5 -Minute Coffee with Uncle Reggie Story: “I’m going to go away as far as I can.”
与曾叔叔喝五分钟的咖啡:“我要离开,能走多远走多远” (Andy/dz 翻译)

“I’m running away as far as I can,” I shouted. I slammed the door and left home, not knowing where I was really going. I took the public bus as far as I could go and made a tour of Kowloon, the northern peninsula section of Hong Kong. A few hours later, tired and hungry with nothing really to do, I headed home. My parents said nothing and we left the matter.
“能有多远我就要逃多远”,我喊出一声,便摔上家门走出去,却不知道真的要到哪里。我上公交车走了九龙一大圈,就是香港的北部半岛地区。过了几个小时之后,我又累又饿,也没什么事做,就掉头回家了。我的父母什么都没说,不再提这件事情了。

I have forgotten whatever it was that prompted this outburst of teenage arrogance. But the big blow-ups at home usually related to some injustice I felt by being blamed for my two younger brothers’ naughtiness! Or perceived parental injustices towards the domestic help, when they scolded the servants too harshly in my view!
我忘记是什么事情那一次惹起了青少年傲气。可是,通常在我们家里发生冲突是因为我两个弟弟淘气嫁祸于我而让我感到不公平,或者是我觉得父母对家庭佣工的责备过于苛刻是不公平的。

Hong Kong is a really small place and you cannot run too far away. You could take the bus around and around, but you couldn’t cross over into China (the border was strictly closed during my childhood), you couldn’t fly out from the airport without critical documents, and you couldn’t easily get on a boat to go out of the territory. So as a young kid my options were severely limited.
香港是一个很小的地方,人也不可能跑得多远。可以一圈一圈地坐公交车,但不能跨境到中国大陆(我小的时候边境是不开放的),如果身上没有关键证件也不能坐飞机飞出去,而坐船出境也不是一件容易的事。所以,年轻的时候我的选择少之又少。

What about you, did you have the option of running away, and did you? How far could you go? And how safe was it to go far away from home?
你呢,你曾经有过逃离的选择吗?你逃了吗?你能走得多远?离家很远是安全的吗?

Or, did you ever even threaten your parents that you would run far away? And how old were you when you stopped saying something like that? I’m going to assume that after you grew up, maybe you actually moved far away from home. Was your move related subconsciously to this childhood instinct to run far away? Just a bit? I have often wondered.
你有没有威胁过你的父母,说你要逃到很远的地方呢?你不再说这种话是年纪多大的时候呢?我假定,你长大以后可能确实到了一个离家很远的地方。这是不是在潜意识中与这种青少年的逃离本能有关系?即使是一点点?我反正常常这样思考。

Teenagers especially can have a strange relationship with their parents. I remember a very important school function that I should have been very proud that my parents would attend. But when my parents did come to the school, I kept my distance from them. I’m not sure why, and thinking back, my actions were really strange and disrespectful.
尤其是青少年与父母的关系有时候会比较奇怪。我记得上高中的时候有一次很重要的活动,我父母来参加本来是应该让我很骄傲的,但我父母到场的时候我却偏偏远离他们了。我不太清楚是为什么,而现在回想起来我的这种行为是很奇怪而且无礼的。

It was something related to pride and arrogance, something about being embarrassed by my parents for no reason, and just being a teenager! There’s something awkward about growing up and something about independence that makes young people do awkward things.
这在某种程度上牵连着自己的傲慢、无理由地对我父母的尴尬、还有简单因为我是一个青少年。成长的过程是有点尴尬的,而年轻人要独立起来使得他们做出一些尴尬的事情。

Everyone went far away. It’s also strange, but in our family history, when each generation was growing up, actually everyone did go far away from home. For various reasons, as if they were running away from home!
大家都远离了。也很奇怪,我们家庭里的每一代人一旦长大都会离开自己的家到很远的地方。他们有各种各样的理由,看起来好像都是在逃离家一样!

Going west, far away to Thailand. Even my wife’s parents went far away from their ancestral Hakka village home in southern China, to the southernmost tip of Thailand. As my father-in-law was one of the few western-trained doctors from the Christian Hospital of the village, and even one of the relatively few then in China, a major impetus for the move was likely a Christian call to serve in a needy land.
向西行,到远方的泰国。连我太太的父母也远离他们中国南部的客家故乡,到了泰国的最南部。我岳父在他们村里工作的地方是一所基督教医院,当时他是一名甚至在全国少有的受过西方培训的医生,所以他们搬到泰国的动机很可能是来自信仰的呼召去服侍一个有很多需求的地方。

Photo 1: My wife’s parents took the slow boat from the hills of Southern China to far-away Thailand, to start the first western medical clinic in a small southern town. 照片一:我妻子的父母坐了慢船,从中国南部的山区到了远方的泰国,在一个南方的小镇建立了第一个西医诊所。

The family rumor was that the move was related to banditry in the local hills, even kidnappings. I wonder also if the practical reasons for the call included the sense of adventure, plus the great needs specifically of a growing migrant Hakka population in South Thailand.
按照家族中的传言,他们搬家是因为山里的土匪出没甚至绑架人。我想,在他们呼召中实际的一面是不是还包括了大冒险的情怀,加上住泰国南部的客家移民人群的迫切需要。

My mother-in-law was a mission-hospital-trained midwife, so the combination of modern trained doctor and midwife meant they were soon in high demand in the small town of Haadyai, their new home. A country with a totally different language and culture, making it in essence a missionary move.
我的岳母是在基督信仰背景的医院受过培训的助产士,而在他们的新家,一个名叫合艾的小镇里,这种受过现代医疗培训的医生和助产士的组合马上非常受欢迎。他们搬到一个语言和文化完全陌生的国家,基本上可以说是去海外宣道和服务。

They never returned to their ancestral home, in part because the solo medical practice was difficult to leave, and in part because of civil war in China, then World War II, and finally the “bamboo curtain” around China that essentially closed off the country to the world.
他们再也没有回到自己的故乡,一边是因为很难离开独自经营的诊所,另一边是因为中国的内战,其后的第二次世界大战,而最后把中国与世界隔离起来的“竹幕”。

Going nautically west, far away by slow boat to China. I’ve written about my mother traveling thousands of miles from Seattle, USA to Kunming in Yunnan, China, in the early 1930s, to join her sister who was in medical missions there. Even when I worked in medical missions in Kunming in the 1990s, it was still a small city, so I imagine that in the 1930s it must have been really small, with lots of areas of great poverty. So not only were language and culture a huge problem, the living situation was an obvious major difference from her USA life.
过海西行,坐慢船到远方。我以前写过我母亲在1930年代为了加入她姐姐的医疗援助工作,从美国的西雅图到了远在几千英里的中国云南的昆明的故事。我在1990年代的时候在昆明参与医疗援助工作,它依旧是一个小城市,所以我可以想象在1930年的时候应该是一个很小而贫困的地方。所以,不仅是语言和文化给我母亲带来了很大的挑战,整个生活环境跟她在美国的生活是显然不同的。

Photo 2: My mother took the slow boat to far-away China to teach, leaving her world of Chinese Christian minority of minorities in Seattle. Her family photo, with her standing in the center of the back row, as the third daughter of Pastor Hwang (Wong), first pastor of Seattle Chinese Baptist Church.
照片二:我的母亲坐上慢船到远方的中国,离开她在西雅图作为一个少数人群中的少数人——华人基督徒的生活。她是西雅图华人浸信教会第一个牧师黄牧师的第三个女儿,在这张全家福里站在后排中间的位置。

The reason for her shocking move was unclear, since she was never thought to be adventurous. Some thought that, being part of a very small minority in Seattle, maybe there was an element of running far away, in this case to the land of her ancestors?
人们对她惊人的举动很不明白,因为她在别人眼里从来不像一个喜欢探险的人。有人觉得,因为她在西雅图属于一个特别小的少数人群,也许有一些逃离的因素包含在内。对她而言是不是要逃到自己祖先的土地上呢?

She never returned to live in Seattle, though in old age she came to live in Cincinnati next door to us. The Midwest was really a strange new place to her, with none of her Seattle childhood friends and family anywhere nearby.
以后她没有回到美国西部的西雅图生活,不过年老的时候她搬到中西部的城市辛辛那提住在我们的隔壁。中西部对她来说也是一个很陌生的地方,见不到任何她小的时候住西雅图的家人朋友。

Even the church was very different for her: her home church in Hong Kong was English-speaking, with a number of Americans. But in Cincinnati the church included mostly Mandarin speakers, who tried to speak to her in Mandarin, not realizing that this apparently Chinese older woman spoke only English! Which was really confusing to everyone!
连教会都很不一样:她在香港参加的教会是讲英语的,成员中还有一些美国人。可是在辛辛那提教会里的人大部分都讲汉语,而他们尝试跟她说普通话,并没有意识到这位长的像中国人的老太太只会说英语。这可是令大家很困惑!

From a small village to a huge city. It turns out that the shortest move was my dad’s move from the ancestral village in Southern China to Hong Kong, to finish high school and to go on to the University of Hong Kong for medical studies. He then continued to live in Hong Kong for essentially the rest of his life.
从小村庄到大都市。原来搬家距离最短的是我父亲。他为了上完高中和继续在香港大学学医,从他中国南部老家的小村搬到了香港,接着继续住在香港过他的余生。

Even though it was a “short” 150 miles away, I’m sure it was a major culture shock for him to live in the then-British colony, already one of the most sophisticated cities in the East. The locals spoke Cantonese, a language quite different from the village Hakka. And the official language of the city was actually English. But Dad seemed quite adaptable. His English missionary village school indeed must have prepared him well, even for the totally English-speaking university!
虽然只有“短短”一百五十英里的距离,对他来说住在一个英国殖民地,又是东方的一座繁华都市,肯定是一个大的文化冲击。当地人说的是粤语,跟家乡的客家话很不一样,而且官方语言其实是英语。可是,老爸的适应能力还不错。他在村里的宣道人举办的学校学过英语,明显给了他充分的装备,哪怕是为了以后在一个完全用英文授课的大学学习!

When the Imperial Japanese military invaded Hong Kong during World War II, Dad brought our new family (mother and baby me) back to the safer ancestral village in the hills for a few years. That was really the only time he went back to the village to stay for a while. The “bamboo curtain” around China fell only a few years after the War was over, and his later solo medical practice in Hong Kong restricted most long-distance travel plans.
当日本帝国军在二战时期侵略香港,爸爸带我们一家人(母亲和刚出生的我)回到山区,在更加安全的老家度过了几年。那是唯一一次他长期回老家。战争结束之后的几年中国一直被“竹幕”围住,而他在香港独自行医也限制了他到远方旅行的大部分计划。

Going eastward, far away from Thailand. My wife, Esther, grew up in the little town of Haadyai in southern Thailand, which had only three main streets at the time. But as a young 14-year-old teenager, she traveled nearly two thousand miles, far away to the huge city of Hong Kong. I might think that growing up in small-town Thailand with excellent relationships at home and church, why would a young girl want to do that? It kind of stretches my mind to think of that… to a different land speaking an unknown Cantonese language, to live among relatives she had never met before. Even today I would think that’s really very startling!
向东行,远离泰国。我的妻子以斯帖长大的地方是泰国南部的小镇合艾,当时镇上只有三条大街。不过,她年纪才十四岁的时候出去,到了两千英里外的大都市香港。我会想,一个在泰国小镇长大的,与家庭和教会关系很好的年轻小女孩到底为什么愿意这样做?要到一个语言陌生的新地方,跟从来没见过面的亲戚住在一起——这让我很难想象。哪怕是发生在今天我都会非常惊讶!

The historic reason was that the family wanted her to have a proper Chinese education. Chinese language schools had been shut down by the Thai government during a phase of “red scare”, the growing fear that ethnic Chinese populations in Southeast Asia could be tapped by the new and rising “Red China” for potential secret insurrections. There was good Chinese education in Hong Kong, so that was a good impetus for Esther to go.
历史环境方面的理由是家人希望给她提供正规的中国式教育。当时正在经历一段“红色恐慌”,就是当地政府越来越害怕新兴起的“红色中国”在暗地里影响当地华人,把他们培养成分裂分子,于是关了泰国的所有中文学校。在香港却可以得到高水平的中文教育,这正是送以斯帖去的原动力。

But Esther had an additional major reason to leave. She was fed up with the obviously corrupt local policemen. Many of them came by to visit, to extort money from successful Chinese business people, and in her dad’s case, even a thriving medical clinic. She just could not stand the extortions, right before her eyes, from misbehaving policeman plopping down in the chairs of the clinic expecting to be well respected! And even fed. Esther was disgusted, and vowed to leave!
除此之外,以斯帖还有另外一个很大的理由离开:她受不了明显腐败的当地警察。他们经常会过来串门,勒索成功华人商人的钱,即使是她父亲办得兴旺的医疗诊所。她简直看不惯这些失职的警官坐上诊所的椅子,在她眼前索贿的同时还要别人的尊重和饭菜。以斯帖对此感到厌恶,发誓要离开!

Photo 3: My brave future wife, flying to the huge city for middle school studies, leaving corrupt police harassment. Airport welcome (4th from right). 照片三:我勇敢的将来的妻子,离开腐败警察的骚扰,飞到了大都市上中学。在机场的迎接(从右数第四位)。

Cross-cultural, cross-language transition. After she arrived in Hong Kong, she suddenly realized that the language of Cantonese was indeed very different and very difficult (9 tones); for a while she could not understand a word of what was being spoken in school classes.
跨文化和语言的过渡。她到达香港以后,忽然发现粤语确实又不一样又不好学(有九个声调):刚开始她对课堂里所讲的一句话都听不懂。

Fortunately, in those days kids copied down nearly verbatim notes of their teachers’ presentations, meticulously and precisely. So she could read the Chinese script from her friends’ class notes, and managed to even do well at school!
幸亏,那时候孩子们会把老师讲的几乎每句话仔细精确地抄写下来,所以她可以用同学的中文笔记来阅读课程内容,这么一来还获得了不错的成绩!
The hyper-frenetic Hong Kong culture was much different from the quiet hometown she came from. Unlike her parents, however, she did manage to visit her Thailand home quite often, since by then she could easily fly to Bangkok, and then fly or take the train down to her home town.
超级繁忙的香港文化与她家乡是截然不同的。可是,不像她父母那样,她经常回泰国的家,因为那时候已经可以坐飞轻松地到曼谷,然后再坐飞机或者火车到家。

The farthest nautically eastward run. Ultimately, my wife and I probably went the farthest from home, since we flew 7500 miles, technically eastward, into another new western culture and world. The saving grace initially, especially for my wife, was that we could readily attend a mostly Cantonese-speaking church (in Chicago, ten minutes from home by car), so there was some immediate connection to our Asian background.
过海向东的最远行程。最终,我和妻子可能是走得离家最远的人,基本上向东飞七千五百英里,到了一个全新的西方文化和世界里。当初给我和尤其太太最大的帮助是我们可以方便地参加一个以粤语为主的教会(就在芝加哥,离家十分钟的开车距离),这样可以直接与我们的亚洲背景保持联络。

In theory, we went to the US for my professional postgraduate training, but actually we left Hong Kong mostly because I was fed up with the hyper-competitive Hong Kong and often brutal academic medical atmosphere. I was going far away from that, though I have wondered whether there was maybe also some other subconscious childhood drive to just be far from home?
理论上,我们去美国的理由是我毕业后的专科培训,但实际上我们离开香港的主要原因是我对当地的竞争超级激烈的生活和医疗学术氛围十分厌倦。我是要远离这种环境的,不过也想过或许还有某种青少年离开家的驱动力在潜意识中发作用。

And we never returned to live in Asia, in spite of significant professional invitations and options. In fact, I had made a secret childish vow, as the plane lifted off the renowned Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport, “Goodbye, Hong Kong, I’m not ever coming back!!”
我们后来没有回到亚洲生活,虽然我在专业领域上遇到过不错的邀请和机会。其实,当飞机从香港有名的启德机场起飞时,我偷偷发了一个幼稚的誓:“告别了,香港,我再也不回来了!!”。

Photo 4: Flying far, far off for professional development just six days after our wedding, leaving the world of intense academia.
照片四:婚礼结束仅仅六天之后,离开激烈的学术世界,飞到遥远的地方去进修。

So we all went far away. So it’s fair to say that every member of our family had our own story of going far, far away, whether we were possibly running away, or going towards a new dream, a new place of adventure! We were all immigrants in many different, even opposite geographic directions! I could call us all historic “crisscross migrants”, my made-up term.
最后,我们都远离家了。无论是逃跑还是追随梦想和探险,我们家庭的每个人都有自己到远方的故事。我们都是走向四面八方的移民,而用我自己创造的词语可以称呼为历史上的“纵横交错的移民”。

Closing the loop, coming home. But the beauty is that there can be a final personal closing of the loop. At some point many sort of come home, often to find our roots, either physically or metaphorically. I consider both my ancestral story-telling as well as our ultimate move to Seattle, my mother’s birthplace, and being now very close to our own family, as our poetic homecoming!
走成一圈,归家。可是,对一个人来说也可以有一个最终的归属,是一件美好的事。很多人在人生的某一个点上会找到他们实际的或者隐喻的根基,好像回到了家一样。我把我祖先的故事写出来,而我们自己最后搬到我母亲的出生地西雅图,现在又跟自己家人住得很近——我认为这一切都构成了我们诗意的归家!

Good stories are often complex, and multiple lessons can be learned from them. Many people resonate particularly with the complex ultra-famous story of The Prodigal Son, who ran far away from home, but dramatically closed his story in great homecoming celebration.
好故事往往是比较复杂的,里面可以包含很多教训。有一个著名又复杂的浪子回头的故事,引起很多人的共鸣。其中的浪子逃离家,但戏剧性地以欢乐的归家庆典结束了自己的故事。

His story is actually one of the greatest stories of restoration, but the story is so complex that people down the ages have run away with (or even “steal”) whatever part of the story they identify with. For me, I would like to borrow the story also, for our metaphorical running away from home, which wasn’t really even “prodigal” (sorry, not that exciting), and our return.
这是讲修复关系的最伟大故事之一,它意味深长的情节让世世代代的人抓住(甚至“偷用”)对他们产生认同感的部分。对我而言,我也想借用这段故事来比喻我们“逃家”和归家,虽然实际上我们不至于是“浪子”(对不起,不如原版那么有意思)。

I just especially love stories that end dramatically well! In fact I truly wish for everyone to actually have a personal ultimate homecoming story, finally back to the warmest embrace of a long-awaiting loving heavenly Father…
我就是特别喜欢有戏剧性的美好结尾的故事!其实,我真心希望每个人都有自己最终回家的故事,最后到等待和爱他们的天父的怀抱里。