缅甸:Burma 还是Myanmar?

发自新德里——在大大小小的各个方面上,亚洲仍然生活在帝国主义残留阴影之下。比如说如今在缅甸(Myanmar)——对有些人来说是Burma——发生的争论。当年那些讲究实效的英国殖民者觉得“Myanmar”的发音太困难,于是就把缅甸的名字改为“Burma”(同时为了方便测量,还重新划定了缅甸的边界)。

自那以后缅甸一直沿用Burma这个新名字直至1989年,统治了几十年的军政府开始启用该国过去的旧名。然而讽刺地是,刚掌权的民主反对派却想恢复Burma这个名字,因为他们视Myanmar这一名字为独裁的象征——而这正是他们想摒弃的东西。

但是过去的一切永远无法被真正抹去。即使是毛泽东本人及其在中国文化大革命时期释放的狂潮也不能使“四旧”(旧风俗、旧文化、旧习惯、旧思想)完全消失。无论人们用“Yangon”还是“Rangoon”来称呼缅甸的首都仰光,这个地方仍然如英国旅行作家诺曼·路易斯(Norman Lewis)所描述的那样是一个“由一群不愿向东方妥协的人民所建造的……自顾自发展的帝国”。

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