Tuesday, January 09, 2007

留學生的故事: 銀龍奨學金 (四) / Visa Student Story: The Silver Dragon Scholarship (Part 4)

話說台山阿伯,那晚埋舖之後,拖著疲惓的身體回家,開門入屋之後,正準備往雪柜找枝啤酒來喝(這也是兩年前開始的壊習慣),卻不料到他女兒從漆黑的客廳踏出來,一不留神,他還以為是死去的妻子,回魂來找他共往黃泉。再定一定神,妻子變回了女兒的容貌,也聽不清楚她在說什么,只知道她歇斯底里的喊爹喊娘,攪了好一陣子,才探過明白,這壊消息对阿伯來說,真是平地一聲雷,那老的攬著他的女兒,實不知如何是好。正是:『吾家有女初長成,養在深閨人未識』,可惜的就已是珠胎暗結,又沒有人肯付那個責任。阿伯自己男人老狗,对這些女人方面的事,雖是一曉不通,但駭人聽聞,用衣架毒藥打胎的,也間接地從他妻子與友人閒談中聽過來,他又怎会忍心令他女兒冒險、受折磿。翌日,他連歺館也沒心情去料理,打了個「喊線」叫頭厨看舖。他在家客廳來回踱步,終於想出了一個主意,如女兒談了一会,大家同意那是可行之計。

数天之後,大學校園唐人仔圈子,流傳了一個新聞,就是「銀龍」歺館的老板,願出一個獎學金,給一位年青、有上進心的男留學生,不獨免費供他讀大學,還可以立即移民,在加拿大定居做工,当然要面試,和詳談其中某種條件。於是,唐人仔之間,大家見面,一開口就是:『喂,你有沒有申請那「銀龍獎學金」?』那間一直做西人生意的小歺館,在数星期之內,突然客似雲來,擠滿了新食客,都是年青的留學生。『嗯,怎么你也來這裡吃歺?』『噢,想試試這裡的北美唐人歺口味罷,你呢?』『聽說這老板想請人, 我是有興趣來見工呀。』正是學無止境,有上進心的留學生是多的。

未滿一個月,「銀龍」老板嫁女,請客擺酒,簡單的婚讌,那兩個新人也頗双襯,那新娘或許是害羞關係,眼總是望著地下,那新郎倒是風灑自如, 樣子眉貌,有點南洋人的風味。約半年多左右,台山阿伯孫兒出世,滿月之日,他特別在家安了妻子的神位,也買了一些水果茶點放在靈前,他與女兒、孫兒、和女婿一家,在他亡妻的遺照前鞠躬。用膳之後,女兒忙著喂奶嬰兒,他的女婿也識事做人,幫助他収拾碗碟,清理厨房。当脕台山阿伯,夢見了他和愛妻,仍是年輕初婚時的情景, 對於未來,充滿了年青人的希望,懷抱著無数的憧景和美夢。

<<完>>

That night, Albert closed up shop and dragged his tired body back home. He closed the door behind him and just as he was about to get a beer from the kitchen (a bad habit he picked up since his wife had passed away), someone or something suddenly stepped out of the dark living room. Being caught by surprise, he thought for a moment that it was his dead wife's ghost coming back for him to join her in the Great Void. He rubbed his eyes, refocused, and his wife’s face changed back slowly to that of his daughter. However, he could not figure out what exactly she was saying except her hysterical cries for Mom and Dad. After some time, he finally understood her message. The news struck Albert like a thunder bolt out of nowhere. Embracing his daughter tightly in his arms, he did not know what to say or do.

He seemed to recall a poem that went something like: “In this house lives my precious maiden. On the family way the secret pearl hastens.” Unfortunately, no one wanted to be responsible for this secret pearl in his daughter’s belly. As an old dog of a man, Albert did not know much about “woman business”. But he had overheard his wife and her friends’ horror stories about women using coat hanger and poison to induce an abortion; and there was no way that he would subject his daughter to that kind of risk and torture. The sleepless night turned into morning and he was in no shape or mood to attend to his restaurant business. He made a phone call to Number One Chef and asked him to look after the shop. Pacing back and forth in the living room, he finally came up with an idea. He talked to his daughter and they both agreed it was a viable option.

Several days later, a rumour started to surface among visa students at the university campus. Let it be known that the owner of the Silver Dragon Restaurant was prepared to offer to a hard-working young man, a scholarship “package” that included full reimbursement of his university tuition fee, immediate sponsorship to apply for landed immigrant status, as well as a job and a place to stay – all subject to an interview and a discussion of certain conditions. Soon after, students would greet and ask each other "So, are you interested in the Silver Dragon Scholarship?" Within weeks, the little Chinese restaurant that used to serve "western customers" was suddenly filled with young Asian men. "Oh what a coincident, you like eating here?" said one young man to another. "Hmm, yeah, I just want to try some North American Chinese food for a change. And you?" replied his colleague. "Oh, yes, I mean no. I heard the owner wants to hire someone. I am interested and want to find out what the job is about. That's all." And, so it goes. There was no limit with the ambition of these young men to receive a good education and getting ahead.

Slightly less than a month later, there was a wedding banquet at the Silver Dragon. It was a rather simple ceremony with little fanfare. The bride and bridegroom looked like a well-matched couple. The bride, perhaps being shy, kept her gaze down at the floor most of the time. The bridegroom on the other hand was very much at ease. One would guess from his facial feature that he was from South East Asia. About six months later, Albert's grandson was born. As part of the baby's one-month-old ceremony, he installed a shrine of his life-long partner, put some fruit and other offerings in front of her picture, and asked his daughter and her husband, along with the baby, to kow-tow and pay respect to his beloved wife. After the ceremony and meal, the son-in-law helped him put the dirty dishes away and clean up the kitchen without being asked, while the daughter was busy breast-feeding the baby. That night, Albert had a vivid dream of he and his wife going back in time. They were just a young married couple then, full of hope for the future, with so many dreams and promises awaiting them.

[Fin]

10 comments:

xiao zhu said...

故事滲著上一代台山阿伯放洋謀生的淡淡哀愁。

故事是否真的就大團圓結局?

佩服阿伯如此有創意,整個主意是如此週到!應該值得讓他和女兒、還有領取銀龍獎學金的女婿有一個happy ending。

vicky said...

好戲劇性!

微豆 said...

xiao zhu:『長江後浪推前浪,世上新人換舊人』,人類的歷史巨輪一直向前推進,故亊是有目標, 但或許未必一定有結局的罷。我也是希望,台山阿伯,雖在異海浮沈,但苦中有樂,也可和女兒、孫兒、女婿找到了生命的主锚和指南針。

微豆 said...

vicky: 我也只是興之所至,將這边所見所聞,加以鹽醋,戲劇化一點,供各位共閱。但如我前述,故事其中辛酸,悲欢離合,是真是假,還是巧合,在此不便直說。

xiao zhu said...

"故亊是有目標, 但或許未必一定有結局的罷。"

我提出故事是否有大團員結局,其實並不是一個問題。咀嚼故事的味道的同時,亦自然會想像發展下去會怎麼樣,跟著總只聯想到一些令人慨嘆的複雜情節。

微豆 said...

xiao zhu: 這個故事未就此完結,您想得对,還有很多複雜情節,節外生枝地發展下去的。但因時間有限,要有机会才可繼續。但如您有見解、角度、覌點,請來共享。

Kineyi said...

這可說是一个好的結局。現實又是否如此?!

微豆 said...

Kineyi: 正如我对 xiao zhu 說,未是結局,還有起落,人生現實,就是不可預料。

xiao zhu said...

可能因為我生性悲觀,從你的描述、再加上現實人性的推斷,我強烈感覺到故事並非就這樣快樂地結束。所以我亦不希望我所估的是真的,(雖然我知道自己的直覺命中率非常高。)便向你提出以上既可以是問題、又其實是一個判斷的說法。

人生的曲折很多時候都遠遠超出我們能夠想像的,所以往後的情節,留待你日後有適當的機會再續吧。我只唏噓於阿伯空有創意,也只能解決了女兒和他自己的處境,並沒有真正解決問題;更悲哀的是,阿伯更親手製造出更多更多的問題!

微豆 said...

xiao zhu: 嘩,您悲覌,命中率又髙,我不敢找您和我算命了! 說笑罷 :)

阿伯当時形勢比人強, 象死馬下田,沒有多大選擇。也勿忘那個時代,華埠唐人圈子小,有女兒未婚生孩子,他做父親是非常沒有面子的,同時他心也覺得对亡妻不住。在女兒來說,那時女人如果生了「私生子」,或有了「油瓶仔」,出嫁或找新男人又更困難了。在少女未婚生子的社会問題來說,我們新時代人是比較自由和放寬了。

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