在榴槤飘香的季节(英文)
In the Season Fragrant with Durians
Poems Prose Novelette
(Chinese-English)

Human life is a poem
Full of vitality love joys
Each line is glittering with happiness
Each word shall be retained
——Human Life

Works by Chan Sirisuwat [Thailand]
Translated by Zhang Zhizhong [China]

THE EARTH CULTURE PRESS

THE BOOK OF WORLD POETS(Bilingual)
Project Development: The International Poetry Translation And Research Centre(IPTRC)
Editor-in-chief: Dr. Zhang Zhi
Cover Designer: Miss Duangthip Sirisuwat (Thailand)

The target is ahead
Whoosh an arrow is shot
Which does not swerve
Nor does it return
——An Arrow Shot Never Returns

About the author:
  Chan Sirisuwat, Thai, a well-known entrepreneur and a distinguished poet and writer of Chinese. In 1931, he was born in Wenchang of Hainan Province, P. R. China. In his youth he made his adventure abroad by pocketing three Hong Kong dollars, and has finally established himself in Thailand; in 1997, he has been praised as "King of Pot-pourri" in Thailand. Owing to contribution to his homeland, he was awarded the prize of "Exemplary Overseas Chinese" in 1998 by the People's Government of Hainan Province and in 2006, the prize of "Overseas Chinese Who Loves Hainan". In 1996 when he was in his 65, he abandoning business for literature. In 1999, he published his memoir My Road(Chinese-Thai); in 2001, he published his autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars; in 2002, he published Selected Short Poems by Chan Sirisuwat(Chinese-English); meanwhile, he sponsored the large magazine of Hainanese; in 2003, he published his autobiography Braving the World with Three Hong Kong Dollars(Chinese-English) and Psalm of Human Life; in 2004, he published The Silent Chaophraya River(Chinese-English), co-authored with his two children in their teens Homestead in Dreamland(Chinese-English), and he was interviewed by Beijing TV Station and invited to deliver a speech at Peking University; in 2005, he published Days of Love(Chinese-English); in 2006, he published Hope(poems, prose, short stories, and lectures); in 2007, he published Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat(Chinese-English) and In the Season Fragrant with Durians(Chinese-English, including poems, prose and novelette). Some of his literary works have been translated into many foreign languages including Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Greek, German and Japanese, etc., and are published internationally on different newspapers and magazines.
  In 2005, Chan Sirisuwat attended the 19th World Congress of Poets, and was awarded the prize of "World Poet". In April, 2007, he was conferred with the honorary degree of doctor of literature by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre. In same year, for "Recognition and Appreciation of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat's Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace", he was awarded the certificate and medal by United Poets Laureate International (USA). In September 3, 2007, he was awarded "International Letters-Arts Prize" by International Society of Greek Writers & Arts. In October, 2007, he is the IPTRC candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature 2008.

Contents
Preface

Great Achievements in Tranquility
——Comment on In the Season Fragrant with Durians by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat By Zhang Zhizhong

Part I Poems
20 Short Poems
In Remembrance of Mother
The Photo Hanging on the Wall
Salute to Lisa Carducci
In the Season Fragrant with Durians
Confession
Whispers of the Swallow
Crossing the River
I Bid Farewell to the Past
The Spring of Bangkok
The Annual Ring
May
Search
I Care Neither
Reach Out Your Hand
Celebrity
Fireworks
The Sail
Different Breeds
Wooden Shoes
The Will of a Corrupt Official

12 Short Poems
Spring
To Her
Stele of Poetry
Friendship
The Root
History
Man of Men
To Great Sleepers in the Graveyard
Fool Making
Dark Clouds
English "Gene Bedlamite"
Don Quixot

A Group of Minipoems
Hypocrisy
The Scarecrow
Swanking
Reverie
The Vegetable
Life
Lies
Temptation
Bragging
Self
Tomorrow
The Merry-Go-Round
The Mummy
Expectation
The Overcast Sky
Leaves
Great Men
Demons and Devils
The Clock
The Greedy
Bees
In the Sunshine
Fame and Gain
The Chimney
Firecrackers
The Dictionary
The Ice Block
The Divinity

Part II Prose
Happiness
In Remembrance of Zi Fan
Affections
The Table of Mid-autumn Festival
The Revelation of My Son
How Much is Time?
Heredity
World-Amazing Words
Unbelievable and Unimaginable
Hometown Youths
Simon
The Leech
Buying Non-Staple Foodstuffs

Part III Novelette

Reunion

Postscript

Preface
Great Achievements in Tranquility
——Comment on In the Season Fragrant with Durians by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat By Zhang Zhizhong

  In the Season Fragrant with Durians is the second book I translated for Mr. Chan Sirisuwat; the first book entitled Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English) was published by The Earth Culture Press in June, 2007, which continues to draw world-wide attention. If Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English) is his anthology of poems, In the Season Fragrant with Durians is his anthology of poems, prose, as well as a novelette. When I translate Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English), Mr. Chan and I are spiritually attracted to each other without seeing each other; but when I begin to translate In the Season Fragrant with Durians, I, together with Dr. Zhang Zhi, executive editor-in-chief of The World Poets Quarterly (Multilingual), have been to Bangkok of Thailand by air in August, 2007 under the invitation of Mr. Chan, and we have a merry meeting in the season fragrant with durians. Mr. Chan is a person of passions, and he promptly composes a poem entitled In the Season Fragrant with Durians:
  In the season fragrant with durians / My friends come from afar / In the yacht on the Chaophraya River of Thailand / We raise our glasses / To celebrate the harvest in human life / To congratulate / The sincerity and permanence of friendship / The sunshine shines everywhere / The future is boundless and the ground is full of hope
  Back to China, I also write a ci-poem entitled Riverside Daffodils?Night Yachting on the Chaophraya River:
  Fiery trees and silvery flowers illumine the night, / Heavy traffic here and there, / Makes people slow of steps to loiter. / Like the United Nations, / The languages people speak differ. // The cool wind wafts spells after spells, / The colorfully-lit yacht sails on the river. / Dishes are sumptuous and music celestial aboard. / Glasses in hands we are happy to cheer, / To meet each other now and here!
  Through the association, I get to know more thoroughly about Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. In 1931 he was born in Houliang Village of Baoluo Town, Wenchang City, Hainan Province of China. At 18, he graduated from Practical Senior Accountants' School and began to do business work. At 31, he went to Hong Kong by train via Luohu, pocketing only three Hong Kong dollars; more than ten years afterwards, he came to Thailand for personal development. At 48, he founded Prosper Co.,Ltd. with his saved 160,000 bahts. His company develops quickly and, by 1997, Mr. Chan has been reputed as King of Potpourris in Thailand. After he gains his fortune and fame, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not forget his native town and people, and he makes investment in Hainan time and again, for which he was awarded the prize of "Exemplary Overseas Chinese" 1998 and the title of "Overseas Chinese Who Loves Hainan" by the People's Government of Hainan Province in 2006. When he was at 65, Mr. Chan realizes that it is not worthwhile to strive for money all his life, and he transfers all the management of his business to his wife: he abandons business for literary creation. Up to now, he has published 16 books, including poems, prose, novels, and autobiography. Some of his works have been translated into many foreign languages including Thai, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Greek, German and Japanese, etc., and are published internationally on different newspapers and magazines. In 2005, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat attended the 19th World Congress of Poets, and was awarded the prize of "World Poet". In April, 2007, he was conferred with the honorary degree of doctor of literature by the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre. In the same year, for "Recognition and Appreciation of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat's Excellence in Poetry for World Brotherhood and Peace", he was awarded the certificate and medal by United Poets Laureate International (USA). In September 3, 2007, he was awarded "International Letters-Arts Prize" by International Society of Greek Writers & Arts. In October, 2007, he is the IPTRC candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature 2008.
  As entrepreneur, Mr. Chan braves the world with three Hong Kong dollars, and he has achieved much and finally established himself; as poet-writer, he examines the world with detached eyes, while writing down what he sees, what he experiences, what he feels, what he realizes, as well as his successful experience in business and literary creation, what he realizes, by his works, Mr. Chan is instructing and influencing the young generations both domestic and overseas. From an entrepreneur to a writer, Mr. Chan's human life is legendary and unique. In an epoch when money worship is so rampant and belles-lettres is so weakened, how can a person worship pure literature instead of mammon? Filled with deep esteem for Mr. Chan, I compose the following ci-poem entitled Pride of Fishermen?To Mr. Chan Sirisuwat:
  Born into a common family in Hainan, / With three dollars you leave your hometown, / For fifteen years you earn your bread in Hong Kong. / To seek and search left and right, / You come to Thailand for personal development. // With 160 thousand bahts you become a boss, / Your farsightedness makes you King of Potpourris. / You donate money from time to time, / Detached from gain and fame, / Most praiseworthy is, for literature, you abandon business.
  Yes, without a simple life, without a goal in life; without inner tranquility, without brilliant achievements. Mr.Chan Sirisuwat is neither haughty nor humble, neither proud nor priggish; instead, he is sincere, modest, magnanimous, and natural. He lives a simple life, and he realizes his goal in life; he is tranquil of heart, and he achieves brilliant achievements. During our stay in Thailand, Mr. Chan, not without a sense of humor, said to us: "Since you come here, I share your felicity and enjoy myself together with you. When I have no friends here, I just have homely meals at home."
  We can say without any hesitation that, even as a businessman, Mr. Chan is a businessman who possesses a Confucian heart. Therefore, when his business is at its peak, he tears himself away from the business circle to devote himself to reading and writing, so as to realize his dream to be a poet in his childhood. He is free from the worldliness of businessmen and the loftiness of literary men; he persists his own ways and is faithful to himself. The heart of a harp and the courage of a sword, the bone of a cavalier and the affection of Don Juan — this is the very portrait of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat.
  In the Season Fragrant with Durians consists of three parts: part I "poems" includes 20 short poems, 12 quatrains, and 28 minipoems; part II "prose" contains 13 pieces; and part III is a novelette entitled Reunion. In spite of poems, of prose, or of novelette, Mr. Chan's writings share the same gist: through them the author's philosophy is revealed.
  Firstly, Mr. Chan's literary works are overflowing with a deep love for his mother. In the childhood, tribulation is his teacher, and his mother sets a good example for him. Lines quoted from In Remembrance of Mother — A sonnet:
  Winter clothes are repaired and repaired / My cloth shoes are mended to conceal my toes / During the Spring Festival, the meat is sliced into paper / Which is given to the other members during the meal / Poverty fails to lower your head or depress you / You are not sorrowful nor do you shed tears / Living in present days you are gazing far afar / With your pure water of spirit / With your sweat and blood you irrigate your children / How fortitudinous how benevolent how noble
  The influence of Mother on her child is deep and lasting through all his life. The poet expresses thankfulness to his mother:
  It is your loving-kindness and fortitude / That has brought about my resplendence of today (The Photo Hanging on the Wall)
  As a saying goes: "like father, like son." But here I want to say: "like mother, like son."
  In addition to a deep love for his mother, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat also extols friendship. For example, the quatrain of Friendship:
  Is presented / To my dearest friends / And it / Links my heart and those of my friends
  Besides, some of his prose pieces, such as Affections, Simon, In Remembrance of Zi Fan, etc., also reveal the lasting friendship between him and his friends. As an overseas Chinese, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat nurtures a deep love for his motherland, as in the quatrain Stele of Poetry:
  Under the tree of fine-leaved white bombe / I leave my poem / And my heart / Is forever engraved on the soil of my motherland
  The poet loves life and treasures life, as in his minipoem entitled Life:
  We have only one life to live / Whose value lies in being of use
  The poet does not forget to express his love for the great nature:
  Thankfulness to the favor of great nature / Truthfulness kindness and beauty shall be enjoyed in human life (May)
  Reunion, a novelette about the love and marriage of Swallow, sings high praises of pure love, through which the author's attitude toward love and marriage is revealed.
  Besides, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat pours his deep love for the common people into his works. Buying Non-Staple Foodstuffs, a piece of prose writing, describes the deep affection between the author and the street pedlars through daily association. A quotation from the piece: "Another reason for my buying from the peddlers is that I can approach the common people and help the poor: when their vegetables and food are sold out, they can go home earlier to look after the family." Here, the Bodhisattva and benevolence of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat is shown through minor details.
  Reverie, a minipoem by him, is well written:
  It rains gold / Into the pockets of the poor /The sunshine braises grasshoppers into fertilizer
  Such a "reverie" is tinctured with the poetic romance of Li Po the great Tang poet, while not lacking the depression and disquietness of Du Fu another great Tang poet. Expressions such as "it rains gold" and "the sunshine braises grasshoppers" show the poet's flight of imagination. The three lines of such a minipoem are so meaningful and connotative, which are suggestive of the famous lines by Du Fu: "Could I get mansions covering ten thousand miles, / I'd house all scholars poor and make them beam with smiles". (My Cottage Unroofed by Autumn Gales) In Reverie, the author's concern and sympathy for the poor is expressed in so few words. How wonderful a poem it is!
  To sum up, love for his mother, love for his friends, love for his motherland, love for life, love for the great nature, and love for common people, all constitute Mr. Chan Sirisuwat's philanthropism. In Search, the poet describes the love in his inner heart:
  The universe is still boundless / The earth is still incomparably huge / The love buried deep / Lies still and silent / In my heart / It is moving silently
  Moreover, the loving heart of the poet never changes, like the deep-rooted Root:
  In spite of lashes of winds and rains / I hold fast / Regardless of day or night / I never change my ground
  The poet's philanthropism leads to the poet's optimism, which is eloquently embodied in Whispers of the Swallow:
  I am flying in the high sky / Flying between the clouds and the ocean /I build my nest of love atop the mountain / Which is unattainable far from the mortal world / My song lacerates the clouds / Strong and sturdy I am singing to my heart's content / Singing the beautiful nature / Singing the value of human life / Singing the force of pure love / Singing the brilliant tomorrow / Broad-minded and magnanimous I am flying freely / Away from the turbidity and hypocrisy of the world
  Obviously, the poet compares himself to a swallow and, toward human life, he is always positive and optimistic.
  Though "away from the turbidity and hypocrisy of the world", the poet does not isolate himself from the mortal world. Instead of overlooking various social evils and unhealthy practices, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat does not hesitate to criticize existing evils and social wickedness. In Celebrity, he thus anatomizes the so-called "celebrities":
  Once on the operating table / Seen through X rays / They are nothing but a sheet made from the shit of elephant / Which cannot stand a single blow / It so happens
  Unbelievable and Unimaginable is a piece of prose which focuses on some social nabobs who, in order to show off their wealth, spend millions of dollars for a single sumptuous meal. The author is critical of this practice. "Oh my god! Are you sleeping?" The anger and contempt of the author manifest themselves in the very ending sentence of the piece. If Unbelievable and Unimaginable criticizes social malpractices in Thailand, Hometown Youths, another piece of prose by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, involves youths of the author's hometown: they are lovers of vanity instead of lovers of books. Swanking, a minipoem by Mr. Chan, shows his penetrating insight into this phenomenon:
  Glory and greatness is packed with paper / In the furnace / All turns into a wisp of smoke
  For the egoists, the poet warns them in a minipoem entitled Self:
  If self-centered / What finally remains is nobody but the very self
  The Leech, a piece of prose, criticizes the leech-like tricksters and swindlers, while warning the reader: "When going out, we shall be wary of the wolves and alert to the leeches." World-Amazing Words, another piece of prose, lashes at the unfair means adopted in the literary circle in order to distinguish oneself. According to the author, "Some scholars, …resort to such world-amazing words to make a noise in the world. Lamentable it is!"
  In "the world of turbidity and hypocrisy", the author is the sworn enemy of corrupt officials, and he has accordingly produced a host of works, such as Different Breeds — Speculation on Some Corrupt Officials Being Killed as Reported in the Newspaper, The Will of a Corrupt Official (poems) and Heredity (prose), lashing at corrupt officials in the present society. In a poem entitled Wooden Shoes — To Current Corrupt Officials, the poet warns those officials:
  Don't beat drum / Don't be priggish / Sooner or later / You'll be rejected into the dustbin of history
  The society is a hodgepodge, where people differ from people. Some are "celebrities" who only have a shining appearance, some are haughty upstarts who show off their wealth, some are young lovers of vanity instead of lovers of books, some are self-centered egoists, some are swindlers of bravado, some are literary men who establish themselves by hook or crook, and some are corrupt officials each trying to cheat the other. It is just these people that make "the world of turbidity and hypocrisy".
  In the face of hypocrisy, of turbidity, and of darkness, the poet's attitude toward life is positive and optimistic; his optimism is not in the least weakened. For example, his minipoem entitled In the Sunshine:
  It is a dream forever / For darkness to enshroud the earth
  Another example is a quatrain entitled Dark Clouds:
  Try to cover up the ground / But all in vain / Don't flaunt your superiority / You are nothing under a spell of wind
  Mr. Chan's optimism is further illustrated in the finishing sentence of his prose work entitled The Revelation of My Son:
  "The backwardness, darkness, and the corruption of the society shall not be exaggerated; in the sunshine, human beings are progressing and full of hope."
  In general, Mr. Chan Sirisuwat has philanthropism as well as optimism. If it is alleged that philanthropism leads to optimism, then optimism further leads to happiness. This is testified in his poetic lines:
  To sum up human life / Happiness is in your hand (Reach Out Your Hand)
  Then how can happiness be achieved? Mr. Chan's interpretation of happiness is quite edifying: "Where does happiness lie? It lies in self-content." (Happiness, a piece of prose) Self-content? Is it easy? Classic is another quotation from him: "Only when people are through hard days can they know what is real happiness!" (The Table of Mid-autumn Festival, a piece of prose)
  Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, of course, is no stranger to hardships, and he rests on self-content. Therefore, he is happy, and he is optimistic. All this originates from his heart of philanthropism. He writes in Confession:
  The seeds of love are sown / In order for them to grow in fertile field / Sweet fruits are shared with others / In order for life to be more meaningful / A beautiful picture is unfolded / In order for human life to be more resplendent / As for the drifting clouds of fame and gain / Let them be gone with the wind
  This may be regarded as the manifesto of the poet. When the heart of a person is overflowing with love, particularly with universal love, while the drifting clouds of fame and gain are scattered — his heart, can it lack tranquility? In this perfect frame of mind, it is no wonder that Mr. Chan Sirisuwat achieves so much.
  In the better half of his life, Mr. Chan has been engaged in business and, in the vale of his years, he abandoned business for literature. In the two stages of his life, he has made brilliant achievements. He remarks: "Looking back, I find the two stages of my life have not been spent in vain, and my heart is filled with confidence and comfort." (Postscript of In the Season Fragrant with Durians) In spite of engagement in business for the most part of his lifetime, Mr. Chan is not contaminated by the stink of money; in spite of striking achievements in literary creation through more than ten years, he still remains his very self; in spite of talents in both business and literature, he is still free from being proud and priggish. He once said: "my wealth ensures me the life of an aristocrat, but I'm always a plebeian."
  An aristocrat who has a plebeian heart — this is the very portrait of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. "The style is the man." Thus says the French writer Buffon. But here I want to say: "the man is the style." A simple and easy person is sure to write simply and easefully. Therefore, the writing style of Mr. Chan Sirisuwat can be thus summarized: plain language, no embellishment, true content, and natural feelings.
  Mr. Chan refuses works of mannerism and mystification. In a poem entitled The Sail — On Reading Misty Poems by Misty Poets, he expresses his puzzlement:
  The sail / Where are you bringing me?
  In his piece of prose entitled How Much Is Time? The author's criticism on misty poems is more relentless: "If time is spent in reading such poems, how much is time?"
  The aim in literary creation by Mr. Chan Sirisuwat, instead of utilitarian, lies in instructing, influencing, and edifying the readers for a better future. Consequently, literary creation, for Mr. Chan, is his spiritual comfort, as well as his way of living.
  All in all, poems or prose or novelette, Mr. Chan's literary creation reflects his insight into human life as well as his philosophical speculations, which are value judgment made by him in tranquility after he is through human cares and social snares. Therefore, works by him are unique, profound, and instructive to the large circle of readers. Obviously, two themes predominate his works: philanthropism and optimism, for which his works never fail to bring the readers something moving and nothing hopeless.
  In 2007, when the season is fragrant with durians, we are yachting on the Chaophraya River of Thailand together with Mr. Chan Sirisuwat. It is hoped that, in the future years when it is again fragrant with durians, we could read more works by him.

Part I Poems

20 Short Poems

In Remembrance of Mother
—— A sonnet

1.
With the youth and beauty of a girl
From the countryside you are married to the city
You can live a carefree life in all your born days
Enjoying silk, satin, and dainty food
But human riches and nabobism
Is not what you are after in your life
Your deep love goes to your native place
Night and day you miss your homeland with picturesque scenery
Leaving Bangkok you go back to your native Wenchang
And you pick up your farming following the tail of the ox
Furrowing the field sowing the seed planting seedlings and harvesting
For your husband the next generation
You work under the dim kerosene lamp
Living a quiet and harmonious life
2.
In the days ridden with natural and man-made disasters
You used to fish for in the pond
A handful of "seamless steel" to boil
Cooked with water all the family are raised
Winter clothes are repaired and repaired
My cloth shoes are mended to conceal my toes
During the Spring Festival, the meat is sliced into paper
Which is given to the other members during the meal
Poverty fails to lower your head or depress you
You are not sorrowful nor do you shed tears
Living in present days you are gazing far afar
With your pure water of spirit
With your sweat and blood you irrigate your children
How fortitudinous how benevolent how noble
3.
In former days before the curtain of night is spread
You carry a basket full of clothes
And step toward the moon-shaped brook
To wash them in the babbling water
You brave the gale and tempest with your heart
You resist snakes and beasts and ants with your courage
You keep out the heat with your bamboo hat
And you keep away beggarliness with your industry and frugality
Your road of life is covered with briers and brambles
But you are broad-minded like the sea
You have a Buddha-like benevolent heart
Your fervent love exceeds that of the sun
Even if you pick some edible fruits along the road
You are sure to take them home to share
4.
In order to fulfill your wish expecting your son to be talent
You do not forget to save each cent and every penny
You save one penny for vegetable tomorrow
And put it into my pocket to buy paper and books
You manage the home by industry year after year
"Without knowledge, without power"
This is your family instruction
Your children follow your example
Without electric light the home is all darkness
In the night I read under the street lamp
And you are keeping by the lonely kerosene lamp
When the night watch strikes four
My tender mother helps me up from the ground
You walk home along the wall firmly holding my hands
Whenever I think of you my dear mother
My tears are on the verge of gushing out
Before my death I will take care of you until your advanced age
So as to make up for the pains you have taken in bringing me up
But at your 94 you abandoned your deaf ears and blind eyes and hunchback
And you have come to your destination never to turn back
You have left behind a matted walking stick
Your sole bequest is to teach me how to be a man
Now you are lying sedately beside the tomb of Father
When flowers wither and the sun sets
I am also coming to the destination of my life
I am going to follow your footprints
To kneel down before your knees kissing your face
To proffer my love to repay your favor of fosterage
The eve of Spring Festival, 2007
"Seamless steel" here refers to a kind of vegetable with hollow stems, hence the name.

The Photo Hanging on the Wall
Mother the photo hanging on the wall
The smiling face with wrinkles
Is my company day and night
Your voice is saved in my mind
But I can never hold your hand
You my dear mother
You are my lifelong memory
Recalling those hard days when we are in the same boat
It is your loving-kindness and fortitude
That has brought about my resplendence of today
I fail to fulfill the wish of taking care of you to your one hundred years
I fail to accompany you day and night
All bygones
Only painful memory is left
Each day I see your smiling face
Each day deep in my heart
I hear your voice
But we are separated by different worlds
You my dear mother
You live forever in my heart
My only everlasting memory
Your photo
Is hanging high up on the opposite wall
In each morning and every evening I pray for you
Seeing your constant smile
In my life
It is my everlasting memory of you
And is the sole comfort in my born days

Salute to Lisa Carducci
In order to serve a country with 1,300 million people
You left your children in your native Canada
In order to support poor youngsters to further their studies
You pay a portion of your salary regularly
In order to save Chinese patients
Time after time you donate your blood to the Red Cross
And you contribute the income from your exhibition
Of paintings to the Hope Project of China
Treading on the road of Norman Bethume
You set another great example of human spirit
Representative of China with 1,300 million people
Distinguished scientist Qian Qisen awarded the highest prize to you
Lisa Carducci
Salute to you
December 4, 2006 Bangkok
Lisa Carducci is a Canadian with Italy as his native place. He has good command of French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese; he has published 40 books and has published thousands of articles about China in newspapers throughout the world. From 1991 on, he began to teach French and Italian at The 2nd Beijing Foreign Languages Institute. Between 1993 and 1999, he worked at the Overseas Center of CCTV and, between 1999 and 2007, he worked at Beijing Weekly. For 22 times he has donated his blood to the Red Cross, has imbursed more than 10 poor children and a Tibetan university student to finish their schooling or education. Besides, he has also contributed the income from his personal exhibition of paintings to the Hope Project.

In the Season Fragrant with Durians
In the season fragrant with durians
The air is fresh and tranquil
Retrieving human life
Recollecting the bygone footprints after footprints
The origin shall not be forgotten
The memory of hardships during the childhood shall not be abandoned
Each innovative step forward is
Beginning in the season fragrant with durians
In the season fragrant with durians
The footprints of time step forward
I will not stop and linger
I cherish each inch of time like gold
The great earth is bathed in the sunshine
In the season fragrant with durians
I stalk toward the goal
To realize the ideal of my life
June 12, 2007

Confession
I love the sun
Which contributes light and heat to human beings
I love the ocean
Which has a great bosom and is surging with high-rising waves
And it is in no way selfish
I love the mountain
Which suggests the loftiness of virtues
And it does not bow to money and vanity
The seeds of love are sown
In order for them to grow in fertile field
Sweet fruits are shared with others
In order for life to be more meaningful
A beautiful picture is unfolded
In order for human life to be more resplendent
As for the drifting clouds of fame and gain
Let them be gone with the wind
May 20, 2007

Whispers of the Swallow
I am flying in the high sky
Flying between the clouds and the ocean
I build my nest of love atop the mountain
Which is unattainable far from the mortal world
My song lacerates the clouds
Strong and sturdy I am singing to my heart's content
Singing the beautiful nature
Singing the value of human life
Singing the force of pure love
Singing the brilliant tomorrow
Broad-minded and magnanimous I am flying freely
Away from the turbidity and hypocrisy of the world
August 10, 2006

Crossing the River
It is reported on Chongqing Evening Paper that Miss Shi Yuanying, a teacher of Miao nationality, has been carrying primary school students in mountainous areas on her back to cross the river on the way between the school and their village for 18 years, until a bridge was built over the river in 2005. And I am moved to write the following poem.
At the other far side of the earth
The mountaintop is capped with a forest
The birds flock here to build a new home
From day to day they are singing merrily soaring freely
The vast grassland stretches like a great mattress
Cattle and sheep are roaming on the fair felt
Enjoying ease and leisure and tranquility
A hundred flowers are contending for beauty in the sunshine
Where is the beautiful canvas
In the world
The babbling water has separated Chongqing and Hunan
But fails to separate people's learning and feeling
At this side of the river
The children are waiting at the school gate in the morning
To that side of the river
The children are gathering at the playground to go home
Miss Shi Yuanying, a teacher of Miao nationality
Carries the hope of each child on her back to cross the river
O true love
Dwells in the world
18 long years are nothing but a flash in the pan
Traceless and shadowless
Myriads of times of hardships and dangers in wading water
In spite of winds and rains
How many times she has tripped in the rushing water
And she has straightened herself while wiping off her tears to step forward
Until a bridge of friendship is built over the river
And the two places are connected as one
O the selfless contribution of Miss Shi Yuanying
To the wordless world
May 20,2006 Bangkok

I Bid Farewell to the Past
——The unforgettable childhood of 1939

The summer sun is scorching like fire
Running barefooted on the steamed stone
Lying on the pile of dried grass in the night
Covering the body with plastic paper in rainy days
Eating from day to day the vegetable of "seamless steel" picked beside the ditch
To fill up the belly when cooked
Life is cruel
But the will for life is strong and sturdy
Today the sun is still scorching like fire
Recalling the days when childhood is fading away
The hard road of life has been covered
The flowers of life are budding and fruiting again
And new-born fire is burning the former days
The journey is changing heaven and earth is turned upside down
By the strong will of life
I bid farewell to the past for ever and for ever
April 17, 2006

The Spring of Bangkok
People are always so polite and gentle
The faith of Buddhism?
Deprives people of competition and contest
And it is the brilliance and favor from the emperor??
People are bustling and hustling in the street
Traffic is heavy on the road and people give way to each other
The difference between the rich and the poor is being greater
Still it remains a flourishing society
Here the flowers blossom forever
Here the grass is green forever
Here there is neither cold weather nor frozen ground
Only smile throughout morning and throughout evening
February 2, 2007
Thailand is a country where Buddhism reigns.
The emperor of Thailand commands the highest prestige from among the people.

The Annual Ring
Leafing through the old file
The bygone days
Are all old and remnant
Full of different tastes
Each footstep and each footprint
Through lengthening years
Are still distinct in spite of rains
But I am advanced in age
Staring at the hour hand
It cannot be reversed
Only through energy and efforts
Can perfection be achieved
June 22, 2007

May
Again the season fragrant with durians
Mountains and fields are red with rambutans
Cluster after cluster of red fruits
Fresh roses
Bring perfect love to the world
Time has changed human life
Has enriched life
While bringing happiness and hope
Boating in the river of love
Mangroves at the two banks are greeting me
The boat is roving on the water
The current is fluent without any block
The singing is tender like silk or thread
Green mountains and green leaves are picturesque from afar
Thankfulness to the favor of great nature
Truthfulness kindness and beauty shall be enjoyed in human life
May 17, 2007

Search
Between azure sky and white clouds
Between forest and high mountain
Between gravels and roots of trees
Between river water and tussocks
In search of
My solicitude my love
The universe is still boundless
The earth is still incomparably huge
The love buried deep
Lies still and silent
In my heart
It is moving silently
A gush of limpid spring water
Mirrors the perfection of hope
A sincere heart
Penetrates the barrier of worldliness
There arises a sweet song
O my solicitude my love
February 22, 2007

I Care Neither
A loud voice is calling me
If you follow like sheep you will be given credit
A beam of golden light is alluring me
If you do not oppose
You will be awarded insignia
I cannot abandon courtesy and sense of honor
I cannot give up faith and justice
I cannot benefit myself at the cost of others
Money and honor
I care neither
April 3, 2007

Reach Out Your Hand
Reach out your hand
In order for me
To share your talent
Intelligence
Your beauty
And
Your mirth
Reach out your hand
To embrace the brilliant sunshine
And to postpone the forthcoming
Night
Throw worries away
To sum up human life
Happiness is in your hand
July 25, 2006

Celebrity
Famed and famous
The business cards read chairman and chairman of the board
But they are stingy and miserly to the society
The gems on the crown are radiating with rays of light
The insignias on the chest are glittering with glory
Fame plus wealth
They are peerless
Men of men
And exclusive
Once on the operating table
Seen through X rays
They are nothing but a sheet made from the shit of elephant?
Which cannot stand a single blow
It so happens
In Thailand there are many elephants, which daily produce dozens of tons of shit. The wise businessmen make thin sheets out of the elephant shit for handicrafts such as the cover of notebooks, picture frames, or artificial flowers to be sold in sightseeing spots, which are welcome by the guests.

Fireworks
Whoosh flying heavenward
They are gorgeous and multicoloured
The stars are outshone
The moon is also outshone
They are extremely arrogant
As if their splendor is boundless
No need to boast
In the twinkling of an eye your life
Falls among the hurrah and exclamation of the crowd
Traceless and noiseless
No hope
And no future

The Sail
——On reading misty poems by misty poets

I grip and grasp the cord of the sail
Which brings me into the ocean of poems
O I am perplexed
By the mistiness
By losing sense of orientation
By the unintelligibility
It may be a new fashion
Unintelligibility is the vogue
The sail
Where are you bringing me?

Different Breeds
——Speculation on some corrupt officials being killed as reported in the newspaper

Even if penniless
One shall not be allured by the money
The mountain has been bald
The crown cannot be worn
In spite of thunders rolling above the head
Conscience shall not be sold
Come on you'll be given everything you want
For dignity I won't rise to a bait
To keep integrity in my old age
I would rather walk bare-footed on scorching stones
I won't hanker after the vanity of red carpet
The true meaning of life
Lies in uprightness incorruptibility and dedication

Wooden Shoes
——To current corrupt officials

What epoch is it now
In the shelf of shoes
You have no self-knowledge
To occupy a proper place
The only thing in you is that you are thick and heavy
Cluck-a-cluck while walking
You are arrogant and domineering while clinging to people's feet
Bright without rotten within
Don't beat drum
Don't be priggish
Sooner or later
You'll be rejected into the dustbin of history

The Will of a Corrupt Official
I "serve the people heart and soul"
And it behooves people to dedicate
I deliver a lecture to people which is excellent
People give me warm applauses of natural course
I realize my human adage
"He who is unselfish will be condemned by God"
Around my tomb a stele shall be erected to warn
"Dog shitting and people pissing are forbidden"
January 17, 2007

12 Short Poems

Spring
Roses open during warm days
To diffuse fragrance to the quiet world
The course of life is filled up
The ground is full of love full of hope

To Her
If love is not left behind
Youth is fooled away
If talent is not left behind
Life is lived in vain

Stele of Poetry
Under the tree of fine-leaved white bombe
I leave my poem
And my heart
Is forever engraved on the soil of my motherland
In 2006, the 11th Guangdong (Huangpu) International Meeting on Poetry Creation established "International Forest of Poetry" in the Dragonhead Mountain, and I planted a tree named fine-leaved white bombe beside the stele of poetry.

Friendship
Is presented
To my dearest friends
And it
Links my heart and those of my friends

The Root
In spite of lashes of winds and rains
I hold fast
Regardless of day or night
I never change my ground

History
Is a lane where there is no return
Credit and honor is brought in
Instead of fame and gain
It is the meaning of human life

Man of Men
Famed and distinguished
Clear and empty within and without the head
Originally the earth is a moor
The world has nothing to do with you

To Great Sleepers in the Graveyard
Green grass covers you above
Yellow dirt supports you from beneath
Just lie down quietly and peacefully
Why bother to squeeze in the society full of tricks

Fool Making
The mask of Buddha is put on the devil
For people to burn joss sticks and kowtow
The devil does make a Buddha
It is only making a fool of itself

Dark Clouds
Try to cover up the ground
But all in vain
Don't flaunt your superiority
You are nothing under a spell of wind

English "Gene Bedlamite"
English “gene bedlamite”
Is the firm belief held by Aubrey de Grey
"I bet people can live a life of one thousand years"
Old chap please don't tell people like Hitler

Don Quixot
The 400th anniversary sees a pity in your early death
There are too many bedlamites in the world
If you were the prime minister
It will be a noisily different world.

A Group of Minipoems

Hypocrisy

Sweet talk and honeyed words
Mannered and respectful
The listener is allured and attracted

The Scarecrow
Guarding while waving banners and cheering
The sparrows are startled into fleeing
And the hawks are pissing and shitting on your head

Swanking
Glory and greatness is packed with paper
In the furnace
All turns into a wisp of smoke

Reverie
It rains gold
Into the pockets of the poor
The sunshine braises grasshoppers into fertilizer

The Vegetable
Through bondage of days and nights
It finally breaks the urn
To fill the air with fragrance

Life
We have only one life to live
Whose value lies in being of use

Lies
Their spreading entails no money
Paying out of blind faith is not worthwhile

Temptation
Charming to the weak
Fleeing to the wise

Bragging
He who brags a chicken into a bull
The bragger becomes a chicken

Self
If self-centered
What finally remains is nobody but the very self

Tomorrow
Tomorrow after tomorrow
A coffin for the lazy

The Merry-Go-Round
For amusement when going round and round
Becomes waster when digressed

The Mummy
Is soulless
Only for appreciation

Expectation
The sun and the moon chase after each other
Where is the end?

The Overcast Sky
Wants to occupy the land for a long time
But does the sun agree

Leaves
Are lovely green when clinging to twigs and branches
Are trodden and trampled when fallen to the ground

Great Men
Are founded with money
Merely wax-made to prevent ants

Demons and Devils
In spite of dressing and face-painting
Their appearance is still detestable

The Clock
Takes time away
Leaving callosity

The Greedy
In spite of profuse candies or tears
The appetite cannot be satisfied

Bees
Are neither selfish nor ambitious
They only swear allegiance to the queen bee

In the Sunshine
It is a dream forever
For darkness to enshroud the earth

Fame and Gain
High above the masses
Honor or disgrace by yourself

The Chimney
Is forced to vomit dark smoke
Involuntarily

Firecrackers
In peaceful coexistence safety from generation to generation
In case of provocation by ignition we will perish together

The Dictionary
The future jammed up no way can be found out
When opening to see it is so originally

The Ice Block
Is going to thaw no matter how hard and solid

The Divinity
Is efficacious in case of a sincere heart

Part II Prose

  Happiness

  For every two years I go back to my hometown to stay for a few days. A day before my leaving, I call my brothers and great-nephews to a restaurant in the open air which is located in a riverside garden when it is a breezy, moonlit night. Iced Qingdao beer is wanted by young people, Coca Cola for children, and some seafood dishes including crabs, lobsters, snails and fishes are also ordered. Chitchat words are bantered about over the drink and food. When the topic comes to happiness, the atmosphere is enlivened at once.
  "If the income is a little bit more than 1,000 yuan to support the family," the third nephew takes the lead in speaking: "they have to take the bus packed with passengers, have to live in a small room and, electric fans are used instead of air-conditioners all the year round. Can this life be called happiness?"
  The nephew who is a teacher cuts in:
  "Chinese president Hu Jintao paid a visit to America on April 18; his first stop is Seattle in the state of Washington to the west coast of America, and he was treated with a sumptuous dinner by Bill Gates in his lakeside de luxe house which costs 100 million US dollars. This is happiness in the real sense."
  "Mr. Hu Jintao is the president of our country, particularly such a large country as China, and Gates is a millionaire with the largest wealth in the world. We cannot compare ourselves with them. In case of comparison, we shall see who has made the most contribution to the country, to the society, and to the world; we shall compete in learning, in talent, in achievement, and in contribution, instead of in luxury and enjoyment." I chime in.
  "As for the salary of 1,000 yuan, you'll have to first question yourself: what talent do you have? If you are a nucleus expert, surely your income will be much more than 1,000 yuan. If you can invent a method to generate electricity or to drive the car by seawater, the accumulation of your wealth is going to surpass that of Bill Gates in no time. A poor living? Taking the crowded bus? Do you know each year the number of people starved to death in Africa is counted by millions and, due to famine and poverty, people's life span there is quite short. According to report by World Health Organization, the average life span of people from Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Afghanistan and Zambia is below 40. So comparatively speaking, you are much happier than them." I make the explanation.
  "In our big family, all the adults have their jobs to do, each child can afford schooling; this is happiness itself. There is a base line to happiness: he who is healthy and content with his lot is a happy man. Happiness does not necessarily lie in huge wealth. Gorky once said: it is actually easy to be a happy man; where does happiness lie? It lies in self-content. We three generations are separated by thousands of miles of distance, but tonight we gather here to dine. Isn't this happiness?" I remark.
  Silence reigns.
  When dinner is finished and we are going to disperse, I say to them: "Don't cherish any fantasy; you shall always keep a clear mind, since your feet cannot leave the earth and tread on air."
  May 10, 2006 Bangkok

  In Remembrance of Zi Fan

  Last year Mr. William Marr, a famous American poet, paid a visit to me. Including Zi Fan, we three gathered in my home and had a merry talk. Soon afterward, Zi Fan left the world.
  The only book left to me by Zi Fan is his An Oriental Poem With a Cold And Sharp Style (Chinese-English), which is included in "The Book Series of World Poets (Bilingual)" to be presented to library of the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and libraries of world-famous universities in different countries.
  Zi Fan, a good man who is noble of character, vigorous of energy, and never tired of striving and struggling.
  Zi Fan, a model husband who loves his wife, his children, his family, as well as himself.
  Zi Fan, a prolific writer who contributes to and influences the society by his works left behind.
  Zi Fan, while binding himself by his own poetry, he warns people:
  "He who cannot bind himself
  Is a man
  Who suffers
  The most in the world"
  O Zi Fan, you have departed, but you remain a beautiful memory in the heart of your friends.
  December 10, 2006 Bangkok

  Affections

  There are different affections, as those between parents and children, between brothers, between relatives, between friends, between lovers, and between people. With affection, human beings are elevated above other animals; with affection, human beings enjoy a beautiful life, possess a warm home, and have an harmonious unit; with affection, human beings create a beautiful and brilliant world. If deprived of affection, a person will be callous like a biological person who has no consciousness. A ruthlessly vulgar person is nothing but a tool for the society — or a useless tool. Heartless high officials and big shots are detestable, and they are a peculiar group of people who are incompatible with the masses.
  An episode of life.
  "Ding……ding……ding……" the continuous ringing sound of the phone breaks the solitude of the living room.
  "Hello!" I pick up the phone.
  "What are you doing?" Again the voice of Xiu Mao.
  "I'm waiting for your call." I like making joke with her, since we were classmates 59 years ago.
  "Do you get up from your noon nap? It's five o'clock here in the afternoon." Xiu Mao is calling from Australia, and she knows my habit of life.
  We are of the same age. When we were students 58 years ago, her family was wealthy. Students were forbidden to use the powder, but she used to wear clean and tidy clothes, white socks and polished leather shoes; her hair was well combed. By dint of my performance in examinations, I won scholarship and a seat in the classroom free of charge. From day to day I wore a pair of shoes with holes made by the toes and clothes covered with patches. The pennilessness in me failed to distance us. We lived opposite each other, the east and the west ends of the city which were far from the school. She came to school in the morning by bus, I by an old bike, and I used to bring her home by my bike in the afternoon when school was over. Sometimes we played ping-pong in spare time and, in holidays, we made appointments with some other classmates at the seashore to collect shells. Early life as a student, like documentary, is kept vivid in the mind.
  After graduation, each went his or her own way. She migrated to Hong Kong with her family; after she got married and bore children, she further migrated to Australia. I came to Thailand as my job took me, and gradually I established myself as a boss. Though living thousands of miles apart, the friendship during our school years never dwindles, and we keep constant phoning to each other.
  Yesterday she phoned to tell me her grandson graduated from Hong Kong University and has got a job there. She and her husband intend to pay their grandson a visit on November 13, before touring to our native Hainan Island; after about one month they will be back to Australia. And she asked me if I would go to Hainan.
  Our talk on the phone lasted for half an hour.
  "Xiu Mao, the fee for this phone call is adequate for a poor man to tide over a year." I warn her the cost, and she is smiling.
  "Ok, we can talk more thoroughly when we meet in Australia in February of next year. After touring in Hainan, we will go to Mt. Huangshan for sightseeing, and we'll be back to Australia in January of the next year." A wealthy person does not care about expenses.
  Xiu Mao is a person of affection and quite optimistic about life. Though wealthy, she wears plain and simple clothes; though in her advanced age of over seventy, still she is aglow with health: she has no wrinkles on her face and no gray hairs on her head. She is slightly stout, and her high heels never fail to produce cackling voices. In the present society of commodity where there is polarization of the rich and the poor, it seems that people of affection are becoming fewer and fewer.
  October 19, 2006 Bangkok

  The Table of Mid-autumn Festival

  When Mid-autumn Festival draws near, it is time for the whole Chinese nation to join in the jubilation. Every household buys moon cake, wealthy families would go for a tour and, most cities would burn fireworks in the night to make a colorfully resplendent night sky. But in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, the atmosphere is obviously weakened. Only the Chinatown here is festive, in addition to red streamers above some gates and the selling of moon cake in some supermarkets and restaurants.
  My family do not like moon cake, and we never buy it. In case of any moon cake presented from a friend, we will give it out. But my wife does not disremember this Chinese tradition. In the evening of the festival she bought some dishes of variety to our taste from a de luxe restaurant: Cantonese and Hainanese and Thai dishes. The whole family are sitting around a marble table in the garden to enjoy the dishes, while appreciating the bright moon.
  Since we are in our home, we feel free and easy to have the supper. When adults bring out beer, youths take Coca Cola out of the refrigerator. When eating crabs and lobsters and goose and duck, we use our hands instead of chopsticks or knife and fork: everybody is eating with great relish. We are talking while eating, and our laughters and the fragrance of dishes are merging in the moonshine: the joy and happiness is boundless.
  When the supper is going to finish, my wife puts the last pieces of "seamless steel" (a kind of vegetable with hollow stems) into her plate. My eyes following the movement of the "seamless steel", I begin to tell my story:
  "Now we enjoy a happy life. I can never forget the year of 1939 when the Japs occupied Hainan Island, Father led the whole family to flee to Zhanjiang by boat from Copper Drum Ridge of Wenchang. We lived in the rural area which was the French Concession of Kwangchowan before liberation. Around the thatched house, the soil is red with mud when it rains, and we fill the pail with water. Mother used to pick some 'seamless steel' beside the nearby muddy ditch and boil it in the cauldron after cleansing, and she put it on the newspaper aground as our supper, plus a bowl of red rice porridge for each; we have to squat while eating by the light of the candle. And we sleep on piles of grasses. One day when I was eight, after eating water-boiled 'seamless steel', I asked Mother:
  "Mom, could we eat some other thing tomorrow?"
  "Honey, what do you like to eat?" Mother asked.
  "I like bean sprouts."
  Mother replied: "you can eat bean sprouts only when Papa makes money. The eyes of Mother reddened.
  You can suppose, there is no happiness then! Only when people are through hard days can they know what is real happiness!"
  This is not the first time for the children to listen to this story. But each time when I am speaking, they are silent with their lowered heads. Thinking about the happiness today and the hardships experienced by their parents, they will naturally think about their future.
  Mid-autumn Festival, October 6, 2006 Bangkok

  The Revelation of My Son

  My son was preparing for the following year examinations for the entrance to universities. One day after lunch, he was squatting at the door, steeped in repairing a small iron box which is so old that the colors all fade, with a pair of pincers and a piece of wire in his hands.
  "What are you doing?" I asked.
  "My pencil-box; it doesn't work well." He answered.
  "It doesn't cost much; just buy a new one." I said.
  "I have used it since my primary school days, and I cherish it."
  I do not disremember it. Once when I was buying vegetables at the supermarket, I bought a new iron box which cost 25 bahts. When I gave it to him, my son said:
  "No need to buy a new one; I can still use the old one."
  "Just put the old one beside the small calculator brought by me from Hong Kong 30 years ago, and they can be left to the following generation as antiques."
  Another day after supper, he said he wanted to buy gifts at the supermarket.
  "What gifts? To whom?" I asked.
  "Tomorrow is the birthday of one of my classmates, and he invites me to have dinner at his home." He answered.
  "Your classmate now?" I pursued.
  "No, classmate during our primary school days." He said.
  "Are you now in the same school?" I was curious.
  "No, he studies at a middle school which is not far from his home. We are in the same grade, and he intends to study economics at a university. His home is far from us, but we keep constant contact by phone." He explained.
  The revelation of two things: I see a young man who is striving forward while remaining thrifty in life, and who cherishes affection in such a way. I see the hope of the young men, as well as the future and education of Thailand as a country of Buddhism.
  The backwardness, darkness, and the corruption of the society shall not be exaggerated; in the sunshine, human beings are progressing and full of hope.
  December 29, 2006 the eve of the New Year

  How Much is Time?

  I am a keen reader. Since my childhood I have developed a deep love for books: I can dispense with three meals a day, but cannot dispense with books for a single day. When I am grown up and enter the society, I have to work over ten hours a day for my bread. Though I have no time to read during the day, I have a habit to read newspapers before going to bed in the night, though in most cases I am dog-tired. Beside my pillow, several books are within my reach. My habit of reading persists until gray hairs appear on my head.
  My reading materials change as the road of my life changes. When I was a student, I used to read literary works; when I entered the society to work, I used to read books on how to establish oneself; when I had my own business, I used to read books on management; when I was 65 years old, I abandoned business for literature, and I returned to the reading of literary works.
  I cherish time, as if an inch of time is an inch of gold. While I am not critical about three meals a day, I am critical about books. My book shelves are full of books, some of which I find so interesting that they make me forget food and sleep. Poetry is my love, and I read and write poems. The other day a friend of mine presents me a poetry magazine which is published in a big city with a large population of over 10 million people, and I am overjoyed. I lay down the newspaper in my hands to read the magazine which attracts me so much but, upon the first reading, I am puzzled.
  A poem entitled Upstairs and Downstairs reads like this:
  "You live upstairs / I live downstairs Upstairs is higher than me/Downstairs is lower than you You pass me whenever you go upstairs/I do not pass you whenever I go downstairs I often think about your room whenever I go downstairs/You often think about my room whenever you go upstairs My head often heads your going upstairs/Your feet often stamp on my going downstairs You are still going upstairs/I am still going downstairs"
  Another page carries New Journey to the West, which is more puzzling:
  "If four monks today start from Xi'an to get scriptures in India passing a country passing through the territory another country visa another country again passing through the territory another country visa another country again passing through the territory" Visa totally N countries passing through the territory visa is a must do you know now visa is difficult to get alas quite difficult.
  My God! The upstairs is higher than the downstairs, and India cannot be reached until through many countries. In such a large city with a large population of over 10 million people, and in such an ancient country with thousands of years of civilization, how can such "poems" be published in such a poetry magazine to be sold to the great populace? In contemporary literary circle, it is a fact that there are more writers of poetry than readers of poetry. But such poems are like bath water which should be throw away, for they dissatisfy the readers' appreciation.
  If time is spent in reading such poems, how much is time?
  January 7, 2007

  Heredity

  A few of my friends follow the life style of Hong Kong, and they go to a Chinese-run restaurant to drink noon tea, which lasts two hours.
  Among them Old Zhong, who is 80, is the most advanced in age. He said that it is reported in the newspaper that in Salvador there is a woman named Recluse Hernandes who has recently spent her 128th birthday, and 200 people have attended her birthday party. Mrs Hernandes has born 13 children, and 8 of them died before her; she has 60 grandchildren, 80 great grandchildren and 25 great great grandchildren. And the topic drifts from happiness to heredity. Old Zhong said his mother is now 100 years old, and people joke that since Mother lives to 100 years, her son must live longer than her, and they can go on drinking noon tea for at least 20 years. And merriment accompanies the talk.
  When it comes to heredity, people remark that some children take after their father, some after their mother, and the character of some children resemble their father or mother: when the parent is kind, the child is accordingly kind and, when the parent is a musician, the child develops a keen love for music. But some people pose a different view: when the parent is handsome, the child may be plain-looking and, when the parent has great achievements, the child may amount to nothing. Some people argue that cancer may be hereditary. Finally the talkers come to a conclusion: now corrupt officials thrive in Mainland China and Taiwan, and Thailand in no way lags behind: the higher the officials, the bigger the corruption. Some African officials brazenly ask for bribery. Corruption, like an epidemic, is spreading across the world. It is hoped that those corrupt officials do not amplify the corruption or carry on the hererdity to their posterity. If corruption aggrandizes generation after generation, people have to save money for their children to emmigrate to the other planets.
  November 17, 2006 Bangkok

  World-Amazing Words

  I lived a poor life in my childhood. The business of my father was inadequate to support the schooling of each of his child: my brother was forced to give up the school to help my father, and I entered the society before I finished my middle school. Therefore, I do not know Confucianism, but I know that Confucius is a sage in the hearts of Chinese people. And there are many Confucius Temples across the country.
  After reading People's Daily (Overseas Edition) on May 28 I know that in recent years Confucian Colleges are develeping rapidly in foreign countries, which is a phenomenon. Up to now, there are 155 Confucian Colleges across the world, which cover 53 countries and areas. Mr. Xu Lin, director of China National Chinese Language Popularization and general secretary of the Council of Confucian Colleges said when he was interviewed by the reporter of Xinhua News Agency: in the years to follow, China is going to strengthen the force of Chinese teachers and work out a set of exmination and evaluation system in accordance with the principle of “quality first while keeping stable development”. Meanwhile, Chinese textbooks of high quality are going to be edited and published, so as to accelerate the learning of Chinese language and Chinese culture, so as to promote the devleopment of Confucian Colleges. It is thus clear that Chinese government lays great store by the sayings of Confucius.
  In order to popularize Confucian culture, Chinese Confucian Foundation has hosted a network: www.Chinakongzi.org. and they are determined to work it into the first rate network featured by Confucianism and traditional Chinese cultures.
  Again the report on People's Daily (Overseas Edition) on June 6: China and Turkey are going to cooperate in establishing Confucian Colleges. Mr. Sun Guoxiang, Chinese ambassador to Turkey, and Mr. Quilingill, president of Middle East Technological University, have signed on the agreement. In addition to supplying Chinese textbooks, Chinese government is going to help Turkish students familiarize themselves about China and learn Chinese cultures, so as to promote the cultural communication and cooperation between the two countries.
  In Thailand Confucian Foundation is also established. Colleges and universities throughout Thailand as well as schools of Chinese languages have cooperated in organizing "The 1st Confucius Cup Spoken Chinese Contest".
  It is obvious that Confucianism not only resurrects in China, it is also gaining prevalence throught the world. However, in this atmosphere, it is reported in the World Daily of Thailand that Mr. Li Ling, a professor of the Chinese Department of Peking University has recently published a book entitled The Dog Which Has Lost Its Home: On the Analects of Confucius in which has remarked that Confucius is "a dog which has lost its home and cannot find its spiritual home". In the book, Li Ling also mentioned that Confucius, while touring various states of the country, has outstanding talents but no opportunity to use it, and he is dog-tired like a dog: "after the death of Confucius, his disciples are scattered to contend for their own fame. At the same time, they make concerted efforts to establish Confucius as a sage."
  I do not think the book by Li Ling makes good reading. Some scholars, while not content with their status quo and fail to ditinguish themselves, resort to such world-amazing words to make a noise in the world. Lamentable it is!
  June 12, 2007 Bangkok

  Unbelievable and Unimaginable

  Year in and year out. The New Year's day is drawing near again. It is a custom for us to have a thorough sweeping to enjoy the festival.
  The early morning finds me up to cut off withered branches from the trees, to sweep fallen leaves on the yard ground, to clean the road without the door and the parking lot, and to sprinkle water on flowers and fruit trees.
  The newspaper boy comes riding a motorcycle to deliver the daily newspaper.
  "Chawadipimai (Happy New Year!) Ketuo (Sorry!) I am a little bit late today." Thai people are usually quite polite.
  "Chawadipimai (Happy New Year!) Maibiancai (It doesn't matter), so long as you bring the newspaper to me everyday." I replied.
  I order seven different daily newspapers. When I open Asia Daily, the title of Millionaires Contending to Order Banquets of Million Bahts has attracted my attention. Laying aside the kettle, I begin to read the detail: "the Golden-Crown Restauarent in Thailand now offers de luxe banquet which costs millions of bahts, and the wealthiest people across the world are invited here. Each dish costs at least 25 thousand US dollars…more than half of the 40 seats have been ordered by the most famous companies in the world. …among the 40 seats, the Golden-Crown Restauarent has reserved 10 for specially honored guests. Therefore, there are only 5 seats which are open to the society. …there are altogether seven dishes; the most famous cooks are invited, and some wines are offered, including the red wine of 1961…"
  Is this a fable? When I return to my room I begin to calculate with my calculator. According to the regulation of Thai government, the minimal income of a Thai worker in the capital of Bangkok is 191 bahts per day, which equals to 5,000 bahts each month. One dish costs 25 thousand US dollars, which equals to 9,000,000 bahts. Therefore, a Thai worker has to pay 180 months or 15 years of his salary for the dish. I clip off the news into my file.
  Two months later, or on February 8, the World Daily of Thailand carries another news: "De luxe banquet which costs millions of bahts for the coming weekend. 11 dishes at the price of one million bahts, and 15 persons have ordered…" The eating is not a single matter. Chinese people hate to lag behind. It is reported on the World Daily of February 9: "a restaurant in Shanghai offers dishes at fabulous price on the Valentine's Day, which costs 380 thousand yuan. Up to now, nobody orders."
  Fabulous is the world! Such things rarely enter the dream of common people. Though not quite a developed country, Thailand is more wealthy than most of the African countries. China has gained a rapid economic development in recent years, but the gap between the rich and the poor is also widening. I cannot help thinking: why shouldn't wealthy people save the money for a dish to save 10 thousand starved people in Africa? I you open your eyes, you will find many people who are still living a poor life. Please do something out of charity.
  Oh my god! Are you sleeping?
  February 10, 2006 Bangkok

  Hometown Youths

  I am a book lover, and even on a plane, I would bring with me a booklet to while away the time. When I come to a new place, I often visit the bookstores to get some freshly published books. Last month when I go to my native Hainan, I ask my nephew, when he comes back from school, to bring me to a bookstore, and he wears a weary expression. It seems that he is interested in restaurants instead of bookshops. I am disappointed upon entering the bookshop: there are only a few readers. My nephew, who is a middle school student, goes to find cartoon books the moment he enters the bookstore. According to my knowledge, some cartoon books are imported from Japan, where they are banned. Strange it is that these books are so much loved by juvenile Chinese. As a poem lover, I fail to find a poetry book, and I cannot find books that are written by my literary friends. I ask my nephew:
  "You just like these cartoon books?"
  "Yes." He replies.
  "Do you know about Gorky and Lu Xun?" I pursue.
  "What do they do? Where are they?" He throws the question back.
  "What do you intend to do in your future?" I ask.
  "I will think about it in the future." His reply is brief.
  Zhi Xiong is another nephew of mine. After graduation from a university, he finds a job of management in a hotel. One day he calls me to accompany him to a department store, and I am going to buy some apples. It is my habit to eat an apple a day, because I believe the American saying of "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". The department store is not far from our home. When going before a BALLY store, he pushes the door open and goes in. I follow him, thinking he wants to enjoy the cool air inside the store. The salesperson is all smiles. Until now I realize that he intends to buy a pair of leather shoes. Sitting in the sofa, I leaf through the newspaper while watching him choosing shoes. After trying some pairs of shoes, he takes one to me to see the price at the bottom of the shoes.
  "3,500 yuan, that's my two months' salary." He remarks.
  I know that he is expecting me to say: "You just buy it if you like; I'll pay for you." As his senior and an overseas Chinese who goes back once a long while, it seems that it behooves me to buy such a pair of shoes for him.
  "Too expensive! Let's go." Putting aside the newspaper in my hand, I step out of the store; he has to hand back the shoes to the salesperson and follows me out with reluctance.
  On the way, I say to him while pointing to the shoes on my feet:
  "My shoes cost only 200 yuan, and the shoes that cost 3,500 yuan does not make you a flyer!"
  His answer is quite brief:
  "But the wearer does look different!"
  Summer of 2004

  Simon

  Five years ago I came to know Simon by chance, who is a man of sense of humor in his prime of life. He came from south Africa to teach foreign language. Time breeds familiarity. One day I said to him: "the golden chain on your neck is even bigger than the copper loop on the neck of my dog. Is it really gold or merely golden?"
  "Of course really gold. It is produced in south Africa; the gold rate is 99.9999, and it worths 400 thousand yuan. I put it around my neck to prevent its being stolen." And he added: "when I need money, I just take off an outer ring to exchange for cash."
  The other day I came across him again. I noticed his necklace a little bit shorter, and I asked: "how it comes that the necklace on your neck is a little bit shorter?"
  "Oh, it is shortened by the beautiful scenery of China." His answer does not lack a sense of humor.
  "What about the future?" I asked.
  "In the future it is going to be further shortened." He said.
  "Then what about the future of the futiure?" I again asked.
  "When the last ring is left, I will change it into an air ticket and fly back to south Africa." He answered.
  "What about the future of the future of the future?" I pursued him.
  "I will sell my house in Africa to buy a new gold chain and come back here." He is quite patient.
  "Oh, what about the future of the future of the future of the future?" I am still hot on the question.
  "I will again buy air ticket with the last money to go back. By then I will be old, and I will be waiting to see God. I will come back no more."
  With all smiles he left me.

  The Leech

  Those who have ever lived in the villages of south China know that the leech is as big as a finger, black and soft like sea cucumber. When the farmer goes into water, the leech is sure to swim near and suck his blood; the leech will not fall off until fully satiated. All this might happen without the farmer's knowledge.
  There are some leeches in the society.
  I met a literary friend in a city of China who is a middle-aged woman in the circle of literature. She said she recently came to know a famed woman writer who often publishes her works in newspapers and magazines and, since I am also a man of letters, if I am willing, she could arrange a dinner for us to meet and communicate. I said yes. Before long she phoned me to tell that we could see each other at a restaurant at six in the evening. She accompanied me to the restaurant by taxi and, when we got off at the gate of the restaurant, she told me this is the most sumptuous restaurant in the city. Before we finish our talking, the famed woman writer arrived. She is around forty of age, accompanied by a young man and a young woman. Celebrities tend to be prideful. After a brief exchange of conventional greetings, we were ushered in an pre-ordered room, and the woman writer sat on the seat of honour as a matter of course. When I handed over my calling card and one of my books to her, she put the card into her reticule after brief scanning and laid my book on an empty chair beside her after looking through the cover and contents. She told me her surname, but she had no calling card. With that she beckoned to the waitress for the menu. She ordered dishes with her fingers and the waitress nodded her head from time to time while jotting them down. Then a chat between the writer and the young man and young woman and my friend and me began. The topic drifted from the schooling of children to the reduction sale of department stores. The first dish served is Australian abalone, followed by Thai bird's nest. The serving speed is quite quick, as if all this is prearranged. When the seventh dish of fruits is served, the woman writer said that she had another appointment and she left first. The meal cost me 3,530 yuan.
  Returning to the hotel, I phoned my friend to tell her that the money was unjustifiably paid, and such things should never happen again. But she told me that another friend of hers phoned to complain: when the same woman writer was invited to lunch, again the writer herself ordered dishes including abalone and shark fin, for which the friend was short of money for the payment and had to phone family members to send more money. The friend dared no more to associate with celebrities, so as to avoid such embarrassment.
  Lower animals such as leeches are on the sly and stealthy, and they are nearly impossible to defend; and human beings, while fair and square to follow all rules, are even more impossible to guard against.
  When going out, we shall be wary of the wolves and alert to the leeches.

  Buying Non-Staple Foodstuffs

  On the morning of Sunday I like driving to an old food market with my wife to buy vegetables, seafood, and fruits.
  My home is in a lane of the street of Bangkok, and across the street there is a large supermarket which sells vegetables, fruits, seafood, and meat. The meat and eggs and vegetables sold in the supermarket, my family believe, are from raising or tilling farms, and the feedstuff and fertilizers contain much chemical elements. Pesticides are applied to make the plants or fruits grow fast; a good exterior ensures a good price. And the aquatic products are frozen for long-distance transportation. But the products of the peddlers in the old market are directly from the farmers or fishermen, who have no capital for feedstuff or fertilizers, hence free from contamination. In spite of holes by worms in some vegetalbes or fruits, we believe, they are better than those in the supermarket. And aquatic products from the retailers are also better than those in the supermarket, since they are for direct selling without long-distance transportation and ice-freezing. Therefore, we prefer to buy non-staple foodstuffs from the old food market on the weekend: our habit is to park the car in a lane beside a gas station and walk about 100 steps to do the shopping — or the buying.
  Another reason for my buying from the peddlers is that I can approach the common people and help the poor: when their vegetables and food are sold out, they can go home earlier to look after the family. Living in such a big city, I have been busy from day to day, which prevents me from going into the society to be familiar with the feelings of the common people. In Mainland China, this is called "going uphill and down to the countryside to approach the common people and their feelings". Only the morning of Sundays offers me such a good chance.
  Having lived here for over ten years, I am familiar with all the peddlars around.
  There is an old woman peddler who must be over 60; she has two helpers: one is a woman about 40 who is supposed to be her daughter-in-law, another is a young girl in her teens, who may be her grandchild. The girl comes to give her grandmother a hand during her holiday, selling vegetables and fruits. My wife likes buying from her. Seeing my wife and I coming up, the old woman never fails to clasp her hands while saying "chawadi", which is almost the tag of Thai people when they meet, meaning "good morning", "good afternoon", or "good evening". Beside her stall there are many small baskets for the buyers to contain things. I like the pepper mixed with three colors of red, yellow, and green; it is as big as the fist of a baby and is not peppery at all. When it is cooked with slices of meat, the dish is both delicious and nutritious. Sometimes when I choose big ones, the old woman would remind me that some have turned a little bit soft. When my wife selects some good-looking towel gourds, the woman would change some old ones for us. When we buy some mandarin oranges for their juice, we also tend to pick larger ones, and the woman would remind us that larger ones of dark green color may be sour. When the payment is made, my wife likes to pat on the shoulder of the old woman, warning her: "put on your glasses to avoid making mistakes!" We are all happy and merry. Another acquaintance is the middle-aged man who sells aquatic products on the low pitch, who never fails to introduce the best fish to us. He knows that we are a small family who like small and fresh fishes, and he would scale the fishes, get out the bowels, dipping them into the water in a pail, before handing the clean fishes to us in plastic bags.
  We never bargain with peddlers.
  About 30 years ago, when I was living by myself in a flat in the suburbs, I used to buy pawpaws from a peddler in a boat on the river which is not far from my flat. At the same price I can choose bigger or smaller ones to my liking. As I was living alone and there was no refrigerator, I would ask the peddler to choose a ripe one, so that I can finish it at one time.
  I have been to many places throughout the world, and I feel that Thai people, living in such a country of Buddhism, are gentle, kind-hearted, and good-mannered; particularly, common people lay great store by friendship and human kindness. Upon thinking and rethinking, human life span is about 100 years, which is the twinkling of an eye; by light-year it is merely a millisecond. Therefore, we should value our life and live a life of peace and harmony.
  October 18, 2006

  Part III Novelette

  Reunion

  Swallow is the second generation of an overseas Chinese family: her father is from China who married a Thai girl. After the marriage, the couple engaged themselves in rubber plantation in the south of Thailand and, in a fighting between the government and the bandits, the husband died from a bullet accidentally. Swallow was then only five and she and her mother had to depend on each other for life. Luch has it that Swallow has a maternal uncle who manages a shop in the town, and he is willing to support the schooling of Swallow until she goes from the village primary school to a provincial middle school and further to a state-run university. After her graduation from the Arts & Design Department of the university, Swallow, under the help of her friends, finds the work as assistant to a department manager in a design company. In addition to professional design of trademarks, advertisements, packaging, and registration of trademarks, the company has also a printing plant for trademarks and advertisements.
  One summer afternoon when it is nearly off duty, a young man rushes here with a bag to revise an advertisement design, whom the receptionist brings to the office of Swallow. After brief explanation, the young man puts a pile of blueprints upon the table and begins to leaf through them, wanting Swallow to modify them. An agreement has not been reached after some discussion, and since it has already been the off-duty time, all the staff in the office have left except Swallow and the young man. The man proposes to have dinner together with Swallow on the pretext that he is busy and has no time to come here again, so as to finish the work. And Swallow agrees.
  This is a medium-sized Chinese restaurant. Since time is still early, there are few guests both downstairs and upstairs. With the agreement of the young man, Swallow chooses the innermost seat which is to the left side of the downstair room. The young man puts down his paper bag and hands over his calling card.
  "Sorry, I forget to give you my calling card." The young man says.
  Swallow takes over the card with two hands, while saying "thank you!"
  "David Zhang, board chairman of XX Trading Co., Ltd." After brief reading Swallow proudces her own calling card for exchange.
  "Your company is not far from here." Swallow says to the young man.
  "Yes, but I'm quite busy every day, and I've no time to go out. The former Catalogue is thin and out of date: new information must be added. And I need your help." While explaining, the young man takes the data out of the bag and puts them on the table. Then he continues:
  "I had only a piece of bread for lunch, and I'm hungry. Let's order first."
  "What do you like?" The young man is quite considerate.
  "No particulars. You just order." Swallow answers.
  "Please don't stand on ceremony. Different people have different tastes. Some like sea food, some like meat, some like peppers, some like steamed food, and some like fried things." The young man urges Swallow.
  Swallow studies the menu.
  "Do you like peppers?" Swallow asks.
  "So long as it is not so peppery. Peppers are good to the health." The young man remarks.
  When dishes are settled, the two pick up the topic of their work. The data is opened page after page, and they discuss it one after another. Swallow looks at them carefully and makes suggestions from time to time. The young man nods now and then, while giving his opinions for improvement. Mutual agreement is finally reached.
  "Tomorrow I'll revise and get them printed, and I'll post them to you on Wednesday. If you agree, you just sign and seal on it before returning to me. And we're going to print them. The goods will be delivered in ten days." Swallow says.
  "OK, it is hoped that the printing be finished by the end of this month." The young man is quite satisfied.
  "No problem." The voice of Swallow is affirmative.
  After the revision is made, Swallow begins to look closely at the man: a face like a watermelon, a pair of big eyes which stare at you when he is looking at you, his eyebrow is heavy, his hair is raven black, his nose is big, his mouth is thin, his teeth are orderly and snow-white, his complexion is ruddy, his voice is loud when he speaks, and he is about 1.7 meters in height, neither fat nor lean, quite sturdy of health. He wears white shirt and blue trousers, no necktie, and he wears ROLEX watch on his wrist. He is gentle of movement and suave of manners, giving the impression that he is a man of wealth and knowledge below the age of 30.
  The supper lasts for nearly three hours.
  After the supper, the young man drives his Toyota car to send Swallow home.
  The ancestral place of Swallow is in the countryside. When she was a university student, she lived in the dormitory on the campus; after her graduation, she lived in the home of her classmate; after she found the present job, she began to live by herself in an inexpensive flat. Each month she would save some money from her salary to remit to her mother in the countryside. Swallow lives on the third floor of the flat. When the car comes to a stop beneath the building, the young man hurries off the car to open the door for Swallow; while putting his hand on the top of the car he says gently: "Mind your head."
  Swallow slowly comes out of the car while repeating her "thank you!"
  "Good night!" After the mutual respect, the car slowly drives away.
  The first meeting with the young man renders Swallow sleepless in the bed throught the night. The young man is sturdy, urbane, elegant, and particularly considerate for her: during the meal he always offers something delicious to her. Since she enters the society, the image of such a young man imprints so deeply in her mind.
  When, on Wednesday, the design and paper are delivered, the young man sends them back as soon as possible after signature and sealing, along with a cheque as earnest money.
  For the very first time, Swallow loses no time in delivering the things. And the young man is satisfied.
  Shortly, the young man has some packing bags to be printed, and he treats Swallow to a buffet dinner in a nearby reataurant. Gradually Swallow comes to know that his company has a history of 15 years and is originally devoted to the business of exportation. Three years ago, the young man was engaged as assistant to manager; the boss is advanced in age, and the major of his son is medicine, who does not want to do business. Seeing the young man is so able and diligent, the boss transfers his business in installment to him. After taking over the business, it develops quickly owing to the good will of the young man. The young man is now 32, a university graduate, a lover of lierature and a poet, still single, and his parents and brothers are all in Qingdao of China.
  He comes from China to Thailand all by himself to try his venture, and he is meticulous in doing everything. "doing business is like being a man, we shall try our best to be the best." This is the tag of the young man. He is strong in interpersonal communication, neither a smoker nor a drinker. For five years here in Thailand, he says, that he has never been to any theater or night club. He seldom wathes TV; for him life is work, and work is life. It is his habit, when he returns to his room in the night, to continue to work by himself.
  Since both the young man and the girl are interested in literature, one day after a buffet dinner, Swallow offers to go to the young man's home to borrow some books.
  A common five-storied building is stowed away about 200 meters from the main road, and quietness reigns. The young man lives in a rented single room on the 5th floor, and there is no elevator. In the room there are only a single bed, a desk and a computer on it, a pile of papers, a small garderobe, and a small bookshelf which is full of famous works by international writers; an electric fan is on the ground, and there is no air-conditioner; to the side of the wall between the kitchenet and the lavatory there is a plank as the table, on which stand an electric boiler, two glass cups, a bottle of tea leaves, and a bottle of Nestle coffee. It is a simple room.
  Obviously, the young man lives a thrifty life. Swallow falls into love.
  One day, the young man brings some wrapping paper for printing, and they two dine together in a restaurant, after which the young man customarily drives Swallow home. At the gate of Swallow's room, the young man shakes hands with Swallow, while saying "Bye-bye, see you later." After Swallow closes the door of the car, the young man turns the car and waves hands to Swallow before disappearing. Swallow picks up one step after another slowly towards her room. When she takes a bath or does some reading, she cannot concentrate on it. Deep into the night, Swallow is still wide awake, and she plucks up her courage to write a poem and she sends it to him by e-mail:

This evening
You drive me home again
Shaking my hands closely
You say to me see you later
But I want to see you everyday
The car leaves slowly
You turn back to wave your hands to me
To say good-bye to me
I hope
That we could stay together
In midnight, I sit on my bed alone
To compose a poem for you
I hope on the road of life ahead
I could have you
To go hand in hand

  The next morning when Swallow is still abed, the phone rings.
  "Your poem is well written. I'm sorry I have to go to the restaurant to accompany a guest to the airport. We'll discuss it later." With these words the young man hangs the phone.
  Since then Swallow often phones the young man, who is always busy day and night, hence the conversation is quite brief. Swallow is free in the night, and she sends e-mail letters from night to night, sometimes her poems.
  On the birthday of Swallow, the two go to an Italian restaurant to celebrate. They spend three hours in the candlelight enveloped in a quiet and elegant atmosphere. Returning to her home, Swallow tosses about in her bed; when the clock strikes two, she sends a poem through e-mail:
June the 15th
Is my birthday
In the bright candlelight
Thank you for accompanying me
Day and night
I am thinking about you
You are the sunshine water and air
Which is indispensable to me
June the 15th
I hope from this beautiful moment on
We can live together
Until life blossoms into fruition

  On day at the table Swallow proposes to marry the young man, but the young man thinks they are still young and their career still not established; and they will remain only friends before he has established himself.
  Half a year elapses. When they are having dinner in the open air on a moonlit night, the young man, under the urging of Swallow, finally agrees to marry her. Since the man's parents are in Mailand China and Swallow's mother is in the countryside of Thailand and they cannot come for the wedding ceremony, the young man proposes: to go through formalities in the government without any ceremony so as to save money; to dispense with honeymoon since he is quite busy in the company; to dispense with any new furniture and live a thrifty life since they are still beginning their career; to be wholly devoted to the job and no baby shall be born in three years. All these Swallow agrees.
  The man also works out a short-term plan and a long-term plan: in four months a big order shall be completed; when the last batch of goods are delivered, there will be one million bahts profit; Swallow goes on working at the present unit for half a year until she gets two months' bonus, then she resigns her job to work together with her husband; all the debts in the bank shall be paid off in one year; in another year new office building shall be bought so as to expand the business; in three years the Toyota car shall be replaced by Benz, and a baby shall be born.
  When agreement is reached, the two goes to the local government the following day for marriage registration. And they begin to cohabit in a larger room of a newer flat.
  On the very evening, the new lovers go to a five-star restaurant and order various Chinese dishes as well as a bottle of French red wine, to celebrate the marriage.
  After the marriage, Swallow writes her first poem:

The pursuit in life
Happiness finally comes
The dream of life
Eventually comes true
True love shall be cherished
Forever, forever
The road ahead is still long
Let us bind together
Hand in hand forever
Heart to heart forever
Be of one mind
To live a beautiful life

  In the new married life, the young man is the first to rise and he prepares breakfast for the two: the young man likes bread and coffee, while Swallow likes oatmeal and eggs. Sometimes they would buy soya-bean milk and deep-fried twisted dough sticks or Chinese assorted porridge. The young man washes and cleans the car; Swallow washes clothes and hangs them in the balcony. The young man drives Swallow to work before going to his own company. When it is time to call it a day, the young man drives to pick up Swallow or, in case she works overtime, he would be patient in waiting under a tree, thinking about the work today and tomorrow, or reading a book from his pocket. When time permits, he would go to the supermarket to buy food for supper at home; sometimes when Swallow works too late, they would eat at a snack bar before going home. Sometimes the young man brings his work home in the night and, sometimes they would nestle against each other while chatting and watching TV.
  The newly wedded couple are hand in hand when they go out, they serve each other when dining together, and they embrace each other when sleeping. They live a honeyed life.

  The 1997 Asian Financial Storm comes unexpectedly, and Thailand suffers the most. The economic breakdown is like landslide; national foreign exchange repertory is drained all of a sudden; since the banks stop providing loans, many factories, enterprises, foreign firms and shops all go into liquidation; huge crowds of people are unemployed, and many of them go to the countryside; stagnancy reigns in all the markets. In the streets, there are few people and few vehicles; department stores, supermarkets, particularly de luxe restaurants and tea houses have few or no visitors; the same situation applies to shops devoted to selling of BALLY and ROLEX and stitchwork shops. But there are comparatively more eaters at roadside cafeteria and streetside snack bars. The animated city now has become still and stagnant.
  The business of the young man is conducted on the basis of bank loan by mortagage of letters of credit, but since bank cash is withered, all promissory notes are rejected; to make it worse, in the last big order, the last batch of goods is delivered but the money cannot be collected; when the bank fails to retrieve the loan, it has confiscated all living houses, office buildings, and the cars of the company. When the company goes bankrupt, the young man loses his job.
  The company of Swallow is comparatively better off. The business has reduced to one third in volume and the company leaders, in order to maintain normal running, have decided to shorten office time to five days a week and six hours a day. The company announces those who have a better way out can resign the job, and the company is going to give the resigner half a month's salary as subsidiary; and those who have no way out may stay on, but half of the salary will be deducted, and all bonus and dividend will be cancelled. Swallow decides to remain.
  The newly wedded couple remove into a simple, single room in an inexpensive flat which is near to the company of Swallow.
  Their life has changed dramatically. The young man still boils two bowls of noodle or go to the street to buy some bread or deep-fried twisted dough sticks as their breakfast, after which Swallow walks to work and, the young man becomes a job hunter. But he is disappointed from day to day; their deposit in the bank is going to be exhausted, and his ROLEX watch and the marriage ring of Swallow have been pawned to the pawnshop. When their life is too hard to fare, the young man rents a used motorcycle to pick up passengers in alleys or lanes to earn some money.
  Bangkok is famous for traffic jam. Motorcycles are both convenient and inexpensive, and the business of the young man prospers: each time he can earn 10 or dozens of bahts. Dusk or evening often finds him buying food at roadside snack bars and bring home for their supper. The young man would take out the hard-earned money from his pockets and give it to Swallow who, would grasp the money in her hands for quite a long time before counting and stowing it away in a small iorn box after locking it under the bed near the corner of the wall.
  Swallow was originally optimistic: merrily talking and singing; but she is a different person now. She is often wordless with her lowered head. In order to make a little bit more money, the young man rises early to pick up passengers and goes home late in the night. This becomes his daily routine in spite of winds and rains. One evening when the young man buys steamed rice with cooked vegetables home, Swallow has already prepared on the table two bowls, two pairs of chopsticks, and two cups of water, waiting for his return. Hungry, the young man is seated beside Swallow after washing hands and begins to serve himself. When he finds a piece of meat, he puts it into Swallow’s bowl with his chopsticks, and Swallow again puts it back into his bowl. The young man lets it alone; when Swallow is swallowing her mouthful of rice, he loses no time in putting the only piece of meat into the mouth of Swallow, who lowers her head, tears dropping into her bowl. The young man promptly extends his arms to embrace Swallow into his bosom.
  "Sorry to see you suffer. But please be patient; people throughout the country are suffering. Typhoon may blow for some time but not for life time; darkness is temporary and the day is going to break sooner or later!" The young man is encouraging and comforting his wife with confidence.
  From evening to enveing, when he goes home, the young man usually takes a bath before having dinner. Though the temperature in Thailand is often in excess of 30 degrees, they use electric fans instead of air conditioners. After dinner and a brief chat, they would lie down and sleep since they are dog-tired. The lengthening days are thus disappearing.
  One moonless night, the young man is awakened by some noise, and he sees Swallow sitting on the bed and crying in her knees. He is startled, and he hugs Swallow into his bosom while wiping tears off her face.
  “What's wrong? Do you feel ill?” The young man is frightened.
  Speechless for quite a long time, Swallow is still sobbing.
  The young man tightens his embrace.
  "What's the matter?" Shaking the body of Swallow for an anwer, the young man is quite anxious.
  Still no answer, and the weeping picks up volume.
  The air in the room is going to be curdled; audible is the weak tick-tack of the clock on the head of the bed.
  ……Still no answer.
  Fondling Swallow's hair, the young man embraces her more closely.
  "Could I leave you?" After silence for such a long time, Swallow bursts forth and cuddles the young man to cry with abandon in his bosom.
  The young man tightens his embrace, and is also all tears.
  The clock on the table has tick-tacked for nobody-knows-how-long, the window without is still enveloped in pitch darkness.
  "Darling, I'm sorry to you, but luckily we don't have child. If you have a better way out, you just leave me, since you are still young. I don't want to be your cumbrance. I believe I'll be better off in the future. Thank you for your love to me in the past half year, and for your care and support to me. I'll be better off; you don’t have to worry about me."
  The lovers are wordless, embracing each other until the day breaks.
  On the morning of the next day, the young man and Swallow go to the government to go through divorce formalities. At noon they go to a Thai restaurant to have the last meal together. Back home, when Swallow is packing her package, the young man gives all the money in the saving box to Swallow, and Swallow puts half of the money back into the pocket of the young man. After closely embracing the young man, Swallow goes toward the lane, tears welling up in her eyes; and the young man helps to carry Swallow's package into a taxi.
  "Take care! The best wishes!" The young man takes the initiative.
  "You take care too! God bless you!"The last words from Swallow.
  The taxi has covered quite a distance; when she looks back through the glass window of the car, Swalllow sees the young man transfixed there.
  Swalllow has left, without leaving address and phone number!

  During the time when Swallow lived a tearful life, she worked five hours a day and the weekend included Saturday; her husband went to pick up passengers for money one whole day after another boring day. She did not want to return to the small, lonely room that had neither TV nor air-conditioner; she dared not visit her friends, since they were also living a hard life; when she did some reading, she could not concentrate; sometimes she paid a visit to her mother who lived by herself in the coutryside. Now she can save a little bit money to be remited to her mother for life. When she is free, she takes a stroll in department stores or parks.
  One day Swallow sees, at the gate of a park, a full-bodied foreigner in his fifties talking to a Thai woman who is selling small articles of craftwork in her wheelbarrow; their talking is punctuated with various gestures. Swallow's curiosity leads her forward. The woman peddler is selling articles for ornaments, including souvenirs, earthenware pigs, dogs, pandas, tigers, lions, and elephants, various children made of cloth, as well as figures of Buddha for different purposes. The foreigner is choosing and bargaining with his fingers. Seeing young and beautiful Swallow coming up, he begins to talk with Swallow in English, wearing a sunny smile. Under the help of Swallow, the foreigner finally buys an ashtray embraced by a panda, and the foreigner proposes to drink coffee with Swallow in a shop across the street, to which Swallow readily agrees. The foreigner orders a cup of coffee and Swallow a glass of orange juice to go with a small dish of fried peanuts. The sitting lasts for two hours. There is privity in their talking, from the manners and customs of Thailand to scenic spots, and from the characters of Thai people to Thai food. Obviously the foreigner has a good impression on Thailand and, sensing the attack of the Financial Storm on Thailand, he expresses his deep sympathy.
  The exchange phone numbers upon leaving each other. After some appointments, Swallow comes to know that the foreigner is a buyer at an import company of America who often comes to Thailand for business. His wife died from a traffic accident last year; he has a car in America and is still childless. Though the foreigner is 56, the same age with Swallow's mother, he is gentle and docile; except for a love for work and tourism, he has no night life. And Swallow takes the initiative to express her love. Considering Swallow is a university graduate who works in a large enterprise, the American cannot agree more, and he brings Swallow to America to live a married life.
  Soon Swallow begins to live together with the foreinger. While waiting for the visa, she asks for a long-term leave from her company, which agrees to keep her post and stop her salary. In a month she goes to America with the American.
  They arrive in Atlanta. The American lives in a five-storied flat in the suburb, and an old car is parked in the parking lot before the door. Climbing to the third floor, Swallow follows the foreigner into the room. The house contains a bedroom and a living room, which are in great disorder: there are still some cigarette butts in the ashtray on the table. Looking out of the window, Swallow suddenly feels a sense of countryside loneliness. The road is broad with few vehicles, to be dotted with several shops where there are occasional buyers; in the distance, there is a small Chinese restaurant which can be discerned from its signboard in Chinese and English.
  A new life begins. The American is quite honest and serious in his work. It is already four o'clock in the afternoon when they enter their home from Thailand, but he puts aside his luggage and phones his company and goes there to report for duty. Early the next morning, after eating a loaf of bread bought from a small supermarket the night before and drinking a cup of coffee made from a small pack of coffee powder previously left over, he drives to work. And he goes back home quite late. It is the duty of Swallow to clean the house and to wash and iron clothes. For breakfast and lunch, she also has bread, and for supper, she often calls the restaurant to deliver into the room. Coffee, bread, Italian noodle or pizza, hamburger, and fried chicken are their daily food; when they are free, they would like to eat some vegetables and tomatoes for a change. She is home-bound and friendless from day to day; when she occasionally takes a stroll on the street, nobody greets her. She begins to feel that this is the America out of her imagination.
  One day, she suddenly wants to go to the nearby Chinese restaurant. At three o'clock in the afternoon when most of the diners have dispersed, she steps in. The spacious hall contains a dozen tables, at one of which there are still three persons drinking beer. The attendants are all Chinese girls, and the cashier is a middle-aged Chinese person. When drinking is finished, the three foreigners come to the counter to pay the bill and, Swallow notices that, one of the foreigners puts a coin into the hand of the only male attendant who is over forty. The male attendant puts the coin into his pocket while saying "Thank you!" When all the diners have left, the attendants are surprised to see a strange young Chinese woman here, and some of them come up to chat with her. And Swallow knows the boss is an overseas Chinese who brings all the attendants from China; all the attendants are his relatives; the male attendant is his uncle, who has been a teacher in China. Swallow aks if there is any vacancy, they all shake their heads.
  Swallow begins to think about how to acclimatize herself to this life. She is afraid of the smell of tobacco, and the American has a great liking for Cuban cigar. She has neglected that he is a smoker when she was lovestruck in Thailand, but now whenever she returns home she feels the foul atomsphere in the room and her head gets dizzy. In Thailand she read in the newspaper that Americans are quite romantic, and their frequency of love-making is the first throughout the world. But according to a report, 30% of American women do not know what is orgasm; now she has the same feeling. As time goes by, she comes to know that the car belongs to his company, since his post is a buyer; the house is still to be paid in installment for ten years. It is said that there is no lifetime salary system in America, and the retiree shall get his or her pension for only once; no wonder the foreigner often tells her that he has to save some money each month to buy stock for his future. Except for smoking, he is a kind and good man: no gambling, no night life, and no family burden. But can they live to old age in conjugal bliss? Can she live such a life from day to day? Swallow thinks about it day and night. The American proposes marriage time and again, but Swallow postpones it until she finds a job.
  One day seems like a year. Two months are spent by one second after another second. On a cool day, the American goes on errand to another state of America, and Swallow takes the opportunity to buy an air ticket and flies back to Thailand, leaving a note in home.

  Swallow flies back to Bangkok in tears, and she lives in the home of her friend for the night of the day. The next morning finds her taking a bus to see her mother and grandmother; after two days' stay, she goes back to Bangkok, living temporarily in the home of her friend. Then she goes to her original company for a job, but the leaders say the business here is still stagnant and Swallow has exceeded her permitted leave, and her post is cancelled. And she asks her friend to help her look through newspapers for any vacancy from day to day.
  One morning when Swallow is reading the newspaper, she is overjoyed to read an advertisement by a furniture factory: English secretary wanted; requirements: female, graduation from a university, fluency in English, and at least one year of work experience; the applicants shall post her resume and a recent photo to XXX mail box. Swallow is afraid that posting may be slow, and she finds the address of the factory from the yellow page of the advertisement and loses no time in taking taxi there. This is a five-storied building. Pushing open the door, she enters. The first floor and the second floor are exhibition rooms for furniture, and the office is on the third floor. When she comes to the third floor, she finds there are a dozen desks in the hall, and each person is steeped in his or her work before the computer. Swallow explains her intention to a young girl at the reception desk, who leads her to the reception room and brings her a glass of water, telling her to wait for ten minutes, since the manager of the Export Department is going to interview her in person. Swallow is nervous, and it seems there is a jumping hare in her heart. She begins to pray to Buddha, wishing to get the job in the company. Before long the door of the reception room is opened and in comes a simple-clothed man; Swallow rises while clasping her fingers to salute him. When the man seated himself and the four eyes meet, they are dumbfounded: O! It is him! David Zhang waves to Swallow for her to sit down. Two pairs of eyes are looking at each other without any spoken word for a long time; Swallow lowers her head and she is all tears. David Zhang tears off a piece of paper from the desk calendar to write something on the back, then he draws several pieces of paper from the paper box on the table and comes to sit beside Swallow, while giving her the note and paper. After wiping her tears, Swallow begins to read the note.
  "Please drink up the water." Says David Zhang.
  Swallow lowers her head and drinks up the water, wordless.
  Another spell of silence.
  "It's time for me to leave." Swallow says, without lifting her head.
  "OK." David Zhang says.
  Picking up her handbag, Swallow goes away without turning her head.
  At seven in the evening, Swallow goes to B room by elevator according to the time and address on the note. This is a new building of more than ten stories. When she presses the doorbell, it is David Zhang who opens the door. Upon entering the room, Swallow leans on the shoulder of David Zhang to cry with abandon. David Zhang embraces Swallow with one hand, and fondles her hair with the other hand. After standing for quite a long long time, they lightly move to the sofa against the wall and sit down.
  "Tonight I have bought from the restaurant Hainan chicken, which you like, and the Hawaii pawpaw and chocolate ice-cream, which you like best." David Zhang says.
  "You sit there, and I'll get you frozen Coca Cola, which you like best." And he goes to fetch two bottles of Coca Cola, to be followed by "spring morning on the green bank".

When We Are Still Young

When we are still young in the wonderful morning of May
You say you love me when we are still young
You sing the song of youth how touching is the music
You say you love me when we are still young
In deep love with me you are O heart to heart
We laugh and we shout but it is time to part
When the song of spring echoes please recall the morning of May
Do not forget that you love me when we are still young
In deep love with me you are O heart to heart
We laugh and we shout but it is time to part
When we are still young in the wonderful morning of May
You say you love me when we are still young
September 16, 2006 Bangkok

Postscript

   After the publication of Selected Poems of Chan Sirisuwat (Chinese-English), I collect some poems, prose and novelette by me which are published in international newspapers and magazines and, in the season fragrant with durians, get this book published.
  In November of this year, I'll be 77 years old. Looking back at the road I have taken, one step after another step are quite clear; as ye sow, so you reap. Upon reflection, I have been successful in enterprise, since I have braved the world with three Hong Kong dollars and established my own company with 160 thousand bahts. When I come to realize that it is not worthwhile to strive for money in one's lifetime, I abandon business and devote myself to literature. In eleven years, I have produced eleven literary books. Looking back, I find the two stages of my life have not been spent in vain, and my heart is filled with confidence and comfort. Time is no pardoner of people, and only those who are content with their lot are happy. Cherishing such a belief, I decide to view this book as a comma and put aside my pen for self-culture and ease of life in my senectitude.
  The writing and publication in my later period cannot dispense with the help of Dr. Zhang Zhi; while attending to numerous affairs everyday, he spares some time to help me; here his grace is revealed and his friendship is to be cherished. My last two books are translated into English by Dr. Zhang Zhizhong by squeezing time from his tight schedule of curriculum; his consummate English translation greatly adds to my works. When not a single gift is to be presented, here I would like to express my indebtedness and, an everlasting memory will be cherished.


About the Translator
  Zhang Zhizhong(1966—)is a famous literary translator in contemporary China, as well as a poet and scholar. His ancestral place is Boai County of Henan Province. He successively obtained a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from Zhengzhou University, a master's degree in English and American literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, and a doctor’s degree in translation studies from Nankai University. Presently he is doing his postdoctoral study in poetic translation at Henan University. He is professor of English at Zhongyuan University of Technology, leader in academic research, and vice dean of the Foreign Languages Department. Meanwhile, he is a guest editor of The World Poets Quarterly and vice chairman of International Poetry Translation & Research Centre. Before teaching at university, he has ever been a middle school teacher, a translator, and an editor. He has done a huge amount of translation, including more than 50 classic American films (English-Chinese), the 84 episodes of TV play The Romance of Three Kingdoms and the film of The Tale of Sister Liu (Chinese-English), etc. Until now, he has published 19 books (7 in collaboration with others), 39 academic papers, and more than 1,300 translated poems/articles. Besides, he is beginning to publish his own poems. In October, 2003, he received second-grade scholarship from Nankai University; in November, 2003, he obtained Excellence Award in the 15th National Translation (Chinese-English) Competition for Youth Sponsored by Han Suyin; in December, 2005, he was entitled as the best international translator for 2005; in November, 2006, he won the Prize for Distinguished Translator in the 2nd World Poetry Prizes Sponsored by Dr. Choi Laisheung, and in March, 2007, he was entitled as the academic leader for 2006 by Henan Provincial Educational Bureau.