澳门的猫头鹰和赌场 / Owls and Casinos in Macau



1970年代从澳门最高点看到的景象:一个拥有悠久的东西方联络史,迷人的沉睡之地 /
The view from Macau’s highest point in the 1970s revealed a charming, sleepy place with a rich history of contacts between East and West.

澳门的猫头鹰和赌场

香港很早就禁止煮食珍稀保护动物,但澳门在这方面的态度多年来一直比较宽松。

对喜欢吃这些动物的人来说,冬天较冷的几个月份是吃穿山甲、吃果子狸、喝蛇汤等等的传统季节。

70年代末的一年冬天,我的一位搞艺术的英国朋友和一群友人游览澳门。他们去当地的一家小中餐馆吃饭。餐馆窗户旁有个笼子,里面关着一只活猫头鹰。

他们向餐馆老板打听这只猫头鹰的情况。老板说是它用来做汤的,这是餐馆的一道特色菜。

交谈了一阵后,他们提出买下这只猫头鹰,打算先让兽医看一下,然后放生或是送给动物园。

他们真的买下了猫头鹰。

饭后,朋友们分成两组,但约定当晚到澳门著名的聚会地点——澳门葡京酒店赌场——再碰面。

我的艺术家朋友负责带上那只看上去不太健康的猫头鹰。他在澳门鹅卵石铺就的狭小街道上穿行,手腕上立着一只猫头鹰。

一个外国人带着猫头鹰出现在澳门街头,这本身就是够奇特的景象了,更何况那天,他还穿了一件传统中国文人的长袍。这可真罕见。

Owls and Casinos in Macau

Hong Kong long ago banned the cooking and serving of rare and protected animal species, but for many years Macau took a more relaxed approach.

For those who like such things, the colder winter months are the traditional season for eating pangolin, civet cat, snake soup, etc.

One winter back in the late 70s, an English artist friend of mine made a visit to Macau with a group of friends. They dined in a small Chinese restaurant there, which had a cage near the window containing a live owl.

They asked the restaurateur about the owl. He explained it was available as a special item on the menu, to be cooked up in soup.

After some discussion, they offered to buy the owl, with the intention of releasing it or giving it to the zoo after getting it some veterinary attention.

And buy it they did.

The group of friends split into two groups but agreed to meet up later that evening at a prominent meeting point in Macau: the Lisboa Hotel Casino.

My artist friend was in charge of carrying the owl, which was not looking too strong or healthy. So off through the small, narrow cobblestone streets of Macau he walked, carrying an owl perched on his wrist.

A foreigner carrying an owl on the streets of Macau was in itself a strange enough sight, but he also happened to be wearing a traditional Chinese scholar’s gown at the time. Quite a sight.



澳门鹅卵石铺就的街巷内的生活节奏十分缓慢 /
The pace of life was very slow on Macau’s cobblestone streets and alleys.

和朋友约好的会面时间快要到了,他走进了葡京酒店,打算去赌场。

他胳膊上架着猫头鹰刚进赌场,几个强壮的警卫拦住了他的去路。警卫们大声宣布:“不许带猫头鹰进赌场!”

除了酒店有关宠物的一般规定之外,猫头鹰在许多中国赌客眼里还是坏运气的强烈象征,一只活猫头鹰大概是这些最不愿意在赌场看见的东西。

于是,我的朋友决定放弃和其他朋友见面,返回不远处自己下榻的三星级酒店。这时已经快晚上11点钟了。

他抵达酒店,走进大门,仍带着那只猫头鹰。当他穿过酒店大堂时,夜班经理发现了他和猫头鹰,惊慌的从前台跳起来,高声叫道:“客房里不准做饭!”

我的朋友解释了事情的来龙去脉,夜班经理让他和猫头鹰进去了。

令人伤心的是,猫头鹰没活过那个晚上。

教训:最好把猫头鹰留在野外。

The appointed time to meet the other friends approached, and he walked into the Lisboa Hotel and was about to enter the casino.

As he started into the casino, with the owl on his arm, several husky casino security personnel blocked his way, and exclaimed:”Not allowed owl in casino!”

Apart from the usual rules regarding pets in hotels, for many Chinese gamblers, the owl is a potent symbol of bad luck. A live owl is about the last thing these hard-core gamblers would want to see approaching them in a casino.

So my friend decided to forego meeting up with friends and head back to his hotel, a 3-star property within walking distance. By this time it was nearly 11 p.m.

He arrived at his hotel and walked in the door, still carrying the owl. As he walked across the hotel lobby, the night manager spotted him with the owl. Alarmed, the night manager jumped up from his desk and proclaimed:”No cooking in the rooms!”

My friend explained the situation, and the night manager let them in.

Sadly, the owl did not make it through the night.

Moral: it’s best to leave owls where we find them–in the wild.


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