《经济学人》:"吉姆•汤普森"一个魅力男的觉醒
日期:2011-11-23 09:41

(单词翻译:单击)

Jim Thompson
吉姆•汤普森

Boat against the current
逆流而上的船只

The disillusionment of a man of charm
一个魅力男的觉醒

The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War. By Joshua Kurlantzick. Wiley; 253 pages; $25.95 and £17.99.
《理想男人:吉姆•汤普森的悲剧与美国式战争》乔舒亚•科兰滋克著,威利出版社出版;253页;售价25.59美元(17.99欧元);

HE WAS the Jay Gatsby of Bangkok: rich, charming, glamorous and endlessly hospitable, but with something mysterious in his background. The mystery only deepened with his death. On Easter Sunday in 1967 Jim Thompson left the cottage where he was on holiday in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, apparently for an afternoon walk. He vanished. Despite a huge conventional search operation (followed by more exotic efforts involving psychics and a Gurkha parachuted into Cambodia), no trace was ever found of him. A library’s-worth of conspiracy theories has never explained his disappearance.
他曾是曼谷的杰伊?盖茨比:腰缠万贯、魅力四射、热情无限,但身世总有一些神秘。他的死亡只能令这种神秘有增无减。1967年的复活节那天他离开马来西亚金马伦高原的度假小屋,似乎是想在午后散个步。然后他就此消失。尽管人们进行了大规模的常规搜索(后来还使用了更多带有异国风情的方法,包括通灵术和派一个廓尔喀族人空降柬埔寨),却未发现他的丝毫踪迹。关于此事的阴谋论之多足以装满一个图书馆,却未能解释他为何消失。

The secret in Thompson’s background—and source of many of the conspiracy theories—was of the spooky variety. He was an agent for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA, posted to South-East Asia at the end of the second world war. He befriended anti-colonial forces in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. This was both a personal inclination and his mandate as a spy. The organisation, according to Richard Harris Smith, its biographer, had some recurrent themes: democratic, social, progressive reform.
关于汤普森身世中的秘密——即多种阴谋论的来源——众说纷纭,其版本之多令人诧异。他曾是美国战略情报局(中央情报局前身)的间谍,在二战末期被派往东南亚。他支援过泰国、柬埔寨、老挝及越南的反殖民武装力量。这既是他的个人喜好,也是作为一个间谍的职责。其传记作者理查德?哈里斯?史密斯说,民主的、社会的、渐进式改革是在这个组织中反复出现的一些主题。

Thompson felt betrayed by America’s rejection of these ideals in favour of alliances with anti-communist forces, however corrupt and undemocratic. Joshua Kurlantzick, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, portrays him as on the losing side in a battle in post-war Washington, as McCarthyite frenzy turned American foreign policy into a with-us-or-against-us crusade against communism. As a result, in Indochina, and in Thailand itself, America usually found it was on the side of the bad guys. Complex nations were grotesquely simplified for the voters back home and the boys sent to fight abroad. President Kennedy deliberately mispronounced Laos as Lay-os, lest Americans think he wanted to go to war with a small bug.
美国反对这些理想、支持拥有反共产主义武装力量的联盟,不论这些武装力量何其腐败和不民主,汤普森都感到美国的行为辜负了他。如今身处对外关系委员会的乔舒亚?科兰滋克将他描述为在战后华盛顿的一场斗争中失利的一方,因为麦卡锡主义者的狂怒令美国的外交政策转变为讨伐共产主义的不支持我们,即与我们为敌的模式。因此,在印度支那及泰国,美国通常会发现自己和坏人一伙。荒诞可笑的是,对国内的选民和被派到国外的士兵来说,这些复杂的国家被简化了。肯尼迪总统故意将老挝误读为Lay-os,以免美国人认为他想与一个星斗小国开战。

After government service, Thompson built up the Thai silk business that bears his name and collected artefacts to adorn the Bangkok house which is still on the tourist itinerary. He became a fierce critic of America’s policy in the region. This mattered since he was, in the 1960s, the best-known private citizen in South-East Asia. The Kennedys, the Eisenhowers, Truman Capote, Somerset Maugham and nearly every prominent royal or heiress in Europe; they all came to dinner chez Jim when they graced Bangkok.
公职期满后,汤普森建立了泰国丝绸公司(如今公司以他的名字命名)并收集手工艺品来装饰曼谷的房屋,时至今日这些房屋仍是旅客必到之处。在曼谷,他成了一个猛烈批判美国在该地区的政策的人。这点十分重要,因为他是十九世纪六十年代东南亚最有名的普通公民。肯尼迪家族、艾森豪威尔家族、杜鲁门?卡波特、萨默塞特?毛姆和几乎每一位著名的欧洲王室成员及女性王位继承人在大驾光临曼谷时,无一例外都前往吉姆的住所与他共进晚餐。

Perhaps Thompson was subject to a contract killing by business rivals in Bangkok. He ended up betrayed both by his own country, America, from whose east coast upper classes he hailed and whose ideals he cherished, and by his adopted home, Thailand, to whose welfare and culture he had devoted himself.
可能,汤普森是被其曼谷的商业对手所雇佣的杀手杀害了。他来自美国东海岸的上流社会,他珍视美国的理想,他为第二故乡泰国的福祉与文化奉献一生;但是最终,美国与泰国这两个国家都辜负了他。

The book fails, though, to explain why Thompson was so fascinating. It tells of his talents, knowledge, contacts, wit and urbanity, but it does not convince. He remains an elusive, insubstantial figure, if a very sad one, summed up by a journalist who knew him: At the end, these foreigners realise they have no home.
不过这本书却未能解释为何汤普森如此魅力非凡。书中讲述了他的天赋、知识、社交、智慧和礼貌,但却不能令人信服。对读者而言,他仍是个难以捉摸、缺乏现实感的人物,但悲剧色彩浓厚。一个了解他的记者这样总结道:最后,这些外国人都意识到他们没有家园。


hospitable adj. 好客的
conspiracy n. 同谋
undemocratic adj.非民主的
prominent adj. 卓越的
elusive adj. 难懂的

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重点单词
  • crusaden. 改革运动 Crusade n. 十字军东征 vi.
  • reformv. 改革,改造,革新 n. 改革,改良
  • charmn. 魅力,迷人,吸引力,美貌 v. (使)陶醉,(使)
  • adornv. 装饰,佩戴
  • complexadj. 复杂的,复合的,合成的 n. 复合体,综合体,
  • biographern. 传记记者
  • democraticadj. 民主的,大众的,平等的
  • exoticadj. 异国的,外来的,奇异的,脱衣舞的 n. (复数
  • conventionaladj. 传统的,惯例的,常规的
  • precursorn. 先驱者,前辈,前体