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Fake version of Tu Youyou’s speech highly touted

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A funny thing happened between China's first female Nobel Prize winner giving her acceptance speech in Sweden and that speech reaching her home country: Two entirely different versions appeared, and the fake one became a viral hit.

最近有件好笑的事:中国第一位获得诺贝尔奖的女性,屠呦呦女士12月7日在瑞典发表诺奖感言,演讲内容却在国内流传出了两个完全不同的版本,而且假版本还受到了狂热追捧。

Considering we're living in an age when a message from Europe need not take someone to ride on horseback for a month or a pigeon to fly eastward for God knows how long, it was simply amazing that such a thing could happen, especially because Tu Youyou has been in the spotlight and almost every word she utters publicly is being reported.

想想我们目前身处的时代:要把消息从欧洲传回来,再也不需要有人骑上一个月的马,也不需要鸽子一直向东飞啊飞,飞过鬼才知道有多远的距离才能到达。所以大家都觉得挺惊奇,这样一个时代,居然还能有这种事发生。更何况,屠呦呦女士站在台上讲的每个字都即时向公众报道了。

Guess which version is genuine? The one that matter-of-factly recounts the discovery of artemisinin, or the one with extravagant literary flourishes, complete with her father explaining the origin of her given name and poetic lines such as, "I like tranquility, tranquil as the leaves of sweet wormwood; I shun the spotlight, just as the petals of sweet wormwood do; I aspire to be upright, as are the stems of sweet wormwood."

两个版本,一个质朴平淡,实事求是地叙述了青蒿素的发现,另一个则极尽华丽辞藻,不仅讲到了父亲为什么给她取这个名字,还有诗句云:“我喜欢宁静,蒿叶一样的宁静。我追求淡泊,蒿花一样的淡泊。我向往正直,蒿茎一样的正直。”猜猜哪个才是真的?

Well, sweet wormwood is the plant from which Tu and her fellow scientists successfully extracted artemisinin. Most readers were so touched by the literary version they were left in tears.

的确,青蒿素正是由屠呦呦女士和她的同事们一起从青蒿中提取出来的。所以很多读者都被这篇“文艺版致辞”感动得潸然泪下。

They just forgot that Tu is not a woman of letters, but one of science. It was totally made up by someone who obviously has great literary talent, but could not fathom the inner life of a scientist. 

他们忘了,屠呦呦女士不是作家,而是科学家。显然,“文艺版致辞”从头到尾都是由某位颇具文学天赋的人炮制的,只可惜他根本不了解一位科学家的内心世界。

 

I have not met a great many scientists, Chinese or foreign, but the ones I talked to invariably impressed me as no-nonsense and would not cloak themselves in purple prose.

我接触的国内外科学家都不多,但与我交谈过的科学家都给我留下了一个深刻的印象:他们严肃认真,用词朴素。

I don't know who fabricated the Tu speech, or for what purpose. It does not strike me as a parody. Fortunately, no mainstream media seemed to have been fooled. Yet, the fake one has probably been retweeted more than the real one because it played to the Chinese stereotype of what such a speech should be.

我不知道是谁炮制了屠呦呦女士的诺奖感言,也不知道他是出于什么目的。这篇拙劣的模仿根本没有打动我。幸运的是,主流媒体都没有被骗。但由于假感言契合了大众对中国式感言的一贯印象,其在社交媒体上的转发次数可能已经超过了真感言。

Early this year, when Professor Yu Dan, a celebrity scholar specializing in Chinese culture, publicly quoted from a speech ostensibly made by the Emperor Guangxu (1871-1908), she fell right into the trap of apocryphal text. That particular speech was actually from a historical novel, written by an author who had meticulously studied the reform-minded emperor's thoughts. However, the author employed poetic license with one detail: when the emperor was supposed to have given that speech, he was already under house arrest by the Empress Dowager.

今年早些时候,专门从事中国文化研究、受人热捧的学者于丹教授发了一条微博,援引清朝光绪帝(1871-1908)在京师大学堂的“开学讲话”,结果却不幸跌进了坑里。这段话其实来自于一本历史小说,作者倒是认真研究过这位一心变法的皇帝内心的所思所想。不过,他却在一个细节上露出了马脚:京师大学堂成立的时候,光绪帝早已被慈禧太后囚禁瀛台了。

Professor Yu should have known better. She was so ashamed, said some, that she did not come out to explain or apologize.

于教授本不应该上当。有人说,她为此肯定倍感羞愧,以至没有勇气出来回应或认错。

China's cyberspace is dotted with the flotsam and jetsam of educational and uplifting quotes, most of which are attributed to luminaries of all kinds, and quite a lot of them are made up. There is a joke that says the United States' spying network collected and sifted through all the Internet data in China and found that the Chinese are addicted to such chicken soup, including that from dubious sources.

中国的网络上充斥着大批“名人名言”,看上去极具教育意义,充满励志的正能量。这其中,大部分据说都出自各类杰出人物,然而很多都是杜撰的。有个笑话,美国间谍网络收集并筛选了中国所有的网络数据,结果却发现中国人沉溺于来源可疑的心灵鸡汤,无法自拔。

2016-06-23

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