Yin Dih 隱地
translated by Jonathan YING 殷立仁
| We cannot see ourselves, so someone invented the mirror.
There are a lot of narcissists in the world. Since the mirror
was invented, narcissists could not be any happier. They pick
up the mirror to look at themselves only to discover that they
love themselves even more. They look at themselves early in
the morning, late at night, when they are wearing different
wardrobes, even when they are undressed. They pity themselves,
and they love themselves almost to the point of laughter.
It is best for narcissists to be able to see themselves at all
times. So long as there is a mirror, they will definitely look at
their own reflections from every possible angle. Perhaps there
is a healthy luster on their face, maybe their hair is messy, or
there is dust on their clothes. Once they are satisfied with everything and even smile at the mirror, then they are ready to
face the world.
The opposite of narcissists are those who dislike mirrors; it
is fine if they dislike mirrors, but these individuals actually
make mirrors their biggest enemy.
Only normal individuals do not have any strong feelings
about mirrors. A mirror is nothing more than a still object that
allows you to see yourself. For some, greeting their own mirror
image to say hello on occasion adds variety to their lives. Those
who either carry on a conversation with their reflection or stare
at their likeness from dusk to dawn must have some sort of psychological
disorder. Then there are those who upon seeing a
mirror, want to hide from or break it; for someone to behave this
way, it is more likely than not that they are near their wit’s end.
But a mirror has a spirit of its own. A mirror has been a
companion to its owner since the master’s youth, allowing its
master to look at his own vibrant face, his trim and fit body.
But, now that master has aged, mirror understands what master
is feeling. As soon as it hears master’s footsteps, mirror runs
faster than anyone else all because it does not want to face master.
One day when the lady wind came by for a visit, mirror
took advantage of her wild laughter and destroyed itself.
Knowing that mirror is broken, master no longer needs to spend
any energy plotting mirror’s demise. From this point on, master
happily walked about in the dark house and lived a relatively
Actually, mirror cannot stand those who come to visit
everyday. What good does it do to look at oneself every which
way? You are you, and I am I. Once you are done, you need to go to work or go out to play, rather than to keep on looking at
Those who enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror are
prime candidates to be cosmetologists or hair stylists. On the
surface, cosmetologists or hair stylists are either putting on
make-up or designing hair for others. But between washing,
cutting, curling, or coloring, cosmetologists or hair stylists are
almost always looking at themselves in the mirror day after day.
And, amid all this gazing and blinking, a designer sub-consciously
walked into the mirror. Ah, the world inside the mirror
is naked, with every naked body staring at itself in the mirror.
People in the world of mirrors do not eat, sleep, or make love.
Men and women happily smile at one another, turning as if they
were dancing before moving on in search of yet another mirror.
“Looking at the mirror is all we do!” They are constantly in
search of the next mirror, and smiling at their own images once
a mirror has been found. Every citizen of the mirror nation is as
happy as can be. They do not age as long as they look at themselves
in the mirror. This is why they love being nude. They
were shocked to see a fully dressed person stumble into their
territory, and they surrounded the designer, making him sweat
all over. It was then that he realized he had been in a trance,
causing his customer to complain “My gosh, what did you do to
my hair? Were you dreaming?”
Looking at the mirror is indeed dreaming, and it is a type of
nightmare. A cute young woman and a handsome young man
look and look at the mirror but what they see is an old lady and
an old man. Someone has said that a mirror does not lie. You
see the image in the mirror has gotten old, so much so that your neck muscle has given in to gravity and you cannot help but be
surprised. Can you believe that the person in the mirror is really
From Yin Dih’s 隱地 Wo de yan-jing 《我的眼睛》[My eyes]. Taipei: Elite
Publishing, 2008, 223-227.