Tuesday, September 25, 2007

希斯路的晨霧(上)

清晨的五點鐘,從飛機之小窗眺望,只見萬家燈火,點點星星,我便知道快要到了。屈指一算,我已是第二十多次來到這個城市,但這樣近距離俯瞰她的夜景,印象中還是頭一遭。機上的乘客也被這種景色迷住,紛紛引頸張望,以燈火中呈現的地標輪廓,來比對自己腦海中的印象。這邊是塔橋,對岸是摩天輪,遠一點的那個,就是大教堂了。其實這個城市從不以夜景醉人著稱,她不像香港的維港,紐約的曼哈頓,上海的外灘,她沒有高聳入雲的摩天大廈,亦欠缺那些瑰麗的倪紅燈。但不知怎地,看到那些朦朧的地標,還是令人有一份額外的親切感。

「氣勢磅礡」這四字的形容詞,從來都跟這個城市無緣。她的建築物相比起某個遠東大國,是那麼的不起眼。白金漢宮的面積,只有紫禁城的十份之一;特拉法加廣場的面積,只有天安門廣場的四十四份之一。早年如果你走過唐寧街十號,你一定不會察覺這是國家的最高權力機關,因為那是一座十分寒酸的建築物,連旺角匯豐分行也要比它強。別人又怎會知道,住在裡頭的人,曾經瓜分過世界?

當然,現在你會知道那是唐寧街了。因為害怕恐襲,所以多了幾個守衛。

倫敦的不起眼,卻令有心細味倫敦的人更加深刻。自她立城以來,便成為影響人類文明最深遠的城市之一。她曾是歷史上最大帝國的首都。即使到了現在,她仍是歐洲最大的城市。每年來倫敦的旅客,比紐約,拉斯維加斯,悉尼的總和還要多;倫敦人所說的語言種類,亦超過法國,西班牙,意大利加起來的總數;不需自封,她也稱得上是真正的國際都會,這亦是單看那些寒酸建築物所想像不到的。

這個國家的人民,性格也和他們的建築物一脈相承。你必需要慢慢地品嚐,才能體會到其真正的味道。因為他們愈高貴,便愈會顯得不高貴。在大學教授和院長們的名片上,會書上Mr或者Mrs的頭銜,你不認識他們的話,還會以為是技術人員或者公關行政部門的人。相較之下,某個遠東大國的子民便神氣得多。PhD一畢業,便急不及待為自己譜上博士教授一大堆的字眼。在香港我亦曾見過某位大學高層,連自己的Email名字前也硬要加上Dr.一字。若給此地之教授所睹,定令其莞爾而笑。

這裡的老師如此,學生自亦不徨多讓。那些名校學生,就是不喜歡到處說自己讀名校。你問一個新認識的劍橋學生在哪裡讀書?他會不好意思一下子便答你在劍橋。通常的答案,是East Anglia。這種委婉,是讀其他大學的人不需使用的,不信的話可以作個實驗試試看。

英國人的高傲和自信,是在骨子裡的。不錯,他們是patronizing,但這種patronizing也是在骨子裡的。《信報》某位專欄作家,雖說自己遊走在東西之間,在英國讀了個碩士。但她的patronizing,卻是表面和張揚的。看來英國的碩士課程,並未能令她感染到英國的深層文化。我常說一個人的行為有內外之分,其實連patronizing,也是有內外之分的。

21 comments:

Yun said...

洗唔洗講得咁好呀﹐搞到我真係好想去喎。

不過﹐講真﹐我在另一大國大﹐對那個島真的唔係好認識。

喜歡你後面講謙虛那part。嗯。越年輕時﹐就越迫不及待地想告訴別人自己在那大學就讀…… 真是好慚愧啊。^^;

呢篇好感性喎。:)

Elvis said...

糟了。 在那邊太理性, 原本想在這邊放下一下理性, 沒想過別人看不慣呢。

leona said...

說得對啊
有些朋友唸唸的明明是Harvard,卻只夠說自己在Boston唸書
人家很謙的。

Pepsidrinker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pepsidrinker said...

haha...

I was studying in South West of England... since no one (those who never stay in UK for a few years) knows Exeter.

usually I need further explaination.... "1 hour from Bristol by train"

微豆 Haricot said...

"... 糟了。 在那邊太理性, 原本想在這邊放下一下理性, 沒想過別人看不慣呢。"

Don't worry, I am your new reader here. I've never been to the UK (passing by, perhaps), and I like traveling !!! Tell me more abt what you see :)

Elvis said...

Exeter又怎會不知。這個南端城市擁有Computer Science 5星 RAE 的大學。而且專做硬體和系統, 其他大學很少做這些的。

Elvis said...

Leona,

所以我建議日後大家答這個問題時, 會答沙田, 薄扶林, 紅堪, 西貢, 屯門, 大埔, 等等。不過九龍塘有兩間, 那是比較麻煩。

Leona said...

九龍塘那兩間,可以加一句:「商場隔離」
或不加

難怪你那次問我是不是薄扶林的了

Elvis said...

哈哈, 這種答法, 是有點 blue blood 了。

遲一下我還可以跟大家談談 Oxbridge 英語, 人家一聽便會猜想你的出處了, 很有趣味的。

Dreaminning said...

What you describe is really nice, but i can't really feel that when I came back on Monday............
because I (once again) took a morning flight, and the lack of sleep made me feel really sick especially I have to take another 3 hours coach journey.
But now is much better, and my new homestay is so far so good, too.

Elvis said...

Dreaminning,

你住哪?

Pepsidrinker said...

so elvis, i guess u are going to study in UK now?? MSc in Computer Science??

u got ur 1st dgree in uk too? where did u go to?

I got an economics degree from exeter.

Pepsidrinker said...

p.s.

i m now exeter + pokfulam :p

Dreaminning said...

i stay in Bath

過內人 said...

在隧道口讀書時,那個學了我最多課本外知識的人跟我說。

我在建築界工作,最不愛寫pro. title...
有o的人一寫就係十幾個乜鬼MHKIE,CIE,AP
.........個名最細個o的title

Elvis said...

Pepsidrinker,

so elvis, i guess u are going to study in UK now?? MSc in Computer Science??

u got ur 1st dgree in uk too? where did u go to?

I got an economics degree from exeter.

-------------------------------

喔, 不要亂估啦。

有人說我"盲目謾罵香港女性", 咁冇學養, 點睇都唔似讀過大學啦。

Jerome Chiu said...

Leona wrote:
[quote]說得對啊
有些朋友唸唸的明明是Harvard,卻只夠說自己在Boston唸書
人家很謙的。[/quote]
More often than a lot of us expect it's not a case of "being 謙", but that of "being subtly snobbish", where a Harvard or MIT student would say s/he studies in Boston, an Oxford student would say s/he studies "oh, in the Midlands". Some Oxbridgers would tell you the colleges they belong to (e.g. Balliol, Merton, etc.), or even the abbreviations of the colleges they belong to (e.g. Univ, Teddy Hall, LMH, etc.). And of course this is a very British thing: the use of language to have insiders and outsiders differentiated. This is not exclusively British, though, for it's easy to imagine a girl saying she studies in Boston, and upon being pressed to say where exactly in Boston she replies Ratcliffe. :)

Jerome Chiu said...

過內人 wrote:
[quote]我在建築界工作,最不愛寫pro. title...有o的人一寫就係十幾個乜鬼MHKIE,CIE,AP....個名最細個o的title [/quote]
Sometimes, less is more. Someone with such titles as "M.A., F.B.A." or "M.A., F.R.S." looks infinitely more agreeable. For traditional Brits, the appearance of "Ph.D." in between the two titles is more a downgrade than anything else.

Elvis said...

Jerome Chiu,

我說的 patronizing, 就是你說的 subtly snobbish 吧。可能我看事物比Leona負面, 但你在這裡接觸英國人夠久的話, 你總有一種他們就是這麼壞的那種感覺。

他們就算是晒命, 也很喜歡暗暗地晒命。

Jerome Chiu said...

That's certainly true, but (I would like to think) only to an extent. Hong Kong Chinese are more likely to be subjected to this kind of patronising behavior because (in most cases) we don't usually speak fluent English, and - less probably still - fluent BBC English. And here I've already excluded those who deserve to be given this treatment (e.g. Kong girls). One good way of dealing with it is simply to "be yourself" and "conduct yourself with humility and dignity". My own experience tells me that one would eventually make friends with enough nice lads and lasses to feel at home. :)