DPS 周刊 133 - Paul Theroux 的泛亚之旅和我的雅加达之行

DPS 周刊 133 - Paul Theroux 的泛亚之旅和我的雅加达之行
Photo by Rezal Scharfe / Unsplash

Paul Theroux 的 Ghost Train to the Eastern Star 是我在2024年读完的第二本书,整本书记录了他一路搭乘火车从欧洲出发,途径中亚,南亚,东南亚,直至日本,再经西伯利亚铁路回到欧洲的旅程。


Paul 曾于上世纪60年代在新加坡大学(University of Singapore,新加坡国立大学的前身)执教西方文学,三年的签证到期后被新加坡政府拒绝更新。

Shakespeare's contemporaries, like Middleton and Tourneur. The revenge plays of the Jacobean period. What else? I gave a series of lectures on The Winter's Tale, and tutorials in Conrad, Henry James, and D. H. Lawrence—all the stuff on the Cambridge syllabus. Great Expectations.
"The university students I had in Singapore were the brightest, the best, the most hard-working of any students I'd ever taught. And they spoiled me. I never found students that good anywhere else, so I gave up teaching."
When I first arrived to teach at the University of Singapore—and was told by the vice chancellor to get a haircut.
I was on the lowest lecturer's salary, earning the equivalent of $50 a week. I had a wife and two children to support. I was trying to write Saint Jack. I wasn't arrogant, I was desperate.
After three years here, I was told by the new department head—a whiny, fretful-faced local man, politically connected—that my contract would not be renewed. I was fired for being a political liability.

他的小说 Saint Jack 是以新加坡为背景创作的,发布后即被新加坡政府禁止发行,获得同样命运的还有以这部小说改编的电影。

My Singapore novel, published in 1972, was at last available in Singapore. And the movie made from it in 1978, by Peter Bogdanovich, was being shown in theaters. It was the only Hollywood film ever made entirely on location in Singapore.
Bogdanovich had not revealed to the authorities that he was filming my banned book, and because of this deception, and the film's portrayal of the sex trade, the Chinese gangs, and the more colorful neighborhoods—such as Bugis Street, thoroughfare of transvestites—the film had been banned.


But many Singaporeans had (so it seemed to me) the half-devil, half-child look of having been infantilized and overprotected by their unstoppably manipulative government.
The entirety of Singapore's leadership was personified by the grouchy, hard-to-please Lee Kwan Yew. This tenacious nag, it seemed, refused to go away: after forty-one years in the government, at age eighty-three, he was still micromanaging the place.
In Singapore, a place that demanded absolute loyalty of its citizens, accusing someone of being unreliable or disloyal was much worse than saying his writing was bad.
My friend Christopher Lingle, the scholar and journalist, wrote an op-ed piece for the International Herald Tribune in 1994 that mentioned "certain south-east Asian countries ... bankrupting the opposition by means of a compliant judiciary." He did not mention Singapore by name, yet the Singapore government took umbrage. Lingle lost his job at Singapore's National University and was charged with contempt of court and violating a law against "scandalizing the judicial system."
"Lee takes too much credit for Singapore's success," Lingle had said. "What has he actually produced? Seventy percent of Singapore's businesses are foreign-owned."
"I don't rate him at all. Singapore is an example of banal economic theory," Lingle said. "A monkey could do it."
The birth rate fell so sharply in the early eighties that a government dating agency was started in 1984, to host matchmaking parties, to promote marriages and births. This agency, called the Social Development Unit, or SDU (known to Singapore wags as Single, Desperate, and Ugly), was a failure. While I was in Singapore in 2006, it was disbanded.
The city-state kept evolving, but because the rule was "conform or leave," Singaporeans remained in a condition of arrested development, all the while being reminded that they were lucky to be governed by inspired leadership—in effect, the Lee family.


"But he doesn't beat people in the streets," Wang said, speaking of Lee Kwan Yew, who now held the title of "minister mentor" and whose son was prime minister. "He," in Singapore, always meant Lee.
I reminded Wang that Lee had famously praised the Chinese in 1989 for brutally suppressing, shooting, and imprisoning the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, backing the Chinese government in the massacre of thousands.
Lee's use of the word "tweak" always meant meddle and micromanage and fiddle with people's lives.
"He's respected, he's somewhat admired, but not loved," my friend Wang said. "He knows that. He's rather sad that he's not loved."
Lee is of course a cold and single-minded control freak, a puritanical, domineering know-it-all, oddly resentful in the things he says; and Singapore society reflects everything in Lee's personality.
Not surprisingly, Lee's domineering father was a severe disciplinarian, who insisted his son speak English at home.
As a leader, Lee allowed his personal agonies to eat into people's lives, making Singapore a reflection of one man's anxieties.
For fear of being misunderstood or overheard, no one mentioned Lee Kwan Yew by name. He was like the Mafia capo who is never named.
It was rare to hear anyone say "Lee." They said "He" or "LKY," sometimes "the Old Man" or "Uncle Harry," or they winked.
Because they can't criticize the government, they criticize each other or pick on foreigners.
This was Michael Fay, an eighteen-year-old who was stripped naked, bent over a trestle and tied, then ass-whipped with six strokes. He also got a heavy fine and four months in prison—this for spray-painting graffiti on cars in a Singapore parking lot.
Wang said, "Fay would not have been caned had Reagan been in power. Lee was trying to teach Clinton a lesson, showing Clinton that Singapore disapproved of him by whipping the American boy."
Lee was granted a meeting with François Mitterrand. Lee began lecturing the premier of France on governance. After Lee had left the room, Mitterrand said, "Who is this ridiculous man who wastes my time? Running Singapore is like running Marseilles. I am running a whole country!"
Lee is a vain and domineering patriarch, and with the passing years he sounds more and more like the head of a cult than a political leader.
In a Singapore joke, a man goes into an antique shop and sees a lovely image next to an ugly one. "I know that's Kwan Yin, the goddess of mercy," the man says, "but who is that ugly one?" The shop owner says, "It's Kwan Yew, the god of no mercy."
One said: "We never talk about politics, race, or religion. We never talk about the prime minister. We never tell ethnic jokes. We hardly tell jokes. Joking can be dangerous."


Because Singaporeans were encouraged to put the best face on their city-state, and because (as I learned later) none of the sex workers were Singaporean, this wild side was never written about or advertised.
"Are you kidding? These are government-licensed whorehouses. The girls have medical cards. They have to get regular checkups."
Inside the entrance of every brothel was a Chinese shrine, a Taoist niche, with a furious god, one of the Immortals, and a pot of smoldering joss sticks and some fresh fruit and a dish of money.
What made it unusual was that these women were not in bars, not dancing, not drunk. No strip clubs here, no shakedown. The brothels were arranged like Chinese shops, where instead of merchandise—but of course they were a form of merchandise—the women sat waiting for customers, hissing at them: Choose me!
In the noodle shop he told me he was something of an authority on a famous Singapore porn star named Grace Quek, who in 1995, under the name Annabel Chong, had had sex with 251 men in about ten hours, setting a record (later broken). Annabel's feat had been filmed.
Perhaps Singapore repression did inspire her joyless exhibitionism, but it seemed to me that Grace Quek's most Singaporean trait was her reflex to blame the little island for her willful nymphomania.
Singaporeans did not see themselves as individuals but rather as indistinguishable cogs in Lee Kwan Yew's experimental machine.
"What's Orchard Towers?" I asked. "Four floors of whores," Gerrie said. "You want to see an escort service? Russian girls, English ones. Big money."
Only foreign women did those things. Singaporeans were well educated and much too pure for that.
"It is shameful for our girls to do such things." And he became sententious and preachy, boasting of Singapore virtue.

正巧,2024年的第一个月里,我有一半的时间都在出行,刚去了一趟雅加达。因为是出差, 并没有多少自行安排的时间。不过第一次见到了一位认识了六年多的朋友还是挺高兴的。


老实说,印尼菜里我最喜欢的是 sambal,就是他们的辣椒酱,做的时候用辣椒混合柠檬大蒜等香料,但是不放油,所以吃起来辣度足够很清爽。



Cian Synnott 介绍了自己是如何规划职业发展的:

  1. 想清楚自己的人生究竟需要什么?然后想明白什么样的工作能够满足这些?
  2. 找到这些行业里的榜样,并且写下来自己想象的未来是什么样的;
  3. 对应上面这些,然后看看自己的技能树,哪些是欠缺的,哪些是需要提高的;
  4. 借助目前的工作环境,提高或者补足这些技能。
Daily Productive Sharing 896 - Mapping out Career Development
One helpful tip per day:) Cian Synnott introduced how he plans his own career development: 1. Figure out what I want from life, and how work can support that; 2. Use role models and writing to imagine possible futures; 3. From those, map out the skills and capabilities I want

Herbert Hui 介绍了一个反直觉的道理:当你想要获得一个机会,不妨先把对方担心的事摊开来,然后给出对应的方案,这样更容易获得机会。

  1. LinkedIn 的创始人 Reid Hoffman 用这招先后获得了 Apple 的产品经理职位,并为 LinkedIn 获得了启动资金;
  2. 别人担心的方面可能是一个问题最重要的方面,所以直接出击更能获得对方的注意。
Daily Productive Sharing 897 - Steer Concerns
One helpful tip per day:) Herbert Hui introduced a counterintuitive principle: When you want to seize an opportunity, it’s effective to first lay out what the other party is worried about and then provide corresponding solutions. This approach makes it easier to obtain the opportunity. 1. Reid Hoffman, the founder

Herman Martinus 回顾了自己六年多写日志的经历:

  1. 写日志就像和一个小黄鸭交谈一样,可以获得内心的平静;
  2. 写日志能帮助我们记住自己做了什么,从而更好地了解自己;
  3. 写日志可以从每天写一两句话开始。

我也从今年开始写日志,目前全部放在 Agenda 里(因为买了好久都没好好用),目前主要记录这些:

  1. 读书读到有意思的部分;
  2. 训练体验;
  3. 工作中悟到的一些道理;
  4. 和朋友聊天中的收获。


Daily Productive Sharing 898 - 6-Year of Daily Journaling
One helpful tip per day:) Herman Martinus reflected on his experience of journaling for over six years: 1. Writing a journal is like talking to a little yellow duck, it brings inner peace. 2. Journaling helps us remember what we have done, thereby better understanding ourselves. 3. You can start

Tanya Reilly 认为持续学习是软件开发行业的最重要技能:

  1. 只有持续地学习,你才能跟上行业的发展,不被淘汰;
  2. 如果说持续学习是最重要的能力,那么坚持就是第二重要的能力;
  3. 尽管我们都明白学习的重要性,但是我们不怎么提及如何学习,这回让其他初学者感到困惑,也会让他们感到挫败,所以我们要多分享如何学习;
  4. 这就像 Instagram / 小红书一样,我们只看到光鲜亮丽的一面,却忽略了这后面的努力和心酸;
  5. 学习本身也是一种技能,掌握得越好,学习新知识就越快;在同一个领域学习也是,一开始可能会很慢,但突然就会开窍;
  6. 软件行业的所有东西都可以学会,只要你肯花时间。

Tanya Reilly 写过一本 The Staff Engineer's Path,专注 staff engineer 在实操层面的技能和要求,非常棒的一本书。

Daily Productive Sharing 899 - Learning Is the Most Important Skill
One helpful tip per day:) Tanya Reilly believes that continuous learning is the most important skill in the software development industry: 1. Only through continuous learning can you keep up with the development of the industry and avoid being obsolete. 2. If continuous learning is the most important ability, then

这是 DPS 的第900篇分享,三年多的时间看似很久,但具体到每一天又那么短。这三年多,我在三个国家工作生活,经历了各种变化,唯独不变的是每周把下一周要分享的五篇文章准备好,没错,坚持了180周,没有缺席一天。

今天的分享来自我们的老朋友 Morgan Housel,他在多年前问经济学家 Robert Shiller -> 最有用且最有趣的信息是什么?后者的回答是 -> 运气在成功中的角色是什么?

在这篇文章中,Morgan 分享了几个他认为最有用且最有趣的信息:

  1. 我们所知道的历史,其实只是事实的一小部分 -> 那些被记录下来的一小部分,那些被公开出来的一小部分。如果明白这一道理之后,我们就知道自己对于很多事物的理解都是片面的;
  2. 在你临死的时候,如果你已经活成了想要的自己,如果你能活到一半想要的自己,那你就死而无憾了。如果你做出一些不同的选择,你的生命就会完全不一样;
  3. 明白你离死亡还剩多少时间。可以从两个不同的角度来看待这个问题:1. 生命真短 -> 那么你就不会浪费时间在无意义的事情上,2. 生命真长 -> 你就不会急于做出选择。
Daily Productive Sharing 900 - Information to Get Your Attention
One helpful tip per day:) This is the 900th share of DPS. Over three years may seem long, but each day feels so short. In these three-plus years, I have worked and lived in three countries, experiencing various changes. The only constant has been preparing five articles to share for