A Tattoo too Easily Erased? LVMH Successfully Defends Suit against its Use of DIOR ADDICT LIP TATTOO

by Teo Bong Kwang and Eugene Ee

In Shizens Cosmetic Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd v LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics (M) Sdn Bhd (Kuala Lumpur High Court Civil Suit No WA-24IP-21-11/2017), the local company of luxury goods producer LVMH was faced with a trademark infringement suit in respect of its line of products known as “Dior Addict Lip Tattoo” in Malaysia. However, the fame and strength of its DIOR mark helped LVMH to ward off the action brought against it.

Background

Shizens’s Lip Tattoo Lipstick

Shizens, a local cosmetics manufacturer, is the registered proprietor of the LIP TATTOO mark in Class 3 for, among others, cosmetics, make-up preparations and lipsticks. Shizens instituted proceedings against the local chapter of LVMH on the basis that LVMH’s use of the DIOR ADDICT LIP TATTOO mark infringed its LIP TATTOO mark. LVMH launched a counterclaim to remove the LIP TATTOO mark from the Register of Trademarks on the grounds that the words ‘lip tattoo’ were, among other things, not invented words, which is a ground for removal.

High Court decision

The Intellectual Property High Court of Kuala Lumpur disagreed with LMVH’s contention that the LIP TATTOO mark had been wrongly registered. It held, among other things, that the words ‘lip tattoo’ are newly coined words, which are not generic and are not commonly used words that have no obvious meaning until a meaning is assigned to them. In the circumstances, the LIP TATTOO mark could not be removed from the register as it consisted of “invented words” within the meaning of Section 10(1)(c) of the Trademarks Act.

LVMH’s Dior Addict Lip Tattoo Lipstick

However, Shizens’ success in resisting LVMH’s application for removal or expungement was meaningless as the court did not rule in its favour on the issue of trademark infringement. In essence, the court did not agree with Shinzens that there was a likelihood of confusion between LVMH’s mark and the LIP TATTOO mark. The court took the following stand on the issue of the likelihood of confusion between the marks:

  • The presence of the identical word ‘lip’ in the competing marks was inconsequential given that the registration of the LIP TATTOO mark was subject to a disclaimer whereby the registration did not give any right to the exclusive use of the word ‘lip’;
  • The LVMH products, including the Dior Addict Lip Tattoo products, have a relatively better reputation than the Shizens products;
  • The competing marks are phonetically and visually different;
  • The Shizens and LVMH products are sold via different trade channels, in that the latter’s products are sold in boutique outlets in leading department stores, while the former’s products are sold at ‘Shizens’ counters; and
  • Consumers of cosmetic products are generally better informed and more discerning.

Further, it was held that LVMH did not use the words ‘lip tattoo’ as a trademark. Instead, the word or mark DIOR was found to be the indicator of origin of LVMH’s products, including the Dior Addict Lip Tattoo products.

Comment

One of the central issues in this case was what constitutes trademark use. The court held that LVMH’s use of the words ‘lip tattoo’ does not amount to use as a trademark, as the words are prefixed by LVMH’s famous DIOR house mark. This reasoning seems wanting since ‘lip tattoo’, being a non-descriptive and non-generic word element, has no other apparent signification apart from the name of a product marketed by LVMH. This seems to contradict the court’s earlier pronouncement that the words ‘lip tattoo’ are invented words which are therefore capable of being registered as a trademark.

Further, it appears that the court placed great emphasis on the finding that the LVMH brand or products are relatively more famous than Shizens’ and that LVMH’s DIOR mark will distinguish it from Shizens’ LIP TATTOO mark. This seems to be a departure from the well-established principle laid down in Saville Perfumery Ld v June Perfect Ld ([1941] RPC 147), where it was held that, once a mark has been shown to offend, the infringer cannot escape liability by showing that something outside the actual mark distinguishes the infringing goods from those of the registered proprietor.

 

 

一生与圣书为伍

文:张文光

已故许牧世长老(教授)是我相当喜欢的一位基督教作家,他是华人基督教文字工作者的前辈。上个世纪80年代读大学的时候,就接触他的作品。当时觉得他的文章,遣词用字较一般基督教作家来得有文学韵味,内容也清楚扎实。也记得他大力鼓励牧者将讲章写出来,当注意文字,修辞的表达等,让讲章成为美丽的篇章。他个人也奉行这个原则,把一篇篇的讲章写出来,并结集出版。上个月晨砚来了封电邮,叫我在《牧羊人》版开个专栏。我想了想,也翻看书柜内的书,想找点灵感,刚好看到许教授的书《人世与天国之间》,觉得还蛮适合的,就做了一点更动,将“天国” 放在前面,成了栏名。

 

这几天再把这本书拿来翻阅,也在网上查看了许牧世的一些资料,才惊觉《人世与天国之间》是他87岁高龄时出版的最后一本书。许牧世长老1914年出生于福建鼓浪屿。1939年至1945年,日军占领厦门时,许牧世逃离,来到槟城的钟灵中学任教。想不到许教授跟马来西亚还有这段渊源。可惜在他的作品中,多是谈他在美国波斯顿,香港,台湾的生活,而对年少在南洋的日子没有什么记载。1947年他来到美国读书。根据他自己的说法,是想学新闻学,以备将来在报界工作,尤其想当一名国内大报驻美国的通讯记者。当时他认识了著名作家萧乾,因着萧乾的关系,开始替香港的大公报写点稿。

1950年夏天,许牧世毕业于密苏里(Missouri University)大学新闻系,但毕业后前途茫茫。一年后前金陵大学英文系主任章文新博士(Dr Francis P. Jones)向金陵神学院的管理层建议拨出一部分原本计划用来发展中国神学教育的基金,从事翻译基督教历代名著的工作。这个建议蒙金陵神学院接纳,于是章文新博士在新泽西的哲吾大学(Drew University)设办事处,开始这项负有历史意义的工作。当时章博士亟需一位中国人的助手,于是找到许牧世。从此许牧世就与这个翻译的巨大工程难分难舍,将10年的青春投入之内。在他离开这个工作的时候,已经翻译出版了约二十多本的基督教名著。这一套精装本,封面有者红色,有着蓝色的中文翻译作品,收录的尽是基督教神学家的扛鼎之作,如加尔文的《基督教要义》,卫斯理的《约翰卫斯理日记》,马丁路德的《路德选集》,尼布尔的《人的本性与命运》等,到现在仍然在印刷中,影响了几代的华人基督徒。

许牧世一生奉献给中国人的文字工作,从事“编,译,教,传”的工作。1965年当他51岁时,在台北创办了一份相当有分量的《基督教论坛报》,53岁时,赴香港担任基督教文艺出版社的总编辑,晚年参与翻译《现代中文译本》圣经的工作。笔耕不断,到了七八十岁仍有新书出版,一生著作等身。我个人相当羡慕他,觉得倘若自己也能一生做像他一样的工作,则不枉这生也。

许牧世一生与书为伍,而其中一本关系密切,影响他一生命途的书,肯定是《圣经》。他自己说世界上书多的无法计算。但是这些书都是出自人,无非是一些人的想法,难免有人的限制。唯独《圣经》这部书能够告诉我们灵界的奥秘,因为这本书的源头是神。他最后一篇的讲章就用了这个题目:《天父给人的家书》,来形容《圣经》。可惜许牧世在写完这篇讲章后,隔一天就蒙主恩召了。

幸好,他的讲章流传了下来 (收录在他最后一本书《人世与天国之间》),而《圣经》也永远长存。我们只要打开许牧世的书,同时也打开《圣经》,相信就能明白为什么他一生与《圣经》,与基督教名著朝夕以对,而毫不言倦 。

注:本文首次发表于《南洋商报》eNanyang 《牧羊人》版,2019年4月28日刊。

 

对别人的感觉

文:张文光

今天在预备讲章时,看到一个旧的PowerPoint,里面记录了耶鲁大学前任校长布鲁斯特(Kingman Brewster)的墓志铭的一句话:

“认为所有的人都纯正无邪,不只是法学上的概念,它是一种精神上慷慨大度,假设所有的陌生人都是最好的,而不是最坏的。”

原来这段话是从南方朔2010年的书《有光的所在》抄出来到的,连页数也记录下来。但记忆模糊了,不知道南方朔是在什么情况下写了这段文字。印象中这本书是在放在办公室的书架上,果然轻易找到。欣喜得很(每次轻易找到要看的书都有这种感觉)。翻到有关的页数,原来文章叫做《散步在墓园》。南方朔说他喜欢逛墓园,每次到外地,都会叫朋友带他去墓园。

南方朔照片

顺手翻翻,看到序言《也是励志》。南方朔说,他写着这些文章,绝没有丝毫“励志”的打算。但回头看这些文章,的确有许多正面健康的思想。他认为可能是受母亲的影响。母亲没有什么受教育,但是教他必须一生善良,不怨恨,不自弃。但是母亲的耳提命面,他听进去的少,遗忘的多。因此他认为让他变得那么“励志”的,是在于后来的摸索。尤其近十余年来,他接触西方神学及伦理学,“经由这些方面的思想,终于能体会到人类由野蛮到文明的不易”。

然而,让我觉得有趣的是,南方朔说:推动人类进步文明的,其实不是什么“公平”,“正义” 之类的抽象慨念,而是比这些慨念还要基本的感情因素。他把它称为“对别人的感觉”。 第一是体会别人对自己的感觉,他说,当人们能体会到别人对自己的感觉,他就会产生愈来愈高的羞耻感。二是面对别人,能越来越体会别人遭遇到某些事情的感觉,这样他就会越来越提高“不安”的门坎。以前对别人做了某事会无动无衷,但随着“不安” 的门坎提高,这种事情就会逐渐不再敢做。愈来愈高的不安标准,会诞生诸如不忍,勇敢,公平,正义等外向的品质。

因此对“别人的感觉”才是文明的根本。他说如果一个社会,每个人心中只有自己,面对别人别事失去了感觉的能力和意愿,纵然大家都有高的教育,知识水平,最后只是落得互相聪明的折磨,聪明的谩骂。看看台湾政坛的吵闹,再看看去年本国14届大选期间,社交媒体中一些种族,党性言论,谩骂,我可以理解南方朔的感受。

南方朔所提倡“对别人的感觉” ,使我想起孟子所说的恻隐之心是善端。也想到耶稣曾说的:最大的诫命就是爱神,而第二大诫命是爱人如己;他也说,“人为朋友舍命,人的爱心没有比这个大的“。又说:“你们想要人怎样待你们,你们也要怎样待人,因为这就是律法和先知一切的道理”。

往往我们对跟与我们不同的人怀有成见,甚至怒气填胸。我们喜欢带着有色眼镜看世界,看人。

文章开始,耶鲁大学前任校长布鲁斯特刻在墓志铭的那番话,对政党,对各个种族相互散播敌视,怀疑的马来西亚当前社会情况,是相当贴确的。

注:本文首次发表于《e南洋》之《牧羊人》版,2019年3月10日刊

 

Rembrandts in the Attic – the Forgotten Value of Patent

 

By Teo Bong Kwang*

0n 26 September 2010, Jimi Heselden, a British businessman who recently bought the Segway company was happily riding the famed “Segway” scooter in his huge Yorkshire estate. In a tragic turn, the Segway scooter ran over the cliff and into a river and Heselden was immediately killed. At that time, Segway scooter was a much touted invention of US inventor Dean Kamen.

A Segway Scooter with driver

Surely not every invention has tragic consequence. On the contrary, many inventions brought much happiness, fame and fortune to their inventors or owners. Take the example of the “One Click” patent of Amazon which was granted by the US Patent Office in 1999. It has reportedly generated billions for Amazon.

The Hidden Value of Patent

Many of us are totally oblivious to the immense commercial value of an invention or for that matter, the importance of an intellectual capital in the form of a patent in any business enterprise.  The vast majority of companies are simply unaware of the often-enormous economic and competitive values that lie untapped within their patent portfolios.  To borrow the euphemism popularized by Kevin Rivette and David Kline, it is like you have Rembrandt paintings lying dustily in the attic.

Balancing Market Monopoly and Public Interest  

The modern history of protecting one’s invention started in Venice in 1474. In the UK, the first piece of legislation which attempted to protect invention was The Statute of Monopolies, 1623. In its own archaic language, it allowed “patent monopolies” for 14 years upon “any manner of new manufacture”. Stripped of legal niceties, it merely meant that the State would grant a monopolistic right in the form of “letters patent” to the inventors.  As a trade-off, the inventors must disclose their inventions in a clear manner so that it can be used by a ‘person ordinarily skilled in the art’. The philosophy of protecting patent is pretty simple:  the State will grant a limited protection for any invention for a period of between 15 to 20 years in exchange of the full technical information related to it. Once the protection period has expired, the inventions are free to be exploited by anyone.  It is believed that with the required statutory protection given by the Government, inventors would be encouraged to engage in more inventive activities and come out with more novel inventions.  This will ultimately benefit the society at large as the innovative ideas as disclosed in the patents will add to the pool of existing technological knowledge in a particular field.  In this manner, society will progress in innovation and it will enjoy the fruits of the inventive members within it.

 

Photo by Lam Been Koon

Flash of Genius can be Present in Mundane Objects 

The image Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein or a mad scientist with fuzzy hair will immediately come to mind when we talk about invention.  This is of course a myth.  The reality is that not every invention needs to be Einstein-que or earth-shattering like the atomic bomb. On the contrary, a cursory search at Google Patent will show that many mundane objects have been or are still protected by patents. For instance, a gadget to boil eggs, the yellow “post-it” note and the ubiquitous paper clip are subject matters of granted patents. Indeed flash of genius can be present in many mundane objects.

Patent drawings for safety pins

The Requirements for Patenting a New Invention

In 1983, Malaysia has its own national patent legislation.  It is called the Patents Act, 1983.  It came into force on 1 October 1986. Before the passage of this legislation, we could only obtain patent protection by first registering a patent in the United Kingdom and then re-register it in the three component regions of Malaysia. With the passage of the 1983 Act, we could obtain a national patent by filing an application with our local patent office.

The most frequently asked question which an intellectual property law practitioner like me has encountered is: how do I get a patent?

The answer is to first get your invention written down clearly in a document which is commonly called “patent specification”.  However, before this is done, it is imperative that the invention must possess the following requirements:

  • the invention must be “new” in the sense that it has not been disclosed to the public anywhere in the world. The disclosure can be in the form of written publication, actual usage, actual article or even oral presentation or even sample shown in an exhibition;
  • the invention must involve “an inventive step”. The question whether an invention involves an “inventive step” can be asked in another manner: whether the so-called “inventive step” (i.e. the “inventive feature or element”) of the invention is obvious to a person who has ordinary skill or experience in the subject matter; and
  • the invention must be “industrially applicable”. This last requirement is normally easily satisfied as long as the invention can be commercially or industrially exploited. The rationale of this requirement clear, that is it is to prevent granting of patent for some theoretical invention which cannot be put into practical use.

In order for a patent to be valid, all the above three requirements must be present.  Anyone who has some experiences in patent litigation will inform you that most patent litigation are fought on the above three issues.  If a patent is proved to have been lacking in any of the above requirements, it can be cancelled or invalidated. Thus as a prudent measure, before an eager inventor spend enormous money in getting its patent specification drafted, it is advisable to ask the patent drafter to conduct the necessary “searches” to ensure that there are no other prior publications or disclosure which will nullify the invention.

Once the patent specification is properly drafted, the other steps of getting a patent granted are relatively straight-forward. The first step is to fill up the prescribed forms and then file them with the patent office.  You should of course consult a patent lawyer or agent for this important step.

The obtaining of a patent for any innovative breakthrough is an indispensable step to secure a cutting edge for achieving continuous growth of a business in this competitive environment.

_______________________________________________________________

* This article first appeared in “Focus” Magazine in 2018.

Breaking new ground: Court of Appeal rules that ‘first use’ principle is not applicable to disputes between related entities

By Teo Bong Kwang and Eugene Ee

The Malaysian Court of Appeal has recently decided that the courts are not bound by “hard and fast” legal principles when it comes to deciding on the proprietorship of a trademark among related entities.

Background

In Pathmanathan v Portcullis (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Civil Appeal No W-02(IPCV)(W)-1798-09/2016), which concerned a dispute between different entities that were previously part of the Portcullis group of companies, the Court of Appeal was faced with the thorny issue of the proprietorship of a trade mark used within the group.

The corporate structure of the Portcullis group is rather elaborate:

  • the Portcullis companies in Malaysia – the third to twelfth appellants/defendants in this appeal were owned by Portcullis Holdings (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (‘PH’), the second appellant/defendant; and
  • the respondent, Portcullis (Singapore) Pte Ltd, and PH were both owned by Portcullis Holdings International Limited (‘PHIL’), which in turn was wholly owned by First Finance Holdings Ltd.

On 2 April 1998 a memorandum of agreement was signed by the first appellant/defendant, George Pathmanathan, and PHIL, whereby George was given 25% of the shares in PH. Sometime in 2006, George filed a minority oppression petition against PHIL, among others. The High Court ruled in George’s favour and ordered PHIL to transfer 75% of its shares remaining in PH to George. As a result, PH and the Portcullis Malaysian entities became wholly owned by George.

Subsequently, George filed two applications to register the PORTCULLIS marks in Malaysia. However, he was outdone by the respondent, Portcullis (Singapore), which managed to register twelve PORTCULLIS word and device or pictorial marks in various classes in Malaysia. Armed with the registrations, the respondent proceeded to sue the appellants for passing off, trade mark infringement and copyright infringement. The respondent contended that, when PH ceased to be part of the Portcullis group, its right to use the PORTCULLIS marks and logo also ceased.

In response, the appellants argued that the acquisition of PH by George was together with the goodwill and the other IP rights of the respective companies by virtue of the memorandum of agreement. Accordingly, the appellants led a counterclaim to expunge the twelve registered trade marks registered in the name of the Singaporean entity from the register.

In an extensive decision, the High Court ruled in favour of the Singaporean entity, based predominantly on the factual finding that it was the first user of the PORTCULLIS marks and logo in Malaysia.

Court of Appeal decision

At the appellate level, the Court of Appeal summarised the issue at hand in the following manner:

In the context of a corporate group, how is the issue of ownership of trade marks, corporate names and goodwill determined, including whether the principle of ‘first user’ is applicable when determining such ownership within a corporate group?

In answering this question, the court referred to the English Court of Appeal’s decision in Scandecor Development AB v Scandecor Marketing AB ((1998) EWCA Civ 1282). It held that, while the ‘first user’ principle is useful when determining any issue relating to the use of trade marks between unrelated competitors, such approach would not apply to cases involving related entities. If the court were to adopt the conventional approach, then the Singaporean entity would obviously prevail as it was the first user of the PORTCULLIS marks.

Instead, the court examined the facts of the dispute and highlighted one of the clauses in the memorandum of agreement, which provided that the goodwill and other IP rights shall vest in the respective Malaysian companies. Given that the ownership of PH was transferred to George, the goodwill in the PORTCULLIS marks and logo remained with the Malaysian entities. The High court’s decision was therefore overturned.

Comment

Interestingly, the Court of Appeal chose to deviate from a long line of cases – including the apex court’s decision in Mesuma Sports Sdn Bhd v Majlis Sukan Negara Malaysia ([2015] 6 MLJ 465), which held that proprietorship of a trade mark is established by first use of the mark within the country. In arriving at its conclusion that the Malaysian entities retained goodwill in the PORTCULLIS mark, the Court of Appeal placed great emphasis on a contractual provision in the memorandum of agreement. This raises the important question of whether contractual provisions on the alleged ownership of a trade mark should take precedence over the exclusive rights of a registered trade mark owner.

(This article first appeared on WTR Daily, part of World Trademark Review on 26 November 2018. For further information, please go to  www.worldtrademarkreview.com. )

按照《以弗所书》2章8-10节与4章11至16节的祷告

文:张文光

《以弗所书》2章8-9节是我们非常熟悉的。这是我们改革宗,福音派,长老会耳熟能详的“因信称义”教义的基础经文。但是往往我们忘记了第10节。我们称义后,必须“行善”。我个人认为“行善”除了包括传福音,也包括其他《圣经》要我们做的事,如好怜悯,行公义的事。

大家知道,保罗在《以弗所书》用了相当大的篇幅来谈教会,今天我就用《以弗所书》作为我的祷告素材。

Photo by Lam Been Koon

首先让我们阅读《以弗所书》第四章第11到16节,再次复习保罗对教会建立的看法。这里提到四个职分:使徒,先知,传福音的,牧师/教师。

“使徒”一般上我们都把他们限制于十二使徒。因此我不详谈这项。

(一)先知型的牧者与领袖

我们就谈谈“先知”。旧约的先知是传神话语的人,神的代言人。来到新约,我们一般上把那些有前瞻,洞见,先知先觉的人称为“先知”。他们为社会,为教会发声,指出一些一般人没有察觉的弊端。此外,我们也把宣讲神话语的人称为“先知”。

祷告事项:

  1. 我们希望原道堂能有更多先知型的领袖,牧者。他们有异象 (vision),有使命感。为教会搭脉,找出问题,也为教会的发展,前路提出前瞻的看法。
  2. 我们为牧者们能细心研究原道堂未来5年计划的的草案,提出宝贵的意见祷告。因为牧者需要认同,并推动之。
  3. 为每周负责讲道的牧者,一些长老执事祷告,求神让他们正确讲解神的话语。能将神活泼的话语,注入信徒的心中,影响他们的生命。与此相关的,我们求神赐给我们更多有恩赐的讲道人,能有效,正确,深入浅出的解释圣经经文。他们有清楚的信息,有效,effective 的传讲方式(这个我们当中许多牧者必须持续提升),以及信徒能将教导实践出来,换言之,能贴近信徒的生命。

(二)传福音的

我们教会相当缺乏“传道的人”,英文称为Evangelist。保罗把“传道者”放在第三位。肯定传道的人是非常重要。如果没有传道,基督教不会流传到今天。往往我们将许多时间花在事工策划,花在举办一些活动,甚至处理人事上,但是往往花在实实在在传福音的时间很少。我们甚少带人归主 (至少我承认这是我的亏欠),我们甚至没有人可以带领来教会的布道会。

祷告事项:

  1. 求主帮助我们这些做领袖的,立定志向,一个月至少要花一定的时间来传福音。求神赐下传福音的志向与恩赐给自己。学习保罗所说,得时不得时,总要传福音。
  2. 求主兴起原道堂的Billy Graham,原道堂的唐崇荣。
  3. 求神让我们善用科技术,明了现代人的需求,有效的传完整的福音。

(三)牧师/教师

我把这两个职分合在一起。因为两者,pastor and teachers 基本的工作是牧养(shepherding, pastoring)的人。据我的观察(相信错误难免)现近许多牧者不太喜欢“牧养”,他们不喜欢与人打交道,探访更是缺乏。他们比较喜欢讲讲道,教教书。但是我个人认为必须重思或重拾牧养的职分。

我个人认为牧师的工作,有一个重要层面,是许多人无法做的,就是“牧灵” (spiritual care)。用上帝的话语来培养一个人的灵命。

祷告事项

  1. 求神让牧者真正有“牧灵”的恩赐,负担。学习适时地与会友同行,陪有需要的会友走一段路,用神的话语牧养他们。
  2. 让我们的牧者对神有大的信心,也有忠心。与神关系良好。清楚自己的使命与不忘初心,忠心,尽责的执行牧养的职分。有异象,智慧,与能力来带领教会。
  3. 求神赐给我们的牧者有健康的身体,灵命。与配偶有美好的关系,得到他/她的支持.
  4. 让我们的牧者对《圣经》的认识正确,理解体会与日俱增。
  5. 让我们的牧者持续学习,在行政,策划,牧养的实践,其他常识,学养上持续提升自己。
  6. 求神让牧者每周的讲道是实在,谨慎地传讲神的话语;带有能力,有内涵,及能更新人心的。求圣灵帮助我们的牧者,加添他们智慧能力,以便他们有信心来传讲神的话语。

(四)装备的工作

《以弗所书》第4章第12节说,神设立四个职分,“是要装备圣徒,做事奉的工作,建立基督的身体。”(和合本修订版)以至于我们不会轻易被异教邪说所影响。换言之我们是成熟,稳定的基督徒。我们也能用爱心传讲真理,英文圣经比较翻译的较好:speaking the truth in love 。我个人认为从上下文来看,Truth应当是指“基督教真理”,而不只是“诚实话”。

祷告事项:

  1. 求神保守我们教会的教导事工 (teaching ministry),包括成青主日学,主日讲道,儿童主日学,教育组的计划,讲座,团契,各个小组中的教导能正确,有深度,能有效的传承信仰。
  2. 求神兴起更多能够教导人的人。
  3. 求神让原道堂的每个信徒是个认真学习真道的人。

(五)在爱中建立的团体:彼此连结,彼此相助,渐渐增长

和合本修订版之《以弗所书》第4章第15节说,我们要用爱心“说诚实话”(照上面的讨论,可以理解为“讲论真理“),“各方面向着基督长进”。这句很好:因为我们各方面的长进,是朝向基督。基督是我们的榜样,我们向他学习,以他马首是瞻。最终是连结与他这位“元首” (或“头“ – head)。英文NRSV版《圣经》是说we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ。这个into有百川汇海的意味,最终我们都归于基督这个“大海”,融合了。

而且保罗说我们必须靠着基督,“全身都连结的紧凑,百节各按各体的功能彼此相助,使身体渐渐增长,在爱中建立自己。“

我们都知道,保罗用“身体“(body)这个意象(imagery )来代表教会。用身体这个意象,主要是要带出一个非常重要得信息:身体有不同的器官 (organs),各个器官必须是连结得甚为结实,牢靠,不会断落的。和合本修订版用了一个相当好的形容词:“接连得紧凑”。英文NRSV版《圣经》则 说每个器官是借着筋(ligament)连结,缝纫起来的(knit together by every ligament )。大家都吃过猪肉,牛肉,也吃过牛筋,知道牛筋是非常坚韧的。骨容易折断,但筋却不容易扯断。

保罗也说每个器官要“各按各职,照着各体的功能彼此相助“,英文说:each part is working properly ,那么身体(教会)就会增长,而且保罗也指出一个至关重要的真理: 这种的生长是在爱中进行的。或者更准确的说是:不是教会数量增长而已,更重要的是爱心日渐生长。 英文NRSV版《圣经》的表达方式较为清楚:We must grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

祷告事项:

  1. 祈求原道堂属下所有的教会中的弟兄姐妹有彼此相爱的关系,彼此连结的结实牢靠,而不是松散的(loosely)。
  2. 每个会友,信徒发挥他们的功能,一起建立教会,建立爱心。
  3. 保罗提醒我们不是建立一个教会而已,而是建立一个有爱的群体。
  4. 最终保罗的教会观,是信徒能在教会中,经历爱,经历爱的建立,building up in love。信徒必须越来越有爱心。求神将这个爱的团体赐给我们。爱是圣灵的果子,愿圣灵帮助我们爱神爱人。

注:以上是本人于2018年12月8日 (星期六),在吉隆坡教会早堂的祷告会中之分享与代祷事项。美丽的插图是蓝炳焜长老的摄影作品。在此谢谢他让我自由使用。

亦舒谈写作 (二)

文:张文光

亦舒的这本《写作这回事》 有许多自传式的资料,可以窥探到她的生活小事,喜好,以及对一些事物的想法。比如说曾经三年时光,亦舒的稿子都是在图书馆里写的。又比如说她喜欢用什么笔来写稿,用什么稿纸。

倪小姐也不吝分享写作是否靠天分,写作有哪些压力,写小说需不需要大纲 ,如何取书名等。 我也急不及待想听听她认为写作者必备的是哪些条件,先入为主地认为她定会说写作必须靠天赋,必须阅读过上万的名著经典。没想到她说写作必须有纪律,“必须谢绝应酬,不要再听电话,回复电邮,不宜时常接受访问等”。这些问题我都没有面对,但是仍旧不能成为畅销作家。

倪小姐认为当先做写作人,再来想做作家(参页132-133);有点“为学为人也”的意味。她非常敬业乐业,从不脱稿(不然如何能有每年出了几本书,从不间断的记录)。她珍惜写作这分工作,也感谢写作给她带来生活所需,个人的荣誉。说她的生活费用,学费,置业成家,甚至面头首饰,交际开销,都是拜她的写作职业所赐(参页140-141)。

我们都羡慕多产作家的文思如泉涌不断,而凡人如我辈,往往对着空白的稿纸,或电脑荧幕,久坐仍不能挤出一个字,差点愤而上吊。但倪小姐说文思中断问题主要是“时间分配问题” ,“不可分心,这不是人笨刀钝的问题”(页172)。多么像Peter Drucker教导人如何管理公司,管理时间,处理事务。她宣告:“写作的首要条件是坐下来,写。作者若俗务缠身,四出奔走,大约不会有可能生产比较完整的作品。”(页173)

倪小姐不认为写作必须呕心沥血,”要写到夜半伏在床上痛哭的”。相反的,要愉快的写。如果要伏在床上痛苦流泪的写,那就不如转行。 “认识的作家不少,从来没有听说倪匡或西西说他们写得哭出来写作同其他工作一样,不宜爱理不理,嘻皮笑脸地干,我们要敬业乐业。却也不必为之落泪,写,不停地写,切忌有名与利的包袱,爱怎样写就怎样写,爱写什么题材就拿它来发挥。” (页179)

让我们学习倪小姐般,心花怒放,轻松欢愉,不间断的写吧!说不定还可以写出一层楼来。

(2018年1月12日)

当孝敬父母

文: 张文光

经文:《以弗所书》6章1至4节 :“做儿女的,你们要在主里听从父母,这是理所当然的。当孝敬父母,使你得福,在世长寿。这是第一条带应许的诫命。做父亲的,你们不要激怒儿女,但要照着主的教导和劝戒养育他们。“(《圣经》和合本修订版)

引言

今天是教会定的“双亲节”或孝敬双亲的主日崇拜,首先恭祝在座的父母们双亲节快乐。有个幸福的家庭,是令人羡慕的;而一个幸福家庭,父母扮演决定性的角色。可是不快乐的家庭,比比皆是,俗语说:家家有本难念的经,有的可能比较厚,有的比较薄。有的夫妻离异,有的家庭父子反目,有的婆媳吵得不可开交;有的兄弟阋墙。

今天要讲的题目是“当孝敬父母”,可能是老生常谈,小学生都知道的道理。当中可能有许多人也曾经听过这种讲道,但是相信我们当中有的是初信者,有的还没有相信基督教,所以我觉得需要从基本讲起。对基督徒来说,就当做是复习吧。而且有些人认为信基督教的人不孝,我想带大家看看《圣经》是怎么说的,以便厘清这个错误的思想。

华人与孝道

无可否认,华人是非常看重孝道的,我们说“百善孝为先”。我们深受儒家思想的熏陶,有《孝经》。孔子曾说过:“父母在,不远游,游必有方”。这是《论语》《里仁篇》里的话,意思是说父母还健在,我就不外出,如果真的非外出不可,就当“游必有方‘。”方“指的是有一定的去处,父母找得到的地方。

《论语·学而》也说道:“有子曰:’其为人也孝弟,而好犯上者,鲜矣;不好犯上,而好作乱者,未之有也。君子务本,本立而道生。孝弟也者,其为仁之本与!

这里的“弟”是“悌”,读音是“替”,意思是说对兄长的正确态度,即尊重敬爱兄长的态度(参杨伯峻,《论语译注》,中华书局,2014年版)。这句话是说如果有人为人是孝顺父母,敬爱兄长的,那喜欢触犯上级,这种人是少有的;而不喜欢触犯违背上级,却喜欢作乱造反的,从来是没有的。君子必须专心在基础工作上锻炼自己,基础建立了,“道”就会产生。而孝顺父母,敬爱兄长,这就是“仁”的基础吧(参杨伯峻,《论语译注》,页4)。

此外,在同一篇的《学而篇》里,孔夫子也说:“弟子入则孝,出则弟,谨而信,泛爱众,而亲仁 。”

“弟子” 就是后生小子,这句话的意思是说,在父母跟前,或在家就当孝敬父母,离开自己的房子,便敬爱兄长,寡言少语,说则诚实可信,博爱大众,亲近与仁德的人 (参杨伯峻,《论语译注》,页9)。

Photo by Lam Been Koon

古代近东的孝道

所谓古代近东(Near East)就是当今的中东一带。包括埃及,伊朗,伊拉克等国家。孝敬老者 (Elder),尤其是父母,是古代近东的普通教诲。而一般上,孝敬老者就包括以下:

  • 给老者尊荣与尊严(honour & dignity)
  • 给老者关怀与支持 (care & support)
  • 祭拜 先人(ancestral worship)不只是华人祭拜祖先,连中东人,如埃及人也有祭拜祖先的风俗。

孝敬父母,《圣经》怎么说?

我们都很熟悉《十诫》,因为每个月的第一个主日,我们都有背诵。第一个诫命是什么?你们会背吗?第一条是“除了我以外,你不可有别的神……“。 第二条诫命是”不可为自己雕刻偶像……“。第三是”不可妄称耶和华的名字“,第四是”当纪念安息日,守为圣日“ 。第五诫是什么?就是“当孝敬父母”。

一般上我们都认为这十条诫命是写在两个石版(stone tablet)上的。有人认为一个石版分别刻5条诫命;有的则认为一个石板刻4条,另外一个是6条(就如我Powerpoint里的图片所示)。英国All Nations Christian College的圣经研究讲师David L. Baker认为十诫分成爱神与爱人两大部分(参他的著作The Decalogue: Living as the People of God, Apollos, 2017)。这跟旧约《利未记》19章18节及《申命记》6章5节,以及新约耶稣所说的两大诫命(参《马太福音》22章34-40节,《马可福音》12章28-34节)是相符的。而十诫中第一到第五诫命是属于一组,这组是关系到“爱神“(Love God),其他的诫命则是关系到“爱人“。Baker把第五个诫命放在第一块石版,即“爱神”这边,意思是说,孝敬父母就是爱神的表现;如果你爱神,必定要孝敬父母。

Photo by Lam Been Koon

有人则说,孝敬父母应该是属于人伦,人与人的社会关系(social relations)这一块。就算我们把孝敬父母归属人伦关系这一块里,我们应当察觉,孝敬父母是人伦的第一诫命。因此,孝敬父母是一条非常的重大诫命。

旧约的教导

让我们来看看旧约圣经,关于孝敬父母的教导:

《出埃及记》20章12节:

当孝敬父母,使你的日子在耶和华你上帝所赐你的地上得以长久。”

《申命记》5章16节:

当孝敬父母,正如耶和华你上帝所吩咐的,使你得福,并使你的日子在耶和华你上帝所赐给你的地上得以长久。

《圣经》清楚让我们看到孝敬父母是有报偿(reward)的,就是“在你上帝所赐你的地上得以长久“。有人说中国人因为遵守孝道,所以他们的5千年的国家,文明没有消灭或中断过。

来到新约,又是怎么说呢。让我们看看。

新约的教导

《以弗所书》6:1-3:“作儿女的,你们要在主里 听从父母,这是理所当然的。当孝敬父母,使你得福,在世长寿。这是第一条带应许的诫命。” (和合本,修订版)

我们可以看到,在《以弗所书》6章1到3节,保罗把我们刚才读的《出埃及记 》20章12节和《申命记》5章16节联合起来了。或者说保罗引申这两段经文,而写出《以弗所书》6章1到3节。意思是一样的。

让我来说明《以弗所书》第6章的意义。

《以弗所书》614节的背景与意义

《以弗所书》6章1到4节是放在一个大段落内,这个大段落就是《以弗所书》5章21节到6章9节,一般上解经家称之为“家户经营“ (Household Code)。

根据郭汉成牧师所说,“家户”(Household)包括有血缘关系的人,如夫妻,儿女,但是在古代罗马社会“家户”也包括非血缘关系的人,如雇工,用人,仆人,或投靠某个大户人家的”清客”。

罗马社会阶级森然,分明,有上层的统治者,精英分子,Aristocrat,下有奴隶,以及已经用钱赎回,获得自由的前奴隶,或称“自由人“(Freed man)。所以他们的关系可以分成两大组别:主人(Master)与从属的关系 (Subordinate)。我们看到保罗在”家户经营“这个段落,处理了主人与奴隶,夫妻,父母与儿女的关系。教导他们他们当如何相处。

必须提的是罗马社会也有他们的“家户经营“的规定,但是一般上都是从属必须顺服上级掌权者。整个架构是父权至上,以成年男性为主,强调从属一方(如妻子,孩子,仆人)必须决对服从上级。

保罗的“家户经营“原则有个非常基本的不同,他要这些掌权的上级与从属的人“要存敬畏基督的心,彼此顺服“ 。这可以在《以弗所书》5章21节清楚看到。无可否认,在当时而言, 这是一个非常颠覆性的思想。

其实在《以弗所书》2章13-18节,保罗已经说了,“基督是我们的和平,使双方合而为一,拆毁了中间隔绝的墙,而且以自己的身体终止了冤仇。“ 在《加拉太书》3章28节,保罗也说同样的道理。经文如此说:”你们凡受洗归入基督的都披戴基督了,不再分犹太人或希腊人,不再分为奴的自主的,不再分男的女的,因为你们在基督耶稣里都成为一了。”

夫妻,主人与仆人,儿女与父母的关系也必须服膺这个“存敬畏基督的心,彼此顺服“的原则。

儿女的责任

《以弗所书》6章1至2节开忠名义的说:“做儿女的,你们要在主里听从父母,这是理所当然的。当孝敬父母,使你得福,在世长寿。这是第一条带应许的诫命。

“儿女”(ta tekna)强调的是关系,不是年龄。

“要在主里听从父母,这是理所当然的”(6:1a)

“听从” – 儿女站在较卑微的辈分上顺从父母亲的权威和命令。

这段经文的语态是“主动语态”(present active imperative),因此听从父母必须是持续做的。

“在主里” – 意思是说符合耶稣的教导的。因此“听从父母”就是顺服基督的一部分。

“孝敬”(timao)的意思包括顺从,尊敬,爱护以及使父母感到愉快。

而在旧约,孝敬 (kabod)有“给某人权力” 的意思。因此,孝敬父母就是授予父母崇高的地位。

旧约圣经严厉禁止对父母的不孝,忤逆行为。《申命记》21章18至21节这么说:

人若有顽梗忤逆的儿子,不听从父母的话,他们虽然惩戒他,他还是不听从他们,父母就要抓住他,带他出去到当地的城门,本城的长老那里,对本城的长老说:‘我们这个儿子顽梗忤逆,不听从我们的话,是贪食好酒的人。’然后,城里的众人就要用石头将他打死。这样,你就把恶从你中间除掉,全以色列听见了都要害怕。”

而《出埃及记》21章15与17节也这么说:

打父母的,必被处死。……咒骂父母的,必被处死。

从以上的经文,我们可以看到,《圣经》是非常注重孝道的。孝敬父母是一种来自上帝的诫命(commandment),违反者可以被处死。

父母对儿女的责任

刚才我提到了,保罗的“家户经营“原则是双向,彼此顺服的。因此在阐明了儿女的责任后,保罗在《以弗所书》6章第4节说道: “做父亲的,你们不要激怒儿女,但要照着主的教导和劝戒养育他们。

经文是提醒“做父亲“,因为古代儿女的监护权利是属于父亲的。罗马社会给父亲绝对的权力,处置儿女。当一个婴儿出世后,父亲看了一眼,如果不喜欢这个婴孩,这个婴孩就成为弃婴了。

保罗在这里颠覆了这种思想。他提醒做父亲的,他们有责任。这是对绝对父权的修正。在积极方面,做父亲的,必须负起教导养育儿女的责任。父亲有神圣的使命,“要照着主的教导和劝勉养育他们”。

在消极方面,保罗提醒父亲不要“惹儿女的气”;这是旧的翻译,《圣经》和合本修订版翻译为:“不要激怒儿女“,什么是“激怒儿女”?解经家认为”激怒“的例子包括过分严厉的训练,苛刻的要求,滥用权力,偏袒,不停的挑剔和谴责,让儿女蒙羞,或忽视儿女的需要和感受的行为 (参Andrew Lincoln, Ephesians, Word Commentary, 406)。

“教导” — (paidea; discipline) 指的是一般性的教育活动和训练。

“劝诫” — (nouthesia; instruction)则是口头上的警戒。

“养育” – 就是抚养长大和教育。

“照着主的”(kyriou; of the Lord)而不是自己的意思而已。以敬畏基督的心来进行。

应用:敬重父母,与他们做朋友

听了那么多,我们如何应用?

我想我们可以学习到几个可行的功课:

一,必须敬重父母,给父母尊严与尊荣,不可忤逆。

二,儿女必须听从父母在“基督里“的教导。

三,儿女必须照顾父母肉身的日常需要,给他们实际的关怀与支持(care and support)。

第四,我想引用龙应台的一些看法。大家认识龙应台吧?她曾经在马英九担任台湾总统的期间,担任台湾首任文化部长,她是非常著名公共知识分子,作家,文笔非常好,写了好几本畅销书。

最近(2018年4月)龙应台出版了一本新书,叫做《天长地久—给美君的信》,谁是美君?美君就是她的母亲。这本书是龙应台写给她的失智的母亲的信函。2014年她辞去文化部长,在台北《天下杂志》“美君”专栏。写对上一代(母亲)的感恩致敬,也是对下一代的温柔提醒。2017年8月她移居台湾最南部的屏东潮州镇,照顾失智的92岁母亲。

书中的一个慨念,或许是我们可以学习的:就是把父母当作你的朋友,多跟他们谈天,说话,了解他们心灵的需要,体会他们的感受与心情,一起做一些事。

龙应台说她很早就学习跟她的儿子安德烈与菲力做朋友,16年前开始每年单独与孩子一起去旅行。比如说去湄公河流域,去东欧,西欧。在这种一对一的时间里,大家能更加了解彼此。

但是龙应台问为什么她不曾把她的母亲,美君也作是她的“女朋友”?一个大她26岁的“女朋友”?而女朋友之间做些什么?龙应台常常约她的女朋友一起去看长电影,去听乐团演奏,去欣赏一个难看到的展览,去一起吃顿饭,去散步,去喝咖啡,去看漫天星斗直到凌晨两点,一起煲电话粥等等。

但是没有,她没有这么做,因为一旦是“母亲”,就被抛进“母亲” 的框框里,格子里,定位为必须成为龙应台的人生后盾,而后盾是在后面的,我们的眼睛是长在前面,因此注定一生看不到后面的母亲(参书,页20-21)。

Photo by Lam Been Koon

上一代不会倾吐,下一代无心体会

我们的上一代都不善于表达自己,不会说他们的心中的感受,不会倾吐,我们往往也无心去体会。让我们学习多点与长辈沟通,他们需要我们跟他们说话。很多老人很孤单,寂寞,没有人跟他们说话;似乎人生最后的一段日子,就是等候那天的到来。学习多点陪伴他们,学习与他们说话,虽然可能不是很容易,但必须有耐心。

捉紧机会,因为机会是世界最残忍的情人,也许曾经宠爱过你,可是一旦转身就绝不会回头。

Photo by Lam Been Koon

每天日落一次,就是生命减去一截;当分手的时刻来到,你会措手不及。

家母过世时,我才明白什么是“永远”:你不能回到以前了。老家还在,但是你回去老家,她已经不在了;到哪里都找不到她了。这种失去是无法逆转的。

当中父母还没信主的,让我们抓紧机会向他们传扬福音,我们都希望在永恒里,我们所爱的人也在哪里,与我们在一起。

龙应台在书中说到当年鼓励她去国外念书,而且帮她填了一大堆申请大学文件的外籍教授,她一直想去探望他,向他说声谢谢。但是因为公事忙碌,一再拖延,蹉跎。最后老教授弥留,她还是没有机会跟他说声谢谢。这成了她一生的遗憾。 她说:人生里有些事,就是不可蹉跎。生命就像黄昏的余光,瞬间没入黑暗里。

今天赶快跟你的父亲母亲说你爱他们吧,说声谢谢吧!立志多花时间,把他们当朋友,跟他们在一起,一起谈天,听他们的心事,一起做点什么的,一起快乐吧!

神是我们每个人的慈爱父母

对于那些心灵可能感到孤单寂寞的人,或者做父母做的非常挫折感的人,我要说的是,神是我们慈爱的父母。他爱我们,必定看顾我们。让我们来看看几处经文:

《诗篇》103篇13节 : “父亲怎样怜悯他的儿女,耶和华也怎样怜悯敬畏他的人!”

《以赛亚书》49章15节 : “妇人焉能忘记她吃奶的婴孩,不怜悯她所生的儿子?即或有忘记的,我却不忘记你。”

 

 

(注:这是本人在2018年5月13日在原道堂吉隆坡教会早堂(在Sri Gombak)的讲章;2018年5月14日星期一誊写。)

The Federal Court Sheds Light on the Inventive Step of an Invention

 

Light in Autumn

The apex court of Malaysia has recently delivered an important decision which touched on the key requirement of inventive step involved in an invention and how to determine such inventive step.

In Spind Malaysia Sdn Bhd v Justrade Marketing Sdn Bhd & Pang Cheng Hoon (Federal Court of Malaysia Civil Appeal No. 02(f)-55-08/2016(W)), the following three questions of law were referred to the FC:

1. Whether for the purpose of considering whether a patented invention is inventive (or not obvious), the court is required to apply and carry out the 4-steps test from the case of Windsurfing International Inc v Tabur Marine (Great Britain) Ltd [1985] RPC 59 (or more commonly known as the ‘Windsurfing test’)? (Question 1)

2. Whether there is a distinction to be drawn between determining the “claimed features” of the claims of a patent (for the purposes of assessing novelty and infringement) and determining the “inventive concepts” of the invention in the patent (for the purpose of assessing inventiveness)? (Question 2)

3. If the answer to Question 2 is in the affirmative, whether an assessment of the “inventive concepts” of the invention is to be confined to just the claims of the patent or should be construed from reading the patent specifications as a whole and with the common knowledge of the skilled person? (Question 3)

The appeal relates to a patent for an invention which is simply called a “floor trap” granted to the Appellant. The Appellant sued the Respondents for infringement of patent and the Respondents counterclaimed to invalidate the patent for lack of novelty and inventiveness. The Appellant’s claim was dismissed and the Respondents’ invalidation counterclaim was allowed by the High Court. The appeal to the Court of Appeal was also dismissed. Leave was subsequently granted by the FC for the 3 questions mentioned above to be answered.

In answering Question 1, the FC considered the Windsurfing test to be a good starting point for assessing inventiveness – describing the test as “a useful framework…[and which] provides some clarity of reasoning and consistency of approach”. However, it cautions that the individual steps should not be considered as being “set in stone and mechanically applied”. Ultimately, the question is simply whether the invention is obvious to the person having ordinary skill in the art, having regard to prior art. The 4-steps Windsurfing test was summarised to the following:

Step 1: Identify the inventive concept embodied in the patent.

Step 2: Assume the mantle of person having ordinary skill in the art, and impute to him the common general knowledge at that date.

Step 3: Identify the differences between the prior art and the alleged invention.

Step 4: Determine whether, viewed without any knowledge of the alleged invention, those differences constitute steps which would have been obvious to the person having ordinary skill in the art.

The FC described the test for Step 4 to be an objective test and a question of a fact and two types of evidence can be considered: –

  • primary evidence in the form of the opinions of expert witnesses; and
  • secondary in the form of contemporary events and commercial success of the alleged invention.

On the evidentiary value to be given to expert opinions, the FC viewed such evidence as “generally valuable and often necessary”. However, the ultimate question of fact, i.e. whether the step was obvious or not, must be determined by the court and the court is not bound to follow the expert’s opinion. This reaffirms the position taken by the FC in the earlier case of SKB Shutters Manufacturing Sdn Bhd v Seng Kong Shutter Industries Sdn Bhd & Anor [2015] 6 MLJ 293 (“SKB Shutters”).

As for secondary evidence, the FC held that such evidence is not in itself conclusive on the question of obviousness and care should be taken when conferring proper weight to such evidence. Question 1 was thus answered in the affirmative.

Question 2 and Question 3 were considered together. The FC declared that “[t]he starting point in patent litigation, whether to determine novelty, obviousness, or infringement, is… to ascertain the scope of the claims in a patent”. As such, the inventive concept of a patent must be identified from the claims. The FC further explained that “[i]t is the inventive concept that the patentee has put forward as underpinning his monopoly that must be identified”. Accordingly, inventive concept is to be distilled from the claims and not from the patent specification as a whole. It also follows that technical advantages of an invention which the patentee aimed to achieve, but are not included in the scope of the claims, do not constitute an inventive concept. The FC was however careful to point out that while inventive concept is to be determined from the claims, it is not to be equated with everything stated in the claims. Rather, inventive concept is the “essence of the idea” or “the core (or kernel, or essence) of the invention”.

Question 2 was thus answered in the following manner: in determining both the scope of the claims for assessing novelty and the inventive concept for assessing inventiveness, the court must look at the claims in the patent. However, the inventive concept is not one and the same as the claims; it is the core or essence of the invention. Question 3 was answered in the negative.

This recent Spind decision by the FC is important for patent litigation as it confirms the application of the Windsurfing test for determining whether an invention is inventive or not. The decision also explains how the inventive concept of a patent can be ascertained – from the claims. Patent drafters would also wish to take note of the court’s position in this regard. Based on this decision, it is imperative that patent drafters ensure that the “core (or kernel, or essence) of the invention”, i.e. the inventive concept, be specifically included in the claims of the patent.

(Contributed by Teo Bong Kwang & Ng Yueng May, Messrs. Wong Jin Nee & Teo, Kuala Lumpur, 29 March 2018. Used by permission)

生命·哲学·狗

文:张文光

Photo by Lam Been Koon
Photo by Lam Been Koon

前两天到我最爱的书局Kinokuniya去,本意是要买本Moleskin日记本给儿子;免不了去浏览令人垂涎,琳琅满目的书籍。结果就是两袋书,其中一本是丹尼尔·克莱恩(Daniel Klein) 的Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It (Oneworld, 2015年出版)。作者是位78岁的美国作家,写小说也写非小说 (non-fiction),包括与他人合写了一本畅销书,叫做《柏拉图与鸭嘴兽一块上酒吧》(Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar)。

据作者说,本书是他25岁开始收录的一些哲理短句(他称之为Pithies)的反思。每章卷首都有一段某位哲学家的短句,作者就借题发挥,加以扩充,评论。这本书没有提供当怎样过一种有意义的生命的想法,而是探讨不同的哲学思想,让读者自行决定那种想法才是好的。作者所收录的短句其实代表了不同学派或者是一些重要的哲学思想,主题,如自由意志 (Free Will),享乐主义(Hedonism),存在主义,萨特,休谟对生命意义的洞见,尼采的“超人”思想,悲观主义,理性主义,犬儒主义 (Cynicism),新无神论(New Atheism),不可知主义(Agnosticism), 朋友的好处,什么是爱,圣经《传道书》的智慧等。

Photo by Lam Been Koon
Photo by Lam Been Koon

作者文笔生动,写得妙趣横生;内容深入浅出,显出作者的饱学。字里行间时不时闪出智慧亮光。堪称一部把隐晦的哲学思想通俗化,又能与现代生活种种课题接轨的难得佳作。

书中有好几处让我有所领会,学习。让我把它们罗列一下。

在本书142页(我只能用页数,因为这本书没有目录,也没章题,章数),作者克莱恩引述了培根(Francis Bacon)的名言:“一点哲学引向无神主义,但是深邃哲学则带领人的心思到宗教”(原文作:A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion”)。作者自谦的说他可能没有资格评论,因为他无法探研哲学的深处,但是他还是能捉到这句名言的重点。他接着说:“亚里斯多德的名言:‘当你知道得越多,那你会发现你不知道的更多’,培根是从这个想法开展他的看法的。承认自己所知的有限,而更重要的是,我们能够知道的是那么少,真的是一种大开眼界的想法(a real eye opener)。但是这不能阻止我们想要知道的更多,或者至少保持一直探索的态度。对未知的追寻,肯定让我们心思倾向于寻求属灵事物(any wondering about the unknowable certainly inclineth a mind toward the spiritual)。

另外一章是谈到怀疑主义大师大卫·休谟(David Hume, 1711-1776)的那一句:“对宇宙来说,人的生命不比一只牡蛎来得重要”(The life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than the at of an oyster)(参本书第81页)。 休谟认为人只是宇宙这个巨大机器中的一个小零件,渺小得没什么意义。但是作者认为我们可以用另一个角度来看这个牡蛎比喻。虽然我们的生命微小,但是可以有巨大的涟漪作用 (ripple effect)。他引用Frank Capra 的电影It is a Wonderful Life 来说明。主角George Bailey认为他对不起他的家人与社群而想在圣诞节前夕自杀,但是Bailey 的守护天使Clarence出现,让Bailey 看到如果没有他,整个社区将会不一样。

此外,克莱恩也引用英格玛·伯格曼(Ingmar Bergman)的电影 《芬妮与亚历山大》(Fanny and Alexander)中的一段对白,来带出这个信息:

“世界是一窝的强盗,黑夜经已降临;邪恶已经挣脱锁链,像疯狗般的横行世界。邪恶的毒素影响了我们每个人,无人幸免。因此让我们还能快乐的时候,继续快乐吧,让我们继续善良,慷慨,充满爱心,做个好人吧。我们无需感到羞耻,其实是必须,在我们微小的世界取乐吧。”(It is necessary and not at all shameful to take pleasure in the little world)(参页84-85)

17293170 - a photo of the full moon at night

从本书,我也学习到,思索本身就是一种的喜乐,而其重要性不亚于其他肉体感官好处。根据作者说这是英国哲学家罗素(Bertrand Russell)所强调的(参页58-60)。他引述罗素的说话:”The goods of the mind are at least as important as the goods of the body”。

书中有一章谈到友情的可贵,引述了美国哲学家爱默生(Ralph Waldo Emerson)的名言:“老朋友的其中一个好处,就是你能愚笨的与他们相处”(It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them)(页64),读后让我心有戚戚矣。

在宗教观念上,作者自称是一个不可知论者(Agnostic),但他对宗教仍然是非常尊重,且持开放的态度(参页145)。 所传达的仍然是一个积极的人生态度,在讨论叔本华的悲观主义那一章(页30-34),作者引用伍迪·亚伦(Woody Allen )的电影Hannah and Her Sisters 的男主角密奇(Mickey)在片尾的一段独白,来说明其实我们能从生命中的小乐趣,重拾对生命的喜悦感。而就是这些小乐趣,让我们在看来充满绝望的境况继续向前。正如王尔德(Oscar Wilde)所说:“我们每个人都身处阴沟,但当中有些人却看着满天星星。”(We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”)

本书充满历代西方哲学家的睿智短句,加上学问渊博的作者之讲论,分析其时代意义,有些段落读来的确有暮鼓晨钟的感觉。

书中有个相当精彩的后记 (Epilogue),讲到读者对本书的回响。他说读者们最大的回响是有关他的狗Snooker的一些记载。因此在后记他谈论了一些狗与哲学家的有趣逸事。我转述之,以飨我的读者。

古代希腊(约公元前4世纪)的哲学家第歐根尼(Diogenes)曾说:“狗与哲学家作了很多很大的好事,但是他们得到最少的报酬。”英文是这么说的:“Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards” 。[我想很多人会把“哲学家”这词,换成他现在正在做的职业或工作]

Diogenes是希腊众多哲学派系中称为“Cynic”的,他也被称为Diogenes the Cynic。 而“Cynic”这个词是来自希腊文,意思是说“像只狗“(dog-like)。因为Diogenes生活举止活脱脱就像只狗。他说狗很自然,不做作;要吃东西就吃东西,要撒尿撒尿。狗只活在当下,不用为过去或未来烦恼。Diogenes 常赞赏推崇这种生活方式。一生据说说是住在一个木桶(亦说是装死人的瓮),所拥有的所有财产只包括这个木桶、一件斗篷、一支棍子、一个面包袋。他鄙视社会的虚伪,卫道之士。我们的仁兄也因此仿效狗狗,肆无忌惮的公开撒尿。中文把Cynic翻译为“犬儒”。嗯,还是第一次看到两者的联系。

不只是Diogenes从狗学到人生哲理,大哲学家柏拉图也说:“Your dog is a true philosopher” . 不相信,去翻阅《理想国》第二卷,当中苏格拉底与格劳孔(Glaucon) 有关“哲学王” (philosopher king) 当拥有的素质的对话。

(2018年3月8日,星期四)