We had a very good start today. On the way to Summerhill, we bumped into this super-fluffy cat. As expected, once being greeted, he began rolling slowly towards us with the epitome of elegance, like most of the friendly cats here. Such lovely encounters always make our day!

The weather was alright. Not exactly sunny, but dry. It is said that the weather in the UK is very bitchy. But frankly, I think the weather in Singapore can be just as fickle — due to the global warming — in recent years. Being a tropical country, it’s summer all year round in Singapore, but there WERE seasons — wet, and dry. Now, it’s all very messed up. It might be a beautiful sunny day in the morning, then all of a sudden comes the downpour.

The difference is that, I think, there are more interesting, sometimes even dramatic, characteristics in the English skies. You get to see a lot of incredible clashes in the skies, yet the whole picture remains stunningly beautiful which simply sends me into raptures. Here the lesson — What really matters is the wisdom formed in the crucible of life’s challenges.

Yesterday, the very thick clouds formed a rather “hazy” picture. There’s been haze recently in Singapore which has been causing more and more health problems. It happens every year. Deforestation is one of the main measures a lot of Indonesians takeof  in the hope of alleviating poverty. This reminds me of the article on Care2.com: “Top 10 Countries Killing the Planet” . Are we simply too self-centred ? Or greedy, rather? You proclaim you love your children, but look at what you’ve left them to?

In Co-Op (the only supermarket in Leiston), “Free-Range” is always printed on the egg cartons. Some even added the word “Happy”. Yup, if “Happy Mom means happy Baby” for humans, why not the hens? After all, a hen has a soul and feelings, too!

I’d like to end this entry with some words from “Travel with Macy” by Bruce Fogle:

“… in 1930s… a hen laid about 70 eggs a year. Today, a four-pound hen in a hatchery here in West Virginia probably produces around 275 eggs a year. The increase is because of improved genetics and nutrition and disease-control, but in no small measure to intensive confinement, to cages… Stuff them (hens) in too tight and productivity drops… Producers know that putting fewer birds in each cage leads to increased egg production, but they didn’t do this because productivity is calculated per cage, not per bird. Cages are more expensive than birds. You make more money by packing them in, by accepting lower productivity per bird but higher productivity per cage. Their welfare just isn’t part of the equation. No matter that they can’t flap their wings, or peck at objects or dust bathe, or scratch for food, or exercise, or even move with a natural gait. No matter that they’re lame or weak or have brittle bones. The only objective is to keep the costs as low as possible.

Have you ever bought a chicken and found that the drumstick or thighbone was broken when it was processed? Well, it probably didn’t break during processing. More likely it broke while the chicken was still alive, from osteoporosis caused by being nutritionally forced to reach slaughter size in six weeks rather than the biologically more natural five to six months. Are we so poor that we can’t afford to spend another one or two or even three per cent of our income on humanely raised food? Economists tell us we’ve never spent as small a proportion of our weekly income on food, as we do now. If consumers really understood — if they saw with their own eyes — how appalling the conditions are for so many animals, would we let this continue?”

 

今天早上有個很讚的開始 ~~ 上學途中遇到了一隻特別 “膨” 的大貓咪, 黑底襯著雪白的脖子和肚肚. 母女倆忍不住停步, 開始 “喵喵喵” 騷擾人家. 不出意外, 膨膨很有禮貌地回應了一聲, 同時慢吞吞 (卻不減優雅滴) 滾 ~ 滾 ~ 滾 ~ 到我們面前, 坐下來專心享受我們對付貓咪們無往不利的賄賂技倆 — 按摩.

天氣不是完全晴朗, 但只要沒有下雨, 溫度就不至於低到讓人難受. 一直以來都有人形容英國的天氣很 bitchy, 意思不外乎很善變, 在這裏一個多月了, 我是覺得還好, 因為新加坡 — 拜地球暖化效應之賜 — 這幾年的氣候也很 bitchy, 特別是季節方面的混亂無章 (新加坡雖然終年入夏, 也還是有雨季乾季之分), 我記得剛到新加坡時還不是這樣的… 現在常常前一秒還艷陽高照, 後一秒就開始傾盆大雨, 曬衣服都要特別當心 =/

比較特別的是, 本地的天空似乎比較有個性 ~

It was very sunny, but suddenly came the grey clouds…

A while later… No, it didn’t rain in the end.

隔了幾天後, 又見識到這幅充滿戲劇張力的畫面 ~

Feels like Doomsday…

Darker… and, darker…

同一時間, 呈九十度直角的另一個窗戶見到是這幅景象 ~ 完完全全的人生縮影, 充滿了矛盾與衝突! 而我們所要做的 (或者該說唯一能做的) 就是不斷地在其間尋求平衡.

Conflicts and clashes. Isn’t it life?

Simply obsessed with the beautiful combination of blue skies and clouds

Beyond the cloud…

某日傍晚出發到學校接梅小獸回家, 剛關上 Field End 的 大門, 一轉身… 被映入眼中的絕美畫面震驚到不能自己!! 萬能的造物主呵 ~

我呆呆地看了好一會兒才回過神, 數位相機擱在房裡, 只有用我的 Aino 手機了, 想不到效果挺好, 還別提傍晚的日光微弱以至於採光不理想喔 ^_*

The view from Field End’s entrance.

This is one unforgettable evening. Breathe-taking…

In awe…

這些畫面, 讓我覺得自己真是好渺小, 連宇宙間的一粒沙塵恐怕都及不上吧? 為什麼, 這麼美的地球, 會有這麼多愚蠢的人類不斷進行破壞呢? 你說你愛孩子, 可你留給他們的是什麼?

接到了祥, 從夏山出來後, 街角轉彎處, 又一幅令人心醉的畫 ~ 襯著周圍的靜謐, 感覺突然有點不真實, 我們畢竟是幸運的, 能夠這麼享受和平的生活. 想起了以色列同學莎莉, 她喜歡新加坡, 因為一旦回國, 就得隨時隨地繃緊神經, 經過你身邊的路人, 或許下秒鐘就會變成炸彈.

That’s the moon.

昨天的天氣很不錯, 不過越接近傍晚, 雲層就越厚, 顏色也變得很有趣 ~ 可不是霾 haze 喔 ^_*

Not haze, just thick clouds.

熊貓說, 最近新加坡又開始有霾害了, 影響了很多人呼吸系統的功能, 不少都掛病號 — 新加坡每年都有霾害, 原因是鄰國印尼為了增加耕地面積而燃燒森林 —  不由得想起最近在 Care2.com 讀到報導 “Top 10 Countries Killing the Planet” (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/top-10-countries-ruining-the-planet.html 這個研究調查新加坡國大也有參一咖喔); 經濟和保育, 難道真的無法共存嗎? 是不是我們太在意自己的需求 (無論是不是真的需要) 了, 而寧可短視近利?

這讓我聯想到 “Travels with Macy” 裡, 作者 Bruce Fogle 提到: 在美國 的 1930 年代, 一隻母雞每年下七十顆蛋; 今天, 在西維吉尼亞, 一隻四磅重的母雞, 平均一年能夠生 275 顆蛋. 當然, 衛生條件的進步, 基因的改善, 疾病方面的控制, 都促進了生產力. 但是還有一個很重要的因素 — 雞籠.

有點複雜, 高中時期數學理化年年當的我, 看了好幾遍才搞懂. 其實雞籠裡少塞幾隻母雞, 是可以提高蛋的生產量, 但因為生產力的計算是以籠子為單位, 而不是雞隻, 所以蛋農們並不這麼做, 畢竟母雞比籠子便宜得多 — 也就是說, 雖然多塞幾隻母雞會降低雞隻個別的生產力, 卻能夠提高以籠子為單位的產量.

對於母雞們來說, 這樣的生存環境, 不但缺乏空間伸展翅膀, 無法四處啄食, 更不用說來個舒服的沙浴; 即使她們體力衰弱還是病了, 甚至骨折, 只要能夠降低成本達到提高利潤的目標, 都完全無所謂.

這一段讀得我很心驚! 我從來不知道原來蛋農業有這樣的黑幕… 難怪, 來到英國後, 常常看到雞蛋盒上註明是 free-range (就是台灣所謂的 “放山雞”, 野放到處跑的), 有的還很可愛地加上 “happy” 字樣 — 能夠在大自然裡隨意奔跑行走玩耍, 想必很快樂! 那麼, 人類說 Happy Mom means Happy Baby (快樂的媽媽會生出快樂的小孩) 的道理, 肯定也能應用在母雞們身上, 畢竟母雞們跟人類一樣, 有生命也有感情!

經濟學家們說, 歷史上, 人類從沒有像今天這樣: 我們汲汲營營賺得的財富, 只有很小一部分是花費在食物上. 難道說, 我們真有一窮二白到這地步, 無法再多花個 1 ~ 3 % 來支持合乎人道與保育主義所生產的食物嗎? 請運用同理心, 想想那些為了滿足人類口腹之慾而受苦的動物們, 於心何忍?