Onward and Upward|把作詩與做人相並立論


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雖然我深知我永遠達不到民國時期的文化人的水平,但這不妨礙我設定目標時拿他們作為參考。前幾天一個學生給我「Write about an ornament」的寫作題材,我邊寫邊想着顧隨and his theory that作文和做人是相通的,下面這篇文章就呱呱落地。

Write about an ornament

When I acquired  his Chinese teacup hand-painted with robins and dahlias in harmonious shades of pink, yellow and green – it was crafted by a notable artist in Jingdezhen, the birthplace of Chinese porcelain –  little did I know its function in my life would be more than ornamental.

Since the teacup cost me HKD5000, there was no question of me actually using it. Instead, I placed it on the shelf behind my desk, so that it would be one of the first things I laid my eyes on before I sat down to work each morning. The mere act of detecting fresh details about it – a baby leaf I’d never noticed before, how exquisitely a bird and its neighbouring stalk play each other up – was enough to make my day.

I still needed teacups for the practical purpose of drinking tea. Mindful of my sky-high record of breaking glassware at the kitchen sink, I turned to Taobao and bought teacups priced in the HKD20-30 range in bulk; this way, when one fell and shattered, I could simply sweep its remains into the dustbin without the slightest heartache and reach into my cabinet for a same-priced replacement. My rough handling of the Taobao cups extended to the way I cleaned them: since they were destined for the landfill sooner or later, I allowed stains to form on them, despite knowing very well how to make them sparkling clean again (pour hot water and lemon juice into the cup, wait for 15 minutes, rinse). Since they were only HKD20 apiece, they didn’t deserve my effort.

One morning, as I was brewing fresh tea in a Taobao cup, I happened to catch sight of its hand-painted counterpart, and I got struck by a flash of insight about the ways of the world: isn’t it the case that the workplace is so brutal that in the eyes of employers, humans, too, can be neatly divided into one-of-a-kind Jingdezhen cups and Taobao ones? If I want to receive the kind of treatment I give my hand-painted cup, I must have a special-enough skill set. If not, companies and clients will eye me as disposable, and give me the same amount of consideration I give my Taobao cups.

Ironically, it is now my Taobao cups that have become more important, for their presence is a sombre reminder of what will befall me if I fall behind my competition.

Michelle Ng

聯絡方式: michelleng.coach@proton.me
個人網站: https://michellengwritings.com
逢周日英國時間晚上8時 / 周一香港時間凌晨4時刊出



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