Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 21 News List

Mumbai lunch-box men go high-tech 孟買的便當仔走高科技路線

AP

Mumbai's lunch-box men, who deliver about 200,000 lunches a day across the city, are now using technology to reach customers with text messages.

The dabbawallas -- dabbawalla means "lunch-box men" in Hindi -- are a familiar sight in Mumbai. Every day, about 5,000 of them use bicycles and trains to deliver the lunches. They balace wooden crates filled with 25 to 35 lunch boxes on their heads in a 120-year-old tradition of taking lunch boxes from private homes to offices in the city.

While their basic system will not change, the addition of cellphones will make it easier for Mumbai residents to reach them, said Raghunath Medge, president of the Dabbawallas' Association.

``Most people have heard about us but they don't know how to contact us,'' said Medge. The association also started a Web site in June to popularize their services.

For years, the dabbawallas have used an elaborate system to pick up the home-cooked orders from houses and get them to the correct offices while the food is still hot. Few of the dabbawallas are educated, and many are completely illiterate, but they are famous for making almost no mistakes.

Even though there will be more orders, Medge is confident the men can rise to the challenge. ``Of course, we can cope with mor demand ... We are moving with the times.''

(AP)

每天全城走透透,遞送二十萬個午餐盒的孟買市便當仔,現在使用簡訊科技聯絡顧客。

在孟買隨處可見「dabbawallas」(印度文的便當仔),每天約有五千名便當仔用腳踏車和火車遞送午餐,他們遵循著已經有一百二十年的傳統,用頭平衡一只裝滿二十五到三十個便當的木製版條箱,往來私人住宅與城裡辦公大樓間遞送便當。

便當仔協會會長拉合那梅格表示,在基本系統不變的情況下,增加手機的使用能讓孟買居民更容易找到他們。

梅格說:「多數人都聽過我們,可是不知道如何聯絡我們。」此協會也在六月開設往站以推廣業務。

便當仔數年來以精密的網絡,到民眾家裡取得民眾自治的便當後,正確送達指定的辦公室,而且食物還是熱騰騰的。少數便當仔受過教育,許多人完全不識字,但他們著名的地方在於幾乎不會犯錯。

雖然未來會有更多訂單,梅格有信心便當仔能勇於面對挑戰,他說:「我們當然可以應付更多需求...我們隨著時代進步。」

Today's Words 今天單字

1. popularize v.t.

使受歡迎 (shi3 shou4 huan1 ying2)

例:A few celebrities popularize that style of hat when they started wearing it on TV shows.

(自從幾個名人在電視節目上帶那種風格的帽子後,它便大受歡迎。)

2. elaborate adj.

詳盡的 (xiang2 jin4 de5)

例:Tokyo has an elaborate public transportation system.

(東京有發達的大眾交通系統。)

3. illiterate adj.

文盲的 (wen2 mang2 de5)

例:Many illiterate people never had a chance to go to school.

(許多不識字的人從來沒有機會就學。)

4. cope v.i.

克服 (ke4 fu2)

例:Mandy needed support from her friends to cope with the death of her father.

(曼蒂需要朋友的支持,走過父親去世的傷痛。)


(美聯社/翻譯:鄭湘儀)

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