Pang Yuk Man

彭玉文

Pang Yuk Man

Retired elementary school teacher, columnist
Interests: Hong Kong’s natural history

Writing a natural history column is way harder than a master's thesis!

1/1

Born and raised in rural villages in Kowloon, Pang Yuk Man grew up playing in barren fields, grass paths, and ditches, making friends with insects and fishes. In primary school, he read Yip Linfeng’s Hong Kong Naturography and became interested in natural history. In secondary school, he read The Great Outdoors magazine and began imitating columnist Lee Hin Kwan’s (李衍坤) nomadic lifestyle of camping. Afterwards, he became a primary school teacher and read the works by Taiwanese natural writers like Liu Renxiu (劉仁修), Liu Ka-shiang, and Wang Jiaxiang (王家祥). He began collecting field guides on animals and plants, logging his own field observations. He also introduced ecological observations and outdoor adventures into his lessons.

While studying for a master’s degree at the University of Hong Kong, he had the opportunity to read Geoffrey Herklots' work, and was surprised to learn that his childhood idol Yip Linfeng had referenced many of Herklots’ work for his own. Noting a lack of information on Herklots, a major contributor to Hong Kong’s natural history, Pang decided to translate The Hong Kong Countryside. He recalls, “While the translation is relatively simple, annotation takes time." In the preface, Herklots mentioned that, due to the printing costs and the loss of artwork during the war, he was unable to include visuals for the book. Pang took the initiative to take photographs all over the wilderness, and included annotations on the old information written by Herklots. But the most difficult part, says Pang, is the British humour: "I know it is a joke, but I don't understand why it is funny!" He worked on the translation for ten years, deciphering Herklot’s piece as if solving a puzzle. In 2018, the Chinese edition of The Hong Kong Countryside was finally published. Today, Pang continues to write column features on Hong Kong’s natural history, history and geography on websites, local papers and magazines.

退休小學老師、專欄作家
愛好:香港博物學

寫博物學專欄比寫碩士論文更辛苦!

1/1

彭玉文生於九龍山村,幼時遊戲荒田、草徑、渠溝間,以蟲魚為樂。小學讀葉靈鳳《香港方物志》,開啟博物學志趣。中學讀《野外》雜誌,仿效專欄作家李衍坤作流浪式露營。後成為小學教師,大量閱讀劉仁修、劉克襄、王家祥等台灣博物學家的著作,開始收集動植物圖鑑,寫作野外日誌,並將生態觀察、野外歷奇等引進教學中。

在香港大學修讀碩士期間,他偶爾讀到香樂思的著作,驚覺葉靈鳳原來參考了香氏,亦有感太少人認識香樂思這位對香港貢獻良多的博物學家,遂決定翻譯《The Hong Kong Countryside》。「翻譯相對簡單,寫註釋就很花時間」, 香氏曾在書序中提及,因印刷成本與戰時畫作遺失,未能為此書配圖,於是彭走遍山野實地拍攝,並因應香氏作品年代久遠,就生態資料加註補遺。但最難還是香氏的英式幽默:「知道是笑話都不理解笑點在哪!」譯註猶如解謎,他一譯十載,最後在2018年出版中譯版《野外香港歲時記》。現時他持續在報刊雜誌發表博物學與香港史地文章,亦以筆名「寵獬」在網上撰寫專欄。