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影片最後 Pi 問作家:"Which story do you prefer?"


prefer 本身代表有不只一個選項可以讓你自由選擇,沒有強迫中獎。例如如果我去早餐店,服務生問我想喝甚麼,我問他有哪些選項,然後假如他說有茶又有咖啡。我可能會說這樣一句話:I prefer tea over coffee for breakfast.

回到電影情節。作家說:"The one with the tiger - it's a better story!"

Pi 微笑說:"Thank you.  And so it goes with God."



有的人說 Pi 是無神論,他比較信第二個故事。也有人說 Pi 信第一個故事,但是其實只是因為第一個故事讓他感覺比較好 (feel better),其實他在逃避現實,他知道第二個故事才是真的,等等。


"It's a better story." 這句話的確很不精準,"better"的定義是甚麼? 但是腳本這麼寫可能是因為是兩個人在家喝茶對話。即使如此不精準,找任何一個母語是英文的人來都會說,這裡是指作家覺得第一個故事有意義多了!  跟哪個故事讓人自我感覺良好沒有關係。

Pi 微笑說謝謝,意思就是他本人也比較喜歡第一個故事,有老虎的那個。他最後突然回到作者之前很期待他的故事會讓他相信神這個話題上,然後說了這句:"And so it goes with God." 純粹字面上的翻譯,阿貓阿狗都會翻的那種,為;「信不信上帝也是如此」但是我換個方式翻:

- 你比較喜歡有上帝的人生還是沒上帝的人生正如同挑一個好故事一樣,換句話說,有沒有上帝是其次,你真正在找的是如何解釋人生的意義。

------- 從作家採訪學英文 (2013.05.31) ------


I thought religion is like that (the number Pi), too: It's something "irrational" that helps make sense of things. ...

His (Pi's) argument (and mine) is that a vision of life that has a transcendental element is better than one that is purely secular and materialist. ...

My narrative strategy in writting this book was to write a story that was progressively harder to believe. ... Now will you believe in this crazy carnivorous island? I figure most readers will not believe it. ...

But I wanted that better story to have something unbelievable about it. ... BECAUSE every great thing in life — be it religion, love, any ideal — has an element of the unreasonable to it. We are not computers. We need the pull of the unreasonable to get us through life. The island represents that unreasonable element in the first story.

I would guess that every book is to some extent the intellectual autobiography of its author. Pi is interested in religions: so am I. Pi is open to all faiths: so am I. Pi is comfortable in different Godhouses: so am I. There is a sociocultural component to religions. Just as there are different ways of feeding the body, there are different ways of feeding the soul. Each religion is one group of people's attempt to understand ultimate reality. I think in each one there is a portion of truth and a portion of error. So I see in all great religions the same frame of being, only seen from a different perspective.


主持人: One of the primary motivations for writing this book is to deal with the issue of human evil.

作者: Religion is a wonderful machine for digesting evil.

None of them (religions) are perfect.  All of them are cultural attempts to understand what goes beyond culture.

------- 接下來為我個人看完影片後的感想,但不算是影評 -------


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看過 Ramsey Clark 當天晚宴上的發言,我覺得當場翻譯翻得不精準,很多文字上的重點和情感都不見了 - lost in translation!


“Every visit I’ve had to Taiwan has been a joy because of its beautiful people and such a beautiful island, though I recognize and feel how hard the road has been.  And um since I first set foot on China and saw it in 1948 and the long great struggle of people here, it made me sad to realize um how difficult for all of us the struggle remains, and how dangerous the moment and the future is, and how current events have made this part of the world, in which Taiwan is so prominent, so dangerous for peace on Earth at this time.  We see the struggle in southeast Asia and the conflict between 2 great powers - my own country the US and the PRC - both of which has the capacity to arms nuclear weapons to destroy life on Earth. ...


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吸血鬼 Dracula 代表的(意義之一)是19世紀貴族勢力衰敗對上中產階級興起的問題。狼人則是不能自己(因為他無法控制自己的身體)的中產階級。而科學怪人則是不被社會接受及關懷的下層階級的悲歌。

在西方文學的世界裡,真的是充滿象徵 symbols!




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Dracula is more than a horror story.  It was very scary for the English readers at the time of writing because it points out a few major fears of at-the-turn-of-the-20th-century Britain.

You can read it online for free.  Just go to Google and search keywords "read Dracula online."

This week, I would like to share 2 passages by my classmates and my Prof.'s discussions on how different monsters are related to class problems in additional to my essay.


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"Alice in Wonderlands" is actually 2 books  - "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass."  They are not only for children but also adults.  Of course, children and adults see different parts of the books.

Have you read the books too?  What were your thoughts and opinions?


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A few readers have asked me to post my writings because they like my lean writing style.

Actually, I tend to write applied documents such as complaint letters and such today :)  But lucky you, I am taking a Fantasy & Science Fiction Literature class on Coursera.org.

I will post my homework assignments and the comments I receive from other classmates.  So here is my essay assignment for Unit 1: Grimms' Fairytales:


The theme of a couple’s bond and marriage reoccurs in the Grimms' Fairytales to address the basic human need for love and its conflict with other needs.  The tales, although some seem confusing, argue that overcoming hardships together gives a relationship its depth.


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老師讓我們讀一篇寓言(伊索寓言改編來的,作者是神職人員 G.F. Townsend
這裡面有很強烈的象徵 symbolism。例如生計(食物)、家庭/家族(包括尾巴在西方文學中代表著性能力),和聖經創世篇呼應。
The Man and the Serpent 

A Countryman's son by accident trod upon a Serpent's tail, which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in a rage got his axe, and pursuing the Serpent, cut off part of its tail. So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer's cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to the mouth of its lair, and said to it:

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Last week, I did an online training on my company's training portal and learned quite a lot on energy saving.

I thought I should share these simple tips and information in English. :)


For those who were afraid of science and math classes in school, let's do a quick review.

There are a few different units for energy, but the one that you see on your electricity bill is kWh, or kilo-Watt hour.

1 kWh on the bill means that you have used as much energy as boiling 36 liter (L) of water from 0°C to 100°C.

The same energy also allows you to do 1 of the following things:


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最近在幫朋友準備托福,比起12年前考試方式改很多了,加了口說和很多短文題目。光是考一次就要好3-4個小時吧? 其實我覺得很折騰學生,公司開會都沒有人想開超過1小時的,考試卻這麼長。對於台灣的學生,我想你們一定很痛苦,因為很多東西扯到文化差異,學校又沒教。


(2012-07 註:恭喜我這位朋友分數拉高了10分左右,由英國某間很幸運又有眼光的知名的學校翻譯系研究所錄取囉!)




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News in English: Germans welcome their new president


Today Germany's new president Joachim Gauck (pronounced “Yo-ah-im Gaok”) inaugurates.  He was a Lutheran pastor and a civil rights leader in East Germany.


After the unification of Germany, he was elected by the Bundestag (the German parliament) to be the 1st Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Archives (1999-2000) that preserves and protects the former E. German secret police archives and investigate past crimes of the secret police Stasi.

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English or any other langauge is a great tool - it, however, should not be the goal or the end of any learning.
A great example of this is you can read about how other people anaylize your culture or your people.
It shows you more perspectives and helps to picture where the truth lies most likely.
It is especially very helpful if you can see your blind spot through the eyes of the others.

I would like to bring you a mind revolution, and it starts with helping you learn English.



"Conduct Reconnaissance into the Future -
How Chinese Entrepreneurs Anticipate the Future of Their Business"

By Donald N. Sull, Yong Wang

"Ting Hsin did many things right in entering the packaged noodle market.
Unfortunately, Ting Hsin has stumbled a few times since coming to dominate the noodle market.
The Wei brothers entered into several unrelated businessses, including hypermarkets, personal computer retailing, and fast-food restaurants.
This diversification, among other factors, led the group to stretch its resources too thin and forced the family to seek outside financing from partners.
We are not arguing that the Ting Hsin Group is a model of all aspects of managing in an unpredictable market.
Ting Hsin's entry into noodles does, however, illustrate one important point that we shall discuss more generally in the remainder of the chapter." (Pg.8)

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Most people say, "I am American/English/Taiwanese... because I act and feel like one."

Many mixed babies say, "I am both X and Y, because my father is from X country and my mother from Y."

Some N-nd generation immigrant say, "My family comes from X but I was born and raised here and so I am American/English/Taiwanese..."

Some say, "I am a(n) American/British/Taiwanese citizen because I hold a passport from that country."

In some countries, to become a new citizen (through a process called "naturalization"), one has to swear on the Constitution of the new country.

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你問為什麼我要免費教你?因為我覺得跟你收費教你國外公立高中學校教的東西很 LOW,就這麼簡單。


*New* (2012-08-01) Tips from Redeemer University College Writing Center (Canada)


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Washington Post:  "Tycoon prods Taiwan closer to China"




- a businessperson of great wealth and power





2012-02-01 補充:

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"You have asked for my Ten Commandments. It's a difficult matter, because I am against any kind of commandment. Yet, just for the fun of it, I write:"

1.  Never obey anyone's command unless it is coming from within you also.
2.  There is no God other than life itself.
3.  Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.
4.  Love is prayer.
5.  To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.

6.  Life is now and here.
7.  Live wakefully.
8.  Do not swim - float.
9.  Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.
10.Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.

PS: Numbers 3, 7, 9 & 10 were underlined by Osho in his original letter.


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上個月去同學家看到他弟弟的一本書,書名叫做 "Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans",出版社 Oval Books 在倫敦,算是小出版商。 這本書從頭到尾讓我笑到肚子痛。 小小一本書(A5大小,每本約300公克),但是非常精闢,點到美國很多人的想法,潛意識和做法,還有整個社會體系的一些問題和現象。

*新* You can read them on Google Books for FREE!  Then you can decide if you want to buy a copy.

從同學家回來後查了一下,Oval Books 還有出其它的 Xenophobe's Guides (點照片閱讀片段),幾乎每本都很受歡迎,作者很多是記者或心理學教授,也都讓人笑到肚子痛。 所以我一口氣買了17本(還不是全部)。 跟一些在愛爾蘭的朋友做了分享,大家都笑到肚子痛。 以下是一些很有趣的比較和摘要:


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Are you in a cram school for English?  Why do you need to improve your English in such a short period of time, and what for?

A better test score?

A better school?

Or a better job?


No matter what your short-term goals are, keep in mind that effective communication is the most important skill for English-speakers at workplace and during social interactions today.

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隨著通過不同的階段建立自己的信心,就比較不會半途而廢 :)

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