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最寶貴的建議與最難堪的問題

The Most Valuable Advice and the Most Embarrassing Question
   
   Today I saw a piece of news, which says that in order to prevent people from taking toilet paper in the public restrooms to their homes, smart machines that can scan and recognize people’s faces were installed in the public restrooms in Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) Park in Beijing. A westerner might find this news astonishing and hard to understand. And this also made me recall an “insignificant”, but true story in 2001. This “insignificant” story was somehow related to, and happened right before a very historically significant event on November 20, 2001.
   今天在網上看到一條消息,說北京天壇公園的公廁中新增了能辨識人臉的先進機器,以防止有人「不要臉」地將公廁中的手紙拿走。
   這條消息讓我想起2001年的一件小事,一件與一個驚天動地的歷史大事件相關聯的小事。

   On that day, 36 westerners from 15 different countries gathered at Tiananmen Square to appeal for Falun Gong. This event shocked the entire world; as well as the the Chinese Communist Party leaders, who vowed to eliminate Falun Gong completely from China and from the planet within 3 months when they launched the most overwhelming persecution in July 1999.
   這個驚天動地的大歷史事件是,2001年11月20日,36名來自15個國家的西人法輪功學員齊刷刷的突然同時出現在天安門廣場,展開一個寫有「真善忍」的大條幅,爲法輪功請願。
   這件事在黑雲壓頂的鎮壓法輪功初期,震驚了世界,也震驚了1999年7月發起鎮壓時,曾矢言要在三個月內讓法輪功從地球上消失的中共頭子。
   One of the 36 westerners who participated in the protest was Myrna Mack from Sydney. I was staying with her before she went to Beijing. At that stage I had just escaped from China for about 2 months. Fellow practitioners arranged for me to stay with her while they tried to seek interview opportunities for me with the media to expose the persecution I suffered in China for practicing Falun Gong.
   這36名西人法輪功學員中,有一名是來自悉尼的孟娜(Myrna Mack)。事件發生前,我正住在她家,那時我剛從中國逃出來兩個多月,悉尼法輪功學員安排我到悉尼見媒體和議員,並暫住她家。當時從中國逃出來的法輪功學員還很少,所以我義不容辭地有責任用自己在中國勞教所的親身經歷曝光中共對法輪功的鎮壓。
   As Myrna had never been to Beijing before, she planned to arrive several days earlier so that she could do some sightseeings before she went to Tiananmen to protest. We both knew that the result of their protest could be arrests and possible torture. But she was determined to go anyway.
   因爲孟娜之前從未去過北京,所以她說她想提前幾天到達,以便順便觀光觀光。我和她都知道,一旦他們走上天安門,就面臨著被逮捕,甚至被酷刑折磨,所以要觀光的話,必須在去天安門之前。
   So I helped Myrna to book a three star hotel in Beijing for her to stay. Before she was going to leave Sydney, I said to her, “Good luck with everything. Since you’ve never been to China; and that you will be traveling alone, there is one piece of most important advice I need to give you. As you are going to stay in a reasonably good hotel, there will be toilet paper in the bathroom. However, every morning before you go out to do sightseeings, make sure you take as much toilet paper as possible from the hotel; bring the paper with you as you’ll need them. In most of the public restrooms in Beijing, no toilet paper is provided. So you’ll need to bring your own.”
   She was very surprised and asked, “Why don’t they provide toilet paper?”
   於是我幫她在北京訂了一家三星級酒店。她要走之前,我對她說:「別的話我就不多說了。只要有一件事要特別囑咐一下,就是你到北京後,要外出觀光的話,早上出門時務必記住從酒店裏拿多點手紙帶上,因爲外面的公廁裏不會有手紙。」
   她很吃驚地問:「爲什麼沒有?」
   I said, “As people will take all the paper home if it is provided.
   She looked more surprised and asked again with enlarged eyes, “Why would people take the paper home?”
   I must admit that this was the most embarrassing question I ever had in my life. How could I explain to her why my fellow Chinese people would take toilet paper in public restrooms home?
   我說:「因爲如果放了手紙的話,人們就會拿回家去,最後還是會沒有。」
   她更加不解地瞪大眼睛問:「人們爲什麼要把手紙拿回家去?」
   我的臉上一陣發燒,發現自己無法向「無辜」又「無知」的孟娜解釋這個令我這名中國人十分難堪的爲什麼中國人要把公廁的手紙拿回家的問題。那時《九評》還沒發表,所謂黨文化對中國人的毒害還沒人去仔細整理並表述;而剛剛從中國逃出來才兩個多月的我,無意中也覺得,我還背負著所有「中國人」的罪。
   I don’t remember how I managed to answer this “innocent” question of hers. Anyway, after that Myrna did fly to Beijing, did do quite some sightseeings, did show up at Tiananmen Square on time, and did have been beaten up before she was arrested and then deported back to Australia.
   我記不得我怎麼跟她解釋的了。總之她記住了我的建議,飛去了北京,真的去了不少地方觀光,最後如約來到天安門廣場參加抗議,然後被抓被打被遣返。
   I met her at the press conference held in front of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, still remembering what she said before she left, “The world will never be the same again.”
   她回來時,悉尼法輪功學員在中領館前舉行了新聞發布會。我在發布會上見到分別不過數日的孟娜,想起走之前她曾對我說了一句:「世界從此不再一樣。」
   She did seem to have experienced a lot in just a few days; and her voice trembled when talked about her experiences and showed the reporters her ripped T-shirt. But overall, she was still very composed; and a little bit sober.
   After the press conference, we went back home together. She then told me that she was so grateful that I had offered her that most important and valuable advice before she left. Otherwise she could have experienced more bad things other than the beatings, as she did find that no toilet paper was provided at public toilets in Beijing.
   看得出來,幾天之中,她的確經歷了許多。對她來說,世界真的不再一樣了。在舉著自己被北京警察撕爛的襯衣向記者們講述她的遭遇時,她的聲音有些顫抖。不過總體上,她依然鎮定,而且更加沉穩。
   新聞發布會後,我和她一起回家。她說,非常感謝她離開前我給她的出門要自帶手紙的最寶貴、最實用的「遊中國」建議,不然還不知道會有多麼尷尬呢——因爲北京的公廁裏真的沒有手紙!
   She also told me that now she understood why being put near a toilet was a punishment in China. She said before she went to Beijing, she often read articles by Chinese Falun Gong practitioners at en.minghui.org, talking about that they were forced to sleep right beside the toilet as a punishment when imprisoned. She would think to herself: “Why was this a punishment? My bedroom is also right beside my bathroom. Every night I also sleep right beside the toilet. Why was this a punishment?” She couldn’t figure out; but didn’t know who to ask.
   她還告訴我說,這下她也明白了以前看明慧網上中國法輪功學員寫的監獄經歷中一個怎麼也弄不明白的問題。她常常看到那些文章中說,在監獄裏,法輪功學員常常被強迫呆在廁所旁邊,作爲一種懲罰。
   每當看到這種事,她就想:「呆在廁所旁邊爲什麼算是一種折磨?我的臥室也在衛生間旁邊,我每天晚上也是在廁所旁邊睡覺,這爲什麼會是懲罰?」
   She said after she came back from Beijing, she understood. When traveling alone in Beijing, she didn’t have to ask people where the toilet was. She usually just smelled it. The terrible smell of the toilets always told her where to go.
   去了一趟中國後,她終於明白了。她說,爲了更好的理解生活在中國的法輪功學員,她特意不是只去那些向外國人開放的旅遊區,而是在北京乘坐人力三輪,鑽了不少小胡同。她很快就發現,要找廁所時,不需要問人,尋著臭味走就行了,一定能找到。她也這才明白,爲什麼在中國監獄,睡在廁所旁邊是一種可怕的懲罰和折磨。
   Well, that was the small story about 15 years ago. Today both the society and the technology are much more advanced, so toilet paper is actually being provided in public toilets, accompanied by smart face-scanning machines to prevent people from taking the paper home. Shall we say “congratulations” for the advancement?
   Oh, China, my dear China, when can you be free of the Communist party’s poisoning; and really become party of the civilized world?
   這就是發生在15年前的與那件驚天動地的大事相關聯的「廁紙」小事。15年後的今天,社會和科學好像都進步了,北京的公廁裏不但有手紙了,還有防止人們將手紙拿走的人臉識別機了。我們應該就此表示熱烈的祝賀嗎?
   也許正如網友所說,「中國必須要辦文革博物館,讓大家知道上千年的禮儀之邦,人文秩序是如何被毀滅的。一個溫良恭儉讓的民族是如何變成一個畜生國。兒子可以背叛老子,學生可以背叛老師,在這個沒底線的國家拿一桶捲紙,根本不值一提。」

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