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南洋大学:殖民地红毛人的眼中钉?

30/03/05

著者:韩素音 编译者:江学文 日期: 30-3-2005 来源: http://nantah-history.blogspot.com/

编译者按语:

原文 A “Thorn In The Eyes” for British Colonists ? (http://www.nantah.org ) 乃摘自韩素音老师自传 “My House Has Two Doors” 。本译文摘录自中国华侨出版公司1991年12月出版的译本“韩素音自传──吾宅双门”(陈德彰 林克美译)并且经过整理。整理过程中,一些不符合星马华语应用方式的词汇,均于以纠正。文章题目与标题乃编译者附加。

马来亚和新加坡有马来学校、华校和英校。华校的学生是英校生的三倍,可是有许多问题。他们被认为是共产党人渗透的温床,经常受到政治部的袭击。后来几年里,在我的帮助下起码有好几个青少年得救,免遭无故拘留送往集中营关上三五年。英校和马来学校都得到政府补贴,华校一般没有,而是由华人团体俱乐部、协会或商会提供资助的。东南亚的华侨还出资在中国建了大学让自己的孩子可以受到高等教育。这一做法一直是行得通的,但一九四九年中国变成“赤色”之后,和中国的任何来往都被认为是违法的,是犯罪。去中国的青年人不准再回到马来亚。从中国大学毕业回来在马来亚和新加坡中小学教华语的教师开始受到莫须有的迫害。他们当中许多人因被怀疑同情中国而丢掉了饭碗。根据紧急法的规定,任何持有中国书籍或杂志的人可不经审判被自动拘留,关押至少两年。我在马来亚的十一年中,我的许多书常常被政治部扣压或销毁。像埃德加ܨ斯诺写的《二万五千里长征》*等书被认为有颠覆性。

编译者注:即《西行漫记》。当时在星马流行的是一本香港翻印的《二万五千里长征》。

马来学校只迎合马来孩子的需要,所有的全是宗教学校。在学校里,学生们用阿拉伯文诵读《可兰经》,而且以后多少年都一直继续诵读。只有那些出身于贵族家庭、上英校的孩子才能上大学,马来甘榜大多数的孩子从未达到过高等教育的水平。一些和阿拉伯关系密切的马来人去开罗上爱哈资尔大学。还有一些去伦敦上学,一般学法律。

新加坡大学是为受过英文教育的马来亚青年建立的。它执行政府让马来人毕业的政策,即使他们达不到要求的水平也让毕业。学生的大多数当然是华人,因为新加坡人口的八十五巴仙是华人,马来人只占六巴仙,其余为印度人和欧洲人。华人对这种偏袒的做法很不满,可是又怕“将来找不到工作”只得忍气吞声。所有政府行政和文科方面的职务一律都给英校的毕业生。可是,由于新加坡三分之二的孩子上的是华校,政府部门、医药、法律、工程和建筑等方面的工作都没有他们的份。这种不公正也太明目张胆了。我就这个问题发表了看法,可是那些受过英文教育的人害怕了。教授们淡淡地反驳说华文教育的水平不高。这说法并不符合事实。那些最有才华的学者是先上华校然后降级转入英校的。

一九五三年,新加坡和马来亚的华人团体要在当地筹建一所供华校毕业生就学的大学也就不足为奇了。因为去中国上大学要受到逮捕或被驱逐出境,当然不可能去了。南洋大学的主意是由丹戎禺俱乐部 ( 又称作百万富翁俱乐部 ) 所领导的中华总商会所提出来的。一九五一年政府专断立法规定新加坡和马来亚的任何官方文件只有英语和马来语才有效。中华总商会曾提出抗议。丹戎禺俱乐部一月份召开会议决定,既然已为讲英语的少数人建立了─所英语新加坡大学,就必须为讲华语的多数人建立一所华语大学 ——- 这完全合乎逻辑,可是有好几个月的时间,我在Cockpit Hotel 和新加坡白人常去的地方看到,那些一本正经的英国人一提起华文大学就口吐白沫叽咕个没完。

成立华文大学的这一计划使我应邀去新加坡大学发表讲话。“到底为什么必须要有一所为讲华语的人而开办的大学?”我反问道:“为什么上层人物只能是讲英语的呢?”一位脾气暴躁的英国人说:“南洋大学是华人沙文主义的典型表现。”“那怎么看待新加坡大学的英国沙文主义呢?”当然,扼制华语文化是为了“反对共产主义”,不让年轻人通过语言媒介受到思想灌输。新加坡大学的英国教职员和政府官员们非常有把握认为英文教育能够防止共产主义思想。

一九五三年二、三月间,全马来亚的两百其七十个华人团体和俱乐部参加了这─建校计划,南洋大学诞生了。所有的人都捐了钱。百万富翁们捐了几百万元,新加坡巴杀的小贩们每个月捐出一个星期的收入。有多少豪煎蛋饼、蟹肉和各种面条报效给了南洋大学? 新加坡和马来亚的三轮车夫把两天踏车所得全捐给了南洋大学,他们做出的牺牲最大,因为他们那么穷。割胶工人也蜂拥前来捐款。他们知道他们的孩子永远也上不了大学,但这是一种表示自己文化身份的姿态。这是一件极其了不起的壮举,人人都必须记住。

在新加坡裕廊的─块地被买下了,开始建校。我那时正在研究马华文学。通过和在马来亚的华人学者的接触,我发现马来亚华人作者创作了大量的散文、小说、评论和诗歌,内容和感情都不同于中国本身的文学。马来亚和新加坡有两家很出色的华文报纸,广泛报导世界新闻。有一些很能干的记者,他们除了讲华语外,还会讲漂亮的英语和马来语。我和他们有过几次充满生气的会晤 * 。在华人社会里文化滋生从来末间断过,而且不乏创造性。可是这一切都为英国人所不屑一顾。当然更受到紧急法令以“颠覆”为罪名的彻底镇压……若干年后我收集并帮助出版了第一本英文的马华文学纲要。学生们给我带来一本本小巧的诗集和小小说。如果说他们的技巧不全是十全十美的,内容却全是反对殖民主义的,充满热情和朝气。我仔细地把它们收藏好,因为拥有这些书是要坐牢的。有一些作家确实进了监狱。

*原文注:他们中的一些人后因“颠覆活动”而入狱。

因此,把马来亚华人说成刚来时目不识丁的苦力,挥动锄头修路,种植橡胶和开采锡矿,突然成了愚蠢的美少年,仍然没有文化的“百万富翁”,这样的说法完全是不真实的。确实有不少华人初来当劳工,有些人成了百万富翁。比如丹戎禺俱乐部的负责人陈六使和连瀛洲。连瀛洲曾表演给我看他当年挖土修路的样子。还有李光前,他开始在一个橡胶园当小职员,后来成了几家报社和企业的业主。这些百万富翁出钱资助奖学金,资助报纸、学校、福利团体和图书馆,对年轻人的教育十分关注。他们中许多人发奋用功学会读书识字。有些人,如李光前,设法学会了三种语言。

我一开始就支持南洋大学的计划。可是过了一年后提出了一个条件。南洋大学应该在教学计划中加进马来语课程,对想要学习华语的马来人开门。

今天数百名欧洲学生去中国学习中文,美国大学里有几百名美国人在学习中文。可是在当时马来人学习中文的想法在英国人看来荒唐而不可思议 ( 很奇怪的是,尽管马来人并不这么看 ) ,许多海外华人也想不通,其中包括丹戎禺俱乐部里的一些百万富翁。我意识到显然这是海外华人因为对日战争而对马来人有所不满和怀疑,就像马来人受到他们一些狂热的宗教领袖训斥要他们去杀死“异教的”中国人一样,必须采取一定的措施。看来,尽管马来亚共产党大谈各种族的团结,却没有处理好这一问题,甚至否认这个问题的存在。

南大之父:陈六使

由于支持南洋大学,我被邀请到新加坡丹戎禺俱乐部去作客。我沿着那幢不显眼的建筑拾级而上。站在上面等我的是一些二等的商人。俱乐部里面很大,有一个小湖般的游泳池。游泳池上有好几个亭子,有一些拐来拐去的九曲桥连成一体。这些拐来拐去的桥也许是为了防止魔鬼跟百万富翁们到湖中间那个凉亭里去,他们常在那儿讨论大额的生意。闻名的陈六使从一个内间出来欢迎我。

他的穿着很平常,下身穿一条宽松的裤子,上衣领扣敞着,露出里面的衬衫 ——- 新加坡普通的工人都是这么打扮的。——— 光脚穿的凉鞋可以花一块钱从“真遮里”买到。俱乐部的其它成员也和他一样,穿着并不讲究,显示了他们是当劳工出身的。按福建人习惯,端出来的茶用很小的杯子盛。陈六使一边扇着芭蕉扇一边打量着我。他的头很大,留着平头,一张脸与众不同,既平常又机灵,下巴很大,一副硬汉子的模样,可是又显得深沉。我很喜欢他。他掌握着很大的权力,可是十分诚实,这时他很生气,他受欺负受够了。

在场的还有许多记者、学者和教师,还有讨人喜欢的李光前。他比陈六使难以捉摸得多,也更有远见。他很瘦,头发全竖着,我们很快喜欢上了对方。马尔科姆十分尊重他,这一点也起了很大作用。随后几年中我们见过好几次面,每次都有一大群人在场,免得政治部指控我们密谋。李光前告诉我他年轻时对英语的用法感到疑惑不解。墙上写的Post No Bill ( 请勿招贴 )曾使他迷惑。Post是“邮寄”的意思,bill是鸟嘴,为什么叫人“不要寄鸟嘴”呢?

*原译者注:英语中Post有好几种意思,既可作“邮寄”讲,也可作“张贴”讲;bill,既可指“广告、招贴,帐单”,也可指鸟的“嘴”。

丰盛的宴会后,陈六使领路来到了湖中心的凉亭,在那儿讲起了为什么必须建立南洋大学。我表示同意。第二天政治部就知道了全部情况,他们去找了马尔科姆*,想让他给我泼冷水。马尔科姆对我说:“他们看上去很狼狈”。第二天华人报纸报导了我们谈话的确切内容。陈六使和李光前(尤其是李光前),被一位美国记者谴责为“赤色代理人”。陈六使通过他的老上司陈嘉庚 ( 百万富翁,在中国捐建了好几所大学,他为了躲避英国人的逮捕而回国) 和原籍省份有些联系。这些百万富翁当然没有一个是倾向共产主义的。尽管如此,那时候时兴把促进文化联系和共产主义混为一谈。那些日子正是约瑟夫ܭ麦卡锡以莫须有的罪名进行政治迫害的时期,新加坡和好莱坞一样受到波及。

*编者注:马尔科姆 (Malcom MacDonald ) 当时英国驻东南亚最高专员。

在丹戎禺俱乐部第二次或第三次吃饭的时候,我大胆提及了南洋大学招收马来学生的事,感到人们热情立刻大降。连瀛洲故意摇了摇他那杯白兰地搀姜汁汽水中的冰块。一个机灵的年轻秘书问我在写什么书。陈六使则在一旁摇着他那便宜的苦力扇子。停了好一会儿之后,他开始讲起了日本人统治时马来人对华人所做的种种可怕的事。“我们为英国人作战,我们牺牲,我们受拷打……我们来到这儿,在本来什么也不长的地方种出了庄稼,马来亚因为我们而变得富有……”我听着,脸上显出无限的敬佩。

林语堂:南大首任校长

这时南洋大学董事会需要物色一名校长,由校长选择职员、教授、讲师。董事会里有一股很强的亲国民党势力,并得到了美国领事的支持。美国人认为英国人优柔寡断,美国重要的亲蒋游说团对南洋大学也发生了兴趣。在新加坡有一所反共的华文大学也许不是一件坏事。它可能会抵销森林游击队的吸引力,从长远看,还可能抵销受印尼共产党影响的马来“左”派的倾向。因为,除了一再重复“效忠的马来人” ( 忠诚于什么 ?)这一主题外,谁也没有英国人更清楚,马来人也是民族主义者,和印尼有着共同的文化、语言和文学,从阿尔及利亚到菲律宾,整个回教世界都在翻腾。当局担心泛阿拉伯运动和泛回教运动会影响马来亚。马来文报纸《马来前锋报》对伊拉克、叙利亚和阿尔及利亚反对殖民统治的斗争的高涨的报导是赞同的。埃及的纳赛深得人心。

南洋大学的反共校长的职位结果落在林语堂(《吾国与吾民》一书的作者) 的身上。林语堂在美国生活了二十多年,抗日战争期间只到过亚洲一次,即去重庆两个星期。可是一九五三年时他却在台湾,卖力地谴责共产党的中国,参与建立了受到蒋介石,当然还有美国中央情报局支持的反共联盟。

对于这一人选陈六使并不满意。林语堂带着一家子来到了新加坡,他的女儿、女婿也都在南洋大学安排了工作。学校为林家提供了海边的一幢平房。还有一辆卡迪拉克小轿车。林语堂随即着手招聘教职工。我收到他一张条子,要我顺便去谈谈。

大门口的蹭鞋垫上写有“欢迎”的字样,凉爽的客厅里的梁上挂着种在有孔花盆中的吊兰。屋里有一些精致的雕刻家具和玉器,那是万金油大王的女儿胡仙借给他们的。胡仙的父亲胡文虎在新加坡和香港都有许多房子,里面摆满了无价的玉器,我曾十分敬佩地拜访过。圆圆胖胖、热情好客的林太大对我表示欢迎。林语堂长着一双叫人捉摸不定的眼睛,戴着眼镜,个头不高,却很傲慢。他命令说:“现在我要你用二十分钟讲一下这儿的情况。”我开始讲起来。可是他只注意听了一会儿。他的眼神慢慢发呆,脸上没有表情,表明他的思想已转到了另外一个题目……我把我的叙述压缩到五分钟,他道貌岸然地点了点头。他转过身对他太太说:“妈妈,我们必须出去看看马来亚。”林太大答道:“如果安全的话。”我对她说肯定安全,并且学着我原来的女佣阿梅的口气说:“只有坏人才会被打死,像警官一类人。”他们楞住了。林太太问我:“你要喝点咖啡吗?”

然后我们谈到了林博士将要写的关于东南亚的书,南洋大学将成为反共堡垒……林语堂已经宣布这将是他的宗旨。接着他请我担任南洋大学的英国文学教授。我摇了摇头,对于英国文学我一窍不通。“可是你用英文写作啊,”他惊叫道。我说:“可不是英国文学。”我不想教狄更斯和萨克雷,尽管那很值得教。“我宁可担任学校的保健医生。所有被录取的学生都要进行身体检查。”他同意了。可是我走了以后,他却举行了一次记者招待会,对他们说:“韩素音接受了南洋大学英国文学教授的职务。”这条消息登在第二天的《海峡时报》上。我给《海峡时报》写了一封信,澄清说目前我所能做的只是担任学校的保健医生。

这一否认导致了和林语堂的另一次会晤。他有点不高兴。“你为什么不放弃从医?” 作为一名教授我会有充裕的时间进行写作。“我们会安排让你每周的课时不超过六节。”我试图向他解释我对于文学的看法,即我们必须创造一种亚洲式的文学,我们需要的不是十九世纪的英国作家……可是他又走神了,我只好告辞。

一九五四年剩下的时间,南洋大学在建设中,我没有再去找过他。林语堂发表了许多公告,举行了一系列记者招待会,并多次发表讲话,看来他对马来亚局势显然太不了解。他把大学说成是个悠闲的地方,有时间可以抽抽烟斗,翻翻书报杂志。这可激怒了那些饿着肚子一星期捐献三天收入的三轮车夫们。人们很快开始讨厌他,各华文中学开展了反对他的运动,要求董事会勒令他辞职。从这一点来说,他大大帮了他们的忙。他的想法一开始就要一个无比庞大的预算,完全像一所有钱的美国大学那样而不是马来亚华人集资办的大学。他要给所有聘用的教授和他们的家属提供机票,并出钱将他们家里用的东西运来。他还要给他们安排十分讲究的房子。

丹戎禺俱乐部感到担忧,于是召开了会议。他们闷闷不乐地思忖着林语堂不断送来的帐单。他们接见学生们派来的抗议代表团。到了十二月,林和董事会的关系已很紧张。于是他采取了不像中国人行事的、很无礼的行动。他召集了一次西方记者的记者招待会 ( 没有华人记者出席 ) ,把他与董事会的不一致告诉了各家英文报纸。他对他们埋怨说提供的经费不够。在华人看来,这是赤裸裸的背叛。在马来亚也好,在别处也好,华人喜欢自己内部解决各种分歧,而不通过报界,尤其是外国的报纸。在答复一位记者提问时,林说道,马来亚和新加坡是“文明的前哨”,属于困难地区,需要增加财政报酬。由于林语堂在董事会最后作出决定之前就将争端公诸于众,使他的资助者们,尤其是陈六使丢了面子。一九五五年初林语堂和他家里人收到了陈六使亲自私下送来的一大笔赔偿费,回美国去了。

附原文:

A “Thorn In The Eyes” for British Colonists ?
by Han Suyin
Except from “My House Has Two Doors”
(Published with permission from the author)

There were Malay schools, Chinese schools and English schools in Malaya, and in Singapore. There were three times as many children in Chinese schools as in English schools; but the Chinese schools had many problems. They were regarded as the hotbeds of communist infiltration; and Special Branch swooped upon them regularly. In the years to come, I was instrumental in saving a handful at least of young adolescents from arbitrary detention and three to five years in concentration camps. The Chinese schools were in general not government subsidized as were English and Malay schools, but funded by the Chinese community clubs, associations and chambers of commerce. the overseas Chinese of South East Asia also built and funded universities in China for their children’s higher education. This pattern was accepted until, in 1949, China became ‘Red’, and all intercourse with China was considered a legal offence and a crime. Youngsters going to China were refused re-entry to Malaya. A witch-hunt began against graduates of Chinese universities who had become teachers in the Chinese-language primary and middle schools of Malaya and of Singapore. Many of them were deprived of a living for suspected sympathy with China. Anyone possessing books or magazines from China was liable to be automatically detained, without trial, under the Emergency regulations enforced, and for a minimum of two years. Regularly, during my eleven years in Malaya, I would have books seized and destroyed by Special Branch. Such books as Red Star Over China, by Edgar Snow, were considered subversive.

Malay schools catered only for Malay children, and all of them were religious schools, where the pupils chanted the Koran, in Arabic, and went on chanting it for many years. Most of the Malay kampong children never reached any higher educational level; but those who did came from aristocratic families and attended English schools. Some of the Malays who had strong Arab ties went to Cairo, to El-Hazar University, and other went to London to study, usually law.

The University of Singapore was set up for the English-educated young of Malaya. It applied the government policy of graduating Malays, even if they did not reach the required standards. The bulk of the students were, of course, Chinese, since 85 per cent of Singapore’s population was Chinese and only 6 per cent Malay, the rest Indian or European. The Chinese resented this favouritism, but endured it for fear of ‘no job later’. Exclusivity to every job in the administration and all liberal professions went to the graduates of English-speaking schools. But since two-thirds of the children of Singapore attended Chinese-education schools, and for them no jobs were available in government offices, the medical profession, law, engineering or architecture, the injustice was flagrant. I lectured on this, but the English-educated were afraid, and the professors blandly countered with arguments about the low standards of Chinese education. This was inaccurate. For the most brilliant scholars were those who first attended Chinese schools then switched to the lower standard at English schools.

Not surprisingly, in 1953 the Chinese communities of Singapore and Malaya began to plan for a local university to cater for the Chinese-educated, since it was now impossible for them to go to universities in China without being jailed or deported. Nanyang (the Southern Seas) University was conceived by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, led by the Hokkien Club (also called the Millionaires’ Club). The Chamber had protested in l951 at the law arbitrarily passed making English and Malay the only languages valid for official documents of any kind in Singapore and Malaya. In January the Hokkien Club held a meeting and decided that since an ‘English’ university of Singapore had been set up to cater for the English-speaking minority, there must be a Chinese university to cater for the Chinese-speaking majority – logical, but for months I saw staid Englishmen at the Cockpit Restaurant and other haunts of Singapore’s whites foam at the mouth and gibber when the Chinese university was mentioned.

It was this plan which led to my being solicited to talk at Singapore University. ‘Why on earth is a university for the Chinese-speaking necessary ?’ ‘Why does the elite have to be English-speaking only ?’ I countered. ‘Nanyang University is a typical exhibition of Chinese chauvinism,’ said one choleric Englishman. ‘What about English chauvinism at Singapore University ?’ Of course the wrecking of Chinese culture was designed to ‘counter communism’, and to prevent the young from being indoctrinated through the language medium The British staff of Singapore University and the government administrators seemed quite certain that an English education would preclude communistic ideas.

In February and March 1953, 270 Chinese associations and clubs throughout Malay had joined in the scheme, and Nanyang University was born. Everyone gave money, the millionaires some millions, the pedlars of the Singapore food market a week’s earnings every month. How many oyster omelettes, sliced crab, noodles of all kinds went into Nanyang University? The trishaw peddlers of Singapore and Malaya pedalled for three days and turned in all they earned for Nanyang University, and theirs was the greatest sacrifice, for they were so very poor. Rubber tappers flocked to give; they knew that their children would never have a chance to go to university; but it was a gesture of cultural identity. It was incredible and magnificent, and it must be remembered.

In Jurong on Singapore Island a site was bought and building began. I was, by then, researching into Malayan Chinese literature. My contacts with Chinese scholars in Malaya had made me discover that there existed an extensive body of essays, novels, criticism and poetry by Malayan Chinese authors, different in content and feeling from Chinese literature proper There were two excellent Chinese newspapers in Malaya and Singapore with a wide coverage of world events. There were some very good journalists who spoke superb English and Malay as well as Chinese, and I had had some lively meetings with them. (Note. Some of them went to jail for ‘subversion’ later.) An incessant cultural ferment within the Chinese community, and much creativity, but all of it totally ignored by the British, and of course thoroughly suppressed by the Emergency as ‘subversive’ . . . Some years later I would collect, and help to publish the first compendium in English on Malayan Chinese literature. Meanwhile, students would bring me slim volumes of verse and novelettes, all of them anti-colonial, full of verve and spirit, if not always technically perfect. I kept them carefully; their possession meant imprisonment. Some of the writers did go to jail.
And so the image of the Malayan Chinese who had come as an illiterate labourer to wield a spade and build the road and plant the rubber and mine the tin, and had suddenly become a crass, cupid, still uncultured ‘millionaire’, was totally false. Indeed, many had come as labourers, and some had become millionaires. Such people as , head of the Hokkien Club, and Lien Yingchow, who mimicked for me the way he had shovelled to build the roads, and Li Kungchiang , who had worked his way up from a clerkship in a rubber plantation to a vast ownership of newspapers and business enterprises. These millionaires funded scholarships, subsidised newspapers, schools, and welfare societies and libraries and were intensely concerned with the education of the young. Many of them had painstakingly learnt to read and write. Some, like Li Kungchiang, managed to do so in three languages.

I supported the project of Nanyang University from the start, but after the first year, added a condition to my support. Nanyang should incorporate the Malay language in its curriculum and open its doors to Malays who wanted to study Chinese. Today, hundreds of European students go to China to study Chinese; hundreds of Americans study Chinese in American universities. But at the time, the idea of Malays studying Chinese seemed ridiculous and incomprehensible to the British (though curiously not to the Malays themselves), and also to a good many overseas Chinese, including some of the millionaires of the Hokkien Club. It became very evident to me that the overseas Chinese were, because of the war with Japan, resentful and suspicious of the Malays, just as the latter were being harangued by some of their more fanatic religious leaders to kill the ‘infidel’ Chinese. Something must be done about it and it seemed to me that the Malayan Communist Party, although it preached unity of the races, had failed to tackle the problem, and even denied that it existed.

The Founder

My support gave rise to an invitation to the Hokkien Club in Singapore. I went up the step of the unimposing building upon them, waiting for me, stood some second-magnitude businessmen. The Club was spacious inside, and contained a swimming pool as large as a miniature lake crossed by a series of pavilions linked by a zigzag bridge; the zigzags possibly prevented the demons from following the millionaires when, to discuss big business, they repaired to the cool pavilions in the lake middle. The renowned came out from an inner room to greet me. He was clad in simple, loose trousers, his loose top open upon his inner shirt – which was the same as that worn by any ordinary worker in Singapore – and on his naked feet he wore the kind of sandals that were to be had in Change Alley for a dollar. The other members of the Club were similarly at vestimental ease, thus flaunting their labour origins. Courtesy tea was served in minute cups, Hokkien fashion, while fanned himself with a coolie palm-leaf fan and surveyed me obliquely. He had a massive bullet head with a crewcut, and a very extraordinary face simple and shrewd, bulldoggish with massive jaw, and yet wistful. I liked him; he had great power, and honesty. And now he was angry. He had had enough of being bullied.

There were journalists and scholars and teachers there, as well as the likeable Li Kungchiang, far more subtle than , with more vision. He was thin and his hair stood up in a mop. We developed a great liking for each other, aided by the fact that shrewd Malcolm (Editor’s note: Malcolm MacDonald was British High Commisisioner for South East Asia) also had immense regard for him. We were to meet several times during the next few years, always with a large concourse of people so that Special Branch would not accuse us of conspiring. Li Kungchiang told me how puzzled he had been, when young, by the use of English words. Thus to find the inscription POST NO BILLS on a wall had nonplussed him. Post was to mail, bill was a bird’s beak. Why should one be enjoined not to mail birds’ beaks?
After an imposing banquet led the way to the coolness of the middle pavilion in the lake, and there talked of the necessity of Nanyang University. I responded. The next day Special Branch had all the information and had approached Malcolm to try to curb my enthusiasm. ‘They seemed quite upset,’ said Malcolm. The Chinese newspapers published the exact version of our conversation the next day. Tan Lark Sye, and Li Kungchiang even more so, were denounced by an American correspondent as ‘Red agents’. had some connection, through his father-in-law, Tan Kahkee (a millionaire founder of universities in China who had returned to China to avoid detention), with his native province, but certainly none of these millionaires were communist-inclined. It was, however, the fashion of those days to confuse the urge for cultural identity with communism. For those were the days of witch-hunts and Joseph McCarthy, as manifest in Singapore as in Hollywood.

At the second or third dinner at the Hokkien Club, I ventured to touch upon the admission of Malays to Nanyang University, and felt the immediate drop in temperature. Lien Yingchow meaningfully shook the ice cubes in his brandy ginger ale, and an alert young secretary asked me what I was writing at the moment. fanned himself with his cheap coolie fan. After a decent pause he began to speak bitterly of the terrible things that Malays had done to the Chinese under Japanese rule: ‘We fought for the British, we died, we were tortured. . . We came here and we made things grow where nothing grew, and Malaya because of us . . .’ I listened with profound respect on my face.

Lin Yutang: First Chancellor of Nantah

Now the Board of Directors of Nanyang University had to find a chancellor or university president who would pick out staff, professors, lecturers. Within the Board was a strong pro-Kuomintang wing, which had the blessing of the American Consulate. The Americans thought the British weak-kneed, and the important pro-Chiang Kaishek lobby in America also became interested in Nanyang University. An anti-communist Chinese university in Singapore might not be a bad thing. It might offset the appeal of the jungle guerrillas; it might also, in the long run, offset Malay ‘leftist’ tendencies influenced by the Communist Party of Indonesia. For despite the sedulous repetition of the ‘loyal Malay’ theme (loyal to what?), none knew better than the British that the Malays were also nationalists, sharing a common culture, language and script with Indonesia and that the Islamic world, from Algeria to the Philippines, was effervescent. There were fears of pan-Arab, pan-Islamic movements affecting Malaya. Utusan Melayu, the Malay newspaper, reported favourably on upsurges against colonial domination in Iraq, Syria and Algeria, and Egypt’s Nasser was immensely popular.

The choice of an anti-communist chancellor for Nanyang University fell upon Lin Yutang, author of My Country and My People. Lin Yutang had lived in America for a little over two decades. A two weeks’ trip to Chungking during the Sino-Japanese war had been his only wartime excursion in Asia, but he was in Taiwan in 1953, actively denouncing Communist China, and participating in the formation of an Anti-Communist League which had the backing of Chiang Kaishek, and of course of the CIA.

was none too pleased with the choice. Lin Yutang arrived in Singapore with his family: his daughters and son-in-law were also given jobs in Nanyang University. The Lins were provided with a bungalow by the sea and a Cadillac or two. Lin Yutang then started to recruit staff, and I received a little note from him, asking me to drop in for a talk.
There was a mat with WELCOME written on it at the front door and in the cool living room orchids hung from the ceiling in fenestrated pots. There was some extravagant carved furniture and jades, kindly loaned by the Tiger Balm king’s daughter, Aw Hsiang. Her father, Aw Boon Haw, had mansions filled with priceless jades both in Singapore and in Hong Kong, and I hat visited them with proper clucking awe. Rotund and charmingly effusive, Mrs Lin greeted me; Lin Yutang had impish bespectacled eyes and in spite of his small size was truculent. ‘Now I want you to tell me all about the situation here in twenty minutes,’ he commanded. I began to speak, but Lin’s attention span was short. That creeping glaze, that fixity of face which denotes a mind turned off, already astride another subject . . . I cut my expose down to five minutes, and he nodded sagely. ‘Mummy,’ said he, turning to his wife, ‘we must get around to see something of Malaya.’ ‘If it’s safe,’ said Mrs Lin. I assured her it was, and mimicked Ah Mui, my former maid. ‘Only bad people get killed, people like police officers.’ They looked stunned. ‘Will you have some cawfee’ said Mrs Lin.
We then talked of the book Dr Lin would write about South East Asia of the bastion that Nanyang University would prove against communism . . . Lin Yutang had already announced this as his intention. He then asked me to be Professor of English Literature at Nanyang. I shook my head. I did not know anything about English literature. ‘But you write English,’ he exclaimed. ‘Not English literature.’ I did not want to teach Dickens and Thackeray, worthy though they might be. ‘I’d rather be the college health physician; all the students admitted to the University should have a medical examination.’ He agreed, but when I had gone summoned a press conference and told them, ‘Han Suyin has accepted the post of Professor of English Literature at Nanyang University.’ This appeared in the Straits Times the next day. I wrote to the Straits Times to deny it, and to explain that all I could do at the moment was to offer my services as college health physician.

My denial led to another interview with Lin Yutang. He was a bit ruffled. ‘Why don’t you give up medicine?’ As a professor I would have ample time to write. ‘We’ll see to it that you don’t have more than six hours a week of teaching.’ I tried to explain my idea of literature that we must create an Asian type of literature we needed something other than nineteenth-century English writers . . . but his mind wandered again, and I left.

Throughout the rest of l954, while Nanyang University was a-building, I did not approach him again. Lin Yutang made pronouncements, called press conferences, gave talks revealing a blithe unconsciousness of the situation in Malaya. He declared a university a place of leisure, with time to smoke a pipe and to browse. To the rickshaw puller who had gone hungry, sacrificing three days of earnings to build Nanyang, this was fury-rousing. People began to dislike him intensely and the students of the Chinese high schools mounted campaigns against him and called upon the Board of Directors to force him out. In this Lin helped them greatly. For his idea was to start with a budget of incommensurate dimension, more in keeping with the requirements of a wealthy American university than one funded by the people of Malaya. He offered his recruited professors transport by air for themselves and their families; and transport for their household goods. He demanded luxurious bungalows for them.

The Hokkien Club was holding meetings in great perturbation. They contemplated in baffled silence the bills which Lin Yutang kept sending in. They received protest delegations from the students. By December, Lin’s relations with the Board were very strained. He then took action in ways considered un-Chinese, and above all discourteous. Thus he summoned a press conference of Western newsmen (Chinese journalists were absent) to make his disagreement known to the English newspapers to them he complained that the financial outlays provided were insufficient. This was considered gross betrayal by the Chinese, who in Malaya as elsewhere prefer to settle all disputes within their own community, without resort to the press, especially a foreign press. When questioned by a journalist, Lin said that Malaya and Singapore were ‘outposts of civilization’, hardship areas calling for increased financial recompense. By publicizing the quarrel before the Board had finalized its meetings, Lin Yutang had made his sponsors, and in particular , lose face. In early 1955 Lin Yutang and his family were quietly paid a very large indemnity by personally, and returned to America.

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分类题材: 历史_history, 南洋华社_nychinese

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