Category Archives: travel

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 500 WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 500 WITH NOTES

STRANGE SIGHT

(陌生景象

cursory off-course

偏离的路线

broken relate museum

破裂关系博物

in baroque palace

在欧古宫殿

vain to miss visit

负失访问

shared human heartache stories

共同有心痛故事

infused in objects

注入物体内

more than failed romance

仅失浪漫

donated hurt mementoes

赠伤痛纪念品

spill spilt up passion

溢灑起激情

new narratives heal

新叙述愈合

meaning meld or melt in muse

融合化在沉思

 drain out better dream

耗尽好梦想

Note:

After listening to the local guide’s introduction of the churches, and government building, we had a passing glance at an old Imperial building. I was attracted by the sign board, “Museum of Broken Relationship”, not the 18th century Baroque.

The walls had glistening white paints, with displays of donated objects, with small print narratives. I read there was a restriction of less than a hundred departed loved items per exhibit, in order not to over flood the senses of hundred crowded visitors per day. I was a lone visitor to walk in that instant, and the pretty staff looked at me with a smile. I asked permission to snap some pictures, the book shelves, flags of T-shirts with slogans of “I love Broke Up”, and some mementoes. I must be too old to crack, but my classmate was courageous or crazy enough to marry a late 40’s at 73 years recently. Maybe it was companionship for him, but the Viagra will help to bond a little, and infertility will be God’s blessing. Human relationship are always very subtle, and even my old partner gets emotional, if I pry an eye or two at God’s other creations, from timeless past, fresher than current reality. “I grow old, I grow old; I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” Well, Prufrock wasn’t clear whether the frock was rolled up or down!

Shared love-hate objects are loaded with emotion; treasured for the past, but hurt by perceived betrayal or mistrust. It takes time to part, to tease out the entangled knots out of the objects. These mementoes or cued recall are the cherished connections, reconstructed memorabilia or symbols, and more visible than emotion. The rage, jealousy, and all kinds of loss take meaning.  We are reborn in catharsis; internalize and displaced with a new coating. We are inventor of meaning. Even for those who seek new dignity and supremacy have to find their stories to justify. Scientifically we may progress by leaps and bound, but deep within us, we are still tribal. Be aware, even if you are President, Prime Minister or God’s messengers.  

“I’ve been getting the most intense workouts since I taped a picture of my ex on the heavy bag!”

P/S many thanks for the pictures and cartoons I have copied and pasted in this. There is no commercial gain for me. Many thanks also to co-founders and The Museum of Broken Relationship; you are the first to export such culture to the world.

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 499 WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 499 WITH NOTES

FREEDOM FOR GLITTERING GOLD

闪光金子的自由)

drove down a dirt road

驶过一土路

narrow, winding and thrill of

狭窄曲折而激

spectacular sight

壮观的景象

Image result for Dubrovnik dirt road

pearls glitter in sun

光下珍珠

awesome Adriatic Sea

敬畏亚得里亚海

around walled bastions

围墙绕堡垒

shelled for seven months

击七个月

siege, survive empire throne games

攻、帝皇生存游

since medieval

自从中世纪

walk high city walls

走上高城

war miseries on limestone

战争难在石灰石

street, over- priced climb

街、高价攀登

Note:

It is believed that people treasured freedom more than gold; or rather, after the gold, they yearn for freedom, taking the other for granted. We miss what we lack, and ignore what we hold. It would be vain for me to answer for the people in Dubrovnik and the Balkans, the Catalonians in Spain, the Hong Kongers in China, and even the Malays in Malaysia. The more they demand for dignity, the lesser they have. Eventually, we destroy what we have in hand, and begin our walk on high city walls on limestone path, and boast about past history of grandeur, claims of long ancestry. I have read that we all human beings started from the savanna or jungle of Africa, and we drift across continents and oceans, changing our skin colour with the sun or diet.

The common usage that “all that glitters is not gold” may not be necessarily right. The stunning Adriatic Seas glitters like pearl in the Mediterranean during summer, with abundant tourism gold, The Pearl of the Orient, destroys their pot of gold with their destruct. The Golden Chersonese shines with its tin and other metals, rather than gold, and their luster has gone. We have a shared history.

Image result for the golden khersonese paul wheatley

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 498, WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 498, WITH NOTES

BAFFLING BALKAN TOUR

(閒逛巴爾乾之旅)

waddle and wind through

蹣跚地而

narrow twined cobbled alleys

狹窄盘绕卵石巷

between stone buildings

在建筑之间

Kotor kitties laze

科托爾懶惰

on squares overlooking cliff

俯在懸崖廣場上

tower and churches

古塔和教堂

vain to hike up steps

徒然爬台階

steep hills hug charming inlets

峭丘紧抱迷入口

tourist trot past scenes

遊客快步跑

heritage sighted

產物显示

eyes visited but not heart

眼参观但不是心

souvenirs to show

展示紀念品

Note:

In most city tours in Balkan, we followed the guide, waddled through typical narrow cobbled streets. Life here was slow and somber, measured with teaspoons. “People come and go, talking of Michelangelo.” The cats or pets shown us all; laze around and stretched for a good sun bath. We visited heritage sites, listened to the history and culture of each locality, and be educated on our return.

The Balkan Tours have many UNESCO sights. The Educational, Cultural aspects are more obvious, but not the scientific aspect. The main income in Balkan comes from tourism and agriculture. Yet I observed no mention of environmental pollution with large influx of tourists. Hotel sewages are seen drained into Orhid Lake, hopefully well treated prior to discharge; uncertain on how they conserved the waste produced.  Equally uncertain was the treatment of lime in the production of tuff in Plitvice National Park; the burning of firewood. Agriculture in Romania and Balkan areas were too small for mechanization; puzzled about hydrology, oceanographic and biodiversity for states along the coast. Of course funds are needed.  The US and even Japan and many states are not paying their dues, despite all the talk about environmental protection and human rights. We see a lot of double Talk.

The Tour enables us to see the horror of racialism and bigotries. State boundaries change with time; even personal identities are permeable. Despite this, even the wise among us have not learned. We are currently witnessing the Catalonia shout for Independence from Spain. Soon it might be Scotland and Ireland with UK Brexit from Europe. In Malaysia, we have Ketuanan Malaysia (Malay Supremacy), in the tune of White Supremacy by Trump. The dominant felt that the minorities have stolen from them: land, employment, housing, rights, heritage, history and even dignity. The list of insecurities could be as long as Silk Road. (Gosh, better not to be interpreted as communist ideology.) There is also a claim of five thousand years of past history; without calculating the many years hibernating in Taiwan or African jungles. I could never imagine taking offence in such statements. Let our scholars and politicians argue. We just laze and sip our coffee, beer, wine or whisky, for the world is better seen in semi tipsy state. It is baffling on how much we have learned in the trip to share with other Malaysians across the wide divide.

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 500: STRANGE SIGHT WITH NOTES

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 500: STRANGE SIGHT WITH NOTES

cursory off-course

broken relate museum

in baroque palace

vain to miss visit

shared human heartache stories

infused in objects

more than failed romance

donated hurt mementoes

spill spilt up passion

new narratives heal

meaning meld or melt in muse

drain out better dream

Note:

Our city tour began on upper town of Zagreb, visiting old churches and government administrative buildings. It was getting a bit boring viewing the same, until a strange sign board, a Museum for Broken Relationship, was sighted.  It was weird. I strayed from the group for ten minutes and walked inside. Sweaters with “I Love Break-Up” slogans were for sales, and many books on display. I asked permission to take some pictures, and read a little about the museum. It was the first of the kind in the world, and the brainchild of Drazen Grubisic  and Olinka Vistica.  It collected objects and items parted by break up couples, objects that were too emotionally involved to discard and to keep. The ambivalence is not easy for outsiders to understand. It was entangled feeling of love-hate relationship. It is not too difficult to understand that the political and economic turbulence in Balkan have affected many couples, almost a third of the new weds. These donated loved objects might appear petty or even ridiculous, but the founder gave them the space to ventilate their grief, so that they might grow and glow in the healing process. They and visitors thus become spectators of passion and hurt feeling in the bricolage of reconstructed identities. It is interesting to note that there were some items of political nature. A previous fan of President Barrack Obama gave up his memento, when he found out that the promised political and social change  have not occurred  after the election except the President himself and his Nobel Prize for Peace. Maybe Encik Anwar or our Malaysian opposition leaders or followers surrender their mementoes when Dr. M failed in his pre-election promises.

Letting go of mementoes was a way of reconstructing turmoil in break-up, to look at hurt away from the hurt objects or scenario. The museum is not meant for break-up couples, but also for visitors, as messages on the dual nature of love are universal.

In a cyber world, we no longer interact face to face, not even in Face Book. Families who stay in the same house engage in cyber talk, not casual conversation. We read endless recycle forwarded mails and watch same quality video. In tourism, we travel and visit sceneries, live in hotels and eat in restaurants, we never have time in engage  in face to face talks, at best with a couple of fellow travelers. This is my lamentation.

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 497 WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 497 WITH NOTES

COUNTRY CUISINE

(家鄉美食)

creative cuisine

創意的菜式

cordon bleu for all dishes

蓝带艺的菜肴

culinary art

烹调的艺术

cook with loving heart

爱心做饭

fine portions pleases palate

细膩部份滿口感

tongue tangle in taste

舌头上缠结

home hummus to whet

豆泥

fresh, grilled salads with yogurt

鲜烤沙律及酸奶

baked meat pies as main

烘肉餅为主

relaxed ambience

轻松的气氛

décor of bygone era

舊時年代的裝飾

ravishing review

精彩的回顧

Note:

As a lay “connoisseur”, I appreciate not too much on food in fine cuisine, but expert home cuisine taste as good. There are lots of snobbishness and hassle in fine dining, besides the high cost and excess time spent in the pursuit. However, we cannot deny that culinary skill and taste are better in fine dining, subject to individual preferences. Fine cuisine is a culinary art, and all art needs skill training, knowledge (in sourcing produce, preparation etc.) and patience. In a modern age, home cooking is losing out to market forces; house wives (or husbands, for political sake) are no longer that capable any more. I have often told many house wives to hone their domestic skills, as job opportunities are getting scare and home cooking may face commercial market in a new way. One needs to be creative to cook well. Cordon beau is blue ribbons for the best in things. I love this Albanian restaurant, for they cook ordinary dishes into extra ordinary cuisine. And the chef must have love in their work to do well.  

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 496 WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 496 WITH NOTES

BULGARIAN BULWARK

(保加利亞堡垒)

city clings on cliff

城鎮懸崖挂

ruined castle and church wound

毁坏城堡和教堂

around the river

缠绕着河流

old bulwark fortress

旧時城堡

good vibe lazing around lane

巷子悠閒好感应

with artistic craft

与工业艺术

long queue at the church

在教堂排隊

confession to Sofia

向索菲亚表忏悔

sins without sinners

犯者无罪孽

hermit hidden deep

隱士深藏着

in forested mountain caves

在林中深處山洞

miracles for sick

为疾病奇迹

Note:

Living at the edge, both physically and mentally, are always memorable and unusual. The ruined castle and churches reminded of war and destruction. Whether killed or be killed, the living always live with hurt and wound, which wind or wrapped around the twist and turn or river of life.

No matter how fortified the fortress was built, they were destroyed in war, leaving behind memories for future generation to sing in praise or blame. Shedding off historical burden, it is a good feeling simply just to laze around. I enjoy watching the artisan skills and artifacts, without further cluttering my house.

In another city, I saw many majestic churches, with their named patron saints. In one Catholic church, there was a queue for confession. In this world, none of us are perfect; we have all sinned. If I were to queue, my narration of sins would be long, frustrated the time wait in the line. My tour guide would not wait for me. There were or are sins without sinners, otherwise the creator could be blamed for the imperfections.

Moving ahead, we arrived at the popular Rila Monastry. We heard stories about the hermit and his miracle cures, and thus the sainthood bestowed. Without all these religion, we would miss out these magnificent buildings within the great mountains, with their fresco, icons, wood carving and rituals. Though religions are often linked to war and conflict, they are due to failings of believers, especially the leaders, than the belief per se. Thus some believe in God without the labels, but it is the name or brand that bonds.  Maybe it is the language and cultures that divides beings (awareness) with varied consciousness.

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 499: FREEDOM FOR GLITTERING GOLD

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 499: FREEDOM FOR GLITTERING GOLD

drove down a dirt road

narrow, winding and thrill of

spectacular sight

 pearls glitter in sun

awesome Adriatic Sea

around walled bastions

shelled for seven months

siege, survive empire throne games

since medieval

walk high city walls

war miseries on limestone

street, over- priced climb

Note:

Our bus took a narrow country dirt road to detour. We drove in between houses with orchards, with skill to give way to pass. On the high ground, we saw the enchanting town from afar. The Adriatic Sea glitters like gold; no wonder it was honored as a “pearl”. Dubrovnik has survived under the rule of six empires and seven month of shelling by both Serbian and Montenegrin soldiers.  It treasured freedom more than gold. It has separated from Yugoslavia and become part of Croatia. The population has dwindled from a high of 49 thousand in 1991 to 26 thousand in 2019. It’s main earning is tourism.  It cost 28 Euro to climb and walk the city walls. The tour already provided a cable car, and, of course the view is different, but not under a hot sun for two hours. We sat in a shaded bar with a cool beer, and watched the drama nearby, including a couple of wedding. I am uncertain whether the residents here have found their new freedom or glittering gold in tourism trade.

Many pictures were copied and pasted from the web, for they are better than mine. Thanks. There’s no commercial value or gain for me.

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 492 WITH NOTES

POEM TRANSLATION ECHOES 492 WITH NOTES

SOUL OF SARAJEWO

萨拉热窝之魂)

misty dreamy world

胧梦幻界

houses perch on terraced hills

屋子落在梯田上

clear river image

清澈河流图

still shimmering sound

平静闪光声

Variegated tree crowns

美觀杂色的树冠

cap mountain ranges

遮盖的山脉

rage ravishes peace

狂怒压和平

hate shatter serenity

宁静被仇恨攻破

mass mindless murder

盲目的谋杀

rage ravishes peace

狂怒压和平

hate shatter serenity

宁静被仇恨攻破

mass mindless murder

盲目的谋杀

Note:

We passed through majestic sceneries along the way.  Before arriving to the city of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina, we saw expanding fields of cemeteries of varied culture, and bullet-holes of buildings. We had good cuisine at a local restaurant. I looked at my reflected image in a long mirror. What I observed was selected pictures of The Siege of the City, or another city called Srebrenica. It was a bloated lunch and too heavy for tourists to understand the suffering and mass killing to our city tour. So far we have learned that President Josip Broz Tito was a more respected dictator in the Balkan. After his death in 1980, contending states and cities declared Independence, resulting in ethnic cleansing and genocide, with thousands of death. Yet the US instigated Independence everywhere in Asia and Middle East, mainly to stay as a supremacy power. They instigated the Muslims in Xinjiang, Buddhist in Tibet, the Hans in Hong Kong to cede away from China for “freedom and democracy”.  The Hong Kong youth have much to learn from history, nationally and internationally. Bigotry, racialism and poor understanding of geo-politics could be disastrous. I think it is best for every culture, race and religion to live in peace and prosper our neighbors. This is also for our own betterment. What a shame that many leaders, including our own, could not break out of their shell of frozen mindset.

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 498: BAFFLING BALKAN TOUR

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 498: BAFFLING BALKAN TOUR

waddle and wind through

narrow  twined cobbled alleys

between stone buildings

Kotor kitties laze

on squares overlooking cliff

tower and churches

vain to hike up steps

steep hills hug charming inlets

tourist trot past scenes

heritage sighted

eyes visited but not heart

souvenirs to show

Note:

Kotor has three UNESCO Heritage sites, but we only visited one, and partially. We saw the cliff to the mountain top, but did not climb the steep 1355 steps to view the majesty of the waterfront and mountains. It would take 2-3 hours for return journey; not counting time for photography and rest in between whisky, coffee and pee.  The other two sites were not in our itinerary.  Group tourism is liked riding a horse to view the scenes along the road. We were in the bus for 3-6 hours daily; often arriving late in our hotel, without enjoying the facilities and landscaping in each, unless we deprive some sleeping hours.

The history was baffling: Roman, Ottoman, Communists and local wars; strange borders, currencies and small population and governance. There are lessons for us to learn. Racial divide and fight will get us nowhere; same with migration and religious and cultural intolerances.

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 497: COUNTRY CUISINE

MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 497: COUNTRY CUISINE

creative cuisine

cordon bleu for all dishes

culinary art

cook with loving heart

fine portion pleases palate

tongue tangle in taste

home hummus to whet

fresh, grilled salads with yogurt

baked meat pies as main


relaxed ambience

décor of bygone era

ravishing review

Note:

We have an excellent simple lunch at Era Villa, Tirana, Albania. Our Balkan guide, Helis Veizi from Landways ,is an Albanian with a Masters in Philology; he is very knowledgable and go all his ways to help, together with Justin Yeoh from GTT. All the way I gave my thumbs up for their services and friendliness. I take this opportunity to thank all the chef and waitors for their excellent services. They were rated 4.5 to 5 out of 5.