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更新时间:2017-8-11 10:49:27 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity

Pocono Pines, Pa., is a two-hour drive from New York City. After you exit the Interstate, the route into town winds past short trees and abandoned gas stations with rust-­edged signs showing gas prices from years before. The town, on the shore of Lake Naomi, once serviced the traffic to Mount Airy Lodge, a nearby resort that featured honeymoon suites with heart-­shaped tubs in the bathrooms that closed in 2001 after years of neglect; in 2007 the Mount Airy Casino opened on the same site. The local courthouse is on the second floor of a rundown building, above Elite Nails and Spa. There are no government markings out front, no scales of justice, nothing to distinguish it from the generic commercial properties that line Pennsylvania Route 940. The directions given out by the Monroe County courts tell you to look for an ice-cream stand with a sign shaped like a cone. The courthouse is across the street.

宾夕法尼亚州的波科诺派恩斯镇离纽约市有两个小时的车程。驶离州际公路之后,前往该镇的道路蜿蜒经过矮小的树木和废弃的加油站,边缘生锈的招牌上显示的还是多年前的价格。这个位于纳奥米湖畔的小镇曾为前往附近缥缈山庄(Mount Airy Lodge)的游客服务,那个度假村的特色是蜜月套房,浴室里配备心形浴缸,但是由于多年失修,于2001年关闭。2007年,缥缈山庄赌场在原址开业。当地法院位于一座破败小楼的二层,楼下是精华美甲水疗店(Elite Nails and Spa)。小楼正面没有任何政府标志,也没有代表公正的天平——没有任何东西能把它与宾夕法尼亚940号公路两侧普通的商业地产区分开来。门罗县法院分发的指南上让你寻找一个带有甜筒标志的冰淇淋店。法院就在街对面。

On an overcast, chilly day in October 2015, Sheldon Wong, Charles Lai, Kenny Kwan, Raymond Lam and Daniel Li were arraigned in the Pocono Pines courthouse. All five belonged to Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-­American college fraternity. All five were young men from Chinese families who grew up in Queens. When I arrived at the courthouse that morning, one of the TV cameramen who had gathered in the parking lot began following me. ‘‘I’m not on trial,’’ I said. He chuckled and tilted his head at his colleagues, who had perked up and slung their rigs up to their shoulders. ‘‘Well, you’re going to get more of the same when those guys see you,’’ he said. He was right: The cameras swarmed. And I suppose, given the surroundings, that I couldn’t much blame them. By choosing these gray hills for an initiation ceremony, the fraternity brothers had unintentionally made it possible that their fates could be decided by a jury made up of locals who wondered just what these Asian men had been doing here.

在2015年10月一个阴沉寒冷的日子里,谢尔顿·王(Sheldon Wong)、查尔斯·黎(Charles Lai)、肯尼·关(Kenny Kwan)、雷蒙德·林(Raymond Lam)和丹尼尔·李(Daniel Li)受到波科诺派恩斯法院传讯。这五个人都是美国大学亚裔兄弟会派-德尔塔-普赛(Pi Delta Psi)的成员。五名年轻男子都是在皇后区的华裔家庭长大的。那天早上我到法院时,聚集在停车场的一名电视摄像开始跟随我。“我不是来受审的,”我说。他笑了一下,向他的同事们摆了一下头,他们已经活跃起来,把设备扛到了肩上。“呃,等那些家伙看见你,也会跟上来的,”他说。他说对了:一堆摄像机涌了上来。考虑到当时的情况,我不能太责怪他们。这些兄弟当时选择在这里的灰色山中举行入会仪式,无意中使得自己的命运可以由当地人组成的陪审团决定——当地人很想知道这些亚裔男子曾在这里干了些什么。

Four of the five students soon arrived, each one fresh from the barber. In their fitted suits, dark sunglasses and pointy shoes, Wong, Lai, Kwan and Lam looked more like characters from Hong Kong’s golden age of cinema than frat bros facing trial for murder. (Li would be arraigned at a separate hearing later in the day.) In the damp, narrow hallway outside the courtroom, Kwan, who was 26 at the time and the oldest of the fraternity brothers, broke down sobbing. He was consoled by Lai, who put an arm around him and stared glumly at the reporters scribbling in their notebooks. The next morning, The New York Daily News reported that ‘‘a frat rat’’ had ‘‘bawled like a baby before his arraignment Thursday.’’

五名学生中的四名很快到达了,每个人都梳洗一新。谢尔顿·王、查尔斯·黎、肯尼·关和雷蒙德·林穿着合身的西服和尖头鞋,戴着墨镜,看起来更像是香港电影黄金时代的电影角色,而非因谋杀罪面临审判的兄弟会成员(丹尼尔·李会在当天晚些时候的另一场听证会上受审)。在法庭外潮湿狭窄的走廊上,这几个兄弟会成员中年龄最大的、当时26岁的肯尼·关突然开始啜泣。查尔斯·黎用一只胳膊搂着他,安慰他,同时阴郁地盯着在笔记本上匆忙记录的记者们。第二天上午,《纽约每日新闻报》(The New York Daily News)报道称,“一名兄弟会暴徒”在周四“受审前像孩子一样大哭”。

Friends and families of the defendants sat in the back of the courtroom, staring stolidly into space. When the proceedings started, the younger relatives of the defendants quietly translated, for their elders in the gallery, the greetings between Judge Richard S. Claypool and the small army of defense lawyers and the lengthy reading of charges, which included hazing, hindering the investigation, assault, conspiracy and murder in the third degree.

被告的朋友和家人坐在法庭后部,神情麻木,两眼放空。审判开始后,被告的年轻亲属在走廊里悄悄地为年长的亲属翻译理查德·S·克莱普尔法官(Richard S. Claypool)和一小群辩护律师之间的问候,以及漫长的起诉书宣读过程,罪名包括欺辱新生、妨碍调查、人身侵犯、合谋以及三级谋杀。

Claypool, a tall, bald man who looked as if he had rolled out of bed in his magisterial robes, appeared to be unmoved by the defense lawyers’ attempts to reduce the $500,000 bail or to characterize their clients, none of whom had a criminal record, as law-­abiding citizens. ‘‘I know that what I’m supposed to be seeing in front of me are some nicely dressed, cooperative kids,’’ Claypool said in a flat drawl. ‘‘What we’re seeing here is different from what happened that night. Reading the affidavit shows a lot of poor judgment from the kids.’’ Claypool’s mild manner then veered into something closer to exasperation: ‘‘Reviewing the charges, I am surprised that the D.A.’s office came in as low as they did. The $500,000 bail stands.’’


Now came the business of sorting out who could pay bail and who would be headed to jail. The lawyers whispered instructions to their clients, who tried to put on a brave face for their visibly shocked parents. Lam and Wong left with their lawyers. Kwan and Lai, who could not come up with bail at the time, were escorted to a side room and handcuffed. (Kwan would eventually make bail, as would Li, for a lesser amount, $150,000.)


Outside, as the press waited for Kwan and Lai to be led to a waiting police car, I spoke to an Asian television-­news producer who had also made the trip from New York. ‘‘I’m just imagining what my parents would think about all this,’’ she said. We had one of those talks common among people of any marginalized group, in which it’s possible to unload your neuroses without having to explain everything. I told her, absurdly, that if I had been charged with murder, I would have faked my death so my parents wouldn’t know.


The families of the defendants straggled out the front door of the courthouse, some holding up their forearms to shield their faces from the cameras.


‘‘What are they thinking?’’ the producer asked under her breath.


 Chun Hsien (Michael) Deng, like the Pi Delta Psi brothers charged with his murder, was a Chinese-­American student from the outer boroughs. His father, a businessman in China, secured one of the visas allotted by the Immigration Act of 1990 for highly skilled workers and moved with his wife to Long Beach, a waterfront Long Island town near the southern end of Kennedy Airport. She found the transition more difficult than she had imagined. ‘‘I was pregnant and had food cravings — American food was so bland to me — and I always felt hungry,’’ Ms. Deng told me in a mix of English and Chinese. (She requested that her first name be withheld because the Dengs want to maintain as much of their privacy as possible.) Long Beach did not have any semblance of an Asian community or any acceptable Chinese restaurants, so the expecting couple moved to Flushing, a neighborhood in northern Queens full of immigrants.

邓俊贤(Michael Deng)和那些因谋杀他而遭到起诉的派-德尔塔-普赛兄弟会成员们一样,是来自别的城镇的华裔美国学生。他的父亲是一个中国商人,于1990年获得了《移民法》为高技能工人签发的签证,与妻子一起搬到肯尼迪机场南端附近的长岛海滨城市长滩。邓夫人发现,过渡期比她想象中更困难。“我怀孕害口——美国的食物对我来说太寡淡了——而且我一直都觉得饿,”她半用英文半用中文告诉我。(因为邓氏夫妇想尽量保留隐私,所以她要求只用姓氏称呼她)。长滩看上去没有什么亚洲社区,也没有让人满意的中餐馆,所以这对待产的夫妇搬到了皇后区北部的法拉盛,那里到处都是移民。

When Chun Hsien was born in 1995, his mother realized that he would need an American name. She found a ranking of the most popular names for American boys and chose ‘‘Michael’’ when she saw it at the top. While Michael’s father flew to and from China for work, young Michael and his mother trudged through the mundane adjustments and small humiliations of life in America — new grocery stores, new bus systems, a Balkanized gathering of fellow immigrants who may look like you but who are not like you in the ways that matter.


Michael quickly became ensconced within the Asian bubble of Queens. In 1990, Asians made up 22.1 percent of Flushing’s population. By 2010, that figure topped 70 percent. The population began to creep out into nearby middle-­class neighborhoods like Bayside, where the schools were better and the relatively spacious houses sat on quiet streets with tidy, uniformly rectilinear front lawns. By the time Michael entered Middle School 74, in Bayside, the school’s population was majority Asian.


Michael’s mother left her job and studied up on the subjects Michael was taking in school. ‘‘Math and science, of course I could help him with that,’’ she said. ‘‘But English and history — those things — I could only encourage him and try to keep up.’’ In his free time, Michael roamed the handball courts in Bayside and became a formidable player. In eighth grade, he took the city’s Specialized High School Admissions Test and placed into Bronx Science, which is in New York’s top tier of selective public schools, with Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech.

迈克尔的母亲辞去工作,辅导迈克尔在学校里读的科目。“数学和科学方面我当然可以帮他,”她说。“但是英文和历史——那些东西——我只能鼓励他努力跟上。”空闲时间,迈克尔活跃在贝塞的手球场,成了一名优秀的球员。八年级时,他参加了纽约市的特殊高中入学考试,进入了布朗克斯科学高中(Bronx Science),这是纽约一流的择优录取公立学校,与斯泰弗森特高中(Stuyvesant)和布鲁克林技术高中(Brooklyn Tech)齐名。

Like Middle School 74, Bronx Science’s student body is majority Asian. There are all-­Asian cliques from Flushing, all-­Asian cliques from Manhattan, all-­Asian cliques from Sunset Park in Brooklyn. These groups might be created by immigration patterns, school districts and real ­estate developments, but they are reinforced through long hours in standardized-­test tutoring, weekends spent at Chinese- or Korean-­language classes and long subway trips up to the Bronx.


It was on one of those long rides that Michael got to know William Yuan. They recognized each other from art class and decided to skip school to play handball. The boys became fast friends.

在这些漫长的旅行之中,迈克尔和威廉·袁(William Yuan)熟识起来。他们在艺术课上结识,打算逃课去玩手球,很快就成了朋友。

Deng and Yuan were popular enough — not quite in the party crowd at Bronx Science but not quite nerds. When I asked Yuan what he and his friends had done for fun, he began to describe a life that would feel very familiar to anyone who grew up in any of the Asian enclaves in the United States: boba shops, Pokémon, study groups, rich F.O.B.s (Asian immigrants who are ‘‘fresh off the boat’’) and the uneven attention from parents who feel the need to pressure their children but who, because of the language barrier and cultural ignorance, often don’t know what they have become.


‘‘We’d play League of Legends’’ — a multiplayer computer game — ‘‘and play handball and eat,’’ Yuan said, describing a typical weekend. ‘‘I know it might sound like a simple life, but it never felt all that simple to us. When we hung out, we hung with almost all Chinese kids, but it wasn’t racist or anything. I guess it’s human nature to hang out with people who are like you.’’

“我们会玩英雄联盟(League of Legends)”——一种多人电脑游戏——“打手球,吃饭,”威廉·袁描述他们典型的周末。“我知道这听起来可能像是一种简单的生活,但对我们来说从来不是那么简单。我们出来玩的时候,几乎只和中国孩子混在一起,但这并不是种族主义之类的东西。我觉得物以类聚,这是人类的天性。”

When it was time to choose a college, Deng was faced with a choice between following Yuan to Stony Brook University on Long Island or going somewhere more local. He didn’t want to leave his mother, so he decided to enroll at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York and a commuter school whose entire campus consists of a handful of buildings near Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Most of Baruch’s students live off campus, but Deng wanted a college experience that felt a bit more like what he had seen in the movies — pranks, girls and freedom from parents — so he moved into the nearby dormitories. His assigned roommate was Jay Chen, an 18-year-old freshman from Long Island. Deng and Chen tried to build their own small version of campus life, with Deng taking the cockier, worldly lead and Chen playing his sidekick. Two years after Deng’s death, Chen recalled their time together in a letter addressed to the memory of his old roommate: ‘‘I remember on my birthday, freshman year, you brought home a six pack of Corona for us to celebrate. I never questioned how you were able to get your hands on it, but I was just glad you did. Of course, being the type of people we were, we didn’t have bottle openers. Obviously the most important thing to do at that moment was to figure out ways to open a bottle without a bottle opener. Thanks to you, I now know about 900 different ways to open a bottle without a bottle opener.’’

要上大学时,邓俊贤面临选择,要么和威廉·袁一起到长岛石溪大学就读,要么去上当地的学校。他不想离开母亲,所以决定到进入巴鲁克学院(Baruch College),这个走读学校属于纽约市大学(City University of New York),整个校园只有几座大楼,位于曼哈顿格拉梅西公园附近。巴鲁克学院的大部分学生都住在校外,但是邓俊贤希望大学生活能够更像他在电影里看过的那样——恶作剧、姑娘,还有离开父母的自由——所以他搬进了附近的宿舍。他被分配的室友是来自长岛的18岁新生杰伊·陈(Jay Chen)。邓俊贤和杰伊·陈试图建立自己的小小校园生活,邓俊贤充当自大、世故的领导者角色,杰伊·陈扮演他的副手。邓俊贤逝世两年后,杰伊·陈为缅怀老友,给他写了一封信,回忆两人共度的时光:“我记得大一那年,我过生日的时候,你带回六箱科罗娜啤酒为我庆祝。我从来没问过你是怎么弄到的,只是很开心。当然,我们这种人手头是没有开瓶器的。所以眼前的头等大事自然就是想办法不用开瓶器打开酒瓶。拜你所赐,我现在知道900种不用开瓶器就能打开瓶子的办法。”

What little social life existed on campus at Baruch was dominated by its tiny Greek system, and freshmen, especially those who showed any interest in campus life, were aggressively recruited. At night in their room, Deng and Chen lay in their beds and debated whether to rush one of two big Asian-­American fraternities at Baruch, Pi Delta Psi and Lambda Phi Epsilon. Chen decided fraternities weren’t for him. Deng chose Pi Delta Psi.

巴鲁克校园里小小的社交生活主要来自于它的小型希腊式体系,大一新生,特别是那些对校园生活感兴趣的人,都会被尽力招募。晚上,邓俊贤和杰伊·陈躺在房间里的床上,讨论是否加入巴鲁奇的两个大型亚裔兄弟会——派-德尔塔-普赛和人中王(Lambda Phi Epsilon)。杰伊·陈觉得兄弟会不适合他。邓俊贤选择了派-德尔塔-普赛。

‘‘Michael would come home and tell me about all the people he had met,’’ Chen said. ‘‘He seemed enthusiastic at first. But as pledging continued, he seemed to get more tired, and he became less of his normal self. We spoke less. Every time he came home, he was absolutely exhausted and usually fell straight to sleep.’’


On Thanksgiving weekend, Deng went home to Flushing. His new friends from Baruch, many from families who lived nearby, came and went from his house. Deng had started dating a member of one of Baruch’s Asian sororities who grew up a few miles away from the Dengs in Queens. She told him that her family did not eat turkey on the holidays, so Deng had his mother cook more than usual and took a box of leftovers to her house. He did not tell his mother, his girlfriend or Jay Chen about his coming trip to the Poconos.