• 2005-05-22

    * People, People Everywhere!

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    http://www.blogbus.com/newswolf-logs/1265473.html

    老婆来美几个月后回国休假,说最大的感受就是人多。“密密麻麻,到处都是人,拿机枪扫都扫不完……”

    也难怪,美国地广人稀,即使城里,也鲜有人多拥挤场面,除了音乐会,球赛,或者是总统来发表竞选演讲。在这待的时间长了,怕是一看到国内那熙熙攘攘的阵仗都要吓一跳。对于老美来说,这种冲击当然更甚。

    让我惊奇的是,在六十年前中国还只有“四万万同胞”的时候,美国人就已经在感叹中国的人山人海了。

    "The chief impression China gives a visiting stranger is that of millions of people everywhere - not scores of them on the street at any time, but thousands, pressing against you from doorsteps, swarming from boats, climbing in and out of rickshas, good-naturedly bumping into you with their basckets hung at each end of a long pole."

    作者名叫Vaughan White,书的出版时间是1946年。书中描述的这种拥挤场面,除了现在几乎没有了黄包车(ricksha)和少见肩挑两个大箩筐的农民外(老家卖菜的个体农户似乎仍然延续这种运输方式),其实没有什么不同。“人,到处都是人”。

    以前从来没有听说过White这个人,除了斯诺,除了黑珍珠。但很显然,White也是一个对中国友好人士,仅从书名《Our Neighbors: The Chinese》就可以窥出一二。前言里面也提到他(她?)对中国的态度:“I went to China, where I ... developed an attitude of mind toward the Chinese which instead of being curious became appreciative.”

    我被这本书吸引的原因不是因为作者为中国说好话,而是因为他的描写太精彩了。上面关于人多的描写就是第一章的开头。紧接着是蒙太奇一般的画面切换,把那半个多世纪以前的中国街景描述的活灵活现:

    “People squatting on the ground, or in the street, yelling at each other, dogtrotting down alleys, crowding in the market places, jamming the Bund, sweating like horces as they pull heavy wood carts along the roads. People spitting and grinning, scolding and laughing, pushing into squares to hear a student-patriot, washing clothes on the river banks, busy in the small paddy fields; people lying on bits of matting by the roadside, sprawled in the shade of bridges; people people everywhere.”

    “人们或蹲在地上,或蹲在街上,或彼此高声叫喊,或沿着胡同一路小跑,或在闹市熙熙攘攘,或在码头挤作一团,或者,有的人拖着沉重的平车,象马一样汗流浃背……”

    还有吐口水的,傻笑的,吵架的,凉席上或桥洞里乘凉的,在河边洗衣服的,还有田里劳作的,真的是世象百态。

    就冲着这优美的镜头摇摄般的文字,我不假思索就把这本书从图书馆借出来了,值得一读。况,解放前的中国,从没有国共党派纠葛的作者眼里看来究竟是什么样,肯定是我们从所谓正史当中看不到的。就从这本书里面换个角度看看吧。

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