（"My House Has Two Door" 与南洋大学相关的章节）
... I had also, in that year, 1954, become drawn into the educational problems of Malaya.
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 standard 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 1951 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 élite 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 administrations seem quite certain that an English education would prelude communistic ideas.
In February and March 1953, 270 Chinese associations and clubs throughout Malaya 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*. [* 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 roads 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 Tan Laksai[陈六使], head of the Hokkien Club, and Lien Yingchow[连瀛洲], who mimicked for me the way he had shovelled to build the roads, and Li Kungchiang[李光前], 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, subsidized 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 to 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.
My support gave rise to an invitation to the Hokkien Club in Singapore. I went up the steps 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 Tan Laksai 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 vest mental case, thus flaunting their labour origins. Courtesy tea was served in minute cups, Hokkien fashion, while Tan Laksai fanned himself with a coolie palm-leaf fan and surveyed me obliquely. He had a massive bullet head with a crew-cut, 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 Lee KungChiang, far more subtle than Tan Laksai, with more vision. He was thin and his hair stood up in a mob and we developed a great liking for each other, aided by the fact that shrewd Malcolm 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 Tan Laksai 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 Malcom 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 Laksai, and Li Kungchiang even more so, were denounced by an American correspondent as 'Red agents'. Tan Laksai had some connection, through his father-inlaw, 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. Tan Laksai 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 is wealthy because of us ...' I listened with profound respect on my face.
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 appeals of the jungle guerillas; it might also, in the long run, upset 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 inmensely popular.
The choice of an anti-communist chancellor for Nanyang University fell upon Lin Yutang[林语堂], 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[蒋介石] and of course the C.I.A.
Tan Laksai 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[胡仙]. Her father, Aw Boon Haw[胡文虎], had mansions filled with priceless jades both in Singapore and in Hongkong, and I had 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 exposé down to five minutes, and he nodded sagely. 'Mummy,' said he, turning to his wife, 'we must get round 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 talk 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 heath 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 1954, while Nanyang University was a-building, I did not approach him again. Lin Yutang made pronouncement, 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 pullers 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 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 Tan Laksai, lose face. In early 1955 Lin Yutang and his family were quietly paid a very large indemnity by Tan Laksai personally, and returned to America.
(Chapter 4 Malaya: 1954-1956, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp84-91)
I was going to see Chou Enlai[周恩来] in his own home (in 1956)...
Several days later, Chen Yi[陈毅] saw me...
I told Chen Yi about Singapore and Malaya, and the setting up of Nanyang University. Chen Yi said that the question of the overseas Chinese 'was a problem still to settle ... it is the cause of many headaches for us ...' But China only wanted peace. It was clear that the last thing Chen Yi wanted was to interfere in South East Asia. 'However, when the overseas Chinese are persecuted, of course we must protest, and help them ...'
(Chapter 6 China's Hundred Flowers: 1956, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p175)
IN THE AUTUMN of 1956 Nanyang University started to function. Thousands of youths from the Chinese middle schools of the peninsula and the island sat for the three-day examination held in Singapore and the chief cities of Malaya. Loud jubilation and unsubdued publicity over the completion of Nanyang was exhibited by the Malayan Chinese Chamber of Commerce and other enterprises. The photographs of a British Labour M.P. or two, of the Governor of Singapore Island and other British high officials wearing chilling smiles while attending Nanyang University's opening ceremony, were prominently displayed. Tunku Abdul Rahman, who in 1957 would become the first Prime Minister of independent Malaya, declared that the setting up of Nanyang was a matter for the Chinese in Malaya to decide, but he hoped 'other races would be admitted' to the University.
As college health physician, I drove to Nanyang three times a week to make physical examinations of the students. That meant twenty-five kilometres on a new dirt road (later tarred) across jungle and brush, with here and there a small atap hut. Jurong, where Nanyang was sited, was almost unpeopled then; today it is the industrial heart of Singapore.
I had to discard my mini-Fiat and buy a stouter car for these trips to Nanyang. I acquired a Ford, low slung, which stalled in Singapore's torrential rains. As soon as my blue and white vehicle was sighted, bumper-deep in water, along the Bukit Timah Road, shopkeepers and trishaw pedallers would remove their slippers and come wading through the downpour with cheers to push my car on to the verge. 'Going to Nan Tah*, Doctor? What you need is a jeep.' [* Nanyang University was abbreviated in Chinese to Nan Tah.]
(Chapter 7 Periples and Perspectives: 1956-1958, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p183)
In Singapore 1956 was a turbulent year. David Marshall, Chief Minister for a transient twelve months (1955-6), resigned. He had refused to give a guarantee that he would jail trade unionists or teachers with 'leftist' leanings, and the Colonial Office in London felt he was too weak to carry out what was now being prepared, a wholesale purge of the trade unions and the Chinese schools.
David talked to me at his house by the sea. He was bitter, and tossed his great mane of hair, and thought he would make a comeback heading another party, but he was not oblique enough, he was too visible and too audible; a whale flapping in the shallow mud-swamp of colonial politics. I liked him more than ever in his defeat; for he took it very well, but 'You'll never be a politician, David,' I said. 'Good intentions will always be your downfall.'
A small, quiet man with a round face, Lim Yewhock, became Chief Minister of a 'Labour Front' coalition government. He was very conservative, a great favourite of the local British and Americans. But he did not know that his role would also be transitory; for he would serve to carry out the big purge that the British had in mind, as a prelude to independence, both in Malaya and in Singapore. Without this purge there could be no independence for Singapore, neither could Singapore be 'safely' joined to Malaya.
Meanwhile, the astute British were already grooming for the future their best bet, Lee Kuanyew or Harry Lee. Lee Kuanyew, whose subsequent career as Prime Minister of Singapore fully justified the long-term and shrewd assessment of British officials, was English-educated. As his untiring hagiographer, the journalist Alex Josey, never ceased to write, Lee Kuanyew had been brilliant at Cambridge, where he studied law. In 1956 Lee appeared extremely progressive. His party, the People's Action Party or PAP, had come up very swiftly since 1954, and was now a force to be reckoned with. The PAP owned a left wing which comprised Chinese school-educated trade unionists and former Singapore Chinese middle school student leaders; people whom the Special Branch had jailed before, and would jail again, as communists or communist sympathizers. It also had a right wing which comprised most of the English-educated like Lee himself, who today continue to represent, as he does, the government of Singapore.
Because of its slogan, 'Socialism in Singapore', the PAP was massively supported by the workers, the trades union, Chinese school students, in short, a good majority of Singapore's people. Any party in Asia then that wanted to get on had to use two isms, socialism and anti-colonialism.
The Special Branch clampdown on Singapore's trades union and student unions began in September 1956, with daily arrests. The Chinese Middle School Students' Union was banned. The students barricaded themselves in the Chinese high school on the Bukit Timah Road, and were assaulted with tear gas and night sticks by the police. This led to the imposition of a twenty-two-hour curfew, which was maintained for four days. I drove just before the curfew, by night, along the Bukit Timah Road, returning from work. I saw the police charge. Two cars were overturned and burnt, not by the students but by Secret Society hooligans (who had come out to join the fray). Tear gas made us all weep, and a student offered me his handkerchief. 'Go away, Doctor, the police beat up anyone.'
Members of the left wing of the PAP were arrested, among them Lim Chingsiong, a young trade unionist, and the idol of the students of the Chinese high school (where he had been a student leader). Harry Lee was not in Singapore during the purge but resting in the Cameron Highlands of Malaya,* about six hours away by car. [* A cool, high mountain resort frequented by British high officials and wealthy Malays and Chinese.] He came back when it was all over to demand Lim Yewhock's resignation and to make an excellent speech in the Legislative Assembly (November 5th, 1956), calling this a planned purge concocted between the British and Lim Yewhock. He thus enlisted enormous popular support while Lim Yewhock became the detested emblem of a 'colonial lackey'.
I attended a public PAP meeting held at the end of that year; I wanted to listen to Harry Lee speak. Cards for joining the PAP were being distributed at the entrance to the hall, and I took one, signing my name and paying two dollars. This thoughtless gesture would cause me much trouble later on.
Lee spoke very well, and I agreed with his thesis that 'In order to get independence, and unity between Malaya and Singapore, between the Malays and the Chinese, the Malay government in Malaya must be convinced that the Chinese in Singapore are loyal to Malaya and not to China; that they have no intention of exploiting the Malays, but that on the contrary they wish to live and work equally and peacefully in Malaya as Malayans.' The myth of an overseas Chinese fifth column in Singapore was to be broken.
I asked Alex Josey whether I might meet Harry Lee, and it was agreed we should do so at the house of Rajaratnam, a Ceylonese Tamil, who is now the Foreign Minister of Singapore. He had just published another short story of mine in a magazine of his which promptly folded up, and he was trying hard to hold down his job as newspaperman at the conservative Straits Times while also publishing and editing Petir, the PAP newspaper.
Alex and Harry arrived late, in ebullient mood. Alex was never drunk, though he could put down vast quantities of Tiger beer and remain beautifully vertical. Harry was not a drinker; even two beers would make him flush. He was now flushed, and took refuge behind a newspaper which he held up at arm's length so that nothing of him was visible except his legs.
I waited politely, making small talk, but the paper would not come down. Harry did not wish to talk to me. Perhaps because I had been to China, and he did not wish Special Branch to suspect him of talking with someone from China ... After fifteen minutes in which he continued to prop up the paper Great Wall between us, by sheer muscle power and will, I got up without saying goodbye to the invisible Mr Lee, and went home. It had not been an unprofitable quarter hour. I had smelled the smell of single-minded devotion to power. No one would be allowed to stand in Harry Lee's way.
But my young Chinese students at Nanyang at the time idolized him and believed him a genuine 'socialist'. 'He is even learning Chinese now,' they said. Later, having endured beatings and torture in jail in Singapore under the PAP government, one of those students who got out would tell me, 'It was on our shoulders that Lee Kuanyew climbed to power.'
(Chapter 7 Periples and Perspectives: 1956-1958, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp184-186)
In Nanyang University a splurge of amateur painting also occurred. I duly opened exhibitions, attended showings, wrote forewords, signed books and stated that 'the artist is trying to express the new, surging identity of Malaya', whatever that meant. I bought pictures, more to help the eager executants (most of them young and some very poor) than for art's sake.
My endeavour to make known Malayan Chinese literature had borne some fruit, and Nanyang University students came to my clinic to hand me short stories and poems, to confide their dreams of writing major novels, and sometimes to borrow money. Most of them returned the money scrupulously, even when the situation was very trying for them.
A consciousness that there were such things as novels, novellas, short stories, plays and poetry emerged as a manifestation of national identity and a book of Malayan Chinese short stories, with a preface by myself, emerged.
But Singapore became more, not less, prohibitively reactionary after 1960. The springs of writing and creation withered. So many magazines especially from Nanyang University, would be accounted 'subversive'. Nanyang University produced a high-standard economics magazine (in Chinese); an English-language magazine (of varying quality, but a brave attempt), and a magazine in Malay (of good standard). All this was done by the students. The pampered English-language media Singapore University only produced a rather mediocre English-language magazine. And yet there was an excellent teaching staff, including the brilliant and energetic Professor of English Literature, my friend the poet D. J. Enright, and the novelist Patrick Anderson.
(Chapter 8 That Other Life, Outside China, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p225)
... in 1960, I began to quarrel openly with the Malayan Communist Party on the subject of Nanyang University.
(Chapter 8 That Other Life, Outside China, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p230)
In 1959 I began to teach in Nanyang University a three-month course entitled Contemporary Asian Literature. I taught at night, twice a week, for two hours. I was not paid, and at the end the Board, because some members were against my presence, declared that the course could not count towards graduation.
My intention was not only to open the minds of the students to what was happening elsewhere in Asia (colonialism had been only too successful in separating us from each other), but also to teach myself about other Asian countries. I wanted, besides, to have Malays admitted to Nanyang University and to make Malay one of the languages taught there.
But there was strong resentment, even among some progressive students, to admittance of Malays. The new set-up in independent Malaya privileged Malays so heavily that Nanyang University appeared to the Chinese students to be the last refuge for the Chinese-educated stream. Even if a Chinese student obtained the highest examination marks, he often was not granted admission to the new University at Kuala Lumpur, or to Singapore University; a Malay with lower marks would be given a place.
(Chapter 9 The Leap in China: 1959-1960, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p232)
In the Summer of 1960, my health broke down.
I had been to Cambodia in February, and begun a new book, The Four Faces. I continued to worry about the Sino-Indian border dispute. My clinic was very busy and my sister Marianne had been placed in a mental hospital. I had also quarrelled bitterly and long with the leftist Students' Union of Nanyang University; allegedly infiltrated by the Malayan Communist Party. The reason was that I had publicly approved of a speech made by Prime Minister Lee Kuanyew at Nanyang University, and this had angered the leftists. They published a very rude letter against me in the papers. For a while I was ostracized; then 108 students rallied to support me, and in the end I met the student representatives at my home, and there was a reconciliation. It enhanced my position as an independent, but now drew upon me the anger of the PAP government, which had begun to demand 'obsequious compliance', as the poet D.J. Enright, at the time teaching at the University of Singapore, would remark.
(Chapter 11 The Years of Want: 1960-196, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp274-275)
2月，我去了柬埔寨，开始写一本新书《四张面孔》。我对中印边界争端仍然十分担忧。我的门诊所很忙，我的妹妹玛丽安已被送进了一家精神病医院。我和南洋大学左派学生联合会展开了一场激烈、长时间的争论。据说马来亚共产党渗透进了这个组织。引起争论的原因是我公开支持李光耀总理在南洋大学的讲演，激起了左派分子的愤怒，他们在报纸上发表了一封十分粗鲁的信反对我。我一度遭到排斥，后来有108名学生集会支持我，最后我在家里会见了学生代表，取得了和解。这增强了我作为无党派人士的地位，但却引起了人民行动党政府对我的愤怒。它要求 O.J. 恩莱特在新加坡大学任教时所说的“绝对地服从”。
The newly formed party, the Barisan Socialis, with Lim Chingsiong as its head, was against merger and Malaysia. It declared that Singapore could live on its own. This was denounced as a 'communist plot', even though it has since become a reality and Singapore is held up as a shining example of prosperity.
Of course, it could only become prosperous when its radicals were curbed, since it had to enter the orbit of capitalism, however much the PAP would continue to call itself 'socialist'.
I sought out Lim Chingsiong for an interview. He was the idol of the Chinese middle-school and university students. He spoke three Chinese dialects, English and Malay, all of them fluently. He was handsome, with regular features, but I was surprised to note how unaggressive he was. In contrast to Lee Kuanyew's forceful, abrasive personality, Lim appeared hesitant, diffident, almost wistful. And above all, somewhat naive.
Lim Chingsiong gave me a short biography of himself; but he was far more interested in talking about the Sino-Soviet dispute. 'I do not understand it,' said he. I offered to lend him whatever documentation I had, and duly brought him the clippings I had smuggled through. But the file would never be returned to me because Lim Chingsiong would go to jail shortly after, and all his belongings would be taken over by Special Branch; and I did not ask for my clippings to be returned.
The Students' Union of Nanyang University came out against Malaysia. In the summer of 1961 an attempt was made to break it up; and I was cited as supporting those who were breaking it. Of course I had to refute this, as it was not true. What was my intense surprise when my moderate refutation--which, however, had led to the Students' Union not collapsing--drew on my head the wrath not only of British officials like Lord Selkirk but also of influential British administrators like the Chancellor of Singapore University?
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Kuanyew of Singapore had collided somewhat with the more conservative Malays of Malaysia. This was not at all his fault. It was due to his over-ebullient and enthusiastic friend, Alex Josey, who had proclaimed him 'The leader of' the overseas Chinese--heir to five thousand years of Chinese civilization'. And Lee himself, in one of his more abrupt moods, was quoted in the press as remarking that the Malays themselves had 'come from China in the eleventh century', and that the 'sons of the soil' theory might as well apply to the Chinese.
This infuriated Malay extremists ... a motion to jail Lee Kuanyew was even set afoot.
I went to see Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in April 1961, to confirm the matter of my giving scholarships both to Malay students to study Chinese at Nanyang University and to a Chinese to study Malay culture and literature. Tunku accepted the idea and the money,* and I would continue for five years providing for the one and only student--a Chinese--who elected to study Malay history, language and literature. [* I began with a $12,000 scholarship.] No Malay student turned up.
I spoke with Tunku of the problem of the overseas Chinese; it was difficult for these hardy, industrious and thrifty people to understand the hostility towards them and the position they were in. 'But we built this country ... it was jungle before we came ... our work, our sweat, our lives have gone into this soil,' they would say, incredulous that they should be discriminated against. lives have gone into this soil,' they would say, incredulous that they should be discriminated against.
Tunku agreed that they suffered from the relics of a colonial situation and that now they must adapt or would be 'neither fish nor fowl'. He let me understand that it was not possible not to discriminate against them, at least for a generation ...
Malaysia would not adhere to the American edifice of SEATO, the South East Asia Treaty Organization, erected by Dulles in 1954 in order to counter the 'Red' threat in South East Asia. SEATO was aimed at China; but 'we Asians do not like SEATO, it bears a stigma,' said the wise Tunku. 'We shall ensure our own security ... I've always said there cannot be two Chinas,' he added, showing his independence of mind. It meant that, in due course, Malaysia would recognize China.
(Chapter 13 The World Outside China: 1960-1961, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp324-326)
Distressed students regularly poured in upon me. All kinds of distress: jail, no money, no job. One student with naso-pharyngeal cancer, to go to England for treatment. A student from Nanyang University questioned by Special Branch: he could no longer walk. For days he had been held in the vertical position with a beam between his legs and a weight upon his back; the sciatic nerves of both legs were injured. Others had been made to sit on blocks of ice for hours during the Emergency. Repressive measures and torture are never new. They seem to be passed on as precious heirlooms, handed down the centuries, and from one country to another. In February 1962 I went to Cairo to attend the Second Afro-Asian Writers' Conference taking place there. I was curious to know what an Afro-Asian conference was like, and certainly I wanted to meet Asian writers, for my course on contemporary Asian literature at Nanyang University.
(Chapter 13 The World Outside China: 1960-1961, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp331-332)
In December 1962, Vincent and I met the representatives of the Chinese press of Singapore and Malaya, and members of the Nanyang University Graduates' Union. We were expected to give them a talk on the India-China border conflict.
I spoke moderately. For I would not, in any way, stress the Chinese case in such away as to offend the Indian community of Singapore and Malaya. Racial hostility, communalism, riots and bloodshed are easily stirred up.
Vincent spoke after me. He, too, did not argue the rights or wrongs of the case. He said that border conflicts occurred between many countries throughout the world; they must not be exaggerated; and he felt sure that all would be settled peacefully through negotiation, one day. Meanwhile the Chinese and the Indian people would continue to be friends, as they had been for two thousand years.
Yet at the time, deep hysteria prevailed in India. Calcutta's 14,000-strong Chinese community was raided--laundrymen, tailors, shoemakers and shopkeepers were assaulted, their goods confiscated; many were interned and lost all their belongings. Emergency regulations, which allow the suspension of human rights and of all normal law procedures, were applied; they gave the police in India unlimited power. The Chinese in Calcutta were Indian citizens, with Indian passports. They spoke Bengali or Hindi, and English; most of them were born in India, had never set foot in China ... they were condemned by their faces alone.
As for the Indian people, the Indian government had decreed that it was 'treason' to 'spread rumours' or 'doubt' about the official explanation of 'savage Chinese aggression'. The all-obliterating unfact acted very thoroughly.
At the time, in the United States, a general called Maxwell Taylor was making a report to Congress, telling the facts; but this report was not made public.
'Such is democracy,' I said to Vincent. The limits of freedom to tell the truth, in both worlds, were never more apparent to me than in 1962.
Vincent's courageous and modest action in speaking so wisely, to appease inflamed emotions, was to be utilized against him shortly there-after.
The Special Branch launched a crackdown (what else?). In Malaya, fifty persons were arrested for conspiracy. In Singapore, the Barisan Socialis came out openly on the side of the rebels. The head of the Barisan Socialis, Lim Chingsiong, and other leaders were arrested in February 1963. Linda Chen, the girl to whom I had given a job at the Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, was re-arrested.
And then came the turn of Nanyang University. A police raid, at night: 117 students rounded up. All university publications banned. Nanyang University out of bounds to everyone except persons with special permits from the police.
In the course of 1963, I would help some students, not communists, but people implicated in writing for banned magazines, to make quiet exits from the green gulag of Singapore.
But I never went near Nanyang University again.
He (K., a Singapore trade unionist of the PAP) told me Special Branch didn't like some of my activities. But I knew that it was not Special Branch which had chosen this singular method. This was personal vindictiveness. I was registered in Malaya; could not be touched by the Singapore government; Vincent was only registered in Singapore, at his place of work, and could be affected by a local dictum.
'I'm going to fight this, you'd better tell your bosses, I said to K. 'I'll fight it.'
K. smiled and his canines protruded a bit. 'You cannot. There's nothing in writing,' he said.
“我要斗争！你最好告诉你们老板，”我对 K 说，“我要斗争！”
Leaving Malaya and Singapore meant also losing sight, partly, of so many lives which had come into mine; and which had brought me so much of value. So many, so many now to be filed away. I shall only write about Lim Chingsiong, because when I meet again those students of Nanyang University whom I was able to rescue from jail (all of them happily employed in other countries now) we always, somehow, talk about Lim Chingsiong.
'Others can give up, but not Lim Chingsiong.' So often this was said in the years of his incarceration as, one by one, the detainees recanted and were freed. Linda Chen gave up, and went to England. The years passed. The prisons of Singapore and Malaya are not particularly nice places. The use of torture is not banned. Worst of all are the isolation cells; some of metal, and under the Equator sun metal does become very hot. The unfortunate prisoner is alone sometimes for weeks inside the metal cage.
The government of Lee Kuanyew prefers not to have too many people in jail for political opposition. Each prisoner is offered 'recantation'; and the promise not to indulge in politics again gives them the right to leave for England. Lim Chingsiong took eight years to give up. He was then allowed to go to England.
But his brain has gone. Some say it is because of what he suffered in jail in Singapore.
In 1977, walking down a certain street in London with a Chinese friend, I saw Lim Chingsiong. The street has many Chinese shops selling vegetables, spices, beancurd, fruit, soy sauce and tins from Hongkong and from China. My friend nudged me: 'Look, that man, that is Lim Chingsiong.'
Setting up the stalls for the fresh vegetables, helping to cart the garbage: a handyman in a vegetable shop in London. He was fatter. Or rather, he was no longer what he was because everything had gone out of him. The meaning of flabbiness came as I looked at his face. Lim Chingsiong.
'Sometimes people come and jeer at him, and all he does is to hold his head in his hands,' said my friend. 'We think that he is still afraid of being hit on the head. He was often hit on the head when he was in jail.'
But I remember Lim Chingsiong when he was handsome, a little indecisive, but with a certain shine about him, perhaps a little too much candour. I prefer to remember him that way.
(Chapter 15 Departue from Malaya: 1962-1964, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, pp376-384)
From Cairo back to Malaya, to Kuala Lumpur, to see Frank Sullivan and Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tunku received me amiably, and we had coffee. He made mild fun of Lee Kuanyew. It was obvious that now, having got rid of Singapore, he felt considerably better. We stayed at the British High Commission with Anthony and Dorothea Head; Dorothea was painting my portrait. We discussed the failed merger between Singapore and Malaya. Arrests continued in Singapore. The multi-millionaire Tan Laksai, who had founded Nanyang University, had been deprived of his citizenship. Somehow I felt that the British were not unhappy with the new arrangement. Perhaps they had planned it all along.
(Chapter 16 Toward the Cultural Revelution: 1964-1966, My House Has Two Door, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1980, p411)
2009年12月15日首版 Created on December 15, 2002
2021年09月26日改版 Last updated on September 26, 2021