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[双语悦读] Enjoy Life, You Petty Bourgeoisie 何谓小资

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    发表于 2014-4-13 00:06 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
    本帖最后由 南国烽烟 于 2014-4-13 00:07 编辑

    China’s new crop of hedonists indulge themselves, whether or not they can afford it.
    文/谢泼德·劳克林  译/王珏 李晓丹  审订/王军
    By Shepherd Laughlin

    *Ma Nuo1, a contestant on a Jiangsu dating show, became infamous last year for declaring that she’d “rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bicycle.” Outraged netizens took her comments as fresh evidence that China’s new rich had sacrificed inner fulfillment for the fleeting pleasures of material wealth. But, in fact, many upwardly mobile Chinese fall somewhere in the middle, chasing personal fulfillment and consumer gratification with equal abandon.

    [2] The so-called Xiaozi are a distinctly Chinese urban tribe that occupies a space somewhere between the yuppies2 and hipsters3 familiar to Westerners. A short list of Xiaozi accoutrements includes coffee, *Haruki Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood,”4French cuisine, the Houhai neighborhood in Beijing, European films, Apple computers, the city of Shanghai and Adidas—though a real Xiaozi would never admit to their addictions so bluntly.

    [3] Sipping latté in a Chaoyang Starbucks, Beijing native Wei Yuan explained the Xiaozi ideal to me as it applied to her 33-year-old friend: “Her life is so Xiaozi. She’s single, her house is full of art and she travels abroad to buy foreign things.” At the next table, a group of three men in their 30s gathered around an iPad for a meeting, but each tapped furiously on their own iPhone 4. Wei told me her friend worked in public relations—a very Xiaozi profession. “Sometimes she says, ‘no, I’m not a Xiaozi,’ but it’s precisely her lifestyle, I think.”
    〔3〕在朝阳区的一家星巴克,北京人魏媛(音译)一边喝着拿铁咖啡,一边向我解释小资理想,还说这适用于她一位33岁的朋友:“她的生活就是这么的小资:单身,房子里摆满了艺术品,还到国外买洋货。”在旁边的桌子,三个30多岁的男子围着一台iPad开会,但每个人都在急速地敲着自己的iPhone 4。魏媛告诉我说,她那位朋友干公关——一种非常小资的职业。“有时候她说,‘不,我不是小资’,但我想,她的生活方式就是很小资。”

    [4] What makes these Xiaozi different from China’s rising middle class? According to Helen Wang, who interviewed members of both groups for her book The Chinese Dream, many Chinese “associate the middle class with houses and cars, and Xiaozi with candlelight dinners and a glass of wine.” Xiaozi, it seems, like to spend money on high-sensation experiences like travel and fine meals. They may also indulge their penchants for sleek consumer gadgets5 and well-crafted fashion accessories. One person told me that the typical Xiaozi salary is anywhere from 5,000–20,000 RMB a month, but that living the Xiaozi life is more about attitude than earning power.

    [5] In a society where memories of scarcity are none too distant, Xiaozi live for the present. Many Chinese people see home ownership as the mark of an eligible bachelor, but Xiaozi regard such notions with disdain. As real estate prices skyrocket, they prefer to rent and spend any extra cash on escapes to Yunnan or foreign-language novels and DVDs. Such choices may be individually fulfilling, but the “*live it up6” mentality of the Xiaozi provokes concern from older relatives, who worried about the next generation’s financial future. “Young people think they’re living in the moment,” said Zhuang Shi, a lifestyle editor in Beijing, “but in older people’s point of view, they are wasting their time and life, because if they’re living in the moment, it means they have no plan for the future.”

    [6] Most people I spoke with thought that Xiaozi had a negative connotation, but some embrace the term. “Especially in Beijing, maybe 60 percent of people like being called this,” says Li Ran, a Beijing native who studies economics at Seoul National University. “To be called Xiaozi means they have money, but you know, over time so many people used that word in a bad way.” He turned to his friend, “Actually, she is Xiaozi!” The young woman next to him flinched. She was wearing a bright red, puffy coat and blushed as Li spoke approvingly of her white Honda. Asked what Xiaozi meant to her, she said in English, “Enjoy life!”

    [7] The term Xiaozi came into its current meaning in the 1990s as China’s growing economy permitted new heights of consumer indulgence. Its origins, however, go back to the days of staunch Communism: Xiaozi originally meant “petty bourgeoisie,” a term occupying a specific space in the Marxist theory of class.

    [8] The petty bourgeoisie were city dwellers who may have been government functionaries, owners of small businesses, or intellectuals. Stuck somewhere in between the true capitalist oppressors and the workers, farmers and soldiers who formed the core of the revolution, their status shifted during the early decades of Chinese communism. “The petty bourgeois writers and artists constitute an important force…” said Mao Zedong in 1942 at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art. “There are many shortcomings in both their thinking and their works, but, comparatively speaking, they are inclined towards the revolution and are close to the working people.”

    [9] Xiaozi today probably have different inclinations. “I think you should leave what Mao said behind,” said Shi, who usually goes by Aviva Shey, her English name. “I think what you want to know about Xiaozi is very different from what he meant.” True, Mao’s ideas about class were based on the way people earned their living, not on taste or lifestyle. But isn’t there some kind of important connection here? “Well, I choose not to see it,” she told me.
    〔9〕当今的小资可能有不同的倾向。“我认为你应该把毛主席的话放在一边。” 庄施说,她通常用英文名字,叫阿维娃·谢伊。“我想你想知道的小资和他的意思有天壤之别。”的确,毛泽东关于阶级的思想是基于人们谋生的方式而不是他们的品味或生活方式。但是,其中没有某些重要关联吗?“嗯,我宁愿不去看破。”她告诉我。
    [10] Watching well-heeled shoppers queue for *designer cupcakes7 in the shadow of a massive new *Comme des Garçons8 store in Beijing, it’s hard to imagine that a scant 40 years ago, a basic commodity like shampoo might have been denounced as a decadent bourgeois splurge. And yet, during the radical and paranoid days of the Cultural Revolution, any hint that someone gained spiritual or emotional fulfillment from material possessions was suspect.

    〔10〕在高耸的Comme des Garçons北京店的阴影下,看着穿着讲究的消费者排队买精致纸杯蛋糕,很难想象,在40年前,像洗头膏这样的基本商品都可能被谴责为资产阶级的腐朽奢侈。更有甚者,在文革激进和偏执的日子里,如果有谁稍稍暗示出通过物质享受而追求精神或情感上的满足,都要受到怀疑。
    [11] Today’s discussion in China about Xiaozi and their supposed flaws reminds me of nothing more than the debates about “hipsters” that circulated in New York City when I lived there. My former neighborhood was called the unofficial capital of hipster America. It’s a place where even the hardware store lends its window to installations9 by conceptual video artists. Residents are widely mocked for the high price tag of their “countercultural” lifestyle.

    [12] Is Xiaozi translatable? “Hipster” doesn’t quite work; Xiaozi aren’t particularly countercultural (except that they often pursue an interest in things that are considered “un-Chinese”). “Yuppie,” though dated, seems to be the most accurate English equivalent, but there’s an important difference: the typical yuppie can afford the expensive things he buys, while Xiaozi are criticized for spending beyond their means. In the end, it seems the concept of Xiaozi is specific to China and we’ll have to leave it at that.

    [13] I asked Shi if she thought she was Xiaozi. “I’m not so blind as to chase material things—balance is key,” she said. Then, quickly, I, like last season’s hottest restaurant, lost her interest. She was off to other things, “Do you have enough material yet? I have to go wash my hair now.”
    1.      马诺:一名来自北京的平面模特,因其在江苏卫视《非诚勿扰》中大胆、犀利的言论而迅速在网络上蹿红,被网友们称作“拜金女”。
    2.      yuppie雅皮士:指西方国家年轻能干有上进心的一类人,他们一般受过高等教育,具有较高的知识水平和技能。雅皮士风貌(yuppie look)兴起于20世纪80年代。雅皮士的着装、消费行为及生活方式等带有较明显的群体特征,但他们并无明确的组织性。
    3.      hipster一般翻译为“赶时髦的人,追求新奇的人”。这是一个俚语,最早出现于20世纪40年代,并在20世纪90年代和21世纪初再度流行。经常用来形容对非主流时尚和文化感兴趣的年轻人和刚落户城市的中产阶级成人,这种人尤其喜欢另类音乐、独立摇滚、独立电影以及一些特殊的杂志和网站。
    4.      《挪威的森林》,村上春树著。讲述了木月与直子、直子与渡边、渡边与绿子间缠缠绵绵的感情纠葛。
    5.      gadget(尤指电子、机械的)小装置,小玩意儿。
    6.      live it up〔俚〕过奢侈的生活;(一反常态地)纵情快乐。
    7.      designer cupcake精致纸杯蛋糕,又译口袋蛋糕、(波纹)纸托蛋糕。
    8.      日本“另类设计师”川久保玲1969年创立的潮流服装品牌。“COMME des GARCONS”,法文意思是“像男孩一样”。1981年巴黎的女装发布会上引起世界流行舞台的重视,隔年更以有名之乞丐装概念引领当代流行潮流。美国时尚界给予川久保玲“流行先锋”的称号,赞美她不仅在服装设计上开创新意,而且在经营品牌旗舰店上眼光独具。
    9.      installation(艺术馆或博物馆的)奇特展品,装置作品展,亦作 installation art。

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