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2011/03/03 / Horace

别人家的孩子(Other Children)Billingual

Not long ago, there was a huge online criticism and mockery about “Other Children”. “Other children” are frequently used by Chinese parents when criticizing their own children for not doing well enough. For example, if a Chinese child did not do very well in last week’s exam, his/her parent would say “Look at other children! One of them even got 100 while you only got 85.” In this week, I would also talk about “other children” from a different perspective. The English version is based on the Chinese one but is not exactly the same, and also I apologize for all grammatical or vocabulary mistakes since I did the translation in a hurry and did not check.

有一段时间,中国的互联网上出现了广泛的对于”别人家的孩子”的口诛笔伐。”别人家的孩子”是中国父母训斥自己的孩子时经常用到的短语。这里,我也想说说”别人家的孩子”。


第一次听到”别人家的孩子”是一个与我的同龄人类似的场合,都是考试考的不好,然后被父母拿去同别人比较。最初的时候只能是听之任之,不过大了一点之后,我就想出了应对的策略。如果我的父母再次提到”别人家的孩子”或者是任何一个除我以外的孩子,我就说,”那么,当初,你们为什么不生他而要生我呢?”

当时我还很小,并不知道,他们如果要生小孩,只能生出我来。不过,事实证明,我的策略是相当成功的。

后来,因为成绩相对好了,所以,父母基本上也不提”别人家的孩子”了,有的时候,我甚至成为了”别人家的孩子”的一员,成为了其他父母数落他们自己孩子时采用的例子。

再后来听到”别人家的孩子”的概念,是我上高中以后的事情了。

I

I have also heard about ‘other children’ for quite many times, for my bad performances at exams. At first, I could do nothing about my parents’ blames, but as I grew older, I came up with my own strategy. As long as my parents mentioned ‘other children’ or any child except me, I would say ‘So, why did not you give birth to another child rather than me?’

I was too young to know that I was the only one that they could give birth. However, the fact was, my strategy was very successful.

Later on, my school performance went better, and my parents did not mention ‘other children’ any more. Even at times, I was a member of ‘other children’ used as an example by other parents to educate their own children.

I did not hear the phrase ‘other children’ again until I was in senior high school.


高二的时候,学校开始上大晚课,一直要到晚上九点多,晚饭只能在学校吃。最初,我父母像其他的父母一样,做好晚饭,然后把饭放到保温饭盒里送到学校来。不过,因为菜色基本没有变化,而又因为种种原因我不好意思和母亲提起别人的饭盒里几乎不重样的各种东西,我不喜欢父母送饭。最后,我一天晚上”罢餐”,把父母送来的晚饭又原原本本的带回家里。

那天晚上,我父母问我,”别人家的孩子”都吃什么呢?我当时只是搪塞,和我吃的差不多。如果不考虑某同学善意但是确实让我很不好受的对于我饭盒里食物改善的建议,我确实可以假装自己和别人家的孩子吃的都差不多,反正一直以来,我很少同别人一起吃饭的。

在我的一再坚持下,父母决定不再给我送饭,让我晚上自己到外边吃。而我,也因为我不会看到别人的饭盒,别人也看不到我的饭盒而感到莫大的轻松。

后来,每次模拟考,我父母都给我做一些没吃过而确实很好吃的菜。平时上课的时候,早饭不能做的大鱼大肉,午饭晚饭我都是在外边吃,于是周末的食物父母也做得是非常用心。原来,我父母一直都在百度上找菜谱看。

II

When I was in Senior II, the school extended and we had classes until 9 p.m. We could only have our dinner at school. At first, like many parents, they cooked supper, took it to school in a heat-preserving lunchbox. I was soon bored with the same food in my lunchbox. (I really do not know what the container is called in English, sorry), however, for many reasons, I was reluctant to mention all the colorful dishes in other children’s recipe. Finally, I decided to go on a ‘dinner strike’, bringing what they had brought me back home intact.

That night, my parents asked me what ‘other children’ had for supper. I grunted that we had almost the same food. Had I not taken those benevolent but hurting suggestions on my food given by my peers, I would have pretended that I had always been having the same stuff. Anyway, I had been used to eating alone.

Because of my persistence, my parents decided not to send me supper anymore and let me eat in restaurants. I also found great ease since no one would see what I was eating and I would not see what they were eating.

After that, during every module test, my parents would cook me something nice that I had never seen. Weekends were the only time when the family could eat together, and the food was unexpectedly delicious. The fact was that my parents had been using the Internet for recipes.


母亲给我买来了一件新衣服,我还挺喜欢这个衣服,问母亲多少钱。母亲说了一个并不高的价钱,并说这个是打折的。(PS:个子高买衣服是走两个极端,一个是买不到,一个是比较容易就能买到断码)。接着,母亲又说,都怪她挣的钱不多,不然,就像别人家的孩子一样,什么新,就买什么。当时家里的空气凝固了,我真的不知道说什么。

III

The other day, my parents bought me a new coat. I loved it and asked my parents how much was it. My mother answered with a not-very-high price and said it was discounted. Then, my mother said could she earn more, she could buy me clothes in trend rather than discounted clothes. I could feel the air in my home froze, and I did not know what to say.


大了以后,自己也开始将自己与”别人家的孩子”做比较。我不是一个聪明的人,所以始终混的一般。偶尔,也会因为看到周围人的成绩而眼红。后来听到很多学习理工科同学已经开始实习,并且小有成绩,甚至已经到了自给自足的地步,心里更加的不平衡。和父母聊天的时候,也经常会批评一下自己,而且也确实因为自己能力不够而感到自责。不过,父母却没有表示什么,仍然对我取得的一些成绩津津乐道,似乎我取得的有多么的了不起。

IV

Now, I am older and have started to compare myself with ‘other children’. I am not the smart type and have always been ordinary. Sometimes, I am jealous of what others have achieved. I have also learnt that some of my friends have become economical independent, which made me feel worse. I sometimes blame myself while talking with my parents for not being capable enough, but my parents have never said anything and are still proud of me as if I were something great.


我记得有一次走在街上,后面一个穿着相对破旧的女性叫住我,问我这件衣服是从哪里买来的。我说,这件衣服是别人买给我的。她又问,这件衣服大约多少钱。我说,两三百(这是给母亲一个朋友的女儿补习英语所的到的一个报酬)吧。她告诉我,她的儿子和我一般高,然后又回到自己破旧的自行车上悻悻的走了。整个一个过程大约只有半分钟不到的时间,我却始终难以忘记那个女人的背影。在那半分钟不到的时间里,我是以一个”别人家的孩子”的身份出现的,而这个”别人家的孩子”又同那个女性”自己家的孩子”在一些方面又是那么的相近。

听到了我的回答,她当时在想些什么?别人家的孩子,在她的眼中是怎么样的人?在我的父母的眼中呢?他们究竟是谁?

V

When I was walking on the street one day, a ragged woman called me from behind and stopped me. She asked me where I got my shirt. I said someone bought this for me. She asked how much it was. I said, two or three hundred yuan perhaps. After telling me that she had a son as tall as I, she got on her old bicycle again and left. Everything took place in less than half a minute, but I could not forget the back of the woman. In the time less than half a minute, I stood as one of ‘other children’, and this ‘other child’ was so similar with hers.

After hearing my answer, what was the woman thinking? What sort of creature ‘other children’ is in her eyes? And what about in my parents’ eyes?

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