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Long live those wily rabbits!

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Since my last post, just before the Chinese New Year holiday, travels
have taken me far and wide. Beijing, for the Spring Festival holiday;
then Hong Kong; New York; Princeton, New Jersey; Guatemala City and
Iztapa, Guatemala; and Vancouver, Canada, before returning to Hong Kong.

春节前我发布了最后一篇博客以后,就一直忙着四处旅行:先是在北京庆祝了春节,然后回到香港;之后又陆续去了纽约、普林斯顿大学(新泽西州)、危地马拉市和Iztapa(危地马拉)、温哥华(加拿大),最后又返回香港。

I will share thoughts and impressions arising from those travels in the next few posts.

在今后的几篇博客中,我会和大家分享一下旅途中的心得和见闻。

Meanwhile, it seems an auspicious coincidence that this, my first post
of the New Year of the Rabbit, happens to be the sixtieth post since the
current series in my Sibuxiang blog was launched. Since I am a Rabbit
in the Chinese horoscope, this is my year. For me, this is not just an
ordinary Rabbit year, but the big one which completes a cycle of 5 sets
of 12 years of the Rabbit. This is another way of saying I am almost old
enough to get senior citizen discounts on public transport and cinema
tickets.

同时,似乎也是个吉利的巧合,我兔年的第一篇博客恰好是“四不像”系列博客的第60篇。而按照中国的属相,我是属兔的,今年是我的本命年。对我而言,这不仅仅是个普通的兔年,还是我人生的第5个本命年。换言之,我已经到了可以享受老年优惠价乘公交车或看演出的年龄。

Although I am not much driven by beliefs arising from horoscopes east or
west, Chinese friends have told me that this being my 5th Year of the
Rabbit on the planet is quite special, and a cause for celebration. That
sounds fine to me, and in recognition of the year-long special
occasion, I have already increased my intake of green vegetables, salad,
carrots, etc. so that I can fully resonate with my rabbit origins.

尽管我对东西方的星相学都不太相信,但中国朋友告诉我,我在地球上的第五个本命年是极其特殊的,也是非常值得庆祝的。这种说法听起来倒还不错,而且因为知道这一整年都是不一般的,所以我已经增加了对蔬菜的摄取量,多吃沙拉、胡萝卜之类的东西,全面顺应我兔的属性。

Growing up, as I did, on a diet of television children’s cartoons, it is
impossible to fully disassociate my thoughts about rabbits from the
images of that iconic cartoon character, Bugs Bunny. Carrot-munching
Bugs Bunny was always being pursued by his human nemesis, hunter Elmer
Fudd; yet, time and time again, Bugs would narrowly escape, outwitting
the hapless Fudd.

像我这样看着电视动画片长大的人,一提到兔子,很难不联想起经典的卡通形象“兔八哥”。大嚼特嚼胡萝卜的兔八哥总是被它的人类天敌——猎人艾玛追得团团转,但总能一次又一次地侥幸逃脱,机智地战胜倒霉的艾玛。

Ironically, I encountered a fair share of wily rabbit behavior. during
my childhood, quite apart from cartoons. I liked animals, and having
saved my weekly allowances and income from part-time jobs, I acquired,
by mail order, a device called a Havahart Trap. This was a long
rectangular wire box with hinged doors at either end, and a movable bait
tray in the middle.

有些讽刺的是,除了看动画片之外,我小时候还亲眼见识过兔子的一些花招。那时候我很喜欢动物,把每周的零花钱和兼职收入都攒下来,邮购了一个“Havahart”捕猎笼。这个笼子是用铁丝编成的,呈长方形,两头各有一个带机关的笼门,笼子中央有一个活动饵料盘。

The idea was that you would place a piece of bait on the tray which was
appropriate for the type of wild animal you wanted to lure into the
trap. You then placed the trap, suitably camouflaged by branches and
brush, in a spot known to be frequented by your target species of
animal. When the animal reached for the bait, the tray would be tripped,
and the doors would fall down, trapping the animal unharmed inside the
box.

你可以把猎捕对象爱吃的饵料放在笼子里的托盘上,然后把笼子放在猎捕对象出没的地方,用树枝和树叶进行适当的伪装。当动物靠近诱饵时,就会触动托盘,带动笼门落下,把动物困在笼内,又不对它造成伤害。

Some people used these to trap and dispose of unwanted pests, but for me
it was just fun to trap and observe the animal for a while, and then
release it unharmed back into the wild. The brand “Havahart”
intentionally sounded the same as the English words “have a heart”,
since the trap was designed to catch the animal unharmed, therefore
inviting a merciful release scenario.

有些人用这种笼子诱捕和处置不喜欢的宠物,但我只是为了抓捕和观察动物,过一阵子就会毫发无损地把它们放回大自然。笼子的品牌“Havahart”是“have a heart”(有心)的谐音,因为笼子本身不会对动物造成伤害,所以也希望能将捕获的动物慈悲放生。

I became skilled at catching fat gray squirrels and cute little
chipmunks, but despite tireless efforts, attempts with numerous
different techniques, various types of bait, elaborate camouflage
schemes, etc., I never managed to catch a rabbit. We had lots of rabbits
in the town where I grew up, but — young and old — they were all too
smart for me and my Havahart trap.

后来我对捕捉肥大的灰松鼠和可爱的小金花鼠很有经验,但无论我使用哪种技巧,更换哪种诱饵,添加哪种伪装,却从没抓到过一只兔子,总是无功而返。

So I walked along the same path as good old Elmer Fudd, outsmarted by
those clever, long-eared, fast-running rabbits. The closing score on the
scoreboard when the series of matches was complete: Rabbits – 10;
Sibuxiang – 0.

所以,我的下场和老艾玛殊途同归,总是被那些长着一对长耳朵、聪明伶俐、奔跑迅速的兔子打得落花流水。一路比拼下来,最后成绩牌上的结果是:兔子以10:0完胜“四不像”。

If there is a moral to the story, it may be that sometimes life imitates cartoons, or perhaps the other way around.

假如说这个故事有什么寓意的话,也许它说明了生活有时是在模仿动画片,而有时动画片又是在模仿生活。

Apart from eating more veggies, one of my new year’s resolutions is to
continue working on one skill which rabbits tend to be very keen at,
which is listening.

另外,除了多吃蔬菜,我的另一个新年新计划就是要学习一项兔子也很擅长的技巧——倾听。

Long live those wily rabbits!

祝狡猾的兔子长命百岁!

2016-06-23

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