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英语美文阅读:我该怎么做?

2013-02-22 14:47

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英语美文阅读:我该怎么做?

A nice fancy hotel?

Ah.

That's when suddenly I go deaf and the birds stop singing and I can see Wayan's mouth moving but I'm not listening to her anymore because a thought has just come, scrawled blatantly across my mind: SHE'S FUCKING WITH YOU, GROCERIES.

I stand up, say good-bye to Wayan, walk home slowly and ask Felipe point-blank for his opinion: "Is she fucking with me?"

He has not ever commented upon my business with Wayan, not once. "Darling," he says kindly. "Of course she's fucking with you." My heart drops into my guts with a splat.

"But not intentionally," he adds quickly. "You need to understand the thinking in Bali. It's a way of life here for people to try to get the most money they can out of visitors. It's how everyone survives. So she's making up some stories now about the farmer. Darling, since when does a Balinese man need to talk to his wife before he can make a business deal? Listen—the guy is desperate to sell her a small parcel; he already said he would. But she wants the whole thing now. And she wants you to buy it for her."

I cringe at this for two reasons. First of all, I hate to think this could be true of Wayan. Second, I hate the cultural implications under his speech, the whiff of colonial White Man's Burden stuff, the patronizing "this-is-what-all-these-people-are-like" argument.

But Felipe isn't a colonialist; he's a Brazilian. He explains, "Listen, I grew up poor in South America. You think I don't understand the culture of this kind of poverty? You've given Wayan more money than she's ever seen in her life and now she's thinking crazy. As far as she's concerned, you're her miracle benefactor and this might be her last chance to ever get a break. So she wants to get all she can before you go. For God's sake—four months ago the poor woman didn't have enough money to buy lunch for her child and now she wants a hotel?"

"What should I do?"

"Don't get angry about it, whatever happens. If you get angry, you'll lose her, and that would be a pity because she's a marvelous person and she loves you. This is her survival tac-tic, just accept that. You must not think that she's not a good person, or that she and the kids don't honestly need your help. But you cannot let her take advantage of you. Darling, I've seen it repeated so many times. What happens with Westerners who live here for a long time is that they usually end up falling into one of two camps. Half of them keep playing the tourist, saying, ‘Oh, those lovely Balinese, so sweet, so gracious . . . ," and getting ripped off like crazy. The other half get so frustrated with being ripped off all the time, they start to hate the Balinese. And that's a shame, because then you've lost all these wonderful friends."

"But what should I do?"

"You need to get back some control of the situation. Play some kind of game with her, like the games she's playing with you. Threaten her with something that motivates her to act. You'll be doing her a favor; she needs a home."

"I don't want to play games, Felipe."

不错的豪华饭店?

啊。

突然间我成了聋子,鸟儿不再歌唱。我看见大姐的嘴在动,但我不再听到她说话,因为一个想法突然出现,公然掠过我的脑海:她在耍我。

我站起身,和大姐道别,慢慢走路回家,直截了当地询问斐利贝的意见:"她真的在耍我吗?"他不曾对我和大姐的事情发表评论,一次都没有。

"甜心,"他体贴地说,"她当然在耍你。"我的心沉到谷底。

"但她不是故意的,"他很快接着说:"你得了解巴厘岛人的思考逻辑。尽量榨取游客的钱,是当地人的生活方式,也是每个人的生存方式。因此她现在要捏造有关农人的故事。甜心,巴厘男人打什么时候开始需要跟老婆商量生意的事?听着——那家伙急着卖她一小块地;他已经说愿意卖。但她现在想要买整块地。她要你为她而买。"

我不敢苟同这个说法,有两个原因。首先,我不愿意相信大姐真的会这么做。其二,我不喜欢他的言论底下所蕴涵的文化意味,那种殖民者的"白种男性负担"之类的气息,"这些人都像怎样怎样"的父权论调。

但斐利贝不是殖民者,他是巴西人。他解释说:"听着,我这个南美人在穷困中长大。你以为我不了解这种贫困文化?你给大姐的钱,是她这辈子想都想不到的数量,而她现在有了疯狂想法。在她而言,你是她的奇迹恩人,这可能是她最后一次的大好机会。让老天来评评理吧——四个月前,这个可怜的女人甚至没有足够的钱为她的孩子买午餐,但是现在她竟然想开饭店!"

"那我该怎么办呢?"

"切勿动怒,无论发生什么事。你若动怒,就会失去她,这很可惜,因为她是个了不起的人,而且爱你。这是她的生存手法,就接受这个事实吧。切勿把她看做坏人,切勿以为她和孩子们不是真的需要你帮忙。但你不能让她占你便宜。甜心,我看过这种事情一再发生。在此地长住的西方人,往往落入两个阵营。半数人持续扮演游客角色,说:"喔,这些可爱的巴厘岛人,真亲切,真优雅"……却被坑得很惨。另一半人对自己老是被坑感到灰心丧气,于是开始讨厌巴厘岛人。这是可耻的事,因为这让你失去所有这里的好朋友。"

"但我该怎么做?"

"你得扳回局面。跟她玩些把戏,就像她跟你玩把戏一般。以其人之道,反治其人。那么你终究帮了她的忙;她需要一个家。"

"我不想玩把戏,斐利贝。"

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