打洋工日志:摩洛哥沙漠里的中国粉丝

一位中国青年去年骑单车,从老挝到达了非洲。今年又选择回到北非。这一段是摘自他的旅游日志,“打洋工”:

Farah(左)与朋友拿我手机玩儿自拍。

      Young Moroccans: Big fans of China

“我很喜欢中国!” Farah 和我在沙丘那儿认识。

“为什么?” 我问她。

“那里有高新科技,你手上的 iPhone6,中国制造!”

第二天我在 M’hamid 镇上寻找骆驼奶。。。全文

 

 

Mandela: “Dare Not Linger” Launched in English, as Weibo Bans Search in Chinese

Chinese version coming soon?

The long awaited second volume of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs — Dare not Linger — has just been published. Left unfinished at his death, it has been completed by South African writer Mandla Langa, who reportedly worked from the partial draft, Mandela’s own notes and private archives.

I am interested because I’d like to know if it will be translated and published soon in Chinese, as was the first volume, Long Walk to Freedom (慢慢自由路), so that I can add it to my mini-database, African Writing in Chinese translation.

Curiously, when I input  纳尔逊·曼德拉 (Nelson Mandela) into the Weibo search window today, I got this message stating that according to the law, the search results cannot be displayed:

 

Weird! How did Mandela become unPC in China?

Xinjiang-based Novel: Excerpt from Patigül’s “One Hundred Year Bloodline”

 An excerpt from One Hundred Year Bloodline,

a novel by Patigül set in Xinjiang

(《百年血脉》帕蒂古丽 著)

Translated from the Chinese

by Natascha Bruce

 

Growing Up In Da’nanpo

(大南坡上的日子)

We lived southeast of Da’nanpo, deep in the desert and on top of a steep slope, which meant all routes away from the house were downhill; toss a bucket of water from the front door and not a drop would hug the wall. Visitors had to crane their necks to see their destination, and even the flies and mosquitoes had to make a special effort to fly higher, if they wanted to come inside.

The reeds along the bank behind the house grew taller than a one-story building. Clusters of plants joined them, springing from both sides of the water channel. There were broadleaf plantains, red salt cedar, fenugreek, needlegrass, spiderflower, mugwort and dandelions, so densely packed that the ground was barely visible.

In summer, snakes lay basking in the sun on the opposite bank, coiled like hand-pulled noodles, some as thick as the reins for a horse, others slender as a sheep whip. By midday, the adults were all napping, leaving us children to sneak around, stealing watermelons and checking on the snakes. The sun made the snakes too drowsy to pay us much attention, but occasionally there was one that hadn’t quite dropped off yet, lying on the warm sand with its eyes half closed. Seeing us, it’d slither lazily away, twisting a path around our bare little feet, then curl up again and fall asleep.

In winter, the banks were shrouded in snow. On moonlit nights, we could hear the howls of foxes and wolves, and the barks of the hunting dogs as they chased after hares.

Da’nanpo was home to Han, Kazakh, Uyghur and Hui families, and we grew up speaking a range of languages. Our mother’s Gansu dialect seemed to come to us mixed in with her breast milk and, from the time we could walk, we eavesdropped on our father chatting in Uyghur with the neighbors. It was one of our favorite pastimes. We learned who had died, whose baby was being named, whose daughter was getting married, which household was slaughtering a sheep to make polo. We followed behind our father whenever he stepped out for süt chay or mutton, like a pack of little dogs trailing behind their leader, hoping for a go at a bone.

For a fuller picture of the village goings-on, we had to use our Uyghur to help decipher Kazakh, using an Eastern Turkic language to figure out a Western Turkic one. This way, we wouldn’t miss out on any of the weddings or funerals held by the several dozen Kazakh households in Da’nanpo. Polo and mutton were obligatory at any big event, but Kazakh families also laid on a puffy fried dough they called baursak, dried, salty yoghurt balls called kurt, and sweet dried cheese. [Read more…]

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Quote of the Week: “An Expanded Capacity for Empathy”

. . . I began thinking one of literature’s tasks was to give voices to the voiceless, and to humanize people . . . so my first book of stories, The Refugees, worked exactly in that register, trying to humanize the Vietnamese people. But eventually I realized that this was a task that was doomed to defeat because we are already human. Why would we need to humanize ourselves?

When I came to writing The Sympathizer, I thought I’m done with trying to prove

“I realized that the way Americans were telling stories about this war were completely erasing Vietnamese experiences.”

the humanity of Vietnamese people. Instead, I want to show them in all their complexity, which means their inhumanity too. Not inhumanity as a stereotype, but inhumanity as a fundamental part of human character. And that was really the more important project for writers such as me, writers who belong to subjugated or subordinated populations . . . our task is to claim the same rights and prerogatives of subjectivity, and identity and complex humanity, and inhumanity, that the majority reserves for itself.

So, I hope that what people take from my work is the necessity of thinking and feeling from the position of people who are not like them. It’s a natural human tendency to think and feel for people who we think are like us, and this is both very human and very disastrous. This is partly what gets us into war and conflict, because we can’t imagine the perspectives of other people . . . not simply to say ‘Oh, we need to revise the history of the Vietnam War so that we know more about Vietnamese people.’ The problem there is that the Vietnamese people don’t want to think and feel about other people either, so the larger project is really about an expanded capacity for empathy.

(Text from a video by the winner of the 2017 Macarthur Fellowship, Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, and himself a refugee resettled in California)

African Fiction: Exports to China on the Rise in 2017

Believe it or not, China imports more from Africa than just oil, diamonds and exotic parts of endangered species to maximize male, erh, performance (壮阳).

Fiction writing, for instance. According to my newly updated mini-database of African literature in translation — 非洲文学 : 中文译本 — there are almost 100 contemporary African works (mainly novels) now published in Chinese in the PRC.

Mabanckou: The award-winning Francophone novelist makes his debut in Chinese

Since the “golden age” of translation in the 70s and 80s, when the Chinese government subsidized translation and publication of writing from Africa in the wake of decolonization and independence, there has been a long gap during which almost nothing was published unless its author won a Nobel or the like.

But 2017 has yielded a bumper crop, with newly launched translations of 7 works from:

Alain Mabanckou (Congo-Brazzaville)

Boualem Sansal (Algeria)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

Kamel Daoud (Algeria)

Mandla Langa (South Africa)

Nadime Gordimer (South Africa)

Take a look here. Note those with “2017” highlighted.

Last King of Kuqa: Uyghur Author Patigül Launches her Xinjiang Historical Novel

First enfeoffed by Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1758, this Uyghur dynasty in northeastern Xinjiang eventually boasted a line of eleven monarchs, popularly known as the “King of Kuqa” (库车王). Kuqa was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, but to most Chinese today, the term signifies the city of Kuche. The last in the line, Dawut Makosuti (达吾提·麦合苏提), passed away in 2014.

Over the centuries, the various sovereigns met with different fates depending upon palace
intrigue and politics of the era. According to Chinese-language Wikipedia (庫車回部多羅郡王), for instance, the 9th sovereign (買甫思) reportedly died in prison in 1941.

Dawut Makosuti himself, a member of the government during the 1940s, was officially dethroned in 1949 with the establishment of the People’s Republic, and demoted to the more humble position of “translator.” Things got worse during most of the fifties, when he was posted to Aksu and underwent “Reform through Labor” (劳改).  His fate in the Cultural Revolution is not annotated in Wikipedia — hopefully Patigül’s novel will shed some light on those years! — but in 1984 he was rehabilitated, and designated Deputy Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In 2004, his palace (库车王府) was refurbished by the government, and he lived there briefly before his death.

A seminar to promote discussion of the soon-to-be published novel (柯卡之恋) will be held in Yuyao, Zhejiang (浙江余姚) on September 11. It was previously partially published in Jiangnan magazine (江南) under the title, 最后的王. In attendance will be the female author, Patigül (帕蒂古丽), who was raised in a multiethnic Xinjiang village by her Hui mother and Uyghur father, and speaks fluent Uyghur, Kazakh and Mandarin. Her tumultuous, semi-autobiographical family saga, portrayed in moving detail in One Hundred Year Bloodline (百年血脉), has been translated into English by Natascha Bruce, and should be published within 2017 by Chinese Translation & Publishing House.

Patigül’s piece on leaving Xinjiang for life in Zhejiang, Life of a Mimic, also touches boldly on sensitive interethnic issues in China today in a way that simply cannot be matched by mainstream Han authors.

Xinjiang Slogan Update: Pomegranate Seeds

Dance to the music, Comrade: “People of all ethnic groups are like pomegranate seeds, tightly embracing one another” reads the banner (upper right)

As part of the global One Belt, One Road publicity campaign, China’s media is publishing a bevy of articles introducing major oasis cities along the ancient Silk Road, including this one focusing on Xinjiang’s Aksu (一带一路上的阿克苏: 新型全球化的城市样本). Here’s a pic from the article, showing modern-day Aksu residents dancing.

Inner Mongolia Film Week: Sep 9-17 in Hohhot

Event: 内蒙古青年电影周 (Inner Mongolia Film Week)

Date: 2017.9.9-17

Venue: 呼和浩特 玉泉区 (Yuquan District, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia)

Details: Twenty-three films will be shown, including six full-length ones: K》,《风的另外一面》,《十八站》,《写真人生》,《北国之春》,《无人》

Burn the books and bury the scholars! 焚書坑儒!

Geremie Barmé takes a look at the recent decision of Cambridge University Press to reinstate content deleted from the online version of its China Quarterly available in China:

Chinese censorship has come a long way.

During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor 秦始皇 of a unified China, Ying Zheng 嬴政, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’ 焚書坑儒. He not only got rid of troublesome texts, he deleted their authors and potential readers as well.

Click here for the full essay.

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Quote of the Week: Pamuk on Teaching His Own Novels

I teach comparative literature at Columbia University. At the start of every semester, if I plan to discuss one of my own novels in class, I always tell my new students an old story about writing and teaching.

It’s a very popular (but possibly apocryphal) anecdote about Vladimir Nabokov. In 1957, he was proposed for an appointment at Harvard University as professor of Russian literature. Not everyone welcomed the idea. “If Russian literature is to be taught by Russian greats,” the Harvard linguist Roman Jacobson reportedly told his colleagues, “then we must get elephants to teach at the faculty of zoology.”

(Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, quoted in Sometimes, to Teach a Novel Feels Like a Betrayal of Literature)