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在加拿大的钱柜唱K,中国移民的怀旧时光

更新时间:2017-12-27 18:11:27 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In a Chinese Enclave of Canada, the Sweet Escape of Karaoke
在加拿大的钱柜唱K,中国移民的怀旧时光

RICHMOND, British Columbia — What sort of karaoke joint offers 18 kinds of bubble tea but only one Abba song?

不列颠哥伦比亚省里士满——什么样的卡拉OK店提供18种珍珠奶茶,却只有阿巴乐队(Abba)的一首歌?

If you’re a Chinese immigrant living in metropolitan Vancouver, then you’ve probably already been there: Party World KTV, a branch of the Asian karaoke chain, which looks as if a wedding-cake-inspired U.F.O. had just landed in the middle of this majority ethnic-Chinese city.

如果你是居住在大都市温哥华的中国移民,那么你可能已经去过那里了:亚洲卡拉OK连锁钱柜KTV的分店。它看上去就像一个受婚礼蛋糕启发的UFO刚刚降落在了这座华人占多数的城市的市中心。

It’s a popular destination for anyone looking to warble a favorite Chinese pop song, accompanied by music videos occasionally set in the Ming dynasty and frequently featuring people crying.

对任何一位想伴随着偶尔以明朝为背景并经常有角色嚎啕大哭场景的音乐视频,高唱一首最爱的中文流行歌曲的人来说,这里都是一个受欢迎的目的地。

On a recent Friday night, anyone meant Karns You, a bleach-blond transplant from China’s coastal Guangdong Province. He was on his feet, eyes closed, belting out a rock ballad by the Hong Kong pop star Eason Chan. His girlfriend sat beside him, transfixed by her smartphone. Not that it mattered — Mr. You was there for karaoke, or KTV as it’s known in China, a guilty pleasure he indulges in often four times a week.

不久前一个周五的晚上,来自中国沿海广东省的卡恩斯·尤就是其中一位。染了金黄色头发的他站立着,闭着眼睛,高唱着香港流行歌手陈奕迅(Eason Chan)的一首摇滚民谣。他的女友坐在旁边,紧盯着智能手机。这不重要,他去那里是为了唱卡拉OK的。在中国,卡拉OK又叫KTV。他通常一周来四次。这既让他觉得快乐,又让他感到内疚。

“Sometimes you just want to sing, and then sing more,” said Mr. You, 30, who works for his uncle’s construction company, after his microphone session had ended. “KTV is the best way to get rid of stress.”

“有时候只想唱歌,唱完接着再唱,”30岁的卡恩斯·尤在唱完一首歌后说。“KTV是排解压力最好的办法。”他在亲戚的建筑公司工作。

With thousands of songs in Mandarin and Cantonese, platters of cured beef and a maze of private rooms packed almost entirely with Chinese immigrants, the Richmond satellite of Party World, long a karaoke staple across China, is a crooning microcosm of Canada’s rapidly shifting urban cultural landscape.

钱柜一直是中国各地主要的卡拉OK场所。里士满的这家钱柜分店提供数千首普通话和粤语歌曲、大盘腌牛肉及纵横交错的包厢,里面几乎全是中国移民。它是加拿大迅速变化的城市文化景观的一个缩影。

Richmond’s population is now 54 percent ethnic Chinese and three-quarters nonwhite or aboriginal, according to the 2016 census, a stark change from 25 years ago, when Caucasians made up nearly 70 percent of residents. Restaurants serving cuisines from practically every Chinese province line the city’s streets, where Mandarin and a slew of Chinese dialects are far more likely to be heard than English.

2016年的人口普查显示,里士满的人口中华人占54%,非白人或土著占四分之三。这与25年前白人占近70%的情况形成了鲜明对比。如今,中国几乎每个省的菜式都能在里士满街头的餐馆里找到。在这里,听到普通话和各种中国方言的可能性,远高于英语。

But the city’s demographic transformation has fueled ethnic tensions, sometimes pitting neighbor against neighbor. For years, some residents have complained about the proliferation of commercial signs written solely in Chinese, which prompted the City Council in the fall to adopt a policy encouraging businesses to include English on at least 50 percent of signage.

但这个城市的人口结构变化也加剧了族群紧张关系,有时甚至导致邻里之间发生矛盾。多年来,一些居民抱怨太多商业标识上只有中文。这促使市议会在今年秋天采取了一项政策,鼓励企业在至少50%的引导标识上要包括英文。

But cultural (if not always musical) harmony resounds at Party World, one of several karaoke clubs in Richmond that cater to the hankerings of metro Vancouver’s soaring Chinese population.

但文化上的(即便不总是音乐上的)和谐在钱柜回响着,这里是里士满几个为满足温哥华都会区不断增多的华人的需求而服务的卡拉OK之一。

“KTV is crazy fun because you can act ridiculous together,” said Jeffrey Hou, 20, a student at the University of British Columbia, as he waited for a private room with a large group of friends, all of whom were of Asian descent. Mr. Hou said he did karaoke every few weeks, with a well-practiced setlist that includes Eminem, Taylor Swift and Linkin Park.

“KTV超级有意思,因为你们可以一起做可笑的事情,”不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)的学生、20岁的杰弗里·侯(Jeffrey Hou)与一大群朋友等待包间时说,和他一起的朋友都是亚裔。杰弗里·侯说他每几周就要唱一次卡拉OK,他唱的曲目都练得很好,其中包括艾米纳姆(Eminem)、泰勒·斯威夫特(Taylor Swift)和林肯公园(Linkin Park)的歌。

In the spirit of the art form’s cheesiness, his friend and fellow university student, Evan Wang, 20, confessed to a preference for Christmas songs. Which, exactly? “Everything,” he said, blushing.

本着这种艺术形式的庸俗性精神,他的朋友和大学同学,20岁的埃文·王(Evan Wang)坦诚自己喜欢圣诞歌曲。具体是哪首?“所有歌,”他红着脸说。

Not that anyone was judging, least of all this reporter, who for the record has whiled away many nights in karaoke emporiums in Beijing, where he was known to deliver spirited renditions of ’90s boy band classics and would not leave until Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places” was completed, much to the delight of his companions and the odd waiter.

并不是说有人在挑剔,本文记者更是没有,申明一下,他在北京的时候可是在卡拉OK店里消磨了不少夜晚,还以能欢快地唱出90年代男孩乐队经典曲目而著称,而且不唱完加斯·布鲁克斯(Garth Brooks)的《患难的朋友》(Friends in Low Places)曲闭不肯走,让其同伴和每次的服务生大为高兴。

Sadly, the halcyon days of Chinese karaoke, with its legendary free buffets and private rooms ornately decorated to resemble gingerbread houses and outer space, are no more. In recent years, Party World and other chains in mainland China have closed scores of outlets as social media and mobile karaoke apps have led to steep declines in business, if not hangovers.

可惜,那些中国卡拉OK美好的往昔,连同其著名的免费自助餐和装饰过分华丽、仿照华美豪宅和外太空装修的私人包间都已不再。近年来,社交媒体和手机卡拉OK应用程序造成的结果是生意大幅下滑而非宿醉,钱柜及其他连锁店在大陆已经关闭了大量门店。

For many of Richmond’s Party World customers, crooning on a couch for around $18 an hour is a chance to relive their youth and a rare (or frequent) opportunity to let loose their insanely talented inner diva.

对于许多里士满钱柜的顾客来说,在沙发上以一小时18美元(约合118人民币)的价格浅吟低唱,是一个能重温年轻时代的机会,还是一个难得(或常有)的机会,能让他们将内心那个才华无比出众的名伶释放出来。

For instance:

比如:

Upstairs, in the Empress Lounge, a karaoke bar outfitted with fuchsia chandeliers, copious amounts of alcohol and booths facing a gigantic projector screen, four cellphone salespeople had gathered for an evening of song and beer. “We came here because we can drink,” said Jiang Ben, 25, a Chinese immigrant whose parents sent him to Canada six years ago for university and who regularly sings karaoke. “Twice a month for sure, no lie.”

楼上的女皇厅是一个卡拉OK厅,装饰着紫红色的水晶灯,备有大量的酒,还有面对着巨大投影屏幕的小隔间。在里面,四名手机销售人员为了唱歌和啤酒在这个晚上聚在了一起。“我们来这里是因为能喝酒,”25岁的江本(音)说,他是一名中国移民,父母在六年前将他送到加拿大上大学,他经常唱卡拉OK。“一个月两次肯定有,不骗你。”

Beside him sat Wang Yang, 28, a native of China’s central Henan Province who goes by the name Sonique. “It’s French,” he said, before launching into an easy-listening Mandarin hit by Wang Leehom, an American Chinese pop sensation who grew up in upstate New York.

坐在他旁边的,是28岁的王阳(音),他是中国中部河南省人,人们都叫他“Sonique”。“这是法语,”他说,然后就开始唱起王力宏一首轻松的普通话热门歌曲。王力宏是一名华裔流行巨星,在纽约上州长大。

“Black ponytail curled in a bun, wrapped around all my loving thoughts of you,” the Wangs crooned. On screen, the singer strummed a guitar while standing on the roof of a pickup truck in a field of wildflowers. “Cut a strand of your hair, lay it on my chest.”

“乌黑的发围盘成一个圈,缠绕所有对你的眷恋,”王阳唱道。银幕上,歌手站在皮卡顶上弹着吉他,车停在一片野花中。“剪掉一丝头发,让我放在胸前。”

Later, Mr. Wang explained why Chinese tend to favor heartbreaking solo performances, in contrast to Westerners’ preference for raucous group renditions of, say, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

后来,王阳对中国人为何喜欢伤感的独唱作出了解释,这种喜好与西方人对嗓音沙哑的团体表演的喜爱形成了鲜明对比,比如尼尔·戴蒙德(Neil Diamond)的《甜蜜卡罗琳》(Sweet Caroline)。

“Asians are introverted,” he said. “We hide our emotions inside, so KTV lets us express our feelings about sad times, like high school breakups.” He paused, looking wistful. “This totally takes me back.”

“亚洲人内向,”他说。“我们会把感情藏在心里,所以KTV能让我们表达对哀伤时刻的感受,比如高中分手。”他停顿了一下,看起来有些惆怅。“这完全让我回到了过去。”

For most of the evening, their co-worker, Qi Qi, 23, a woman from China’s coastal Jiangsu Province, kept quiet. “I’m shy,” she said.

这晚上的大部分时间,他们的同事,23岁的琪琪(音)一直都很安静。她是一名来自中国沿海省份江苏的女生。“我害羞,”她说。

But even Ms. Qi could not resist Party World’s siren song, or at least, Celine Dion. As the theme from “Titanic” began to gush from the speakers, she grabbed the microphone and let it out, singing as if no one were listening, even though they were.

但就算是琪琪也不能抵抗钱柜的诱惑之歌,或者至少是席琳·迪翁(Celine Dion)。随着《泰坦尼克号》(Titanic)的主题曲开始从扬声器中涌出,她抓起了麦克风尽情释放,唱得就像没人在听一样,但其他人确实在听。

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