Monday, July 23, 2007

出门以前

后天就要上路了,去Basilicata省一个叫Villa d’agri的小镇,那是Antonietta的家乡。然后去Matera,然后去Puglia省,在南部大概玩6-7天左右,再回来Perugia拿行李,北上,去Piedmonte找Peijun。 8月9号从米兰飞去伦敦,在英国待一个星期左右,8月15号飞去挪威的奥斯陆(Oslo) ,然后,就不知道了--行程待定。

好像是,要开始一个很长的旅程,开始一种居无定所的生活,有许多要准备的,却又好像没什么好准备的。要培养近乎浪迹天涯的勇气,要练习四海为家的淡定。

我其实不是一个那么不执着的人。常常在出门之前(纵使只是短暂的几天的旅行),会舍不得自安稳的生活里抽离出来。会担心,会迷茫,会稍微不知所措。可我同时又不愿安于现状,渴望作一个长时间的,没有既定计划的旅行,到了这一站,再决定下一个目的地,收拾简单的行李,跳上火车,就是这样。因为这样的旅行比较接近和日常生活一样的秩序。

离开意大利以后,我应该无法经常更新部落格了,也无法经常上网和家人及朋友聊天,未来几个月的时间,要过这样一种暂时脱离安定熟悉的生活的日子,我其实,很不愿意。我也许会经常写电邮,写我在什么地方游览了什么风景见了什么人有些什么样的心情。我经常要在陌生的城市里穿梭,使自己尽快适应周围的气氛与环境,熟悉城中的道路与建筑,熟悉人们的气味和衣着。

我将带着对Perugia深刻的想念开始这样一个我期待的长时间的旅行。想念我明亮的小房间,我们家里安静的小厨房,学校附近的甜点房Perusia香淳的gelato,Latana dell’orso酒吧玩bossa nova的乐队和那自在的氛围,Antonietta煮的意大利面和咖啡,许多刚认识不久却又要分离的朋友,意大利夏天热辣辣的阳光,IV Novembre广场上热闹的夜晚与人群,还有我们班上那些好看的男生。
仿佛重复卷绕离开上海以前那种淡淡然的忧伤。

Perugia 22/7/2007

沉淀

时间不待人。原来以为在意大利可以有很多时间好好的经营一些文字,结果,短暂的3个月就这么过去了;或者,就快,就要过去了。

写个总结吧,是好,抑或不好呢。似是有些刻意。那天有个中国同学问我:你为什么不用意大利语--马来语的字典(我用的是意英字典) 。我说市场上好像没有意马字典吧,而且我英语比我马来语好。她接着又问:那你哪门语文最好。我想了一下说是中文。她有点惊讶。后来又有个中国同学问:你觉得自己是马来西亚人还是华人?我想了很久,回答她说在马来西亚觉得自己是华人,在国外觉得自己是马来西亚人。

我觉得我们马来西亚华人,出了国以后经常会有身份混淆的问题。可能是我自己而已吧。可我觉得其实很好玩,我们好像没有很明显的身份特征(identity) ,包容性与适应力可能因此比较强。

在Perugia待的这3个月里,有时候会想,还是以前在Siena的那段日子比较令人怀念。可现在要离开了,觉得其实其实很舍不得,有很多细腻的情绪,和暖的记忆,突然间,在夏日有点闷热的空气里飘忽来去。刚才午餐吃了一个 panino后,煮了一壶咖啡,坐在厨房里边喝着边读着意大利南部Puglia省的旅游资料。有种时过境迁,世事皆沉淀的情绪生起,好久没有这样淡泊的感觉。

我这一次不像从前在Siena那样努力念书,阅读与听的能力应该是进步了吧,会话能力却好像退步了,语法和生词我都不太勤力地去记去背。对意大利文化的了解确是比较深刻了,以前有些错误的理解被纠正过来。上一次上初级语文课程,学的都是语法和词汇,现在上高级语文课程,除了语言班,还要上其它文化及历史课程,像意大利中世纪及现代史,意大利现代文学,意大利电影史,意大利音乐史,意大利歌剧史,有些是必修课,有些是可自由选修。而我因为是选择主修经济专业,所以也上商业及经济术语课。

高级班一共要上3个月,可我只上1个月就要走了(因为奖学金只拿到7月份) 。有点可惜,有点遗憾,我的意大利语言学习,经常都要半途而废,我想用心学好这门语言,却近乎无能为力。上一次在Siena学了6个月的课程,回去以后就没有那个环境继续练习意大利语。而现在呢?离开意大利以后,我还会还有能力继续自习吗。啊。

Perugia 22/7/2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moving forward

I started the advanced level of my Italian language course yesterday, after coming back from a 10-day trip to Sicilia. I am somehow very pleased with myself that I did well in my intermediate level exam – I was the top of the class.

My name was the first to be read out by the professor when giving out the marked papers, telling the whole class that this person did best in the exam. The professor did not even know who this person is and seemed to have some difficulty pronouncing the name that looked like an alien word. Few of the Italians pronounce my name well as Italian words hardly end with a consonant and few starts with “y”.

I went to the history of music lesson yesterday evening. Again I was late for class, an odious habit which I find difficult to get rid of. The professor played a piece of choir written in the 15th century, the type of religious chant sung in the church. I always have a special little preference for medieval history. The musicians in those days needed to be patronized somehow by a church, otherwise the notes and the symphonies written will be hidden forever in the drawer, perished unknown by time.

The painters, sculptors, poets and authors could work free-lance but not the musicians. They need the orchestra to play their written masterpieces and in those days only the church was rich enough to provide such facilities. Therefore most medieval masterpieces turned out to be religious pieces. It was said that the musicians would sometimes place some hidden meanings or hints in their work.

And somehow I am always fond of this kind of medieval religious chants. Once I came across a mass in the Sant’Antimo Abbey in Tuscany chanting the Gregorian chant. An unspoken beauty swung in the shadow of the late evening gleam. For a moment I thought that’s what called the eternity.
Perugia, 8/7/2007

I am a Chinese, a Malaysian Chinese

The words normally come when I am on the road – a journey on the train, on the ship, or simply when I am walking, wandering casually in the small medieval town or by the coastal walk. To write in English, for the first time this idea pop up when I was taking the train in Sicilia.

Generally as Malaysians, or rather, as Chinese-educated Malaysians as we normally call ourselves, we did primary school in Chinese, secondary school in Malay and university in English. How genius we are with the languages! But it is not true. We know little of each but master none. Claiming Chinese as out mother tongue, most of us are not able to describe an event using just Chinese alone, neither can we do it with just English or Malay. Most of the young ones can no longer write in Chinese after they left university. We do not understand anything more complicated than the foolish romance fiction. We speak broken Chinese, Malay and English, comprehensive only amongst the Malaysians.

It seems sad, but everyone knows we are a group of happy and easily-satisfied people. We always think we are the best of the country, and we are even better than our comrades in Singapore.

I am always being asked this question when traveling in overseas: are you from Japan? Perhaps generally Japanese is the only Asian nation who is wealthy enough to travel out of the continent.

“No, I come from Malaysia.”
“Oh, we share the border with Thailand.”
“Oh, beautiful country, you have beautiful beaches!”
“So are you a Muslim?”
“No, I am a Chinese.”
“Oh, I don’t know there are Chinese in Malaysia.”
“Err, yeah there are …”
“So how many languages do you speak?”
“Chinese, English, Malay, some Chinese dialects like Catonese, Hokkien and Hainanese, and some Italian.”
“Wow! You speak so many languages! And you speak very good English!”

It could be pretty true that most of us do speak better English than what others expected, by judging from our Asian look. The hongkies are surprised that we speak Cantonese almost as good as they do. And here we are in China, we speak better Mandarin than the Hongkies, and sometimes, the Taiwanese.

Back to the hometown it’s always a mixture of the languages and dialects that we know, the broken versions of everything. Under the warm sunshine there is a cozy serenity, and we think, we are happy to be who we are, the Malaysians, the Malaysian Chinese.

Perugia, 7/7/2007

Back from Sicilia

I was thinking that the Sicilia pictures are one of my best scenery series but they do not turn out to be. Some of those that looked good on the little screen of my D70S do not look as impressive viewed from the computer. Instead there are a few which I have taken just for memory turn out to be pretty adorable. It is a regret of not being able to record the lively daily life of the Siciliano using camera as most are reluctant to the lens except for the kids. It happened once where I was asking permission from these 2 old Arabian looking man sitting outside a table of a bar in Messina and have received a very unpleasant respond. So my last stop in Sicilia was Trapani and I have almost taken no picture of this lovely little port town. Feeling myself a lousy photographer, after flipping through an old time album of Sicilia in a bookshop, I decided not to bring along the camera with me when wandering around the town. Perhaps the sunset looked more beautiful, without having to ponder over how it should be captured. It was only being captured by the memory.

Perugia, 6/7/2007