【a Return to the Frontier】

  1. 影响我的几本书
  2. 第3章 重逢与遗忘(14)
  3. 黑影幢幢
  4. 遥寄爱荷华
  5. 流泪的树熊
  6. 翡冷翠山居闲话
  7. 行者无疆 4.7 恬然隐者
  8. 千年一叹 巴基斯坦8:国门奇观
  9. 两个汤圆

 EileenChang

 WhenIgotofftheplaneinTaipeionmywaytoHongKong,IdidnotexpecttoseeanyoneIknew.IhadaskedtheChusnottomeetme,knowingtheywerebusyjustthen.Butitwaspossiblethattheywouldgetsomebodyelsetocomeintheirstead,soIwasnotsurprisedwhenanefficient-lookingmaninneatwesternclothesapproachedme."YouareMrs.RichardNixon?"HesaidinEnglish.

IhadseenmanyphotographsoftheblondeMrs.NixonandneverimaginedIresembledher.Besides,heshouldbeabletotellafellowChineseevenbehindherdarkglasses.Butwithawoman'sinabilitytodisbelieveacomplimentaltogether,nomatterhowflagrantlyuntrue,Irememberedthatshewasthin,whichIundoubtedlywas.Thentherewasthoseglasses."No,Iamsorry,"Isaid,andhewalkedawaytosearchamongtheotherpassengers.

ItstruckmeasalittleoddthatMrs.NixonshouldcometoFormosa,evenifeverybodyisvisitingtheOrientjustnow.Anyhowtheremusthavebeensomemix-up,astherewasonlythisoneembassyemployeetogreether.

"DidyouknowMrs.Nixoniscomingtoday?"IaskedmyfriendsMr.AndMrs.Chu,whohadturnedupafterall.

"No,wehaven'theard,"Mr.Chusaid.Itoldthemaboutthemanwhomistookmeforherandwhatajokethatwas."Um,"hesaidunsmiling.Thenhesaidsomewhatembarrassedly,"There'samanwhoisalwayshangingaroundtheairporttomeetAmericandignitaries.He'snotquitesane."

Ilaughed,thenwentunderFormosa'shugewaveofwistfulyearningfortheoutsideworld,particularlyAmerica,itsonlyfriendandthereforeinsomewaysafoe.

"Howdoesitfeeltobeback?"Mr.Chuasked.AlthoughIhadneverbeentherebefore,theyweregoingalongwiththeofficialassumptionthatFormosaisChina,themothercountryofallChinese.IlookedaroundthecrowdedairportanditreallywasChina,notthestrangeoneIlefttenyearsagoundertheCommunistsbuttheoneIknewbestandthoughthadvanishedforever.ThebuzzofMandarinvoicesalsomadeitdifferentfromHongKong.Afeelingofchronologicalconfusioncameoverme.

"Itfeelslikedreaming."Andtakinginallthefamiliarfacesspeakingthetonesofhomeland,Iexclaimed,"Butit'snotpossible!"Mr.ChusmiledruefullyasifIhadsaid,"Butyouareghosts."

Mrs.Chutoldmeaswelefttheairport,"Thisisanuglycity,buttheminuteyougetoutoftownitisbeautiful."

Theylodgedmeinamountaininn.IgottheGeneral'sSuite,wherethegeneralsstaywhentheycomeuphilltoreporttotheGeneralissimo,wholivesafewstepsawayacrosstheroad.Thesuitewasreachedthroughaseriesofdesertedlittlecourtyards,withitsownrockgardenandlotuspond.Inthesilencetherewasjustthesoundoftheeveningdrizzleonthebananapalmandinthebathroomatapofsulphurwaterconstantlyrunningoutofastonelionmouthandsplashingovertherimofthecementtank.Therewererattanfurnitureonthetatamiflooringandawardrobeandbedwithstainedsheets.Itoldmyselfnottobefastidious.Buttherewerebedbugs.FinallyIhadtogetupneardawntosleepontheledgeofthehonorrecess,whereinJapaneselivingroomsthebestvaseandpicturescrollaredisplayed.Themaidwasfrightenedwhenshecomeinthemorningandcouldnotfindme.

ItwasplainthatthegeneralshadfemininecompanionshipwhilespendingthenightawaitingaudiencewiththeGeneralissimo.IwonderedattheeaseofprocuringgirlsalmostnextdoortothatChristianandConfucianfounderoftheNewLifeMovement.Surelyitwasunseemlywith"Heaven'scountenanceonlyafootaway,"asweusedtodescribeanaudiencewiththeemperor.AfterIleftTaipeiforthecountryside,Irealizedthatprostitutionwasmoreopenonthislandthanperhapsanywhereelseintheworld.Inasmall-townnewspaperfiveorsixadvertisementsofthistypeappearedinoneday:"JoyandHappinessProstitutes'Domicile,1stclass.124ShinMingRoad.Swarmsofprettygirlslikeclouds,offeringthebestservices."

InthecountrysideFormosapeelsback,showingolderstrata.ThereweremorenativeFormosansthanrefugees.Themixedemotionsofmyhomecomingofsortsgavewaytopuretouristenthusiasm.

FromtimetotimeMrs.Chu,sittingnexttomeinthebus,whisperedurgently,"shandi,shandi!"Ijustcaughtaglimpseofashandi,ormountaindweller,agraylittlewraithwithwhiskerstattooedonhercheekscarryingababyonherbackandloiteringoutsideashopalongthehighway."Shandi,shandi!"Againthebreathlesslittlecryandanudge.IsawgypsylikechildreninraggedT-shirtsandskirts,carrying

smallerchildren."Theyallcometotownwhenthere'saJapanesepictureon,"Mrs.Chusaid.

"Oh,dotheyspeakJapanese?"

"Verywell."

ManyofthebuspassengerstalkedJapanese.TheyweretheearlyChinesesettlers,andasurprisingnumberoftheiryoungpeoplestillspokeJapanese.Thebusstoppedatwhatseemedtobethemiddleofnowhereandayoungmangotoff.Theconductorfollowedhim.Suddenlytherewasafight,thetworollingoverandoveronthewayside."Chigaruyo!Chigaruyo!"IcouldmakeouttheoneJapanesewordtheyoungmankeptshouting:"Mistake!Mistake!"Thedrivergotofftohelpbeathim.Thepassengerlearnedthatthismanwasalwaysstealingrides.Ithoughthowun-Chinesethesepeoplewere.InHongKongIhadseenastreetcarconductorfollowingafreeridertothestreetandgradholdofhisnecktie,inplaceofthepigtailwhichusedtobethefirstthingreachedforinabrawl.Butthatwasjustascuffleandexchangeofwords.Lastyearabusconductorwastakentothepolicestationonthecomplainofawomanhehadhitwithhisticketpuncher,amurderoustoolconductorswereforeverrattlingtoremindpeopletobuytickets.Buttherewereneveranyrealfightslikethis.

Finallythedriverandconductorletthemango.Hegotonhisfeetpantinganddustinghimself.Theydroveoff.Hestoodatattentioninhistornkhakishirtandsalutedthebusasitpassed.HedidnotlookoldenoughtohavebeeninthearmyinJapanesedays,butthatreverencewasdistinctlyJapanese.Oddlyenough,italsoremindedmeoftheCommunistChineseliningupalltheporters,sweepers,andpeddlersontherailwayplatform,eachpresentinghisbroom,pole,andbasketlikearmsasthetrainpulledout.Workershavebeentoldtolovetheirmachine,buttohavethempaytheirrespectstoitinthislittleritualseemedstrange.

FromFormosaIwentontoHongKong,whichIhadnotseenforsixyears.Thecitywasbeingtorndownandrebuiltintohighapartmentbuildings.Wholestreetsweredugup,withapostboxburieduptoitsneck,stillfunctioning.Therefugeesweresettleddown,hopingonlytoliveouttheirlivesinHongKong.TheyoungergenerationspeakCantoneseinschoolandrefusetospeakanythingelseathome,agoodexcusenottotalktotheirparentsthatotherteenagersmayenvy.

Themoreorlesswell-to-dohomesIsawweregettingincreasinglyAmericanized,withamahsbecomingtooexpensiveandwashingmachinestakingtheirplacealonewiththelastest-modelrefrigeratorsandhi-fiphonographsboughtontheinstallmentplan.Christmashadbecomeagreatoccasionforgiftsandpartiesfornon-Christianstoo.BoysandgirlshandedeachotherChristmascardsinschool.Onegirlwrotetoawomancolumnist:"Iamnineteenyearsold.MyfatherandIescapedfromnorthChinaayearago,crossingthecountrywithgreatdifficulty.WemadethelaststretchtoMacaoinasmallboatwhichwasfiredonbytheCommunists.MyfathercoveredmewithhisbodysohegotwoundedanddiedinthehospitalinMacao.IcametoHongKong,whereafriendoffather'sgotmeajobpayingaboutHK$100amonth[lessthantwentyAmericandollars],justenoughtokeepaliveandrentabunk.IamtheonlyonewithoutChristmasinallHongKong.PleasetellmeifIshouldgobackthemainland."

Sidebysidewithharrowingescapeslikethis,thereisalotofwhatseemstobeneedlessandfool-hardytrafficofrefugeesgoingbackforvisits."We'vegrownpoorfromsendingparcels,"mylandladytoldmeoncewithalittlelaugh.Shenevercouldleaveoffexplainingwhytheyhadtotakeinalodger.Sheandherhusbandsetbothsetsofparentsandotherdependentsnoodles,poprice,preservedmeatsandherbs,sugar,soy,peanutoil,andsoapeachmonthandclothinginseason.OfonebrandofBritish-madechickencubes,hermother-in-lawhadwrittenecstatically:"Thesecubeshavesolvedalltheproblemsofourtwomealsaday."Thesugartheydissolvedinwateranddrankasatonic.Herbrother,inalaborcampforharboringafriendaccusedofbeingaNationalistspy,isstillabletowriteheraskingforpillsforhisailingkidneyandswollenlegs.Herbrother,inalaborcampforharboringafriendaccusedofbeingaNationalistspy,isstillabletowriteheraskingforpillsforhisailingkidneyandswollenlegs.Heryoungersisterisdoctorassignedtoworkinthecountry."Shehastogooutonsickcallsatnight,whereit'spitchdarkandthegroundisunevenandshe'safraidofsnakes.Youknowhowyounggirlsare,"shesaid,justassheapologizedforherdaughtersmonopolizingthebathroom:"Youknowhowyounggirlsare."

Iwastheretoseeagreatpacking.Thelandladyhadarelativegoingback--awomaninherseventies--whocouldtakethingsinforthem.Thelandlady'shusbandwrestledwithloadsandropesalloverthekitchenfloor.Shebakedacakeandmadestewedpork.

"Theycanusethepottoo,"shesaid.

"HowisonetocarryapotofstewedporkallthewaytoShanghai?"

"Itwillbefrozen;thetrainisarefrigerator."

Shegotupatdawntoseetheoldladyoff,andshehadtogoalonetohelpcarrytheluggagepasttheinspectionsattheLohuborder.Thenextdayshecriedoutwhenshecameuponme:"Ha-ya,MissChang!Ialmostdidn'tcomeback."

"Butwhathappened?"

"Huh-yee-ya!Tobeginwith,therewerealtogethertoomanythings.Theoldlady'sfault,too---shehadsomanythingsofherown.Oildrums,cratesofsaltedfish,wholecartonsofcans.Clothes,bedding,potsandpans,enoughtofurnishahouse.Thecustomsmanwaslosinghistemper.Thenhecameuponsomechangeinherpurse,twenty,thirtycentsofJenMingPiaoshehadwithherwhenshecameoutlasttimeandforgottogetridof.You'renotsupposedtotakeCommunistmoneyin,soallhellbrokeloose.'Wheredidthiscomefrom?Ha?'And'Whatdoyoumeanbythis?Ha?'Turnedonmenow:'Whoareyou?AH?'"Mylandladyscrewedupherslant-eyedbabefacetoroaroutthe"Ahs"and"Has"."Ai-ya?aIsaidIknewnothingaboutthis,Ijustcametoseeheroff,butallthetimeIwasworriedtodeath."Shefrownedandcluckedwithannoyanceanddroppedhervoicetoawhisper."Thisoldladyhaddozensofnylonstockingssewninsideherthickpaddedgown."

"Tosell?"Iasked.

"No,justtogiveaspresents;womenweartheminsidetheirslacks."

"Butwhy?Whentheycan'tevenbeseen?"Andwithallthehungerweheardwasaround,Ithought.

"Notfull-lengthones."Thelandladygesturedtowardhercalves."Forthewivesofofficials.Shelikestobringeverybodysomething.Verycapableoldlady.SheimportsmoviesmadeinHongKong.Whatdoesshewantsomuchmoneyfor?Ha?Seventyandnochildren?Ha?"

Irememberedcomingouttenyearsago,walkingthelaststretchacrosstheLohuBridgewithitsroughwoodfloorclosedinonbothsidesbyguardhousesandfences.AgroupofusstoodwaitingaftertheHongKongpoliceontheothersideofthebarbedwirehadtakenourpapersawaytobestudied.Theytookalongtimeoverit.Itwasmidsummer.TheHongKongpoliceman,aleantallCantonesewithmonstrousdarkglasses,lookedcoolandarrogantashepacedaroundinhisuniformandshorts,smartlybeltedandcreased.BesideusstoodtheCommunistsentry,around-cheekednorthcountryboyinrumpledbaggyuniform.Afteranhourinthehotsuntheyoungsoldiermutteredangrily,speakingforthefirsttime,"Thesepeople!Keepyououthereinthisheat.Gostandintheshade."Hejerkedhisheadatthepatchofshadealittledistanceback.Butnoneofuswouldlookathim.Wejustsmiledslightly,pressingclosetothewirefenceasifafraidtobeleftout.Still,foramomentIfeltthewarmthofracewashovermeforthelasttime.

ThatfatefulbridgehasoftenbeencomparedtotheNaihoBridgebetweentherealmsofthelivingandthedead.Likemostclich,itistruewhenyouexperienceityourself.Itmakesmeimpatienttohearwesternersquibbleaboutthefreeworldnotbeingreallyfree.Toobadthatmanyofushavetogobackoverthebridgewhenwecan'tmakealivingoutside.

IhaveanauntwhohasstayedinShanghaibecauseshecouldnotleavehernewhouse.Herson,justoutofcollege,joinedhisfatherinHongKongbutdidnotlikeitthere.Hewentbackin1952,justwhenIwasabouttoleave.HismothertookhimtohavehisfortunetoldoneeveningandIwentalong.Hewouldfindajobsoon,thefortunetellersaid.Buttheremightbetrouble.Hemightgotoprison.Thepredictionsoundedreasonableatthetime,withamovementonagainstbusinessmenandmanysuicidesandarrests.Theyoungishfortunetellerlookedlikeashopassistantinhisgabardinegown.IhadnoconfidenceinhimandresolutelyavoidedhiseyealthoughIneededbadlytohavemyownfortunetold.

MycousingotasmalljobinPekingaspredicted.Lifewashard,hewrotehismother.Getmarried,hismotherwroteback.It'stheonlywaytohavesomehappiness.Buthewasaquietboy,slowtomakeuphismind.TenyearslaterwhenIsawhisfatherinHongKongthistime,Iheardthesonhadwantedtogetoutagain.Checkinghisapplicationforpermittoleave,theauthoritiesseizedonthefactthathehadoncejoinedaNationalistgroupincollege.Hewassentencedtothreeyears'housearrestinhismother'smodernisticmansion,whichtheytooktheopportunitytosearch,probingthesofasforAmericandollars.Hehasallcomforts,evenservantstostandinlineforthedailyrations.ButthreeyearswithMotherisevidentlyconsideredenoughpunishment.

Iheardaboutmymother'sfamilyfromonofmyuncle'smarrieddaughters,theonlyoneout.Theothertwostayedinbecausetheirhusbands,adoctorandthesonofahighNationalistofficial,chosetostay.Oneofthesistershaddied.

"Sodidmybrother'swife,"saidmycousininHongKong."Andbothmenremarriedbeforetheirwives'boneswerecold.Fatherdiedofcancerafterlosingeverythinginthelandreform.MotheriswretchedlivingwithBrother.Hedoesn'tearnenoughandhisnewwifeisashrew.WeHuangsarefinished."

Lookingback,Isawhowmyfamilyandrelativeshadallbeentaughtbyourancestorstohangontoland,theonlycleanandsolidthing,bycomparisontowhichallotherpossessionsareshowy,immoral,thereforeimpermanent.Nomatterwhatfoolsone'schildrenwere,aslongastheydidnotslaplanddeedsonagamblingtabletheyweresafe.Despiteancestraladmonitions,intimeofcoursealltheirdescendantstriedtheirhandsatotherinvestmentsforbetterandquickerprofits.Manysoonfoundtheywerenotcleverenoughandresignedthemselvestotheyearlyincomefromtheland?acutdownbywars,famines,inflations?aandgrewpoorerandpoorer.TheCommunistsmerelyhastenedtheend.

NooneIknowisinacommuneorknowsanybodywhoisinone,withtheexceptionofaCantoneseamahwhowentbacktosweepthegravesthisspring.Herfamilybelongstothevillagecommune.Itisstillthefarmers,alwaystheworstoff,whoaregettingtheworstofit.Havingheardofthefoodshortage,theamahbroughtinabitofcookingoilandsaltedfishofherownuse.

Whenshearrivedforatwentydayvisit,thecommuneallowedhertobuyalargequantityofriceandsmallquantitiesofcookingoilandporkasaspecialfavor.Theporkwasdividedamongherfamilyandneighborsbecausetheyhadnottastedmeatallyear.Sowenthersaltedfish.Herlasttendaysthereshelivedonsnailsthatalittlegirlgatheredforherfromapond.

Therewasnocommunitydininghall.Everybodyqueuedupwithcanstogetthericeandwhatwentwithit,servedthroughtwoholesduginthekennel-sizedtempleoftheearthgod.Whentheygothomethefoodwascold,ofcourse.

Everydayatfourinthemorningamanbeatagongtosummoneverybodytothefields.Breakfastatnine.Workatten.Lunchattwelve.Workagainatone.Supperatsix.Workagainatseven.Butnotinthefieldsthistime?ausuallyitwascarryingcoalormud.Quitattenatnight.Sometimes"leapforward"totwelvemidnight.NoSundaysorholidays,onlyafewdaysoffattheNewYear.Thisdespitetheslogan"Letthefarmersrest."WagesvariedfromadollarsomethingtofiftyorsixtycentsJenMingPiaoamonth.Medicineshadbeenfreebutnowyoubuyyourown.Herddoctorswereavailablebutherbsarescarce.

WeChinesehavealwaysbeenatourbestwithinarigidframe,eveninpoetrywriting.It'swhenwearemosthemmedinthatweseemabletoriseaboveourselves.Aftertwentycenturiesofrulebythefamilywehavebeenfreeforperhapstwentyyears,andithasnotbeenapleasanttimeformanyofus,fullofconflictsandself-doubts.Nowthestatehastakentheplaceofthebigfamily,comingintoeverymomentandaspectoflifewithitsfamiliarpersuasivepressure.Thesheephasreturnedtothefold.Evenhungercanfeelright?auptoapoint.

ThosewholivenearMacaoswimamileorescapebysampaninbandssometimesasbigasahundred,fightingthemachinegunsofpursuinmotorboatswithsharpenedbamboopoles.Buttheywillnotstayputandfight.ThetroublewithusChineseisthatwearetoosensible.SixtythousandcrashedthelandbordertoHongKonglastMay.Theborderguardswhohadshotatsmallernumbersevidentlyheldbackbecausethecrowdsweretoobig,thegovernmenthavingalwaysavoidedmassacresifpossible.Afterthisthecommunesweremodifiedbutnotabandoned.ThereisalreadytalknowoftheirbeingrevivedintheareaaroundCanton.

Advancetwosteps,retreatsastep?aMaoTse-tunghassaidthisishiswayofmakingprogress.Whetherdanceormarch,thepeopledragon,hopingtooutlivetheirtormentors.

  (1963)

  本文摘自网易

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