Archive for July, 2013

父亲节写父亲/Memories of my Father on Father’s Day

Monday, July 15th, 2013

父亲节写父亲Memories of my Father on Father’s Day

黄士春/By Wong See Choon

猛然回顾,我从来没有写过关于父亲的文字,今天是父亲节,我想我必用文字怀念我的父亲黄耀。

其实,这些年来,我不是不想写父亲,而是一直不知道该从怎样的角度来写,才能写出我父亲的伟大。

我一直为自己庆幸的是,我早在47年前,也就是1966年我做记者后的五年,用一连三个晚上,采访了自己的父亲,唯一的目的,就是要了解他当年是怎样南来,怎样辗转来到怡保扎根找生活,希望有一天我有时间的时候,整理出来。这原稿一直躺在我放置贵重物件的铁盒内,那是父亲和母亲林妹早年乘邮轮回中国乡下探亲时邮轮公司的纪念品。这一躺就是46年,直至去年农历新年除夕才开始整理,准备收进我本身的回忆录中。

原来,父亲在十三岁(1923) 那年就随我的祖父黄汝离开广东省清远县璋洞沙迳村南来,唯一的原因,就是乡下生存困难,必须离乡背井下南洋另找生活。从他当年对我的口述中,我真的非常非常佩服我的祖父黄汝和祖母陈氏的胆量,毅然带着四个还未成年的二男二女,就这样飘洋过海,来到一个完全陌生的国土寻找新生活。我唯一的遗憾就是,当年采访父亲时,没有问他祖父是在谁的安排下南来的,只知道他们一家六口,从香港上船,最后在马来亚的槟城上岸,辗转在太平,直弄和督亚冷落脚和找生活,最后才在怡保安邦附近的彬如河畔定居下来,种菜养猪为生,这也是我出生的地方。整个南来的冒险过程已经够惊心动魄,我们后代那还有这种大无畏的冒险精神?即使我这辈子不自量力胆子大到将全部五个孩子全送到英国及美国深造,也只能算是有惊无险而已。

父亲和母亲就是这样的以务农养猪和种植打扪柚把我们六个孩子熬大,我是老三,上面还有两个姐姐,下有两个妹妹和唯一的弟弟。由于家贫,大姐和二姐根本没有上过学,大妹只念到小学就辍学帮家,只有我和另一妹妹和弟弟有机会念到高中。这证明了父亲是很有眼光的人,只要经济能力允许,都让我们上学。因为根据他当年的口述,父亲只在督亚冷念过三个月的私塾,识字非常有限,他很早就知道孩子教育的重要性,而且都是全力以赴的。

父亲基本上是一个孤僻、不苟言笑、性格坚韧、不随便求人的人,但性情刚烈,盛怒的时候,还会粗暴的对待孩子,我在小学时,就曾受过这种苦头,但从不介怀,我只认为这是那个时代家长管教儿女的方法而已,也是我那个年代很多乡村孩子成长的过程。长大后,我也知道这完全是生活压力造成的。我庆幸是家中的老三,上有两个姐姐,可以全职帮父母务农养猪种打扪柚,不必我帮忙干活,我知道父亲的用心良苦,就是要我安心的把书唸好,课余也没叫我去菜园帮忙,让我很奢侈的几乎可以天天打篮球,搞球队,很写意的念完高中。

当然,我还是有帮过父亲的。初中时候,菜瓜陆续有收成,平时是靠父亲一个人清晨四点左右,从老远的安邦踏脚车运到大约十英里外的怡保公市批发,遇到盛产时,一人载不完,就找我帮忙。重重的满脚车菜瓜,就这样的在清晨四时,跟着父亲载到菜市场批发,可真不好受。但每次都有很好的奖赏,那就是父亲必定光顾当时盛名的珠江酒楼,那儿的大包,可真一辈子忘不了。

看来,我父亲也是一个很有眼光,敢投资孩子教育的人;我小时在旧安邦明新小学唸到四年级时,就把我转到著名的怡保育才小学,一直唸到高中三毕业。高三毕业后,父亲手上似乎有点小积蓄,相信是可以让我勉强上南洋大学的,但同在这个时期,我也考进了南洋商报当专职记者。我选择了就业,一干就是25年,我不知道如果我当年升学南大,今天的我将是怎样的一个人,不管如何,我一直都感激父亲当年对我的期望。

其实,我父亲除了有着本身独特的个性之外,也是一个很有自尊的人。我记得我在唸书时,会馆是有什么奖励金之类的,但他就是不赞成我去申请,原来,他的意思是不想别人说他的孩子教育是靠会馆的,多有骨气。

父亲不但为人正直,还乐于助人,在清远同乡中备受尊敬。经过一个长时期的务农和种植打扪柚之后,开始一点积蓄。记得曾有一位刚刚从外地搬到新村的陈姓同乡,就曾向父亲借钱开发果园和养猪场,父亲都无条件(当然也无息)帮了他的忙,此同乡后来还赚了大钱。

父亲也是一个知恩图报的人,对早期帮过他定居和发展菜果园的同乡黄勉及黄辉兄弟都感恩。我当时就是不明白为什么我们果园里的柚子要长期以经常低过市价的价格指定批发给黄辉记打扪柚行,原来就是为了报恩。

在我童年的印象中,父亲不仅是一个非常刻苦耐劳的人,而且还有很多谋生的技能,例如,他可以赤手空拳在彬如河捉鱼,那时的彬如河河水还是清澈的,他居然可以潜进河里,把鱼儿活活的捉在手里,然后把鱼儿抛上岸,交由我去处理。我最享受印象又最深刻的就是父亲把白手捉到的鱼扔上岸让我去处理的那一刻。原来,1930年初世界经济大萧条时,全部矿场停产,父亲全家在督亚冷落难时,主要就是靠弄干沟湖水捉鱼求生。

父亲还会铁打,记得小学四年级时顽皮从泥壁跳下,扭伤了脚,不能行走,父亲当然生气啦,骂完了,就采了一些铁打草药给我敷,敷了整个星期后,竟然痊愈了。父亲的好学也令我印象深刻。我当年进入商报做记者,每天将增报带回家,父亲一有空,就报不离手;原来,他学看报纸主要还是为了识字,因为他这辈子只有三个月的私塾教育,我佩服他的好学精神,虽然有时会将未雨绸缪唸成未雨绸胶(树胶的胶字,繁体很像缪字)

我想我这辈子最令父亲失望的,是当年进入日间师训后,一个月后就突然离开,不能像隔壁的同乡子弟那样成为老师,生活安定又有好名声。其实,我当时也很想成为一名教师,只是上师训课一个月后,一天上午,突然接到院长的通知,要我立即离开学院。我相信再不会有其他的理由,必然是院方刚收到有关当局的指示,认为我不适合当教师。我当时就知道是什么理由,这肯定是我高三那年,接触了一些进步同学,看了不少禁书,有职业学生报上去,认为我是左倾学生,现在,果然印证了。最令我失望的,还是院长要我马上离开,连我要求等到今天放学才离开都不通融。我的意思是不想在上课中途离开,以免同学们多问。我就这样突然就离开了师训,当时也没告诉任何一个师训同学,直到今天,很多当年的师训同学都不清楚为什么我会突然消失。沮丧的回到家,当然不敢照实告诉父亲,只说我决定在年底参加英校剑桥考试,不唸师训了。我看到父亲当时满脸绝望的神情,至今无法消褪,我也一直没有告诉他我其实是被开除的。幸好,年底的剑桥考试顺利过关,次年就考入商报,老天总算是对我公平一点,让我从此和文字结下不解之缘。

在报界25年之后,我再给父亲带来另一个大问号突然辞去南洋商报霹雳州采访主任职位,全职从事冷门到不能再冷门的马来西亚英文法律的华译和出版工作,一天工作最少16个小时,市场还是个未知数。这项决定,当时在很多人眼中是疯狂的,父亲更加不会例外。但我没有后悔,为什么?现在是写我父亲的时候,我会在我的自己回忆录中再交代。

我现在也可以告诉在天的父亲,我当年的这项离开报界的决定,比我留下即使做到总编辑甚至董事经理会更有意义,因为,我已留下25本法律译著,最重要的,还是这项自我挑战,让我这个当年的小记者,能够自费将五个孩子全送出国深造,以弥补我两夫妇没有上过大学的遗憾,也符合了父亲当年希望通过教育改善后代生活的意愿。父亲应该会体谅我这辈子在他面前作过的两项让他失望的重大决定。我只能告诉父亲:人家留下大把钱,我只能留下文字,但我很满足。

我唯一能够让父亲高兴的一次,应该是我在全职从事法律翻译和出版后的五年,美国政府派员来马来西亚招聘中英翻译师,我被录取到外国工作。出国前夕,父亲在老家煮了很多我喜欢的家乡菜为我践行,我从父亲严肃的脸上看到少有但非常慈祥的笑容,还听到他抛出这么一句:“马来西亚政府不要,美国政府要!”我记得当晚我还对父亲说“仁者寿”,希望他长命。可惜,不懂是否我在当晚说错了这句话,就在我在外国上班后的一个月,就接到父亲死于车祸的噩耗。我拼了最大的努力,买到一张坐空姐位子还需要机长特别同意的位子机票赶回奔丧,我当时哭得很伤心,也一直在抱怨为何老天要对这样的一个好人如此残酷!

仅以此文,含泪写给已逝世23年的父亲我尊敬而又伟大的父亲。(16.6. 2013父亲节)

Memories of my Father on Father’s Day

By  Wong See Choon June 16, 2013

Suddenly recall that I have never written something about my father. Today is Father’s Day,I think I must write something in memory of my late father Wong Yew (黄耀).

In fact, I didn’t mean that, for all these years, I did not want to write something about my father, but did not know to write from which angle to highlight the greatness of my father.

I have been fortunate that, some 47 years back in 1966, five years after working as a journalist, I spent three consecutive nights to interview my father, with the sole purpose of understanding how he left China and crossed the South China Sea to land on the then Malaya (now Malaysia) and finally settled down in Ipoh for a living, hoping that, one day when I have time, I will sort it out in an article. This manuscript has been lying in a small metal box, a souvenir gift by a shipping company when he and my mother Lim Moy (林妹) returned to their native village in China in 1960s to visit relatives. This box was where I used to keep my valuable stuffs in early days. It just lay there for 46 years until last year’s Lunar New Year’s Eve, when I began to sort it out for inclusion to my own memoirs.

It turned out that father left his native village of Zhang Dong Sha Jing (璋洞沙迳村) of Qingyuan County (清远县), Guangdong Province (广东省), China, when he was only 13 years old (1923) with my grandfather, for the only reason that life was so difficult that they had to leave the native land in seeking a new life by moving southward to Malaya.
From the story personally narrated ion by father, I really admired the courage of my grandfather Wong Yee (黄汝) and grandmother, whose name appeared on her tombstone as Chen (陈氏), a surname without even her name, for bringing   four minor children of two boys and two girls by sea to a completely unfamiliar territory in pursuit of a new life. My only regret was, while interviewing father then, I did not ask him grandfather’s contact person in Malaya then. Father only told me that this family of six boarded a ship in Hong Kong and finally landed in Penang, Malaya and later moved to Taiping, Trong, and Tanjung Tualang before finally settling down by the side of Pinji River on the outskirts of Ipoh, the place where the family ran a vegetable and pig farm. This was also the place where I was born. The entire adventure to the South was so soul-stirring that I think we as descendents will never have such fearless and risk-taking spirit any more. In comparing with that, making the most daring decision in my life in sending all five children to United Kingdom and the USA for tertiary education with small income as a journalist merely near misses.

Henceforth, my parents brought up six of us by working hard in the farm. Besides growing vegetables and rearing pigs, they also planted Tambun pomelo, a kind of grapefruit specially grown in Tambun, near Ipoh. I was third among the six, with two elder sisters up and two younger sisters and the only brother down. Because of poverty, my two elder sisters had never been to school. Another younger sister dropped out after finishing her six-year primary education and joined the family in helping parents running the farm and the orchard, leaving three of us who were lucky enough to have the opportunity of going to school right up to high school level.That proved father was a far-sighted person that sent us to school whenever financially capable. That was because, as he orally narrated, he himself only attended private home class offered by a local Chinese tutor for a brief period of three months and could only recognize very few Chinese characters. He knew very well the importance of children’s education at the very beginning, and went all out for it.

Father was basically a lonely and stern man, with a strong character that didn’t simply seeking people’s help. He was hot-tempered and could be very harsh with children while in rage. I myself did experience such bitter taste during my primary school days. But I never mind about this. I took it as a way parents disciplining children during my time. It was also a growing process for most of rural children in that era. While grown up, I realized that it was all due to pressure of life.I was lucky to be the third among the six children, with two elder sisters helping parents to run the farm and pemelo orchard without my help. I realized that it was father’s well intention to leave me out, so that I could perform better in school. Without going to the farm, I had a lot of time to play basketball almost every day, going to the extent of forming my own basketball team with friends with I myself as captain. I luxuriously enjoyed this kind of school life right up to high school graduation.

Of course, I did help father at times. During my junior middle school days, father used to transport farm produce with bicycle to Ipoh market for wholesale. It was an approximately 10-mile tough cycling trip, and the time was 4.00am in early morning. At times when harvests were good and father could not handle all, I had to help. Fully loaded with vegetables and other farm products, I just followed father and paddled hard all the way to the market. It was definitely not a fun trip.  Anyhow, I was well rewarded for the trip. After selling off all the stuffs, father would bring me to the famous Pearl River Restaurant nearby for early dim sum breakfast. The big pao (bun) there was simply too delicious to forget.

It seemed that father was also a man with vision who dared to invest in his children’s education.  When I was in Standard Four in Min Sin (明新) Primary School in Old Ampang, father decided to transfer me to the famous Yuk Choy (育才) Primary School in Ipoh and studied there right up to Senior Middle Three graduation. At that time, it seemed that father already had some small savings in hand, which, I believed, should be barely enough to send me to Nanyang University (南大) in Singapore. However, almost at the same time, I was offered a job as staff reporter of Nanyang Siang Pau (南洋商报) through open competition and test. I chose to work as a journalist that lasted 25 years. I never know what I would be if I decided then to further my study in Nanyang University. Anyhow, I was grateful to father for his expectation on me at that time.

In fact, other than a person with his own unique personality, father was a man with strong self-esteem. I remembered during my school days, there were sort of incentive scholarships offered by Qingyuan Natives Association, a social and welfare association formed by Qingyuan natives. He simply did not encourage  me to apply for the simple reason that he did not want others to say that he relied on the association for children’s education.  What a man of character.Father did earn considerable respect from fellow Qingyuan natives for being honest and willing to help others. After a long period of farming, planting Tambun pomelo and rearing pigs, father accumulated a little savings. I still remembered how a Qingyuan native with the surname Chen who later moved to the new village came and borrowed money from father in order to open an orchard and pig farm, and was given an unconditional friendly loan (and of course without interest) by father. This fellow native later made big money.

Father was also a grateful man, and was thankful to the Wong Man (黄勉) and Wong Wai (黄辉) brothers who helped him settle down and develop his farm and pomelo orchard in early days. For a long period, I could not understand why father had to wholesale his pomelo exclusively to Wong Wai Kee Pomelo Store operated by Wong Wai at a price below market price and on long-term basis. It was just to return the favour.

In my childhood impression, father was not only a very hard-working man, but also had various skills to make a living. For example, he could catch fish with bare hands in Pinji River. In those days, Pinji River was still clear. To my surprise, he could submerge into the river and emerged with live fish in hand.  He then tossed it onshore and let me handled it—the most enjoyable moment for me. That was because during the Great Depression in the early1930s when all tin mines were shut down, the whole family was jobless and had to turn fishing for survival, usually by drying up the drains or ponds for fish.

Father also knew something about bone treatment in Chinese way. I still remember that when I was in Standard Four, one of my legs was sprained when I playfully jumped down from an earth wall and was unable to walk. Naturally, father was very angry. After a round of scolding, he went out to collect some bone-curing herbs and applied onto the sprained part.  After one week, the injured leg was unexpectedly recovered.

I was also deeply impressed with father’s learning spirit.  When I joined Nanyang Siang Pao as a staff reporter, I brought home my complimentary copy every day. I noticed that father kept on reading it whenever he had free time. I realized later that he was actually making use the newspaper to improve his vocabulary, as he attended private Chinese tuition for only three months. I admired his studious learning spirit, although he might sometimes wrongly pronounce some similar words.

I think what I disappointed father most was none other than my abrupt leaving of teachers training centre after attending classes for about a month, meaning that I would never be able to become a teacher like my neighbor friends who are also Qingyuan natives to lead a stable life with good reputation. In fact, I myself also wanted to become a teacher. The problem was, one morning, about one month after my admission, I was suddenly asked to see the centre’s organizer who ordered me to leave the centre with immediate effect. No reason was given. I believed the only reason was the organizer must have received directive from certain authority that I was not fit to be a teacher. At the very moment, I already knew the reason behind it. It must be due to my contacts with some progressive students when I was in Senior Middle Three, the last year of high school. In that year, I read a lot of banned books passed over by these progressive students. It appeared that certain “professional students” (students receiving money from police for information) must have reported to the authority that I was a left-leaning student. It was then confirmed. What disappointed me most was the organizer demanded my immediate leaving.  So much so that she even turned down my request to stay back until class dismissed in the afternoon. My intention was not to leave the centre when the class was still in session to avoid fellow trainees’  query. So I abruptly left the teacher training centre that way, without telling any other trainees. Until today, many of my fellow trainees did not know why I suddenly disappeared.  Back home and frustrated, I of course dared not tell father the fact, merely saying that I had decided to quit teachers training because I wanted to sit for the Senior Cambridge School Certificate, an examination for English school students then, by the end of the year. I saw my father’s face looked so desperately disappointed. I forever did not tell him the truth that I was actually expelled. Fortunately, I passed the Cambridge examination with ease by year’s end and joined the newspaper the following year. At long last, God has been a bit fair to me, offering me a life-long-career closely related to writing.

After 25 years in the press, I brought father another big question mark when I suddenly resigned my job as chief reporter of Nanyang Siang Pau Perak Bureau and turned a full-time law translator and publisher, specializing in translating the English-enacted Malaysian Acts into Chinese. This was an extremely unpopular branch of translation that very few translators would like to take up, with daily work hours of about 16 hours and the market for this kind of publication remained unknown. In the eyes of many, my decision then was crazy, particularly so my father. Anyhow, I have no regret. Why? As the article I am now writing is something about my father, I will account for this in my own memoirs later.

I can now tell father in haven that the decision I made then would make more sense than staying back in the press, even if I might become editor-in-chief or managing director. This is because I will leave behind 25 books of legal translation. What is most important is, this self-challenge has made a one-time journalist being able to send all his five children to study abroad, a make-up for the regret that both I myself and my wife did not have the opportunity to go to university. My decision then was also in compliance with father’s original wish to improve descendants’ livelihood through education. Father should understand and excuse me for making two major decisions right in front of him that disappointed him most. I can only tell father that others leave behind money, I can only leave behind writings. But I am very satisfied.

The only time that I made father happy should be the good news that, after turning a full-time law translator and publisher for five years, I was selected to work overseas by a US government agency that sent its representatives to Malaysia to recruit Chinese-English translators. On eve of my departure, father personally cooked some dishes I like best for my farewell dinner. This was the first time I saw the rare kind smile on father’s serious face, while murmuring out something like “Malaysian government doesn’t want, the US government wants!” I still remember saying to father that night: “kind people live longer”, hoping that he would have a long life. Unfortunately, I did not know whether I said the wrong words that night, it was approximately one month after I reported duty overseas, I received bad news that father died of a road accident. I tried my very best to secure an air ticket that could only sit on seats reserved for flight attendants that needed pilot’s special approval and rushed home for his funeral. I mournfully cried a lot then, kept on complaining why God was so cruel to such a kind man.

I herewith tearfully dedicated this article in memory of my respected and great father who passed away some 23 years ago. (June 16, 2013, Father’s Day)

我看朱玉叶奸杀案

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

我看朱玉叶奸杀案

黄士春

从媒体报道有关朱玉叶的案情看来,我认为导致被告被判不需答辩而无罪释放,主控官必须负上主要的责任。

根据我采访刑事审讯案件十多年所得的经验,整个案件的关键取决于凶手身份的确定。在朱玉叶一案,明显的是一宗奸杀案,很可能还是轮奸后杀害。主控官应该从一开始就要警惕自己,万一不能确定凶手身份的时候,他必须为本身加设一道安全网,即在控状中提控被告伙其他人联合致死死者,只要在控状上加上“伙同一名或多名仍然在逃者”,就有很高的机会将被告定罪;因为,当一伙人联合谋杀一人时,即使只是一个人动手杀人,其他在场的全体伙同者都会同样有罪,当然也包括案中的唯一被告。但主控官只是提控被告一人,而且明知很难证明被告就是凶手,被告的身份稍有模糊,就会产生疑点,而在刑事案的情况,这疑点的利益是归被告的。

其实,即使主控官当初没有想到设安全网的问题,他还是有机会在审案中途补救的。例如,根据报道,化验师的报告已显示死者私处另有一男子的精液,他就应该机警地在审讯中途依据审讯程序的有关条文申请修改控状,即将控状改为指被告伙同其他一名或多名仍然在逃者,联合谋杀死者。如果主控官有这样做的话,法官就未必会作出这样的判决。(26.6.2013)