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The regret of a biracial massage therapist <特約轉載> 移民路上的人 - 後悔的英港混血按摩師


(中文原文在下方)


It is indeed very difficult to make our children maintain their mother language under a foreign context. As such, I would prefer a laissez-faire attitude, not insisting them to speak Cantonese at home.


But I have changed my mind after my wife’s sharing.

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After a small car accident, she has not yet had her neck and shoulder returned to the best condition. Recommended by her physiotherapist, she met a massage therapist.


Though looking like a typical Asian, her name was not at all. Here I just call her “Katy”.


Katy’s mother, a Hongkonger, settled in 1970s in Canada, where she met and married with Katy’s father and had their daughter then.


As soon as my wife sat down, Katy asked like Sherlock Holme, “Lemme guess! You’ve a Chinese surname and you’re a Chinese, right? You come to Canada because of the policies lately. Correct?”


My wife told her she was a Hongkonger, too. The identity should have brought the two ladies closer. However, Katy was unable to chat in Cantonese.


Her father only understood English, while her mother did not urge her to learn Cantonese. As a result, English became her native language, with knowing only a few Cantonese words, merely from “one” to “ten”.


Now Katy has also become a mother. She told my wife heartfeltly, while focusing on her therapy, “You MUST urge your children to learn and speak Cantonese! How come I didn’t learn it? I wish my mom had urged me and I’d have managed it now… What a regret!”


Her words did surprise my wife. Later she knew that Katy’s mother was suffering from a kind of Alzheimer’s disease which could erode patients’ language ability. As doctor foresaw, they would only be able to remember their mother language.


“If that day finally comes, I won’t be able to communicate with my mom…I’ll only at most understand the degree of pain she has from “one” to “ten”.”


I do think when Katy was young, she had never imagined her few Cantonese would finally be in great use, but in such tragic context.

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“You and your brother must keep on your Chinese and Cantonese!” When my wife shared this regretful story to my daughter, I knew she was, ironically, planning which Chinese exercise books could be the best for them.


In fact, this was already the third time for me to hear such regretful story about mother language. My young Vietnamese colleague has also ever heartfeltly persuaded me to urge my children to speak Chinese.


“I do wish I’d communicate in deep with my parents and grandparents in Vietnamese. But it’s too late.” He spoke like a cancer patient urging you to quit smoking, as if he was Yul Brynner.


I think from now on, I’d better urge my children to talk with me in Cantonese. Of course, I can teach them lessons more conveniently. But other than this, I believe only in the mother language can the caring words be the most touching, memorable and long-lasting.



喺外國既語境下,想小朋友keep住講母語真係好難。所以我一向都係隻眼開隻眼閉,唔係太堅持兩姐弟喺屋企一定要講廣東話。


不過,聽咗老婆分享既一個故事之後,我既想法有少少改變。

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因為上次小小既交通意外,老婆條頸同膊頭都仲有少少唔舒服,所以物理治療師介紹佢去見按摩師做therapy。


按摩師擁有一個西方人既名字 – 我叫佢做Katy吧,但係外表卻完全係典型亞洲人面孔。


原來Katy係英港混血兒:Katy媽媽係香港人,70年代就黎咗加拿大定居,喺度識咗英國藉既Katy爸爸,兩人結婚後生咗Katy。單從外表上判斷,Katy媽媽遺傳既基因似乎完勝咗Katy爸爸。


老婆一坐低,Katy用福爾摩斯式口吻問:「等我估下先。從你個姓氏黎睇你係中國人吧?你係咪因為最近政府既政策所以決定移民黎加拿大?」


老婆解釋自己其實係香港人,令Katy感到份外有親切感。不過Katy卻無法用廣東話延續同老婆既閒談。


雖然Katy媽媽係香港人,但由於Katy爸爸只係識講英文,Katy媽媽亦無強迫Katy去學廣東話,所以Katy由細到大都淨係講英文,廣東話就只係識講一至十。


現已身為人母既Katy一邊用力幫老婆按摩,一邊語重心長地同老婆講:「你一定要迫佢地講廣東話。一定要。我其實好後悔點解細個無去學廣東話,亦好希望我媽媽喺我細個果時有迫我。如果佢有迫我,我宜家應該就會識講了。」


Katy堅決又悔恨既口吻令老婆有啲意外,傾多幾句先知道原來Katy既媽媽患咗一種腦退化病,醫生話到情況比較嚴重既時候,病人只會記得佢既母語。


「如果發展到果個地步,我就會因為細個無學到廣東話而無法同我媽媽溝通。我最多只係可以聽得明媽媽用一至十形容佢既痛楚。」


我諗Katy細個既時候唔會想像得到,自己僅有既廣東話最終會喺個咁傷感既情況下用得著。

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「所以,你同弟弟一定要繼續保持你地既中文同廣東話。」老婆將呢個有少少悲傷既故事講俾我同阿囡聽既同時,我知道佢心入面已經盤算緊俾邊本中文練習佢兩個做。


其實呢個已經係我第三個聽既「我好後悔細個無學好母語」既故事。之前公司有一位年輕既越南男同事,一樣苦口婆心地勸我一定要迫小朋友講中文:


「我好想可以同我父母同埋祖父母用越南話深入啲去溝通,但我宜家先學已經太遲了….」年輕同事既語氣彷如佢生咗肺癌勸你唔好食煙一樣。


所以我諗從今日開始,我都要迫下佢地用多啲廣東話同我講野先得。除咗方便我省佢兩個呢個主因,我覺得連繫家庭幾代人愛的說話,始終用母語黎演繹先係最動人、最入心。





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