Matchboxes 火柴盒

Yesterday I visited a matchbox museum in Taiwan.  Matches are so insignificant that you probably forgot they ever existed.  To me, they bring a lot of joy and wonderful memories through my collection of over 1000 boxes collected over the past couple of decades.

昨天我到台灣火柴故事館參觀。火柴看是很微不足道的東西,你可能已忘記它的存在。但對我來說,在過去二十多年收集超過一千多個火柴盒,卻為我帶來不少歡樂和美好回憶。

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Matchboxes are a great story teller.  They chart the restaurants where I’ve dined and wined, some more enjoyable than others; the hotels I’ve stayed at and all the wonderful places that I’ve visited over the years.  Some were given to me by friends and family who have helped me build up my collection and that will always leave a mark in my life.  In most cases I could pretty much remember exactly when and where I acquired the particular matchbox as they each lit up a little spark at that moment in time.  I have also bought quite a lot of matchboxes from bric n brac shops and flea markets around the world, most which pre dates the start of my collection.  The design and pictures on them reflect how culture is embedded in an everyday simply item.  It shows how society has changed over the years  such as a matchbox from BOAC which was British Airways before it was privatised by the British government in the early 70’s.  It’s difficult to imagine a matchbox allowed on a plane today, let alone smoking.

火柴盒是很會說故事的。他們陪我在不同餐廳吃過很多頓美食,有好的經驗,亦有些不提也吧;另外有些火柴盒見證我出門住過的旅館和到訪過的美麗地方。更有些火柴盒是家人及朋友給我,過程中每一個都帶著自己小小的故事,在我生命中留下點點痕跡。在大多數情況下,我都記得在甚麼時間地點收集某一個火柴盒,因為在那一刻他們都曾在我心中亮起一點點火花。我也很喜歡在古玩店和跳蚤市場搜尋火柴盒,每次找到時都會如獲至寶,慢慢在箱裡逐個逐個看,然很選一大堆跟老闆討價還價,很有趣噢!從火柴盒設計和圖片可反映各國如何把文化嵌入一樣微不足道的日常生活用品中。他們也見證著社會的改變,像我的收藏品中就包括一個BOAC的火柴盒。BOAC是現今英國航空公司的前身,在70年代初被英國政府私有化。現在真的很難想象可以帶火柴上飛機和吸菸。

Sadly when I moved to Taiwan rationality trumped sensitivity and I had to give my entire collection away. I was so afraid that I couldn’t let go of them that I didn’t even take many photos of them.  The other month I came across of box of matchboxes in a bric n brac shop in Taiwan.  My heart really ached when I saw it , and a pang of regret overtook me.

Matchboxes, how are you?  I hope you are well.  I really miss you.

很可惜,當我搬來台灣時理性戰勝感性,我不得不放棄我收藏的全部火柴盒,而我也因為怕捨不得他們而沒有多拍幾張照片留念。前幾個月我在台中路經一間古玩店門外見到個一盒子火柴盒。我當時真有心如刀割的痛,也無限後悔。

火柴盒,你們好嗎?我真的很掛念你們!

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