當你睡著的時候

2013 年 8月4日 星島日報《信懷南專欄》﹐8 月7 日上網


        高中三年﹐上了六個學期的英文課﹐英文教科書是啥個模樣﹐怎麼教法﹐考些什麼﹐一點也不記得了﹐只記得有一個學期來了一位新老師﹐個子矮矮的﹐聽說曾經在美軍駐台顧問團當過翻譯官﹐教法比較活潑﹐教材是他找來的文章要大家讀。掌門人號稱開竅比較晚﹐高中英文的底子沒怎麼打好﹐但邪門的是翻譯官的教材中﹐有兩篇文章到今天還記得。其中一篇的標題是《當你睡著的時候 /While You Were Sleeping》。那篇文章不是我們今天要談的話題﹐我只是用這半個世紀前讀過的一篇文章的標題﹐來作個借喻 (metaphor) 指出世界上發生的事是「事件/event」﹐事件的背後是「議題/issue」。《信懷南看世界》不是看事件是看議題。

        首先得介紹《當你睡著的時候》這篇文章的內容﹕一個年輕人經過長途跋涉後在一顆大樹下睡著了。當他睡著的時候﹐路上絡繹不絕的行人中﹐有強盜想打劫他﹐有妙齡少女仰慕他﹐有膝下無子的老年富翁想收養他。。。假如年輕人正好在那時候醒過來的話﹐很多 What If 和 Could Have 的事也許都會發生。當然﹐文章的結局是年輕人睡醒後對他睡著時可能發生在他身上的事一無所知。於是欣然上道﹐繼續他的人生行旅。

        在過去的兩個月﹐我連續寫了八篇遊記。從我開始寫專欄起﹐我就決定以「人生行旅」和「信懷南看世界」作為我專欄的主軸﹐「遊記」當然和「行旅」與「看世界」分不開的。因此﹐在過去的兩個月中﹐我就像是那個睡著了的年輕人﹐世界上發生的很多事情似乎都和我沒有關係一樣。如果我沒有「睡著」﹐ 也就是說沒有專心寫我的遊記﹐也許會對這些事件發表一些「我的寶貴意見」。或者我會提出下面那些「值五分錢」的問題供大家思考。

        第一件事是習近平和歐巴馬在南加州的高峰會﹐會面的目的是想藉穿西裝不打領帶同吃「小灶」的機會﹐彼此摸底兼交心。在這種情形下﹐歐巴馬的「愛人」沒有從美國東岸飛到西岸來接待遠道而來的中國的第一夫人﹐這算不算失禮﹖根據「馬路社」的消息﹐美國總統夫人向來不見非盟國的將軍。而湊巧咱們的習夫人正好是彭少將軍(不是彭大將軍)。以此為后不見后的借口﹐可靠性有幾分﹖

        說到歐習會﹐原本美國有意以網路黑客﹐情報偷竊受害人的姿態﹐想義正詞嚴地教訓中國。沒想到半途殺出一個程咬金﹐高峰會剛結束就爆出一個「稜鏡」泄密事件。美國的一個叫斯諾登的年輕小伙子﹐帶了些下載的秘密資訊跑到香港去爆美國情報機構的料。現在問題來了﹕第一﹐「斯」人是英雄還是叛徒﹖第二﹐對中國來說﹐天上掉下來的禮物不敢收是明智之舉還是不懂得利用機會﹖最後﹐像中央情報局﹐國家安全局﹐Booz Allen Hamilton 這種重量級的機構﹐居然會僱用一個 30 歲﹐沒受過什麼正式教育的年輕人﹐讓他能夠下載國家機密資訊﹐美國的情報系統未免太「水皮」了吧﹖「斯」人手上掌握的料真像老美說的那麼具有破壞力嗎﹖普京喝 KGB 奶水長大的﹐「斯」人手上有料還是沒料會搞不清﹖

        差不多在同樣時間﹐美國最高法院以以一票之差﹐裁定加州同性結婚合法﹐加州立法機構通過法案餐館賣魚翅不合法。這下中國餐館老闆抓狂了﹐於是有此驚天一問﹕同性可以結婚卻不能吃魚翅﹐這是什麼道理﹖大哉斯問﹐把吃魚翅和同性結婚扯在一塊﹐真不是蓋的。

        韓國有架 777 客機﹐在舊金山機場風和日麗的好天氣下居然來個硬著陸。機尾撞上防波堤﹐結果三名中國乘客不幸罹難。其中還有一位 17 的女孩在拋出機艙外後被趕來救難的消防車壓死。出事的駕駛員是 777 型客機的菜鳥﹐操作該型客機降落舊金山是大姑娘上花轎﹕ 頭一遭。你現在知道我為什麼不喜歡坐飛機的緣故了吧。

        最後就是佛羅里達州陪審員的判決「街坊自助隊糾察」齊默曼槍殺黑人少年馬丁無罪。不出所料﹐此判決引發全美國各地的抗議集會。連歐巴馬也出面發表寶貴/不寶貴/%^$#^% (任選一)意見。這是一個新事件老議題﹐牽涉到美國的種族問題﹐陪審團制度問題﹐美國司法對有罪或無罪的定義問題。

        當我們睡著的時候﹐事件的發生﹐議題的答案我們都不必理會。但我們又不想「長睡不醒」。於是﹐信懷南也只好繼續看世界看下去。

懷南補記﹕

        我這篇文章中提了七個問題(議題)但沒有表示「我的寶貴意見」﹐因為每一個議題都可以寫一篇評論﹐每一個問題都會有正反兩面的答案。作為一個專欄作家﹐我當然對這七個問題有明確的個人答案。

        這七個問題是﹕



懷南補補記﹕

        再次敬告諸君﹐來信請寄 xinbuxin@aol.com. 為了管控原因﹐掌門人有七個電郵信箱﹐我早就說過﹐除非閣下有什麼個人看法想告訴掌門人﹐不管看法寶貴/不寶貴/&^%$^&﹐都代表有誠意﹐我一定會看﹐也多半會覆 -- 除非是一日一信或老是問些 million-dollar questions。最怕有人偷懶﹐動不動就轉寄些文章和評論給咱們﹐既無上款﹐也沒署名。掌門人哪有那麼多閑功夫看﹖這些玩意極大多數都是 junk﹐我通常是不打開就刪掉﹐少有值得掌門人花時間看的 (最近收到一個台北 101 快閃﹐和共和黨出歐巴馬團隊洋相的就很好)。今天容掌門人狂妄問一句 (吃了大力丸乎﹖)﹕閣下真認為當今有那麼多寫雜文的比掌門人的文章可讀性更高﹖寫評論的比掌門人的「寶貴意見」更寶貴﹖有當然有﹐但不會太多﹐既然閣下要我去看﹐那何不告訴我為什麼要我看﹖不然幹嘛多此一舉﹖推薦人總要講講為何推薦的理由吧﹖掌門人認為自己偷懶又去打擾別人的人非常無聊。

        以下是對本文的一些迴應。從今以後﹐我會用括號內的藍色短評來加以補充﹐並回應各位的來信。請記住﹕來信寄 xinbuxin@aol.com。



Dear Mr. Xin,

        It is nice to read your article '當你睡著的時候'. Your seven questions (except one) are all controversial and difficult to answer. It takes wisdom & time to think & sort them out. Even we get the answers, they may be just like the voting result, 51% to 49% (yes to no). It is good to watch the events and aware of the issues. But if we raise them & get into the debate in public, we should expect some hot temper flared as most of these issues are politically charged. You mentioned your unconventional English teacher in high school & this lesson ' While You Were Sleeping'. I happened to learn a similar lesson in my high school. The title of the English lesson is 'David Swan'. (WOW! Come to think about it, it could be the title of the lesson we learned. I am impressed. Mark) Nathaniel Hawthorne is the original author. You have a good memory and you pay attention to the details as this is a very good lesson with some valuable meaning to life.

        (the following is Mark's second letter. I just combined it with his first one here.)When I said that you have good memory, I really meant it. I asked five classmates of mine & not a single one remember this lesson 'David Swan'. They don't remember the story about this boy David Swan either. Meanwhile, you remember vividly the three incidents almost occurred while the boy was sleeping.

        Mark﹐Palo Alto 8/20/2013 (Mark, That's the sign of old age; I somehow be able to remember a lot of the stuffs in my formative years, yet, often forget what happened a few minutes ago, or wondering in a room and try to figure out the reason being there in the first place.Weired :-))


        您的大作勾起了共鳴神經,火不得不發. 單 純是士官長懲罰過度的不幸死亡事件,須要25万人合唱悲慘世界 ? 看過悲慘世界的電影,那些百姓日子沒吃沒喝,終日苦勞,确實 悲慘,与台灣人 擁有高資產,享受鼎泰丰小籠包,免費醫療,自由自在 的好日子,完全兩回事! 台灣人是不是被老共壓的神經衰弱 顧影自怜? 其實 老共來了日子會更好。 台灣不必再花錢買飛机坦克,兒子不用當兵(洪士兵事件也不會再發生),老美大腿不必再捧。 看看香港人不是活的好好的 ?

        馬英九也真是沒有脊椎骨的男子漢(pun intended),洪家早上抱怨調查不公平,他晚上就送來“他殺”的巨大差別判決。 完全不顧司法制度的嚴謹。

        如您有興趣 請分析一下,為什么台灣成為這樣的濫情和理盲的社會? 記得40年前在台灣時,大家仍是蠻有骨氣的。Michael 8/19/2013


        Bravo!! Back to your comment which is always what I said about TW and its people. Not sure if this is result from Min Nan's mentality or DNA??? Totally irrational. I am not a Ma fan, but I don't think anybody else as President will be able to change this, which I blame Li Tenghui who led the people on this irrational track thirty some years ago (in a way I see him similar as Mao, thinking just of keeping his power at any expense including forsaking the people and the country).

        Answer to your 7 questions:

        1. No big deal at all. Diplomatic relation is just doing business. When USA needs PRC, Michelle will be at Mrs. Xi's doorsteps upon command, believe it or not. To me, US is a country abiding to one principle - "interest (or gain)".

        2. No comment because I am not sure if he is what he claims to be or is there any other hidden agenda which none of us knows.

        3. Absolutely perfect move, based on #2.

        4. Nobody's business except the couple.

        5. Of course not. If cigarette smoking is not prohibited, why shark fin? How about we cultivate shark, hairy funghi instead? so nothing about danger of extinct species!

        6. Despite your saying about "不識大體", I think funeral is something personal and sacred for the dead and their families. It's the finale, and we don't need to give a damn to please anybody else or 大體 or no 大體. The dead is of the paramount importance. I wouldn't want anybody shedding crocodile's tears on my funeral just because they need to play good guys before the world.

        7. We can agree or disagree, but that's the result of the trial, and how the judicial system works. To prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt is very difficult. I don't believe there is any premeditation as they don't know each other. Just as you mentioned previously, if we meet a black in a dark night on the road suddenly, who wouldn't get shaken a bit at the first instant and get ready sub-consciously for self-protection? We are human, and it's tough to predict how human reacts. My question in fact is what the heck the victim is going that late in the night wandering around? There was a rape and murder in NY beginning of this year. A girl newly immigrated from Fujian was sexually abused by a central American drunk. Instead of fleeing away, she challenged and got dragged to an alley, raped and beaten to death. Sure she got her rights not to be abused and she didn't have to take such insult. But between life and death, is running away really being coward or a better way to protect herself? We had a similar case in Toronto last month, a teen raised a knife in a bus threatening other passengers. The passengers managed to get off the bus and he was left there alone when police arrived the scene. Everything was taped by bystanders, which showed one of the police fired 9 shots and killed the boy. The mother and family said he was a nice boy (seems all deceased are near angel btw!) and there was a protest in Toronto against police using excessive force. The police was indicted yesterday for second degree murder. Again, I want to ask the mother, why did her son wave a knife in the public in the first place? It seems everybody just focus on the last result and forget facts that lead to such results. LT


掌門人﹕

        后不見后是不是 Big deal? ( 是 )

        斯諾登是英雄還是叛徒﹖。 ( 不是英雄,但也不算叛徒。)

        老共把 Hot potato 丟給普京是高招還是低招﹖ ( 是妙招)

        同性戀可以正式結婚/不能正式結婚﹖ ( 不能)

        禁止吃魚翅有道理嗎﹖ ( 無理)

        韓國亞細亞航空公司總裁來祭奠三個中國女生的追悼會被拒於門外﹐你是這三個女生的家長﹐你會這樣做嗎﹖ ( 我會。)

        齊默曼被判無罪﹐有道理嗎﹖ ( 證據不足,當然無罪!辛普森案也是如此。) 嘿!這是我的答案,寶貝意見???等你了! Susan


Dear Master Xin,

        My answers to the home work questions.

        Are you kidding? First Lady is always a show with no substance politically, maybe with the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton. Certainly not Mitchell Obama. The second question is flawed with build-in either/or answers. The answer is probably somewhere in between.

        The Chinese finally master the lesson of “raised nail gets hammered”. Just enjoy it on the sideline and let the US fret (and don't forget to wipe the smirk off your face).

        Yes. Not until someone has explained it to me why we are sexually attracted to either the same sex or the opposite sex, if you can not come up with an answer besides “it happens naturally” or “you're born with it”, than let it be.

        The problem is the way how shark fin is harvested. Why not “farm-raised” sharks like chickens if you want shark fin that bad?

        This is the toughest question by far. Unless we'd lost a child tragically, there is not enough empathy in me to answer this one. Did the airline take appropriate actions toward the victim families prior to this event, or they have taken actions perceived as insensitive by the families? We don't know.

        O. J. Simpson. (Getting away with murder) However, “beyond the reasonable doubt” is a very high bar to pass. That's the way it is.

Charles