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我是香港人與銘記二戰 On Belonging in Hong Kong and Remembering the War

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編按:方禮倫在這篇分為兩部份的短文中,敘述了一段深刻對話,這對話叫他深思香港不斷變化的「國際主義」和對二次大戰的紀念。他希望讀者能夠從歐洲國家的經驗中有所得著,並把我們的仇恨止於一場過去的戰爭,而非一個民族或國家之上。譯文由 Stephanie Lo 提供,英文原文在下。

In his short two part essay, Evan recounts a conversation that made him reflect on the changing “internationalism” of Hong Kong and remembrance of the Second World War. He asks us to learn from the European experience, and confine our hate to a past action and not to a people or state. The Chinese translation is provided by Stephanie Lo, and the original text is beneath the translation. )

第一部份:你從哪來?

「你是美國人嗎?」我聽見一把聲音問道。那是一位戴著粗框眼鏡的中年男士,身處一群購物客當中,面露單純笑容。

「你從哪來?」他續問。

「香港。」我答。

他的笑容倏地凝住,考量著我的答話。這種反應對我來說,近年已成意料中事,但以往並非如此。

記憶所及,每當被問到我從哪裏來,我總是如此回答。這既是事實,也是從小在這個城巿長大的我不曾懷疑的事實。

僅只一次,在我的孩提時代,我曾為自己的身份存疑。當時舉家出遊美國,途中一位男士對我們一家為何不帶日本人口音而大惑不解。我未及開口,父親已答:「我們是英國人,現居香港。」這答案叫我渾身不自在。後來父親解釋,當你身處異地,有時說上一個無傷大雅的謊話,會替你省下與人長篇大論的麻煩。

香港或許還是一個國際城巿,但「國際」的定義看來已起變化。雖然現存似乎沒有香港異族婚姻數字的可靠資料作參考,但這種婚姻關係在香港已愈見平常,也愈來愈多為數不少的非華裔人士選擇以香港為家。

一股獨特的香港身份認同感,在這城也愈趨旺盛。這種身份認同,建基於上世紀七十年代尾及八十年代很多普通香港人的集體經歷,多於以這城巿的國際或歷史根源為基礎。在我的年代,這種身份認同透過許冠傑的流行曲和周星馳的無厘頭喜劇及經典金句,表露無遺。而後者的魅力絲毫未減,對香港人來說,他的舊作比起現時充滿中國特色的國內電影,更容易引起共鳴。這不單是一種徹頭徹尾的香港身份,還代表著一份對廣東文化的認同感。

猶豫片刻,那男士續問:「你究竟來自哪裏?你不是中國人啊。」

「我係中國人,我呀媽係中國人。」我用廣東話回答。

那男人又再沉默下來,然後問:「那你父親呢?他並非中國人,他是美國人嗎?」

在有關香港身份愈見荒謬的討論上 ﹣荒謬在於身份的定義在於她是什麼,而非由別人裁定她應當怎樣 ﹣我們身份中的國際和多元文化層面被忽略了。伴我成長的那個城巿,會視非華裔人士為香港人,不同的社群也能於本地立足。作為殖民地,當時的香港並無國家身份。若香港是一個僑民之城,那所有僑民都應該有權成為香港人。

我父親是一名生於倫敦的混血兒,但他大部份的人生都在香港度過。他顯然不是中國人,然而他就是這條問題所意味的那種英國人嗎?雖然我並非身處異地跟一位外國人對話,但父親的忠告這時卻大派用場。「他是英國人。」這次我用英語回答。

這位陌生人看來很高興,他的身體語言和聲線都變了,讓人完完全全感受得到。他的喜悅,並非因為他成功開始了一段勉強對話,而是因為他終於能夠把我定位了。在他的想法中他是本地人,而我則是外國人;我或許是他的座上客,但這裏是他的主場。香港非我家,因為不可能,我只是個異鄉人而已。

*     *     *

第二部份:記住仇恨

這段對話開始峰迴路轉。「美國曾攻打日本,你憎恨日本人嗎?」

這回到我無言。我本想一走了之,但覺這實在無禮。我必須要給他一個答案。

「我知道這段歷史,但我並不憎恨日本人。我不會仇恨一個民族,我只會對戰爭以及引起戰爭的權勢之爭反感。而這段歷史已年代久遠。」我欲轉身離去時,這位新相識的說話卻觸怒了我。

「你知道當時的日軍怎樣對待中國人嗎?你曉得當時在上海發生過什麼事情?還有南京呢?」他問。「如果你知道當時香港的遭遇,你就會憎恨日本人。」

我的外祖母對於日軍佔領期間的遭遇,從來隻字不提。僅只一次,在我的孩提時代,我曾問過她這段歷史。聽罷我的問題,她不語,卻潸然下淚,我立時曉得以後都不要再跟她說這話題。從其他家人口中,我得知期間的艱苦情況,以及日圓軍票和糧食短缺的問題;我側聞鄰居失踪、遇上日軍要鞠躬行禮和街頭捱打的事情;我聽過日軍對待華人的非人行為,我也得悉日軍蹂躪中國婦女的歷史。

我憤怒,既因為他推定我看來不像中國人,故我不會亦不可能知道這些歷史;也因為他漠視我的家人曾在二次大戰中受苦的事實。「我知道發生過什麼事情,我的外祖母經歷過日軍佔領的時期,別說我什麼也不懂。」我控制自己盡量以平靜的語氣反駁。「你的家人有經歷過日軍佔據的日子嗎?」我問。

這位男士沒答話,他只是繼續觀望,好像我所說的都不是事實。

我續道:「我了解我祖母和外祖母的痛苦經歷,但我並不憎恨日本人,一如我的家人。我有一位表親嫁了日本人,他是個好男人。」

這終於引來回應。「香港人與中國人都憎恨日本。」這位男士答道,還說出了他的心底話。「我們並不仇恨德國人。」他說,因為「納粹德軍從沒做過對中國不利的事情。」至此我終於明白,這傷痛和這段歷史,是關乎他的民族和他的國家。這段痛苦經歷他不期望我會記得,我只需認同他有權利為這段歷史觸動便夠了。

這時候,我禮貌地告辭。我很少中途停止跟別人的對話,還要在周末下午的旺角街頭,無論時間和地點都是錯配。有幾位途人已在旁徘徊,明顯在偷聽。這時其中一位男士更瞥了我一眼,像鼓勵我繼續說下去。不過,禮貌最終支配著我叫我離去。然而,這段對話卻讓我找到很多值得反思的地方。

我反思了這一場遠在我父母還未出生的戰事,所帶來的寶貴教訓。令人最難過的是,今時今日我們對於這寶貴教訓,不及對政治時事那樣用心領略。對那位和我交談的男士來說,在他心目中的香港,某些愛國之士 ﹣任何社會都有的少數愛國狂熱階層 ﹣會對日本人的邪惡懷恨在心的同時,納粹德軍的可怕卻被視若無睹。

我的家族曾經親歷日軍和德軍的可怖行為,我也對這樣的家庭背景作出了反思。我的外祖母經歷過日軍佔領香港的日子,而我的祖母在德軍佔據比利時期間身處布魯塞爾,兩人都吃過苦頭。不過,我家族其中一方,選擇用和好及協調的方式來緩和這些記憶。歐洲戰區的休戰令大家渴求和平,更希望在一個共同泛國家社區中建立穩定未來,而並非只由個人的基礎原則及國家榮譽來主宰。

德國面對戰爭歷史的方法,與日本有別。不過,在如何理解道歉的文化層面及有關回憶和懊悔的語義層面上,德國也與日本各異。日軍佔領期間經歷暴行的中國及韓國家庭,他們的傷痛我們理應認同。然而這非國傷,而是一種個人和人性層面的傷痛。日本也不斷承認,她曾經是這種傷痛的罪魁禍首。

現至今日,亞洲大部份地區對二次大戰的紀念,只淪為一種政治活動,透過它來控制國家羞恥感和仇恨感以達到政治目的。自毁的行徑最近為中國留下可算深刻的烙印,她好應銘記,透過培養民族仇恨及國家受害者心態孕育出來的政治環境和民族意識,才是叫人犯下如此可怕暴行的源頭。

Part 1: Where are you from?

“Are you American?”, asked the voice. A middled age man with thick rimmed glasses appeared from among the crowd of shoppers. He smiled innocently.

“Where are you from?”, he asked.

“Hong Kong”, I replied.

His smile froze as the stranger computed my response. It is a reaction I have in recent years come to expect. It was not always so.

When asked where I am from I have, as far back as I can remember, answered as such. It is not only the truth, but a truth I had as a child growing up in the city never felt the need to question.

Only once in my childhood do I remember my answer warranting pause, when on a family visit to the United States a man questioned why we didn’t sound Japanese. On that occasion my father stepped in. “We’re British. We live in Hong Kong”, he said. It was a reply that sat uncomfortably with me. Then my father explained that sometimes, when in foreign countries, it’s easier to tell a white lie than to be drawn into a long conversation you don’t want to have.

Hong Kong may still be an international city, and yet what it means to be international seems to have changed. Whilst there does not seem to be reliable data on the number of mixed marriages, it does seem to be more common as such relationships have become more acceptable to both communities, and there continues to be a sizeable number of people of non-Chinese descent choosing to call Hong Kong home.

There has also been a growing sense of a uniquely Hong Kong identity, founded less on the international or historic roots of this city as on the common experience of many ordinary local people in the late 1970s and 1980s. It is an identity that for my generation was most vividly illustrated in the music of Sam Hui and the peculiar comedy and word play of Stephen Chow, whose appeal continues to resonate far more with the community than the more China-orientated offerings of their counterparts today. It is an identity that is not only distinctly Hong Kong but also Cantonese.

After a pause, the man asked “Where are you really from? You are not Chinese.”

“I am Chinese. My mother is Chinese”, I said, now in Cantonese.

There was another pause. “Where is your father from? He is not Chinese. Is he American?”

In the increasingly absurd debate over Hong Kong’s identity – absurd in that identity is what it is, not what others decree it ought to be – it is the international, multicultural aspect of our identity that is being ignored. The city I grew up in was able to accommodate non-Chinese people as Hong Kong people; that there were multiple local communities was accepted. As a colony, Hong Kong had no national identity. If Hong Kong was a city of immigrants, all immigrants had equal claim to be local.

My father was born in London, of mixed parentage, but has lived most of his life in Hong Kong. He is not Chinese, but is he British in the way that this question implied?

Though I was not speaking with a foreigner in a foreign land I remembered my father’s advice. “He’s British”, I said, this time in English.

The stranger seemed chuffed, not at having struck up a reluctant conversation but, and this was unmistakable in the way his body language changed and from the tone of his voice, because in his mind he had finally placed me. In his mind he was the local, and I the foreigner; I may be his guest, but this was his home. Hong Kong was not my home because it could not be. And it was from this position that I would be entertained.

Part 2: Remembering to hate.

The conversation now took an unexpected turn. “Americans fought the Japanese. Do you hate the Japanese?”

It was my turn to pause. I wanted to walk away, but felt it would be rude. I had to give him an answer.

“I know. But I do not hate the Japanese. I do not hate a people, only the actions, and the politics that breed it. But that was a long time ago.” I was about to turn away when my new acquaintance hit a nerve.

“Do you know what they did to the Chinese? Do you know about Shanghai? And Nanjing?”, he asked. “You would hate them if you knew what happened in Hong Kong.”

My grandmother never spoke about her time during the Japanese occupation. Once, when I was still a child, I had asked. She said nothing, but began to cry. I soon learnt never to broach the topic to her again. I heard from other members of the family about the hardship, about the military yen and the food shortages; of the neighbours who disappeared and the bowing of heads and the beatings on the streets. I heard how the Japanese treated the Chinese as subhuman. I also heard about the rape.

I was angry, as much for the presumption that as I didn’t look Chinese I did not, and could not, know. I was angry because my family had themselves suffered. “I know what happened. My grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation. “Don’t tell me I don’t know what happened”, I retorted, as calmly as I could manage. “Did your family live through the occupation?”, I asked.

The man did not answer. Instead, he continued to look on as if what I said could not be so.

“And yet,” I continued, “whilst I accept my grandmother’s pain, I do not hate the Japanese. Neither do my family. My cousin is married to a Japanese man. He is a good man.”

This now provoked a response. “Hong Kong, the Chinese, hate Japan,” the man said. Then came a most revealing remark. “We do not hate the Germans”, the man said, as “the Nazis never did anything against China.” It was then that I knew that to him this pain, this history, was that of what he believed was his people and of his nation. It was a pain he did not wish me to remember, but to merely acknowledge was his privilege to feel.

It was now that I politely excused myself and walked away. I rarely resign from a conversation but standing in Mong Kok on a weekend afternoon was neither the time nor place. A few people had already stopped to loiter close by, clearly listening to our conversation. One man had by this time even shot me a look, as if to encourage me to continue. But politeness dictated otherwise. And yet, I found much to reflect upon from the conversation.

Looking inwards, I found myself reflecting on the legacy of a war fought before even the birth of my parents. It revealed most poignantly how this legacy is today felt less by our hearts and minds as by our politics. That in this man’s Hong Kong, whilst the evils of the Japanese are patriotically remembered and loathed by some – that rabid minority that constitute the patriotic classes of all societies – the horrors of the nazis are neither felt nor acknowledged.

I could reflect also on coming from a family that directly experienced both horrors. Where as my maternal grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, my paternal grandmother was in Brussels when the Germans occupied Belgium. Both suffered. And yet, for one side of my family these memories are tempered by reconciliation and a desire for cooperation. With armistice in Europe came a desire for peace, and a wish not to dictate future stability from the bedrock of individual and national greatness but for it to be built within a common trans-national community.

Germany has faced its past in a way Japan has not. But Germans are not Japanese in neither how an apology is understood culturally and in the semantics of their language of memory and remorse. We should all acknowledge the pain of those Chinese and Koreans families who directly suffered from the brutality of Japanese occupation. But this is not a national pain; it is a personal, human pain. It is also a pain that Japan has repeated acknowledge.

In too much of Asia today remembrance of the Second World War is a political exercise. It is the management of a sense of national shaming and hate for political outcomes. China, as a country scarred more recently and arguably more deeply by self-hurt, would do well to remember that it was the fostering of such hatred and a sense of national victimhood that bred both the kind of politics and sense of nation that allowed people to perpetrate such horrors.

(原刊於立場新聞

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About the Author

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Born and raised in Hong Kong, Evan is a writer, essayist and commentator. He has written and been published on a broad range of topics, from art, literature and aesthetic, to social and political commentaries, with a particular focus on issues of culture and identity.

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