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《别告诉她》:为什么亚洲人爱说"善意的谎言"

Source: 恒星英语学习网    2019-08-01  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

The Cultural Truth at the Heart of the Lies in 'The Farewell'
《别告诉她》:为什么亚洲人爱说“善意的谎言”

From the moment "The Farewell" opens, its main characters tell lies that flow from their mouths smoothly and deliberately, as if they are speaking in code.
影片《别告诉她》(The Farewell)一开始,主角们就在撒谎,谎言从他们口中流畅而有意地涌出,就好像他们在用暗号说话。

Many people of East Asian descent may be fluent in this code. I know I am.
许多东亚裔可能会流利地使用这种暗号。我知道我会。

There are the petty lies that Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese-American artist in New York, and Nai Nai, her grandmother in China, tell each other on the phone. Billi, in chilly Brooklyn, assures Nai Nai that she's wearing a hat. She's not. Nai Nai says she's visiting her sister, but she's actually in the hospital.
纽约华裔美国艺术家比莉(Billi,奥卡菲娜[Awkwafina]饰)在电话里和她在中国的奶奶互相撒了些小谎。比莉在寒冷的布鲁克林向奶奶保证,她戴了帽子。其实她没有。奶奶说她要去看望姊妹,但实际上她在医院。

They're lying to avoid worrying each other, but that's nothing compared with the core untruth, that Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) has terminal lung cancer, and the family knows but won't tell her. Anxiety over the diagnosis, Billi's relatives argue, could kill her before the cancer.
她们说谎是为了避免互相担心,但这与片中核心的谎言相比根本算不了什么,那就是奶奶(赵淑珍饰)患了晚期肺癌,家人知道但不肯告诉她。比莉的亲人认为,对诊断结果的焦虑可能会先于癌症夺去她的生命。

When I first heard about "The Farewell," the premise struck me as bizarre. The idea of concealing a health diagnosis was appalling to this Chinese-American. But when I watched the film recently, I found it to be incredibly powerful. Not only did the story remind me of my own family's great lie, but it also reopened old wounds.
第一次听说《别告诉她》时候,我觉得这个情节设定很怪诞。隐瞒病情诊断的想法,让我这个华裔美国人惊骇万分。但最近看这部电影的时候,我发现它非常有力。这个故事不仅让我想起了自己的家人说过的弥天大谎,而且还重新揭开了旧伤疤。

When I was a teenager, my parents, both immigrants, got divorced, and what was most confusing was the aftermath. We never had a discussion about how things would change. We didn't tell family friends or relatives. Instead, we pretended as though nothing had happened. My father did not move out; he slept in a separate room. When we saw relatives for dinner, we acted as a cohesive family, and I was told not to frown.
我十几岁的时候,我的父母离婚了,他们都是移民。我们从未讨论过事情会如何变化。我们没有告诉家人朋友或亲戚。相反,我们假装什么也没发生。我父亲没有搬出去;他睡在一个单独的房间里。当我们和亲戚一起吃饭时,我们表现得像个融洽的家庭,他们要我不要皱眉。

While I could relate to Billi, who was instructed to hide her grief in front of Nai Nai, I lacked a clear sense of the cultural rationale behind the lies. If Billi's family and mine were any indication of how some Chinese families solve problems, I wondered, why don't we just put everything out in the open so everyone can have a say in a solution? And why do we insist on creating the illusion that everything is O.K.?
我能理解比莉的感受,她按照要求需要在奶奶面前隐藏悲伤,但我对这些谎言背后的文化逻辑缺乏清晰的理解。如果比莉的家庭和我的家庭能代表一些华裔家庭的解决问题之道,我想,为什么我们不把所有事情都公开,让每个人都能就问题的解决方案有发言权呢?为什么我们要坚持制造一切如常的假象?

I posed these questions to Jeff Mio, a professor of multicultural psychology at California Polytechnic State University. He was quick to correct me.
我向加州理工州立大学(California Polytechnic State University)多元文化心理学教授杰夫·缪(Jeff Mio,音)提出了这些问题。他很快纠正了我的错误。

"It isn't that Asians avoid difficult topics, but rather that Asians tend to have indirect communication," Mio said.
“并不是亚洲人回避棘手的话题,而是亚洲人倾向于间接沟通,”杰夫·缪说。

In indirect communication, also known as high-context communication, what's not said is more important than what is said. Eastern philosophy emphasizes balance and harmony, and indirect communication minimizes conflict. So some Asian cultures prefer communicating in a "show, don't tell" manner and value the ability to decode indirect messages.
间接沟通也被称为高语境沟通,在这种交流中,没说出口的比说出口的更重要。东方哲学强调平衡与和谐,而间接沟通则将冲突最小化。因此,一些亚洲文化更喜欢以一种“展示而不是讲述”的方式交流,并重视解读间接信息的能力。

In the film, repressing truth is indirect communication taken to an extreme. The family members show their love for Nai Nai by keeping mum about her condition.
在电影中,压抑真相是一种极端的间接交流。家人不让奶奶知道她的情况,以此表达他们对她的爱。

Mio gave the example of a man asking a woman out on a date on Saturday. The woman could reject him by saying, "I would never go out with you." Or she could say, "I think I'm busy on Saturday."
杰夫·缪举了一个例子,一个男人约一个女人周六出去约会。女人拒绝他时可以说:“我永远不会和你约会。”也可以说:“我想我星期六会很忙。”

The direct rejection sounds harsh and abrupt, which could make both people feel bad. The indirect answer, though ambiguous, does a better job of minimizing conflict, sparing the wooer's feelings while making it easier for the person doing the rejecting. Both get to save face.
直接拒绝听起来刺耳而唐突,这可能会让双方都感觉不好。间接的回答虽然模棱两可,却能更好地减少冲突,既不伤害追求者的感情,又能让拒绝者更容易拒绝。双方都留了面子。

The notion of saving face — maintaining dignity and control over one's emotions — is largely derived from collectivism, an Eastern concept that no person is an island; we are each part of a shared consciousness and represent a group.
“留面子”意味着保持尊严和控制情绪,在很大程度上源自集体主义,这是一个东方的概念,没有人是孤立的;我们每个人都是一个共同意识的一部分,代表着一个群体。

"If you're acting in a way that can embarrass you, in a Western society a parent might say you're embarrassing yourself, but an Asian parent would say you're embarrassing my family," Mio said.
“如果你做出会让你丢脸的行为,在西方社会,父母可能会说你让自己丢脸,但亚洲父母会说,你让家人丢脸,”杰夫·缪说。

In the film, Billi's uncle sums it up this way when his niece is contemplating telling Nai Nai the truth: "You think one's life belongs to one's self." Billi's relatives have reached consensus about what's best for Nai Nai and, by extension, for the family as a whole.
在电影中,当侄女考虑告诉奶奶真相时,比莉的叔叔总结道:“你认为一个人的命就是自己的。”对于怎样做对奶奶乃至整个家族更有利,比莉的亲戚们早已达成共识。

The more I talked to people about the film, the less foreign its premise became. Family stories like that of "The Farewell" aren't the norm in Asian cultures, but they also aren't unheard of.
我愈是和人们谈论这部电影,这种设定就愈是熟悉。像《别告诉她》这样的家庭故事在亚洲文化中并不是常态,但也并非闻所未闻。

Guy Aoki, a civil rights activist with the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, said that when his grandfather, who grew up in Hawaii, was dying of stomach cancer in 1962, the doctor never informed the patient about his prognosis.
亚裔美国人媒体行动网络(Media Action Network for Asian Americans)的民权活动人士盖伊·青木(Guy Aoki,音)说,1962年,他在夏威夷长大的祖父死于胃癌,医生始终没有向他告知预后情况。

"I remember saying to my mother, 'Why didn't you let him know? He's got to say his goodbyes,'" Aoki recalled. The decision is still bewildering today to Aoki, a fourth-generation Japanese American.
“我记得我对妈妈说,‘你为什么不让他知道?他需要跟大家道别,’”青木回忆。这个决定让作为第四代日裔美国人的他至今感到困惑。

Nancy Yuen, a sociologist and author of the book "Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism," had an inverse experience. When her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, Yuen was kept in the dark. She found out about the illness from her aunt, and even after she began accompanying her mother to radiation treatments, they didn't talk about her condition. Her mother died about two years later in 2008.
社会学家、《电影不平等——好莱坞演员与种族主义》(Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism)一书的作者南希·袁(Nancy Yuen,音)则有相反的经历。当她的母亲被诊断出肺癌时,被蒙在鼓里的是她。她从阿姨那里得知了病情,甚至在她开始陪同母亲接受放疗后,他们也不会谈论她的病情。母亲于两年后的2008年去世。

"When she was sick, all we did was eat out a lot," she said. "She never said the word 'cancer' ever."
“她生病期间,我们经常出去吃饭,”她说。“她从来没有说过‘癌’这个字。”

Yuen had believed that her mother's behavior was idiosyncratic. But after viewing "The Farewell," she considered the possibility that her mother hid her illness for cultural reasons — to avoid burdening the family.
南希·袁以为母亲这种是特殊情况。但在看过《别告诉她》之后,她想到了一种可能性,那就是母亲出于文化原因隐瞒了自己的病情,以免给家庭带来负担。

Throughout the film, Billi repeatedly challenges her family and struggles to grasp the concept of collectivism just as much as she struggles to speak Mandarin. The language gap demonstrates the limits of her ability to understand her family's culture: She agrees to keep the secret but, at heart, disagrees with the decision.
在整部电影中,比莉不断挑战她的家庭,她很难理解集体主义的观念,对她来说那和掌握普通话一样困难。语言上的差异表明,她理解家庭文化的能力有限:她同意保守这个秘密,但在内心深处,她不同意这个决定。

Similarly, I rejected the way my parents handled their divorce. But the film left me with a compassionate theory — that perhaps they created the mirage of a functional family with the intention of saving face and preserving harmony. As an Asian-American, maybe all I'll ever have is a secondhand understanding, and that's the best I can do.
同样,我也抗拒父母处理离婚的方式。但这部电影让我得出了一个充满同情的理论——也许他们创造一个正常家庭的幻觉,目的是为了留面子,保持和谐。作为一个亚裔美国人,也许我永远只能间接地去理解,我最多只能做到这样了。


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