蔡康永:我家的太平轮

1912年4月15日,载着1316位乘客和891名船员的“泰坦尼克号”与冰山相撞沉没,这场海难,被认为是20世纪人间十大灾难之一1949年1月27日,除夕前一天的深夜,“太平轮”撞上满载煤与木头的建元轮,30分钟后沉没于舟山市附近海域。近千人的船上,只有36人生还。然而在国家多难的时节,巨大的历史不仅没有赐予它某个“之一”,甚至连起码的纪念,都迟到了60余年。

怨只怨人在风中,天地以万物为刍狗。但后人仍要担负起记忆的责任,告慰先人,让个人的命运轻重不至埋没于历史,谁都不该属于轻描淡写的数字

蔡康永:我家的“铁达尼号”
1

小时候家里有几样东西,是从轮船上拿下来的。

其中有一对绷皮木骨的扶手椅,皮垫边缘钉满了黄铜圆钉,坐起来很舒服。

“那是老蒋总统坐我们的轮船时,最喜欢坐的椅子。”爸爸告诉我。

还有一架重得要命的望远镜,可以望很远。我有时候站在我们家的窗边,用这架望远镜望向三条马路以外的行人,看他们过街时的表情。可惜不能看太久,因为以前轮船上用的望远镜很重,拿一阵子就手酸了。

皮椅和望远镜,从“我们的轮船”上拿下来的东西。

“我们的轮船”?

所谓“我们的轮船”,其实是指几十年前,爸爸在上海开的一家轮船公司所拥有的船。

这家公司的所有轮船当中,最有名的一艘,叫做“太平轮”。

“太平轮”,中国的“铁达尼号”。

一九四九年,内战的揭晓之年。那年除夕前,一群急着要离开上海的有钱人,终于了解到状况的紧迫,连过年都顾不得了,抢着要挤上早已客满的太平轮。

这些人,有的用金条换舱位,硬是从原来的乘客手上,把位子买过来。有的靠关系,向爸爸或船公司其他合伙人要到最后几个位子。

理所当然,这群太平轮的“最后一批乘客”里面,有当时上海最有钱有势的一些人,也有爸爸最要好的朋友。

在战乱的时代里,命运之神似乎背负着他自己也无法控制的戾气——

太平轮开到半路,出事沉没。 全船只有三十六人获救生还。

船上漂流散落的珠宝首饰、佛像牌位,让许多附近的渔民大吃一惊,悲喜交杂。

幸存者合影
2

爸爸从来没有跟我说过太平轮沉没的原因。只提过当时他们公司所拥有的每一艘轮船,一律都向英国著名的保险公司投保。唯独太平轮例外,因为当时爸爸一位相识在上海开了保险公司,为了捧捧人场,就把手上这艘刚要开始在上海和台湾之间航行的太平轮,给这家上海人自营的保险公司承保。

太平轮一出事,这家保险公司,立刻宣布倒闭。

所有赔偿,由轮船公司自己负担。

在太平轮上遭难的乘客,人数之多、牵连之广,无论再怎么样的赔偿都不可能让家属满意。

官司始终无法解决,公司旗下太平轮以外的另外两艘轮船,被铁链锁在高雄港,直到全部锈烂,成为废铁。还有两艘货轮,留在大陆,被共产党接收。

所谓“我们的轮船”,从此全部跟“我们”无关了。

除了一对皮椅,一架望远镜。

3

太平轮是怎么沉的?我从来没有向爸爸问过。

一方面我知道这不可能是令人愉快的回忆,没事拿来问自己的爸爸,未免太差劲。

另一方面,这件事对我来说,实在太遥远了——所谓“我们的轮船”,我一艘也没见过。

唯一一次,爸爸跟我说起太平轮的事,是在我念初中的时候,读到报纸上在讲“船王董浩云”的消息。爸爸就提到太平轮航行一段时间后,董浩云的船公司才渐渐拥有他们自己的轮船。

于是我放下报纸,问了一个很无聊的问题——

“爸,如果太平轮没有沉的话,我有的时候就可以坐在轮船上,看着海吃早餐了,对不对?”

“对呀。”爸爸笑嘻嘻的回答我,没有说别的话。

一直到,我问这个蠢问题的十年后。那时我已经在洛杉矶加大的电影制作研究所念了一学年,忽然收到小说家白先勇先生的来信,问我有没有兴趣开车到加州的圣塔芭芭拉去,到他家帮他修改一个电影剧本。

那部电影的故事,是用白先勇的名作《谪仙记》,导演是当时在中国举足轻重的谢晋。正在学拍电影的我,当然兴高采烈的答应。

《谪仙记》的女主角,是世家女。故事里她的父亲是国民党政府的驻美大使,一切本来照人世的轨道进行,直到战乱来临,驻美大使夫妇两人,“死于太平轮船难”。

我到了白先勇先生家后,白先勇把手边的相关资料厚厚一叠拿给我参考,其中有一份影印的剪报,是太平轮出事时,上海各大报的报导。

我看着这份剪报,报导里说:

“农历除夕前一天夜里,中联公司的太平轮,于台湾海峡与无锡面粉大王荣氏家族荣鸿元所拥有之‘广元’货轮对撞,太平轮与广元轮均沉没。太平轮上乘客,有三十六名被美国军舰救起,其余均罹难……”

其他剪报,也有约略提到那艘广元货轮,似乎有蛇形现象,在与太平轮相撞之前,即已几乎与另一艘外商轮船相撞……

不过当时各报大概没有兴趣作进一步的调查。在整版整版的战乱伤灾里,太平轮的沉没,也只是又一种摧折生命的方法罢了。

白先勇先生很好奇我为什么对这篇跟故事情节不太相关的剪报这么在意?

“因为,太平轮是我爸爸的公司的。”我回答。

白先勇目瞪口呆三秒钟,然后喜而笑曰:“怪不得这个剧本会找上了你!”

4

《谪仙记》后来拍成了电影,片名改成“最后的贵族”。

“贵族”是怎么变成“最后”一批的?很多人都出了力,而白先勇则顺着命运之神的手势,让太平轮参与了行刑的队伍。

白先勇,作为“广西王”白崇禧的儿子,当然是典型的、“最后的贵族”。

而我呢,是绝对没赶上最后一批的,我是“最后”又过了很久以后,才出现的。

就算我愿意,也早就没我的事了。

钉皮的椅子,我坐一坐,重得要命的望远镜,我望两眼,如此而已。

一个时代,大火烧天的烧去了。我身边的,是烧剩下的,东一处、西一处的,明明灭灭的余烬。

我的童年,常常笼罩在这余烬隐隐约约的红光里。

有时候,我伸出手去借一点这余烬的温暖。有时候,我用眼睛见证这余烬覆盖的繁华。

 

 

来源:http://weibo.com/p/1001593783763023799109

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