5-Minute Coffee with UR: Growing up in mysterious Thailand
曾叔叔畅聊五分钟:成长于神秘的泰国
(翻译:阴司雷,马欣怡/Dx)
Physician and midwife parents in clinic pharmacy.
粹英的父母,是医生和助产士,在诊所的药房

Ambiguous Thailand in World War II… My wife, Esther, spent her earliest childhood in Haadyai, Thailand, during the turbulent World War II period. Thailand was technically, though ambiguously neutral in the war. But close by to the south of Haadyai was the Malay peninsula, dangerously occupied by the Imperial Japanese.

泰国,二战中摇摆的中立国。。。我妻子温粹英幼年生活在泰国合艾(Haadyai)。那是二战时期,国际冲突激烈,尽管泰国技术上是中立国,但实际上其立场有些含糊。因为南邻的马来半岛已被日军攻占,合艾也岌岌可危。

And close by to the north was the location of the Bridge on the River Kwai, a legendary fictionalized movie about the Imperial Japanese building a critical railroad bridge. The movie was based on the real Burma-Siam Railroad, brutally built in part by prisoners of war, resulting in a total of more than 100,000 deaths.

有一部有名的传奇电影叫《葵河大桥》内容取材于缅甸-暹罗铁路的建造过程,那桥是日军逼迫战俘建造的,期间惨死人数超过十万。那座大桥就在 合艾的北边。

Pioneer doctor and midwife open first medical clinic... Before all this chaos, Esther’s dad trained as a doctor and her mother as a midwife in the Presbyterian Mission Fu Yin Hospital in Southern China. In the early 1930s, they traveled adventurously by boat to far-away Haadyai, Thailand, to start the first western medicine clinic there.

医生和助产士,夫妻联手开设镇上第一家西医诊所。。。粹英的父母,曾在中国南方的长老会福音医院接受培训,一个是医生一个是助产士。在战乱之前,20世纪30年代初,他们跋山涉水,从中国来到遥远的泰国合艾,开设了当地第一家西医诊所。

It was a brave move, with two small children (Esther’s much older brother and sister) in tow, but they were emboldened by the gospel of love. Her father later became an elder of the local Chinese church for mostly Hakkas, and both parents were well loved and highly respected. They literally spent their entire lives serving there, her dad especially never taking any real vacation.

这在当时,是个相当大胆的举动,他们已经有了两个孩子,就是粹英的哥哥和姐姐,但那充满爱的福音,让他们刚强壮胆!后来,粹英的父亲成为当地客家人教会的长老。她的父母实实在在地在那里服事了一辈子,德高望重。尤其是他的父亲,从来没有真正地享受过任何休假。

Grand opening of first western medical clinic, with Esther’s dad, Dr. Wen Pu-yin, in center.
第一家西医诊所隆重开业,粹英的父亲,温步仁医生

Enough blood and guts… As the pioneer medical doctor in town, the young physician treated all kinds of problems. Especially lots of bloody cuts and bruises, fractures and infectious diseases.

勇气十足,无惧血淋淋。。。作为镇上最早开始行医的人,粹英爸爸这位年轻的大夫,什么样的病患他都得诊治,包括出血的外伤、瘀伤、骨折和传染病。

Most vividly, Esther remembered the infected head boils: she often watched her dad cut open and squeeze out the copious bloody, smelly pus and pack the resultant cavities with gauze.

粹英记忆中有一个场景,一直历历在目:她多次看见爸爸切开病人头上大脓包,挤出恶臭的脓血,再用纱布填塞、包扎。

There was certainly enough blood and guts for the very young Esther to get quite accustomed to seeing the gory side of life. Since the clinic was basically the front part of their home, there was really no escaping that! And often she might accompany her mother on home visits for newborn baby care. All these experiences steeled her well for life.

因为诊所就在她家房子的前半间,无法回避,幼小的粹英见惯了血淋淋的场面,胆子也练出来了。有时她还会陪母亲上门去看望、护理新生儿。所有这些经历,都成为她生命中的力量,使她成为一个坚强的人。

Friendly frogs croaking, geckos squeaking.  As a child, Esther loved the green, grassy meadow behind her home. At night she could hear the frogs croaking and the geckos and lizards squeaking. It was a very lively, fairly harmonious symphony, and pretty noisy for the early part of most nights.

青蛙鸣,壁虎叫,合奏美妙的旋律 。。。小时候,粹英喜欢她家后面绿意盎然的草坪。通常,夜幕初临时,她就能听见青蛙、壁虎、蜥蜴的鸣叫声,就像一台生动、和谐的交响乐,热闹的虫叫蛙鸣能够持续大半个夜晚。

The meadow was a great place to lie on her back and watch elegant birds and beautiful clouds go by in the very blue skies unobscured by trees, mountains or houses. The marvels of Creation just naturally streaming by every day. Even now, decades later, when Esther sees gorgeous white clouds against a brilliant blue sky in Seattle, it brings back vivid memories of her wistful childhood cloud-gazing.

仰卧在草地上,目光所及,没有树木、山脉或房屋的遮挡,看着蔚蓝的天空,优雅的鸟儿飞过,漂亮的云朵飘浮,那感觉,舒服极了!美景天成,日复一日,陪伴着粹英的童年岁月。以至于几十年后的今天,粹英在西雅图看见蓝天白云,还会勾起她仰望云空的儿时记忆。

Scary popping eyes in the middle of the night… Esther’s much older sister loved to scare her with awful ghost stories, which made for nights of fitful sleep.

半夜三更,恐怖的眼睛。。。长粹英好几岁的姐姐喜欢编可怕的鬼故事吓唬她,使得她晚上睡觉常常惊醒。

But even before these stories, Esther had experienced other scary moments. In the middle of one night, in her family stairway, she suddenly bumped into a strange man with popping, bulging eyes. She freaked out, and nearly had a heart attack (if kids can have one).

其实,粹英早就经历过比鬼故事更吓人的事儿。曾经有一次半夜,在她家的楼梯上,粹英猛然撞见一个陌生的男人,那人的眼球凸起,看起来极其怪异,这可把她吓得要死,好像心脏都要停跳了。

It turned out that the man was a new resident guest at her home. Her dad had forgotten to tell her that Dr. Tsen, a dentist trained in China, had newly arrived in town and needed a place to stay. So he had just moved into the first floor of their home. He started his practice there with one dental chair, which later morphed into a thriving dental clinic.

Benign friendly dentist when not scaring a little girl in the middle of the night.
温和友善的牙医,曾经半夜三更吓坏了小女孩

后来她才知道,这是家里的新客人,爸爸事先忘了告诉她:他是曾医生,他在中国学的牙医,刚到这镇上,需要个落脚的地方。所以他搬过来,住在粹英家的一楼。这位曾医生,从一把牙椅做起,后来发展成一个兴旺的牙科诊所。

He was actually a very sweet older man who was particularly friendly and kind to Esther and often played with her. He wasn’t scary at all, he just had big eyes! Many years later, when I traveled to Thailand, I even had my teeth expertly fixed by him, because his reputation was so good.

他是位很温和的长辈,对粹英特别友善,经常陪她玩,他只不过眼睛大而已,一点都不可怕。因为他口碑极好,多年以后,我去泰国旅行,还找他治好过我的牙,他确实很专业。

Famous preacher preaching from her doorstep… Esther’s parents loved to host visiting missionaries and preachers. So Esther has memories of some really famous preachers stopping by. Most stayed at their home, and spoke at many local meetings. These visiting preachers included Yu Li Gung, Wu En Pu, Wang Shi and Andrew Ji Zhi Wen, all well known throughout the Chinese diaspora in Asia.

著名的传教士,在她家门口宣教。。。粹英的父母很喜欢接待过访的传教士。所以她会记得一些非常著名的传教士来过,他们大都住 在家里,并去很多聚会中讲道。其中包括:于力工,吴恩溥,王峙和计志文,他们在亚洲华人中都有名气。

Pastor Yu even dramatically spoke to a gathering of people right at the door of her dad’s clinic/home, with many chairs set out on the pavement and road in front of the clinic/home. It was a festive occasion and made quite a scene, with loudspeakers and a choir singing for the local townsfolk! Sort of like Billy Graham coming into town.

曾经有过这样的场面:在爸爸诊所兼住宅门口的小路上,摆了许多椅子,人们坐在那里,听于牧师充满激情地演讲,还有唱诗班用大喇叭给当地市民唱赞美诗。那种喜庆气氛和阵势,有点像葛培理来开布道会了。

A white Mandarin-speaking gentleman suddenly appears… The town rarely saw white people except for a few wandering hikers and trekkers. But one day in Esther’s Chinese primary school, a white gentleman showed up speaking impressively fluent Beijing Mandarin. He turned out to be the new minister of the Chinese church. He was indeed a fine gentleman, and his wife also taught Esther how to play the piano, which was the beginning of her life-long informal piano playing hobby.

突然来了一位会讲普通话的白人绅士。。。除了偶尔过路的徒步旅行者,镇上一般见不到白种人。但有一天粹英的华人小学里,来了一位白人先生,他讲一口相当流利的普通话,带着京腔。原来,他是华人教会新来的牧师。他确实是位很棒的绅士。他妻子还教过粹英弹钢琴,从此,弹钢琴成了她一生的爱好。

The gentlemanly Pastor Branford ministered in Haadyai for quite a while, but his wife passed away early from cancer and he moved on to minister in Bangkok. Just a few years ago, soon after we moved to Seattle, we discovered, to our delight, that his small sending home church was actually in Yakima, very near us in Seattle.

白牧师很有绅士风度,他在合艾服事了相当长一段时间,后来他妻子因癌症早逝,他转到曼谷去服事了。巧的是,几年前,我们刚搬到西雅图不久就发现,当年差派他去东南亚的教会其实就在西雅图南面的亚基马, 距离我们很近,真开心。

Plus, our Seattle son and his wife, who knew nothing about the pastor before, “just bumped” into him and his later wife on a tourist visit to Beijing. Amazingly, he had somehow remembered Esther marrying a Tsang, and made the connection. It’s a connected world indeed.

不仅如此,我们的儿子和儿媳住在西雅图,他们原本完全不知道白牧师,但在去北京旅游的时候“巧遇”了牧师和他后来的妻子。牧师竟然隐约记得粹英嫁入了曾家,还真的对上号了。这真是一个互相连接的世界!

“The water guest smuggler is here.”… Gyuckdi, gyuckdi, (1) quick, quick, change and take off those pretty clothes. We want to give nice clothes to our relatives and others back in the home village! The 水客, (shui kak, water guest), is here only for a short time.”

带私货的水客,来了。。。快!动作要快!把身上的好衣服脱下来,我们要把漂亮的衣服送回老家的村里,捐给那里的亲戚朋友们。水客马上要走了。”

The family knew it was the only way of sending materials back to the home village. These professional couriers traveled at some risk to bring needed donations across the seas. As good, efficient smugglers!

全家人都知道,要给老家村里送东西,没有别的途径,只能通过“水客”捎带。这些人很有办法,冒着危险带着很需要的捐赠物品漂洋过海,他们就是老练的好贩子。

This ancient approach was basically a key link from the new country to the old. And, to Esther, it was also exciting to know that good clothes in the family could be sent thousands of miles away to those in need! She learned something.

“水客”自古有之,它实际上是连接海外和老家的一个纽带。当粹英得知家里的好衣服可以捐赠给千里以外老家需要的人,她觉得很兴奋,并从中明白了一些道理。

Soft-hearted dad… Most of the relatives considered Esther’s dad to be too soft-hearted. People would come by to ask for help, or letters would come from the old country. And he always seemed very generous in Christian giving to many. Some of the requests did not seem truly “necessary”, but that’s the way he was. His generous spirit as well as the full support of his godly wife were silent inspiring role models for the family, setting the stage for Esther’s life-long giving habits.

 Pretty pigtails now historically preserved in Seattle.
有纪念意义的漂亮辫子,现保存在西雅图

内心柔和的爸爸。。。亲戚们大都认为粹英的爸爸心软柔和。无论是有人上门来求助,还是老家来信求援,他总是慷慨解囊,大力相助,凸显基督徒的风范。其实,有些求援,似乎并不是真的需要,但爸爸不管那么多,依然执意相助。爸爸的慷慨,和敬虔的妈妈的全力支持,为全家人树立了榜样,这是一种无声的力量,鼓励粹英养成一辈子乐善好施的习惯。

Counting crumpled paper money… Since Esther’s father was highly respected, he became a “transit bank” for poorer people unable to access normal banks. He would in turn deposit their money in the bank. Even as a child of seven, Esther became the transit-bank money-counter. In the evenings after homework, she counted the crumpled, often quite ugly-looking paper bills of different sizes, stacking them in little piles of Thai baht, and tabulating the totals for bank deposit. After her father double-checked a number of times, he had full confidence, and used her numbers to give to the bank teller, who double-checked, and confirmed them, apparently perfectly!

数点破旧的纸币。。。粹英的爸爸德高望重,深受穷人们信任。一般的银行不让穷人存款,这些穷人就把粹英爸爸当做“中转银行”,由他替这些穷人们到银行里去存钱。于是,七岁的粹英,小小年纪,就成了“中转银行”的收银员。晚上做完作业后,她就清点各种面值的纸票,把这些皱皱巴巴不像样子的纸票分门别类,摆放整齐,并分别列出每一笔要存入银行的总额。之后,由爸爸仔细核对,确认粹英的计算准确,再转交给银行出纳员核对确认,显然粹英干这活精准无误!

This started Esther on a lifetime of trusted handling of monies, as treasurer for all her high school classes, for her college fellowship, and for decades, the Cincinnati Chinese Church. Plus being the priceless home-treasurer for all 57 years of our marriage! All from this great childhood training.

这段历练,让粹英在财务管理方面受益終生。高中时她每年负责管理她所在班级的财务,管理过大学团契的财务,还管理辛辛那提华人教会财务几十年。特别是,我们结婚五十七年,她一直都是我们家的财务主管,无可替代。所有这些,都得益于童年“数算破旧纸币”的锻炼,真棒!

Tastiest peanut candy bar in the world… In the town of Haadyai, a most popular place was the peanut candy shop, run by a close family friend. In its own little “factory” in the back of the shop, the whole process of making peanut candy could be vividly observed, from beginning to end. Esther loved to go there with other kids just to watch. And it was wonderful to munch on this precious snack.

Hometown Haadyai peanut candy is much more delicious than these or any others.
家乡的花生糖,哪儿的都比不了

世界上最好吃的花生糖    。。。合艾镇上,有一家花生糖店,很受欢迎。老板是粹英家的好朋友。前店后厂,门店后面就是作坊。在那儿,可以看到制作花生糖的整个流程,从头至尾的动态环节,一览无余。粹英喜欢和小伙伴们一起去参观。那花生糖吃到嘴里,味道好极了!

When our own kids were young, we visited their mom’s exquisite hometown. They particularly loved this candy store and its exciting factory. And they’ve remembered it for decades since.

我们家孩子小的时候,我们一起回过妈妈的美丽的家乡,他们特别喜欢这家糖果店和加工作坊,让他们兴奋不已,几十年不忘。

Essentially “homemade” peanut candy just down the street! The best. When we buy peanut candies in any other place in the world, our entire family agrees they just aren’t like the ones in Haadyai!

就这么个街边作坊制作的花生糖,居然成了“极品”。以后我们在世界任何其它地方买的花生糖,全家人都会异口同声:不是合艾的味道!

“You can only eat Indian roti!”… As the senior physician in town, Esther’s dad had seen many serious infections. He was adamant that his precious youngest daughter not touch any of the tempting local snacks, served in steaming food stalls right in the streets all over town.

只许你吃印度烤饼。。。粹英的爸爸是镇上的资深医生,医治过许多严重的传染病。他決不允许自己最小的宝贝女儿碰任何当地诱人的小吃。而那些小吃,热气腾腾,在全镇各条街上到处都有人卖。

The delicious odors from these stalls traveled everywhere, and it was difficult to resist the temptation to buy these mouth-watering snacks on the way to or from school. Especially since other kids freely bought and ate them! It took remarkable self-restraint to not even touch anything. I don’t think I could have been that obedient!

上学、放学的路上,到处可以闻到小吃摊上散发出来的香味儿,要抗拒诱惑,不买那让人流口水的小吃,可不是件容易的事儿。特别是旁边的小伙伴们都可以随意地买来吃,真诱人啊!这种情况之下,还能坚持,不碰那些小吃,真的需要非凡的自我克制力。要是我,可能就没有那么听家长的话了。

Fortunately, delicious Indian roti was acceptable, presumably because it was served hot, freshly baked, without touching contaminating surfaces!

所幸,爸爸允许粹英吃美味的印度烤饼,大概是因为烤饼是经过高温加热,新鲜出炉,没有接触过不干不净的东西。

A visit to the historic Haadyai peanut candy factory brings back vivid memories.参观历史悠久的花生糖作坊,如旧日重现

Parasite-free...  Esther survived her childhood with no major infections, except for malaria, basically unpreventable at the time. Mosquitoes can navigate expertly through door screens and night-time mosquito nets! Quinine was a good treatment, but it damaged her inner ears, affecting her to this day. Thankfully, she escaped the common unmentionable parasitic worms lurking everywhere around! Whew!

免遭寄生虫的劫难。。。粹英的童年顺顺当当的,没得过什么严重的传染病,只得过疟疾。在那个年代,疟疾几乎是无法预防的,门帘、蚊帐都挡不住无孔不入的蚊子。奎宁治好了粹英的疟疾,但药物的副作用造成她的内耳损伤,至今仍有影响。很感恩,在寄生虫充斥的环境里生活,她居然能安然无恙,真不容易!

What exotic Thai food?… So-called exotic Thai dishes had not yet been invented at the time. The top sophisticated foods in Thailand then were Chinese foods of different ethnicities. Thai food was the common food served in street food stalls. It wasn’t “exotic” to the locals. Just home cooking.

哪有风情泰国餐。。。那个年代,还没有泰国菜一说。当时泰国的顶级美食,其实是中国各个民族的食品。而泰国菜,就是指街头摊位买的普通饭食,家常饭菜而已,无“风情”可言。

“Thai food” wasn’t an international food till much later, when some enterprising Thai man decided he would make sure Thai food became classy, upscale, beautifully presented, expensive food. The beginning of what we now know as Thai food, with its well-deserved international reputation! But at the time when Esther was growing up, it was basically “street food” that she wasn’t even permitted to eat anyway. Isn’t that strange?

“泰餐”一直没有国际知名度,直到后来,经一些泰国能人的努力,使泰餐挤入优雅、高档、精美、昂贵的餐食行列。我们现在所知道的泰餐,享誉世界,名副其实。但在粹英小的时候,泰餐不过就是爸爸不让她吃的“大排档”而已。是不是很奇怪?

Fashionable pigtails, smart uniforms… As in most of Asia, kids going to school had to dress in smart uniform uniforms, slightly different for each school. And pigtails were in fashion, so Esther sported those also. She has preserved those historic pigtails in a safe spot in our Seattle bedroom. Ask her to show you.

时尚的辫子,整齐的校服。。。亚洲大部分地方都一样,孩子们上学必须穿上整齐的校服。各学校的校服,略有不同。当时流行扎辫子,粹英也扎辫子。现在,她把她那些有纪念意义的辫子,放在我们西雅图的卧室里。你要是想看,可以找她拿给你看。

“Close all Chinese schools!”… Around this time, the government began a serious effective assimilation program for Thais from other ethnic backgrounds, especially for the largest group of Thais of Chinese ethnicity.

所有华人学校,被强制关闭。。。后来,政府施行了强力、高效的种族同化政策,这是专门针对非泰裔人的政策,尤其是针对人数最多的华裔群体的。

All Chinese schools were closed, and people of Chinese ethnicity were required to convert their names to (very long) Thai names.  This policy was mainly because there was a new regime in the ancestral home country, and there was a growing concern that the Chinese-ethnicity population in Thailand could become a fifth column influence.

所有的华人学校都被关闭,华人必须改用繁琐的泰语名字。这项政策出台,主要是因为祖国诞生了新的政权,当局越来越担心泰国的华裔人群会演变成为反对势力。

Esther originally went to a Chinese language primary school, common among the Southeast Asia Chinese diaspora. In addition, Esther went faithfully to Sunday School and church retreats conducted in Hakka, plus she listened to occasional Mandarin-speaking preaching!

和其他东南亚的华人孩子一样,粹英原本上的是华文小学。此外,她还很虔诚地参加讲客家话的教会的主日学和退修会,偶尔会去听普通话的讲道。

To sum it up, she had a basically Chinese education, a combination of the vernacular Hakka language of her ancestors, plus scholarly Mandarin. But now Chinese schools were closing.

总而言之,粹英基本上接受的是华文教育,包括家传的客家话和学校学的普通话。然而,现在汉语学校却关门了。

Assimilation politics… The Thai national assimilation was effective, and today there is little discrimination against Thais of Chinese ethnicity. In fact, often you wouldn’t readily notice who is of Thai origin or who is of Chinese origin.

Photo 4: Thai small-town Chinese Primary School uniformed graduation. Esther is in the second row, far right.
照片4:泰国小镇的华人小学,穿校服的毕业照。第二排最右边是粹英

民族同化政治。。。泰国的民族同化是相当有效的。今天的泰国,对华裔泰国人基本上没有什么歧视。事实上,人们往往分不清谁是泰裔,谁是华裔了。

This political move was to become a great blessing for me, because it essentially closed the door for further study in Thailand for Esther. In her quiet yet feisty way, even at less than 12 years of age, she insisted on going abroad to continue her studies in Chinese. Her parents agreed, and after a two-year government-mandated Thai language study delay, she was ready to leave.

这项政治举措,对我来说,是极大的祝福。因为这使粹英没有机会留在泰国继续上学了。虽然还不到十二岁,粹英已经处事稳重而有主见,她坚持要出国,继续她的华文学习。她父母同意了。按照政府要求,又学了两年泰语之后,她就可以出国了。

Surprisingly, her parents then allowed her to travel alone, to Hong Kong, thousands of miles away, to continue her education. Soon to meet me and my life! Which I consider as tian yi, Heaven’s will!

令人惊讶的是,她父母随后允许她独自前往数千英里外的香港求学。于是,她很快就遇见了我,闯入我的生活。我认为,这绝对是天意,天意!

Worlds apart… Esther grew up in an idyllic childhood environment, with cute geckos crawling upside down on the wooden ceiling rafters, in a country doctor’s clinic home, in a mixed Hakka, Mandarin and Thai language/ cultural environment. This life was vastly different from her later teenage world of glitzy metropolitan Cantonese/British Hong Kong; from newly married life in violent Chicago; and finally from young family life in the warm, easy-going “American Heartland” of Cincinnati, USA! Though hugely different, in some mysterious way her earlier childhood experiences in mysterious Thailand prepared her well to adapt readily to her many subsequent changes in life. All under the unwavering grace of Heaven.

大千世界。。。粹英童年的生活环境,如田园诗一般:小镇医生诊所之家,客家话、普通话、泰语融合的文化氛围,可爱的壁虎在木质天花板椽子上爬来爬去。这种生活,与她后来的生活世界截然相同,她青少年时期在讲广东话的英属香港,那个城市富丽华贵。新婚时期生活在充满暴力的芝加哥,而后在“美国心脏地带”的温馨而轻松的辛辛那提建立小家庭。虽然环境变迁,各不相同,但冥冥中自有天意,她童年在神秘泰国的经历,为她做好了预备,使她能适应随后许多的生活变化。所有这一切,都是来自上天不变的恩典!

Reference: The language used at home was Hakka, a minority language of China.

參考: 在家里讲的是客家话,中国的一种语言。