Forbidden City, Forbidden Secrets – Fragments of History

(这是故意没有翻译文本)

 

 

I have kept many secrets in my life. One which I never tell is that I don’t like the Forbidden City. But not in a visceral and elemental way; my dislike is completely intellectual. Maybe for some people this is the biggest problem: I have nothing to feel for this old city. I am totally indifferent to it.

 

And so what now? I think it is just a shell. But as much a shell as when it was built to shield the Chinese people from the nomad herders who ruled them and who still slept in tents on the ground within the City’s walls. And so many objects have been taken from it: the clothes, paintings, weapons and even the clocks. If you want to say I am being too materialistic, then what about the people who made them? Where have they gone? Kings who slept on the ground now slept beneath it. But time does not seem to change anything; distance does.

 

I looked in the mirror yesterday. Things had been out of sorts for a very long time, but then they were made clear. I looked and I saw myself. The eye could see itself. And it could see the illusion of distance of all my possessions poised behind me, an arsenal of burnt out and second hand lives. This is what we inherit and which now clutters our homes. Why did those nomads build walls around themselves? To keep their “stuff”? To keep demons out and peasants in? -They and their horses went the same way as all the rest: into the deep belly of China.

 

I saw a building today, a temple of sorts, or rather, I saw its reflection against a filthy backdrop. The missing chunks of the wall were the missing body of the world which they could no longer reflect. All of this hurt, all of this trauma which the blue, blue sky above and the red, red sun in my heart weren’t honest enough to admit, I saw in this filth. The wall stretched on and on, like some mirror of truth, or looking glass which exposed the distorted and ugly reality of everything it reflected. With this mirror I saw everything so clearly. But it itself was totally blind. How funny it is that Prophets should be their own worst examples: am I the only one who knows Confucius did not have a happy family life? This is the culinary wisdom which comes from starvation.

 

There are many things which should not be told. But what of the thing without a voice? What of the silent protests and empty stages and the cavities which attest to what has been lost but not forgotten? But these desolate things can only be remembered through the memory of their loss. Me and the City, we are strangers.

 

 

Text by Shahin Firoozmand, photo by Anton Hazewinkel

 

 

Impressions of an only child

 

 

(这是故意没有翻译文本)

 

The branches extend like contorted nerves across the sky. I wonder if I fell, would the sky catch me. There would be nothing to hold on to but those branches. I wouldn’t even grab them.

 

I don’t know how I came to be here. From the inside there doesn’t seem to even be a way in. But if I wonder, the problems cease, at least for the time being. People seem to know what they are doing, but know very little about what they aren’t. I see my brother in those branches. We were all there together in 1978. But some of us came here, and some of us went elsewhere. At the time we weren’t sure who, but things worked out, and some things didn’t. That’s the point.

 

Between me and the sky, there lies some dark, inscrutable, vacuous mass, something undeniable. I see through to the other side, where visible things dangle, totally unreachable. Those leaves rest against the sky like the carved hollows of missing fossils. The breeze bends them, they do not bend themselves.

 

 

Text by Shahin Firoozmand, photo by Anton Hazewinkel

 

湖南辣椒

湖南辣椒 - 拍摄: Mark Hobbs

 

 

街贩. 拍摄: Mark Hobbs

湖南是有着低缓的小山的一片土地,盛产食物。湖南的东北部坐落于扬子盆地中部,这块盆地是耕农的沃土。中国的第二大湖洞庭湖坐落于此省的东北部边上。

 

从整个中国来看,烹饪中的辣和意大利人使用大蒜一样普遍,辣味是其中的一种口味,就这么简单。中国到处使用辣来调味甚过于湖南。四川当然是因热辣而闻名。

 

湖南的美食通常要比四川的辣,因为使用了纯粹的辣,这纯粹的辣的制成是由大量的各种的新鲜辣椒以及油。据说是为了更纯粹和简单的口味——辣。

 

湖南省的各大现代超市和大街小巷的门店,辣椒是容易找到的最丰富的品种。辣椒可以干制,可以撵成辣椒粉,可以和油制成油辣。通常有那么几种辣,最受欢迎的是红辣椒(在西部被称为鸟眼辣椒),便宜而且丰富。

 

湖南的食谱有4000多道菜,包括东安鸡,香酥鸭,奥兰治牛肉,和宫爆鸡丁。

 

 

 

中国正在消失的巷道

摄于 浙江宁波 图:马克霍布斯

 

这些阴暗的小巷第一眼看上去令人感到压抑,然而它们却深深地吸引着我,这并不仅仅因为我是一名摄影师。二三十岁的时候,我住在墨尔本的市区内,但常常到郊外的菲兹罗伊去遛弯。这些小巷让我想起了那段时光。墨尔本的小巷都是有很实际的用处的,它们连同着各户的后院和每栋房子外单建的“厕所”,这个“厕所”的外墙开了一个活门,方便掏粪工人能够将粪便取出。那些小巷两侧的房子大多是在十九世纪六十年代到二十世纪初所建,也自然没有很恰当的设计,都是房子面冲着街道,背对着这些小巷。

摄于 浙江宁波 图:马克霍布斯

 

在中国,这些小巷也叫做“街”或者“弄堂”,它们如迷宫一般,两侧被墙围着,每个街角转弯处都有一个不为人知的秘密。对于大多数西人来说,这些巷道给人一种落后、压抑之感,然而我却为它着迷。因为它让我得以瞥见中国一种正在迅速消失的生活方式。

这些小巷中的邻里关系是高高伫立的公寓楼和西式的别墅所无法给予的。弄堂是中国传统民居,每个弄堂都有一个院子,由几户人家围着它,这样的格局不仅保证了主人的隐私,同时也方便各家各户互相走动。在我所居住过的中国城市中,弄堂这种民居正在迅速消亡,于此同时,它所附带的生活方式也随之湮没。这些小型社区的消失不仅是中国的损失,也是世界文化的巨大损失。

文章及图片均来自马克霍布斯

他们很年轻

马克从2004年初起开始在中国当英语老师。期间,他在中国几个城市教授大学一二年级学生英语。这些城市包括:杭州、怀化、桂林、烟台、潮州、太原,还有最近的湖南株洲。

他与妻子和两个女儿住在一起。马克生于伦敦,但在澳大利亚墨尔本长大。在墨尔本,做过电影导演、平面设计师和艺术家。

目前,马克正在南菲律宾一个沿海小镇上建房子。他的妻子就是那儿的人。大多数时候,他很享受教课,但现在更享受父亲和丈夫的角色。

马克会时不时对这个网站做些贡献,使我们有幸从另一个角度观察中国。他的照片展示了中国鲜为人知的一面。

学生们

照片:马克·霍布斯

 

我在山西太原技术学院开设了三门非英语专业课程。在其中一门课上,我要求学生写一篇关于自己家族史的文章。以下这篇文章是一个学生写的,我保留了其中的拼写和语法错误。(注:在英语版本中,保留了拼写和语法错误;在中文版本中,除了一些不太连贯的短句,拼写和语法错误没有翻译出来。)

我的祖母出生于一个很贫穷的家庭。她不得不给地主当仆人。她吃了很多苦。她吃不饱穿不暖,主人对她很不公平。

祖母发育很不好,裹了带子的脚很疼。她生了五个孩子,不幸的是有三个都饿死了。祖母非常伤心,连续哭了三天。更惨的是,她的丈夫也病死了。祖母做寡妇做了三十年,历经很多艰难困苦。

我母亲的生活相较之下要好些,因为她出生的时候新中国刚成立。母亲不是很高,但非常善良美丽,对人很温柔。但是她的日子也不好过。她必须努力干活养家。冷天的时候,要外出割猪草,从很远的地方搬煤来生火取暖;晚上还要彻夜为我们缝补衣服。她为这个家劳心劳力付出很多。

我很难给这篇文章还有其他学生的文章打分,因为这些文章以某种方式打动了我,但我却解释不了到底是何种方式。我只能对全班说:“你们写得很好……”

 


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