北京在别处
卫毅
高林译

After Leaving
By Wei Yi
Translated from the Chinese by Callum Smith

天桥
The Overpass

小时候,北京在我家两百米外。我家在广西的一个小镇上。出门,穿过一座木质天桥,走到巷子口,街对面就是县政府机关家属院。从我家到这个院子,两百米。表弟的姥爷住在这个院子里。我有时会和表弟到他姥爷家玩,我也跟着他叫姥爷。姥爷是北京人,不会说本地话,一口京片子。在电视里,京片子令人羡慕,那代表着神秘的遥远的皇城根下的生活。可是,在南方小镇上,这是外来者的标签。表弟的姥姥是辽宁锦州人,可她完全没有我从电视上看到的东北人形象。她说话没有东北味儿,跟姥爷一样,也是一口京片子。姥姥说,到菜市场买菜,头一位顾客刚买了香菇离开,她紧接着上去,买同样的香菇,要比别人贵两毛钱。姥姥脾气极其温和,不跟人争论,只是回来平心静气地当故事给大家讲。
When I was young, Beijing was two hundred metres from my home — a small township in Guangxi province. After leaving the house, walking over the wooden overpass and into the alleyway, across the street is the family courtyard of the county administration offices. There’s about two hundred metres between my home and this courtyard, and my younger cousin’s grandfather lives there. Sometimes, I’d go there with my cousin — his grandfather was like a grandpa to me, too. Grandpa came from Beijing, and spoke with a perfect Beijing accent, not the local dialect. On television, the Beijing dialect was a cause for envy, representative of the mysterious life in the faraway Imperial City. But in the small southern township, it was the label of an outsider. My cousin’s grandmother came from Jinzhou city in Liaoning province, but she was nothing like the north-easterners you see on the television. She spoke without even the slightest touch of the north-eastern accent — just like grandpa, she spoke in the Beijing dialect. Grandma once told me, when she went to buy vegetables at the market, even if she rushed to the counter after the previous customer had paid for their shiitake mushrooms, she’d always have to pay an extra 20 cents for the same product. Grandma had the most mild temperament, she never got into arguments, just calmly recalling them as stories for us to listen to.
姥爷家有许多兵器,各种刀枪剑棍。我和表弟,还有其他一些小孩,有时候在他家用兵器挥来舞去。只知道姥爷曾经是练武之人,但一直都没细问,仿佛这各种上好的兵器天生便立在屋子里。
Grandpa has an array of weapons at home, all sorts of knives, guns, swords and batons. Sometimes, my cousin, me, and some other children would wave and dance around with his weapons at home. We just knew that grandpa had practiced military skills, but we’d never asked any more than that, as if all sorts of quality weapons somehow naturally belonged in that house from the beginning.
表弟是满族,作为一个南方小孩,这让人很奇怪。表弟是随了自己母亲的族。因为姥爷是满族。姥爷出生在1921年,满清亡朝正好十年。他是八旗之后。在此之前,姥爷家里人还有在皇宫里做侍卫。待到他出生,其父已是北平城里的失业工人。他的母亲早逝,父亲没办法,在姥爷七岁时,把他送进了救济院。
My cousin is a Manchu — uncommon for a southerner. He had been classified according to his maternal ancestry, because his grandpa was a Manchu. Grandpa was born in 1921, precisely a decade after the collapse of the Qing dynasty, after the “Eight Banners”. Prior to this, grandpa was a guard for the palace. When he was born, his father was already an unemployed worker in Beiping city. His mother passed away at a young age, leaving his father with little choice but to take him to a shelter at the age of seven.
姥爷七岁开始习武,在救济院的犯人感化所。他在此受管教一年。一个七岁小孩,犯了什么法呢?缘由是他被送入救济院后,有钱人家来此,想挑他去做奴仆,他不从,想逃跑,被抓回来打了一顿,然后戴上手铐,送进了感化所。Grandpa began practicing military arts (wushu) at age seven, at the criminal rehabilitation centre, where he studied for one year. What crime had the seven-year-old committed? After he was taken to the shelter, a wealthy individual wanted to take him to work as a servant, but he refused and attempted to flee. When he was caught, they beat him, cuffed him, and sent him to the rehabilitation centre.
进了感化所的姥爷,每天和其他成年犯人一起出门劳动。晚上回来后,他隔着窗户,看感化所的一班人再院子里练武,刀、枪、剑、棍,对拳,对械。他为此着迷。一位叫郎济丰的卫士注意到他,觉着这么小的小孩,怎么被戴上手铐关了起来?姥爷向他说了原因。郎卫士大为吃惊,让感化所的人给姥爷去掉了手铐。
After entering the rehabilitation centre, grandpa would go out and do physical labour with the other criminals everyday. After returning at night, he opened the window, and through it, he saw a group of people in the courtyard practicing with knives, guns, swords, and batons, exchanging blows in combat. He became fascinated. He caught the attention of a guard called Lang Jifeng, who was perplexed as to how a child his age could be handcuffed. Grandpa told him what had happened, to the guard’s amazement, who then requested that an employee remove the handcuffs.
郎济丰是来此地教人习武的,看姥爷喜欢武术,便让他跟着一起练。姥爷后来才知道,郎济丰是霍元甲的徒弟。在这院子里,姥爷学会了黄莺架子象形拳、查拳、埋伏拳、八八式太极拳、六合剑、梅花双刀、秦琼双锏、齐眉棍、大关刀等等。姥爷回忆起那时的自己,白天劳动,晚上习武,“武术使我忘掉悲伤,在黑暗中望到光亮。”
Lang Jifeng was there to teach martial arts. He noticed that grandpa had an interest, and let him join the practice sessions. Only later did grandpa learn that Lang Jifeng was a disciple of Huo Yuanjia. In the courtyard, grandpa learned the oriole huangying posture, cha fist, ambush maifu fist, baba tai-chi, six-directional liuhe sword technique, meihua double-sword technique, qinqiong double-mace technique, large halberd technique, among other martial skills. Grandpa recalls those days, doing hard labour in the daytime, and practicing martial arts at night: “wushu let me forget my sorrows, I had caught a glimpse of light in the darkness”.
1935年,姥爷趁着星期天外出,逃离待了8年的救济院。他此时不过14岁。在哥哥资助下,他读了两年小学。卢沟桥事变后,他跟哥哥逃到天津。他拉过人力车,卖过菜,做过工人。1946年,他在锦州铁路局某得一份工作。3年之后,辽沈战役开始,他加入解放军,成为第四野战军的一员。接着,他随部队一路南下,来到广西。
In 1935, grandpa got out one Sunday, escaping that rehabilitation centre he’d been in for then eight years. He was only fourteen at the time. With the financial support of his elder brother, he went to primary school for two years. Following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937, he fled to Tianjin with his brother. During that time, he’d done just about every odd-job: he pulled carts, sold vegetables, and had been a labourer. In 1946, he found himself a job at the Jinzhou Ministry of Railways. Three years later, at the beginning of the Liaoxi-Shenyang Campaign, he joined the People’s Liberation Army, becoming a member of the Fourth Field Army. From then on, he followed the army south, eventually ending up in Guangxi.
50年代初,姥爷在南宁的建筑公司工作。1956年,南宁市举行武术比赛。他报了名,想试试自己还有多少底子,结果,拿了冠军。第二年,参加全广西的武术比赛,又是冠军。他的武术技能开始引起关注。很快,在1959年,他成为广西武术击剑队队总教练兼摔跤队总教练,教出了许多全国冠军。他想向社会推广武术,提出把南宁变成武术城市。“文革”来了,他被批判为“篡党夺权的野心家阴谋家”。1972年,他被下放到广西平乐县——这是我的老家。他成为了县外贸公司动物仓库的保管员。几个小孩跟着他一起从南宁来到平乐,包括他的小女儿。小女儿和我舅舅是同学。长大之后,小女儿嫁给了我舅舅,成为了我的舅娘。
In the early 1950s, grandpa worked at a construction company in Nanning. In 1956, Nanning city held a wushu martial arts competition. He put his name down, to see how much of what he’d learnt he had left — and left with the champion title. The next year, he participated in the Guangxi wushu competition, and earned himself another champion title. His wushu skill began to earn him attention. Soon after, in 1959, he became the head coach of the Guangxi wushu fencing and wrestling teams, and trained numerous national champions. He hoped to promote martial arts in society, putting forward a proposal to designate Nanning a wushu city. Then, the onslaught of the Cultural Revolution saw him criticised as a “subversive aspirant and conspirator”. In 1972, he was transferred to Pingle county — my hometown — in Guangxi province. There, he became the manager of the county’s foreign trade animal storehouse. A few children came with him from Nanning to Pingle, one of whom was his young daughter. His daughter was my uncle’s classmate, and when they later married, she became my aunt.
“文革”结束后,姥爷得到了平反。1982年,他再次回到北京,是参加全国武术大会。我在他家看到过一张特别长的照片。他站在边上,坐在最中间的是当时的国家领导人。他一直留在我们家乡那个南方小镇上,直到现在。他当年的徒弟挺有出息,拿全国冠军的挺多,有的当了国家武术队教练,有的当了香港武术联合会会长。上世纪90年代中期,国家体委、中国武术院、中国武协联合评选“中华武林百杰”,他是广西唯一的候选人和当选人。
When the Cultural Revolution came to a halt, the accusations against grandpa were redressed. In 1982, he returned to Beijing once again, to participate in the National Wushu Convention. He had a long photograph from the conference in his house. Grandpa was standing to the side, and right at the middle of the photograph was one of the then national leaders. To this day, he’s stayed in our little southern hometown. His students were all high achievers — many of them won national championships, others became instructors for the national wushu team, some became the presidents of the Hong Kong Wushu Federation. In the mid-1990s, the National Sports and Physical Culture Commission, the China Wushu Academy, and the China Wushu Society jointly selected and honoured a “Hundred Chinese Wushu Masters”. He was Guangxi’s only candidate — he was also its only successful candidate.
可能是离自己家太近,我犯了“灯下黑”的毛病。我一直没有切身感到姥爷有多厉害。直到在北京的电影院里看了《一代宗师》,我忽然意识到,姥爷也是一代宗师啊。他所做的事情,是另一种形式的“北拳南传”。春节回家,我去姥爷家给他拜年。他九十多岁了,已经忘记过去的很多事情。他像个小孩一样,偶尔说起北京的一点点片段。
Perhaps it was too close to home — grandpa’s success fell into my blind spot. It was only when I saw the movie The Grandmasters did I realise that, grandpa was one himself. Everything he did was another form of “bringing northern boxing tradition to the south” (beiquan nan chuan). At Chinese New Year, I went to pay grandpa a New Year call. He’s now ninety-something, and has already forgotten many of his tales of the past. Almost like a child, he occasionally recalls fragments of his life Beijing.
姥爷在忘记很多事情之前,留下过一些自述文字。表弟的舅舅从杂物室里翻出来一本陈旧的小册子,我仔细地看。姥爷在小册子里描述了以前的北平,言辞有隐忍的哀伤,在说到天桥这个地方时,最为兴奋——
Before grandpa lost his memory of that period, he kept an account in writing — an old booklet that my cousin’s uncle found in the storage room. I immersed myself in grandpa’s descriptions of the Beiping of the past, his words evidence of his silent grievance. It was when he got to the overpass, that I became most enthralled…
1932年,11岁时,我已在孤儿院5年,到了该做童工的年龄,被送进第一救济院的习艺工厂,规定3年内不准出大门一步。3年之后,我已14岁,每星期才可以出去一次,每月才有一角工钱,值46枚铜板。这4年里,我坚持练武不辍,每星期天外出时,就到天桥摔跤场看武术师傅表演摔跤,从沈三、鲍三两位师傅见习中国式摔跤二十四法,我几乎把所有的铜板都交了学费,总算学到了这门功夫。
In 1932, I was eleven years old. I’d then been at the orphanage for five years, and it was time to do child labour. I was sent to the the Handicraft Studies Factory at the Number One Rehabilitation Centre, where I would be confined for three years. Three years later, when I was fourteen years old, I could leave the factory once a week. I’d get one jiao per month in wages, which was worth 46 copper coins. For those four years, I relentlessly trained in wushu, and on that one day I could leave the factory each week, I’d go to the wrestling arena at the overpass to watch the wushu masters perform. Between the two instructors Shen San and Bao San, I learned the twenty-four forms of Chinese wrestling. After spending practically all of my copper on tuition, at least I’d learned this one skill.
北京的夜里,我在灯下看着则些片段,明暗交替中,一个过去的北京仿佛损坏的电影胶片一样,浮了上来。
Reading these passages under the light and shade of a lamp in the midst of a Beijing night, it was like a Beijing of the past had surfaced before me from a damaged film roll.

华侨大厦
The Huaqiao Building

华侨大厦是北京王府井附近的一栋楼。去王府井的时候,我很多次从那里经过,但几乎没有印象。华侨大厦让我印象深刻起来,是在台北城隍庙对面的明星咖啡馆里。我坐在这里,听台湾作家陈若曦讲起她在北京华侨大厦生活的日子。
The Huaqiao Building is near Wangfujing in Beijing. Whenever I go to Wangfujing, I pass by that building, but I have little impression of it. What really triggered my impression of that building, though, was the iconic Cafe Astoria in Taipei, opposite the town god’s temple. Sitting there, I listened as the Taiwanese author Chen Ruoxi spoke of her time in the Huaqiao Building.
上世纪60年代,陈若曦从台湾去美国霍普金斯大学留学,她在那里认识了台湾校友段世尧,两人结为夫妻。那时候,他们讨厌台湾的白色恐怖,向往海峡对岸的大陆。但大多人只是想想,他们不只动了心,还动了身。他们从美国去往欧洲,在巴黎坐上了开往上海的航班。
In the 1960s, Chen Ruoxi left Taiwan to study at John Hopkins University in the United States. There, she met her Taiwanese classmate Duan Shiyao, who she’d later marry. They’d left Taiwan, fed up with the White Terror of the time, and made way for the Mainland on the opposite bank of the strait. Most people just thought about it, but they didn’t hesitate — they spoke with their feet. They went from the United States to Europe, and in Paris, they boarded their flight to Shanghai.
陈若曦和段世尧实现了愿望。他们在上海待了两天,便来到北京,住进了华侨大厦5楼15号房。
Chen Ruoxi and Duan Shiyao realised their desire. They stayed in Shanghai for two days before making their way to Beijing, where they settled in Unit 15/5, Huaqiao Building.
刚住进华侨大厦那段时间,陈若曦和段世尧天天出去逛街。他们很快就发现,王府井这一段街道,便是北京的精华所在,老格局里是老字号。此时是1966年10月,满大街是大字报。
Not long after moving into the Huaqiao Building, Chen and Duan wandered the streets practically every day. They quickly discovered that the Wangfujing strip was quintessentially Beijing, a traditional street lined with old name businesses.
北京的茶馆是陈若曦喜欢的,她会叫上一杯竹叶青,还有一角钱一碟的小吃,跟来往的客人聊天。客人会问,你们从哪儿来啊?起初她会说,台湾。这可能是最让客人感到惊讶的地方。客人会愣住,台湾?那怎么会来这里呢?她的回答是——热爱社会主义祖国。此刻的祖国,与台湾有关系的人都极力撇清,何况你竟然是台湾人。陈若曦看出了这其中的麻烦,之后遇到别人发问,她便只说是厦门人,来北京出差。
Chen Ruoxi was something of a teahouse connoisseur, and Beijing’s teahouses impressed her. She’d order a glass of bamboo-leaf-green zhuyeqing liquor and a snack plate, striking conversations with passers-by. The clientele would ask, where’re you from? At first, she’d simply answer Taiwan — that’s probably what surprised them most. She left most people dumbfounded. Taiwan? So what are you doing here? Her answer was her ardent adoration for the socialist motherland. At that time, anyone with any sort of relationship with Taiwan would spare no effort to whitewash themselves — let alone being altogether Taiwanese. Chen Ruoxi realised the trouble she was getting herself into, so she changed her story — she was from Xiamen, just in Beijing on business.
陈若曦和段世尧在华侨大厦等待分配工作。接待他们的干部告知,国家负责他们的吃住,每人每天还有一块钱人民币的生活费。他们认为国家困难,有吃有住已经很好,没有接受生活费。他们领到了一日三餐的餐票,票面显示是:甲等。在餐厅吃了一顿后,他们问服务员,在这里吃饭,最低标准是几等?服务员回道,丙等。他们便要求工作人员将他们的餐票换为丙等。他们觉得自己来这不是为了享受,就按最低标准来。丙等是三菜一汤。蔬菜和甲等大致相同。差别在荤菜。甲等的荤菜有鸡鱼猪牛羊肉,丙等只有肥肉或猪心。多年之后,离开了大陆,陈若曦再也不吃猪心,“实在是吃怕了”。
Chen Ruoxi and Duan Shiyao awaited their work allocation at the Huaqiao Building. Their receiving cadre notified them that their accomodation and meals would be paid for by the government, and in addition, they’d be allowed one yuan renminbi per diem for incidentals. They took pity on the state of the nation — cost-covered accomodation and meals was generous enough for them — so they chose to forego the per diem wage. They received food coupons for their three daily meals, denoted with the classification: ‘A Grade’. They asked the service attendant what the lowest grade at the canteen was — it was ‘C Grade’. Chen and Duan then demanded that their coupons be demoted to ‘C Grade’. Their reasoning was that, they weren’t there for leisure, so they’d comply with the lowest standard. ‘C Grade’ was three dishes and a soup. The vegetable dishes were pretty much the same as ‘A Grade’, but the meat was where the disparity became obvious. ‘A Grade’ included poultry, fish, pork, beef and mutton — ‘C Grade’ was lard-ridden meat and swine hearts. Many years later after having left the Mainland, Chen Ruoxi vowed to never eat swine heart again — the thought of them made her sick.
那时候,厨房里也逃不过阶级斗争。陈若曦喜欢聊天,大厦里有一位大厨,会跟他聊几句。某天,他在后院扫地,陈过去向他打招呼。他没抬头,继续扫地。陈看看墙上,贴着批判大厨的大字报——打倒苏联特务,撤销一切职务。大厨手艺好,曾在北京通往莫斯科的国际列车上当过几年厨师。“苏联特务”就是这么来的。大半年后,陈若曦看到大厨回来掌厨了,因为“查无实据”,大厦餐厅的饭菜也需要好手。
Back then, not even the kitchen was exempt from class struggle. Chen Ruoxi liked to gossip, and there was a chef who worked in the building, who’d occasionally make conversation with her. One day, when he was sweeping the gardens, Chen went to greet him. He continued to sweep, without raising his head. Chen looked over to the wall, plastered with a big-character poster criticising the chef: ‘overthrow Soviet spies, repeal all work credentials’. He was a fine chef, having once worked on the Beijing-Moscow international direct train service — that’s where the ‘Soviet spy’ thing came from. Half a year later, Chen Ruoxi saw the chef back preparing dishes in the kitchen — the investigation had revealed no evidence of espionage, and the restaurant couldn’t do without a proper chef.
在华侨大厦住下不久,陈若曦便向人打听“台湾民主自治同盟”所在地,想去拜访“二二八事件”后离开台湾的谢雪红。
Before long, Chen Ruoxi learned of the location of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League. She decided to visit Xie Xuehong, who’d left Taiwan after the 28 February Uprising.
我想起2015年,在台北参观了“二二八”纪念馆后,纪念馆的一位助理研究员带我们去大稻埕吃午饭。汽车经过一条老街时,他指着窗外说,“你看,谢雪红当年就在那里开了一家书店。”
I recall that, after visiting the Taiwan Uprising of 28 February memorial in Taipei in 2015, one of the memorial’s research assistants took us to Dadaocheng for lunch. As the car passed through an old street, he pointed out the window and said: ‘look, that’s where Xie Xuehong opened a bookstore back then.’
台湾年轻人知道谢雪红的已经不多了,大陆的年轻人知道的更是寥寥。当年《悲情城市》上映时,许多人看不太懂在讲什么,这是不了解“二二八”的历史。梁朝伟扮演的文清到山上看望闹革命的朋友宽荣。宽荣非常像是谢雪红队伍(不是的话也类似)中的一员,他们信仰共产主义,期望能够推翻台湾的国民政府。宽荣让文清告诉妹妹宽美:当我已死,我人已属于祖国美丽的将来。
Most young Taiwanese don’t know much about Xie Xuehong anymore — let alone most Mainlanders. When A City of Sadness screened in cinemas, many viewers didn’t really understand what was being narrated — because they didn’t understand that period of history. Wen Qing, played by Tony Chiu Wai Leung, ventures into the mountains to visit his revolutionary friend Kuan Rong. Kuan Rong bears a striking similarity to a member of Xie Xuehong’s troops. They believed in communism, and hoped to overturn Taiwan’s Nationalist government. Kuan Rong confided in Wen Qing to send a message to his sister Kuan Mei: when I die, my body will belong to the glorious future of the motherland.
谢雪红的队伍最终不敌国民政府军队,许多人被捕或被枪毙。她逃出台湾,在香港成立台湾民主自治同盟,再后来,到了北京。
In the end, Xie Xuehong’s troops were no match for the Nationalist army — many of them were captured, or executed. She fled Taiwan, established the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, and later arrived in Beijing.
北京的一个晴朗黄昏,我从王府井经过华侨大厦来到故宫角楼,那里挤满了摄影的人们。每到天气好的时候,都是如此。从故宫角楼沿着景山公园的围墙往北走,就会看到台湾民主自治同盟所在地。
At one fine Beijing dusk, I walked from Wangfujing, past the Huaqiao Building, and to the Imperial Palace — bustling with masses of photographers. It’s like this whenever the weather’s fine. If you walk out of the Imperial Palace, and then head north alongside the enclosing wall of Jingshan Park, you’ll see the site of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League.
陈若曦和段世尧在四十多年前,大概也是沿着这样的路线,走到了台湾民主自治同盟的院子。他们看到满院子贴着批判谢雪红的大字报,还看到一个低着头正在扫地的女人。他们感到了紧张,不敢多问,赶紧离开。“我觉得那个扫地的女人就是谢雪红。”陈若曦对我说。
Forty years ago, Chen Ruoxi and Duan Shiyao walked on pretty much the same path to the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League’s base in Beijing. The entire courtyard was plastered with large-character posters critical of Xie Xuehong — and a woman sweeping the courtyards, who never looked up. They became anxious — and scared of asking too much — so they left in a haste. “I’m sure that woman in the garden must’ve been Xie Xuehong,” Chen Ruoxi told me.
陈若曦夫妇等到了分配的工作,他们从北京去了南京。到南京后不久,段世尧被派到苏北农场劳动。怀上孩子的陈若曦留在南京。按照农场规定,员工每半个月休假两天,有车送回南京。这一年夏天,段世尧两个月没回南京。
When the couple were allocated with jobs, they moved from Beijing to Nanjing. Shortly after reaching Nanjing, Duan was posted to labour on a northern-Jiangsu farm. Then pregnant, Chen Ruoxi stayed in Nanjing. Regulations stipulated that workers would be given two days off per fortnight, with a train fare back to Nanjing provided. That summer, Duan Shiyao didn’t return for two months.
两个月后,瘦得像皮包骨的段世尧回家了,告诉了陈若曦这些日子的经历。段世尧和一位年轻同事在农场睡上下铺,一起劳动。一天傍晚,在地里劳动完之后,两人往宿舍走,后边跟着另一位同事。苏北平原上,红色的太阳正慢慢落下去。段世尧看着落日,说,这让我想起美国的一种煎蛋。他觉得自己说错话了,连忙打住。他想说的是sunny side。那位同事接过他的话说,喔,我们叫荷包蛋,我一口一个。
Two months later, almost reduced to skin-and-bones, Duan returned home, and recalled his experience to Chen. Duan slept on a bunk-bed with a young colleague at the farm. One evening, having finished their labour for the day, the two walked toward their dormitory quarters, tailed by another colleague. The sun was slowly setting on the plains of northern Jiangsu. As he gazed over the sunset, Duan said that the image reminded him of a sort of American egg. He suddenly realised he might’ve uttered something unacceptable, and hastily shut his mouth. His colleague took the cue: “oh, we call that a fried egg — I eat them one a bite”.
过了几天,睡上铺的段世尧下不去了。因为年轻同事住的下铺贴满了大字报。他读了几张,发现下铺年轻同事被指控的一项罪名是把太阳比做荷包蛋,还一口一个。那时候,太阳就是毛泽东,一口吞太阳,那还了得,显然是反革命。
A few days later, Duan Shiyao couldn’t get down from his top bunk — his young colleague’s bed had been covered in large-character posters. He read a couple, and discovered his colleague’s alleged crime was comparing the sun to a fried egg — even eating it in one bite. Back then, Mao Zedong was the sun — swallowing the sun in one go, that was obviously a counter-revolutionary offence.
很快,工宣队叫段世尧别去劳动了,在屋里好好写检查。写检查的原因是:为什么把太阳比作煎蛋?而且比作美帝国主义的煎蛋?写了两个月检查,一直达不到要求,他被要求“在灵魂深处闹革命”。只好从祖宗十八代开始,一直批到自己。
Soon, the Worker’s Propaganda Team called a halt to Duan’s labour, demanded that he remain in his dorm, and earnestly compose his self-criticism. The topic of his self-criticism was: why compare the sun to a fried egg — and an American Imperial egg at that? He wrote two months of self-criticisms — all failing to meet standards — so he was sent to ‘carry out the revolution in his innermost soul’. After two months of failed writing, he didn’t know where to begin, so he started all the way back with his ancestors, and criticised himself for just about anything he could think of.
几年之后,陈若曦夫妇觉得没法在南京待下去了,他们申请离开。1973年,他们受邀在北京参加“十·一”国宴。他们已经无意留恋此间的饮食。
Some years later, when the couple couldn’t stand it any longer, they applied to leave their post at Nanjing. In 1973, they were invited to a National Day state banquet in Beijing. They’d long lost any intention of feeling nostalgic about the food there.
这次来北京,陈若曦打听了谢雪红的下落,得知她已经在1970年去世。
On this trip to Beijing, Chen Ruoxi learned of Xie Xuehong’s downfall, and her passing in 1970.
经过批准,陈若曦夫妇离开了北京,离开了大陆。陈若曦从深圳罗湖桥离开时,回头看了看,不知道什么时候才又再回来。
With approval, the couple left Beijing, and then the Mainland. Passing over the Luohu bridge and out of Mainland China’s borders, Chen glimpsed back, unsure of when she might return.

地坛
The Temple of Earth

我喜欢史铁生的《我与地坛》,上中学的时候,看过好多遍,许多段落十分熟悉,甚至能背出来。未曾料到的是,到北京工作之后,我竟然在地坛附近住过一年。偶尔起来晨跑,也是到地坛公园里。跑步的时候,我会想起史铁生讲过的一个长跑爱好者的故事。
I became infatuated with Shi Yisheng’s Me and the Temple of Earth in my primary school years. I read it numerous times over, familiarised myself with much of the text, to the extent that I could recite paragraphs from it. What I didn’t expect, though, was to live near the Temple of Earth for a year when I came to work in Beijing. Sometimes, I’d pass through the temple’s park on my morning run, and I’d think of Shi Yisheng’s story of a marathon enthusiast.
2011年初,我去美国采访,走了一些地方。在康涅狄格州,住进了耶鲁大学苏炜老师家。他家客厅里的桌子上,摆着一个瓷瓶。苏炜拿起瓶子,给我看瓶底印着的“中日青年友好联欢纪念”的篆书字样。
In early 2011, I went to the United States for an interview, and visited a couple of places. In Connecticut, I stayed at the Yale University lecturer Su Wei’s home. On the table in his living room, he had a china vase. Su Wei turned it upside down, and showed me the seal print on the base: ‘In Commemoration of Sino-Japanese Youth Friendship’.
80年代,国家曾指定浙江龙泉窑烧制一批豆青开片双耳瓶,作为国礼赠予日本友人。苏炜一位朋友的父亲,负责这批国礼的事情。一些略微有瑕疵的豆青开片双耳瓶被留下。朋友送了一对给苏炜。苏炜将其中一个送给史铁生,自己留下一个。
In the 1980s, the government ordered the production of a batch of douqing kaipian shuanger ping (a dual-handled variety of pea green china vase with natural incisions), as gifts for the Japanese visitors. Su Wei had a friend whose father was in charge of the batch of gifts, so he kept the defects. Su Wei’s friend gave a pair to him, so Su Wei gave one to Shi Yisheng, and kept the other for himself.
2011年刚开始的时候,苏炜得知史铁生在北京去世的消息,从家中找到那个豆青开片双耳瓶,买来一束菊花,打印了一张史铁生的照片,放在花丛中。
Right at the beginning of 2011, Su Wei learned of Shi Yisheng’s passing in Beijing. He got out the vase, bought a bunch of chrysanthemum, printed a portrait of Shi Yisheng, and placed it in the flowers.
80年代,苏炜在北京的中国社科院文学所工作,和史铁生交往很多。那时候,作为单身“海龟”,苏炜获得了一套位于海淀双榆树的房子。和当时的北京同龄人相比,这是极其难得的事情。苏炜的这个小房子,成为了朋友们谈论文学和学术的据点。
In the 1980s, Su Wei worked at the Literary Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. As a single overseas returnee, Su Wei was allocated a house in Shuangyushu, Haidian district — compared to his contemporaries, this was a rare and favourable condition. Su Wei’s small home became the stronghold for his conversations with friends on literature and academia.
遇到聚会,史铁生会早早地从地坛附近的住处出发,用手摇着他的轮椅车,一路跋涉,到达海淀双榆树。这至少是一个多小时的路程。“史铁生常常是最早最准时的那个。“
Whenever there was a gathering, Shi Yisheng would leave his residence nearby the Temple of Earth early, trudging the journey by hand in his wheelchair toward his destination — Shuang Yushu. The journey was at least an hour long, and “Shi Yisheng was often the most punctual.”
2004年,苏炜在离开北京15年后,回了一次北京。他见到了史铁生。史铁生指着家中的书柜,让苏炜看过去——正是那个豆青开片双耳瓶。
In 2004, some fifteen years after Su Wei’s departure from Beijing, he returned, and met with Shi Yisheng. Shi Yisheng pointed at the bookcase, and told Su Wei to take a glance — there was the vase he gave him.
此刻,在康涅狄格州乡间的这座房子里,另一只豆青开片双耳瓶,在花丛中微微地泛着光泽。天色逐渐暗下去,屋外是厚厚的积雪。
At that moment, the lustre of another vase amongst the cluster of flowers in that Connecticut home shone ever so faintly. As the sky slowly darkened, the thick layer of snow outside the house continued to pile.
吃完晚饭,苏炜带着我到雪地里遛狗,我们走了很长的一段路。史铁生在《我与地坛》里说,“如果以乐器来对应四季,我想春天应该是小号,夏天是定音鼓,秋天是大提琴,冬天是圆号和长笛。”
After dinner, Su Wei took me into the snow to walk his dog, and we strolled for some time. In Me and the Temple of Heaven, Shi Yisheng says, “if the four seasons were instruments, spring should be the trumpet, summer the timpani, autumn the cello, and winter the French horn and the flute.”
在雪地里,我听到了圆号和长笛。
In the snow, I heard those horns and flutes.
我喜欢地坛冬天里的书市。我在地坛书市上买到过一本旧书——1988年出版的《论中国文学》,刘再复所著。那本书的第一篇文章是——《中国文学的宏观描述》。
I’m fond of the winter book fairs held at the Temple of Earth. I once bought an old book there — the 1988 edition of On Chinese Literature by Liu Zaifu. The first essay in that volume was A Holistic Description of Chinese Literature.
那次美国之旅,在告别苏炜几天之后,我在科罗拉多州的博尔德见到了李泽厚和刘再复。他们居住于此。在科罗拉多大学东亚系图书馆里,刘再复从书架上抽出一本《中国大百科全书·中国文学卷》。“你看这里。”他指着书中一页说。这卷大书的首条是他撰写的(署名周扬、刘再复)。这跟我在地坛买的那本书的头篇文章其实是同一内容。
A few days later, after bidding farewell to Su Wei, I met with Li Zehou and Liu Zaifu in Colorado, where they now resided. Liu Zaifu pulled out a book from the shelves at the library of the East Asian Studies Department at the University of Colorado: The Complete Chinese Encyclopaedia: Literature Edition. “Look,” he said, pointing at a section in the book. The first section of that massive volume was written by him, signed Zhou Yang and Liu Zaifu. The contents of that article were actually pretty much the same as that book I bought at the Temple of Heaven.
李泽厚也曾经在地坛附近住过好多年,下午,他经常会到地坛转转,仿佛康德每天准时出现在哥尼斯堡的广场。我在地坛买到的这本书的代前言是刘再复与李泽厚的对话。谈话的开头,刘对李说:“好久不见了,朋友们都很想念你。去年春天你远走高飞的时候,曾嘱托我要告诉年轻的朋友们:我会回来的。”
Li Zehou had once also resided nearby the Temple of Heaven. In the afternoon, he’d often go for a stroll in the temple’s park, just like how Kant would punctually appear at Königsberg square. The foreword to the book I bought was a conversation between Liu Zaifu and Li Zehou. At the beginning of that conversation, Liu said to Li, “it’s been a while, your friends all miss you. In spring last year, when you were distant and flying high, you entrusted me to tell our young friends: I will return.”
差不多每年过了夏天,李泽厚都会从博尔德回北京,但刘再复不是。刘再复在1989年出国之后,只在2008年回过北京。那次回京,他首先去见了最老的一些朋友,事实证明他是对的,随后,老朋友们一个个都离开人间了。
Most summers, Li Zehou would come back to Beijing from Boulder — but Liu Zaifu wouldn’t. After leaving China in 1989, he only came back once, in 2008. On that trip, he visited his older friends first — and the facts would indicate that he was right in doing so. Soon after, his old friends gradually left this world, one after another.
刘再复通常在清晨5点就起床,在底层的小房间里,用一种很普通的软笔在稿纸上写文章。这几乎是他每天的习惯。“黎明即起”——他服膺于曾国藩的自我训诫。早餐的时候,他一天的写作基本就结束了。那几天,他完成的是又一篇悼念刚去世老友的文章。我在那本《论中国文学》里读到过他写的《为聂绀弩先生所作的悼词》,这是他写过的众多悼文中的一篇。
Liu Zaifu would often get up at five in the morning. In his ground-floor room, he’d write his essays with an ordinary pen and draft paper. Waking at dawn was a daily habit — he had Zeng Guofan’s practice of self-discipline in mind. Before breakfast, he’d have practically completed his writing for the day. Over those few days, he’d completed another essay mourning his late friend’s passing. In On Chinese Literature, I’d read one of his numerous memorial works, A Memorial Speech for Mr. Nie Gannu.
在书房里一番找寻后,刘再复找到一本聂绀弩的薄薄的工作笔记。里面密密麻麻地记着各种事情,包括许多我们耳熟能详之人的联系方式。第一页上是黄永玉的地址。最后一页是陈文统(梁羽生)的地址。
Following a search of the study, Liu Zaifu discovered a flimsy book of work notes belonging to Nie Gannu, containing accounts of all sorts of happenings, including the contact details of numerous noted individuals. On the first page was Huang Yongyu’s address, and on the last was that of Chen Wentong (Liang Yisheng).
聂绀弩去世后,把许多东西都留给了刘再复。这些东西如今大都锁在北京的一间房子里。
When Nie Gannu passed, he left many of his possessions to Liu Zaifu. Now, most of them are locked up in a house somewhere in Beijing.
几年之后,我在电影院里看《黄金时代》,当聂绀弩对着观众说话时,我竟然想到了那本他手写的笔记。电影里有太多刘再复熟悉的人。比如萧军。萧军是刘再复女婿的亲戚。我手上的《萧军延安日记》是刘再复所赠。我还有一本香港出版的《马思聪蒙难记》。(作者是马思聪女儿马瑞雪)序言是刘再复所作,题为《三个历史性的“马思聪时刻”》。马思聪的外孙黄刚是刘再复的女婿。
Several years later, I saw The Golden Years in the cinema. As Xie Gannu addressed the crowd, I was suddenly reminded of his notebook. That movie contained numerous people familiar to Liu Zaifu — Xiao Jun, for example. Xiao Jun was a relative of Liu Zaifu’s son-in-law. It was Xiao Jun who gave me my copy of Xiao Jun’s Yan’an Diaries. I’ve also got a Hong Kong edition of Ma Sicong’s Danger Encounter, by Ma Sicong’s daughter Ma Ruixue. The preface to that volume was written by Liu Zaifu, titled Three Historical Ma Sicong Moments. Ma Sicong’s grandson Huang Gang was also Liu Zaifu’s son-in-law.
我看到了马思聪的作曲手稿,工整而漂亮。这是马思聪夫人王慕理赠给刘再复的礼物。“马思聪到了美国后,一天没有快活过,美国给她旧金山的金钥匙,给他费城的金钥匙,他也没有开心过。”刘再复说,“他写了《思乡曲》,乡愁压倒一切。”
I’ve seen Ma Sicong’s handwritten music sheets — they’re meticulously prepared and beautiful pieces of work. They were a gift from Ma Sicong’s wife, Wang Muli, to Liu Zaifu. “After Ma Sicong went to America, not a day of happiness has passed. In spite of having the golden key to San Francisco, to Philadelphia, he enjoyed not one happy moment.” Liu Zaifu said, “he composed an ode, Longing for Home — homesickness overwhelmed him.”
刘再复开着车载着我穿过落基山的峡谷时,指着窗外,让我看过去。目光所及处,浮着金属色的山岩上,有残留的栈道。“那是当年的华人劳工修的。”真是令人惊叹的景象。这阴冷的山间,热火朝天的西进人群中,曾有大批的异乡面孔。如同任何一个时期,并不是所有人都愿意加入这块土地忙碌的队伍。大家各怀心事,而这心事,也只能自己体味,旁人只是穿山而去的过客。
While driving us through the canyon of the Rocky Mountains, Liu Zaifu pointed out the window, and told me take a look. As far as my eye could see, the remains of a damaged old plank roadway lay afloat the metallic tinted mountaintops. “That was built back then by the Chinese labourers.” It was a sight to marvel at, to think that, between the gloomy chill of those mountains, amidst the frenzy of the Westward Movement, there was once a sizeable group of foreigners. As in any age, it was never the case that all peoples would be willing to join the contingent of busied land-workers. Each had their own cause for anxiety, a sentiment that could only be savoured in solitude — anyone else was just a passerby.
中南海
Zhongnanhai

中南海大概是北京最难进去的地方。我只从门口经过。梁辉曾在里面工作。我见到梁辉是在桂林市南边一个小区里。他是桂林人,讲桂林话。那是我为数不多的用桂林话进行的采访。
Zhongnanhai is just about the most exclusive place in Beijing. I’ve only ever passed by the entrance. Liang Hui once worked there. I met Liang Hui in a southerly Guilin neighbourhood. He’s from Guilin, and speaks in the local dialect. That was one of the scant opportunities I’d had to use the Guilin dialect to interview someone.
那时候,他坐着轮椅参加桂林黄埔同学会的活动。早在1980年代,就有人让他加入黄埔同学会,但他没有答应,最近这些年才参加,“经过了‘文革’,还是有些怕,怕惹麻烦。”他说。
At the time, he was in a wheelchair when he went to a Whampoa student society meeting in Guilin. As early as the 1980s, he’d been asked to join the society, but he refused. It was only in recent years that he’d decided to participate. Having experienced the terror of the Cultural Revolution, he was prudent of such offerings.
1935年,正在桂林中学上学的梁辉没有告诉家人,悄悄参了军。1936年,他进入黄埔军校南宁分校学习。1940年初,他和同学来到昆仑关,参加了那场惨烈的战役。
In 1935, then a student at Guilin Middle School, Liang Hui secretly joined the military without informing his family. In 1936, he enrolled in the Whampoa Military Academy campus at Nanning. By the beginning of 1940, he and his classmates were engaged in the tragic military conflict at Kunlun.
“打昆仑关要紧啊。”梁辉用桂林话说,“我当时是广西部队46军175师524团第3营步炮排排长。我们打了3天3夜,牺牲太大了,我们一个连只剩下十几人,上面要我们撤退,团长不同意,我们要死守,与阵地共存亡,继续打。军长看到我们不退,哭了起来。不撤退的话怎么办呢?组织剩下的人沿着山走,走过来走过去,给敌人感觉好像还有很多人,一直等到增援部队来。”
“The fight at Kunlun was of utmost importance,” said Liang Hui in the Guilin dialect. “I was the platoon leader of the 3rd Battalion, 524th Regiment, 175th Division of the Number 46 Guangxi army. We fought for three days and nights, the losses were vast, and we had few more than ten men left. We were ordered to retreat, but the regimental commander refused — we were to continue the fight, holding the front with our lives. When the army commander saw that we were not retreating, he burst into tears. Failing retreat, they had no option but to move back and forth along the mountainside, inducing the enemy into believing the mirage of a larger army, up until the reinforcements arrived.”
梁辉还记得当时和日军近距离肉搏的场面。“我和日本兵肉搏,他们打不过我,我打死了两个,一个用刀刺,一个用手枪打。”这是我第一次听一位战争的亲历者讲这样的场面,鸡皮疙瘩都起来了,这不是游戏,这是你死我活的战斗啊,那么近,仿佛刺刀会划破空气,出现在眼前,让人不寒而栗。
Liang Hui still remembers that predicament, “in hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese, they couldn’t overcome me, I killed two of them — one with a knife, another with a gun.” It was a first for me, to hear such a vivid account of a veteran’s wartime experience. I broke out in goosebumps. This was no game, it was a battle of life-and-death, so close it felt like the knife was cutting through the air before my eyes, enough to make you shiver.
没有几个人从那场战役中幸存下来。在昆仑关,有一个巨大的墓地。梁辉后来去过好几次昆仑关,有时候从附近路过也要特意拐进去。“想起曾经和战友一起作战,过着危险的生活,留恋得很。那个坟好大,老百姓帮着埋的,死了两万多人啊。”
There were few survivors in that fight. There is a mass grave at Kunlun now. Liang Hui later visited Kunlun on several occasions. Sometimes, he’d go in especially when he was in the vicinity. “I recall living in that danger with nostalgia, fighting with my comrades, struggling to survive. That grave is massive — civilians buried them there, more than twenty-thousand of them.”
“敌人当时攻陷了我们的阵地,副营长和我关系最好,跟我说,梁辉,跟我一起去把阵地夺回来。他带我们七八个人去冲锋,阵地夺回来了,他死了。我身上也中弹了,但还能够走回来。你看,这里还有印子。”梁辉指着身上对我说。
“The enemy had stormed our front then. The deputy battalion commander was a friend, he said to me, Liang Hui, let’s go and seize it back. There were seven or so of us. He lead us into an assault, and we took the front back, but he died. I got hit, but I could make it back. Look, I’ve still got the scar,” Liang Hui said, as he showed me the mark on his body.
战争的阴影一直在梁辉心中。听到飞机起飞的声音,在电视里看到丢炸弹,他就会想起以前,“心里不痛快。”
The scars of the war remained in Liang Hui’s heart. Whenever he heard the sound of a plane taking off, or a bomb being dropped in a television show, he’d think of those times, he’d feel uneasy.
昆仑关战役之后,梁辉被调到了军部,接着他获得了到咸水步兵学校学习的机会,毕业后,他成了李宗仁身边的警卫队长。梁辉对李宗仁有很好的印象。“他为什么能打胜仗呢?用人用得好,懂得欣赏别人的才干,对部下也好。”
Following the Kunlun campaign, Liang Hui was transferred to the army headquarters. He later had the opportunity to study at the Xianshui Military Academy. After graduating, he became Li Zongren’s right-hand lead security guard. Liang Hui had an amicable impression of Li Zongren. “Why does he know how to fight? He knows how to choose his men, he understands how to appreciate the competence of others, and treats his subordinates well.”
李宗仁任北平行辕主任的时候,梁辉跟着他去了北平。北平行辕位于中南海。梁辉在中南海度过了4年。
When Li Zongren was the head of the field headquarters, Liang Hui went to Beiping with him. The field headquarters were established at Zhongnanhai, where Laing Hui spent four years of his life.
梁辉和李宗仁是老乡,都来自桂林临桂两江。走在路上,旁边没人时,他们会用桂林话交谈。
Liang Hui and Li Zongren were fellow-townsmen, from Liangjiang, Lingui County, Guilin. When they walked alone, they’d converse in their home dialect.
梁辉觉得自己在中南海里的几年是人生中难得平静的时间。“没有什么特别任务,没有什么负担。”
Liang Hui believed his years at Zhongnanhai were a rare period of tranquility in his life. “I was never assigned any significant missions, nor did I feel I carried any sort of responsibility.”
在当时,北平行辕名义上是华北军政最高官署,蒋介石也曾电令中央在华北接收的各级机关要听行辕主任的命令行事,事实上,这命令只是敷衍李宗仁面子的虚文,各机关仍直接听命于中央主管官署的命令。
Back then, the Beiping field headquarters was the supreme government office of military affairs in North China. Chiang Kai-shek once ordered by telegraph that North China receive commands from directors of field headquarters at any level. In reality, this was a merely nominal formality, a perfunctory acknowledgment of Li Zongren’s reputation — all organs continued to follow the direct orders of central government offices.
1947年下半年后,国民党在与共产党作战时连连败退。美国人也有意弃蒋“换马”,用李宗仁取代蒋介石。李宗仁决定竞选副总统。蒋介石亲自召见李宗仁,告知副总统候选人已由中央提名孙科,要李放弃。李宗仁坚持竞选副总统,梁辉记得当时的情景,“他给在场的人一个个发香烟。”
After the second half of 1947, the Kuomintang repeatedly retreated in defeat from combat with the Communist Party. The Americans had every intention of abandoning Chiang, and replacing him with Li. Li Zongren decided to run for vice president. Chiang Kia-shek met with Li Zongze, pleading him to forego the election, citing the central government’s clear expression that preferred candidate was Sun Ke. Li Zongren persisted, though. Liang Hui recalled a certain scene, in which Li “gave each person in attendance a cigarette, one person at a time.”
1948年5月10日的《时代》周刊描述了当时的情景:“选举结果宣布时,代表们狂热了。他们抬起微笑的李夫人,把她举到肩膀上。街上,一直在听街头广播宣布投票统计的人群,放起鞭炮予以庆祝。欢呼的人群涌向李的总部,高高举起李将军。一位代表说,太好了,我们投票反对了政府!”
On the 10th of May 1948, Time described the sentiment of the time: “When the results of the election were announced, the representatives became feverish. They lifted Li’s wife, who was smiling, and raised her onto their shoulders. In the streets, they let off firecrackers in celebration, as they listened for the latest vote count via radio broadcast. The cheering crowds gushed toward Li’s headquarters, holding high the General Li. One representative said, we’ve done it, we’ve voted against the government!”
当选副总统的李宗仁离开了中南海,梁辉也随他来到了南京。在南京总统府,梁辉就住在“总统府”3个字后边。
When the vice-president-elect Li Zongren left Zhongnanhai, Liang Hui followed him to Nanjing. At the presidential residence in Nanjing, Liang Hui resided right behind the the words: “Presidential Residence”.
在采访了梁辉之后,我才头一回去了南京“总统府”,我转到“总统府”三个字后边,看到了几间房,那里如今应该是公园的办公室。我看着透明的窗户,想了想梁辉当年住在里边的情形。他大概是极少数既守卫过中南海,又守卫过“总统府”的人。
Only after interviewing Liang Hui did I return to the “Presidential Residence” in Nanjing. When I turned around from the sign, reading “Presidential Residence”, I saw a handful of small rooms. Today, those are the offices for the public park’s management. I peered through the transparent windows, trying to imagine Liang Hui’s sentiment when he lived there. He’s surely one of a very select few who’ve guarded both Zhongnanhai and the “Presidential Residence”.
1949年4月23日,共产党军队登上了南京“总统府”。梁辉和部下被派往重庆,为代总统李宗仁打前哨。
On the 23rd of April 1949, the armed forces of the Communist Party arrived at the “Presidential Palace”. Liang Hui and his subordinated were sent to Chongqing, to act as President Li Zongren’s outpost.
李宗仁最终没有飞往重庆,而是去了美国;白崇禧想要跟共产党军队最后一搏,终未成功,去了台湾;黄旭初去了香港;黄绍竑留在了大陆。当年那几位从广西乡村里走出来的少年各择前路,桂系从此烟消云散。
Li Zongren never made it to Chongqing. Instead, he went to America. Bai Chongxi hoped to endure a final struggle with the Communists, but he never succeeded — he went to Taiwan, instead. Huang Xuchu went to Hong Kong, and Huang Shaohong stayed in the Mainland. From that moment, the Kuomintang’s Guangxi branch — a group that in their younger years had left the villages of Guangxi, each with their own ideals in mind — had vanished.
身在重庆的梁辉没有了领导。“没有谁指挥我们了,一共400多人,怎么办呢?”梁辉到了成都的黄埔军校分校,黄埔军校起义,他就跟着一起起义。梁辉一家3口领了路费,从成都回到桂林。
Then in Chongqing, Liang Hui was left without a leader. “There were more than four hundred of us, without a commander — what could we do?” Liang Hui went to the Whampoa Military Academy Chengdu campus. They held an uprising, so he joined in. His family of three took their travel expenses, and returned to Guilin.
采访梁辉之后有一段时间了,某一天,我在北京的办公室里收到一封来自桂林的信。信是梁辉的女儿写的。她告诉我,她的父亲在前段时间已经去世。她说,父亲当年在北平行辕做警卫的时候,曾经在中南海里有过留影,如果能够找到,那该多好啊。
It’s been a while since I interviewed Liang Hui. One day, I received a message from Guilin in my Beijing office. It was from his daughter. She told me that her father had not long passed away. She said, when her father was a guard for the field headquarters in Beiping, he’d once taken a photo inside Zhongnanhai. If only she could’ve found it.
初夏的一个上午,我到北海公园游玩,泛舟水上,那是小时候在歌声里听到过很多次的场景——“让我们荡起双桨,小船儿推开波浪”。小船往南行驶到一定地方,就得掉头了,因为那边是中南海。
One early summer’s morning, I went boating at Beihai Park. That was a scene I’d heard described many times in the songs of my youth — let us swing the oars, push our boat through the ripples”. Moving southward, when the boat arrives at a certain point, it has to turn back — because that’s Zhongnanhai.
我想起在桂林跟梁辉聊天的时候,他说,在北平行辕当警卫的那几年,是他人生里难得平静的几年,他差不多每天下班后,都会从中南海里钓几条鱼,拿回去煮来吃。
I thought of my conversation with Liang Hui in Guilin. He said, those years as a guard at the field headquarters in Beiping were a rare period of tranquility for him. Pretty much everyday after work, he’d go fishing in Zhongnanhai, and take a few fish home to cook.
我坐在北海公园的小船上,看着水面,想着梁辉描述的场景,想着这一百多年里,那些远离家乡,来到北京城里的人们,有些茫然。船身在水上起伏,发出轻微的声响,周围环绕着绿树红墙,白塔倒映在水面上。
I sat in the boat, gazing over the water surface, imagining the scenery Liang Hui had described, thinking of those people who, over the last century, left their homes for Beijing. I felt somewhat lost. The boat undulated on the water surface, emitting the slightest noise, surrounded by greenery and red walling, as the reflection of the white tower projected itself upon the water.


Wei Yi is Editor in Chief at the Southern People Weekly 南方人物周刊主笔

Callum Smith is Editor at OW Magazine (English) 《单读》英文版主编

Originally published in the forthcoming OW Magazine Issue 16: Beijing《单读16:北京》