卑詩大學(University of British Columbia;資料圖片,來源:Amy Tran @ Unsplash)

重踏卑詩大學校園

【文:歷奇 L. K. Sham】

(Please scroll down for English version) 

本科畢業快十五年了,遷居香港之後,偶爾返加省親,總會到母校一遊。如今旋歸舊地,再往校園,初以為一切依舊,而往深一層凝想,卻發現不但人事,連同景物也都非舊。

鐫以「UBC」三大字的迎賓座標,設在大學道(University Blvd.)正門,與校園東端西澗道(Wesbrook Mall)臨近相對,即為我當年在校上課時未興之物。十五年後,我還是像從前那樣,由家門出發,騎車驅往大學,想不到車程仍只花了九十分鐘:是寶刀未老耶?抑或新車性能好,我雖老矣,仍可不費吹灰之力而至耶!

從正門沿大學道深入校園,除左首舊有的學系辦公室、課室之外,右首已非當年的公交車交匯處,而是新建的校友中心以及由校友會冠名加建的學生窩(AMS Student Nest)。原有的學生會大樓則矗立其旁,更名為卑詩大學生活館(UBC Life),新公交車交匯處由全露天,改為半露天,佔地更廣,分散兩處,由原地推前至西澗道旁。

我在交匯處與學生窩之間的空地鎖上了車,推後門而進,在學生窩裏逛了一遭,再推前門而出,在臺階前看見了男生一人矗立門前,義賣虞美人紀念徽章。第二天即為加拿大國殤紀念日,傳統上每逢十一月,即由加拿大皇家退伍軍人聯盟(Royal Canadian Legion)牽頭義賣,籌款貢獻嘗為國家服務的退伍軍人與他們陣亡捐軀的同袍及其遺眷。可憐天公不造美,雖未下雨,卻天陰沉沉、寒風凜凜,害得那義工站在無人的廣場上直抖擻。

我在那裏駐足片刻,卻因刺骨的寒風而不得不捨君而去,沿小道前往卑詩大學圖書館科爾納分館(Koerner Library),萬想不到校長室居然設在圖書館頂層。舊行政樓雖在其旁,本自成一格,母校山長如今在全校的文化之峰上居高臨下,究竟是圖書館因而叨光,還是校政漸受書香氣息薰陶而更臻完善,一時難以說得清。

這回訪校,非為閒逛,實因公務而來。因緣更在 2020 年盛夏早已結下。當時我仍在香港,因論文首獲同儕選為《二十一世紀中國文化及其全球維度》(Chinese Culture in the 21st Century and its Global Dimensions)的專章,遂有因母之名,向母校獻書的念頭。其時正值新冠肺炎肆虐,加國疫情嚴重,與館員聯繫始知各圖書館一律關閉,一應業務暫停處理。至今年九月,我既返加,圖書館亦已重新開放,便重提舊事,惟原先聯繫的館員,已肩負他責,不便繼續處理。輾轉查詢,仍不得要領,以為獻書一事,大概不必多求了。然而時隔月餘,喜獲科爾納圖書館人文與社科部的特藏與參考書主任奔流先生(Mr. Keith Bunnell)的佳音,同意在書上鐫刻家母之名,以為紀念,我於是親往把書奉上。

科爾納圖書館與後來擴建為巴巴爾研習中心(Barber Learning Centre)的舊館遙相對望,二者之間偏北處為布康林樓(Buchanan Building),此乃文學院辦公室所在,亦為各文科課室所在。樓群成「S」拐型,由西向的 A 樓延至東向的 E 樓,一連五棟,蜿蜒曲折,猶如龍體,E 樓南端另有布康林大廈,猶如《山海經.大荒北經》所載章尾之山,矗然聳立,然則布康林樓群堪比護山之神燭龍。燭龍「其瞑乃晦,其視乃明,不食,不寢,不息,」彷如天行之健,君子以自強不息。文學院選址於龍潭,不亦宜乎!

由布康林樓西行,途經音樂系即達前往亞洲中心及亞洲圖書館(Asian Centre & Asian Library)的幽徑。幽徑路口設有仁、義、禮、智、信五碑,據聞為香港遷加的僑界善長仁翁蔡章閣先生捐資樹立,碑石更是挑自五嶽之首的泰山,即為孔子登而小天下之所。幽徑深入園林,從前多見松鼠,惟今天我竟在此處首遇特立獨行的郊狼,穿梭於柏林之間,為前所未有之事。聽說美加各地因肺炎肆虐,居民曾長年足不出戶,致令山林野獸潛出市區,據為獵食地盤。如今在此巧遇郊狼,即可為證。去年在香港,雖無郊狼,卻有野豬,不但在西高山時有出沒,更到中環中國銀行大廈外的水池嬉戲,想來亦可引為類比。孔子過泰山,聞婦哭訴舅及夫均死於虎,卻因泰山無苛政而死守焉,留下「苛政猛於虎」的名言。溫哥華的郊狼雖猛,我不因之驟去,卻因香港的野豬而遠逝,苛政之猛竟有如是者。

由園林原路退返,我才發現校園的各主要幹道,均已增添馬斯琴原住民部族(Musqueam)的街道譯名。簡言之,校園西北區以六條幹道為經緯:南北向通道由西而東分別為西大道、中庸大道、東大道;東西向通道由北而南則為紀念路、農業路、大學道,大學道以南則為西南區。我沿路看到各條幹道的路牌上除英文街名以外,還顯示了馬斯琴譯名,而且各具深意。我雖不通馬斯琴語,姑且據之音譯為漢字:

英文街名 馬斯琴譯名 譯名英義 街名中文音譯
West Mall sme:ntásəm Facing the mountains 斯曼拓森道
Main Mall šxʷʔey̓eʔ Middle 斯華艾亞道
East Mall cəl̕qʷas Facing inland 求跨斯道
Memorial Rd. šxʷhək̓ʷmət That which is used to remember them 斯畫刻物路
Agricultural Rd. q̓ʷeχt Root plot, garden, orchard 括赫路
University Blvd. šxʷyəθəstəm Place for traditional instruction 斯華瑟斯談道

加拿大為英聯邦屬國,至今仍以英女皇為元首,帝國殖民主義滲透社會每一角落,可謂無孔不入,地名及街道名稱尤然。白人統治者歷來的侵略行徑,並非全屬往行,部分至今猶存,是加拿大歷史及社會輿論的黑暗面。與其因應時趨而粉飾太平,甚至改寫歷史,不如在回顧與展望之間多加虛心坦誠的反省與反思。我以為卑詩大學為街道名稱增設原住民語的譯名,縱非消弭加國種族問題的靈丹妙藥,卻是邁向多元共融的積極一步。

新舊圖書館之間,有高聳的鐘樓與在低凹處築起的美洲印第安寄宿學校歷史與對談中心(Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre),座落於為學徑(Learners’ Walk)。在人生路上,我們每天都在學習,即使每天只能向世界大同以及真善美走近一小步,我以為已屬難能可貴了。

後記:當我在加拿大國殤紀念日當天草成拙文之際,香港當局在太平洋彼岸正式宣布,在市區出沒的野豬一經捕獲,均會人道毀滅,並謂「捕捉及避孕或遷徙計劃已無法控制野豬滋擾。」即時引起軒然大波。面對郊狼由野外流徙市區,本地市政局乃出警告,引導市民如何避免與郊狼正面對峙,如何安全地與新鄰共存。兩地對策之異,竟有如是者。香港民間近年有謂:「可以不愛,但請不要傷害。」反觀所謂的漁農自然護理署,護理的方針,原來包括趕盡殺絕。古之人廣求民瘼,觀納風謠;今之人何以反是!


Returning to UBC

It must have been almost 15 years since I graduated. After moving to Hongkong, I would occasionally return home to visit with my family; whenever I do fly back, I would also visit my alma mater. Now back for good, I returned to the campus once more, at first thinking everything seemed all the same, only to realize after a deeper reflection that not only have people come and gone, there are many other subtler changes as well.

The three-lettered stainless steel “UBC” sign installed on University Blvd. facing Wesbrook Mall in the northeastern precinct of campus would be one of the more obvious additions since my undergraduate days that welcomed me as I arrived on my bicycle. 15 years on, the commute from home to school took the same 90 minutes. Was I still in tip-top shape? Or was the new bicycle I bought that much better than the old one, so much so that despite my vigour (or lack of it) I could still ride the 20-km trek with that much ease!

From the welcome sign, I cycled along University Blvd., seeing that while the buildings on my left were much the same, on my right there were the new Alumni Centre and AMS Student Nest that stood on the old bus loop. The Student Union Building was still next door, though it was rechristened “UBC Life”. Behind these buildings new and old was the partially covered new bus loop, or bus loops I should say, now pushed forward to border on Wesbrook Mall.

I parked my bicycle on the grounds between the larger bus loop and the Student Nest, entering from the back to take a stroll indoors. When I exited from the front, I saw a lone volunteer braving the winds as he stood carrying a box of poppies. The next day would be Remembrance Day and he was a volunteer for the Royal Canadian Legion. The weather, unfortunately, wasn’t all that great as I saw him shiver on the emptied grounds.

I stood by him, mindful of staying close to him farther apart (in view of COVID-19), but only until succumbing to the ravishes of the gusty wind. From there I walked to Koerner Library, where I noticed that the Office of the President was curiously situated at its top floor. Granted, the Old Administration Building was only next door, but it had always been a world unto itself. Now that the President conducted business atop the University’s cultural zenith, I wonder if the Library was enriched by his presence, or did the affairs of the University improve because of the closer proximity to academia. I couldn’t really tell.

My visit to Koerner today wasn’t for leisure, but rather, business. It all started in the summer of 2020, when I was still in Hongkong. An article I wrote was incorporated as a chapter of Chinese Culture in the 21st Century and its Global Dimensions, and I had hoped to donate a copy in honour of Mom.

COVID-19 was ravaging the world, Canada in particular, when I emailed UBC Libraries. I was told all branches were closed and donation processing was therefore suspended. Fast forward to this September, when I returned home for good: the Libraries had re-opened, so I decided to write again, only to realize there were some personnel shuffles. I reached out to two other librarians but hadn’t heard back. I had almost lost hope when after a month-long wait I finally received the greenlight: yes, I could donate the book; and yes, it could be donated in my mother’s honour. So I made the trip over to deliver the book in person.

Koerner Library stands across from Barber Learning Centre, the incarnation of the old Main Library; to their north is the Buchanan Building, which houses the Faculty of Arts as well as various departmental offices and classrooms. Buchanan is a series of five blocks that forms a rather serpentine “S”-shaped contour from Block A on the west to Block E on the east. At the southern tip of Block E there stands Buchanan Tower, which reminds me of the Mount Chang-wei described in the Chinese Classic of Mountains and Rivers. Guarding this mythical mountain is the auspicious dragon Shen-chu, who would “close his eyes and let there be darkness; open them and let there be light. He neither ate, nor slept, nor breathed,” much in the same vein as the dragons of the inaugural ch’ien hexagram of the Book of Changes, whose conclusion is: “The world never stops, and the Gentleman mirrors its daily self-rejuvenation.” Is it not serendipitous that the Faculty of Arts should breathe in the ch’i of such a self-rejuvenating dragon!

From Buchanan, if one heads westward past the Department of Music, one reaches a secluded path leading to Asian Centre and the Asian Library housed there. At its mouth there lies five stones representing the Confucian virtues of humanity, rightness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Donated by the benefactor Mr. Choi Cheung Kok, the stones were flown in from the regal T’ai mountain, on whose peak Confucius once stood where he realized how small the civilized human world really is.

There had always been squirrels scurrying along the shaded path, but today I saw for the first time a lone coyote as its guardian, circling the cedar trees that lined both sides. I had heard that during the height of COVID-19, when few people would venture out, wildlife reclaimed much of the typical North American cityscape, criss-crossing cement roads in search of prey. In Vancouver, it turned out to be the coyotes that overtook the fringes of urban lands.

Last year in Hongkong, there weren’t any coyotes, but I would often see wild boars roaming the hillside shrubberies. A family of boars even ventured into the heart of Hongkong’s financial district, taking a bath in a fountain in front of the Bank of China. I guess that’s the extent of wildlife occupation there. When Confucius passed by the T’ai mountain, he spoke with a widow, who tearfully told him: “My father-in-law died from a tiger attack, and so did my husband.” When asked why she wouldn’t leave those dangerous parts, she responded: “There is no ill governance here,” leading Confucius to leave us these immortal words: “People fear ill governance more than they do tigers.” Vancouver’s coyotes may be dangerous, but I do not fear them and leave. There are but boars in Hongkong, and yet I have left them behind. I guess people do fear ill governance, so much so they must take flight.

It was only after emerging from the wooded area when I realized that the street signs of major campus thoroughfares of the northwestern precinct all have Musqueam names appended to the English. Each is meaningful unto itself:

English name Musqueam name Meaning in English
West Mall sme:ntásəm Facing the mountains
Main Mall šxʷʔey̓eʔ Middle
East Mall cəl̕qʷas Facing inland
Memorial Rd. šxʷhək̓ʷmət That which is used to remember them
Agricultural Rd. q̓ʷeχt Root plot, garden, orchard
University Blvd. šxʷyəθəstəm Place for traditional instruction

Canada is part of the British Commonwealth and to this day still recognizes the British monarch as its head of state. Imprints of imperial colonialism can be found in every aspect of Canadian life, not least many of the place names and street names across the country. Invasive acts and policies imposed by the colonial rulers are not just things of the past; some still exist to this day, and their effects still linger, constituting the dark side of Canadian history and public opinion. Rather than putting a positive spin to it or even rewriting history under better light, we as a nation ought to reflect on and reconcile with the past so that we can look towards a brighter, more inclusive future. I think small steps such as recognizing the Musqueam’s historical rights to the lands on which UBC now sits and honouring naming rights of the streets that criss-cross Musqueam land, while unable to solve Canada’s racial injustices overnight, can nonetheless contribute to at least part of a wider dialogue on multicultural equality and inclusivity.

In the valley between the new and old Libraries, there are two structures: a clock tower and the Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre, both along Learners’ Walk. Along the path of life, we learn new things everyday. Even if we improve ourselves in only one small aspect each day, I think it’s worth celebrating.

Postscript: As I was writing this piece on Remembrance Day, the authorities in Hongkong announced that they would indiscriminately cull those wild boars found roaming in urban areas, claiming that: “the capture and contracept or release programs can no longer keep wild boar nuisances in check,” in turn sparking a fierce public backlash. In contrast, when faced with coyote migrations to urban areas, the authorities here in the Lower Mainland warn residents to heed their advice against direct interaction with wildlife whilst cohabiting with them in peace. Such is the stark contrast between the polices of these two jurisdictions. In Hongkong, there is a saying in the public vernacular: “You may hate, but please don’t hurt.” Yet, it is ironically the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department of Hongkong that seeks to conserve wildlife through mass culling. In simpler times, it is said, good governance remedies the ills of the people by listening to what they say; nowadays, we only see ill governance, under whose shroud the people’s voices are routinely ignored.

 

作者自我簡介:生於香港,幼年移居加拿大,並於卑詩大學亞洲研究系畢業,主修中文,副修語言學。嘗在港工作十餘年,2021 年旋歸溫哥華。在重新適應北美城居的同時,仍難捨香江因緣及情分,多所感懷。故為文自賞耳。

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