二十五年的實驗-2
衙門深似海

陳碧華 執筆

上天的眷顧,我們的三人教室很神奇的天天有人前來叩門,或許是因為說得一口道地英語又長得有點像外國孩子的爾康,每天繞在我身邊,許多外人以為爾康有個美國爸爸,好奇想加入我們陣營。在沒有任何廣告宣傳之下,我們小小的客廳卻立即人滿為患,而且還得輪流安排上課。很快的這個「客廳即實驗室」的教室不敷使用,我們必須搬遷。因為我從未想過把這個工作當作生意來經營,只要有學費收入,我就把它投入增添設備改善品質。但也因為我沒有任何資金挹注,有的只是錫東的一份教授的薪水,每次我只能租一個小小場地,當學生擠爆了,再找大一點的場地,如此一而再再而三,短短幾年內我們搬了六次家,大部分原因是家長慕名而來,學生人數不斷成長,空間不夠。不斷的搬遷,練就了一身膽量,但也因為不斷的搬遷,學校永遠是存不下錢來找個永久的校舍,所以當台灣房地產大漲,地主出售土地而我們又無力購買,只得揮淚告別。

人說衙門深似海,當我只是一個平庸老百姓,我從沒想過與政府打交道是如此艱辛。當我們搬出自家客廳,我立卽申請掛牌。雖然我依照所有規定一步一步提出案件,但不論資料如何準備,政府官員就是有辦法不斷退件。記得其中一個理由是我打算將這個沒有名字的教室取名「社區英語教室」,因為當時學生大多來自左鄰右舍,沒料到官員一看,二話不說就立即駁回,理由是「社區」不能當作是專有名詞。我將所有文件重新更改,這次改用「康乃爾英語」,一方面是緬懷過去在康乃爾的美好時光,一方面是提醒自己隨時能再重返舊地。只是當官員看到「康乃爾」三個大字,頭搖得像浪鼓,文件一丟,問:「康乃馨就康乃馨,康乃爾是什麼東西?妳就不能取個中國名稱嗎?」幸好這位大爺從來沒聽過「康乃爾大學」,因為當時的法令,規定不可以用外國名字做招牌,所以當我硬掰「康乃爾」來自自已孩子的名字「葉爾康」,大爺嘴巴嘟嘟噥噥,但也只好勉強同意。

因為不斷的搬家也意味著必需不斷重新申請執照,更別說因為其他原因必須和官員打交道。當時公家機關多半是靠關係與金錢辦事,我們這種既沒關係也沒錢的小老百姓,基本上只是供公務人員消遣,耍耍威風用的對象。好在當時還年輕貌美,雖然吃排頭,但還沒吃閉門羹。只是有時在市府看到承辦人員與申請案件業者打情罵俏 抅肩搭背,自己又被罵的像垃圾,往往有個衝動想把官員的頭跩下。最離譜的是,有一次經過一年多申請的案件,承辦竟然告訴我不見了。許多朋友替我打抱不平,建議我別再浪費力氣,送錢上門,案子馬上就過了。他们點醒我,妳難道沒看到承辦手上戴著勞力士金表?我當時還不相信,刻意注意了一下,果真許多人手上都掛著金錶。但自己一向堅持做人基本原則是不做羞辱自己名譽的事,好在信奉中國一句成語:「精誠所至,金石為開」,何況滴水可穿石?憑著自己三寸不爛之舌,和不信邪的態度,當年再三折騰我的人,今日成了好朋友。那些掛金錶的人在九二一地震之後也進了監獄。

好不容易將名字的問題搞定,我們就一直使用「Cornell」作為英文的名稱直到1995年的一天,我接到康乃爾大學的來信,要求我們更改校名,因為他們不願意讓人們以為康乃爾大學在台灣還有分校。這個消息令人傻眼,但這也表示我們名聲遠播。只不過我們這隻小蝦米如何去挑戰巨鯨?好不容易建立起來的知名度又受到挑戰,所幸擁有植物病理學家頭銜的錫東這次發揮功效,他告訴我將Cornell的一個字母’l’拿掉,剩下Cornel,音相同字也相似,何況新的名稱還有個美麗的意思,因為在英文裡,它是櫻花樹的一種。


A Twenty-Five Year Experiment-2
The Red Tapes

By Bih-Hua Chen

Amazingly, my small home school grew rapidly.  Everyday there were people knocking at the door to secure a place in our program.  It was funny that some parents signed their child up just because they heard Kang speaking English fluently with me all the time.  They assumed that I married an American man because Kang looked like an American boy.  In two years, our small home school had grown out of our living room and we needed to make a move.  Since I never would want to run it as a business, I plowed all the tuition that we collected from the students back into the school.  Without making any advertisement, the enrollment continued to grow.  In ten years we moved five times in order to get a larger space.  It was a blessing to get more students than I expected, but it was a pain to deal with all the red tape every time when we made the move.

As an ordinary citizen, I never believed that the bureaucracy could be so overwhelming.  When we moved out of our living room, I applied for a license.  The government official picked on everything I handed in and just simply turned down our application.  One of the reasons she used was that we couldn’t use the name ‘Community English School’ because community was not a proper noun and couldn’t be used as a school name.  I had no choice but to change the name to Cornell quickly, but she turned it down again because Cornell didn’t sound like a Chinese name.  According to the law at that time, it was not allowed to use a foreign name as a school’s name.  Fortunately, she never knew that there was a university called Cornell at that time, so I just told her I used my son’s name which sounded like Cornell. 

Finally we got a name and we continued to use Cornell until one day in 1995 I received a letter from Cornell University.  It requested us to change the name because they didn’t want the public to think that they also offered kindergarten education in Taiwan.  Again, we had no choice but to change the name.  It was definitely a bother and it was hard to change the name since we had built up our reputation under that name.  How could we rename ourselves without losing the popularity?  Fortunately, my plant pathologist husband, Shyi-Dong was smart enough.  He told me to drop one letter ‘l’ out of Cornell and keep the rest.  The new name still sounded like Cornell and looked like Cornell but it had another beautiful meaning.  It means cherry tree.  This was one of the episodes in the history of the school but it explained how famous we were in 1995.  Even the Cornell University was cautious about our existence.

The art of dealing with government officials was another thing I learned.  As a small potato, I never got my work done the way I wanted.  There were many times I had the impulse to twist their necks because they treated me like an idiot.  Many people told me that money talks.  However, how could I bribe them if I wanted to keep my integrity?  There is a saying in Chinese:  Water can drip through a stone.  Yes, acting like water, slowly but gradually, I finally touched those officials’ hearts and they became my friends.  Even now we still keep our friendship.

 

兒童雙語幼稚園:
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【官方網站】http://www.ecornel.com.tw
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【facebook粉絲團】http://www.facebook.com.tw/cornelfans
康乃爾&康爾嘉英語【Youtube影音網】http://www.youtube.com/user/corneltai

英文有聲書雜誌:
彩虹時間兒童英語故事有聲月刊【部落格】http://www.wretch.cc/blog/CRainbowTime
彩虹時間兒童英語故事有聲月刊【facebook粉絲團】http://www.facebook.com.tw/rtfans

文章標籤
創作者介紹
創作者 康乃爾英語 的頭像
康乃爾英語

康乃爾/康爾嘉英語

康乃爾英語 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()