Sunday, 31 October 2010

開學三記

剛完成了學期中的功課,本來想休息幾天輕鬆一下,但一直沒法擺脫期末功課選題的煩惱。

自由選題當然是好,但前提是已設定一個方向,不是漫無目的在大海裡漂浮。我現在的感覺,就像掉進深海中,勉強抓住一根木頭載浮載沉,茫然不知所向。連信心也不免有點動搖了。

這段日子以來最深刻的感慨,就是自己讀書太少,根基不穩。看上去好像甚麼都懂,其實只是皮毛,不堪一擊。為功課選題的時候,感覺尤其強烈。就是因為甚麼都不太懂,搜集資料時倍感辛苦,也不知道這個方向對不對、手上的資料是否足夠應付課業的要求。向老師求教唄,還是那一句:按你的興趣來做吧。但我的興趣是宋代和韓國,並非課程所有,難道要寫宋朝或韓國的公共歷史嗎?即使我想寫,以我的程度、以三千字左右的篇幅,以平均一星期寫一篇的速度,能寫得來嗎?

兩個月下來,為了應付課業的要求,已是頗感吃力。平日備課尚能維持,但要寫功課的時候,連做運動也變成了奢侈。既然要寫功課,就免不了要搜集資料,但礙於功課繁多,時間有限,難免掛一漏萬。寫的時候,總覺得精神難以集中,思緒紛亂。一方面擔心資料太少,理據不夠充分;一方面又怕自己搜索枯腸,提出自以為有點創見的東西,其實前賢早有預言,只是自己讀書不博,懵然未知而已。所以總是寫了又寫、改了又改,甚至交給了老師之後,還是覺得不滿意。

古語有云:「無欲則剛。」真是再對也沒有了。這次唸書,因為有了私心,愈想取得好成績,壓力就愈大,更覺力不從心。有時甚至懷疑是不是自己的讀書方法有問題,功課寫來總是覺得虛無縹緲,沒有甚麼把握。

所以,只能不斷提醒自己,盡量放鬆心情,不問收穫,戮力應付。無奈愈想放鬆愈難放鬆,因為這次破釜沉舟、孤注一擲,更覺得不可以空手而回。與九年前以兼讀形式修課的愉快相比,真有天淵之別。

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

重看《紫禁城遊記》

上星期二到香港文化中心重看新編崑劇《紫禁城遊記》,少了初遇的震撼,多了一點重逢的惆悵。

這倒不是重看的緣故。重看本來就不是為了重溫劇情,而是希望重塑某一種情懷。即使成功率不高,多少人還是躍躍欲試。條件很簡單,就是故事得耐看,經得起時間和人心的試煉。

《紫禁城遊記》應該是經得起考驗的。張弘編寫的劇本非常出色,透過崇禎皇帝和蒯祥鬼魂的對答,介紹紫禁城的設計意念和建築特色,構思巧妙,曲詞也流暢優美,是難得的上乘之作。

張老師沒有在創作緣起中明確解釋以明末為故事背景的原因,但也有蛛絲馬跡可尋。他說:「說到紫禁城,我們自然想起了它的第一位主人明成祖朱棣。但第一個進入我構思的卻是清朝的末代皇帝溥儀。試想,溥儀在離宮的瞬間,他是如何回首投給紫禁城這最後的一瞥呢!順著這種思路的延伸,我終於將情節和情感的雙重沸點,都傾注到了明朝的亡國之君崇禎的身上。」

為甚麼是崇禎?為甚麼不是溥儀?張老師沒有說。不過,民間對於崇禎皇帝的感覺,可能要比溥儀深刻得多。首先,明朝是中國歷史上最後一個由漢人當皇帝的朝代,心理上難免有點剪不斷理還斷的民族情意結。崇禎皇帝於煤山自縊殉國的結局,也比少年溥儀遜位離宮更淒涼、更浪漫、更具傳奇色彩。張老師大概就是掌握了這種純樸而糾結的感情加以發揮。何況紫禁城創建於明成祖永樂年間,本來就是姓朱的祖業,以在位十七年的崇禎皇帝來「介紹」紫禁城的建築,似乎更覺順理成章。

今年崔護重來,仍由石小梅飾演崇禎皇帝,蒯祥則由趙堅代替去年的李鴻良。趙、李兩位都是資深演員,演出各擅勝場。但個人認為李老師身形清減些,更符合我對蒯祥的想像--不知怎地,總覺得鬼魂都是偏瘦的。

石老師兩次飾演崇禎,給我的感覺很不一樣。首演時,覺得她比較著重表現崇禎皇帝的氣度,即使是唱曲的嘴形,還是比較內斂和克制的。這次重演,覺得她把演繹的重點放在崇禎皇帝眾叛親離,瀕臨精神崩潰的絕望心境上。無論是表情、聲腔或唱曲時的嘴部運動,幅度都比首演時稍為誇張,讓人更真切地感受到崇禎皇帝賜死妻女、送走兒子、百官作鳥獸散之後的惶恐和無助。偌大的紫禁城,能容納成千上萬的人居住,如今卻剩下崇禎皇帝孑然一身。儘管舞臺不大,但整體氣氛非常肅殺沉重,彷彿紫禁城就在背景之中,眼前的皇帝只是攝影鏡頭裡放大了的影像而已。

可是不知怎地,自己對這次演出的感覺,並沒有首演時深刻。戲固然是好的,但總覺得好像欠缺了甚麼,想了幾天也想不出個所以然來。也許,當時經常被身旁不安分的觀眾騷擾,令欣賞的心情大打折扣了罷?

所以,重逢的時機和情景,也要講緣分的。

Monday, 18 October 2010

文海隨筆--《李清照正傳》

花了一個多月才讀完《李清照正傳》,打破了歷來閱讀關於趙太專著的最慢紀錄。

不只是因為功課繁重,更是因為看到作者不可一世、口沫橫飛的態度,實在令人頭疼。有好幾次在乘車時耐著性子繼續看下去,沒想到翻了幾頁就長嘆一聲,頹然放下。

書中提供了一些以前李清照集編者不曾提到的方志、對《金石錄後序》撰寫日期的解釋、對易安居士改嫁為非、招贅是實的辨證等,甚具參考價值。

可惜作者目空一切、自以為是的態度卻是不敢恭維。沒錯,王仲聞先生的《李清照集校註》享譽多年,但仍錯訛難免;其後的黃墨谷、徐培均、施議對、陳祖美等諸位研究者也分別提出了自己的見解,各有長短。這本來是學術研究平常不過的事,作者卻一副替天行道、斬妖除魔的口吻,不但批評前賢胡說八道、誤導讀者,更一口斷定自己的研究所得才是正確。問題是,易安居士作古多年,作品散佚已久,有關她的記載零碎蕪雜,要準確梳理她的生平事蹟,談何容易?除非她老人家復生,否則我們現在所得到的結論,仍難逃臆測的本質。既然如此,行文語氣就應該客氣一點,唯我獨尊,把其他學者辛苦的研究成果都看得不值一哂,並非應有的治學態度。

作者謝學欽是福建人,看得出對家鄉感情深厚,可能因此影響了他對李清照晚年行蹤的看法。趙明誠兩位兄長存誠、思誠均南遷福建,他們的母親郭夫人也移葬當地,但在沒有確鑿文獻記載的情況下,能否就此斷定李清照終老閩鄉?作者經常批評前賢的考證不夠精細,缺失甚多,但他舉出趙明誠有子在福建依附伯父,卻只舉了一兩條資料,而且某些古文句子的句讀,也可能造成理解偏差。他為何那樣武斷,全盤推翻多年來趙明誠無嗣的說法?

從書中廣徵博引的文獻來看,作者的古典文學修養甚深,令人敬佩。他經常不厭其煩的說明某篇文章、某首詩、某闋詞(不一定是易安居士的作品)的來歷、當時宋金和戰的情勢,讀者得益甚多,只嫌枝蔓太廣,易失焦點。他又把易安居士的作品譯成白話文,甚至花上數頁篇幅來考證某個詞牌、某句詞的典故,鉅細無遺,頗有炫耀才學之嫌,嘮嘮叨叨,令人厭煩。有趣的是,作者在後記卻突然謙抑起來,不免令人猜疑那只是虛應故事而已。

此書取名《李清照正傳》,其實我早應該猜到作者「成一家之言」的志向了。

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Deadlock

Nothing seems timelier than studying the history of modern Japan when distrust between China and Japan has surged to new heights following the diplomatic wrestling over the Diaoyu Islands on East Sea.

While many blamed the United States for handing over the Diaoyu Islands to Japan rather than China in 1972, scant attention has been given to the deep-rooted intricacies that explained, at least to a certain extent, the delicate relations between China and Japan as demonstrated in the drama of Japan's detention of a Chinese fisherman last month.

The hostilities between China and Japan can find their roots way before the Second World War, or even the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894. In Hong Kong, predominance of histories written from the Chinese perspective pointing an accusing finger at Japanese imperialism is hardly surprising, if taken for granted. This is why James McClain's lucid narrative of modern Japan from a non-Chinese, albeit not really Japanese, point of view is such an eye-opener. Read this:

"The Japanese who pondered the fate of their nation as Western imperialism spread across Asia were not malicious individuals. They did not harbour any particular animosity toward fellow Asians, and no person in a position of authority concocted or endorsed any concrete plan calling for the acquisition of territory overseas or the economic domination of Asia. Collectively, however, men like Yamagata [Arimoto], Matsukata [Masayoshi], Fukuzawa [Yukichi] and Tokutomi [Soho] were developing a mentalite that countenanced imperialistic behaviour. By the early 1890s they and many of their countrymen, from the political right and left, both inside and outside government, had reached the same conclusion: The world was a dangerous place, Western imperialism and racist attitudes posed grave threats to Japanese independence, and their country was justified in contemplating action outside its national borders in order to preserve its national integrity. Seizing upon the rhetoric of expansionism that filled the air, they helped forge an emerging consensus that Japan must be assertive, must even victimise others, if it wished to avoid being victimised itself." (Japan: A Modern History, Chapter 9, page 295)

Of the prominent Japanese names mentioned in the quote above, Fukuzawa Yukichi, an educator and thinker whose portrait is printed on the 10,000 Japanese yen note, was perhaps the most influential of all. Millions of copies of his An Encouragement of Learning, written between 1872 and 1876, were reportedly sold in Japan. What was more intriguing, however, was On De-Asianisation published in 1885. Although it was not as widely circulated as An Encouragement of Learning, this short article seemed to have provided a strong philosophical base for the impending imperialism of Japan. For the reader today, it provides some insight into the underlying causes of Japanese scepticism toward China.

In this controversial essay, Fukuzawa criticised China and Korea as "old-fashioned autocracies without abiding laws" and whose gentlemen were "too deeply infatuated to know what science is". According to Fukuzawa, despite Japan's success in transforming itself into a "civilised" (by Western standards, of course) global player, it might still be misunderstood by the West as an inferior Asian nation because China and Korea, its long-time neighbours, failed to embrace Western civilisation and enlighten themselves. As a result, Fukuzawa concluded, "To plan our course now, therefore, our country cannot afford to wait for the enlightenment of our neighbours and to co-operate in building Asia up. Rather, we should leave their ranks to join the camp of the civilised countries of the West. Even when dealing with China and Korea, we need not have special scruples simply because they are our neighbours, but should behave towards them as the Westerners do. One who befriends an evil person cannot avoid being involved in his notoriety. In spirit, then, we break with our evil friends of Eastern Asia." (English translation by Hidehiro Okada in The Meiji Japan Through Contemporary Sources, Volume 3, page 133)

Although Fukuzawa's position on China and Korea remains a subject of debate (Mikiaki Ishikawa, an editor of Fukuzawa's works after his death, was blamed for inserting strongly discriminative comments about China and Korea and attributing them to Fukuzawa), the criticism and contempt of China expressed in this short essay seem to hint at the negative views of China among the right-wing politicians and activists in Japan. If this is the case, it would be a deadlock only to be resolved by collective efforts of rectification. However, it would be an immense challenge for both China and Japan when the foundation of mutual trust and co-operation remains regrettably fragile.