From A Sip of Tea by Ye Si, translated by Audrey Heijns (6)

Tung Ping Chau Beach View_APR 2016

327, Tung Ping Chau

I read in the newspaper that Tung Ping Chau has become severely polluted, and this makes me sad. Tung Ping Chau used to be such a beautiful place, now some of the large rocks have been moved to Ocean Park and tourists have make a mess of it.

*   *   *

Is it better for a place to remain unknown? In the past, Tung Ping Chau was a quiet and clean place. Recently, we visited it again and there were mahjong tables everywhere, radios blaring, chicken bones and soft drink cans strewn all over the place, as well as scraps of paper and plastic bags . . .

*   *   *

The government has done a good job of cleaning up the beaches this year. Could it be that they have begun to pay some attention to cleaning up the outlying islands? Otherwise their beautiful scenery . . .

 

327 東平洲

閱報得悉東平洲的污染十分厲害,讀來真是傷心。東平洲原來是那麼美麗的地方,現在岩石搬了一部份去海洋公園,地方又給遊客弄糟了。

是不是一個地方不著名還好呢?過去那是清靜乾淨的地方,近年我們再去,已經是一桌桌的麻將,已經是收音機吵耳。雞骨和鐵罐扔了一地,廢紙和膠袋……

市政事務署的海灘清潔今年已做得不錯。可否開始留意一下離島的清潔?不然,那些美麗的風景……。

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Other poems from this series:

21, Cold after the rain
46, Taste
83, Winter
183, Weather
186, Hong Kong

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ye Si, pen name of Leung Ping Kwan (1949-2013), is a celebrated Hong Kong poet, essayist, fiction writer and photographer. He has published many volumes of poetry, essays and stories, including: Paper Cuts (1982), City at the End of Time (1992), Foodscape (1997), Travelling with a Bitter Melon (2002), Postcards from Prague (2000) and Postcolonial Affairs of Food and the Heart (2009). He was Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Audrey Heijns, based in Hong Kong, is working at Shenzhen University. Her translations of Chinese literature have been published in literary magazines, including Het Trage Vuur, Twee Ronde, KortVerhaal, Terras, Renditions, Exchanges and Poetry International.

 

Photograph: 香港東平洲:沙灘 Beach on Tung Ping Chau, Hong Kong (2016)

From A Sip of Tea by Ye Si, translated by Audrey Heijns (4)

Hong Kong Fog_2 APR 2020

183, The Weather

The weather is changing. Wet floors. People slip. A feeling of stickiness is everywhere. Birds are chirping. Spring has not yet taken shape.

*   *   *

Moisture on the walls. Something is going mouldy. Hazy mountain tops. Gazing into the distance at a patch of grey. A brightness behind the clouds. Something’s building up in my chest.

*   *   *

Trivial. Wronged. Misunderstood. Unworthy. The flashing of screens, the flickering of shifting images, someone faraway is talking. Hens clucking. Wet carpets, in the hall of a building. Wood waste. Metal pails. Soft cloths are stretched out in the wind, so far out that they stroke someone on the face.

 

183天氣

天氣的轉變。潮濕的地面。有人不小心摔倒。四周黏黏膩膩的感覺。鳥兒的叫聲。未成形的春天。

牆上的水份。發霉的什麼。迷濛的山頭。遠望一片灰色。天空雲後的明朗。胸中積著的一點什麼。

煩瑣。委屈。誤會。不值。熒光幕的閃閃,畫面變幻不定,有人在遠遠的地方說話。雞啼了。濡濕的地毯,在大廈樓下。廢木。鐵桶。柔軟的布幅,迎著風飄起來,仿佛拂到人的臉上去。

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Other poems from this series:

21, Cold after the rain
46, Taste
83, Winter

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

● Ye Si, pen name of Leung Ping Kwan (1949-2013), is a celebrated Hong Kong poet, essayist, fiction writer and photographer. He has published many volumes of poetry, essays and stories, including: Paper Cuts (1982), City at the End of Time (1992), Foodscape (1997), Travelling with a Bitter Melon (2002), Postcards from Prague (2000) and Postcolonial Affairs of Food and the Heart (2009). He was Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Audrey Heijns, based in Hong Kong, is working at Shenzhen University. Her translations of Chinese literature have been published in literary magazines, including Het Trage Vuur, Twee Ronde, KortVerhaal, Terras, Renditions, Exchanges and Poetry International.

Photograph: Hong Kong Cloudscape (Audrey Heijns, 2020)

From A Sip of Tea by Ye Si, translated by Audrey Heijns (3)

Audrey Heijns_Tai Po Lam Gei Chaa Siu CROPPED_30 MAR 2020

83, Winter

When the weather is cold, a plate of lap-mei rice can make you particularly warm. After such a meal, you feel a warmth all over. If it’s even colder, you’ll see hotpot and claypot rice for sale in the street. The flickering flames resist the cold.

*   *   *

I don’t much like winter, it’s like I am more slow-witted, more sluggish in winter. Someone says: ‘you’re always sluggish, it’s got nothing to do with winter!’ When I think it over, that does make some sense.

*   *   *

No matter what, when the hot weather is gone, the cold weather comes along, and the street scene changes. Winter, whether you like it or not, always arrives on time, just like TV commercials, debt collectors, toothache, and bad luck.

Note: lap-mei rice is a traditional Cantonese dish of preserved meat with rice cooked in a clay pot.

 

83 冬天

天氣寒冷的時候吃臘味飯,特別感到暖。吃了彷彿整個人就暖和起來。再冷一點,你在街頭就可以看見火鍋和煲仔菜。晃動的火光,對抗寒冷。

我不大喜歡冬天,在冬天裡,人也好像呆一點,遲鈍一點。有人說:「你平時也是那麼遲鈍的了,關冬天什麼事?」想想又有道理。

不管怎樣,每年熱天去了冷天就來,街頭又有一番景象。冬天,不管你喜歡不喜歡,照樣準時來臨,像電視的廣告、像收賬的人、像牙痛、像噩運。

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Other poems from this series:

21, Cold after the rain
46, Taste

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

● Ye Si, pen name of Leung Ping Kwan (1949-2013), is a celebrated Hong Kong poet, essayist, fiction writer and photographer. He has published many volumes of poetry, essays and stories, including: Paper Cuts (1982), City at the End of Time (1992), Foodscape (1997), Travelling with a Bitter Melon (2002), Postcards from Prague (2000) and Postcolonial Affairs of Food and the Heart (2009). He was Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Audrey Heijns, based in Hong Kong, is working at Shenzhen University. Her translations of Chinese literature have been published in literary magazines, including Het Trage Vuur, Twee Ronde, KortVerhaal, Terras, Renditions, Exchanges and Poetry International.

Photograph: Lam’s Cha-siu, Tai Po (Audrey Heijns)

From A Sip of Tea by Ye Si, translated by Audrey Heijns (2)

Ye Si Cover Image 1_21 MAR 2020

46, Taste

The taste of coffee has gone bland. In the past one spoon of powder was enough for one cup of coffee. Now with one and a half spoon the coffee is still weak. Has the quality deteriorated? Or am I losing my sense of my taste?

*   *   *

The taste of coffee has gone bland. The taste of films is getting salty. The words in the newspaper are getting sour. People’s talk is getting spicy.

*   *   *

As time goes by it’s getting difficult to trust your own taste buds. Have you changed or has the flavour of things changed? In the restaurant, someone is madly putting salt on everything, someone else pours a thick layer of ketchup on his steak. Take a bite and you can’t tell whether you are eating vegetables or meat, if it’s carnivorous or vegetarian.

Note: In Cantonese 鹹 hàahm or “salty” can also mean “pornographic; lecherous”.

 

46 味道

 咖啡的味道淡了。以前一匙的咖啡粉便夠味道,現在一匙半還是淡淡的。是不是咖啡粉的質素差了?還是我的口味變了?

咖啡的味道淡了。電影的味道越來越鹹了。報刊的文字越來越酸。人的說話越來越辣。

日子久了,你越來越不相信你的味蕾。是你變了,還是事物的味道變了?在餐室裡,一個人拼命灑鹽,一個人在牛排上倒下厚厚的番茄醬。嚼一口,你分不出是菜還是肉、是葷是素。

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Other poems from this series:

21, Cold after the rain

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ye Si, pen name of Leung Ping Kwan (1949-2013), is a celebrated Hong Kong poet, essayist, fiction writer and photographer. He has published many volumes of poetry, essays and stories, including: Paper Cuts (1982), City at the End of Time (1992), Foodscape (1997), Travelling with a Bitter Melon (2002), Postcards from Prague (2000) and Postcolonial Affairs of Food and the Heart (2009). He was Chair Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Audrey Heijns, based in Hong Kong, is working at Shenzhen University. Her translations of Chinese literature have been published in literary magazines, including Het Trage Vuur, Twee Ronde, KortVerhaal, Terras, Renditions, Exchanges and Poetry International.

《新心界》: 第四章

2018-12-02 Sai Kung Cat & Shrine 2

•  「黐線亦都係一門藝術」

又係一個禮拜日嘅早上。陳之一對住浴室裏面嘅全身鏡,喺度罵緊自己赤裸裸嘅身影:

「馬騮乾!邊個生得你咁肉酸呀?!你睇,瘦子嘅兩條手臂,兩條腿!排骨仔嘅胸部,完全冇哩氣力,冚唪唥都係肋骨,連一啲肌肉都冇,你覺唔覺得羞愧!你睇你個噼噼真係好肉酸!邊個會鐘意你個瘦蜢蜢嘅籮柚?唔使問阿貴:冇人會鐘意㗎啦。至於你嗰隻賓舟仔!哇,肯定係全世界上最冇用嘅𨳊!真係太攪笑啦!荒唐嘅膝頭哥!悖謬嘅外小腿!離譜嘅髖骨!奀挑鬼命相!你乞人憎!乞人憎!乞人憎!」

其實,旁聽者(如果有旁聽者嘅話)好難判斷陳之一係唾罵自己欠佳嘅體格定係練習佢早已學識有關人體部位嘅廣東話詞彙。

咒飽罵醉之後,陳之一著返嗮啲衫褲,佢嘅情緒先至好翻少少。今日佢已經揸定主意去西貢,去出名嘅「西貢咖啡餅店」食早餐。不過出門嗰陣時,佢企住腳步,回頭望一望自己已經住咗好多年嘅住所。因為好快就過年,陳之一呢排好認真咁收納屋企,將佢所有物品都整理得有條有理。有一位英國學者,中文名叫莫華德,喺五十年代嚟到香港,特登研究疍家人嘅生活習俗。佢寫過一篇文章專門討論過年對於香港人精神層面上嘅意義,留咗好深刻嘅印象俾外國男人,莫華德篇文提出:過年嘅基調係復興。舊年一過,所有衰氣同埋惡運會隨而散去。新年嘅降臨使人有機會由零開始、重新出發。在社會層面上,新年意味著同家人團聚,消解糾紛,恢復和諧等等;於個人和生意上,過年時會消災去病、付清債款,處理好仲未攪掂嘅事等等。正因如此,陳之一近排好勤力咁進行大掃除,盡量將唔需要嘅嘢全部抌出去。結果,屋內顯得特別空蕩蕩,除咗最為基本嘅傢俬,日用品,同埋有關香港、廣東話等書藉之外,幾乎都冇其他物品。其實,陳之一為此心裏感到格外自豪。

陳之一沿著城門河,行向沙田巴士站時,抬頭見到一隻黑色嘅麻鷹,喺烏雲密佈嘅上空中,一圈又一圈咁悠閑地盤旋。佢想起上次喺索罟灣,見到在高空中飛翔嘅海鷹,令佢聯想到無論哪一種生物,總會對某人某物進行永久嘅追尋。到咗車站,因為時間實在太早,排隊去西貢嘅乘客都唔算特別多,預計巴士再過十分鐘會到站。陳之一因為喺呢個巴士站等過好多次巴士去唔同嘅地方,而每次等車都會帶嚟各種印象、回憶俾佢。用咁多石屎興建嘅建築物雖然係大自然嘅天敵(呢度真係寸草不生),週圍亦充滿濃烈嘅電油味,甚至令人想像到地下監獄嘅模樣,但係佢一啲都唔太介意:認為車站係探索新界嘅旅遊中樞。

陳之一細細個時好容易暈車浪,但自從搬到香港安頓之後就冇呢個問題,佢甚至可以坐雙層巴士嘅上層座位,盡情飽覽週圍嘅景色。經過馬鞍山之後,佢會陶醉於往西貢方向嘅一系列地方名,例如泥涌、輋下、馬牯纜、大洞、瓦窰頭、西俓、企嶺下新圍、企嶺下老圍、水浪窩、澳頭、黃竹灣、麥邊、大環。而每逢到站,佢都會細細聲唸出嚟,就好似唸咒語般,親自體驗一下每個地名嘅特點。好彩,四圍嘅乘客因為專心玩手機、睇報紙、同朋友傾計,好少會注意到呢個外國「摺友」嘅古怪行為。對於陳之一嚟講,呢個就係佢搭車去西貢時消磨時間嘅心得!

到達嘅時候,陳之一感到肚餓,即刻由巴士總站快步行到位於海傍廣場嘅西貢咖啡餅店,略為心急咁叫咗一壺英式紅茶及鮮奶,一個菠蘿包,同兩個葡撻。跟住佢喺出面揾到一張金屬製嘅櫈坐低,一面呷茶,一面食茶點。首先,陳之一專登聞聞菠蘿包散發出嘅誘人香氣,跟住欣賞菠蘿皮特有嘅鬆脆,最後先至慢慢品嘗嗰種又煙韌又軟糯嘅麵包。至於蛋撻,其香脆嘅撻皮帶有一股濃郁嘅牛油香氣,而且冇被蛋漿浸腍,所以食起嚟零舍脆卜卜,真係好好味。唔使十分鐘,菠蘿包同埋葡撻食到連碎屑都冇,令到四圍紮紮跳嘅麻雀甚感不滿。

因為時間仲係好早,麻雀嘅數量仲多過俾錢嘅顧客,令到成間餅店嘅氣氛尤爲舒服。食完甜點,陳之一頗滿意咁嘆茶,又隨便睇睇四圍環境:見到沙嘴街公園仔嘅狗仔;天上見到被帶有濃烈鹹水味嘅海風吹住嘅雲朵;附近一樖被風搖動得十分優美嘅榕樹。禮拜日特有嘅安寧開始滲入佢心情嘅時候,手機突然發出嘟嘟聲:係阿綠發出嘅一件電郵。阿綠離開香港以來,陳之一一直未有收到佢嘅任何消息,於是即刻打開信箱,充滿好奇心咁慢慢讀讀呢封信嘅內容:

阿一:

尋日我終於離開咗墨爾本啦,搭火車去睇吓你熱情推介嘅加士呡鄉下小鎮。其實,墨市嘅夏天真係好難受,難得可以用個半鐘坐吓有冷氣嘅火車,真係好舒服,另外作為香港人嘅我,好珍惜冇電視廣告嘅長途旅程!

你呢個故鄉實在太過枯乾啦。離開墨爾本郊區之後,窗外嘅風景變得越嚟越乾,冇乜水份。大自然界嘅顏色,逐啲逐啲咁縮小成乾噌噌又單調嘅淡啡色,冇乜水潤綠色——即阿綠嘅髪色!令我諗到香港啲寺廟成日掛住「風調雨順」四個字,暗示香港人祈求合適嘅風雨。但澳洲如此欠缺降雨,澳洲人唔係應該更瘋狂咁祈求更多嘅雨水!將來全球嘅氣候如果真係變得過熱,墨爾本想必最快面臨毀滅。

另外,我又好難想像墨爾本市同廣東之間原來如此親密過!喺加士呡嗰間小型博物館裏面,我見到資料介紹話喺淘金時代,呢度居然曾經有五間廣東式嘅廟宇。而加士呡中又有一個類似唐人街嘅地方,被當時白種人叫做“小廣東”。展覽品之中,有一塊相當優秀嘅木製牌匾,版匾油成金色,寫上「恩覃海外」四個黑色大字,右邊刻上紅色日期(“同治癸酉歲孟夏吉旦立”),即係一八七四年!諗到一百多年前,如果我喺呢度經過,係可以遇到自己嘅同胞,令到感到歷史可以幾咁微妙,幾咁巧合!不過,真係好難過,除咗博物館裏面寥寥無幾嘅展覽品之外,嗰陣時嘅文物遺產,已經蕩然無存,呢種無情嘅破壞真係令我好心痛。

不過,開心嘅係,你推薦嗰間小型意大利咖啡室到而家都仲喺度,其實我好難想像,喺澳洲鄉下嘅小鎮裏面,可以揾到咁有歐洲風味嘅地方,好難得呀!我喺意大利留學嗰陣時,遇到唔少呢類細細哋嘅食肆,特別鐘意喺呢啲地方觀察當地嘅日常生活同習慣。我同嗰間咖啡室嘅老細提到你,佢起初好似唔知我講邊個,好彩最後都記得你呢位高高瘦瘦,識中文嘅舊熟客仔。我估,佢生意做得唔錯,你日後有機會返嚟,應該仲有機會喺度嘆返杯咖啡。

其實,我真係頂唔順你故鄉呢種熱辣辣又乾燥到死嘅天氣,攪到我好掛住香港而家嘅冬天,尤其係過年前後嘅寒冷氣溫。好彩,再過多兩日就返嚟。如果你得閒,我想安排一次晚飯,同你同阿奇聚一聚,好唔好?

祝出入平安!

阿綠

2018-10-04 Yan Taan Hoi Ngoih_CROPPED

讀完呢封電郵之後,陳之一覺得好滿意:阿綠鐘意佢所推薦嘅地方,認為呢啲地方都有吸引力。不過,阿綠嘅字裏行間有一種若隱若現嘅憂慮感俾佢,但係佢根本唔知究竟係乜嘢?

為咗打發呢股憂慮感,陳之一決定離開餅店,稍為心急咁行去宜春街上裝修得好精緻嘅天后廟。自從喺索罟灣留低封信以來,佢開始感到一種零舍奇怪嘅感覺。佢自覺就算再寫信俾父親都會變成浪費,換句話,寫信嘅需要已經告一段落。不過,咁樣係咪暗示佢冇機會揾到阿爸嘅?天后廟嘅前院喺用石片舖好,陳之一到達時注意到一個服裝樸素嘅老伯,呢位阿伯行過主廟門口嗰一刻,就停一停緩慢咁合什作禮,向入面嘅女神表示敬畏。陳之一覺得呢種從容嘅拜神態度好得意,能夠同人生嘅其他活動融為一體。寺廟裏面暗淡嘅光線同外面嘅光明構成強勁嘅對比,而且呢一種與眾不同嘅幽暗環境,能夠安慰陳之一心裏約憂約慮嘅情緒。等到內心嘅混亂平靜落嚟,佢就開始向天后祈福:「天后娘娘護我身,日月星辰顯光華。掃盡一切苦厄,消千災解萬難。智慧明淨,心神安寧。去來自在任逍遙,無有恐怖也無愁」。念完經,陳之一就慢慢行到前面嘅一張香案度攞一對「問杯」,打算向天后請教。

陳之一向天后問咗同一個問題三次,佢問天后應唔應該再繼續寫信揾父親,問杯每次嘅答案居然都係「否」,令到佢覺得好不可思議。其實陳之一好難接受咁肯定嘅回答,亦都無法避免自己下定論:難道父親已經離世?天后元君嘅三次答案仲會唔會有其他解釋?嗰一刻外國男人感到好困擾,但係陳之一仍然向天后娘娘表示感激,然後走出廟外曬普通日光。

行到街尾時,陳之一過馬路向左走,然後一直沿住西貢公路,經過各種各樣嘅店舖。冇耐,佢就遇到路旁邊嘅一座極細嘅「土地廟仔」,廟仔內擺放著五至七位神像,包括三位觀音小雕像同埋兩隻陶瓷大笨象,大笨象突然變成觀音專用嘅寵物咁。諗到呢一點,陳之一突然瞥見到一隻貓仔,既怕羞又充滿好奇心,從廟仔後面咁望住澳洲男人。貓仔見到呢個消瘦嘅怪人,知道對自己冇乜威脅,就滿不在乎咁跳去廟仔頂上,喺太陽下認真舐吓自己對前爪。

去西貢嘅時候,陳之一一般鐘意一個人行到市區東北邊徑棚下附近一條山澗畔上,坐低聽聽大自然特有嘅靜謐。不過,今日佢一反常態,決定去一趟北港,經過澳朗村隔離嘅濾水廠,轉入北港路。雖然北港遠離海岸,但係呢度都有一間天后廟,其實由於一次零舍巧合嘅機遇,呢間天后廟正正係陳之一一生中第一次去到嘅天后廟。不過,由於對於父親嘅種種憂慮,佢再唔想去嗰度拜神,而一直沿住馬路到一個名叫狐狸頭嘅偏僻角落,狐狸頭亦都有一條山澗,水中仲有唔少一直享受水流溫柔摩擦嘅大石,每一嚿都被磨到閃炩炩,部分表面舖住一層翠綠色嘅苔蘚。路上車輛、途人唔多,以便陳之一喺水石之間欣賞大地轉瞬即逝嘅各種遐想。

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舊年變得越來越沈重,新年嘅降臨令到大家覺得越來越興奮:世上所有嘅生物將會獲得一個重新開始嘅機會。雖然氣溫已經轉涼,見到太陽嘅時刻並唔算太多,但係除咗生活最艱苦嘅市民,多數人都會感到某種美妙嘅內在溫暖,令到乏味嘅生活靜靜地增加趣味。到處可見過年嘅跡象:最為搶眼嘅紅色突然重返人間,以揮春、利市封、年貨等嘅形式驅走香港嘅其他顏色。與此同時,艷紅嘅歸來又意味著鮮花嘅爆發,而呢一座城市,喺習慣於運用石屎、金錢、瀝青、法律、電力、鋼鐵、玻璃、汽油等彰顯自己嘅優勢,而家開始受到呢啲成千上萬嘅芬芳花瓣嘅溫柔攻勢,大自然好似係想透過隱藏於人類嘅內心深處:對於美麗嘅極度追求,將堅硬無比嘅都市逐啲逐啲咁變軟、變柔、變嫩。現時得到人間注視嘅係桃花,水仙、菊花、劍蘭、蘭花。突然間,人生嘅單調、千篇一律而又枯燥嘅生活節奏受到花海一浪接一浪嘅淹蓋,因此人心深處嘅種種洩氣、沮喪、挫敗感隨之變得不再重要。

適逢呢種特殊時刻,阿綠嘅飯廳,飯枱坐著三個人同埋一隻貓:即頭髮早就染回綠色嘅阿綠,陳之一,阿奇同埋蛾鬼。阿綠呢次煮嘅晚飯相當簡單:為咗迎合外國朋友口味,特登為大家煮意大利粉同埋一個西湯——翠玉瓜湯,而因爲想補足吓過年嘅濃烈氣氛,所以佢又整咗蘿蔔糕同埋另外一啲過年菜。兩個男人因為好少下廚煮嘢食,就特別欣賞呢次「阿綠優惠」,覺得格外興奮。至於蛾鬼,因為阿綠特登買咗蝦仁俾佢食,就感到非常之滿意,甚至暫時放棄佢平時最鐘意整蠱阿奇嘅念頭。

晚飯之後,佢哋跟住一面飲酒,一面隨便傾計。阿綠去墨市時,偶然機會下聽過一次澳洲土著嘅音樂表演,所以佢哋講開有關音樂嘅話題。阿奇一直都有練習彈吉他,而為咗證明呢一點就請阿綠同陳之一睇吓佢對手嘅手指甲:左手嘅指甲都一律修得好短,而右手嘅情況啱啱相反,故意隻隻手指甲都得登留長小小,而且磨得好光滑,務求減少接觸到啲吉他線,減少摩擦。陳之一覺得好驚訝同有趣,佢從來都冇留意過呢啲事情!大家因而放聲大笑。跟住,陳之一用神神祕祕嘅口吻提出「香港擁有兩種靈異音樂」。

「咩嘢兩種音樂?係咪又同我哋拋書包?」阿綠好似有少少懷疑咁追問。

「唔係呀!」陳之一連忙回答一聲。「等我嚟解釋吓先。呢件事真係幾神秘。我第一次嚟到香港住嘅鄉村,叫樟樹灘,係中文大學附近嘅。嗰陣時,因為仲未適應香港嘅生活同埋天氣,心情都係麻麻哋,你知我份人特別緊張,特別敏感。尤其係夜晚,我覺得好難受,睡房張床太短,根本唔啱我瞓,攪到我要瞓梳化。另外,我亦冇開冷氣嘅習慣,間屋零舍翳焗。我記得有一晚,好似係深夜,我突然間由夢中驚醒起嚟,耳邊響著一種好神秘嘅旋律,好獨特,令到我全神貫注咁聽。咦,呢種音樂究竟係邊度傳嚟㗎?我無論點樣努力,都無法確定音樂嘅淶源。係咪一種超越人間嘅音樂,大自然特有嘅一種微妙音樂?不過,最奇怪嘅係,我最後開始覺得音樂係由自己內心中所產生嘅,其實有一段時間我好難判斷出邊度係內心,邊度係外邊世界,真係分唔清楚!然後,因為身心特別攰,所以就慢慢咁瞓著返。」

陳之一話口未完,隔離單位突然傳嚟一段粵劇歌聲,呢把尖厲嘅聲音好容易令人聯想到淒慘嘅鬼叫聲,因此大家都忍唔住同時笑一笑。不幸,正正喺呢一刻,蛾鬼忽然一鼓作氣咁由地下跳到枱面上,因為嚟得太突然,呢三個人都被嚇嚫,三人瞬間都以為真係有隻幽靈係度顯靈咁。因為嚇一嚇,陳之一唔小心將阿綠嗰隻空酒杯撞倒,由枱上面跌落嚟。好彩,阿奇嘅反應能力零舍快,喺半空中及時接住隻杯,唔係嘅話,隻杯一定會落地開花,富貴榮華。

阿奇以一種既責備又溫柔嘅口氣輕聲責罵貓貓一番:「曵鬼!呢世界  ⋯  最曵  ⋯  最鬼  ⋯   一隻貓!」同時,陳之一讚呢位紐西蘭朋友嘅本能反應真係好快,想必佢童年玩棒球一定玩得好精彩,反應速度簡直去到爐火純青嘅程度。

阿綠嘅眼睛突然亮起嚟,好似靈機一動咁。「我哋不如試吓請杯仙,好唔好?」

佢攞住阿奇啱啱救返嗰隻酒杯,倒轉咁放喺枱面,然後起身行去廚房,跟住左手攞住一樽辣椒醬,右手攞住一樽鹽行返飯廳,擺放喺枱上面。

「好啦!左邊嘅鹽就代表“係”,而右邊嘅辣椒醬就等如“否”。大家用一隻食指(左右手都無所謂)輕輕咁放喺個酒杯底上。然後,我哋就可以問問題,當然問題只係能用“係”或者“否”回答嘅。記住千祈唔好用力推喐個杯,只要耐心咁先,嗰杯會自動喐㗎!如果答案係好清晰嘅話,佢就會喐向樽鹽或者辣椒醬嘅方向,相反,情況唔係好肯定嘅話,佢通常會不斷亂打圈,但係假如佢都唔想回答,就可能喐都唔喐。好啦!大家得未?我哋坐近啲,大家都可以掂到個杯底。」

跟住阿奇同陳之一就企起身將櫈拉近啲,然後按照指示伸出食指放喺個酒杯圓形底部之上。

「哦,太光啦,等我點枝蠟燭先啦!」

阿綠又行去廚房,攞住枝點好嘅蠟燭返嚟,跟住就熄嗮屋企裏面所有電燈。

正在此刻,阿奇忽然話俾大家知,佢有問題想問「神」。

「好呀!你問問題嘅時候,我同阿一一齊幫你問。大家記住集中精神,唔係嘅話效果就一定唔夠好。」

「嗰個人鐘唔鐘意我?」阿奇立即對住個酒杯大聲提問。阿綠同埋陳之一就跟著低聲幫佢不停咁重復呢個問題。不過,其實佢哋兩個都唔知阿奇嗰個「佢」究竟係指邊個!

一開頭,個杯喺枱面中間,喐都唔喐,但係經過大約一分鐘嘅反覆提問之後,三個人嘅指尖度突然感到一陣震蕩,稍後隻杯就開始向樽鹽嗰度慢慢滑過去,阿奇臉上開始露出笑意,不過就快去到嗰刻,酒杯就鬼使神差咁改變方向,緩慢地滑返去枱中間。阿奇嘅表情隨著發生轉變,而等到酒杯接近辣椒醬時,佢顯得好唔開心,「哎吔!」傷心一聲脫口而出。不過,個杯仲未去到辣椒醬度又改變方向,轉頭滑返中間位置,然後嘎然停住。

「嘩,酒杯  ⋯ 真係喐動!」阿奇驚喜咁話。「不過  ⋯  我攪唔清楚  ⋯  嗰個人鐘意  ⋯  唔鐘意我?  ⋯ 好唔清楚!」

「或者佢到而家仲未揸定主意,又或者可能連你自己都未攪清楚自己想點?」

「我條心  …  我肯定知道!」阿奇果斷咁回答。

「一定啦!好啦,阿一,輪到你問啦!」阿綠即刻轉開話題,好想為感到尷尬嘅阿奇盡快解圍。

陳之一即刻搖搖頭,話自己仲未諗到恰當嘅問題,叫阿綠有問題就問先啦。佢講呢番說話時,阿綠注意到佢神經有少少緊張,仲用左手輕輕拍一拍佢腰邊嘅褲袋。其實,陳之一早就諗到想問嘅問題,但係估到阿綠一定想問清楚有關舉辦母親展覽嘅事。

事實如陳之一所料。阿綠此刻轉身面對酒杯細聲提問:「媽咪嘅展覽有冇辦法攪得成?」

個杯立即開始移動,速度好穩定,唔使幾秒,毫無猶豫就去到樽鹽度。

阿奇無法掩飾佢十分驚訝嘅心情:「嘩,好快!… 個杯一定鐘意你! … 樽鹽就係話 … 一定可以攪展覽啦!」

此刻,陳之一突然將張櫈往後移,就企咗起身,喺褲袋入面攞出一個鮮紅色嘅利是出嚟。

「阿綠!想俾一樣嘢你。哦 …… 恭喜發財!」

阿綠以為佢只不過係玩遊戲,冇接到陳之一手上嘅禮物。

「阿綠,俾你!」陳之一呢刻以零舍懇求嘅口氣吩咐。

接過嗰封鮮紅色嘅利是之後,阿綠終於明白陳之一想點,佢馬上打開,抽出入面嘅一張紙,係一張支票,上面寫嘅數目令阿綠瞬間感到休克,簡直冇法相信自己雙眼,驚訝到講不出聲。

「阿綠,我一路都對藝術有興趣,於是好想支持 …… 」

「你呀?」阿綠仲未恢復正常,仍有困難咁一字一字咁講。「你 … 藝術 … 點會產生興趣?」

陳之一即刻回答話:「黐線亦都係一門藝術!」

「乜話?」阿綠顯得困惑,阿奇亦摸不著頭腦。

陳之一好小心咬字,再重復頭先講過嘅嗰句話:「慈善亦都係一門藝術。」

阿綠一聽到就坐低,忍唔住落淚哭起嚟,然後又企起身去廚房攞一樽酒同三隻洗乾淨嘅酒杯,跟著就酌酒,請大家為友誼同埋藝術飲一杯。三個人都不由自主咁齊聲叫「飲勝!」

經過一段沉默之後,阿綠將樽酒同自己嘅酒杯擱置喺一邊,又一次將一隻手指放喺張餐臺中央嘅酒杯底上。

「好呀!不如我哋再嚟問問杯仙啦!香港嘅前途會點樣?」

「香港 … 前途 … 點樣?」阿奇好集中精神咁重復咗一次。

最初,個杯未有任何反應,但係經過相當長嘅時間之後,佢就喐起嚟,以極度緩慢嘅速度打一次圈。喺三個人不斷詢問之下,杯子又打一次圈,嗰圈比第一次大啲,喐動嘅速度又有明顯嘅增加。此後,嗰個杯好似行星咁進入軌道開始不斷咁打圈,而打圈嘅動作非常之順利,在場嘅三個人因此而十分驚訝,好似受到類似催眠般嘅效果,再無法離開枱邊,只能望住個杯所作出嘅優秀動作,聽聽玻璃杯口喺滑過餐枱木面時所發出令人難受嘅摩擦聲。大家都感到手臂攰嘅時候,無法再忍受酒杯無休止嘅打圈動作,個酒杯忽然往枱上嗰樽鹽飛過去,再向枱邊滑過去,然後跳到樽鹽外邊嘅空間之中。呢次,無論阿奇接波嘅技巧訓練得如何熟練,冇人可以阻止佢跌喺堅硬嘅木地板上,被打爛成好多碎片。

以鉛筆寫作:杜杜嘅《晚霞》/ Written in Pencil: Toto’s “Sunset Glow”

Evette KWOK_Sunset Three

I first came across the work of Hong Kong writer 杜杜 Toto in 2002, when I bought his collection of mainly short texts entitled 《住家風景》or Domestic Scenery. His touch is very light, almost sketchy, as if he wrote everything in pencil, but there are unexpected depths in his work, inspired to a large degree by his religious orientation. If you can read Chinese, try and find a copy of 《住家風景》. If you don’t, then here’s a brief sample of his writing just to give you some idea of his quiet powers.

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《晚霞》

望出去是海。麻雀在晚霞的金黃裏飛着吱喳着。碼頭前是匆忙的行人。有巴士聲,有電視機聲。妻子和兒子臥在床上。 妻子說着故事哄兒子睡覺。我一下子就感應到一切都和我毫無相干。我只是活在這世界上,無端地在看晚霞消失。

寂寞是唯一永遠存在的事物。我原以為寂寞遠離我去,隨著我逝去的青春歲月。那些枯燥苦悶而無可如何的日子,我以為都成為過去了。我已經忘了。結婚多年,只試過有一次夢見自己走在幽暗的長走廊,碰不着一個朋友,然後一身冷汗地醒來。

如今我望着晚霞消失。我只是活在這世界上。人生不過如此。誰得意了?

我原也是個傷感多情的人。自少如此,到如今。人是不會改變的。人只是裝了個面具,嘻哈地過日子。

寂寞是我最好的朋友。我不在害怕。

寂寞,你好?

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“Sunset Glow”

Looking out, I have a view of the sea. In the gold of the sunset glow, sparrows fly about twittering. People scurry around at the entrance to the ferry pier. The noise of buses, and the noise of television sets. My wife is lying on the bed with our son, telling him a story to make him fall asleep. All of a sudden, my response to all this is that it has nothing whatever to do with me. I live on this Earth and nowhere else, watching for no reason the glow of sunset fade away.

Loneliness is the only thing that lasts forever. I was under the impression that, once the years of my youth were over, loneliness had left me for good. Those dreary, depressing days that I could do nothing to change were now, I thought, behind me. I had already forgotten them. In many years of marriage, only once have I had the experience of dreaming that I was walking down a long, gloomy corridor without bumping into a single friend — after the dream, I woke up in a cold sweat.

And now here I am, watching the sunset glow fade. I live on this Earth and nowhere else. That’s just the way it is. No one’s special!

I used to be someone who lived mainly through their feelings. I was like this when I was young, and I still am. People can’t change. We all just wear masks, fake-laughing our way through our lives.

Loneliness is our best friend. I no longer have anything to fear.

So, how are you, Loneliness?

Photograph by Evette Kwok, 2019