Being an alien(Paul Theroux)

Paul Theroux “This was England”

これは抜粋版で、完全なテクストはGranta(No. 114)に掲載されているらしい。ポール・セロー*1は1972年から1990年までの18年間英国に住んでいたが、その間に「傍観者(an onlooker)」としての彼を通過した英国の諸々の事件について回想している。これを読むと、1970年代の英国というのは北アイルランド独立運動への弾圧とそれに対抗するIRAのテロの時代だったという感じがするのだが、ここではセローが「異人」であることについて述べている部分を切り取っておく;

Having lived for six years in Africa and three in Singapore, I knew how to be an alien. Keep your head down and stay current; save all documents and receipts; take nothing for granted. You are not owed anything. "Nothing personal" is the alien's motto, because the alien has no security, and no discernible future. I had a family, a wife and small children to protect: I was anxious. "You Yanks," people sometimes said to me when they heard my accent, as though I needed to be reminded I was an alien. But an alien is reminding himself of that every moment in the foreign country. The alien has to practise cunning to disguise this twitchy state of mind; but insecurity stretches the nerves, heightens the attention and makes the alien remember. Mine wasn't an era; it was simply 18 years of events. For an alien, life in the foreign country, never completely comprehensible, is always eventful.

After Idi Amin expelled the Indians from Uganda in the early 1970s, they began to run the corner shops, the newsagents, off-licences; the shops were kept open later and later – unprecedented hours. I identified with the Indians as fellow aliens and sometimes spoke Swahili to the newsagent on St John's Hill, from Tanzania, who missed the place terribly. We drank in the Fishmonger's Arms, an Irish pub, and he would frown into his beer and say, "It's mango season", meaning in his home town of Mwanza, on Lake Victoria.

These Indians knew everything about being aliens: they had lived as outsiders in East Africa and had great survival skills and a kind of accommodating and contemptuous deference. They began to take over the failing sub-post offices, the bill paying, the parcel weighing, the banking, the albums of postage stamps: none had run post offices in Uganda, but some had been duka-wallahs, shopkeepers, and could handle complex paperwork, the smudgy pads of carbon paper. They were willing to work on weekends, or on early-closing days. But the post office was shrinking – it had begun to shrink in the first decade of my residence.を読んでいて、ウェイン・ワン*2Chinese Boxの原案がポール・セローの小説Kowloon Tongであることに気づく。
チャイニーズ・ボックス【字幕版】 [Laser Disc]

チャイニーズ・ボックス【字幕版】 [Laser Disc]


*2:See DENNIS LIM “Bridging Generations and Hemispheres” also