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Mohammed the Wise/苏丹人之智者穆罕默德

(2009-03-18 04:34:49)
标签:

人在苏丹

苏丹

非洲

穆罕默德

智者

sudan

mohammed

khartoum

杂谈

分类: 苏丹风情

"Maybe one day Sudan will become one of China's provinces." said Mohammed, sitting opposite me with a thoughtful smile on his face. "You know, every corner of Sudan is filled with made-in-China products."

“或许将来的某天,苏丹变成了中国的一个省。” 说这番话的是穆罕默德。他坐在我对面,脸上略有沉思。“你看看,苏丹到处都是来自中国的产品。”

 

Who is Mohammed?

谁是穆罕默德?

 

Mohammed is one of the million Mohammeds in Sudan. As the story goes, the name of Islamic Great Prophet is Mohammed. To commemorate him, at least one member of each Muslim family will be named Mohammed, Ahmed or other derivations of the word. Considering the big size of Sudanese family (usually around 10 or even more children), there are more Mohammeds than you can ever imagine. Sometimes you can find the people in the same room with you who share the same name. The minute you start to address one of them, all the people will answer.

穆罕默德只是苏丹千千万万个穆罕默德中的一个。据说,伊斯兰教的圣使名曰穆罕默德。为纪念他,基本每个家庭里都至少有一个成员唤作穆罕默德,艾罕默德或者其他这个名字的变体。苏丹家庭里一般都有十几个小孩,所以苏丹的穆罕默德数目多得令你不敢想象。有时你会发现你周围的人都叫穆罕默德。当你开口叫唤其中的一位,所有的人都会回应。

The Mohammed I am writing about is from a family of 7 children: 4 boys and 3 girls. The father and the eldest brother are working as civil servants in the local government. The mother, like most of the ladies in this country, stays at home as full time housewife. And the eldest sister is already married. Mohammed is the second eldest son of this middle-sized family (by Sudanese standard). He graduated from University of Khartoum, the most prestigious university of this nation.  And he studied Russian as his major and English minor. During the last year of his stay in the university, he was rewarded the scholarship for visiting Russia to experience at first hand the country that had been his focus of study for four years.

我这里所写的穆罕默德来自于一个养育了7个儿女的家庭:4个儿子和3个女儿。父亲和长子在当地政府担任公务员。母亲,和大部分苏丹的妇女一样,在家里当家庭主妇。长子和长女都已经成家。穆罕默德在家里面排行第二,他毕业于苏丹最著名的喀土穆大学,主修俄语,辅修英语。在大学的最后一年,他获得了奖学金,赴俄罗斯留学,实地感受他学习研究达四年之久的国度。

 

Stay in Russia

俄罗斯留学生涯

 

Though merely four months in Russia, Mohammed considered that experience “nutritious and eye-opening”, far beyond his previous expectation.  Before he started this adventurous journey to Russia, gossip had it that there were the gang of skinheads in Russia targeting foreigners as prey. Already one of Ethiopian students fell victim. Russia, though the largest country in the world, was regarded as unsafe place among quite a number of Sudanese people. Mohammed’s family, out of concern and care for their Mohammed, tried to persuade him to cancel this trip. However, Mohammed, already a mature man, insisted on his decision.

虽然在俄罗斯仅仅待了四个月,穆罕默德却认为这一经历弥足珍贵,而且大开眼界,远远超越了他的预期。在他赴俄之前,有传言说俄罗斯一帮人组成了光头党,专门针对外国人下手。而且已经有一位来自埃塞阿比亚的学生受害。俄罗斯虽然是世界第一大国,但在很多苏丹人的眼里却是个并不安全的国家。穆罕默德的家人出于对他的关心,力劝他取消这一行程。然而穆罕默德却不改初衷。

“You know, at that time, it was kinda like risking my life to go to Russia. Even I also felt concerned.” Recalled Mohammed. “It was not easy to insist on that decision.”

It turned out that his decision was right. Russia was known for its extremely cold weather, which formed a contrast to Sudan, the Furnace of the world. The first challenge for these young Sudanese newcomers was to accommodate themselves to this weather. They had to put on nearly all the clothes they could find, but still felt cold.

 “In Khartoum it is normally 40 or even 50 degrees. But in Russia it is minus 15.”Mohammed said.

Challenging as it might be, Mohammed found himself taking a secret fancy to the weather of Russia. “At least it has four seasons, unlike the monotonous weather of Khartoum.”

“当时要去俄罗斯就感觉象是拿我的生命在冒险。即使我自己心里也忐忑不安。”穆罕默德回忆道。 “要坚持这个决定并不容易。”

结果证明穆罕默德的决定是正确的。俄罗斯的天气是出奇的冷,和被誉为世界火炉的喀土穆正好形成鲜明的对照。这群来自苏丹的年轻人一到俄罗斯,面临的第一个挑战就是适应当地的天气。他们不得不将带来的几乎所有衣服穿上,但似乎仍然觉得冷。

“喀土穆长年是40度,有时甚至达到50度。但俄罗斯却是零下15度。”穆罕默德描述道。

一方面极具挑战,另一方面穆罕默德却暗暗的喜欢上了俄罗斯的气候。 “至少这里一年有四季,不像喀土穆一年只有一个或者两个季节。”

Mohammed’s another surprise came with the Russian people. “They are kind and helpful.” Commented Mohammed. As newcomer, he often found himself lost in the crisscross roads of the city. Whenever this happened, he would ask for the directions from passers-by. Luckily, nearly all the people there offered a helpful hand. However, Mohammed’s Russian classmates were shocked when they first witnessed that these Sudanese newcomers ate with their fingers instead of knives and forks. “They thought only primitive people used fingers to fetch food.” Said Mohammed. “It was time for us to give them a lecture.”

穆罕默德的另外一个惊喜则是来自于俄罗斯人。“俄罗斯人大部分都是比较善良,而且乐于助人。” 穆罕默德由于刚到俄罗斯,经常会在城市纵横交错的道路中迷失方向,每次都得问路。幸运的是,基本上所有的路人都热情的给予帮助。另外一方面,穆罕默德的俄罗斯同学看到这群苏丹人居然不用刀叉,而是直接用手吃饭时大为惊诧。“他们觉得只有原始人才直接用手吃饭。”穆罕默德说。“是时候给他们上一课了。”

Mohammed and his fellow countrymen spent a few days lecturing their Russian counterparts on their customs and habits. They added that eating with fingers was religiously significant. Their lectures were proved to be fruitful. In the following days, they found their Russian friends were also trying to throw away all the artificial utensils and join them in using fingers. “I am now realizing that using fingers is freer, and also more natural.” Said one of the Russians. 

穆罕默德和同行的苏丹人花了几天时间给他们的俄罗斯同学讲述穆斯林的礼节和习惯。他们重点强调直接用手吃饭的宗教意义。他们的讲述取得了很好的效果。几天后,他们发现这些俄罗斯同学也试着扔掉刀叉,直接用手吃饭。 “我现在才发现用手吃饭更加自由,而且更加自然。”他的一位俄罗斯同学评价说。

But sometimes Mohammed encountered difficulties. Some of his Russian friends were far more too hospitable. They invited Mohammed to have beer with them. As alcohol was prohibitive for all Muslims, Mohammed could do nothing but decline with thanks. But his Russian hosts were persistent and kept urging him for a try.

“You know, this is really difficult for me. I can’t drink alcohol. This is absolutely sure. But at the same time you can’t be rude.”   Said Mohammed.

 

但是有时穆罕默德也会碰上麻烦。有些俄罗斯朋友特别好客,他们经常邀请穆罕默德一起喝酒。由于穆斯林是禁酒的,穆罕默德只得婉言谢绝。可这些俄罗斯人却十分执着,一直要求他试一试。

“当时的情景的确十分尴尬。我不能饮酒,这是毫无疑问的。但同时我又得顾及主人的面子。”穆罕默德说道。

This is only an episode in his life of Russia. He discovered that Russia was much different from the country in his textbook. Though one of the global powers, Russia remained much closed. There was no bustle of inflow and outflow of goods in this country. Business, for the major part, happened within the border. This had a rotten effect on the perception and vision of the local people. One interesting example was that, whenever they met with Russian people, the latter would ask if they were from USA.

 

“They acted as if they didn’t know Africa or Sudan.”Said Mohammed. “They only knew America and Europe.”

 

这在穆罕默德的俄罗斯留学生活中只是个小插曲。他发现现实中的俄罗斯和教科书有着天壤之别。虽然俄罗斯位列世界强国之林,却依然十分封闭。这个国家对进出口管制较严,大部分的都是国内进行的贸易。这对当地人的思维产生了不良的影响。一个有趣的例子就是,每次穆罕默德遇上新的俄罗斯朋友,他们总会询问他是否来自于美国。

“他们感觉好像根本不知道非洲和苏丹。”穆罕默德说。“他们只知道美国和欧洲。”

 

Mohammed the Wise

智者穆罕默德

 

Though only 24 years old, Mohammed is of calm disposition and analytical mind, partly attributed to his overseas experience. Referring to the Sino-Sudanese relationship, he made the wise remark listed at the beginning of this article. It could be understood twofold. On the positive side, it reflected the good relationship between the two countries. However, on the other side, it was more a warning message for Sudan. For the past decade, Sudan rested on petrol-fuelled economy, leaving its industrial capacity and other factors of economy spoiled. The danger inherent began to surface as the international oil price plummeted. As the saying goes, “Misfortunes never come alone”, Sudan is now perplexed with more difficulties, one of which is the ICC arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir and its consequent suspension of global inflow of investments.

虽然只有24岁,穆罕默德却颇为成熟,思维也很敏捷。这可能部分归功于他的留学经历。在谈到中苏关系时,他作出了本文开头时的评论。这一评论可以从两方面进行理解。从乐观的角度看,它表明了中国和苏丹间密切的商贸联系。但另一方面,这对苏丹更是一种警示。在过去的十多年中,苏丹基本完全依赖于石油,工业设施和其他经济部分都被荒废了。在国际油价大跌的形势下,这一政策导致的危机已经显现。俗语讲的好,“屋漏偏逢连夜雨”,苏丹现在面临了很多方面的问题。其中之一就是国际刑事法庭对总统巴希尔的通缉令以及因此导致的大量外来投资的停滞。

China’s reputation as a world manufacture is by no means new, which holds true globally, not restricted to Sudan only. Virtually every corner of the globe is stuffed with made-in-china products. One of the recent bestsellers on the American bookshelf is a book written by a lady to describe her efforts to avoid made-in-china commodities in 365 days. She succeeded in the end, but with dear prices and strenuous efforts. This book, from the other perspective, demonstrated the flooding of Chinese products on the global scale.

中国作为一个世界工厂已是名声在外,中国制造是全球现象,不仅仅只是面对苏丹的。基本世界每个角落都充斥着中国制造的产品。最近美国图书排行榜上的一本畅销书是关于一位女士作的有趣实验。她发誓一年内不用所有中国制造的东西。结果她成功了,但付出的代价却很高昂。这本书从另一个角度说明了中国产品在世界范围内的流行。

 

“Whatever China’s effect on Sudan is, it is the time for Sudan itself to lean on its feet and start developing domestic sectors.” Mohammed told me wisely.

This is Mohammed, a common name, a good friend and a wise man.

“不管中国对苏丹的影响如何,苏丹已经到了自力更生发展民族产业的时候了。”穆罕默德睿智的告诉我。

这就是穆罕默德,平凡的名字,不平凡的人。

(By Felix 版权所有  felixdon@gmail.com

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