Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia
By Michael Vatikiotis.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 336 pages; £20

SOUTH-EAST ASIA is adorned by jungles, islands and gleaming skyscrapers. Home to more than 640m people, the variety of the region’s 11 countries defies most analytical attempts at clustering them together. Sweeping takes often fail to encapsulate the complexity of ancient cultures, languages and people that are to be found from the tip of Timor-Leste to the top of Myanmar.  This is precisely what makes “Blood and Silk”, Michael Vatikiotis’s frenetic overview of politics in South-East Asia, so ambitious.
东南亚到处是丛林、岛屿和闪闪发光的摩天大楼。该地区拥有超过6.4亿的人口,涉及11个国家,要试图将他们聚在一起,极具挑战。因为很难将这11个国家各自的古老文化、语言和人们的复杂程度一概而论。这正是 Michael Vatikiotis 费心创作《血与丝绸》的原因,该书对东南亚政治见解独特。

from the tip of 【释义】从…尖端【背景】这里 from the tip of 其实有一个我们熟知的短语,那就是 from the tip of iceberg —冰山一角的意思,冰山一角指现指所暴露出来的只是事物的一小部分。比如:We get about 200 complaints from consumers every day and it is just the tip of the iceberg.我们每天接到来自消费者的投诉有200个左右,但这只是冰山一角。

本文衍生出的意思是指古老的文化,语言… 那么from the tip of 中 tip 有小费,尖端的意思,在这个短语中我们采用尖端这个意思,还可以衍生出其他许多例子。

【例句】It forms from the tip of a TV tower, then branches up to the cloud above.


In his analysis of the power structures which define the region, Mr Vatikiotis, a private diplomat, analyses the role of monarchies and elite groups in perpetuating political uncertainty. Corruption, violence and religious extremism follow in cycles of misery: “When the water is high the fish eat the ants; when the water is low the ants eat the fish,” goes a Cambodian saying he records. An array of interview subjects, from Malaysian bigwigs with faded clothes to Javanese taxi drivers who believe in royal magic, provide small glimpses of humanity amid a landscape darkly portrayed.
瓦提乔提斯先生作为一名私人外交官,在对该地区的权力结构进行分析时,分析了君主和精英集团在政治不稳定中所扮演的角色。腐败、暴力和宗教极端主义都是在痛苦的循环中出现的,一个柬埔寨人曾说过:“当水位高时,鱼可以吃蚂蚁;而水位低时,蚂蚁就能吃鱼”。 在一系列的采访中,采访对象高至穿着褪色衣服的马来西亚的大人物,低至爪哇的出租车司机,他们均相信皇室的魔力——即使在黑暗环境中,也能让我们对人性惊鸿一瞥。

The most intriguing insights regard the nature of power itself in South-East Asia. “Power is regarded as an absolute attribute …you either have it, or you don’t,” Mr Vatikiotis writes. “And your life is worth far less if you don’t.” His understanding comes from time spent both as a journalist, pestering officials, and as a peace negotiator, challenging them. In America former presidents plan libraries and speaking tours; by contrast, leaders in South-East Asia fear their own decline. Hun Sen, Cambodia’s prime minister, has been in charge since 1985.
该书最有趣的见解是关于东南亚权力本身的性质。 “权力被认为是一个绝对的属性。你要么有,要么没有”, Vatikiotis 先生写道:“如果你没有,那么你的生命价值将少之又少”。 他的见解形成于他曾作为一名不断为难政府官员的记者,和不断的质疑他们的和平主义交涉者的时期。在美国,前总统计划着建设图书馆和开展巡回演讲;相比之下,东南亚的领导人则是担心自己权利的衰退。柬埔寨首相Hun Sen自1985年以来就一直在掌权。

Systems of patronage break down unless the man or woman at the top stays there. So he or she tends to cling to the position for as long as possible. Jewel-like historical examples embellish the book, but one in particular encapsulates this point. Sir James George Scott, a 19th-century observer of Burmese society, related that on hearing that William Gladstone had been replaced as Britain’s prime minister by Benjamin Disraeli in 1874, King Mindon  Min responded with sympathy for Gladstone, whom he supposed must be in prison.
除非权利金字塔人们长期任职,否则任免制度就会瓦解。因此,这些人倾向于尽可能长时间地处于这个位置。宝石般的史实使这本书更有意义,但其中一个特例概括了这一点。James George Scott先生,19世纪缅甸的社会观察员,讲述了有关Benjamin Disraeli在1874年取代了William Gladstone成为英国首相的消息,King Mindon Min对Gladstone表示同情,他认为Benjamin Disraeli应该被关进监狱。

encapsulate |ɪnˈkæpsjuleɪt|【释义】扼要表述;压缩;概括【背景】Encapsulate 我们可以分成两部分来看,一事前缀 en- 进入,二是后部分 capsulate —胶囊的意思,合起来就是进入胶囊的意思,我们都知道胶囊是小小的,要想将东西装进去,那一定是要压缩或是只留下精华的部分,这样单词就是概括的意思啦!【例句】It was very difficult to encapsulate the story of the revolution in a single one-hour documentary.将革命的前后经过浓缩成一部一小时的纪录片是很难的。

The competition for power is all the more desperate given the weakness of civic institutions in South-East Asia. Victims of violence and slaughter, such as those attacked in anti-communist massacres in Indonesia in the 1960s, receive little justice. Mr Vatikiotis tells how 40,000 people were killed on the island of Bali alone, now a paradisiacal destination for more than 4m tourists a year. But the bloodshed is barely discussed there amid the surfing schools and the yoga studios.  Impunity festers too in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

receive justice【释义】得到审判,讨回公道【背景】在法律中,如果你要为自己讨回公道,可以用 receive justice。我们都知道 receive 是收到,那么这里也可以换成单词 get。所以得到正义可以说 receive justice 和 get justice。Justice 是司法,公正的意思。这里有一个词组 do justice to sb/sth 公平地对待;合理地处理。文中加了一个 little,就是得不到公正的意思啦。


That is the law. You wanted justice, so you shall get justice, more.

This postcard doesn’t do justice to the wonderful scenery.

Blood and Silk” is a timely book. In Malaysia voters anticipate an election; in Thailand a new king awaits coronation; and in the Philippines the army is fighting for victory against militants linked to Islamic State (IS). China’s growing influence, and uncertainty over the role America wishes to play in the region now that Donald Trump is president, are causing a shift in alliances. The magnitude of the abuses, deceptions, conflicts and scandals which have  shaped South-East Asia’s politics over the past century is barely contained within the book’s pages. Yet Mr Vatikiotis has some advice for those trying to live and work in spite of them:  “When elephants fight, stay out of the long grass.”
《血液与丝绸》是一本及时的书。此时,在马来西亚,选民将会举行选举;在泰国,一个新国王在等待着加冕;在菲律宾,军队正在与伊斯兰国(IS)有关的武装分子战斗。随着中国影响力不断的加大,以及在Donald Trump就任美国总统期间,美国希望在该地区扮演的角色越来越不确定,共同导致了联盟的转变。在过去的一个世纪里,对东南亚政治的践踏、欺骗、冲突和丑闻在这本书中几乎看不到。 然而,Vatikiotis对那些试图生活和工作的人提出了一些建议:“大象打架时,远离草丛。”