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  • This is a photograph of a man whom for many years I plotted to kill.


  • This is my father, Clinton George Bageye Grant.

    他是我爸 柯林頓˙喬治˙泡泡眼˙葛蘭

  • He’s called Bageye because he has permanent bags under his eyes.

    之所以叫泡泡眼 是因為他永遠都眼睛浮腫

  • As a 10-year-old, along with my siblings, I dreamt of scraping off the poison from fly-killer paper into his coffee,

    10歲的我和兄弟姊妹們 常想著刮下黏蠅紙上的毒粉 放到他咖啡裡

  • grounded down glass and sprinkling it over his breakfast,

    把玻璃磨碎 灑在他早餐上

  • loosening the carpet on the stairs so he would trip and break his neck.

    把樓梯地毯弄鬆 害他絆倒 摔斷脖子

  • But come the day, he would always skip that loose step, he would always bow out of the house without so much as a swig of coffee or a bite to eat.

    陷阱都設好那天 他總會跳過鬆脫的地毯、只喝幾滴咖啡或幾口早餐 然後毫髮無傷的出門

  • And so for many years, I feared that my father would die before I had a chance to kill him.

    許多年來 我總怕在我有機會除掉他之前 他就會先掛掉

  • Up until our mother asked him to leave and not come back, Bageye had been a terrifying ogre.

    他一直都像頭怪物 後來媽媽總算叫他離開再也別回來

  • He teetered permanently on the verge of rage, rather like me, as you see.

    他陰晴不定 我遺傳了這一點

  • He worked nights at Vauxhall Motors in Luton and demanded total silence throughout the house, so that

    他在盧頓的汽車廠上夜班 下令房子裡保持絕對安靜

  • when we came home from school at 3:30 in the afternoon, we’d huddle beside the TV, and rather like safe crackers,

    我們3點半從學校回家時 會擠在電視旁 像保險箱竊賊一樣

  • we’d twiddle with the volume control knob on the TV so it was almost inaudible.

    把調節音量鈕滑來滑去 盡量不發出聲音

  • And at times, when we were like this, so muchShhh,” so muchShhhgoing on in the house,

    每次這樣時 就會不停聽到「噓~」、「噓」的聲音

  • that I imagined us to be like the German crew of a U-boat


  • creeping along the edge of the ocean whilst up above, on the surface, HMS Bageye patrolled,

    在海平面上鬼鬼祟祟 皇家泡泡眼軍艦號四處巡邏

  • ready to drop death charges at the first sound of any disturbance.

    聽到任何風吹草動 就開槍掃射

  • So that lesson was the lesson thatDo not draw attention to yourself either in the home or outside of the home.” Maybe it’s a migrant lesson.

    我們學到的教訓是「不管在家裡或是外頭 都別惹人注意」 也許這就是移民的生存法則

  • We were to be below the radar, so there was no communication, really, between Bageye

    我們盡可能保持低調 所以和他完全沒互動

  • and us and us an Bageye, and the sound that we most looked forward to,

    我們和泡泡眼之間 泡泡眼和我們之間 小孩最期待的

  • you know when youre a child and you want your father to come home and it’s all going to be happy

    就是爸爸回家那一刻 歡樂的家庭時光

  • and youre waiting for that sound of the door opening.


  • Well the sound that we looked forward to was the click of the door closing, which meant he’d gone

    我們期待的卻是門關上的聲響 代表他走了

  • and would not come back.


  • So for three decades, I never laid eyes on my father, nor he on me.

    30年來我從未正眼瞧過父親 他也一樣

  • We never spoke to each other for three decades, and then a couple of years ago, I decided to turn the spotlight on him.

    30年來沒說過一句話 幾年前 我決定正視和爸爸之間的關係

  • You are being watched. Actually you are. You are being watched.”

    「人們緊盯著你的一舉一動 就是這樣 他們緊盯著你」

  • That was his mantra to us, his children.


  • Time and time again he would say this to us.


  • And this was the 1970s, it was Luton, where he worked at Vauxhall Motors, and he was a Jamaican.


  • And what he meant was, you as a child of a Jamaican immigrant are being watched

    他想說的是 作為一個牙買加移民的後代 人們時刻都在監視著你

  • to see which way you turn, to see whether you conform to the host nation’s stereotype of you,

    看你的一舉一動 符不符合他們心中的刻板印象-

  • of being feckless, work-shy, destined for a life of crime.


  • You are being watched, so confound their expectations of you.

    正因為大家都看著 你更得證明你不是他們想的那種人

  • To that end, Bageye and his friends, mostly Jamaican,

    最後泡泡眼和他的朋友 大多是牙買加人

  • exhibited a kind of Jamaican bella figura,


  • Turn your best side to the world, show your best face to the world.

    展現最好的一面 用最佳狀態面對這世界

  • If you have seen some of the images of the Caribbean people arriving in the 40s and 50s,


  • you might have noticed that a lot of the men wear trilbies.


  • Now, there was no tradition of wearing trilbies in Jamaica.


  • They invented that tradition for their arrival here. They wanted to project themselves in a way that they wanted to be perceived,

    他們來到這兒後 為了塑造自己在他人眼中的形象 才興起了那種風潮

  • so that the way they looked and the names that they gave themselves defined them.


  • So Bageye is bald and has baggy eyes.


  • Tidy Boots is very fussy about his footwear.


  • Anxious is always anxious.


  • Clock has one arm longer than the other.

    外號叫「時鐘」的 一隻手比另一隻長

  • And my all time favorite was the guy they called Summerwear.


  • When Summerwear came to this country from Jamaica in the early 60s, he insisted on wearing light summer suits, no matter the weather,

    他60年代來到這裡時 不管天氣如何 總是堅持穿輕便的夏裝

  • and in the course of researching their lives, I asked my mom,

    回顧他們的人生歷程時 我問我媽:

  • Whatever became of Summerwear?”


  • And she said, “He caught a cold and died.”

    她回我: 「重感冒 掛了」

  • But men like Summerwear taught us the importance of style.


  • Maybe they exaggerated their style because they thought that they were not considered to be quite civilized.

    他們或許過了頭 因為他們不想被人覺得沒文化

  • And they transferred that generational attitude or anxiety onto us, the next generation,


  • so much so that when I was growing up, if ever on the television, news, or radio a report came up about a black person committing some crime,

    成長過程中 如果電視新聞、收音機裡報導哪個黑人犯了什麼罪-

  • a mugging, a murder, a burglary, we winced along with our parents,

    搶劫、謀殺、竊盜的話 我們就會和父母害怕的蜷縮在一起

  • Because they were letting the side down.


  • You did no just represent yourself. You represented the group,

    他不只代表個人 更代表了這個群體

  • and it was a terrifying thing to come to terms with, in a way, that

    某方面來說 很難接受

  • maybe you were going to be perceived in the same light.


  • So that was what was needed to be challenged.


  • Our father and many of his colleagues


  • exhibited a kind of transmission but not receiving. They were built to transmit but not receive.

    不想只是一味的接受 所以決定扮演傳播的角色 他們的任務是積極散播 而非被動接收

  • We were to keep quiet.


  • When our father did speak to us, it was from the pulpit of his mind.

    當他真的開口時 也不是發自內心的對我們說話

  • They clung to certainty in the belief that doubt would undermine them.

    他們謹守著所謂的真理 深怕懷疑它們 自己就會受到傷害

  • But when I am working in my house and writing,


  • after a day’s writing, I rush downstairs and I’m very excited to talk about Marcus Garvey or Bob Marley

    我衝下樓 很興奮的想大聊Marcus Garvey(註: 牙買加民族主義者)或Bob Marley(註: 牙買加創作歌手)

  • and words are tripping out of my mouth like butterflies and I’m so excited that my children stop me, and they say,

    我嘰哩瓜啦的講個不停 小孩子們就會阻止我:

  • Dad, Dad, nobody cares.”

    「爸 不要說了啦 沒人在乎好嗎?」

  • But they do care, actually. They crossover.

    但我知道他們在乎 世代與世代之間是有交集的

  • Somehow they find their way to you.


  • They shape their lives according to the narrative of you life,

    兒女根據我的經驗談 塑造自己的人生

  • As I did with my father and my mother, perhaps,


  • And maybe Bageye did with his father.


  • And that was clearer to me in the course of looking at his life

    回顧他的一生時 我更有感觸

  • and understanding, as they say, the Native American say, “Do not criticize the man until you can walk in his moccasins.”

    瞭解了印第安人說的「真正了解一個人之前, 不可妄下斷語」

  • But, in conjuring his life, it was okay and very straightforward to portray

    但他的一生 可以這麼形容

  • a Caribbean life in England in the 1970s with


  • bowls of plastic fruit, Polystyrene ceiling tiles,

    一碗碗塑膠水果 聚苯乙烯的天花板磁磚

  • settees permanently sheathed in their transparent covers that they were delivered in.

    小沙發像剛買來時一樣 覆蓋著透明塑膠套

  • But what’s most difficult to navigate is the emotional landscape between the generations,

    最難定位的是 兩個世代之間的情感隔閡、

  • and the old adage that with age comes wisdom is not true.


  • With age comes the veneer of respectability and a veneer of uncomfortable truths.

    伴隨歲月而來的是 膚淺的敬畏和讓人心生不安的事實

  • But what was true was that my parents, my mother and my father went along with it,


  • did not trust the state to educate me. So listen to how I sound.


  • They determined that they would send me to a private school,


  • but my father worked at Vauxhall Motors. It’s quite difficult to


  • fund a private school education and feed his army of children.


  • I remember going on to the school for the entrance exam, and my father said to the priest, it was a Catholic school,

    我還記得那天去參加入學考 我爸對牧師-那是所天主教學校 說:

  • he wanted a betterheducationfor the boy,


  • but also, he, my father, never even managed to pass worms,


  • never mind entrance exams.


  • But in order to fund my education, he was going to have to do some dodgy stuff, So

    但為了資助我的學業 他得做些不光明磊落的勾當

  • my father would fund my education by trading in elicit goods from the back of his car.


  • And that was made even more tricky because my father, that’s not his car by the way, my father aspired to have a car like that, but my father had a beaten-up Mini,

    可是那不是我爸的車 所以情況又更棘手 他很想有一台那樣的車子 但他只有一台小破車

  • and he never, being a Jamaican coming to this country, he never had a driving license.

    一個牙買加人來到英國 無照駕駛了一輩子

  • He never had any insurance or road tax or MOT.

    沒保險、沒繳過道路稅、也沒有MOT(註: 年度的車輛安全檢測)

  • He thought, “I know how to drive. Why do I need the state’s validation?”

    他覺得「我知道怎麼開車 幹嘛還要州政府的許可?」

  • But it became a little tricky when we were stopped by the police, and we were stopped a lot by the police.

    但更麻煩的是碰到警察的時候 我們又「常常」碰到警察

  • And I was impressed by the way that my father dealt with the police.


  • He would promote the policeman immediately,


  • So that P.C. Bloggs became Detective Inspector Bloggs


  • in the course of the conversation and wave us on merrily.

    不知不覺 警察就會笑著揮手送走我們

  • So my father was exhibiting what we in Jamaica calledplaying fool to catch wise.”

    我爸用了那招- 牙買加話說「大智若愚」

  • But it lent also an idea that actually he was being diminished or belittled by the policeman,


  • As a 10-year-old boy, I saw that, but also there was ambivalence toward authority.

    10歲的我都看在眼裡 對權威的印象很矛盾

  • So on the one hand, there was a mocking of authority.


  • But on the other hand, there was deference toward authority.


  • And these Caribbean people had an overbearing obedience toward authority,


  • which is very striking, very strange in a way, because

    某種層面來說 實在讓人很驚訝

  • migrants are very courageous people. They leave their homes.

    因為移民是非常有勇氣的一群人 他們離鄉背井、來到異地

  • My father and my mother left Jamaica and they travelled 4000 miles,

    我父母離開牙買加 跋涉4000哩

  • and yet they were infantilized by travel.


  • They were timid, and somewhere along the line,

    喪失了冒險犯難的精神 年復一年裡

  • the natural order was reversed. The children became the parents to the parent.

    我們扭轉了自然的規律 孩子變成爸媽的爸媽

  • The Caribbean people came to this country with a five-year plan. They would work some money, and then go back.

    加勒比海人為了「5年計畫」來到英國 工作存點錢之後 就回去家鄉

  • But they 5 years became 10, and 10 became 15, and before you know it, youre changing like wallpaper,

    但5年變成10年、10年變成15年 你發現時 自己已經在換家裡的壁紙

  • and at this point, you know youre here to stay.

    走到這一步 你知道自己必定會留下來了

  • Although there’s still a kind of temporariness that our parents felt about being here,


  • but we children knew that the game was up.


  • I think there was a feeling that they would not be able to


  • continue with the ideals of the life that they expected.


  • The reality was very much different.


  • And also, that was true of the reality of trying to educate me.


  • Having started the process, my father did not continue.

    我開始讀書認字之後 爸爸就對我不聞不問了

  • It was left to my mother to educate me,


  • and as George Lamming would say,

    喬治˙萊敏(註: 小說家與詩人)一定會說

  • it was my mother who fathered me.


  • Even in his absence, that old mantra remained. You are being watched.

    他已經離開我們 那句老話卻依然存在 「你的一言一行都受到監視」

  • But such ardent watchfulness can lead to anxiety.


  • So much so that years later, when I was investigating why so many young black men were diagnosed with schizophrenia,

    數年後 當我調查為什麼黑人族群

  • Six times more that they ought to be,


  • I was not surprised to hear the psychiatrist say,


  • Black people are schooled in paranoia.”

    「黑人在充滿偏執的環境中成長」時 我並不驚訝

  • And I wonder what Bageye would make of that.


  • Now I also had a 10-year-old son, and turned my attention to Bageye.

    現在我自己有了一個10歲的兒子 決定把注意力拉回爸爸身上

  • And I went in search of him. He was back in Luton, he was now 82,

    我開始尋找他 他回到盧頓了 現在高齡82

  • and I hadn't seen him for 30-odd years,


  • and when he opened the door, I saw this tiny little man with lambent, smiling eyes,

    門打開的瞬間 我看到一個小老頭 散發著柔和氣息與彎彎笑眼

  • and he was smiling, and I'd never seen him smile. I was very disconcerted by that.

    他居然在笑 我從沒看過他笑 我腦中一片混亂

  • But we sat down, and he had a Caribbean friend with him, talking some old time talk,

    我們坐下 他正和加勒比海朋友談論著過往種種

  • and my father would look at me, and he looked at me as if I would miraculously disappear as I had arisen.

    他看著我 彷彿我隨時會像奇蹟出現般奇蹟消失

  • And he turned to his friend, and he said, "This boy and me have a deep, deep connection, deep, deep connection."

    然後轉向朋友 說: 「這孩子和我有很深、很深的連結」

  • But I never felt that connection. If there was a pulse, it was very weak or hardly at all.

    但我從不那麼覺得 若當時心跳的確漏了半拍 一定非常不明顯

  • And I almost felt in the course of that reunion that I was auditioning to be my father's son.

    整個過程中 我好幾度以為自己是在試鏡「他的兒子」這個角色

  • When the book came out, it had fair reviews in the national papers,

    我的書出版時 在國際報章上得到了許多肯定

  • but the paper of choice in Luton is not The Guardian, it's the Luton News,

    但盧頓居民可不看衛報 他們看盧頓新聞報

  • and the Luton News ran the headline about the book, "The Book That May Heal a 32-Year-Old Rift."

    盧頓新聞報上 頭條寫著「一本可能修補32年破裂關係的書」

  • And I understood that could also represent the rift between one generation and the next, between people like me and my father's generation,

    我了解那破裂關係也存在於上一代和下一代之間; 像我一樣的人和他們父親之間

  • but there's no tradition in Caribbean life of memoirs or biographies.


  • It was a tradition that you didn't chat your business in public.


  • But I welcomed that title, and I thought actually, yes, there is a possibility that this will open up conversations that we'd never had before.

    但我覺得那標題很不賴 說不定能開啟之前從未有過的父子交流

  • This will close the generation gap, perhaps.