English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips> 译通四海> Columnist 专栏作家> Raymond Zhou

A checkered flag

[ 2010-05-10 13:45]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

A checkered flag

Q & A | Han han

CD (China Daily): Is rebelliousness a stance or a mentality?

HH (Han Han): It is sick to pretend to be rebellious. I'm not a rebel. My taste is mainstream.

CD: The pleasure when you reach top speed and the joy of a spurt of inspiration while writing - do these two have something in common?

HH: Not necessarily driving fastest, but when I feel good at the wheel, it is like writing with great inspiration.

CD: Between racing and writing, which is riskier?

HH: Definitely writing - in China. You can't race onto a blacklist or right into jail.

CD: In one of your novels, a character says: "You're simply a bystander in this age." Are you a bystander or a participant? If you could choose, which one would you rather be?

HH: Everyone is a participant, yet most are actually bystanders.

CD: Given China's uniqueness, is it a good thing or bad thing to be nominated for the Time 100 list of influential people of the year?

HH: It was not my influence, but the influence of Time magazine. Ours is a strange environment. If you show indifference toward an overseas media organization's recognition, you're impolite; if you express gratitude, people will say you are being used by Western media or you are in their camp. Some will even accuse you of using Western values to suppress Asian values. I give the same answers to inquiries from domestic and overseas press, but domestic press helps with filtering, which I totally understand.

CD: Some people overseas call you "dissident lite". Do you agree?

HH: Ha, maybe because I do not weigh much physically. "Dissident" is a dangerous word here. I'm different from a dissident because I accept the current constitution. I accept the power of the powers-that-be but I want to have my rights. I do not want a new charter or new constitution.

CD: If you could not speak the truth, would you choose to be silent or use insinuations?

HH: You can tell a little lie with women. Other than that, I'd rather be silent than tell lies.

CD: Do you have a fear of heights?

HH: Very much.

CD: You use black humor liberally in your writings. Is it a style you love or you use it out of necessity?

HH: It is the best style that fits me because I am afraid readers might lose interest.

CD: Your novels seem to imply Buddhist thinking, such as karma, but "it's only for the common people". Is it your thinking, or something inside your character's head?

HH: I imposed it on my characters. Karma is the common people's last defense and their last psychological comfort. But as I have observed, it is not common that the good get rewards and the bad their comeuppance.

CD: Which literary genre involves more effort, fiction or essays? What about response from readers?

HH: I give more to fiction, but readers prefer my essays because the expressions are more straightforward.

CD: You used to laugh at literary works selected for textbooks. What would you think if one day your writing appears in textbooks? Another scenario: what if your work is officially condemned as a bad influence?

HH: It's good in either case - the first one means society is more open and things have changed; and the second I get the same treatment as Confucius (who was for a long time condemned in China).

CD: You said literature should not make it a priority to "convey the way", meaning social relevance. Actually your work contains "the way", only it's different from the traditional "way". What position should social messages have in literature?

HH: An important position, but they should be implied, especially if they are good. In Chinese literature there is too much preaching, which turns it into a user's guide. Readers tend to become dumb after being exposed to too much of this stuff.

CD: If you were asked to write a eulogy and you knew the content was true, would you do it?

HH: I'll do it. I often praise things, but it rarely gets into the news.