老外看中国:上海像爵士,北京似摇滚?(双语)
作者:Luke 翻译:Maxine华、 Yimin 编辑:紫兮 发布时间:2016-04-29



作者简介:Luke,爱尔兰文艺老流氓。毕业于都柏林圣三一学院,现居于上海。


(文中所述仅代表作者个人观点)

I have a Shanghai friend and a Beijing friend: both are proud Chinese. They are as different as black and white. The Shanghai friend likes to invest his money, and his fortunes come and go with the buoyancy of the markets. He is my age, shorter than me but built solidly, and pleased with his good looks, which he puts to good use all over the city. Shanghai is big enough to absorb any consequences. 

我有一个上海朋友和一个北京朋友:身为中国人他们都为中国感到骄傲。但是他们是截然不同的两种人。上海朋友喜好投资,他的财富随着市场的起伏变化不定。上海朋友和我年龄相仿,个头没我高,却比我结实。他长得不错,而他也知道这点,他靠这张脸在上海得了不少便宜。上海这么大,大得可以容纳一切后果。




Beijing friend is younger, taller, and intellectual. We talk about history, European and Chinese, and the whole world in between. In Beijing last year we drank yellow rice wine in a restaurant named for a famous modernist novel, and walked peacefully about on the day of the military parade, while all the crowds were elsewhere, looking at the high walls and chatting about China, me asking questions mostly, and both of us sharing small pieces of knowledge.

北京哥们儿更年轻,个子高,有一种知识分子气息。我们谈古论今,从欧洲聊到中国再到世界。就在去年,我们在北京一家以一本现代派小说命名的知名餐厅里畅饮黄酒,还在国庆阅兵的那天绕过拥挤的人群,在大街小巷闲逛。我俩望着这个城市的高墙,谈论着这个国家,虽然更多的时候是我问他答,但基本上也是各取所需。


He’s hesitant and mild mannered in everything. He smiles rather than laughs, and when you point a camera at him he lifts his head in an urbane, or maybe courtly pose, widens his eyes and peers into the lens.

他总是有些犹豫,却又彬彬有礼。他从来都笑不露齿,当你用相机对准他的时候,他会摆出温文尔雅,抑或是威严气派的Pose,睁大眼睛看向镜头。


When you’re out in Shanghai with the other guy, and you lift up a camera, he lowers his head and frowns like a gangster, or gives you the finger, or maybe indicates his crotch.  I like to encourage him in his adventures.  But I encourage Beijing too. I have come to think of these two guys as expressing the characters of their home cities, and I enjoy learning as much as I am able from these two very different sources. When it came to exploring the different general character of the two metropolises, I knew that they would be the ones to ask.

而如果你换做是和上海哥们儿一起出去,有镜头对准他的时候,他会低头皱眉,摆出一副匪帮的造型,或者竖起中指,又或者指向裆部。我挺佩服他那股不羁的德行,但我同样也佩服北京。我曾想过我这俩兄弟的性格和气质是否就代表了他们生活的城市面貌,我也喜欢尽我所能地了解他们。当我探寻这两个大都市的面貌特点时,我知道准可以问他俩。 


But I also decided that, having listened to their points on the subject (I asked for five comparisons), I would add my own observations. This being China, surely the foreigner’s perspective on things is always welcome, and received with due reverence?

不过我也决定,在听的想法后(我了五组问题来进行对比),我也会加上我自己的观察心得。是在中国,大家想必是迎外国人在方面的看法的,并会着敬畏接受些看法吧?



“Shanghai is like Jazz, Beijing is like rock.”

 “上海像爵士,北京更像摇滚。


I think I understand this. On the day I visited Beijing during Golden Week, the soldiers on parade made a steady beat on the street, more like the backbeat to a rock song than the random gibbering that you pick up in Shanghai. Beijing’s large lumpen boxes spoke of necessity and function, and of power.

我觉得我可以理解这一观点。十一黄金周时我去了北京,阅军队伍在街上行进,节奏整齐,相比上海杂乱的节奏来说,这个声音像摇滚乐中背景节奏中的强拍。北京破纸箱一样的建筑,基本体现了功能、实用以及权力。


All the urban branches and the regions of Shanghai look improvise, as if the architects were making up the buildings as they went, sketching shapes on napkins while smoking and saying strange things in smoky clubs. Half of Shanghai seems to have no use at all. Or else this improve building style is born of necessity, but is ultimately the work of random immigrants among the population, making up their own crazy sounds, with no one instrument in harmony with the others.

上海的城市分区更像是零时拼凑出来的,就好比建筑师一边吞云吐雾,一边谈笑风生的在纸巾上潦草构图。上海有一半看上去像是废地,没有任何功能性。也许这种即兴的建筑风格是不得已而为之,但说到底也是某个外地人的随意之作,在刺耳交响中滥竽充数。


Like a little background Jazz, Shanghai is also good for seducing a woman. It is mysterious; it still carries a residue of its 1920’s sophistication. Orson Welles once called a movie ‘The Lady from Shanghai,’ even though the story had nothing to do with the place, just because it sounded good. 

就像轻爵士,上海也是一个撩妹的好去处。它神秘,但也不缺乏上世纪20年代为背景的小资情结。奥森·威尔斯曾以《上海小姐》来命名他的电影,虽然电影的故事内容和上海并没有什么关系,仅仅因为听起来好听。





I find people back home think of me as adventurous when I state to them that I live there. But saying that you’re living in Beijing will simply make other foreigners fear for your health and your mind. Like going to see excessive rock will leave you with tinnitus, Beijing’s many atmospheres will surely eat away at you. 

家乡的朋友觉得我在上海生活是冒险。但如果有人提及自己住在北京的话,其他外国人会首先担心你的健康和心智。就好比你去听一场现场摇滚可能会耳鸣,北京的氛围会不断地蚕食你。


Shanghai also, like Jazz, is known for a fatalistic association with what the Chinese call Ya Pian. One wonders: is the soft withdrawal from the world that this terrible class of drug offers the only solution for the confusion and the clashing rhythms of such a city?

上海,像爵士乐一样,宿命般地总是与中国人口中的鸦片挂钩。这让人不禁发问:难道只有这可怕毒品所带来的超脱感,才能解决像上海这样的城市中的冲突和混乱吗?


 I think of Shanghai friend, always up and down like a yo-yo in his luck, in relationships, money and everything else – he’s like me in this. Not that he or I are into Ya Pian, only liquid, legal “Golden Brown” helps us come down from the sessions surfing the markets and wandering the subways.

每当我想到上海的哥们儿, 他和我一样,不论是运气、爱情还是金钱都是上下起伏。我们倒不是喜欢鸦片,但也只有啤酒能够慰藉在市场和地铁中闲荡了一圈的我们。




I think of Beijing friend, resigning himself to a small university salary (some day, if lucky), contenting himself with a Guinness or two, or else Chinese wine with dinner, and one woman, whom he loves in a modest fashion. 

我又想到我的北京朋友,甘心于(也许运气好的话,某天能够挣到的)一份微薄的大学工作,吃饭时一两个健力士或者白酒也就可以满足,一个相敬如宾的女人对他来说也就足够了。



“Shanghai people won’t fight on the street. Beijing people will.”

上海人不会在街上闹事,北京人会。


As I said, we don’t actually get into fights. But I will accept this point from someone who might know something about it. Perhaps he’s had to drop his coffee and run away from angry boyfriends.

“像我之前说的,我们是不会去打架的。”上海朋友说。但他说的话我觉得还是可以接受的,毕竟他可能会有被别人男朋友追着打,不得不跑路的经验。


Stingier? The richest city in China, Shanghai, is apparently full of cheapskates. Shanghai friend’s actual words: “Beijing is fake generous, Shanghai real cheap.” According to Beijing friend, Shanghai Ren like to go “AA.” I had to ask what that meant. “I think maybe it is English. Algebraic Average.”

吝啬鬼?上海作为中国最富有的城市,貌似有很多小气鬼。(*译者注:这里作者忘了说北京人都喜欢抢着结账。)我听我上海的哥们儿说:“北京那是假大方,上海是真小气。”不过我北京哥儿说,上海人喜欢AA制,我不得不问AA是什么意思,他告诉我说:“我觉得可能是英语词儿来的,代数平均的意思。”


He explained: they like to “Go Dutch.” So he supported the point about the meanness. As for me, I have seen both sorts of behavior all over China, sometimes I’ve seen them in the same person, during the same meal or in the same gesture. 

上海朋友解释说他们吃饭喜欢各自付钱。所以他是支持上海人是吝啬鬼这一论点。 对我来说,这两种行为我在中国各地都见过。有时候我也在一个人身上见过这两种行为,在同一顿饭局中见过这两种不同的行为,或者同一种姿态表现这两种行为。



It seems appropriate that the city of politics is a place of demonstrative gift giving, and I can get the connection between meanness and success in business. But how does the fiscal retentiveness fit with the picture of the Southern city as a wild and unpredictable improviser? I think that if I were to try to live entirely off gambling, I might end up clutching at my last kuai like it was a rare piece of medicine. But what to spend it on? I myself find it impossible to save money here, although I’m not a gambler. Shanghai friend says: “I like fast money.” 

在政治中心通过送礼展示慷慨似乎很合适,而我也理解抠门儿和生意成功之间的联系。但是,这种对于金钱的精明,和我之前对于这座南方城市临时凑合的印象是否相符呢?如果我靠赌博为生,我可能会把我的每一块钱都当作良药一样珍惜。那我会用这笔钱干嘛?我觉得在这里根本没有办法攒钱,即便我不是个爱赌博的人。上海的哥们儿和我说:我喜欢来钱快的活儿。


Maybe the truth is described well by a little phrase we have in English: Shanghai is generous. With other people’s money.

或许真相就是我们英文里所说的上海是慷慨的,不过是花着别人的钱慷慨。



Beijing does like giving. But one imagines a little string remains tied to each item received, one which when raveled back up leads to the giver. There must be a lot of string around Beijing. If you could see it all, it would look like a million demented spiders had tried to collaborate on a single web.

北京确实是喜欢给予的。不过想象下一条很细的人际关系线,连接着所有被送出的礼,并能够直接连回到送礼的那个人,北京一定有很多这样的线。如果你可以看到的话,它们就像成千上万的蜘蛛疯狂尝试合织一张网。



“Shanghai worships all the foreign countries at once, but Beijing is only obsessed with the US.”

上海膜拜所有外国人,不过北京更痴迷于美国。


Beijing friend, though he agreed with the other points (or at least described them as “commonly accepted”) did not understand this one. “Why all countries at once?” he asked. I had to explain: the atmosphere in Shanghai can feel as if one is watching a comedian trying to imitate several different people at once, but not quite managing to get across any of them. Nonetheless, the effect is interesting. I think Shanghai has been doing its own, strange thing for years, with the rest of China quietly shaking its head – then gaping in astonishment as the clown gets down off the stage and walks away with a sexy woman. As you know, this can often happen.

我北京的哥们儿尽管很赞同其他观点(至少他觉得是大家普遍这么认为),不过我不太明白这点。“为什么同时崇拜所有国家的?”他问。我不得不解释:上海的氛围就像在观看一个喜剧演员尝试同时模仿多个不同角色,不过没有一个学得像的。尽管如此,这个效果也很有趣。我认为上海做着这件怪事很多年了,而中国其他地方只是默默摇头。但他们也知道,这个小丑走下舞台时,能带走一个性感女人。


As for Beijing and the US: is this like the little brother and the big brother? One of them resents and yet imitates the other, loves him but wants to beat him up as well. Little brother doesn’t want domination and hegemony to end – just wants to be the one doing the dominating. Mind you, I’m comparing Beijing and America. China itself is as different from America as hieroglyphics are from text messages. Or alphabet soup.

北京和美国,难道像弟弟和哥哥的关系?前者怨恨后者,但还是在模仿后者,相爱相杀。弟弟不想自己的支配权与强势终结,而想成为拥有领导权的一方。提醒你下,我是把北京和美国作比较。中国整体来说,和美国的区别就像象形文字与短信,或者字母花片汤的区别一样巨大。



“Shanghai conversations are about money. Beijing is about Guanxi.”

上海人的谈话内容多关于钱,北京大多谈论人际关系。


I like this one. I think that all of China is about these two. In fact, so is much of the planet. The Arabs have Wasta, the West has Networks. However, here in China we can see a special spin on ancient things.

我挺喜欢这个观点的。我觉得整个中国都和这两点有关系。事实上,整个宇宙都会为这两点存活。阿拉伯人“Wasta”(人脉),西方有人际关系网。不管怎么说,在中国我们可以看到一些古老东西的特殊形态。


Despite the enormous money that is lodged in Shanghai, most of the rich do not show it ostentatiously. In Beijing, while the Guanxi tradition puts grease on the wheels of perfectly functional and above-board society, it is also treated openly (in its virulent form) as the greatest threat to the land by the president himself.

虽然上海极为富裕,大多有钱人总是很低调。在北京,虽然关系传统对于光明正大运行着的社会有着润滑油的作用,但它的恶性形态仍然被主席本人认定,会对国家有极大的危害。


It can be seen how significant are presents and gifts to the Chinese.  Money other coveted items are offered annually to dead relatives. I have noticed that Chinese people will tend to remember a gift or a favor, the way other races will hang on to grudges. They will never let you forget the bond of the given gift. They also remember when they are owed money.

我知道送礼对于中国人有多重要,每年中国人都要给死去的亲属烧去钱和其他礼品。我注意到中国人会惦记着送礼的事或者卖人情的事。像其他民族记仇一样,他们不会让你忘了他们曾给你送礼,他们也记得谁欠了谁的钱。



If the Shanghainese have perfected more of the arts of negotiating with the outside world for their own betterment, Beijing is about China negotiating with itself, for better or worse. It is about history, good and bad. In Shanghai there is a strange forgetfulness, as if the money flowing through has eroded the details of the past. We are all aware she has an interesting past, but I have not met anyone by chance who knows a lot about it. 

如果上海精于与世界交流、提升自己,那么北京则是中国与自己交涉。这一切都和历史有关,无论好坏。在上海似乎有一种健忘,是金钱的流通侵蚀了过去的点滴。我们都意识到上海有着吸引人的过去,但是我还没机会遇见一个真正了解上海历史的



 

It is strange how both money and gift-giving have a flip side that turns out to be less appealing: money, even when got, often goes with drudgery, or worry, or complacency, or vanity and corruption. Good gifts meanwhile, can carry big obligations for the receiver, and also a risk for the giver. 

奇怪的是金钱和送礼都有不那么吸引人的一面:即使有钱,也通常伴随着苦劳、担忧、自负、虚荣心和腐败。 如果有一份好礼相送的同时,不但收礼的人可能要承担着很大的责任,而且送礼人也有风险。


If someone imagines life being more fun without either of these units of value, then it might be possible. Let him go far away from China, then, if that is what he wants. 

如果有人认为不牵扯金钱或者送礼的生活会更有乐趣的话,那也是有可能的。如果他想要这样的生活,那就让他远离中国吧。


Like Beijing and Shanghai though, it is hard to think of the one phenomenon without the other: they make up a sort of family. For the foreigner, there is a relationship here that is sometimes hard to follow. Which one pushes China forward, or keeps it thriving? Which resents the other more? Which brother is really big brother, and which one is little?

就好比北京和上海,很难想象他们俩隔离的状态:他们相辅相成,就像一个家庭一样。对于外国人来说,要理解这种人际关系还是有难度的。哪一个才是促使中国进步,或者让中国蒸蒸日上的呢?哪一个更厌恶对方?到底哪一个是哥哥哪一个是弟弟?