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更新时间:2017-6-27 10:29:07 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Hard Life Among the Dead in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Manila North Cemetery, opened in 1904, is one of the oldest and largest in the Philippines. Its elaborate mausoleums and endless rows of humble, stacked tombs are home to an estimated 1 million of the dead — and a few thousand of the living.

菲律宾马尼拉——建成于1904年的马尼拉北部公墓(Manila North Cemetery),是菲律宾最大、最古老的公墓之一。这里既有精心建造的大型陵墓,也有一排排不起眼的、挤挤挨挨的小坟头,是大约100万亡灵以及几千个活人的家园。

The final resting place of presidents, movie stars and literary icons, the cemetery is also inhabited by some of Manila’s poorest people. Many live in the crypts and mausoleums of wealthy families, who pay them a stipend to clean and watch over them.


Others find different ways to engage the economy of death and burial. “There is really no work here inside the cemetery, so I taught myself how to do this in 2007,” Ferdinand Zapata, 39, said as he chiseled the name of a dead man into an ornate marble headstone.

另外一些人则以不同的方式参与到葬丧经济中来。“公墓里真的没什么工作,于是我在2007年自学了做这个,”现年39岁的费迪南德·萨帕塔(Ferdinand Zapata)边说边把一位死者的名字刻在华丽的大理石墓碑上。

“This is the best job in the cemetery because you don’t have a boss,” said Zapata, who grew up in the cemetery and has raised two children here. “The masons who make the niches and mausoleums can earn more, though.”


As many as one-quarter of Manila’s 12 million people are “informal settlers.” Those in the cemetery prefer its relative quiet and safety to the city’s dangerous shantytowns. The resourcefulness needed to live a life of such insecurity is on full display here.


In mausoleums, and in makeshift structures built over tombs, families go about their days. They chat, play cards and watch soap operas on TVs mounted near headstones or ornamental crosses.


“Sometimes it’s difficult living here,” said Jane de Asis, 26, who lives in a classically designed mausoleum with a son, two sisters, her sisters’ children and her mother, who is paid to take care of it. “We don’t always have electricity and have no running water. It’s especially hard in the summer, when it’s so hot.”

“这里的生活有时很艰难,”现年26岁的简·德阿齐兹(Jane de Asis)说。“我们并非总是有电和自来水。炎热的夏天尤其难熬。”德阿齐兹和她的一个儿子、两个姐妹、姐妹的孩子以及她的母亲一起,住在一个有着古典设计风格的陵墓里,她的母亲是被请来照管这座陵墓的。

At night, people sleep on the tombs. The thought of that may be jarring, but for the residents it is a practical choice. And many in this devoutly religious country see the boundary between the living and the dead as porous.


Isidro Gonzalez, 74, likes to talk to his mother, he said as he sat with his back to her tomb, working on a crossword puzzle. “Maybe she can answer me, but so far, she has not!”

现年74岁的伊西德罗·冈萨雷斯(Isidro Gonzalez)喜欢跟自己的母亲交谈,他说他会背靠母亲的坟墓而坐,玩填字游戏。“或许她会回应我,但迄今为止还没有过!”

Electricity in these converted homes is jury-rigged, and most residents do not have running water. At the few public wells, people line up with carts loaded with empty water bottles, waiting to fill them up.


Amid all of this, the normal business of a cemetery goes on. On a busy day there can be as many as 80 funerals.


Some cemetery residents, like the 54-year-old man who calls himself Father Ramona, are paid by visiting families to lead prayers at a grave. Father Ramona sometimes wears a T-shirt bearing the face of Jesus.

到访公墓的家庭会让住在这里的一些人在某座坟前领祷,并向其支付酬劳。比如一个现年54岁、自称拉莫纳神父(Father Ramona)的男人,他有时会穿一件印有耶稣面庞的T恤。

The cemetery is so dense with tombs and crypts that a hearse often cannot reach its destination. Mourners must then carry the coffin the rest of the way, clambering over other tombs and through passageways between mausoleums.


Glen Baleña, 26, was interred on a Sunday, which is always a busy day. Baleña died of a brain infection, his relatives said.

一个周日,现年26岁的格伦·巴莱纳(Glen Baleña)被埋葬于此——周日通常会是繁忙的一天。巴莱纳的亲属说,他死于脑部感染。

Tombs are generally rented for five years. After that, if the relatives stop paying, the cemetery administrators will exhume the remains, after a grace period. Discarded bags of skulls and bones, some tangled in the threads of the clothes they were buried in, are a common sight.


People leave offerings of snacks, drinks and sometimes cigarettes at their relatives’ gravesides. Family members can often be seen there, saying prayers, lighting candles or just chatting.


On a recent morning, the acrid smell of burning methamphetamine — or shabu, as Filipinos call it — wafted through a remote corner of the cemetery. It led to a middle-age woman smoking the drug from a piece of foil, as her daughter held a newborn. Teenage boys nearby slept off their highs on tombstones or in hammocks.


Residents say drug use and crime have been on the rise in recent years; Zapata, the headstone carver, dated it to roughly 2000, when slum clearance nearby led to a wave of new residents. President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drug dealers and addicts has also been felt at Manila North. In September, three men were killed here in what police called an anti-drug sting operation; they were said to have been trying to sell $10 worth of shabu.

一些居民称,吸毒和犯罪活动近年来不断增多;刻墓碑的萨帕塔说,这种情况可以追溯至2000年左右——当时,附近一个贫民窟遭到清理,进而引发一波新居民的迁入。罗德里戈·杜特地(Rodrigo Duterte)总统对毒贩和瘾君子的血腥镇压,在马尼拉北部公墓也有所体现。去年9月,在警方所谓的禁毒诱捕行动中,三名男子在这里被杀;据说他们试图贩卖价值10美元的“沙布”。

Virginia Javier, 90, said residents now locked the gates to their tombs, which was not the case several years ago. “Since Duterte become president, every time there is a police raid here I go home to my children, usually,” Javier said as she tended potted plants outside one of the 10 mausoleums she is paid to take care of.

现年90岁的维尔吉尼娅·哈维尔(Virginia Javier)说,现如今,人们会给通往他们所在坟墓的大门上锁,这是近几年才有的情况。“自从杜特地成为总统以来,每当警方突袭这里,我就会回家跟孩子们待在一起,经常是这样,”受雇照管十个陵墓的哈维尔边说边侍弄其中一个陵墓外的盆栽。

As dusk fell, many people advised an interpreter and me to leave, saying it was not safe to be walking around after dark.


During the day, new homes are built from modest tombs, as workers add makeshift concrete walls and roofs of corrugated iron, often scavenged from somewhere else.


As the heat of the day dies away, boys and young men play basketball on improvised courts, or a version of billiards that’s popular in the slums of the Philippines.


Night often finds Gonzalez, the 74-year-old who was working on a crossword in his family crypt, sleeping there. But he is not a resident — he owns a condominium in Manila. His neighborhood, though, is more dangerous than the cemetery. As he put it, “The dead can’t harm you.”