henshang, Jiuzantou, Hexing, Fugui, and Neiwan stations with the stations about two kilometers apart from each other.  All the stations are, silent, other than the holidays and weekends, there were, no visitors, the wooden tracks were covered with a layer of dust, like the piano which hadn’t been played in a long time.  Some of these nine stations were already listed as a C class station, without the attendants, with the numbered passengers, it’s hard to imagine, how this was, once, a major tourist attraction.

My favorite station was the Jiuzantou station, those older steel mills still stood tall, and I can imagine how when it was still working, how the smokes rose out, that scene resembled that in the Miyazaki animated feature fills like Nausicaa.  Even now, as it rained, or in the winters when there was fog, that scene was still playing on.

From the ticket booths, the station like an island, surrounded by the oceans, the trains looked like they were, trekking across the seas, and, the passengers who got off needed to walk down the steps, after the train got to the shores, to walked on the cement steps, to get to the other side, and there was only a sign that stated, “One hundred people in and out at our highest”, with the second highest number of cargoes across all of Taiwan.

Other than these storylines my mind has, the reason why I loved this station was that as time keeps on moving forward, but these building seemed to have halted by time.  Stopped, in the year 2007, with the present, and the past, together as one, the past can hold conversations with the futures from far, far away.  Actually, there’s this, silently telling story natures of these old buildings.

The Same Wind Doesn’t Blow Twice

Staying at the B&B in Neiwan, if you’re driving, then, you’d needed to, take the longer way, but if you walked, you can turn left at the Guanji Temples, passed through the tracks, followed that hill upward, and you’d bump into that wooden lamppost, passing through that passage covered with trees, then, you’d, arrived at the bed and breakfast.  But, the owner of the B&B discourages the visitors to go this way when it rained, he worried, that the visitors couldn’t steady themselves, and turn the passageway into a water slide.  This B&B is located in a higher place, you can look down and see the former streets, and in the evenings, you’d get a great view of the lights down below, after the rains, you can see the mistiness across the mountains………luckily, I was able to experience all of these in my time here.  The B&B is run by this younger couple, with an elder in the home, if the guests had ordered supper or barbecue, everybody in the family works together in the kitchen, I’d sat across the bar, looking, and every scene that happened can be used as an inspiration in my art.

I sat in the trains, watching the scenes flash by, summer, the nature used the most relaxing colors: the blues, the whites, the greens, I’m thinking, for the sake of maintaining balance with the heat of the weather.  Hmmmmmm!  I should tell you a story of summer then, and this story will, hopefully, connect all the stations together.  I took out my pad, listed all the names of the stations, and assigned the characters to get on at certain stations, the points they met up.  I’m used to drawing stories where the characters enter from some place, and this sort of a multiple location arrangement is stressing my brains out, gladly, the Neiwan Lines are quite simple.  The process of coming up with a story line was like swallowing a huge pill, the moment the storylines connected was like the pill that’s stuck in my throat, finally gotten, washed down by that gulp of water, and, if it got stuck too long, then, it’d, blocked up my windpipe, and I would’ve, died.

Finally, I’d finished, “The Marriage Dress Brought by the Summer Breeze”, and won an award for it.  In this comic, I’d selected the seasons for the names of my two characters, and so, I’d thought about how the three other seasons in Neiwan would be like?  Well, maybe, I should, do it, for ALL four seasons. But back then, I was still doing my “Heaven Diner” columns, so I was limited with my ability and time, so I can only save the scenes into my mind, as a rough draft, then, slowly, allowing everything to come into being.

In a seminar, someone asked, if I thought of a storyline, and as I drew later, found that it didn’t connect, would I, discard it?  I’d answered him, that in the past, I had, discarded, but I’d felt regrettable, and after that first time, I’d, kept everything.  As an inspiration comes into mind, it’s like a breeze blowing through, it won’t happen again, that we needed to, jot it down.  If we weren’t able to use that inspiration at the moment, it’s because we were capable enough, to make a story out of it, to develop it.

In 2017, I had the chance to sort through those pipelines inside my mind from 2012, gladly, the time capsule was still unscathed.  And as I’d held that conversation now with the past, now, I am, more apt, to make the scenes I thought up more connected, and so, came the “Railroad Sonatas”.

And, I’d used “maybe”, because perhaps, in a few more years, I may be even more capable, of developing the story line better.

Creation is like the trains, passing through, a station at a time.

So, this, is how you were, inspired, and on your trip, some of the things you felt moved by you didn’t get to use it right away, but, you’d, saved it, and, as you become more mature, things fall into place, and, those items you’d saved in your portfolio or memories, became ideas you can, extend on.

Learn to Dream

You told me, that I’d, needed this skill, in order, to survive, in your world, so, I’d, taught myself to dream.

Learn to dream, you’d told me, and hold on, to these, far-fetched dreams of yours, never, ever, EVER, let anyone tell you you’re not good enough. Then, came the moment, when you’d, told me, that I wasn’t, good enoughyour wildest fantasies…not my art…

Learn to dream, how difficult that is, especially, for a child, who’d never had the chances to dream like me.  I’d, worked hard, all through my childhood years, just, to stay alive, out of the ways of abuse and neglect, and yet, they’d still, both, come for me at night, when you’d, fallen asleep, and couldn’t, hear my cries…

Learn to dream, I can’t, I have, NO dreams, only these, harsh realities that preceded me, and, I feel like, I’m, drowning, taken the hits way too hard, and, I’d become, submerged, into the waters here, struggling, to get my head above water level, for that, hard to come by, breath.

dreams are like free-falling, not my photo…

Learn to dream, it isn’t that easy, not the least bit, not for me, and yet, I’d, survived, through a god DAMN over 240 years of life (and still adding on to this too old number here!!!), having my dreams, SHOT down, by those GOD DAMN fucking (and your point being???) adult counterparts in my life here.

And now, I’m, a professional dreamer here, and, ain’t NOBODY ever gonna, SHOOT any of my dreams down again, because, you move, I SHOOT!  And that, is a PROMISE…and I still keep ALL the promises I make!




That Thought-Provoking Scent

Lessons learned, from taking a stroll somewhere, with a photo attached, from the papers, translated…

Walking in the midst of the blooming season of the wild garlic, I’d loved this sort of a refreshing fragrance, with a small bit of excitement.  When you intentionally took that deep breath, the scent of the wild garlic would, escape from you, but, as you carried that ordinary mindset, and slowly breathed in, and out, the aromatic scent of wild garlic had, filled up the atmosphere.

On this small path, covered with white flowers, the aromatic wild garlic flowers dispersed that sort of a deeply, thought-provoking scent.

張玉芸what the passage looked like, phoot from UDN.com…

So, this just shows, how sometimes, when you try hard, to get something to happen, it just doesn’t, because sometimes, some things just, can’t be forced, you must, let it all come, naturally, as it’s, supposed to all along, that, is the lesson to be learned, by this individual who took that long walk…



Break Up or, Make Up

DAMN it, just MAKE up your minds already, huh???

Break up, or make up, it’d kept, going back and forth, back and forth, with all those hotshot stars, celebs, even every day people you and I know…

Break up or make up, does it matter?  And, how long’s gonna last this time, before the love goes BUST again, huh?  And yet, we’re, just, involved, in this, vicious cycle of love, continuing to, roll around, and around, and around, and, there’s, still, NO end in sight, for either one of us!

Break up, or make up, make up your minds already, and, if you break, DO break completely, don’t leave that window open (like our little Ms. Wendy had, so Peter could get in, ANYTIME he pleases!)…Break up, or make up, why is it so god DAMN hard, for us, to make up our minds about it, huh?  We’d already had a taste of what this love of ours entailed, and, there’s, NOTHING good that’s left for us to savor, and, we still can’t sever ourselves off from each other, because, what if (I mean, it is, a high possibility!!!), the next loves we’re in, aren’t good as this one we are about, to cut ourselves off from?  And that, is the dilemma of our love………









Missing You from Afar, Between a Mother and a Daughter-in-Law

The closeness of this mother and daughter-in-law pair, it’s truly, rare, that’s for certain, translated…

I’d gotten used to calling my mother-in-law whom I lived with “Mom”, it’s just, that when I’d called out to my own mother, my voice would raise up at the end, while as I’d called my mother-in-law, I’d used a gentle and more careful tone of voice; it wasn’t until both my own mother, and my mother-in-law passed away, did I realize, that there is no one left that I can call in such terms of endearment.

After the lunar new year’s, my mother-in-law and I would discuss her final affairs in the hospital room, she’d reminded me, to call on the trusted funeral home worker, to lead the way for her, because she knew, that the person knew where my father-in-law wen; and told me to put that black top with the red and purple flowers.  I’d nagged on, that if the weather is still colder, this wouldn’t be enough, and, as I heard myself voice out the concerns, I’d realized, how odd I actually was.

But, she, who’d been bedridden for long, who looked weak as ever, had that slight grin, creeping up the corners of her lips, she’d made fun, “Yeah, I’ll bet, the dead fears the cold!”, I’d recalled how when she’d gone abroad to travel, she was commended by the tour guide who was well-traveled and well-read as being fashionable and elegant, at that moment, I’d flown into panic, I’d heard that she clearly stated how she will refuse, to wear those old styled clothes fitted for the dead.

From before, I was afraid of the dark, and couldn’t discuss the matter of death, as my mother-in-law fell ill and became hospitalized, I’d started slowly, learning, to enter and exit into the hospital in the late hours of the night, barely, holding myself up, going up and down in the elevators, filled with the medicinal smells; slowly, I’d understood her trying moments as she’d demanded to get her sheets changed again, and again, because they’re not soft enough.  I’d reminded myself, to listen all the time, nod, and promise her, that I shall be there, accompanying her, as her life comes to an end.

My mother-in-law had once felt bad, about not having a daughter who is closer to her heart, but, she was glad, that whilst I was watching over her in the ward, the roommate mistook me for her daughter, and the two of us looked at each other and smiled.

平日一向習慣喊同住的婆婆為「媽媽」,只是喊娘家母親時聲調習慣嬌嗔上揚,喊婆婆時則...picture from the papers…

And now, as I stand in the kitchen, I’d always remembered just how swiftly my mother-in-law handled the household chores.  Especially around the New Year’s, she was used to sitting on the door frames, with this huge stainless steel wok in her hands, counted out the steps to defrost, and ordered the plates being served in her mind.  After following behind her through the years, I’d clearly known, that she would have a pork’s feet that’s right in the size, that was my brother-in-law’s family’s favorite, a slice of thick fish, for her picky youngest; as for the eldest who loved soup with his meals, she’d served a pot of cabbage soup, with pork rib base.

It’s just, that next year when the New Year’s rolled around, there’s no more of her cooking that we can all, savor then.

not my photo…

So this, is someone remembering her mother-in-law, and, from the interactions, you can see, just how close this mother and daughter-in-law pair had been since from before, for the mother-in-law to share her final affair plans with this daughter-in-law of hers, when usually, these things should be shared with one’s own blood.