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梁祝 January 4, 2015

Posted by hslu in China, Chinese, Life, Death and Yuanfen.
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我第一次聽梁祝是25年前我們一家四口在加拿大阿尔伯塔省 (Alberta) 卡尔格瑞市 (Calgary) 一間小小的廣東餐館吃飯的時候。卡尔格瑞市是加拿大西部洛基山脉東邊一個著名的石油城,许多大大小小的石油公司都在这里設有分公司,是一个很漂亮,很有活力而冬天很長很冷的城市。我那時被我的公司調到這裏做事。我們一家四口都來了。那時小孩還小我們在這住了一年半大家都很喜歡它也增長了一些見識。

這個廣東餐館小的不得了總共也只有四五張桌子個個都舊的很椅子也用了好久椅背有點毛扎油漆都掉了。每張桌上有個小醬油瓶,胡椒和鹽。 餐廳里沒有什麼擺設就只有一個大概十人份的電鍋放在一張桌子上。桌上還有一個VCR連接到牆上的一個19吋的彩色電視。老闆和老闆娘是廣東人帶了一個上小學的小男孩。他們一邊吃飯一邊看電視上的節目。我們這一家四口是餐館唯一的客人。窗外開始變黑了看來他們的生意也只有這樣了。電視上播放著一個廣東的音樂節目。看來是老闆娘先前由電視上錄下來的。我們反正也聽不懂也沒在意他們在唱些什麼。我們一面照顧小孩一面分頭吃飯。再一下就吃完要回家了。明天我還要上班小孩還得上班學呢。

要知道在那時電子產品還非常落後;電視小的很,VHS非常流行。Sony 的 Walkerman 好像也是大家喜愛的東西。要看中國節目只有在中國電視節目上錄下來看. 沒有 smartphone 沒有網路沒有百度更沒有谷歌。我們沒有中文節目也沒有跑中國城買VHS的需要。我們一心一意的照顧小孩沒什麽時間看中國節目,對臺灣和香港感到陌生,知道的中國綜藝節目還是我十幾年以前在臺灣看’群星會’時記得的那些歌。至於中國嗎,他們還剛剛開始執行私有財產和改革開放。他們還在唱紅娘子軍這一類的歌呢。

在我們準備問老闆要外賣盒打包時,我聽到電視上開始播放一條我以前從來沒有聽過的國樂交響樂。我抬頭一看,銀幕上一位眉目清秀的小姐正在拉二胡。那優雅的旋律令我著迷、美妙的音色和國樂團的伴奏令我嚮往、而那二胡特有哀怨悲傷卻又無奈淒涼的音調讓我無法忘懷。

我一直在想:怎麼這麽好聽的歌我都沒有聽過?我忍不住的問老闆娘這條歌叫什麼。她頭也不回輕描淡寫的說 ‘梁祝’ 好像她已經聽過好幾百遍了似的。我眼睛一亮然後就瞪著電視的銀幕不放仔細的聽二胡獨奏的每一個旋律欣賞國樂的伴奏,心裡想著梁祝電影裏的情節以及梁山伯和祝英台的相逢,相聚和相知。我看著看著就不想走了。我要看看這個’梁祝’是怎麼處理祝英台的戀情和梁山伯這個大笨牛是怎麽個笨法。可是演奏才開始沒多久老闆娘在張羅著要打烊了,我們兩個小的也需要回家。可是我還沒有聽完呢。怎麽辦?

我把剩下的飯菜慢慢的打包好然後鼓起勇氣跟老闆娘說:’老闆娘,我從來沒有聽過這首歌可是我非常喜歡它。我可不可以向你借來聽一聽。我明天拿來還給你.’

老闆娘一聽愣了一下好像從來沒有想到客人竟然有這種要求。老闆正好也在收拾東西,聽了我的話也覺得這個請求有些突然。可是他們馬上就答應了我的請求把VHS的帶子退出來放在套子里交給我然後說:’你拿回去聽吧。聽完了再拿回來給我.’ 我喜出望外接下了帶子謝了又謝跟他們說:’我明天就拿來還給你們.’

回家後照顧小孩洗澡睡覺然後把帶子拿出來在VCR里放了又放聽了好幾遍然後把它錄下來,又弄了一個拷貝。安心的睡覺了。第二天我上班趁著中文吃飯的時間把帶子拿回去還了也謝謝老闆和老闆娘的好意。

我第一次看電影’梁山伯和祝英台’是我剛上初中的時候。電影院在台中中正路沁園春對面。梁祝電影剛剛出來在臺灣流行的不得了許多人看了一遍又一遍。許多人為梁山伯和祝英台的愛情而悲傷、為他們生不成雙 死不分的忠誠而感動更為他們生活在封建制度下的無奈而抱不平。大家一面看戲一面哭哭啼啼傷心的不得了。很多人看了好幾遍連戲裏的黃梅調和歌詞都熟記在心。

我那時剛剛知道男女授受不親不能在一起。對愛情沒有任何瞭解也沒有親身體驗過。看完梁祝後對梁山伯與祝英台的感情沒什麽深刻的感想卻對’白髪人送黑髪人’的悲慘情節而動情。看了一遍就好像沒再去看了。

我對梁山伯和祝英台的愛情故事一直到我上了大學交了女友以後才重新有了認識。那時年輕少不更事只知道愛情第一感情至上。來了美國以後更覺得梁山伯的’萬丈情絲寸寸灰’ 以及祝英台的’碑上留名刻兩人’是多麽的感人、兩人最終的分離是多麽的無奈、而英台最後的哭靈和不能同生求同死的心願是多麽的悽慘。從此以後我就對梁祝美麗、凄慘卻又動人的愛情故事有了好感。

在我去加拿大以前,我只知道香港出的梁祝中國的改革開放是從一九七八年定案一九七九年開始執行。三十年共產黨的執政錯誤、階級鬥爭以及十年的文化大革命使得大陸元氣大傷、經濟蕭條、百廢待舉,中國的藝術文化也跟著落後了幾十年。一九八五年後,中國大陸國門漸開,引進西方技術和管理方法。資本主義開始在中國萌芽、生根。丟了幾十年的音樂藝術和傳統文化也開始抬頭。

大陸的中年知識分子開始來美國和其他先進國家留學。隨後他們的愛人孩子和家人也陸陸續續跟著來了。隨著他們的到來,鐵幕後的中國文藝開始在美國的中國人圈子裏流行。我們這些由臺灣來的留學生對這些以前沒有接觸過的音樂,戲劇,舞蹈,小說和電影也學著慢慢的接受。幾年以後,中國的留學大門大開,大批的大學生畢業後到美國念研究所,許多中國的音樂、電影和戲劇也跟著來到美國的華人街。各式各樣的梁祝協奏曲也開始被西方認識和喜愛。

家裡買了卡拉OK以後,梁祝的黃梅調更是能瑯瑯上口歌詞也是一句不差的能從頭唱到尾。連過門的音樂都記得清清

以後我就千方百計的找’梁祝’這條歌也收集了許多不同的版本。可是我始終沒法忘記那天晚上在那間小小的廣東飯店的際遇也始終沒法擺脫那二胡優美哀怨而又吸引人的旋律。

一直到現在我是喜歡一遍又一遍不厭其煩的聽’梁祝’。二胡也好,小提琴也好我都喜歡。VHS早就過時了。連VHS的機器都沒了。CD也落伍了。Youtube上有好多版本。有幾個還相當有水準。我當初錄下來的’梁祝’VHS帶子已經不知道放在那了。離開卡尔格瑞市已經25年不知道那對夫妻是不是還在開餐館。他們也已經有五十幾了吧!在此謝謝他們的好意。

人生就是如此不可捉摸。二十五年前的一個巧合給我留下了長久和美好的記憶。梁山伯與祝英台的命也是一樣:一見鍾情三載同窗英台私定終身山伯不知所云。等到山伯下山訪英台已經晚了。樓台相會卻變成生死離別。終就是棒打鴛鴦兩路飛 有情人不成眷屬。山伯和英台註定是有緣無份也只有來生再做夫妻的份了。

現今當世梁山伯與祝英臺的故事還是一直在我們的眼前上演著。父母子女間的矛盾和衝突也和以前一樣。時代可是變了啊。做父母的又能怎麽樣呢?

To Sok Jip, Annandale, VA August 31, 2014

Posted by hslu in Food, Life, Death and Yuanfen, Shanghai, Travel.
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Yesterday was one of those days I took my wife to work in early morning and picked her up around 8 to 8:30 in the evening. A 13-hour day at work; most the time on her feet, wears out a person easily even if you have 鐵打的身子。A few times her day stretched to 14 hours because of emergency or unexpected complications. Well, I guess you call this ‘做一天和尚 撞一天鍾吧!’

We went to Annandale for dinner because I was tired of cooking and I picked ‘To Sok Jip’ out of Yelp because we haven’t been to this restaurant before. Yelp gives it four stars; not bad for a Korean  restaurant.

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We have been  to this location before but the restaurant we’ve been to only had menu in Korean and waitress didn’t speak English. It was apparent that the new owner of this 10 table restaurant is doing well because we had to wait for a table and there were 4 or 5 parties ahead of us. It was about 9 pm on a Saturday night and most guests inside  and outside of the restaurant were young students and professionals. Most of them spoke Korean. We decided to wait it out.

The two young guys in front of us were going through the menu because the owner asked them to pick out dishes they wanted to order so that she could speed up the process of service. There were two parties of four behind us: all young Korean girls. As the young guys were deciding their choices, I was almost certain that they came from Taipei: perfect 普通話;台北 style dress and hair and not even a tiny hint of someone who grew up in mainland China.

My wife had the same feelings as I did and she asked them where they were from. One came from Maryland and the other guy was from Arlington, a few miles away in Virginia. After they have decided, it was our turn to choose. We chose dolsot bibimbap and seafood pancake; our usuals. I also wanted to order Bossam because it seemed to be a favorite dish by many reviewers. Well, our down to earth female owner had one comment: too much. Apparently, she thought that two dishes were plenty for us. Well, this was kind first for us: ‘有錢還不要賺.’ Well, 恭敬不如從命 besides it gave us a good execuse to come back later.

Slowly the restaurant became less crowded. Those two young Taiwanese guys were still waiting and soon it would be our turn. The owner soon came back and I thought she’d seat the two young guys down. She instead turned to us and them and said ‘share table?’ Apparently it was pretty late and there were some people still behind us waiting to get in. The young guys said yes and we accepted the unexpected offer too.

Since we already pre-ordered, our food came quickly. Panchan showed up too along with my Korean soju. The young guys also had pancake and they had ordered a big pot of stew with toufu, vegetables and fish? in a red-colored broth.

As we finishing our meal I turned to the young guys at our table and asked them whether they liked their meal. I also wanted to know what they have ordered so that we can try it the next time. They said they liked it but it was too much even for them. I them asked them if they came from Taipei. To the surprise of me and my wife, they both came from 蘇州 Suzhou, about 20 minutes from Shanghai by high speed train. The reason that they sounded so much like Taipei’s young guys was because they learned from their roommates who came from Taipei.

I quitely said to myself that 40 years ago, Taiwan wanted to defeat 共產黨 and go back to mainland China. Now Chinese students from both sides of the 臺灣海峽 Taiwan Strait share a big house together and exchange cultures on a day to day basis. How things have changed!

It’s great! Well, I digressed.

I then found out that one of them was working as a software engineer and the other guy is working on his business degree. Both had EE degree and came to the US for advanced studies.

I asked the business major when he will graduate. He said he’ll graduate after next semester. I asked him if he was looking for a job and he said campus interview starts soon.

I then told him about my son who also had a business degree, his one-year stay in Taiwan and his experience in looking for his job in the field of finance. I explained to him the process that my son had gone through and gave him a tip or two as if I went through the grind myself. For them, I found out that it would be even more difficult because they don’t have PR, 綠卡, or permanent residency.

After I finished my soju and our left overs packed, the business major guy asked me if he could have my son’s contact information. I gladly offered it to him and asked him to get in touch with my son. Hopefully my son can help him out in his quest for a job in the US. Unfortunately they have to go through a lottery procesd to get a working visa even though their employers wanted to sponsor them for a green card because there are limited number of working visas being allotted every year. Each year, they have a 40 to 60% chance of being picked by a lottery process depending on their field of expertise. They have either one or two chances to get one. If they don’t get picked by the computer, they either  have to go back home or go back to school. The software engineer didn’t get picked this year: it started on April 1st and notifications were sent out in mid June. He has one more chance next year. The business major only has one shot because his expertise isn’t deemed ‘necessary’ for the United States.

I wished them luck in their pursuit of their dreams in the US.

As for the food, they were good: fresh, excellent quality, huge portions and fast service. The owner waited for us to finish our meals and by the time we finished talking, there were only four of us still there. I swore that she was more than ready to lock up the shop and go home. It must have been a long day for her too.

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I was happy because I had a little more soju than I should have and I had helped him Probably just enough to get him an on-site interview. Whether he’s from 台北 or 蘇州 isn’t important. I wished him luck and who knows we might see each other some other time at somewhere else.

Chinese has an old saying: ‘有緣修得同船渡.’

We were equally ‘有緣’ to share a table on a Saturday night at a small Korean restaurant in Annandale which we randomly picked out from Yelp.

It was the female owner who actually made all this possible. Wouldn’t you agree? 這也是緣分。你說是不是?

We’ll go back to To Sok Jip again. We want to try Bossam and a few other dishes. May be we’ll meet other young guys or girls from China or Taiwan. Who knows, we may share the same table again.

七七情人節 August 9, 2014

Posted by hslu in Life, Death and Yuanfen.
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八月二號是中國的七七也是中國的情人節。相傳七七是每年天上的牛郎織女相見的一天。這是我們從小就知道的故事。雖然這個傳說不是真的可是它引起我們對愛情的嚮往。

‘願天下有情人都成眷屬’這句老話在網路的年代還是用得上,可是此乃前生註定的緣分不可強求也。須知成眷屬易、過日子難。詩人也好,凡夫俗子也好沒有麪包只有愛情喝西北風的日子是沒法子過的。

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愛情真是如此偉大嗎?

嗯,大概沒這麽精彩吧!

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