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.
I will share thoughts and impressions arising from those travels in the next few posts.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
If there is a moral to the story, it may be that sometimes life imitates cartoons, or perhaps the other way around.
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.
Long live those wily rabbits!