[中英对照]寻找中国的勇气-- 一位美国外教对中国的感想

来源:百度文库 编辑:亮点网 时间:2020/02/19 19:10:44
寻找中国的勇气- 一位美国外教对中国的感想
作者:DAVID 文章来源:基督教科学箴言报
Looking for courage in China
By DAVID O’ROURKE
ZENGCHENG, CHINA
THE 50-MILE road from Zengcheng to Guangzhou is lined with small stone or brick buildings that serve as both business and living quarters. Garbage is strewn about, and from my American viewpoint aboard a bus, the scenes reinforce the idea that the occupants live in abject poverty.
从增城到广州,50英里长的道路两旁满是石头或砖瓦结构的低矮建筑,商住彼此不分。我坐在车上,窗外垃圾满地。用美国人的眼光来打量这一场景,无疑又加深我认为这些居民还生活在赤贫之中看法。
Recently, as the bus came to a jolting halt to pick up a rider from such a building, I was bewildered by the contrast. A stunningly beautiful young woman in clean, bright clothes stepped aboard. We made eye contact. I smiled. She smiled back. Such is China – the unexpected waits around every turn.
然而不久之后,随着巴士陡然停止,一位拦车的乘客引起了我的注意。从路旁建筑中走出来的这位年轻女士,容貌惊艳夺目,衣着光鲜,拾级款款而上,这样的反差令我感到困惑不已。我们眼神相会,互致微笑。这就是中国——意外无处不在。
You cannot know what to expect, in part, because you will only hear the good from any Chinese national you ask. The ugly is ignored; the bad is tolerated.
你无法预料什么将会发生,一部分是因为你无论询问哪个中国人,听到的只会是美好的一面,丑陋被漠视,而丑恶被容忍。
I had never been outside North America until September 2006. That’s when I began a 10-month teaching contract in China. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for me to learn, explore, and experience this once-forbidden land. I teach oral English at a small college in Guangdong Province. My assignment is to engage firstyear students in conversation. It’s not easy.
在2006年9月之前,我从未离开过北美。而如今,我却要在中国开始履行一份为期10月的授课合同。这对我来说,真是个非同寻常的机会,可以让我了解、探索以及体验这片曾经的禁土。我在广东省的一所小院校教口语,具体工作是通过会话与大一学生进行交流。但这并非易事。
Forbidden topics禁谈的话题
At times, both hands are figuratively tied behind my back. Political discussion is forbidden, as well as topics related to religion, or any subject that could vaguely be seen as inconsistent with the customs and traditions of China.
我时常会觉得双手被束缚在背后。因为讨论政治是不允许的,同样还包括宗教,或一切可以含糊的视为与中国传统和习俗不一致的话题。
Customs I can learn, but which tradition? The new tradition of consumerism, which appears to be the driving force in daily life, or the ancient traditions of hospitality, respect for family, and polite reticence?
习俗我倒是可以去学习,但传统是指什么?是消费主义的新传统吗?这似乎是日常生活的推动力。还是指好客、家庭互敬以及儒雅含蓄的古老传统?
On my two-hour bus ride back from Guangzhou, cash and credit cards were stolen from my bag in the overhead compartment. I was careless to place my bag there, and foolish to take a nap. I wondered how the thief could manage to carry out his crime without other passengers seeing.
在从广州返回的2小时车程中,我放在行李架上的提包中的现金和信用卡就被盗了。把提包就放在行李架上,是我不小心;在车上打盹,也是我愚蠢。但我只想知道,小偷是如何避开众人耳目而行窃得手的。
My Chinese colleagues were sure there were witnesses, but no one would report anything. The culture of silence is still dominant. Another Chinese colleague was robbed by knifepoint at a nearby gas station a week later, but she refused to report the crime.
我的中国同事认为,当时肯定有目击者,但没人会站出来告诉我任何事情。中国的沉默文化还是占据统治地位。例如就在加油站附近,我另一位中国同事被持刀抢劫了,但她拒绝报警。
Tolerating corrupt local leaders, censored Internet access, lack of legal recourse, denial of religious practice, and free speech are some communist-rooted traditions that remain unchanged amid the capitalists’ revolution. Just how much can a polite and reticent people withstand? That is the test for modern China.
纵容腐败的地方领导、网络管制、缺乏法律追索、否定宗教实践以及言论自由,这仍然是共产主义根深蒂固的传统,而这些都没有在资本主义革命的狂潮中得到改变。现在的问题是,儒雅而沉默的中国人能对此容忍多少,这是对当代中国的一个考验。
Although policy won’t let me voice my disapproval of some parts of Chinese life, I am allowed to answer questions about my life in the United States. Students have asked my opinion of President Bush and the Iraq war. I answer (in English) honestly, and I receive praise for my honesty. It is not only my right to object to my government’s objectionable actions, I explain, but it is my duty. This point seems lost on them. Maybe it is their youth, but I fear it is the political culture that has raised a generation unwilling to object to anything.
尽管政策不允许我对部分中国生活发表不满,但还是允许我回答有关在美国生活的一些问题。我的学生曾问我对布什总统和伊拉克战争的看法。我如实的用英语作答,并且因我的诚恳而获得了赞扬。我解释道,这不仅是因为我的确反对政府这一令人反感的行动,也是因为这是我的职责。但他们对我第二个观点似乎反应冷淡。也许是他们还年轻,我担心这样的政治氛围会使他们都变得不愿反对任何事情。
Never before have I believed more firmly that the right to protest, to argue and disagree, and to vote is where America’s true power resides. Take that away and you have China, minus 1 billion “tolerant” people.
在此之前,我从没有向现在这样坚信,抗议、争论、争执以及投票权是美国真实力量的所在。如果没有了这些, 那美国也变成了中国,只是少了10亿“宽宏大量”的人民。
My students like the Americans they have met, but seem to have a low opinion of America in general. They believe it is a nation besieged by crime where there is no respect for marriage, family, or the lives of non-Americans.
我的学生对见过面的美国人很友善,但一般对美国却知之甚少。他们总认为美国是一个充斥着犯罪的国度,美国人视婚姻为儿戏,家庭观念淡漠,而且对非美国人很不友好。
Most of their knowledge, however, has been gleaned from movies. If only Hollywood understood how its movies have influenced the opinions of so many, and not in a good way. But Hollywood did not ask to be the sole source of information about America for an entire nation.
当然,他们的很多认识来源于电影。看来要使他们改变认识,只要好莱坞明白他们的电影是如何深刻的影响着中国人的观念,而且认识到这些电影并不是从一个很好的角度来展示美国即可。但好莱坞没有被要求成为反映整个美国的唯一信息来源。
Change is coming...变革在即
Maybe change is just over the horizon. Information is power. Can China’s government continue to censor all that is available online? Probably not, but the desire to learn the truth must come before the truth is learned. That desire must be born of frustration, discontent, and yes, intolerance.
也许改变已经悄然而至。信息就是力量,中国政府能够继续管制所有网络资源吗?也许不能吧,但是了解真相的渴望一定要先于真相的到来。而且这一渴望定能在沮丧、不满中开花。对,没错,不能沉默了。
In the few frank conversations I have had with a Chinese teacher, he admitted that China has many problems: overpopulation, crime, pollution, lack of freedom, poverty. I asked why it seems problems are ignored. “To preserve our sanity” was the reply.
我曾与一个中国教师简短而坦诚的交流,他也认为中国确实存在很多问题:如人口过多、犯罪、污染、缺乏自由以及贫穷等等。而当我问他为何这些问题似乎都被忽视时,他回答道“明哲保身”。
In my time here I question why I tolerate China – the crowded buses, packed streets, vendors who see every Westerner as their next target. Then I go to class and see my students. Not unlike their American counterparts, they want to have fun, fit in, find love, and someday secure a worthwhile job and a prosperous life for their families. My efforts may help them reach those goals, I tell myself.
我在中国的这段时间里,我一直在问自己为什么能够容忍中国——拥挤的公车、逼仄的街道以及把每一个西方人都当成目标的小商贩。而当我走向课堂面对学生,他们也都像美国学生,想得到的是娱乐、融入、寻找爱以及某天找到一份体面的工作和为家人谋取富裕生活。我的努力应该能帮他们达成这些目标,我暗暗告诉自己。
Most of my students are the only child in the family. Only children aren’t known for handling adversity especially well, and there will be much adversity for them to handle when they graduate.
我的学生中大多数是独生子女。而独生子女不懂得应对逆境,尤其是在顺境中面对困难。而当他们毕业时,将会有很多麻烦事需要自己去处理。
Because China’s leaders fear chaos, they will continue to control and silence their citizens, even as China experiences profound change. But courage can’t be constrained forever. And everyday Chinese citizens will need extraordinary courage to speak out against injustices. It is in the world’s interest to watch and assist when that starts to happen.
由于中国领导人害怕出现动乱,他们还将持续控制其国民的思想,并让他们保持沉默,尽管中国已经历了深刻的变革。然而勇气不可能永远都受压抑。而每一个中国人都需要非凡的勇气去控诉一切不平。一旦开始了,全世界将会关注和推动事情的发展,因为这符合全世界的利益。
Thirty years ago, few could foresee China’s move to a free-market economy. What unexpected change is around the next turn? Beauty walked out from a garbage heap; maybe progress will emerge from the silence.
30年前,很少有谁能预测中国能加入自由市场经济体。那么下一个难以预料的改变是什么呢?看着凤凰能从鸡窝里飞出,也许进步将会在沉默中爆发。
David O’Rourke is a writer who teaches oral English at a college in Guangdong Province, China.
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