做了一個最不喜歡的夢:那些埋藏在記憶深處,曾經停留過的地方。不喜歡,因為總會勾起一絲絲的愁緒;如果夢裡有童年的場景,有爸爸,我甚至會哭出來。從來都不喜歡那種傷心的感受。

Had a dream: There were all the places I used to dwell. Obviously the kind of dream I loathe the most, for it triggered the sentimental memories buried deep down. It’d even make me cry if Dad was there. Never liked that heartbreaking feeling.

想起幾天前,離婚的朋友談到,自己並沒有一個歸屬。朋友有一雙美麗的瞳眸,時刻閃爍著善良與慈悲;我看著她,突然很能感同身受。我們的處境相同,為著教育理想,隻身帶著孩子移居此地,但我們的真正歸屬在哪兒呢?

Few days ago, I was having tea with a friend, who’s a single mother, at the cafe. Hers are very soulful eyes, sparkling with wholesome kindness and a hint of mischief. She  said to me, “I don’t belong anywhere…”

The words hit me, as we’re basically on the same boat. We both moved to this small  town to give our children the best education, alone. But, where do we belong?

自從嫁到新加坡之後,因為種種客觀、主觀因素,常常飛,特別是祥出生之後,甚至在香港住了半年。對於遠離原生家鄉的未來,我從未預先設想過,大概跟我隨遇而安的個性有關,總覺得船到橋頭自然直,何況我是個好奇寶寶,對於新鮮的人事物總是興趣盎然,開開心心學習著不同的生活方式;也因此,對於「移民」、「外籍新娘」這些詞,有著很陌生的感受,毫無所覺原來自己也適用這些稱號。

在新加坡十年了。有一陣子,我不大確定該如何介紹自己,總是說,我是台灣人,現在拿新加坡護照,籍貫是中國大陸的雲南省。好像很複雜。我也很不愛聽那些民粹主義的論調,什麼歸化外國籍就是不愛國云云,對我而言根本是狗屁!做人要是沒有道德良心,管你拿的是什麼護照,一樣是人渣!

I’ve been an immigrant for ten years. But frankly, the word “immigrant” or “foreigner”  never really means anything to me. I’d never thought much of moving away from my place of birth, probably because I’m curious by nature and easy-going. Whatever the environment is like, I work on quick adaptation to it, and even if it’s not a pretty sight, I know there must be something for me from God. I believe that Attitude decides.

There was a period of time when I didn’t really know how to introduce myself. Taiwanese? Singaporean? Chinese? Complex for people who don’t really understand our  history. I resent it when some argue that holding a foreign passport makes you a traitor and the like. What the heck is the logic? If you’re disrespectful, mean, and unkind, you’re just a scumbag regardless of your nationality, race or religion.

一直到了兩、三年前,在 British Council 上課的時候,課堂上小組討論「全球化」的利弊,每個人要介紹自己的國家,我突然不曉得,該說台灣還是新加坡。。。這是第一次,我驚覺到自己生命航向的改變幅度。

恰巧同組的有我很喜歡的妖嬌祖母蓮娜,聽了我的困惑後,想都不想就說:「那當然是新加坡。」說完不忘來個招牌式的眨眼。蓮娜原籍阿根廷,幾年前梅開二度,嫁給現任的土耳其丈夫。

About three years ago, we were given an assignment regarding “globalisation” in class.  Everyone was supposed to make a brief introduction of her / his own country. I got confused, because I didn’t know which country I should be talking about. Taiwan? Or Singapore? For the first time in my life, I was aware that the change of course has begun.

Lena, the gracefully beautiful grandma, heard of my confusion and said, without any hesitation and with her signature wink, “Of course it’s Singapore. ”

Lena is Argentine. She married to her Turkish husband a few years ago.

是啊,我是新加坡人了,這與我出身台灣的事實並不相衝突;不同的生活環境,一點一滴造就我今天的性格。

True. I’m after all a citizen of Singapore, which doesn’t harm the fact that I was born and grew up in Taiwan. Not at all. All the differences I’ve been through made me who I am today.

只是,就在我對於新加坡終於開始有一點「家」的感覺時,又得啟航了。十九歲時遇到的那位「大師」說的滿準,我「會出國」。(十六件關於我的事

Last September, when I finally began to feel a sense of belonging in Singapore, I had to depart and start anew, again. I recall how, almost 20 years ago, a so-called “master” prophesied that I “will go abroad”. Intriguing, eh?

七月份回台灣十天,發現很多記憶中的美食,味道不同了,可能變的是我。。。不知道這是不是我與原生故鄉漸行漸遠的指標之一。有點遺憾,所幸我在這方面並不是很執著,畢竟生命的進程是持續不斷的。

This July, I made a 10-day trip back to Taiwan so as to spend more time with Mum. To my surprise, many of my favourite dishes tasted different from what I remembered. It might be me — I’ve been away for too long, perhaps. Well, I will be lying if I say I wasn’t disappointed at all. But luckily, I’m not obsessed. Life’s a constant change after all.

耐人尋味的是,在西方,除非我開口,總被視為當地人,特別是在英國。但是在東方(即使在台灣和新加坡),我常常被看成外國人;和熊貓初識,他說搞不清楚我哪裡人,連他的同事朋友也問過類似的話:「不是紅毛?那混血兒嗎?」

印象最深就是一回帶朋友去參觀台北故宮,遇上一群國小學生校外教學,很興奮地吱吱喳喳練習英文,我說我是台灣人哪,那個金髮藍眼的是我朋友的老公,我朋友黑頭髮但也是外國人,我不是!他們很驚訝,眼睛睜得老大,你朋友不像耶,你比較像!

Strangely, people everywhere seem to be confused about my identity. In the West, unless I speak, the locals always regard me as part of them. But while I’m in the East, I’m often mistaken for “a foreigner”. When I first met Panda, he couldn’t  tell where I’m from. Even his colleagues asked the similar question, “Mixed?”

有趣的是,本地人也不覺得我是亞洲來的,總是問:「你是美國人嗎?」因為我說的是美式英語;感覺上英國人(或者說此地的英國人)比較沒有種族方面的分別心。

Locals in Leiston always ask me if I’m American due to my American accent. I feel that British people (or rather, the British here in Leiston) don’t really think much of races and nationalities.

恂姬一直很好奇,我顯然是鎮上唯一常見的東方臉孔,可是似乎有很多好朋友(其實不是,只是打照面會哈啦一、兩句);昨天一起去買 Chinese takeout,她看我和店家的互動,說好像一家人吶~

Soon-hee has been very curious about my life here. I’m obviously the only Asian face you get to see on the street every day in this town, but I seem to have a lot of good friends. Actually, no, I’m just responding to people’s kindness and friendliness. Yesterday, when we collected our order from the Gold House, the Chinese Takeout, she witnessed the interaction between the cashier and me and commented, “You interacted like a family.”

事實是,我相信,種什麼樹就結什麼果,很簡單、舉世皆然的道理。那麼,所謂歸屬在哪裡,似乎也就不是太重要了,畢竟十年來,我已經體認到,家不是一個名詞,而是一種心靈感受。

The truth is, I believe that you reap what you sow. As simple as that. After the ten whole years of “roaming” around, I’ve come to recognise that home is not a place, it’s a sensation. In that sense, it doesn’t really matter where you belong, eh?

當我們同在一起 Whenever we’re together