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王蒙 哦, 穆罕默德 · 阿麦德 二 translation: Ah, Mohamed Ahmed, Pt 2 (Wang Meng)

This is the second part in a line by line translation / annotation of the 1983 story 哦, 穆罕默德 · 阿麦德 (O, Mùhǎnmòdé · Āmàidé) - ‘Ah, Mohamed Ahmed’ - by the Chinese author 王蒙 (Wang Meng).

As always, if you notice a mistake or have any suggestions please share them in the comments at the end of the page.

新疆

哦, 穆罕默德 · 阿麦德

Ah, Mohamed Ahmed

← Part 1 · Part 2 · Part 3 →

一九六五年四月,我到达新疆伊犁哈萨克自治州伊宁县的毛拉圩孜公社劳动锻炼,分配到三大队第五生产队。 In April 1956, I arrived in Mullah Weizi Commune, Yining County, Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture, Xinjiang to work as a hard labourer, and was allocated to Work Team 3 in Unit 5.

先是在队部附近干活,一个月以后,第一次去离住地四公里以外的伊犁河沿小庄子附近锄玉米。 At first I worked near the team HQ, and then after a month, for the first time I went four kilometres away from where we lived to dig corn near a small village on the Ili River.

八点来钟出发,走到庄子,都快九点了,只见几个社员还坐在渠埂上说闲话,抽莫合烟。 We'd set off at eight and get to the village by about nine, and only see a few villagers sitting by the canal chatting and smoking.

我由于诚惶诚恐,劳动上不敢怠慢,便问了一句: “还没上工么?” Due to my fear and trepidation, I wouldn't dare to neglect my work, and asked: "Haven't you started work?"

问完了才意识到,这里在场的是百分之百的维吾尔人,我的汉话没有人听得懂,问也白问。 Once I'd asked it I realised that everyone there was Uighur, and nobody understand my Chinese - there was no point asking.

但是马上从人群里站起一位机灵的小伙子,他身材适中,留着大分头,头发拳曲, 眉浓目秀,目光流动活泼、忽暗忽亮,胡须茬子虽密却刮得很干净,上身穿一件翻领青年服,下身一件黄条绒的俄式短腰宽脚裤,神态俊雅,只是肤色似乎比这儿的一般社员还要黑一些。 But immediately a bright young lad stood up from within the group; he had a medium build, a large head *[?]* and curly hair, with thick, handsome eyebrows and a lively gaze that went from moody to bright and back again, and although he had dense stubble he shaved it smooth; we was wearing a top for young people with a turned up collar, and Russian-style yellow flares; his appearance was elegant, but his skin seemed to be even darker than the other villagers here.

他用流利但仍然带有一种怪味儿的汉语对我说: In fluent but slightly strange Chinese, he said to me:

“同志,你好。你是新来的社教干部吧? "Hello Comrade! Are you the new Socialist re-education cadre?

我们正在学习讨论《纪念白求恩》呢,来,坐下吧。” We were just studying and discussing "Remember Bethune" - come and sit with us."

我解释说,我不是社教干部,而是来劳动锻炼、改变思想的。 I explained that I wasn't the socialist re-education cadre, and was in fact there to do hard labour to reform my thought.

他睁大了眼睛,把我从头到脚从脚到头来回打量了几遍,突然一转头,哈哈大笑起来。 His eyes widened, and he looked me up and down repeatedly, sizing me up, and then suddenly put his head back and started laughing loudly.

他笑的样子非常粗俗丑陋,与刚才问“你好”的文明样子颇不相称。 The way he laughed was extremely vulgar and ugly, completely different to the civilized way in which he said "hello" moments before.

我知道,在新疆,即使懂汉语的乡下人,见面问候时也是用“好着呢吗?”而不会说“你好”的。 I knew that in Xinjiang, even people in the countryside who understand Chinese say "are you well?" to greet people, and don't say "hello".

会问“你好”那是见过相当场面的标志。 Saying "hello" indicates a special situation. *[?]*

笑完了,他指一指渠埂,用命令的口气对我说:“坐下,休息。” He finished laughing and pointed to the canal bank, and said to me in a commanding voice: "Sit down, rest."

然后,他与同伴们继续说笑。 After that, his fellows continued to chat and laugh.

他说话非常快,一套一套:表情也很夸张,好像在模仿着什么人。 He spoke very quickly in bursts, and his expressions were exaggerated, as if he was imitating someone.

但是在这样的说笑中,他也时时照顾着我的存在,一会儿用简单的话语向我介绍他们谈话的内容,原来他们并没有学习毛主席著作; But amongst that kind of banter, he would also acknowledge my presence, and sometimes use simple terms to explain what they were talking about; it turned out they weren't studying Chairman Mao's work at all;

一会儿又问问我姓名、年龄、籍贯、婚姻状况、家庭成员、简历,干部登记表第一面和第四面上的几项,他都问到了,我很佩服他的一心二用的本领。 After a while he asked me about my name, age, birthplace, marriage status, family members and CV, and about a few items from the first and fourth pages of the cadre registration form; once he'd asked it all, I really admired his ability to multi-task.

这时又来了几个穿得花花绿绿的女社员,坐在对面的一条渠埂上,不是正对男社员而是拉开大约十几米的距离,以示男女有别。 At that moment a few colourfully-dressed female villagers arrived and sat on a mound opposite, not directly facing the male villagers but about ten metres off, to show their separation from the men.

他“噌”地站了起来,跑到女社员那边去,马上,那边传来了活跃的说笑声。 He stood up with a swoosh and ran over to the female villagers; immediately, the sound of lively conversation drifted over.

太阳烤得我已经满头是汗了,我已经怀疑这一天还干不干活了,一位留着圆圆的白胡子的组长才下令下地。 The sun beat down and my whole head was covered in sweat; I was already doubting whether or not I would work that day when a group leader with a curly white beard ordered us to go on to the land.

干活的时候伶俐的小伙子主动和我结伴,不停地和我扯着闲话,不断地嘱咐我“忙啥,慢慢的,慢慢的”。 Whilst working, the smart boy took the initiative to make friends with me, constantly chatting with me and constantly exhorting me to "slow down, slow down - what's the rush?"

对于我提出的有关劳动工艺上的问题他一概置之不理,同时热情地向我嘘寒问暖,向我介绍在这里生活应该注意的事项。 He paid no attention to the questions I asked about hard labour and industry, instead asking fervently about my health and telling me about things I should note about life there.

他说: “我叫穆罕默德·阿麦德,以后有什么事情,找我好了。” He said: "My name is Mohammed Ahmed. If you have any problems, come and tell me."

直到快收工的时候,我才直腰四处看了看,我发现,穆罕默德·阿麦德干的活比我还少。 Not until we were about to finish work did I straighten my back and look around and realise that Mohammed Ahmed had worked even less than me.

我是一个人锄四垄地,他一个人只锄两垄,但前进的速度一样。 I'd dug four ridges on my own whilst he'd dug two, but we'd moved at the same pace.

他锄漏的生地、野草,也绝不比我少。 He had certainly dug up more roots and weeds than I had.

再一看,我确实吓了一跳,原来他拿着的是一柄那么小的砍土镘,别说是男人,就是未成年的女孩儿用的砍土镘,一般也比他的大。 Look again I was startled: all along he'd been using such a small little wooden trowel; it wasn't even a man's trowel - the little trowels that young girls might use were bigger than the thing he was using.

他一边“干活”,一边说一边笑,肆无忌惮,最后还唱起歌来了,有滋有味,有腔有板,他的嗓子可真不错。 He 'worked' and chatted and laughed, totally unrestrained and by the end actually started singing with gusto, using his chest; he had a good voice on him.

后来不知谁笑着说了一句什么话,他突然生起气来了,立在那里,噘着嘴像个孩子,不声不响也不干活。 Later I don't know who laughed or said something, but he suddenly got annoyed and stood there pouting like a child, neither speaking nor working.

过了足足两分钟他对我说:“这人是不好人,这人人不是。” After a whole two minutes had passed, he said to me: "That person is a bad person... nobody here is--"

他停了一下,调整了盛怒中弄乱了的语法,告诉我说:“这些人不是人。” He paused for a moment, and adjusted the grammar which had got tangled in his anger; he said to me: "These people are inhuman."

午饭时候,他不由分说把我拉到他家里去。 At lunch he took me to his house without any explanation.

本来庄子的住房水平低于队部附近的住房,他住的那个歪歪扭扭的用烂树条编在一起抹上泥就算墙的烂房,更可以说是倒数第一。 The quality of houses in the village was lower than that of the team HQ anyway, but the crooked, rotten, mud-smeared hovel he lived in really was at the bottom of the pile.

他的父母都已老迈,两个小妹年龄很小,这四个人穿的都是破衣烂裳,只有他一个人穿得囫囵、整洁,还颇有式样。 His parents were already old, but his two little sisters were very young; these four people all wore damaged, shabby clothes, and only he wore complete, clean ones, making him rather stylish.

泥房外面是烂柴草搭的一个凉棚,凉棚下面砌起一个土台,土台上铺着一块布满烂洞、裂纹和粘成一络络的羊毛破毡子,毡子上放着一个四角包上铁皮仍然松松垮垮的炕桌,土台边连着锅灶,老太太正把一大把一大把发了霉的麦秸填到灶里,烟大火小,烧开那一大铁锅水显然是很难的。 Outside the mud-house was a shed made of rotting firewood, and inside that was an earth floor with a completely hole-ridden, torn, bunched up fur rug; on the rug were four beds that despite being made of metal were still loose and broken; to the side of the earth floor was a pot and stove, and the old woman was putting great handfuls of mouldy barley straw onto the fire, bringing clouds of smoke; it seemed that boiling such a big iron pot of water was quite a trial.

我遵照礼仪向坐在室外土台上的二位老人问好。 Following etiquette I sat outside on the earth floor and greeted his parents.

穆罕默德·阿麦德的父亲向我还礼和问候的时候,胸腔里发出一种奇怪的沙沙声,而且结结巴巴,口齿不清。 When Mohamed Ahmed's father returned the politeness to me, a strange noise came from his throat and he stammered unclearly.

他母亲正在害眼病,红红的两只眼睛眼泪哗哗的。 His mother had eye problems and tears fell from her reddened eyes.

穆罕默德·阿麦德却不耐烦地催我进屋,屋里摆设稍稍好一点,有半新的花毡,有条案,条案上有挑花桌布与大小瓷碗,还有一排维文旧文字的精装厚书,这是不多见的。 Mohamed Ahmed, though, impatiently urged me inside the house; inside it was decorated a little better, with some new carpet and a table with an embroidered cloth and porcelain on it; there was also a row of old, thick books in Uighur script - you didn't see that often.

墙角有镶着黄色条饰的木箱,墙上还有一个不大的镜框,奇怪的是镜框哩摆着的全部是穆罕默德·阿麦德一个人的照片,有穿俄式多扣学生装的,很天真可爱,还有一张穿西服的,拙劣地涂上了颜色,照得却走了形。 In the corner there was a wooden box with yellow inlays, and on top was a large picture frame; strangely, there were only photos of Mohamed Ahmed in the frame, one of him dressed in Russian-style student's clothes, looking innocent and adorable, and another photo of him wearing a suit; the colours in the photos were botched but they were taken quite nicely.

墙上除挂着面箩、和面的木盆、两把未编完的糜秸扫把以外,还有一个大肚的庞然大物——那是一种乐器,叫做都塔尔,我在来伊犁以前已经去过吐鲁番和南疆,我是见识过的。 Apart from the wicker baskets, wooden dough basins and two unfinished wicker brooms hanging on the walls, there was also a pot-bellied goliath - it was a musical instrument called a dutor - I'd seen them before when I went to Ili, Turpan City and Nanjiang.

← Part 1 · Part 2 · Part 3 →

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