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November 10
2014 年 11 月 10 日

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台北是個開放、沒什麼見不得人的國際城市。然而,走過世界許多地方,驚嘆台北的馬路上戴口罩的人出奇的多。女子,一方面戴著口罩(有的口罩還十分花稍,擋住大半個臉),一方面卻又毫不吝惜露出深深的事業線,唯恐錦衣夜行、無人知曉。

戴口罩者顯然並非伊斯蘭教徒,也非印度少數民族,如果不願以真面目示人,那麼坦然大露事業線到底又是為了什麼?如果因為傷風感冒,戴上口罩用以護己護人,那麼袒胸露線就不怕著涼惡化,或太引人注目令人閃神分心造成無謂的交通事故嗎?

台灣的許多年輕人平時待人客氣,彎身哈腰,甚至輕聲細語,令人受寵若驚,偶然溫柔婉約得有些不自在。

然而,太陽花運動期間,有些年輕人一改平時溫文儒雅的面貌,目中無物,翻臉如翻書,表現得特別張狂,與平時待人處世超級客氣、謙遜和藹的言行,似乎並不一致。

也有人少年得志,賺大錢的時候囂張跋扈,被抓住了把柄之後居然人生如戲般淚如雨下。

找機會問了一些年輕人:「到底哪一面才是真實的你們,也該讓我們有個心理準備?」有人回答:「兩面都代表真實的我們。」果真如此,那差別也未免太大了吧!

我猜想,有些客氣得誇張的年輕人的確真心誠意、與人為善,然而也有人莫非只是言不由衷、虛與委蛇?至於為太陽花而瘋狂的年輕人,其中固有信奉「造反有理」的有志之士,更有人想必不知所以、只不過糊里糊塗湊湊熱鬧而已。

無論是戴著口罩卻袒胸露出事業線,或者子時輕聲細語、舉止文雅而午時頓足捶胸、不可一世,都是過猶不及、矯枉過正。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年10月3日)。

The two extremes

Taipei is an open and cosmopolitan city with nothing to hide. However, even for someone like me who has travelled to many places in the world, I still can't get over the fact that so many people wear face masks in Taipei, especially women.

But on the one hand, they wear oversize masks covering most of their face; on the other hand, they wear tops that reveal their cleavage.

The women wearing face masks don't strike me as Muslims, who, according to traditions, are most likely to cover their faces in today's world.

So how come they wish to cover their faces but not their cleavage? If they are wearing face masks because they have a cough or a cold, aren't they afraid of their condition deteriorating because of exposure, or of causing traffic accidents for being too distracting?

Meanwhile, young people in Taiwan are known for usually being very courteous, gently bending forwards when speaking to you in a soft voice. Occasionally, they are so nice it makes you feel uneasily flattered. This seems inappropriate.

But during the Sunflower Movement, some youths behaved in such an insolent way that they were quite the opposite of the graceful selves whom we are acquainted with. Their facial expressions changed as quickly as the wind.

And there are still others, who behaved so arrogantly and despotically when they achieved their ambition, pocketing big money, and then shedding shameless tears in such a dramatic way when they were caught doing wrong.

I got a chance to ask some young people: "Please let us know which side of you is the true self so that we can be prepared." "Both sides are true," some replied. The difference strikes me as a bit too much if that is so!

My guess is, while some super courteous youths might be well be sincere and kind, others behave in such a way not because they want to but simply out of necessity. Among the youths who were so wild and adrenaline-fueled during the Sunflower Movement, I believe there were some real fighters who believed in the "right to rebel". On the other hand, there were also others who didn't really know what was going on but who participated any way just to be part of the crowd.

Whether it is wearing face masks while revealing cleavage or speaking softly and behaving gently at one time and at other times thumping chests and stamping feet defiantly, such behaviour, I am afraid to say, is going to extremes.

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (3 October, 2014).

10 November, 2014

 

 

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