Lester Lee – Chinese/English translator and freelance writer

This blog will host articles and other works authored by me in various fields – poetry, philosophy, science, history, politics, current affairs, music – and anything else which seizes my attention and imagination!






       The story of the Jews since the Dispersion is one of the epics of European history.  Driven from their natural home by the Roman capture of Jerusalem (70A.D.), and scattered by flight and trade among all the nations and to all the continents; persecuted and decimated by the adherents of the great religions – Christianity and Mohammedanism – which had been born on their scriptures and their memories; barred by the feudal system from owning land, and by the guilds from taking part in industry; shut up within congested ghettoes and narrowing pursuits, mobbed by the people and robbed by the kings; building with their finance and trade and towns and cities indispensable to civilisation; outcast and excommunicated, insulted and injured; - yet, without any political structure, without any legal compulsion to social unity, without even a common language, this wonderful people has maintained itself in body and soul, has preserved its racial and cultural integrity, has guarded with jealous love its oldest rituals and traditions, has patiently and resolutely awaited the day of its deliverance, and has emerged greater in number than ever before, renowned in every field for the contributions of its geniuses, and triumphantly restored, after two thousand years of wandering, to its ancient and unforgotten home.   What drama could rival the grandeur of these sufferings, the variety of these scenes, and the glory and justice of this fulfilment:  What fiction could match the romance of this reality?   (From Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy)




       When we survey the long development of mankind from a rare hunted animal, hiding precariously in caves from the fury of wild beasts which he was incapable of killing; subsisting doubtfully on the raw fruits of the earth which he did not know how to cultivate; reinforcing real terrors by the imaginary terrors of ghosts and evil spirits and malign spells; gradually acquiring the mastery of his environment by the invention of fire, writing, weapons, and at last science;  building up a social organisation which curbed private violence and gave a measure of security to daily life; using the leisure gained by his skill, not only in idle luxury, but in the production of beauty and the unveiling of the secrets of natural law; learning gradually, though imperfectly, to view an increasing number of his neighbours as allies in the task of production rather than enemies in the attempts at mutual depredation – when we consider this long and arduous journey, it becomes intolerable to think that it may all have to be made again from the beginning owing to failure to make one step for which past developments, rightly viewed, have been a preparation.   (From Bertrand Russell, Ideas That Have Helped Mankind, Unpopular Essays)



       我不敢說生命是什麼,我只能說生命像什麼。生命像東流的一江春水,他從最高處發源,冰雪是他的前身。他聚集起許多細流,合成一股有力的洪濤,向下奔注,他曲折的穿過了懸岩削壁,衝倒了層沙積土,挾捲著滾滾的沙石,快樂勇敢的流走,一路上他享樂他所遭逞的一切:有時候他遇到巉岩前阻,他憤激的奔騰了起來,怒吼著,旋著,前波後浪的起伏催逼,直到他過了,衝倒了這危崖他才心平氣和的一瀉千里。有時候也經過了細細的平沙,斜陽芳草裡,看見了夾岸紅艷的桃花,他快樂而又羞怯,靜靜的流著,低低的吟唱著,輕輕的度過這一段浪漫的行程。有時候他遇到暴風雨,這激電,這迅雷,使他心魂驚駭,疾風吹捲起他,大雨擊打他,他暫時渾濁了,擾亂了,而雨過天青,只加給他許多新生的力量。有時候他遇到了晚霞和新月,向他照耀,向他投影,清冷中帶些幽幽的溫暖:這時他只想憩息,只想睡眠,而那股前進的力量,仍催逼他向前走…..  (冰心《談生命》)



       ……Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.”  But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger”, you middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John”, and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” – then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. ……. (From Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963)



September 1, 2009 - Posted by | Word-watching 語文影

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: