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2. The True God’s Mighty Power

Chapter 2

The True God’s Mighty Power Parted the Red Sea
真神大能分开红海

From Saigon to the town of Dongxing in Guangxi province
从西贡到广西省的东兴镇

My sister got married shortly after the liberation of South Vietnam. All along her husband had been looking for a way to escape out of Vietnam, but the cost of escaping by boat to Thailand or Malaysia was too high, and he couldn’t afford it. When he found out that my uncle wanted me to go to Guangzhou, he came up with an idea: Take the train from Saigon to Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, and from there find ways to cross the border into China. The price for a train ticket from Saigon to Hanoi was relatively low, and my brother-in-law knew some Chinese Vietnamese who were living in North Vietnam and would often cross the border into China to buy goods to bring back to Vietnam. So they were very familiar with the roads in that area. My brother-in-law knew that he only had to pay these Chinese Vietnamese a small sum of money, and they would be willing to lead us into China. He was planning to use this way to escape out of Vietnam because the cost was very low.

我姐姐在解放后不久就结了婚。姐夫也一直在想办法偷渡离开越南,但是坐船偷渡去泰国或马来西亚的费用太高了,他付不起。当他知道我的舅舅鼓励我回到广州去,他就想到一个主意:他打算从西贡坐火车到北方的河内市(北越的首都),然后在河内想办法越过中越边界进入中国。一张从西贡到河内的火车票很便宜,而且我姐夫认识一些在越南北方的华侨。他们常常越过边界去中国买东西带回越南,他们很熟悉那一带的路途。姐夫知道只要付一笔钱给他们,他们就可以带我们过去中国。姐夫计划用这个办法偷渡离开越南,因为这个办法的费用非常便宜。

I asked my father for his opinion about the plan, and he felt that it would be good for me to follow my brother-in-law and my sister to escape out of Vietnam by this means. Even though my family was poor, my father had some savings. He gave me an amount needed for the escape, and took me out to buy clothes and a knapsack. I put my mother’s ashes in a few layers of plastic bags, then wrap the whole thing with clothes and put it in the knapsack. In early February 1978, on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, I ate my last New Year’s meal at home. At 1 o’clock in the morning my eldest brother picked me up with a motor­cycle to bring me to the train station. My father stood at the door to send me off. I met up with my sister, my brother-in-law, and their one year old son at the train station, and then took the train up north together.

我去询问父亲的意见,他也很赞成我跟随姐姐和姐夫用这个办法偷渡离开越南。我家虽然贫穷,但父亲还是储蓄了一点钱。他把偷渡的费用如数交给我,他还带我去买了一些衣服和背囊。我把母亲的骨灰装在数层塑料袋中,再用衣服把它包裹好,放在背囊里面。1978 年2 月初,农历春节的大年初二凌晨一点钟,我在家里吃过了开年饭,大哥就用摩托车送我去火车站,父亲站在门口目送我离开。我在火车站会合姐姐、姐夫和他们一岁多的儿子,然后一道坐火车北上。

After the train had arrived at Hanoi, we transferred to a bus to go to Hai Phong, a coastal city that had a lot of Chinese Vietnamese living there. We stayed in a house that belonged to a friend of my brother-in-law’s. A few days later, this friend made all the arrangements for us, and led us to a small boat to go to another small town. From that town we went into a village that was within walking distance of the border river between Vietnam and China. We hid in the village for a few days. One night, when the river was in low tide, two of my brother-in-law’s friends led us to wade through the river. The water level reached my chest, and I didn’t know how to swim. Normally I would have been very scared, but amazingly I wasn’t scared at all. Peace and warmth filled my heart, and I was thinking about finally bringing my mother back home.

火车到达河内市后,我们转车从河内去海防市。海防是一个沿海城市,那里有很多华侨。我们住在姐夫的朋友家里等候。过了几天他的朋友安排好一切,就带着我们乘小船从海防前往另一个小镇。从那小镇又辗转到了一个在边界附近的小村子,从那里可以走路到划分中越边界的河流,我们在那里等候了几天。在一天晚上,当河水低潮的时候,姐夫的两个朋友带我们涉水过河。河水高达我的胸膛,我不会游泳。我应当很害怕,但奇怪的是我毫不害怕。一股难以言喻的温暖平安充满了我整个心灵,我心里只是想着我终于带着母亲回国了。

The other side of the river is Chinese territory, a small town called Dongxing of Guangxi province. Our guides took us to a market place there, but the place was desolate at around 3 o’clock in the morning. They told us to wait there until dawn, and when we see people coming in, we will ask them for directions to the police station. The guides said we will need to report ourselves to the police, tell them the reason for crossing the border, and plead with the government to allow us to stay. Then our guides waded through the river back to Vietnam. We all sat on a bench, and at around 5 o’clock, workers started coming to the market place. We asked them for the directions to the police station, and went there to report ourselves.

过了河就是中国领土,那是广西省的一个小镇,名叫“东兴”。带路的两位朋友领我们到东兴的菜市场坐下,那时候是凌晨三点多钟,市场空无一人。那两位朋友叫我们等到天亮后,看到有人走过的时候就问人家怎样去公安局。他们说一定要去公安局自首,向公安说出偷渡的理由,恳求政府准许我们留下来。然后他们就涉水回越南去了。我们坐在一张长板凳上等候,大概五点钟左右市场的工人开始来上班。我们问他们去公安局的方向,然后就前往公安局自首。

When we arrived at the police station, we frankly told them that we were Chinese who had escaped out of Vietnam, and pleaded with the government to take us in. At first the police staff didn’t want to accept us, and repeatedly told us to go back to Vietnam. We said in reply that we couldn’t go back to Vietnam, for if we did that, we would be put in jail. The police staff told us to sit aside and wait. I was planning in my heart that if they should force us to go back to Vietnam, I would immediately spread my mother’s ashes on the soil. Even if she couldn’t be buried in Guang­zhou, at least her ashes would be mixed with the soil of the homeland she loved and they would never be separated again. After that I will fight with the police officers and let them shoot me dead, for if I go back to Vietnam and get caught, I would be put in prison for twenty or thirty years. I was still young, so if my whole life is going to be destroyed, it would be better for me to be shot dead now by the police officers. Once I made up my mind to be ready to die, I wasn’t scared at all.

我们到了公安局,就坦诚地说明我们是从越南逃过来的华侨,我们恳求政府收容我们。当初公安局的人员不肯收留我们,他们一再叫我们回到越南去。我们说回不去了,如果回去就要坐牢。那些公安人员叫我们坐在一旁等候。当时我在心里盘算,如果他们真的强迫我们回去越南的话,我就立刻把母亲的骨灰撒在泥土上。即使她不能安葬在广州,但到底她的骨灰混在她最亲爱的祖国的泥土中,永远不再分开了。然后我就跟那些公安人员拼了,让他们开枪把我打死。如果我回到越南被抓住,就要坐二、三十年的牢。我还那么年轻,如果我的一生就这样被毁掉,倒不如现在让他们打死算了,图个痛快。因为我已做好必死的打算,所以也不害怕担忧。

We were sitting on a bench, and soon a couple and their son about one year old walked into the police station. From their clothes I could tell that they were also from South Vietnam. They also came to report themselves and asked the government to take them in. The police officers asked them to sit together with us. Not long after that, a third group came into the police station, then another group. By noon time the reception hall of the station was filled with Chinese Vietnamese, some of whom were from South Vietnam, but most were from North Vietnam. The police officers didn’t know how to handle the situation, so they took us to a small inn nearby. We all carried Renminbi (Chinese cur­rency) and food coupons, so we had lunch and rested in that small inn.

我们坐下不久,就看见一对夫妇带着一个一岁左右的孩子走进公安局来。从他们的服装可以看出他们也是从越南南方来的。他们也是来公安局自首,恳求政府收容他们。公安局人员叫他们和我们坐在一起等候。不多久,第三批人来了,接着一群又一群,一批接一批的人陆续来到,有些是越南南方的华侨,但大部分却是来自越南北方的华侨。大概中午的时候,整个公安局的大厅都坐满了人。公安局的人员看见这种情况,他们也有点手足无措,不知道该怎样处理才好。中午过后不久,公安局的人员带我们去附近一家小旅馆。我们都带着人民币和粮票,我们就在那家旅馆吃饭,然后休息。

The next day, an officer sent from Nanning (the capital city of Guangxi province), a certain Officer Wu, came to the inn where we were staying, and wanted to talk to the Chinese Vietnamese there. Those from North Vietnam didn’t speak Mandarin Chinese, but even among those from South Vietnam very few could speak Mandarin. But I could speak Mandarin, so Officer Wu asked me to be his translator. He told me that more and more Chinese Vietnamese were arriving in China that day, and that many of them were crossing into China through the border between Vietnam and the two provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. Some Chinese Vietnamese fishermen families from North Vietnam piloted their fishing boats to the ports along the coast of China. Because of all the things taking place, the central government in Beijing was paying close attention to the development of the situation. When I heard of this, I was very happy, for I knew that the Chinese government will not force us to go back to Vietnam.

第二天,一位从广西的省会南宁市派来的吴同志来到旅馆,他要找我们这批华侨谈话。从越南北方来的华侨都不懂普通话,即使在南方的华侨当中,懂普通话的人也很少。而我能说普通话,所以吴同志叫我当他的翻译员。他告诉我们今天来的华侨更多了,而且沿着广西、云南两省和越南的边界线上,每天都有大批的华侨逃过来。一些在北方的渔民华侨干脆全家大小驾着渔船来到中国沿海的港口。所以北京的中央政府也很注意这件事情的发展。我听了心中非常高兴,我知道中国政府不会把我们赶回越南去了。

We stayed in that small inn temporarily, and I wrote a letter to my uncle in Guangzhou to tell him that I had arrived at the town of Dongxing in Guangxi province with my mother’s ashes. Within a few days, I received a letter from him, telling me that he will come immediately to Dongxing with my cousin. A few days later, my uncle and my cousin arrived from Guangzhou. It’s my first time to see my uncle, and he looked very much like my mother. When he looked at my mother’s ashes, his tears almost poured down. After being separated for thirty something years, they thought that the whole family could be reunited soon, but in the end all they could see was a bag of ashes.

我们暂时住在那家旅馆,我写了一封信给广州的舅舅,告诉他我已带着母亲的骨灰来到广西的东兴镇。几天后,我收到舅舅的回信,他说他和我表弟会立刻来东兴。再过了几天,舅舅和表弟从广州来到。这是我第一次和舅舅见面,他的面孔很像母亲。他望着母亲的骨灰就差点流出眼泪来。三十多年阔别,本以为能再度团聚,结果却只看到一袋骨灰而已。

The only true God opened the way to Guangzhou
真神领路来到广州

The next day my uncle and my cousin departed, taking my mother’s ashes. Before my uncle left, he gave me a proof of an official business trip, and told me to use it to buy a train ticket to Guangzhou. He gave me sufficient money and nationwide food coupons for my expenses on the journey.

第二天舅舅和表弟就带着母亲的骨灰先走了。临走时他把一张出差证交给我,他吩咐我用这张出差证去买车票前往广州。他也给了我足够的人民币和全国通用粮票,让我在路上使用。

Every day more and more groups of Chinese Vietnamese were streaming into Dongxing, and soon the number of Chinese Vietnamese in this small town went up to around thirty thousand, outnumbering Dongxing’s local population. Because there was not enough space to house all the Chinese Vietnamese, the government moved us to a school. From the reports by the new arrivals, we got to know that most of the Chinese Vietnamese farmers and fishermen in North Vietnam were preparing to come to China. There was a dispute between China and Vietnam at the border, and the Chinese government was evacuating the people living in the towns along the border. They were preparing for war, and it looked like war will break out soon. My brother-in-law, my sister, and I all realized that it was time for us to leave Dongxing for Guangzhou. We decided that I would leave first; then one or two days later, my brother-in-law and my sister would leave with their son.

每天都有大批大批的越南华侨逃到东兴来,结果华侨的人数达到三万多人,比整个东兴镇的人口还要多。因为没有足够的地方让我们居住,所以政府把我们迁移到一所学校暂住。从那些刚到达的华侨的口中,我们知道大部分在越南北方从事农业和渔业的华侨都准备回到中国来。而且中越边界之间有纠纷争执,中国政府正在疏散在边界各城镇的居民,做好战争的准备,看来战争是一触即发了。姐夫、姐姐和我都认为我们应该离开东兴前往广州,我们决定让我自己一个人先走,然后过一两天姐夫和姐姐才带着孩子离开。

Dongxing was a small place, and was not serviced by any train in Guangxi. So the journey from Dongxing to Guangzhou was quite complicated. I had to take a long-distance bus from Dongxing to Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi; from Nanning I would transfer to the train heading to the city of Hengyang of Hunan province; then from Hengyang I would take another train from Beijing to Guangzhou. It would be the first time I traveled by myself, and I was very scared. But it was during this journey that I experienced a whole series of amazing and inexplicable things.

东兴是一个小地方,广西的火车线达不到东兴。要从东兴去广州的话,路程是非常复杂。我要先坐长途公共汽车去广西的省会南宁市,然后从南宁乘火车去湖南的衡阳市,在衡阳转乘从北京南下广州的火车。这是我第一次单独一人远行,我很害怕颤惊。但正是在这次行程中,我经历了一连串奇妙、难以解释的事情。

I bought a bus ticket with the proof of official business trip that my uncle had given me. The departure time was six o’clock in the morning of the next day. I got up early in the morning before dawn when the people in the school were still asleep, carried my knapsack, and walked to the bus station. The streets were empty and desolate, which was truly amazing. If there had been police officers patrolling the streets, I would have been doomed because they all recognized my face. If they had seen me walking to the bus station with a knapsack, they would definitely inter­rogate me. If that had happened, not only would I be arrested, even my uncle would get into trouble. Again the loving true God Yahweh raised His mighty hand to send away the people so that I could walk peacefully to the bus station and get on the bus.

我用舅舅带来的出差证买了去南宁的车票,启程时间是早晨六点钟。第二天清早,天还没亮,学校里其他的人还没起床,我就静悄悄地背着背囊往公车站去。一路上没有见到一个人,单单这一点已经够奇妙了。因为如果有公安人员在巡逻的话,我就糟糕了,他们全都认得我的面孔。他们若看到我背着背囊走进公车站,就一定会查问我。那么不但我走不了,可能连舅舅都会被牵连在内。但慈爱的真神雅伟又伸出大能的双手把所有的人都调走了,让我平平安安地进了车站,上了公车。

On the bus I chose a window seat. Soon a man around fifty years old with a gentle face and mild manners sat next to me. The bus de­parted on time at six o’clock. I looked at the streets of Dongxing, and saw them getting farther and farther away from me. I had been living in this small town for three months, not knowing if I will ever come back here in the future. (As of this date in 2017, thirty nine years have passed, and I still have not gone back to Dongxing).

我上车后,就选了一个靠窗的位子坐下。不一会儿一个大概五十岁左右,样子和举止都很斯文有礼的叔叔在我旁边的位子坐下。公车准时在六点钟开出,我望着东兴的街道逐渐远去消失。我在这小镇里暂住了三个月,我不知道将来我会不会重来(一直到2017年的今天,三十九年已过去了,我都没有重回东兴)。

The gentleman sitting next to me and I started a conversation. I don’t remember who took the initiative to talk first. His family name was Xia, so I called him Uncle Xia. He was on an official trip from Gansu province to Dongxing, Nanning, and Hengyang. I told him a big lie, saying that I was from Guangzhou. I said I had just graduated from high school, and came to Dongxing to visit my relatives, and now I am going back to Guangzhou. Uncle Xia listened, smiled, and nodded his head. I asked him if the bus station and train station in Nanning were far from each other, and how would one buy a train ticket to Hengyang, and so on. He told me it was not easy to buy a train ticket at the counter. Some people couldn’t buy a ticket and were stranded at the train station for a long time. When I heard that, I was scared, for this was not going according to plan. I thought that so long as I had the proof of official business trip, plus food coupons and money, I could go anywhere I wanted. I was too naive. Uncle Xia encouraged me not to worry, and said once we reach Nanning, he will use his own proof of official business trip to buy me a train ticket.

我和邻座的叔叔谈起话来,我忘记了是我还是他先主动开口。他姓“夏”,从甘肃出差到东兴、南宁、衡阳。我撒了个弥天大谎,我说我是广州人,刚刚中学毕业后不久就来东兴探望我的亲戚,现在要回广州去。夏叔叔听了,只是微笑点点头。我问他从南宁的公车站去火车站有多远,怎样买火车票去衡阳等等事情。他告诉我火车票不好买,有些人买不到火车票就被滞留在火车站很长的时间。我听了就害怕起来,在我的计划中,我从没计算过这一点。我傻乎乎地以为有了出差证、粮票和人民币就可以通行无阻,我实在太天真了。夏叔叔就安慰我,叫我不用担心,到了南宁他会用他的出差证替我买火车票。

The bus reached Nanning at around two or three o’clock in the afternoon. Uncle Xia walked me from the bus station to the train station, which was very crowded. He told me to wait at a particular corner and not to wander off. Then he went to the ticket counter to buy the tickets. After some time, he came back with two tickets for an overnight train from Nanning to Hengyang which departed at either seven or eight o’clock, I don’t remember exactly. Because it was still early, Uncle Xia took me to a Muslim restaurant, and we had a Muslim meal together. Only then did I know that he was a Muslim. After dinner, we went back to the train station just when it was time to get on the train. Uncle Xia was very kind to me, taking good care of me like an uncle taking care of a niece. He knew that I liked to watch the scenery, so he let me have the window seat. We talked about many things, and I soon realized that his knowledge was very broad, and he understood all the topics I brought up.

公车在下午两、三点左右抵达南宁,夏叔叔带着我去火车站。火车站里人山人海非常拥挤,夏叔叔叫我站在一个角落里,不要乱走,然后他去车票柜台买票。过了一会儿,夏叔叔就顺利地买了两张从南宁到衡阳的车票回来。那是一班夜车,晚上七点或八点开出,我记不清楚了。因为时间还早,夏叔叔带我去一家回民饭店,我们吃了一顿回民菜的饭,那时候我才知道他是个回民(回教徒)。饭后我们回去火车站,时间刚好可以上火车了。夏叔叔很恩慈,他真的仿佛我的亲叔叔一般地照顾我。他知道我喜欢看风景,他就让我坐在靠窗的位子上来看个够。我们继续天南地北地谈话,我发现夏叔叔的知识很广阔,我无论说到什么话题,他都明白了解。

It was deep into the night. The attendant had turned off the lights, and the passengers were falling asleep one by one. I myself had not slept well the night before I left Dongxing because I was too tense. Today I spent the whole day on the bus and the train, so by night time I was very tired. I closed my eyes and fell asleep immediately. When I woke up in the morning, I saw that Uncle Xia was sitting on the corridor floor. He let me take his seat so that I could have two seats and sleep more comforta­bly. When I saw what he had done for me, I kept on apologiz­ing to him and thanking him. He simply smiled and nodded his head without saying a word.

夜深了,服务员把车厢的灯关掉,乘客们都陆续入睡。我在离开东兴前的晚上就没睡好,因为太紧张了,接着今天一整天地舟车劳顿,到了晚上我已很疲倦,一闭上眼睛就睡着了。第二天清早醒来,我才发现夏叔叔坐在通道的地板上。他把他的位子让给我,好让我有两个位子,可以睡得舒服一点。我连连向他又道歉、又感谢,他只是微笑点点头,并没说什么。

Hunan province is one of the main rice producing regions in China. When the train entered Hunan, from the window I saw huge plots of rice fields; it was very fascinating. Uncle Xia told me that the train was about to arrive at Hengyang. He said that upon arrival, he will need to go to another place, so I will have to buy the train ticket to Guangzhou by myself. When I heard that, I was very scared. Uncle Xia saw that I was scared, and had compass­ion on me. He encouraged me not to worry, saying that after we reach Hengyang, he will make a phone call to his sup­erior to ask for permission to change his itinerary to go to Guangzhou first, then to his final destination.

湖南是中国的主要产米地区之一。火车进入湖南省后,车窗外面可以看到大片大片绿油油的稻田,令人心旷神怡。夏叔叔告诉我快到衡阳了,他说到了衡阳后,他要去另一个地方,我就要自己买火车票去广州了。我一听就害怕起来,夏叔叔看见我害怕的样子,他又动了怜悯之心。他安慰我不要害怕,他说到达衡阳后,他就打个电话给他的领导,看看可不可以把他的行程改一改,先去广州,然后再转回他本来要去的那个地方。

When the train arrived at Hengyang station, Uncle Xia again told me to wait for him at a corner and not to walk around. He went to make a phone call to his superior. After a while he came back with a big smile saying that he will accompany me to Guangzhou. He again used his official business trip proof to buy two tickets to Guangzhou, and we got on to the train with no difficulty. According to the train schedule, the train is expected to arrive in Guangzhou at around seven o’clock in the evening. I was grateful to Uncle Xia for his care for me, but I had told a big lie to deceive him, and felt ashamed of myself. When the train was approaching Guangzhou, I apologized to him and told him the truth. I wasn’t a student from Guangzhou but a Chinese Vietnamese escaping out of Vietnam. I was going to Guangzhou to look for my uncle. Uncle Xia smiled again and nodded his head, saying, “I knew all along that you didn’t grow up in China, because you are not like the girls in China.”

火车到达衡阳车站后,夏叔叔又叫我站在一个角落,不要乱走,然后他去打电话给他的领导。过了不多时,他满面笑容地回来说可以陪我去广州。他又用他的出差证买了两张去广州的车票,我们顺利地上了火车。按照时间表,火车将于晚上七点到达广州。我心里非常感谢夏叔叔对我的照顾,但我却编造了一个大谎言来欺骗他,我觉得很羞愧。火车快到广州时,我向夏叔叔道歉,我告诉他我骗了他,我不是广州的中学生,我是从越南逃过来的华侨,我去广州找我的舅舅。夏叔叔又是微笑点点头,然后他说:“我早就知道了,妳不是在中国长大的,中国的女孩子不像妳这样的!”

We got off at Guangzhou station. Uncle Xia said goodbye to me and walked away quietly. I haven’t seen him since. This encounter with Uncle Xia has always been in my mind in the past thirty something years. As I get older and experience more things, the more I see that this encounter is amazing and beyond explanation.

我们在广州火车站下车,夏叔叔向我道别,然后他就默默掉头走了。从此以后,我没有再见到他。这三十多年来,与夏叔叔的短暂的交往一直存留在我脑海里。当我年纪越大,阅历越多,我就越觉得这段经历非常奇妙和难以解释。

First of all, why was he willing to help me to this extent? In the journey from Nanning to Hengyang he was willing to guide me and buy me a train ticket. That could still be explained because he was travelling on the same route. After we arrived in Hengyang, he was supposed to go to another place for his official duties, but was willing to change his itinerary to help me. Even his superior allowed him to make the change at the last minute, which was amazing. He helped me out of compassion, not for his own benefit. Is there such a good person in the world? All along he knew that I was lying to him, that I wasn’t a student from Guangzhou but someone of suspicious origin, in which case he should have handed me over to the police. Even if he didn’t have the heart to do such a thing, he should at least have distanced himself from me to avoid implicating himself in case I got caught by the police.

首先,为什么他愿意这样帮助我?从南宁到衡阳那段路程,他愿意带领我和替我买火车票,那还可以理解,因为他也是顺路。到达衡阳后,他本来要去另一个地方出差,却为了我的缘故而临时改变计划。而且他的领导也准许他这样做,那真是不可思议啊!他帮助我是纯粹出于同情心,完全不是为了自己的利益,世界上会有这么好的人吗?既然他早已知道我在撒谎,我不是什么广州的中学生,而是一个来路不明的人,他应该把我交给公安局才对。即使他不忍心这样做,但他应该立刻与我划清界线,不相交往。因为万一我被捕的话,他和我在一起,那很可能会把他也牵连进去。

Because I didn’t book a train ticket in advance, he used his own official business trip proof to buy me a ticket on the spot. He seemed to be a person of high standing, but the higher his standing in the country, the more he should have been careful to avoid any trouble that could arise from associat­ing with some­one of unknown origin like me. But he was willing to go through a lot of trouble even to the point of asking his superior to change his itinerary in order to accompany me all the way to Guangzhou. That was really beyond comprehension. I know it was again an amazing act of the only true God Yahweh. God used a Muslim to lead me from Dongxing to Guangzhou. Was He giving me a message through this act?

我没有预订火车票,他用他的出差证立刻替我买到车票,不用预订,看来他是个地位蛮高的干部。地位越高的人就越要小心,免得惹上麻烦,所以他应该立刻避开我这种来路不明的人。但是他却大费周章,甚至向领导请求改变行程,千里迢迢地护送我到广州。这确是无法理解!我知道这又是真神雅伟的奇妙作为。但祂使用一个回民(回教徒)来护送我,祂是不是借此向我传达一个重要的信息呢?

Soon after Uncle Xia and I had parted company at Guangzhou, I went around asking people which bus I should take to go to my uncle’s address. Another uncle told me to take Bus 14. When the bus came, I followed the crowd to board it. While the bus was leaving the train station square, the street lights quickly became dimmer and dimmer. In less than one minute, it was completely dark outside.

夏叔叔离开后,我就拿着舅舅的地址去问人家要乘哪一路公车去,另外一个叔叔告诉我要乘14号公车。不一会,14号公车来了,我就跟着大家上车。车子离开火车站后,街道上的灯光就迅速暗淡下来了。不到一分钟,车窗外已经是一片黑漆漆地。

I was planning to get off when I see the street name of my uncle’s house, but now I couldn’t see a thing. What should I do? It was already past 7 p.m., almost 8 p.m., and if I should get lost at night time, there could be serious consequences. I was very scared, and my hands were shaking.

我本来以为一看到舅舅家的街道,就可以下车,但现在我什么都看不到,那可怎么办?现在是晚上七点多快八点了,如果我迷了路,后果就不堪设想!我越想越害怕,双手都发抖起来了。

Suddenly it seemed as if a voice was speaking to me: “Get off now!” I immediately got off the bus. But after I got off, the street was pitch dark and desolate, with no one walking around. I was standing there alone, shaking. Then I saw a dim light far away, and immediately ran towards it. When I stood in front of the light which was coming from a house, I walked up to knock on the door despite the potential danger.

忽然仿佛有一个声音对我说:“现在下车!”我就立刻下车。但下了车之后,周围一片漆黑,真正是伸手不见五指。街道上渺无一人,只有我独自站在那里发抖。忽然我看见远处有一点微弱的亮光,我就直朝着那点亮光冲过去。当我走到那亮光前,发现原来是一个房子里的灯光。我也豁出去了,不管好人坏人,先敲门再说。

A middle-aged man opened the door, and asked me who I was looking for. I gave him my uncle’s name and asked if he knew him. It turned out that he was my uncle’s colleague from the same work unit, and that my uncle had already told him that his niece will be coming to town soon. That was another unbelievable and amazing incident!

有人开门出来,又是一位叔叔,他问我找谁,我告诉他我舅舅的名字,我问他认不认识我舅舅。原来这位叔叔正是舅舅工作单位的同事,而且舅舅早已告诉他有一个外甥女要来了。这又是一件令人难以相信的奇妙的事情!

The man took me to my uncle’s place which was right behind his house. When my uncle and my cousin saw me standing at the door, they were shocked and overjoyed. I told them how I had met Uncle Xia, and how he had brought me all the way to Guangzhou. I told them how I took Bus 14 from the train station to this place, and stumbled upon the house of my uncle’s colleague. They both said it was an extremely dangerous thing for me to do, and I was very lucky. At that time I didn’t understand a lot of things, and thought that I was lucky. But as I get older and become more experienced, I know that everything succeeded not because of luck but because of the grace and compassion of Yahweh, the only true God.

我舅舅的家就在这叔叔的房子的后面,他就带我去舅舅的家。当舅舅和表弟看到我忽然在门前出现,他们又是惊讶又是高兴。我告诉他们我怎样遇上夏叔叔,然后夏叔叔护送我到广州,到达广州火车站后,我乘14号公车到了这里附近下车,接着横冲直撞地撞到舅舅的同事家门口等等事情。他们都说实在太危险了,而我是太幸运了!当时我不知天高地厚,还以为自己真的很幸运,后来我才明白这不是幸运,而是真神雅伟的恩慈和怜悯!

From Guangzhou to the city of Beihai in Guangxi province
从广州到广西省的北海市

I stayed temporarily at my uncle’s place, but I was not a registered resident of Guangzhou. My uncle told me not to worry about it, for he will take care of my registration. Two days later, my sister, my brother-in-law, and their toddler son arrived. Later on, more and more Chinese Vietnamese came to Guangzhou from the border towns, but none of them had a residence permit to stay in Guangzhou. So Guangzhou’s municipal government set up a temporary shelter for them in the district of Sanyuanli. My sister and brother-in-law decided to move to the shelter, but my uncle told me not to move there, but to continue staying at his house.

我在舅舅家里暂住下来,但我是没有户口的。舅舅叫我不用担心,他说他会想办法替我弄到在广州市的户口。过了两天,我姐姐和姐夫也带着他们的小儿子来了。后来,越来越多的越南华侨从边界各城镇来到广州,他们全都是没有户口的,所以广州市政府就在广州的三元里区设立了一个收容所,好让他们暂时居住。姐姐和姐夫决定搬到那个收容所去,但舅舅叫我继续在他家中居住,不要进那个收容所。

I would often visit the temporary shelter to see my sister and brother-in-law. The friends whom we got to know in Dongxing also arrived, one group after another. When we got together, we would obviously talk about our future, and where we might end up. Most of the Chinese Vietnamese from North Vietnam did not come to Guangzhou, but were fishermen who kept their fishing boats with them and stayed in the coastal cities of Guangxi province. On the other hand, many of the Chinese Vietnamese in Guangzhou came from South Vietnam, and were planning to negotiate with these Chinese Vietnamese fishermen to take them to Hong Kong on their fishing boats. At the same time, the Chinese government didn’t want us to stay, and encouraged us to leave China.

我常常去三元里的收容所探望姐姐和姐夫。我们在东兴认识的朋友们也陆续来到了。我们聚在一起就自然而然地谈到自己的前途,将来何去何从等等问题。当时大部分越南北方的渔民华侨都带着他们的渔船留在广西的沿海城镇,没有到广州来。很多在广州的越南南方华侨正在计划去广西找那些渔民商量,大家可以一起乘那些渔船前往香港。中国政府也不希望我们留下来,他们鼓励我们离开中国。

Not long afterwards, my brother-in-law contacted some friends and they made all the arrangements for him, my sister, and their son, to board a boat at Guangxi. I didn’t have money for the trip, so I couldn’t go along with them. I still hadn’t decided whether to leave or to stay in China. I was staying at my uncle’s place, and he loved me very much. On the other hand, I was thinking about my future. I hadn’t forgotten my childhood dream of studying overseas. My uncle loved me, yet he encouraged me to leave China. My uncle and my aunt knew that I didn’t have money, so they gave me a sum of money that they had been saving for years, and told me to look for a way to go out.

不久,姐夫已经联系了几个朋友,并做好了一切安排,所以姐姐和姐夫就带着小儿子前往广西上船。我没有钱付那笔费用,所以我不能同去。当时我也不知道应该留在中国还是离开。我住在舅舅家里,他很疼爱我。但另一方面,我想到自己的前途,我不能忘记从童年以来的出国留学的梦想。舅舅很爱我,但是他也鼓励我要离开中国。舅舅和阿姨知道我没有钱,他们把多年积蓄的一笔钱放在我手里,叫我想办法离开。

My uncle buried my mother’s ashes next to my grandmother’s tomb. My mother’s dream of thirty something years was finally fulfilled when I brought her back to the homeland. Finally she was buried safely in the soil of her homeland. I stood in front of her tomb, and made my mind to leave China, to go over­seas to rebuild my shattered future.

舅舅把母亲的骨灰安葬在外祖母的墓地旁边。母亲三十多年的心愿已达成,我已把她带回祖国,现在她安安稳稳地睡在祖国的泥土中。我站在母亲的墓地前,我下定决心要走了,我要去重建那被砸得粉碎的前途。

At the temporary shelter I met some of my old friends from Dongxing. One of them was Aunt Q, a woman in her fifty’s who used to be a businesswoman in Saigon. Her husband had passed away, and her children were staying in the United States and Hong Kong. I brought her back to my uncle’s place for dinner, and he discerned that she was reliable and was experienced in dealing with people in society. He knew that my going to Guangxi to make a deal with the Chinese Vietnamese fisher­men would be risky and that I would be easily deceived. He said he would let me go to Guangxi only on the condition that Aunt Q was willing to take me along with her. When I brought her to my uncle’s place for a second time for dinner, he asked her directly whether she would be willing to take me along with her to leave China. She immediately agreed.

我在三元里的华侨收容所找到东兴的旧朋友们,其中有一位五十岁左右的阿姨 (以下简称为Q姨)。她以前在西贡做生意,她的丈夫已去世,儿女们散住在美国和香港。我带她回舅舅家吃饭,舅舅认为她很可靠,而且社会阅历丰富。舅舅知道去广西找那些渔民要冒很大的危险,而且很容易被坏人欺骗。舅舅说如果Q姨愿意带我一块走的话,他才放心让我离开。我第二次带Q姨回家吃饭的时候,舅舅直接问她愿不愿意带着我一块走,她很豪爽地一口答应下来。

Soon Aunt Q was negotiating with some people to arrange a trip to Guangxi. I didn’t understand many things, and just followed her wherever she went. She was very capable, and everything was arranged within a short time. At the end of 1978, in mid-December, I said goodbye to my uncle’s family and journeyed off once again. I had stayed in Guangzhou for around seven mouths. Aunt Q and I, with seven or eight others, all of them friends we got to know in Dongxing, departed from Guangzhou, passing through Jiangmen and Zhanjiang, and finally reached the city of Beihai in Guangxi province.

Q姨立刻带头找人商量,做好去广西的安排,我什么都不懂,只是跟着她跑。Q姨很能干,没多久就安排好一切。1978年底,大概12月中,我向舅舅一家人道别,又再次踏上征途。我在广州一共呆了大概七个月。Q姨和我,另外还有七、八个人,全都是在东兴认识的朋友,大家一起从广州出发,经过江门、湛江,最后抵达广西的北海市。

There were Chinese Vietnamese everywhere in Beihai, and everyone was talking openly about leaving by fishing boat. The Chinese govern­ment was aware of our purpose in coming to Beihai, and encouraged us to take the fishing boats to leave China. But we were not allowed to take along any Chinese citizen. Therefore whenever a Vietnamese fishing boat was about to leave, the Chinese government would send police officers to check every passenger’s ID to make sure that everyone was Chinese Vietnam­ese, and not a Chinese citizen.

在北海市到处都是越南华侨,大家很公开地谈论找渔船出海的事情。中国政府知道越南华侨们来北海的目的是什么,他们也鼓励我们乘船离开中国,但决不能带任何一名中国公民上船。所以每一艘越南渔船离开的时候,中国政府派干部来检查每个人的身份证,要确定每个乘客都是越南华侨,不是中国公民。

Braving the wind and the waves, we sailed to Hong Kong
乘风破浪前往香港

We all stayed at a small inn, and every day Aunt Q and several uncles would negotiate with the fishermen. I and some girls of similar age walked to the harbor to gaze at the sea and to daydream about the future. We stayed in Beihai for around one month. After everything had been arranged, in mid-January 1979 we boarded a Vietnamese fishing boat and left China. Looking back, I arrived in China in mid-February 1978, and left China in January 1979, staying in China a total of eleven months.

我们一行人先在旅馆住下来,Q姨和几位叔叔们每天都出去找那些渔民商量。我和几位年龄相若的女孩子常去海边看海和做梦。我们在北海市住了大概一个月后,一切都安排好了,在1979年1月中,我们上了一艘越南的渔船离开中国。我在1978年2月来到中国,在1979年1月离开,我一共逗留了十一个月。

The fishing boat that we took was primitive, with two sails and no engine. It was operated by a helms­man and two or three sailors who assisted him. There was a total of 23 passengers. The helmsman explained to us that the boat will sail along China’s coast line. The boat will not venture into international waters because it was too small to survive the stormy waves in those waters. He said that the most dangerous segment was the Qiongzhou strait that ran between Guangdong province and Hainan island. Even on sunny days the waves would surge towards the sky, and many boats had gotten into grave danger in that region. He estimated that it would take slightly more than one month to reach Hong Kong. They had sufficient food and water on the boat for around twenty days, but we could sail to the towns along the Chinese coast to buy food and water. He told us to lie on the lower deck and avoid the upper deck because of the strong winds and waves. I didn’t know how to swim, yet the strange thing was that I wasn’t afraid at all, being filled with the same warmth and peace that I had while crossing the China-Vietnam border. The peace filled my heart once again, and I knew with absolute certainty that I will reach Hong Kong safely.

那艘渔船非常简陋,根本没有引擎,就靠两面风帆。渔船由一位船长掌舵,他有两、三个助手帮助他,船上一共有二十三名乘客。船长告诉我们渔船会沿着中国的海岸线行驶,不会进入公海,因为我们的船太简陋了,经不起公海的风浪。他说最危险的是在广东和海南岛之间的琼州海峡,即使在风和日丽的日子,那一带还是海浪滔天,很多渔船就是在那里遇险。船长预计需要一个多月才可以到达香港,船上储备的食物和水只够二十天左右,但我们可以靠近中国沿海的城镇购买粮食和水。他嘱咐我们要在船舱里躺下来休息,不要随便跑到甲板上去,因为风浪很大。我不会游泳,但奇怪的是我一点都不害怕。我在中越边界涉水过河时所经历的那股温暖平安又再次充满了我的心灵,我知道我一定能够平安到达香港。

Our fishing boat would sail by day and anchor by night. The winds and waves were truly strong. Most of the people got seasick and vomited, but I was completely fine. All the way from Beihai to Hong Kong I didn’t vomit once, and was even able to help those who were vomiting badly.

渔船在白天就扬帆航行,晚上就落帆抛锚休息。一路上果然风浪极大,很多人都晕船呕吐了,我却完全没事。从北海一直到香港,我没有吐过一次,当同船的人吐得很严重时,我还去照顾他们。

After sailing a few days, we encountered a Chinese fishing boat that was much bigger than ours, and was equipped with a powerful engine. We told them that our boat was transporting a group of Chinese Vietnamese out of Vietnam, and that we were planning to sail along China’s coast to go to Hong Kong. We asked them about the situation in Qiongzhou strait, and they said it was really turbulent there. Moreover, there was an undercurrent which could pose a great danger to our boat which was small and lacked an engine. Some people in our boat immediately asked them if they would be willing to pull us through the strait with a rope. We asked them to name a price to begin negotiation. The Chinese fishermen were very interested, and after several offers and counter offers, we agreed on the price. These Chinese fishermen and our sailors used several huge ropes to tie the two boats toget­her, with the Chinese fishing boat in front, and our boat being towed behind, as we travelled together towards Qiong­zhou strait. Our boat was being pulled, so we lowered the two sails.

船行几天后,我们遇上了一艘中国渔船。那艘船比我们的船大得多,而且装配着强大的引擎。我们坦白地告诉他们,我们是从越南出来的渔船,打算沿着中国的海岸线前往香港。我们询问他们关于琼州海峡的情况,他们说那里不但海浪大,而且有暗流漩涡,我们的船太小,又没有引擎,所以非常危险。我们当中有几个人立刻问他们愿不愿意用缆绳拖着我们过琼州海峡,我们请他们开个价钱出来,大家好斟酌商量。那些渔民听了也很感兴趣,经过一番讨价还价后,双方决定了一个价钱。那些中国渔民和我们的水手用几根粗大的缆绳把两艘船联起来。中国的渔船在前,我们的船在后,向着琼州海峡前进。因为那艘大渔船拖着我们,所以我们把风帆降下来。

After one or two days we were approaching Qiongzhou strait, and both boats anchored. Our sailors and the Chinese fishermen listened attentively to the radio weather forecast to decide which day to sail through the strait. Our helmsman told all of us to stay in the lower deck, and not go to the upper deck where he and his assistants were working. We entered Qiongzhou strait around 8 o’clock in the morn­ing. The waves billowed to the skies, tossing our small boat midair, and then throwing it down. Everyone in the lower deck was vomiting except me. I wasn’t scared at all, which is amazing! I was even running back and forth to take care of the others. Later, when the smell was getting unbearable, I went to the upper deck to breath in some fresh air. I was squatting at a corner of the upper deck, and watching wave after wave coming at us. The big Chinese fishing boat was pulling us forward, braving the winds and the waves. Only then did I truly understand what the Chinese phrase “braving wind and waves” meant. I saw the waves going up and down, one moment lifting the big fishing boat mid-air about two stories high, with our small boat below. The next moment things were reversed: we were tossed mid-air while the big fishing boat was below us. Then we would be thrown down again while the big fishing boat was tossed mid-air. I was not afraid at all, for the same peace and warmth surrounded me and wrapped me with a sense of security. I even took in the magnificence of the scene that is seldom seen in one’s lifetime.

过了一、两天后,我们已接近琼州海峡,两艘船抛锚停下来。我们的船长和那些渔民仔细收听电台的天气预报后,决定了在哪一天过海峡。船长吩咐我们全部躺在船舱里,不要跑到甲板上,只有他和几个助手在甲板上工作。早上大概八点钟左右,我们进入琼州海峡水域。那里果然海浪滔天,我们的小渔船被海浪抛到半空,跟着又被扔下来,船舱里所有人都吐了。奇怪!只有我一人既不吐也不害怕,我还跑来跑去照顾同船的人。后来因为呕吐的气味太难闻,我受不了,我便跑上甲板去呼吸一下清新的空气。我蹲在甲板上的一个角落里,看着浪头一个接着一个打来。中国的大渔船拖着我们破浪前进,那时候我才明白什么叫做“乘风破浪”。我看见海浪一起一伏,有时候大渔船在半空中,有两层楼那么高,我们的小渔船在下面;跟着我们被抛到半空,大渔船在下面;接下来我们又从半空中被扔下来,大渔船又被抛上去。我还是一点都不害怕,那股温暖平安把我稳妥地包裹在里面。我还觉得这情景非常壮观,确是“人生难得一见”。

A few hours later, at around three or four o’clock in the afternoon, we had safely sailed through Qiongzhou strait, and the waves became calm. We fervently thanked the Chinese fisherman for their help, and they eagerly returned home for the Chinese Lunar New Year. It was only then that I realized that it was the Chinese Lunar New Year. Last year, on the second day of the Lunar New Year, at one o’clock early morning, I left my home in Saigon to go up north. One year had since passed, and I didn’t know when I will ever come back to China again.

经过几个小时后,大概下午三、四点钟,我们安全地通过了琼州海峡,海浪平静下来了。我们非常感谢中国渔民们的帮助,他们也高高兴兴地回家过春节。那时我才知道原来春节已到了,去年春节大年初二凌晨一点钟,我离开西贡北上,一眨眼一年已过去,现在又是春节了。我不知道将来什么时候我才重回中国。

Our small boat was sailing slowly towards Hong Kong, but everyone was getting weaker and weaker because they had been vomiting every day. Most of the food they took in had been vomited out. Only I and the helmsman and his assistants were not affected. We were hoping to reach Hong Kong earlier, but our small boat relied on sails; and with the wind against us, we could only sail a short distance every day.

我们的小渔船继续慢慢地向着香港前进,但大家的身体越来越衰弱,因为每天都吐,吃下去的食物大部分都吐出来,只有我和船长跟那些水手们没受到什么影响。我们都希望早点到达香港,但我们的小渔船是用风帆的,碰上逆风的日子,一天只能走一点点的路。

A few days later, we encountered a small boat from South Vietnam. It was even smaller than ours, but it was equipped with an engine. There was only one family on the boat. They had run out of engine fuel, and the boat was floating in the ocean. Their food supply was finished, and they hadn’t eaten for two days. They thought that they would certainly die, and could not imagine that they would run into us. We immediately gave them food. We all felt very excited because having company was the best thing that could happen in the lonely boundless ocean. After they had eaten sufficiently, the sailors from both boats discussed things among themselves and came up with a plan. Because the other boat couldn’t travel after running out of fuel, our boat could pull them to the nearest town to buy fuel and food. Our boat was small, but the other boat was even smaller. Pulling the other boat would slow our sailing considerably, but we only had to travel a short distance, which we believe we would be able to cover. And after they buy enough fuel, it will be their turn to pull us. Their small boat was equipped with a high-powered engine that could tow us to Hong Kong without much problem.

过了几天,我们遇上了一艘从越南南方出来的小船。那艘船比我们的还要小, 但配有引擎,船上只有一个家庭。他们说因为引擎的燃料用尽,船在海面上漂流,船上的食物已吃光,他们已经两天没有饭吃,本来以为必死无疑,万万想不到在绝望的时候却碰上我们。我们立刻把食物送给他们吃,大家都非常兴奋,在茫茫大海中有个同伴是最好的事。等他们吃饱了之后,两艘船的水手商量拟定了一个计划。因为他们没有燃料,不能行驶,我们可以把他们拖到最接近的沿海小镇买燃料和食物。我们的小帆船虽然小,但他们的船比我们的更小,我们拖着他们虽然会更慢,但只是走一点点的路,应该还办得到。等他们买了足够的燃料后,就轮到他们拖着我们前进。他们的小船装备了马力极强大的引擎,拖我们的帆船是绝对不成问题,我们两艘船可以一块驶往香港。

After buying fuel and food from a coastal town, we set off for Hong Kong. The people of both boats wanted to reach Hong Kong as soon as possible after having spent a long time sailing at day and anchoring at night. We didn’t delay further, and decided to have both boats go non-stop day and night, with the sailors taking turns to rest. We estimated that it wouldn’t take more than ten days to reach Hong Kong.

我们在一个沿海小镇买了燃料和食物后,接着就准备向香港进发。本来我们的小帆船是白天行驶,晚上抛锚休息;但现在两艘船的人都想尽快到达香港,不想再拖延了。所以大家决定我们两艘船日夜不停地行驶,水手们可以轮流休息。我们预计应该不用十天的功夫就可以到达香港。

The two boats were tied toget­her to go to Hong Kong non-stop day and night. The engine was very powerful, and we were travelling at relatively high speed. After travelling seven or eight days at high speed, our helmsman told us one afternoon that we had passed Macau, and that we will be reaching Hong Kong in a few hours. The waters between Macau and Hong Kong were very rough, almost as rough as those of the Qiong­zhou strait. Even the helms­man’s assistants were vomiting. Only the helmsman and I were not affected. A girl was vomiting blood because her stomach had been damaged by uncontrollable vomiting. She was crying, “I don’t want to live anymore, just let me die!” I encouraged her, “Don’t just think about yourself, think about your father and mother in Vietnam who are waiting for news from you, think about your brothers and sisters in France who are waiting for news from you, think about your boyfriend in Hong Kong who is waiting for news from you. We have already gone through so much danger and suffering, and we will reach Hong Kong in just a few hours. So you must carry on!”

两艘船连在一起日夜不停地向香港前进,因为引擎的马力强大,所以船行速度很快。经过七、八天全速行驶后,在一个下午,船长说我们已过了澳门,还有几个小时就到达香港。但澳门与香港之间的水域海浪很大,跟琼州海峡差不多,连船长的几个助手都呕吐了,唯独船长和我完全不受影响。有一个女孩子吐出血来,因为她吐得太多,她的胃已受了伤。她哭着说:“我不要活了,让我死掉算了!”我鼓励她说:“妳不要只想自己,妳要想想妳的爸爸妈妈在越南等着妳的消息,妳的弟弟妹妹在法国等着妳的消息,妳的男朋友在香港等着妳,多少的危险和苦难我们都熬过去了,现在还有几个小时就到香港了,妳一定要撑下去!”

At around nine o’clock in the evening, a Hong Kong coast guard boat stopped our two boats. We knew that we had reached the territorial waters of Hong Kong, so we all rejoiced, jumping up and down like little children. The Hong Kong coast guards searched the two boats to make sure that there were no weapons or drugs, then they towed our two boats with their huge coast guard boat. Around midnight we reached the piers of Kowloon. We had spent 46 days at sea, setting off from Beihai in January 1979, and finally reaching Hong Kong in mid-February.

在晚上大概九点钟左右,香港的海警船出来把我们两艘船截住。我们知道已进入香港领海了,大家高兴得像小孩子般的欢腾跳跃起来。香港的海警们把两艘船检查一遍,确定了没有武器和毒品,然后他们就用那庞大的海警船拖着我们两艘船前进。大概十二点钟左右,我们抵达九龙码头。1979年1月我们从北海出发,在海上一共行驶了四十六天后,终于在2月中到达香港。

(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church