方禮倫:The Aesop Tale of Hong Kong 港版「伊索寓言」

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黎智英於去年大除夕被判再度還柙,有支持者在他離開終審法院登上囚車時舉起標語聲援。 圖片來源:路透社

The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which was the stronger.

“Let us agree,” said the Sun, pointing to a traveler passing along a road below them, wrapped in a cloak, “that he who can strip the traveler of his cloak is the stronger.”

“Very well,” agreed the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the traveler. The gust whipped the ends of the cloak. Feeling the wind and the cold, the traveller wrapped the cloak more closely around him. The more the Wind blew the tighter the traveller held on to the cloak, and the more he cursed the Wind for his adversity.

Then the Sun began to shine. Its beams were warm and gentle. In the pleasant warmth the traveller smiled and unfastened his cloak, which he let it hang loosely from his shoulders. As the day grew gently warmer, the traveller removed the coat and, with a smile, sat down in the shade of a tree to enjoy the day.(註 1)

The Aesop tale of The North Wind and the Sun came up in conversation with a friend in Hong Kong.

The message of the tale, that strength is not found in forceful bluster but in gentle persuasion, resonated strongly with our thoughts about Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has not always been as it is now.

In 1997 a University of Hong Kong poll found only 9 percent of Hong Kong people felt negatively about the handover. 35% were positive, and welcomed being “reunited with the Motherland”. The majority of people were neutral, and were instead determined to make the most of a new reality — their fate decided, on Beijing’s insistence, by others.(註 2)

Neither patriotic comrades nor colonial running dogs, the majority of Hong Kong people were pragmatic. Lord Patten, the last governor of British Hong Kong, is fond of reminding people that Hong Kong people are not themselves difficult to govern, rather it is the situation in which the people find themselves that provides the challenge.

In 2017, twenty years after the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong people accepted the city’s return to the China, a similar poll found only 3.1 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were even proud to identify as being “broadly Chinese”. As recently as 2008, that figure was nearly 40 percent.(註 3)

A North Wind blew hard, telling Hong Kong people to embrace the Motherland. It told Chinese people not only how to be patriots, but how to be Chinese. The more it blustered, the more the traveller clung to his cloak — and the more Hong Kong’s differences, and it’s distinct identity, meant to the Hong Kong people.

If only the sun would shine perhaps things would be a little different.(註 4)

陶傑點評

方禮倫新年的第一篇文章愈來愈淺白,由一個伊索寓言講起。講大道理不必引經據典,到了今日這種地步,也沒有必要怒髮衝冠。不必太多的形容詞,只需一個寓言加幾個數字即可。

1.

  • 太陽和北風看見街上有一個人在走,身上披裹著一件大衣。太陽和北風打賭,看誰有辦法令這個人的大衣脱下來。北風說,很容易,我只要一加風力,就能把他身上的大衣吹走,於是風吹得更大。但是路人拚命抓緊大衣。
  • 輪到太陽,太陽一點一點加溫,令行人感到暖和。一覺得熱,就不需要大衣了,便把它脫下來。最後太陽贏了。

2.

  • 作者想講甚麼?筆鋒一轉,引述 1997 年香港一家大學的民意調查。3 成半的香港市民對於主權移交後的前景感到樂觀,只有 9% 香港人不滿。其餘大部分態度中立,既然無法決定命運,不如盡量順勢多賺錢。

3.

  • 20 年之後, 18 歲到 29 歲的年輕人,只有 3.1% 對「中國人身份」感到自豪。而 2008 年,這個數字高近 4 成。

4.

  • 道理非常簡單:手段愈暴烈,人心愈抗拒「回歸」。最後一句,顯示英文文章不喜歡話說得太明白,收結溫和含蓄。香港有很多人自覺英文很好,但直白的表達和咒駡,由「搬起石頭砸自己的腳」、「別有用心、其心可誅」,到「英國向 BNO 持有人派居英權正賤種」之類,還是相當低端的坦率。這種人無論花幾多年學英文,英文程度也絕對不會高。

陶傑英文遊花園

香港和台灣,面臨世紀的變局。海外華人居住西方國家,也數目龐大。如何提升英文程度,克服文化隔閡,加強英文能力,在亂世中至關重要。

許多華人都有合理的職業或專業的英文程度,但如何在原有的中學文法訓練基礎之上,探討高層次的英語文化和表達方式,以備融入英語世界主流社會?

本欄介紹評析欣賞英文的寫作細節,分享經驗,歡迎提出不同的評析角度和心得。

※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※

方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。