岛居

一抵达德岛(Don Det ),我就知道我不会喜欢这个岛。只见沙滩上躺着三三两两的比基尼女郎,金发碧眼的老外要不是晒太阳,就正享受啤酒。一时间,我看不见本地人。我和剑强在岛上逛了逛,到处是简陋的客栈,到处都是游客。下午时分我哪儿都不想去,在树下写日记。

剑强睡在吊床上,正打呼。附近的孩子走了,是一男一女的两姐弟。他们好奇的看我的日记。后来和我比手划脚聊起来。我一时高兴,走进屋里取出我的拍立得相机,给这两姐弟拍照。当照片喀喳一声从相机嘴里吐出来,孩子们也惊讶一声。我把相片放在桌面上让影像慢慢显现,两颗小小的头颅挤在一块,注视他们那逐渐清晰的模样。即拍既有的相机使他们着迷,竟要求我在为他们各自拍一张。我骗他们说底片用完了,又怕自己心软坳不过他们。由于底片有限,我要留着给接下来的旅途。那个做姐姐的兴高采烈领着照片奔回家。

不一会儿,她家里其他的姐妹一个接一个走来找我拍照。后来我还是为他们多拍了几张,还到他们家一起打羽毛球。岛上没有电流供应,吃了晚饭我们在油灯摇曳的露台休息。没有风扇,外头也没有风,一盏煤油灯散发热能视乎也蒸发出汗水,我还听见男男女女跳进河里嬉戏声。隔天,我和剑强离开德岛,到对面一个较少游客的坤岛(Don Khon)去。我们并没有坐船过坤岛,而是从火车铁轨,火车不再通行了。法国统治时期,老挝和越南的胡志明市之间,是法国重要的运输路线。

湄公河有许多支流,深浅宽窄不一,还有瀑布。为了方便运输,法国人于是在德岛和坤岛之间建了14公里的铁轨衔接。越南通往柬埔寨的货品,将水运到坤岛最南端,接着搬上岸移到火车上去,轰隆隆地载到德岛最北部,然后再逆流而上巴色、沙湾拿吉及万象。有时间,运输的船连同货品一起被抬上火车,顺着铁轨移动,过后再放回合理继续上路。自1945年日本占领老挝后,该铁路就停止运作了,如今,两岛的村民把铁轨当作铁桥使用,我们正是这样过来坤岛地。在坤岛,我们住在浮脚木屋依河而建,

露台挂了两个网状吊床,房租从一块美金。最难得的是,其他鸡冻浮脚木屋都没有人住,除了蚊子,没有人会打扰我们。在接下来两天,我们几乎都在吊床上度过。坤岛很宁静,岛上的餐厅不如德岛多,所以晚餐要趁天黑前解决,一来餐厅可能关了,二来没有电供,黑麻麻的看不清道路,不好走。我们随身带来了金庸的武侠小说,整个下午可以一人一张吊床,坠入与老挝没有任何关联地刀剑影世界里头去。看累了,把书搁在胸膛,昏死过去。醒来后,背全湿透,黏黏腻腻好不难受。

浴室在外头,水是从河里抽取过来的,既然如此,索性跳进河里去。这几天频密地赶了那么多路,两个人的脏衣服已填塞整个背包了。取了出来,像老挝人那样拿到河边去清洗。当黑暗覆盖大地,金庸卧虎藏龙的江湖也无法窥探了。漆黑中,两个无所事事的悠闲人,继续和吊床一起吊挂在河岸旁的露台,有一句没一句的胡扯。“我们李家三个星期了……才三个星期。”我咕哝着。“我感觉好像一直赶路。”剑强说。的确,我们几乎有一半的时间都花在路上奔波。在老挝,大多数情况下,巴士都是大清早离开车站的,也就是天未亮的时分。

一路上,就是漫漫长征,路途颠簸是难免的,乘船也是一样拥挤超载。我们没有带十五上路的习惯,所以往往饿着肚子企盼目的地快点出现,但通常就算不远的距离,也要花很长时间才抵达。“我好像瘦了。”“我也是。”突然间,河边的草丛出现一点一点地微弱亮光。“那是什么?”我问。“萤火虫。”我从吊床爬起来靠在栏杆上想看得清楚点。说来丢脸,我没有见过萤火虫。我不是乡下长大的孩子,每次听剑强说起童年,关于放风筝、偷采水果、打架、玩玻璃弹珠等生活,只有羡慕的份。

由于和自然环境疏离,看见蛇虫鼠蚁就惊慌失措,窝囊得很。“好神奇。”一闪一闪的光亮在漆黑中漂移,没有任何声音。它们逐渐飞到露台来,我静静不敢有所有举动,怕惊动了它们。两个晚上,萤火虫都出现,带着神奇的亮光环绕我们身边,陪伴我们直到入睡。

UMNO First Election as the Opposition Party

(30-06-2018)

As Umno heads into its first election as an Opposition party, the party’s presidential candidates today outlined their plans for the next three years. Umno presidential candidate, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who is also acting president after the resignation of Najib Razak as President, said he wants to move Umno forward in what he dubbed, a “New Deal” for party members while maintaining the party’s status quo.

“We want to rejuvenate Umno into Umno 3.0, but at the same time, rebrand Barisan Nasional (BN) into a new coalition. “The party needs to return to its foundation and strengthen its spirit in fighting for Malay special rights, the royal institution, Bahasa Melayu and religion,” he said during a “live” debate between the Umno presidential candidates hosted by Astro Awani. As for Umno veteran leader Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, he outlined the need for the party to change within three years should he be appointed party president. “For the past 20 years, Umno’s top leadership has been controlled by a select few until those underneath cannot voice their opinion. “We want the voice of the people down below to influence the voice of the people sitting on top,” he said.

In contrast to the other two candidates, Khairy Jamaluddin apologised and admitted the mistakes of the party’s leadership for their GE14 defeat. “We must make do with the insulated president culture and immediate action must be taken to attract new young talents to Umno so that we can prepare ourselves for a generation shift in the party,” he said. Khairy Jamaluddin does not discount the possibility that he would invite other parties to join Barisan Nasional or form collaborations with civil society organisations to rebuild the party if he wins in the Umno elections tomorrow. He said this was one of the ways to restructure BN following its disastrous showing at the 14th general election recently. “If I win, I will sit down with MIC and MCA, because these are the only parties we have, to come up with a new formula for BN. “The BN (component) parties are waiting for the results tomorrow to see who will become Umno president before they make a decision,” he said after attending a gathering in Alor Star today.

Following BN’s loss in GE14, its component parties, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, left the coalition, with the latest being Gerakan, which announced it was leaving last Saturday.