路上,家,母亲的笑 on the road, home,mom’s laughter

(Note: English text below Chinese.)

在中国,尤其是在广州,人满为患。在地铁和公交车里,很少能坐着。从车外往里看,人们很无奈地挤着。广州的公交车和地铁总让我想起市场里的鸡笼。这个画面从我二十多年前第一次去广州的时候起,就一直贴在我脑海里。过了那么多年,广州已经很现代化了——用我那些发达资本主义国家的朋友们的话说,广州比他们的美国城市还现代,但公交车=鸡笼的画面仍牢牢贴在我的脑海里。

元旦那天,我和波、群挤地铁从员村到芳村,然后在芳村转挤公共汽车,到佛山探望群的父母,去吃大盘鸡,还有新疆面条。群的父母是朴实、善良的人,并且好客。所以,挤一个多小时的车很值得。可是,我仍然很想念开车到处乱逛的日子。那种自由,在中国,似乎可望不可及。

多年没去芳村,发现原本荒凉的地段如今也热闹了,还有些杂乱。街头到处是摆地摊的。那些人自称来自西藏,专卖野生动物的骨、角、爪子等。我看见几个老虎爪子,巨大而张狂。也不知道那些东西是不是真的。希望不是的。不然,我们的稀有动物就更稀少了。

路上还遇到一个老人,神情有些古怪。我拍了一张他的照片,然后谢谢他。他盯着我,有审视的意思。今天,我看他的照片,忽然觉得他有点哲人的味道。

前天终于又回老家河源去。妹妹也带了孩子回娘家来。我那敏感又可爱的小外甥女教她的外公、外婆玩一个手机游戏:一只学舌猫,阴阳怪调地重复我们说的每一句话。这个简单又好玩的游戏充分暴露了我母亲的儿童本性。她不断地咯咯大笑,笑得喘不过气来,仍没能忍住笑。原本被学舌猫引得发笑的外甥女于是发现她的外婆原来比学舌猫更好笑。

For those who always criticize China’s one-child policy, I suggest they come to live in China and live a life like most Chinese citizens, who have to squeeze into a bus or train for work/home every day, who have to compete with hundreds, thousands, even more for a school seat or a job…

The buses and trains in Guangzhou reminds me of chicken coops full of chickens. This image has stuck to my head since over 20 years ago, when I first moved to Guangzhou. After so many years, when Guangzhou is considered very modern by my friends from modern Capitalist countries, this image remains unchanged.

On New Year’s Day, my brother, his wife, Qun, and I went to visit Qun’s parents in Foshan. It took us an hour and a half to take a train then a bus to travel from Yuancun to Foshan. It was certainly worth the trouble considering meeting Qun’s loving and super kind parents and eating their delicious noodles and chicken. But that day, I extremely  miss the time when I drove anywhere freely.

We took off the train in Fangcun, which in my memory used to be a remote village. Now it is a busy area, flooded with people – passengers, business people selling food, bus/train tickets to different destinations all over china, and rare animal products like tiger paws, Tibetan sheep horns, etc. Those sellers claimed to be from Tibet.  I wonder if they and their animal products were real. I hope not.

Before I got on the bus, I photographed a man, who looked a bit off. I thanked him and he stared at me. He was examining me. Today, when I look at the picture I took of him, it occurred to me that he looked like a philosopher, who has been examining lives going on all the time.

And the other day, I finally came back home and stay with my parents for a few days before I move on for the next project. My sister came home with her daughter, Tongtong who called me Auntie Mommy.  Little Tongtong was teaching my parents a cell phone game: a copycat repeated whatever we said in a thin and high pitch. He was mocking us, making us sound very funny. Mom was amused. Well, I’d say “amused” was not the right word.  Mom couldn’t stop laughing. She was like a baby who found anything funny andlaughable. She laughed so hard that Tongtong  found herself more amused by her grandma than the copycat.

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