Part Two: The Infamous Outlaw (江洋大盗)

Hey everyone, sorry for the late post. Happy International Women’s Day! Serendipitously, continuing the translation of Sanmao’s work seemed appropriate for celebrating the occasion.


Part One – After I made up my mind, I decided to get an X-ray.

“Wow, it really is empty!” The doctor exclaimed after taking a look at my results.

“Yet you’ve managed to survive 14 years, truly impressive.”

I grab the x-ray image off him, quickly escaped home and slid it under my bed to keep the slide hidden and safe. I decide that twenty years later, I will go get another x-ray scan and see if by then, I will be a full person.

As I don’t have a heart or any courage inside, my will has always been a weak one. Even after being inspired by the Japanese thieves, I did not tried my own hand at pickpocketing, letting precious time slip through my fingers day by day.

That was until one year, when the neighbours nominated our family to be the district’s model family. Everyone in our district already knew of my parents’ characters but they were still very careful with the selection, coming over and conducting a thorough interview with them.

Question after question cemented the committee’s initial assessment that we were a model family. Alas as the interviews were wrapping up, I walked by the kitchen and was spotted by the interviewer.

He asked my mother curiously, “today isn’t Sunday, why isn’t your daughter at school?”

Mother, trying to protect me, replied “my daughter’s not well, so she has quit school.”

“What type of illness does she have? She looks quite healthy.”

“She has honeycomb shaped holes in her organs. It’s an incurable disease. As you can imagine, it’s very frustrating for us all.”

In the end, because of my strange illness, our family did not make the cut to become the exemplar of a perfect family. According to the interviewer, a family with a mysterious sickness does not set a good role model to others.

That night, tears streamed down my face as I lay there in the silent night. I vowed in that moment to become a thief.

Now out of all the outlaws in the world, I bet you could not name even one driven by anything other than greed or power. I did not have a master in the craft but these basic principles I understood well.

As I scanned my surroundings carefully, not letting even a blade of grass escape my sight, my eyes settled on my parents. As a novice thief, they were fantastic practise targets. If I get caught, the stakes would be much lower. It’s not like they’d actually report me to the police!

I carefully sized up my prey. These two are very principled people who are harsh with themselves and endlessly generous to others. They are responsible in all their actions, supportive of their children, they never speak about others behind their backs, never ones to brag either, they are not insecure nor self-pitying. If others owe them money, they would never chase the debt and often when it comes time to pay, they are the ones footing the bill and then some. I’ve never properly assessed my dear parents before but having taken a look, aside from their above average looks, all this stuff inside them is so outdated! All these old fashioned qualities that nobody wants anymore, they treat them like gold!

It was a decade or so ago where they met a ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ type. Since then, both of them have become more and more foolish. Idiotic buggers beyond all hope! Even to me, an empty person, stealing from them would not be worth my time. From the perspective of an absolute beginner desperate for some practise, I decide that these two chumps just don’t make the cut, no thank you sir.

Continue reading “Part Two: The Infamous Outlaw (江洋大盗)”

FISH

Chinese sing Yao Beina recently passed away after bravely fighting against breast cancer for the second time. In memory of her, I have translated the last song she sung to the public – fish. I can only hope that I have captured the essence of this beautiful, sad song. You can listen to the original here. Rest In Peace, Yao Beina.


Artist: 姚贝娜
Songwriter (music):孙嫣然
Songwriter (lyrics):孙卓然

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I am just a fish, (我是一只鱼)
staring out of the aquarium, at you (望着鱼缸外的你)
knocking on the glass, (敲了敲玻璃)
you smile at me, as you leave (你对我微笑离去)
swimming, swimming, you almost slip from memory (游啊游啊我却快忘了你)
first I forget the distance between you and me (甚至你和我的距离)
nestling into your shadow, cast onto the water’s edge (依偎你在水中的倒影)
I can’t wait for you to come closer to me (我会期待你再靠近)

yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
It’s a pity I can only swim, swim, swim (可惜我只能游个不停)
pretend that fish (装作鱼)
only have (只有)
7 seconds of memory (七秒记忆)
I am a fish, a fish (我是鱼 是鱼)
I am just a fish (我是一只鱼)

I don’t understand your language (听不懂你的言语)
so I stay silent in the water and just breathe (沉默在水里呼吸)
can’t bear to close my eyes (舍不得闭上眼睛)
swimming, swimming, I will commit you to memory (游啊游啊我会再牢记你)
and every single one of your expressions (还有你每一个表情)
water pools in my eyes, snucked up unexpectedly (水灌进眼底无声无息)
it blurs you, separates you, from me (却模糊了你 隔开你)

yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
kiss you (亲吻你)
yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
It’s a pity, I can only swim swim swim (可惜我只能游个不停)
pretend to be a fish (装作鱼)
only 7 seconds of memory (只有七秒记忆)
I am just a fish (我是一只鱼)
only 7 seconds of memory (只有七秒的记忆)