Erenlai - Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界
Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界

Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界

 
 
Here is an offering of the traditions, insights, experiences and stories of others so as to enter into their world, enrich our personal development, stir up our consciousness and open our eyes. A path to embracing everyone everywhere…

就算我們的生活經驗再豐富,總有我們沒看到的、沒想過的或沒體會到的事物。在這裡,讓我們一起來分享不同的觀點、論述與生命故事。但願因心界的開放讓我們學會更大的包容力,讓我們能全心去接納那些跟我們完全不同的他者

 

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Flu or not flu?

According to some people illnesses are apparently just myths, so there is no point in protecting yourself against them. It’s been a while now since I’ve chatted with my countrymen at a pub in Taipei. My friend was ill and I was coughing at the time so we both arrived at the pub with surgical masks on, even though they were not as cute as those worn by some Taiwanese. Nevertheless one of the first comments we received was how stupid it was to be wearing a mask, since they don’t work anyway. Well I suppose that all the medical staff, construction and disinfestation workers are wearing them just for the fun of it. These days however it is the grunting of the H1N1 flu that is in the spotlight.

To be fair some experts do argue that there is very little evidence that masks offer much protection against the flu. Contrary to that we have the words of Dr Ronald Cutler, deputy director of biomedical science at the University of London: “If you sneeze with a mask the virus will be contained so from that point of view if everyone wore them it might stop the spread.” What a surprise you might be thinking. How come that against a disease which is spread by droplet infection, the masks are not harmful, but may in fact be helpful? Or is it just a huge governmental conspiracy to make us spend those enormous sums of money on purchasing these useless masks? And of course when we say government, we mean all the governments of the world!

It’s always fun to listen to people who think they are so ingenious they can reason about everything, even if it is to camouflage their whining about how the surgical masks are uncomfortable and bothersome. Maybe some people wouldn’t mind getting H1N1, as it’s like getting the newest Louis Vuitton handbag for them. Let’s just hope they will not want the rest of us to see and admire their latest toy.

It is not usual to wear a respiratory mask in Europe if you are not feeling well and when I arrived at the Frankfurt airport a few months ago I could feel their gazes on my own skin. People looked at me as though I was some sort of a freak or maybe a ninja. In any case I refused to submit to that social pressure and I kept my mask on. Taiwan has taught me well. All the warning signs, people wearing masks, and alcohol dispensers for washing hands are certainly the right way to go, and in this case I think that not only my homeland can learn from Taiwan. Especially when it looks like this swine flu has a real appetite, especially for pregnant women and young people.

It reminds me of those old creepy guys who use their wealth and influence in order to bind themselves with a young woman. As it turns out that this 2009 H1N1 began circulating in pigs in 1918 so is certainly no youngster. At the same time there was also an influenza occurring in humans. Even though some may argue that certain individuals are not that different from pigs, biologically it can be said that humans and pigs are considered different hosts for a virus. Therefore despite having a common ancestor in 1918 the human H1N1 evolved differently from the swine H1N1 and today this swine H1N1 is essentially a new virus for humans. That is why the immunity we may have to seasonal H1N1 doesn’t really protect us from it.

Lately there has been a lot of fuss about the vaccine against this particular influenza. People are afraid that the governments want to kill us with this unsafe vaccine, especially those who don’t pay their taxes. Luckily, for these skeptics, there is another way. John Cannell MD says that one of the best ways of prevention from the flu is the consumption of vitamin D. Naturally you can buy it in the form of pills, but human body is also capable of producing vitamin D by exposing itself to sunlight. This may be difficult information for some Asian people to accept, but you can protect yourself from the 2009 H1N1 influenza by getting a tan.


Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Synesthetic Adventure

Vowels
A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,
Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;
U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;
O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
–O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!
Arthur Rimbaud, 1871


In his poem ’Vowels’, Rimbaud creates metaphors which associate letters to colours and colours to images, shapes, and feelings. This kind of association is called synesthesia which is originally a neurologically based phenomenon where several senses are associated. For example, as in this poem, letters or numbers can be perceived as coloured whilst words can evoke taste or gustative sensations. Synesthesia is also very common in music: we can talk about the colour of the voice or the tint of a melody. To the extent that the expression ’blues’ became a music style. Some people even say that souls are coloured. A friend once told me that he used to see coloured auras around certain persons, he said that though he knew these colours were psychological, he saw them as real as strokes from a paintbrush. Later on, he shut down this ’gift’, he confided to me, because the colours were getting darker and darker.

Indeed every colour carries a symbolic meaning. Some of these connotations seem rooted in the culture and become incarcerated in certain mindsets. For western societies, black is obviously the colour for death and evil. More generally, green has become the near universal sign of permission and authorisation thanks to traffic lights. Yellow is associated with sex in the Chinese world (porn movies can also be called ‘yellow movies’), while for the Colombians it brings good luck if they wear yellow underwear on new years eve because yellow is similar to the colour of gold. I also knew a Japanese who had a strange synesthesia, he couldn’t wear yellow underwear, as it reminded him of the rutting season.

Colours...at the same time so universal and so subjective. Scientists say that our eyes do not even see the same colours; vocabulary for example shows the discrepancy between the different perceptions of tints: one says this colour is bluish whilst the other affirms that it is greenish. In fact none of them are right or wrong; in French ’teal’ is almost equally called bleu canard (Blue Duck) or vert canard (Green Duck).

So the point is to precisely explore our different perceptions of colours and the way they influence or change our appreciation of our environment. I have lived in France for more than twenty years and now I have been living in Taiwan for more than four years. When I close my eyes, I see the mole grey of the Parisian macadam and I can almost smell the ozone scent of the evaporating rain. When I open them, I see the green hills that surround the basin of Taipei, my first vision of the city when I arrived from the airport and I can smell the perfume of the night jasmine which permeates through the waft of the cockroaches feces scattered in the brown and dark alleys of the night market.

However I invite you not to close your eyes but to open them wide to the photographs on Taiwan presented here and maybe create your own synesthetic adventure.
 
 
 
 
 
 


(Picture: Athena’s This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Thursday, 29 October 2009

On the 'Amis Language Transcription

This paper is in French, the subject is ‘Amis language transcription’. It is about Taiwan aborigine languages, especially language evolution of the ’Ami people.

From an oral transmission to the creation of a writing system, the ’Amis language went through many changes along with the history of this minority people in Taiwan. The paper attempts to perform a (socio)linguistic analysis: from past to present, we describe how different writing systems were applied. We classify four main periods: the mythical, prehistoric period, when the ‘Amis language was only oral; the chinese period, with the use of chinese characters; the japanese period, trying to apply the katakana system; and the modern period, when romanization starts to spread. Our conclusion is that the writing process has now settled on the Romanised format.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Bodily pains

The spine, the neck, the back, and the eyes.

Sometimes the body aches so much that exhaustion is not far away. Soon our sleep patterns become disturbed, and we become easily irritable. We feel at loss, a vague fear is permeating our consciousness – what is happening?

I do not know how it works for other people, but, personally, I am slow at identifying my bodily pains. For days, I have a sense of unease, of discontent, of perplexity. It is after a few days of misery that I suddenly identify a specific problem: my eyes are dry, my shoulders ache because I have carried luggage too heavy for me, there is a bad cold already taking hold of my nose and my throat. Actually, such discovery comes with a sense of relief. I now know what to do, and suddenly, I rediscover my body. I see it as a friend, as someone to be pitied and cared for, someone who tells me in a gentle, subdued way that it is too long a time I have not noticed his existence. Truly, the body speaks, and what it says is often so simple and so true: “you just cannot forget about me…”

I am sure that everyone experiences in different ways his/her relationships with one’s body. I think that, for everyone, reflectively experiencing bodily pains is a kind of spiritual experience. When I have identified what I am suffering from, memories come back to my mind and I remember how I have been over-exerting (or over-indulging) myself. I remember some little traumas that have piled up and finally eroded my resistance. I recognize in a new way the fragile and splendid miracle that is my physical body and how much I misuse it. I thank God for still being alive when it seems that I mishandle what I have been given.

I think that an obscure force of self-destruction dwells in all of us. For some reason (or for no reason maybe) we work against our very existence. Overwork, substance abuse, excessive pessimism, self-pity, all these are expressions of the way we are an accomplice in our own decay. When we take the time to recognize these little ailments and bodily pains, and take the time to alleviate the stress put on us - we are asserting that there is another force working in us. A force that says “yes” to the life that has been given to us, a force that wants to make use of it for praising and serving the Giver.

We are lucky that bodily pains are like small voices scattered throughout the body, small voices that remind us of the obscure forces of destruction that are devouring us, small voices that suggest timidly to us to stop for a while and reflect on the life-power that inhabits our body and on the way we may choose to make it fructify.

Blessed I am because of my sore back and my dry eyes…


Thursday, 08 October 2009

Ersu people in Southwest Sichuan (II)

Villagers from Shimian county, southwest Sichuan, sing an Ersu song. Ersu people today number around 20,000. They have not been officially recognized as an ethnic minority and have been attached to the Tibetans. They are very close to their Yi neighbors. Depending on location, they sometimes call themselves “Lusu”, “Lisu”, or Buersi… Their disappearing writing system, used almost exclusively for religious purposes, is pictographic, and makes use of colors to indicate degrees of expressivity.
In the wake of modernization, despite often expressing the wish to see their traditional culture protected and revived, Ersu people are rapidly losing their language, rituals and other ethnic markers. In Shimian county, though there has been an officially sponsored program for learning the traditional diviner-priest skills, finally none of the ten selected youth has been willing to enter the time-consuming formation with an elder. Music has been better preserved, and a group dedicates itself to Ersu repertory.

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/stories/ersupeople.jpg|}media/articles/LZ_Ersu2.swf{/rokbox}

 

 

Tuesday, 06 October 2009

The Eye of the Storm

Testimonies from Typhoon Morakot and Hurricane Katrina

It has been four years since the city of New Orleans, in Louisiana, was struck by a very deadly Atlantic Ocean storm. Hurricane Katrina hit the United States in late August 2005, affecting the states of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. The natural disaster took nearly two thousands lives, and left many more homeless, with no other option but to relocate. New Orleans suffered the most damage due to a levee break that caused eighty percent of the city to be flooded. However, the entire Gulf Coast of America felt the effects of such an unpredictable and powerful storm.

Fast forward to early August 2009. The city of New Orleans was quiet and calm, free from any impending storm. However, for those living in the far Eastern part of the world, a storm was about to touch down in Asia. Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan on August seventh, bringing 92-mile per hour winds and dumping 80-inches of rain, primarily to the Central and Southern counties of Taiwan. Such powerful rain resulted in dangerous mudslides and flooding. Within two days, the entire country felt the effects of this storm, watching as villages had to be evacuated, and entire buildings gave way to the mudslides. Despite government rescue efforts, over 600 people died, with 70 others missing.

Two very different places in the world - separated by continents, oceans and time zones - and yet, both so helpless and powerless in the eye of the storm. Certainly language and cultural barriers make for different eyes to witness such disaster, yet the tears shed are the same. The loss and heartache need no translation. The urgency for help and support can be seen and felt worldwide.

For those in Taiwan and the States, the affect of such big storms can help bridge the distance and cultural gaps that would otherwise keep the two countries apart.

In Taipei, watching as their fellow Taiwanese in the South succumbed to the island’s worst rainstorm in 50 years, the emotions were high.

Sandra Chao, from Taipei, noted that the typhoon didn’t cause much damage in her city, but news brought the storm’s damage closer. “What I watched on the TV was horrible. The damage done in southern Taiwan made me really sad while I was watching it.” Chao added that she was stuck in a Los Angeles airport during Hurricane Katrina, so she is very familiar with the storm that hit the Gulf Coast.

Ya-Ting Yang has lived in Taiwan her whole life and was living in Puzih City, Chiayi County when the storm came.

“We didn’t feel the typhoon until the 9th August, in the morning, when the water outside our house just kept rising every minute,” she said. Even with a flat gat to protect the main entrance of her family’s home, through the course of the day, the water continued to rise, breaking a double layer glass door, and flooding the Yang’s basement.

“We managed to move the sofa up to the second floor, but we lost a TV and the whole stereo set. Mainly property loss. We were really lucky.”

However, the waters continued to rise, almost to the second floor of the Yang home’s .

“We couldn’t bare standing there seeing our house being flooded, so we went to bed and hoped that everything would be find the next morning. Luckily, the water started to fade away afterward, and it didn’t get to the second floor,” she said.

Prior to the typhoon, Yang shared that she did feel sympathy for other countries when affected by natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina in America, which she said was big news in Taiwan.

“It’s hard not feel sympathy when you see people’s lives are being threatened by misfortune,” she said. “But I’d have to say that they never seemed close and real to me. They were mostly just something you see on TV, you frown and sympathize a bit and you move on.”

For Yang, knowing that 10,000 houses were flooded in her city, her sensitivity to those affected by natural disasters has changed. “Even without too much loss, I was greatly shocked. Afterward, I couldn’t stop crying when I saw the news. In Kaohsiung, people’s houses were just buried all of a sudden. There wasn’t even any prevention, everything happened too fast.”

She added that experiencing the typhoon has “made it hard to distance myself from disasters from now on. All these disasters seem so far yet are all so closely connected.”

While news of the typhoon did not receive major airtime in the States, most news outlets did report on the storm and its damage.

Scott Farmer, a student in Taipei, originally from Iowa, noted that he did receive concerned e-mails from friends back home. “I was definitely surprised to find that some of my family was really aware of the Morakot situation a few days after it occurred. I think people know Taiwan is small, but perhaps they don’t really understand the scale.”

Scott was living in the States during Hurricane Katrina, and could draw a small comparison between the two storms. “It just seemed that in both situations, the populace was very unhappy with how the government handled the situation. I don’t understand the ins and outs of either catastrophe, but the people’s reactions were similar in some ways. I felt like people in the states were distrusting of the U.S. government, and they called into question the motives for how things were executed. In Taiwan, I don’t think I felt the same thing.”

For Illinois resident, Jeannie Hayes, her job in broadcast media during Hurricane Katrina has helped her to better understand Typhoon Morakot.

“Hurricane Katrina made me realize that Mother Nature doesn’t play favorites. This kind of thing can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Americans went through so much pain and suffering. It made me realize that people in other countries feel the exact same amount of devastation when it happens to them,” she said. “The world is a small place, and we all need to support each other. Now, when I hear about a disaster on the other side of the world, I stop to think about what those people must be going through.”

 

(Photo by C. Phiv - Penghu Islands, June 2009)

 

Thursday, 01 October 2009

The Wang family

When you climb to the hilltop villages, you can expect to often stop along the road: the aftermath of the earthquake and the seasonal rains make it a permanent ‘work in progress.’ The road sometimes crosses one of the traditional bridges spanned along the many streams and rivers arms.

The earthquake destroyed the Wang family’s house. Twice already they have rebuilt part of it, even though during the first months, aftershocks dwarfed their efforts. The husband is a carpenter. He has a son and a daughter from a previous marriage. He keeps painful memories of the eight years of illness of his first wife and of the repeated demands for money he had to make to his friends and acquaintances, so as to purchase medicine ... The raising of pigs, small-scale tea production and the picking of medicinal plants bring them additional income, but this is not sufficient to meet the expenditure incurred in reconstruction. And only one son, the third of their children can go to school ...

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/wangfamily.jpg|}media/articles/AZ_Qiang_thewangfamily.swf{/rokbox}

Monday, 28 September 2009

Ersu people in Southwest Sichuan (I)

Villagers from Shimian county, southwest Sichuan, sing an Ersu song. Ersu people today number around 20,000. They have not been officially recognized as an ethnic minority and have been attached to the Tibetans. They are very close to their Yi neighbors. Depending on location, they sometimes call themselves “Lusu”, “Lisu”, or Buersi… Their disappearing writing system, used almost exclusively for religious purposes, is pictographic, and makes use of colors to indicate degrees of expressivity.
In the wake of modernization, despite often expressing the wish to see their traditional culture protected and revived, Ersu people are rapidly losing their language, rituals and other ethnic markers. In Shimian county, though there has been an officially sponsored program for learning the traditional diviner-priest skills, finally none of the ten selected youth has been willing to enter the time-consuming formation with an elder. Music has been better preserved, and a group dedicates itself to Ersu repertory.

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/ersupeople.jpg|}media/articles/LZ_Ersu1.swf{/rokbox}

 

 

Watch here the second part of the song

 

Wednesday, 02 September 2009

Gleaning in Taipei

For eRenlai’s September Focus, Benoit Vermander uses the story of Hercules and the Hydra with Seven Heads as a metaphor for the global crises. In a personal reflection, one concept which I thought attacked several of the hydra’s heads at the same time was that of ’gleaning’.

I was inspired after watching French director Agnes Varda’s film "Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse." This touching documentary which reflects on a legendary old Jean Francois Miller painting ‘Les Glaneurs’ takes us on a trip across France to follow different modes of gleaning - from traditional gleaning at the end of the harvest, to urban gleaning which recycles garbage and waste, the victims of consumption. Thus, in the film, Agnes interviews people of alternative lifestyles (whether out of necessity or choice) where she incorporates concepts of non-waste, austerity, recycling and new age living and looks into French laws in a time of impending environmental crises.

Bringing this concept close to home, one year ago, Paris’ Musée d’Orsay lent the National Museum of History in Taiwan Jean-Francois Millet’s painting, Les Glaneurs (Gleaners). The image of gleaners collecting the leftovers of a harvest in times of austerity initially came across as boring and simple to my untrained eye. However, after watching a French film directed by Agnes Varda called ‘Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse’ (The Gleaners and I) I was inspired and began to understand the depth of meaning and present-day relevance of the painting in the age of waste and triumph of consumption. Suddenly, this was a work of art which captivated and re-instilled faith in our ancestors.

In the film, Agnes briefly focuses on Alain, an urban glaneur who feeds himself from vegetables and fruits left by grocers when markets end. Despite holding a Masters in Biology, he chose to live in a refuge, teaching French to immigrants living off the market’s leftovers.

Alain’s story inspired me in my research on gleaning in Taiwan, and in my personal lifestyle. I searched around my room, after almost a year of living here, and I noticed that it is rampant with gleanings. Though not all of the collections can be considered as ’gleaning for a better world,’ even in the more modern sense, they all fit into a rather waste-less and thrift lifestyle. Certainly, gleaning for reasons of short or long term poverty is as credible as gleaning out of principle. Furthermore I felt a revelation that it’s natural human and animal activity. We are the hunter-gatherers.

Thus from this point onwards, I’ll cover a series on different manifestations of a gleaning nature in Taiwan and Asia. From gleaning in its purest form - like a farm in Pingdong, Southern Taiwan which allowed neighbours and a neighbouring villages to glean from their own fields, due to the fall of beans prices, to more modern and urban manifestations of gleaning, where we see the ’shi huang’ people (拾荒者), the ’bottle collectors’ who pick empty bottles from the parks and the sidewalks often able to make a living. For example my spiritual home in Shida park, where under the watchful eye of the squirrel of hope who is leaping towards the sky, are various bottle collectors and recyclers of different forms who are the critical link in the journey of the Taiwan Beer bottles’ journey from the last remaining local newsagent in the Shida night market, to our mouths, through the recycling plant and all the way back such is their circle of life

Such examples remind us that alternative, environmentally sustainable lifestyles are available to us, and we will search out examples that could inspire reflection and action.

Wednesday, 02 September 2009

Gleaning in Taipei

For eRenlai’s September Focus, Benoit Vermander uses the story of Hercules and the Hydra with Seven Heads as a metaphor for the global crises. In a personal reflection, one concept which I thought attacked several of the hydra’s heads at the same time was that of ’gleaning’.

I was inspired after watching French director Agnes Varda’s film "Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse." This touching documentary which reflects on a legendary old Jean Francois Miller painting ‘Les Glaneurs’ takes us on a trip across France to follow different modes of gleaning - from traditional gleaning at the end of the harvest, to urban gleaning which recycles garbage and waste, the victims of consumption. Thus, in the film, Agnes interviews people of alternative lifestyles (whether out of necessity or choice) where she incorporates concepts of non-waste, austerity, recycling and new age living and looks into French laws in a time of impending environmental crises.

Bringing this concept close to home, one year ago, Paris’ Musée d’Orsay lent the National Museum of History in Taiwan Jean-Francois Millet’s painting, Les Glaneurs (Gleaners). The image of gleaners collecting the leftovers of a harvest in times of austerity initially came across as boring and simple to my untrained eye. However, after watching a French film directed by Agnes Varda called ‘Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse’ (The Gleaners and I) I was inspired and began to understand the depth of meaning and present-day relevance of the painting in the age of waste and triumph of consumption. Suddenly, this was a work of art which captivated and re-instilled faith in our ancestors.

In the film, Agnes briefly focuses on Alain, an urban glaneur who feeds himself from vegetables and fruits left by grocers when markets end. Despite holding a Masters in Biology, he chose to live in a refuge, teaching French to immigrants living off the market’s leftovers.

Alain’s story inspired me in my research on gleaning in Taiwan, and in my personal lifestyle. I searched around my room, after almost a year of living here, and I noticed that it is rampant with gleanings. Though not all of the collections can be considered as ’gleaning for a better world,’ even in the more modern sense, they all fit into a rather waste-less and thrift lifestyle. Certainly, gleaning for reasons of short or long term poverty is as credible as gleaning out of principle. Furthermore I felt a revelation that it’s natural human and animal activity. We are the hunter-gatherers.

Thus from this point onwards, I’ll cover a series on different manifestations of a gleaning nature in Taiwan and Asia. From gleaning in its purest form - like a farm in Pingdong, Southern Taiwan which allowed neighbours and a neighbouring villages to glean from their own fields, due to the fall of beans prices, to more modern and urban manifestations of gleaning, where we see the ’shi huang’ people (拾荒者), the ’bottle collectors’ who pick empty bottles from the parks and the sidewalks often able to make a living. For example my spiritual home in Shida park, where under the watchful eye of the squirrel of hope who is leaping towards the sky, are various bottle collectors and recyclers of different forms who are the critical link in the journey of the Taiwan Beer bottles’ journey from the last remaining local newsagent in the Shida night market, to our mouths, through the recycling plant and all the way back such is their circle of life

Such examples remind us that alternative, environmentally sustainable lifestyles are available to us, and we will search out examples that could inspire reflection and action.

Wednesday, 02 September 2009

Culture in Times of Crisis

The Taiwanese author Ping Lu’s metaphors on cultural diversity.

 


 

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Herr Johann Strauss II

It was indeed too sultry today that I could hardly nod to Herrn Beethoven’s Fate. Moments before I rejected my beloved Herrn Beethoven, I had a talk with Herrn Johann Sebastian Bach. I sensed that he intended to build the entire Brandenburg on my account. Such expenditure naturally led to a less satisfactory farewell between us. My favorite Herr Mozart used to be a close friend to me. Today he insisted, however, to talk about Jupiter all along. "Naja… Jupiter ist heute aber kein gutes Themen,” I said, “Mon cher, Amedeus, I think you may kindly pay me a visit some other day. C’est bon?"

Unanticipated as it was, that "c’est bon" offended the proud Russian gentleman Monsieur Tchaikovsky, who were elegantly leaning against the door. He furiously yet so smooth-handedly bent the Marseillaise and blew right away his horn of 1812. Now it was obviously too late to engage my dear Amadeus’ much softer Horn; thus I had to solemnly, and calmly, ask Monsieur Tchaikovsky to leave with his cannons.

Then stepped Herr Johann Strauß II into my drawing room.

I had a long nice chat with Herrn Johann Strauß II. As the night descended, he— being an attentive, thoughtful Vienna gentleman— poured the entire Blue Danube down from the top over my head.

"Herr Johann Strauß II," though totally wet as one could well imagine, I felt compelled to keep up with the elegance of the Hapsburg. "Do you… agree with me that it is indeeeeed a very nice and cool concert at the Danube. Qu’en pensez-vous?"

Herr Johann Strauß II refused to comment on my poor, poseur French and lowered his eyes staring at his own wonderful waltz scores. I realized that all the Vienna gentlemen must be as modest as this one thus tried to pick on another topic.

"Herr Johann Strauß II," I said, "do you recall that newly entered parliament member Herrn Lüger? Now, do tell me, how are we to feel comfortable that there is actually someone in the parliament who has such a surname? Comme ci…"

Herr Johann Strauß II interrupted me with caution and politeness, "Mademoiselle, wir in Wien… oh, it is in music, drama, and arts of all kinds that we are interested in Vienna. Politics… is a matter of no commonly shared concern. Nonetheless— allow me to remind you, mademoiselle— this new member of our parliament is not of ordinary family. He is addressed as Herr von Lüger…" That said, he poured down to my head even more from the Blue Danube.

"A bon…" as poseur as one could be, I endured all the sweet coldness of river water and night dews, fanning myself into even sweeter coldness, and said, "According to you, Herr Johann Strauß II, it is only due to my baaaaad accent as a non-Viennese that I inappropriately remark on politics in Vienna. Since their family kommt von Lügern, it must be their ancestral misfortune to play a part in politics!"

Herr Johann Strauß II nodded slightly, "Indeed, now it has gotten much, much better..." and poured actually more water from the Blue Danube down to my head.

It was midnight that I could no longer endure to fan myself warm. Thus I stood up with all my firm determination and slapped my fan right onto this Vienna gentleman mon cher Herr Johann Strauß II’s head:

MERDE!

After all, even with Herrn Johann Strauß II, there was no honorable farewell today.
 

 

(photo by Cerise Phiv)

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation

AMOUNT: 

Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« June 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

We have 3527 guests and no members online