Sunny对《Strange Stones》的笔记(11)

Strange Stones
  • 书名: Strange Stones
  • 作者: Peter Hessler
  • 副标题: Dispatches from East and West
  • 页数: 368
  • 出版社: Harper Perennial
  • 出版年: 2013-5-7
  • 第198页
    And it occurred to me that the darkest element of Adelstein's life wasn't the image he projected of the tormented reporter, or even the crazy yakuza stories.  Beneath all the exoticism, it was actually the normalcy of crime that was most disturbing.  Whether you're in Missouri or Tokyo, things aren't always what they seem - the nurse might be a murderer, and the gangster might run a hedge fund.
    2013-07-12 09:43:25 回应
  • 第213页
    This is the second moment of recognition, and it's even more frightening than the first. Awareness of your own ignorance is a lonely feeling, but there's little consolation in sharing it with 1.3 billion neighbors.
    2013-07-12 10:06:52 回应
  • 第228页
    In China, competitive sport is a foreign import.  Traditional physical activities like wushu and qigong are as much aesthetic and spiritual as they are athletic.
    2013-07-12 10:43:13 回应
  • 第280页
    But this was a common strategy in the Reform era: push the boundaries first, then ask forgiveness.
    2013-07-13 01:53:12 回应
  • 第290页
    There was the same boundless optimism and energy; both the Americans and the Chinese built roads across instant cities.  They often had the quality of an upstart, and they believed that they could defeat time - in China, that characteristic sometimes seemed even more American than the Americans.  
    2013-07-13 02:46:15 回应
  • 第295页
    She still had a peasant's directness - she spoke in a raspy voice and laughed at many of my questions. 
    She had long curly hair; she dressed in striking colors; she seemed to wear high heels whenever she was awake.
    2013-07-13 02:53:34 回应
  • 第297页
    The degree of detail impressed me.  The outside world might be distant, but it wasn't necessarily blurred; people caught discrete glimpses of things from overseas.  In many cases, these images seemed slightly askew - they were focused and refracted, like light bent around a corner.  Probably it had something to do with all the specialization.  Lishui residents learned to see the world in parts, and these parts had a strange clarity, even when they weren't fully understood.  
    2013-07-13 02:58:32 回应
  • 第304页
    Her responses were typical of migrants from the countryside, where there's a strong tradition of humility as well as pragmatism.  In the factory town, people usually described themselves as ignorant and inept, even when they seemed quite skilled. 
    The Lishui experience seemed to contradict one of the supposed benefits of globalization: the notion that economic exchanges naturally lead to greater understanding. But Lishui also contradicted the critics who believe that globalized links are disorienting and damaging to the workers at the far end of the chain. The more time I spent in the city, the more I was impressed with how comfortable people were with their jobs. They didn't worry about who consumed their products, and very little of their self-worth seemed to be tied up in these trades. There were no illusions of control - in a place like Lishui, which combined remoteness with the immediacy of world-market demands, people accepted an element of irrationality. If a job disappeared or an opportunity dried up, workers didn't waste time wondering why, and they moved on. Their humility helped, because they never perceived themselves as being the center of the world. When Chen Meizi had chosen her specialty, she didn't expect to find a job that matched her abilities; she expected to find new abilities that matched the available jobs. The fact that her vocation was completely removed from her personality and her past was no more disorienting than the scenes she painted - if anything, it simplified things. She couldn't tell the different between a foreign factory and a far, but it didn't matter. The mirror's reflection allowed her to focus on details; she never lost herself in the larger scene.
    2013-07-13 03:18:48 回应
  • 第324页
    People in China never talked like that.  They weren't storytellers - they didn't like to be the center of attention, and they took little pleasure in narrative.  They rarely lingered on interesting details.  It wasn't an issue of wanting to be quiet; in fact, most Chinese could talk your ear off about things like food and money and weather, and they loved to talk foreigners questions.  But they avoided personal topics, and as a writer I learned that it could take months before an interview subject opened up.  Probably it was natural in a culture where people live in such close contact, and where everything revolves around the family or some other group.
    And a Chinese person with options would never choose to live in a place like southwestern Colorado. The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation.
    In the States, I often had trouble responding to personal stories. But soon I realized that it didn't make much difference what I said. Many Americans were great talkers, but they didn't like to listen. Leslie and I learned that the most effective way to kill our end of a conversation was to say that we were writers who had lived in China for more than a decade. Nobody knew what to make of that; they seemed much more comfortable talking about their most recent prison term.
    At times, the lack of curiosity depressed me. I remembered all those questions in China, where even uneducated people wanted to hear something about the outside world, and I wondered why Americans weren't the same But it was also true that many Chinese had impressed me as virtually uninterested in themselves and their communities. They weren't reflective - they preferred not to think hard about their own lives. That was one of the main contrasts with Americans, who constantly created stories about themselves and the places where they lived. In a small town, people asked very little of an outsider - really, all you had to do was listen.
    Sometimes that role made me feel like a foreigner or an impostor, but there was also something comforting about the sense of narrative. It had defined my culture since childhood; even if I was no longer part of the local story, I still understood the way people told it.
    2013-07-13 05:36:17 回应
  • 第4页
    Most Chinese tend to be wary of strangers, and there isn't a strong tradition of sociology and anthropology, of taking an interest in communities that are different from your own.  In my experience, the Chinese aren't natural storytellers - they are often deeply modest, and they dislike being at the center of attention. ... If you want to truly understand somebody, you can't become bored or impatient, and the everyday matters as much as the exceptional. 
    2013-07-13 08:22:53 回应
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