Sunday, 23 November 2008

文海隨筆--莫許杯深琥珀濃

莫許杯深琥珀濃
未成沉醉意先融
疏鐘已應晚來風
瑞腦香消魂夢斷
辟寒金小髻鬟鬆
醒時空對燭花紅

--易安居士《浣溪沙》

我有個毛病,無論心情好壞,總喜歡喝點酒。喝得兇的時候,我甚至懷疑自己是不是有酗酒的傾向。四年前大病一場之後,總是警惕自己不要喝太多,卻說甚麼也狠不下心腸戒酒。

喝酒本來就對身體不好,身為女生而喜歡喝酒,甚至可能招來一些微詞。偏偏我就是喜歡喝酒,而且喜歡獨酌。一邊吃喝,一邊讀詩詞小說等閒書,真是人生一大快事。

我也弄不清楚為甚麼自己那麼喜歡喝酒,大概因為天生嘴饞,邊吃邊喝,饒有興味。如果要耍無賴的話,恐怕趙太難辭其咎--因為她把喝酒塑造成一種很「帥」、很「酷」的自我表達方式。身為粉絲,有意無意之間,也難免要仿傚一下。

自古以來,「酒」是日常生活不可缺少的東西。在古代,喝酒從來是一件男女不拘的風流韻事,趙太自然也不甘後人。不過,像趙太那麼坦率地承認喜歡喝酒,在女子之中可謂少見。難怪內地學者楊雨在《莫道不銷魂--楊雨解秘李清照》一書中說趙太是「酒鬼」,就招來一片罵聲。看來大家都覺得在趙太筆下,喝酒是一件風流雋逸的雅趣,用「酒鬼」來形容趙太,未免失諸粗俗,唐突佳人。

其實,趙太愛酒貪杯也不是甚麼秘密啦,這恐怕是除了「賭」以外,她絕不介意公之於世的喜好。根據徐培均先生的《李清照集箋注》,在她傳世的五十三闋詞作中,提到喝酒的約佔一半,共有二十五闋。恐怕多少自命風流的才子墨客也望塵莫及。

楊雨又認為,趙太雖然喜歡喝酒,但酒量不怎麼樣,又喜歡喝「扶頭酒」之類的烈酒,弄得「一喝必醉」,大失淑女儀範云云。此說未免迂腐。所謂創作,跟歷史紀錄不同,總有一點脫離現實的成分。字裡行間的感情是真實的,道具、場景等具體細節卻未必。即使趙太常常說自己喝醉,誰也知道「醉」可以有幾個層次。「醉」固然可以是因為喝酒太多,為甚麼不可以是因為眼前景物或面對心儀之人而弄得心魂俱醉?例如《如夢令》:「常記溪亭日暮,沉醉不知歸路」兩句,楊雨認為是指趙太少年時外遊,就已喝得酩酊大醉,未免武斷。溪亭是濟南名泉、名勝之一,亭上雖可宴飲,但風景自然秀麗,說趙太因為沉醉於美景之中而忘其歸路,有何不可?

趙太的「酒」,當然不是給飲驢糟蹋的東西,而是寄托情懷、表達姿態的載體。像李白一樣,她高興的時候喝酒,難過的時候也喝酒。不過,她並沒有像李白把喝酒當作激發靈感、宣洩情緒的工具。無論是勸酒、喝酒、醉酒或是酒醒,都緊扣著她當時的心理轉折和身段姿態,讓人清楚明白她在想甚麼、在做甚麼;若是缺少了酒,趙太的形象恐怕也不會那麼鮮明圓滿。只要有了酒,彷彿她的心靈和動作也會活躍起來,更能放開懷抱,率性而為;那些自信開朗、柔腸百結、悲苦沉痛、苦中作樂的情態就躍然紙上。讀到蕩氣迴腸處,真恨不得借用叮噹的時光機回到宋代,和她浮一大白。

在趙太提到喝酒的詞中,我最喜歡《漁家傲》:「雪裡已知春信至,寒梅點綴瓊枝膩。香臉半開嬌旖旎,當庭際,玉人浴出新妝洗。 造化可能偏有意,故教明月玲瓏地。共賞金樽沉綠蟻,莫辭醉,此花不與群花比。」

這闋《漁家傲》是趙太早年的作品,表面上似是賞梅之詞,細讀之下,卻頗有自負之意。趙太以蠟梅自喻,邀得佳客共酌賞梅,更叮囑對方要仔細鑑賞,做個「識花人」,莫以等閒視之。趙太自信率真的性子,可見一斑。

其次,我喜歡《蝶戀花》:「永夜懨懨歡意少,空夢長安,認取長安道。為報今年春色好,花光月影宜相照。 隨意杯盤雖草草,酒美梅酸,恰稱人懷抱。醉裡插花花莫笑,可憐人似春將老。」

這闋詞題為「上巳召親族」,據徐培均先生考證,乃趙太於建炎二年(公元1128年)三月上巳所作,當時她從青州倉皇南渡建康不久,雖與丈夫、弟弟等相聚,懷鄉之思定必難以排遣。即使草草預備的美酒佳餚「恰稱人懷抱」,最後「可憐人似春將老」才是趙太這闋詞的題旨所在。前文的「恰稱人懷抱」、「花光月影宜相照」等美景良辰,更顯得趙太在離鄉背井、國勢多舛的情況下,苦中作樂的無奈,強顏歡笑的蒼涼。這跟趙太壓卷之作《永遇樂》的結語:「不如向,簾兒底下,聽人笑語」,頗有異曲同工之妙。同樣以尋常用語道盡飄泊流離的悲涼,但趙太晚年所寫的《永遇樂》,意境終較《蝶戀花》更勝一籌。

趙太還有不少名作提到「酒」,順手拈來就有《醉花陰》(「東籬把酒黃昏後,有暗香盈袖」)、《聲聲慢》(「三杯兩盞淡酒,怎敵他,晚來風急」)、《念奴嬌》(「險韻詩成,扶頭酒醒,別是閒滋味」)、《如夢令》(「昨夜雨疏風驟,濃睡不消殘酒」)等,不勝枚舉。彷彿琥珀流光的酒漿,能把八百年前趙太的一顰一笑、悲歡離合,重新在腦海中映照一遍。她的詞,每一闋都有其獨特情懷,猶如醇厚甘美的佳釀,值得仔細品嘗,決不可做那糟蹋了美酒的飲牛飲驢。

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A New Page in History, An Old Dream Revived

I have never been following closely the presidential elections in the United States. I was even so dumb that at the very beginning, I thought Barack Obama was running against Hillary Rodham Clinton, although I soon found out that they were actually competing with each other for the candidacy of the Democratic Party.

In any case, Mr Obama's landslide victory against his Republican opponent John McCain has certainly turned a new leaf in history.

Many people, especially those outside the United States, have been focusing on Mr Obama's ethnic origin. Anyone who knows the history of the United States should understand how extraordinary it is to elect someone with African origin as the president of the world's surviving superpower.

However, as we can see in Mr Obama's campaign, ethnicity has never been a highlighted item on his agenda. Yet his speeches about change, about hope, about multi-ethnicity and multi-cultures have never been so compelling and emotionally inspiring. This is why so many commentators in Hong Kong have attributed Mr Obama's success to his unique and uncompromising position throughout the campaign.

As someone who has worked in the communications industry for more than 10 years, I also take my hat off for Mr Obama's articulation, confidence, eloquence and charisma - all essential attributes for a successful leader. But I would restrain from comparing him to those political opportunists in Hong Kong. Any comparison would either be a humiliation for Mr Obama or exaggerated flattery for the locals.

More importantly, in my opinion, the election of Mr Obama revives an old dream that has long lost its appeal.

For many years people in the United States have been proud of their openness and tolerance of different cultures, ethnicities and religions. But the experience of many Asian and African visitors, including myself, has been telling us the opposite. From the immigration officers to the people whom we encounter on the streets, the reality just looks too different from the much-touted propaganda.

If anything, Mr Obama's success resonates with the genuine American Dream that has been tirelessly promoted for decades. It doesn't really matter whether it is coincidence of life or deliberation of communication spin, but Mr Obama's story is undoubtedly a striking and motivating replica of the American Dream. His story embraces all the core values and essential elements of the prevalent imagination of the United States that have motivated countless people over the years across the world. But the Dream has lost its appeal over the years, especially when more people are becoming disillusioned by the discrepancy between reality and expectations.

The election of Mr Obama, to a certain extent, will revive the hope as people are looking forward to a new era of change, unity and harmony in a world power that has been known for its bloody struggle for these merits. As a non-US citizen, I do hope Mr Obama's election indicates a fundamental paradigm shift that ethnicity is no longer an issue - not just in the United States, but every corner of our world.