互联网档案馆:互联网历史记忆的守护者

2010年3月29日,塞尔维亚维基百科编纂者,程序员 Nikola Smolenski 用编程脚本在塞尔维亚语版维基百科上争分夺秒地抓取了超过四万条以“.yu”为域名的网址。他需要抓紧时间将这些分布于各个百科条目的网址逐个替换掉,因为零时一过,它们就会全部失效,变成死链接。

作出这个决定的是主管全球互联网域名分配的组织 ICANN(Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)。他们在 2008 年便宣布要在两年过渡期后将本属于南斯拉夫的网络域名“.yu”从互联网上去除,因为前南斯拉夫的所有成员国都已成为主权国家,拥有了自己的域名。自1989年起便划归南斯拉夫管辖的“.yu”域名在2010年3月30日起会正式成为历史。成千上万沿用这个域名的前南斯拉夫成员国的网站则会进入“无法访问”状态——直到它们更换新域名。互联网上的“.yu”域名版图在一夜之间像是被黑洞吸走了一般,不复存在。

但是,在地球另一角落的旧金山,它们中的相当一部分却被保留了下来。在2010年3月30日的期限到来之前,互联网档案馆(Internet Archive)的网络爬虫已抓取了超过一万七千个“.yu”域名网站的数据,保存在他们旧金山机房的服务器中。这些网站在国际互联网上很可能再也无迹可寻,但在互联网档案馆的网站 archive.org 上输入它们的网址,还能查看它们以往的“快照”。见证了南斯拉夫联邦共和国分崩离析,南斯拉夫十年内戮的政治社会剧变的“.yu”域名,以及那成千上万讨论组、新闻站、博客,还是被保存了下来,未曾完全流失。

这一切的幕后英雄正是美国非营利科技组织互联网档案馆。1996年,MIT毕业生,程序员 Brewster Kahle 在参观搜索引擎 Alta Vista 的总部后受到启发,创立了这家机构。它的定位是一所“图书馆”,但又绝不只是一所普通的数字图书馆。它有个无比宏大的目标:保存人类在互联网上创造的一切文明。为达到这个目标,互联网博物馆运作着两个大项目:负责收集古旧书籍、音频、软件的图书馆以及专门存档网页的“时光机”。

互联网档案馆的总部位于旧金山 Richmond 区 Funston 大道的一座宏伟的古希腊式教堂内。白色的外墙,巨大的石柱,气氛肃穆而庄严。但在建筑内却又是另一个世界——建筑里安放着的是一排一排密密麻麻的交换机、服务器与硬盘柜。满室的计算机设备,不断闪烁的信号灯光,让人有时空交错的感觉。“我看到这教堂,心想,这不就是我们的logo吗?当时它正在被出售,我便把它买下来了。”互联网档案馆的创始人 Brewster Kahle 这样解释道。

在 Kahle 看来,在过去人类以纸张作为主要出版媒介的时代,图书馆在资料储存上发挥了巨大的作用;现在,随着数字媒介逐步成为主流,也应该有相应的“图书馆”来存储资料。而互联网档案馆担任的便是这个“图书馆”的角色——它的其中140名雇员每天都会在世界各地扫描数以百计的图书,并且在各地志愿者的帮助下,将处于公有领域内的电影、音频等数字化,最后传回互联网档案馆总部的服务器中。这些被数字化的媒体文件,只要没有潜在的版权纠纷,都会在档案馆的网站上被免费公开——正应了它们的口号:Universal Access to All Knowledge(一切知识,普世共享)。

除了数字化各种媒体文件以外,互联网档案馆的最重要项目自然是时光机(Wayback Machine)。每天,这个“ 时光机”都会利用算法在茫茫互联网中选出巨量网站进行访问,并通过网络爬虫技术将它们的网页完整下载并存档。现在在互联网档案馆的网站上,随便输入一个网址,便能看到这个网站在过去数年,甚至十数年间在无数个时间点上的模样,这一切便都是时光机的功劳。

“时光机”的整套架构都是由 Brewster Kahle 在 1996 年设计出的,同年,“时光机”便开始运作,日夜不断地在当时方兴未艾的互联网上爬行,将现在看来简单粗糙得可怜的一个个网页抓取存档。二十年间无数网站关闭,又有无数网站建起,但少有例外的是,它们都在时光机上留下了痕迹。至今,时光机已经抓取了四千亿个网页。在 档案馆的自我介绍页面中,他们如此写道:“没有了历史文物,文明将会失去记忆,也没有了从成败中学习的机制,……而互联网档案馆正是在不懈努力,阻止互联网——这个具有重要历史意义的新媒介——以及其它原生即为数码格式的材料湮没于过去。”

当然,互联网上的数据浩如烟海,要将它们完全存档起来绝无可能。因此,在实际的存档工作中,人工干预的“collection”是一个重要的收集管理手段。互联网档案馆上的各种 collection 多不胜数,大小不一。科技史学家 Jason Scott 是互联网档案馆的雇员之一,他负责维护的一个软件收藏里收集了将近一千个 Apple II 电脑上的软件和游戏——这款电脑发布于39年前,现在早已是收藏在博物馆里的古董。然而在互联网博物馆的网站上,却能够随时通过网页附带的模拟器运行这些数十年前的软件与游戏。这一软件存档项目的贡献者们会破解收集到的 Apple II 电脑软件软磁盘,去除它们的版权保护,并上传到档案馆的这一 collection 中。当日的电脑在无数次硬件迭代后早已不知所踪,但那时创造出来的知识财富却被人重新发掘,并依然在互联网上“活着”,正如 Jason Scott 所说:“这许多软件都差点要变成传说,只存在于老电脑杂志的广告里面,但现在它们终于重见天日了。”

除了软件收藏外,互联网档案馆上还有无数个网页的主题收集。其中最近的一个叫“任期结束存档”(End of Term Archive),目标是在奥巴马的总统任期结束之前尽可能将美国联邦政府的各个网站以及上面的各种文件保存下来。如互联网档案馆的一名主要负责人 Jefferson Bailey 所介绍,每一届总统任期结束以后,政府网站上数量巨大的政府数据与信息都可能就此消失,例如在2008到2012年间,美国联邦政府各个部门上 83% 的 PDF 文件都消失了,其中包含无数研究、调查数据和报告等。而这些,距 Jefferson 所说,“都是极其重要的历史信息”。

这收集起来的海量信息,自然有非常巨大的研究应用价值。如曼彻斯特大学学者Helen Yu 所说,目前存有的全部网页存档构成了一个全面、巨大的历史数据集,能够提供无数学术分析的机会。2014 年,乔治城大学(Georgetown Univeristy)学者Kalev Leetaru 对互联网档案馆上超过 17 亿份 PDF 文件以及 JSTOR 数据库上的文献数据进行数据挖掘,大规模地分析了研究非洲以及中东国家的文献与报告的各种变化趋势。数据可视化项目 GDELT Project 则通过分析互联网档案馆上的海量电视新闻存档,追溯了自 2010 年到 2014 年间在美国各大电视网络的新闻报道中各种情绪(如否定、敌对)的出现与变化频次。

人类在数字时代创造出了灿烂的文明,但它们的根基却似乎并不牢固。互联网上每个网页的平均寿命只有大概一百天。每时每刻,都有无数数据被添加、删除、修改。互联网之父 Vint Cerf 甚至担心“二十一世纪会成为信息黑洞”。然而,已经有越来越多的机构开始投入到网上信息的存档与保护中——除规模最大的互联网档案馆外,还有斯坦福大学、哥伦比亚大学等高校,也有大英图书馆等公立机构。它们正一点一点地保护起那些脆弱的线上历史文物,保护起整个人类寄存在互联网之上的历史记忆。

参考资料

Ben-David, A. (2016). What does the Web remember of its deleted past? An archival reconstruction of the former Yugoslav top-level domain. New Media & Society, 18(7), 1103–1119. http://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816643790

Leetaru, K. H., Perkins, T., & Rewerts, C. (2014). Cultural Computing at Literature Scale: Encoding the Cultural Knowledge of Tens of Billions of Words of Academic Literature. D-Lib Magazine.

Reimagining Libraries In The Digital Era: Lessons From Data Mining The Internet Archive

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2016/03/19/reimagining-libraries-in-the-digital-era-lessons-from-data-mining-the-internet-archive/#3d282a116c7c

THE COBWEB: Can the Internet be archived?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/26/cobweb

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Textual Analysis of Texts about Pirates

Liang Yaoxiang
2013401073

  1. Introduction
  2. Methods
  3. Introduction to the Texts
  4. Comparison and Analysis
  5. Result of the Readability Test
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

Introduction

Pirates, although generally be seen as “enemy of all humans,” are still widely used as subject matter for literatures, movies, and video games in a lot of cultures. In China, their presences can also be seen frequently in both ancient and modern texts. As China had been harassed by Wokou pirates a lot in the Ming dynasty, there are plenty of depictions of famous Wokou pirates, including Wang Zhi and Xu Hai, in China’s Ming-Qing novels. They are sometimes the protagonist, while more often, they are depicted negatively. However, when it comes to the 21th century, the sentiment towards pirates seems to be experiencing a major shift. Their images are now becoming more ambivalent, and it is difficult to tell whether they are good or bad. Many of the online popular novels–the modern counterparts of Ming Qing novels, are also using pirates as characters, and seemingly they are being used in a much more complicated way.

In order to shed light on how pirates are being used or depicted differently in Chinese novels written in different time periods, here in this project, I am going to do a textual analysis on two texts. One of them is a Ming Qing novel called 戚南塘剿平倭寇志传 (Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou). The other one is 明末小海盗 (A Little Pirate in the Late-Ming Dynasty), a modern online novel written by Mumu.

Methods

For my project, I am going to analyse and compare two texts dealing with the same subject matter. In the analysing process, I will firstly use a program called Jieba to segment the text, or in other words, assert spaces between each meaning unit. And then these segmented texts will be processed with two programs: Chinese Readability Index Explorer and Timdream word cloud. The former is a Chinese texts analyser that could evaluate the text’s readability by analysing index including average words per sentence, average sentences per paragraph, modifiers per NP, content words density, and many more. The latter is a word cloud generator that has basic processing functions.

For the comparing section, I will compare the statistic generated by the aforementioned tools, and try to interpret the differences. I will try to visualize the statistics, so that the outcomes will be clearer.

The whole novel of Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou will be processed and analysed. But only a chosen section of A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty will go through the readability analysing process as the whole novel is too long (over 1,000,000 Chinese characters). I will selected a relatively small part of the texts to represent the whole. The selected text has approximately 30,000 characters, which roughly equates the other text.

Introduction to the Texts

戚南塘剿平倭寇志传 (Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou)

This is a novel estimated to be written in Ming Dynasty during Wanli’s rule (the exact publish date is not clear). The author remain unknown. It recounts the famous Chinese wokou pirate Wang Zhi’s invasion into Zhejiang province in 1533 and the general Qi Jiguang’s exploit of repealing them. The novel provides detailed descriptions of various aspects of civilians’ lives in that time period, and also portrays the wokou pirates and their plundering.

The novel was firstly found out and edited by the ancient Chinese literature scholar Zheng Zhenduo. According to Nie Hongju (2010), it is the only novel that use resisting Wokou pirates as the main theme.

明末小海盗 (A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty)

This is a modern Chinese online novel publish on Qidian, one of the major Chinese online novel publishing platforms. It belongs to the “chuanyue (time-traveling)” genre. Its main character Tang Jiguang, who is originally an “indoors man”, or one who spends most of his/her time in indoor pursuits (playing video games, for example), travels from 21th century to the Ming dynasty and becomes a pirate. He operates between China and Japan, and become an official in both Japan and China.

Comparison and Analysis

Firstly, let’s take a look at the word clouds, so that you can know the main idea or characteristics of the novels without reading them.

p2305394965

The word cloud for 明末小海盗 (A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty)

 

p2305395047

The word cloud for 明末小海盗 (A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty)

In the word cloud of Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou, we can see a lot of official titles like Yushi (御史), Canjiang (参将), Dushi (都司), Dudu (都督), and a lot more. That might indicates that the main characters of the book are the government officials. In other words, it is probably a book that written from the governments perspective.

Moreover, from the word cloud, we are also able to find words related to the pirates. These are all words that bring with them a strongly negative connotations: Zeibing (贼兵. literally, thief soldiers) and Zeizhong (贼众. literally, thief mass). Both of this two words contain a Zei, which is a very strong belittlement. There is another one, although presented relatively smaller, indeed also tell us something. It is Wo Nu (倭奴. literally, wokou servant). That name indicates that in the discourse around Wokou pirates, they are seen as servants. The officials represents the righteous and superior power, look down at the servants. We might also take into account the Wokou pirate’s ethnic background: many of them were generally thought to be coming from Japan, which was then a vassal state of China.

In the center of the word cloud, we can see a person’s name, which is Qi Jigging (戚继光), a famous general known for defeating the Wokou prates. He is addressed with his official “Canjiang (参将),” which in a way shows respect. It is obvious that he is a significant figure of this novel, and is probably the protagonist.

We can also see another person’s name on the word cloud: Wufeng (五峰). In fact, Wufeng is Wangzhi, the famous Wokou pirate, and the antagonist of the novel. The space Wufeng occupy in the word cloud is almost the same as Qi Jigging’s, because the number of times that the two names have been mentioned in the text are very similar (Wufeng for 91 times and Qi Canjiang for 99 times). That means for the novel the pirates are also quite important.

It become clear that there is a binary being constructed in the book: the government versus the pirates. Also, the official titles occupying the most spaces in the image and the pirates being addressed negatively indicates that the novel is about the government official leading army fighting with the evil pirates coming from a inferior state, and they had probably won.

Now let’s look at the word cloud of the modern online novel A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty. In the middle of the word cloud, we can see a huge “Jiguang” because the word has appeared in the text for 12,789 times. A word that appears so frequently is probably the protagonist’s name. That is quite interesting, as this is also exactly the name of the general Qi Jiguang. This online novel make a reference to the actual history by giving its main character the name of a real historical figure.

Also, the huge “Jiguang (继光)” at the center of the word cloud indicates that this novel mainly focuses on one person, and is probably an account of his/her adventures.

If we continue to look at this word cloud, we may find out that most of the frequently used words are words that do not have concrete meanings. For example, the second largest word in the word cloud is Meiyou (没有, no, or none). Some other examples are Yijing (已经, already), Buguo (不过, however), Ziji (自己, self), and Shenme (什么, what). My interpretation of this phenomenon is that this novel was written in conversational language that is not refined, because its readers are probably not looking for beautiful proses in reading it.

I am trying to test the readability of the texts, and to see if there is any significant difference. If so, maybe I can see the difference of their intended audiences (readers) . My hypothesis is that A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty will be much easier to read, which show that its intended readers are mainly those who are looking for a relatively lowbrow novel; the novel choose to use a pirate as the main character because pirate has a romantic image in popular culture, which will help them to cater to their readers with a fantasy story that they are generally looking for more easily.

Result of the Readability Test

I have chosen several index for the readability test, which are proportion of word diversity, proportion of simple sentences, average words per sentence, content word density, and average logarithm of content word frequency. All of these terms will be explained in the following paragraph.

Proportion of Word Diversity (相异词数比率): the more repeated words the text contains, the lower this ratio will be.

Proportion of Simple Sentences (单句数比率): the more simple sentence the text contains, the higher this ratio will be.

Average Words Per Sentence (句子平均词数): the score here is exactly the average word count of a sentence.

Content Word Density (实词密度): the more content words the text contains, the higher this number will be.

Average Logarithm of Content Word Frequency (领域实词频对数平均): The more content words in the texts belong to the same field, the higher this number will be. In other words, the easier the text is, the higher the number will be.

(Sung, Chen, Lee, Cha, Tseng, Lin, Chang, & Chang, 2013)

The outcome of the test is shown below.

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Chart made by Liang Yaoxiang

At first I supposed that as a novel written centuries ago, Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou is going to be a lot harder to read than the other. However, the result does prove that, which is surprising. Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou has a score of 0.17 in proportion of word diversity, which is slightly higher than the other text; the former gets 0.72 in proportion of simple sentence, while the latter gets 0.43; the former has 11.9 words in each sentence on average, while the latter has 9.57. As for content wold density, the Ming Qing novel gets 0.876, and the other text gets 0.79; the former gets 1.213 in average logarithm of content Word Frequency, while the latter gets 1.7.

To summarise the outcome, the online novel has fewer words in each sentence on average, and has more content words in the same field. But it is slightly more diverse than the Ming Qing novel in terms of the using of words, and it uses much more complicated sentences and more abstract words.

So roughly speaking, Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou is only slightly harder to read than A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty. The gap of readability is not big enough to support my hypothesis. I doubt that the test may have failed to reflect the overall image precisely as some important index may have not been included.

Conclusion

Although no telling any structural information, the word clouds still have shown their power. By looking at the word clouds, we can already know the two novels being compared are written in two structure, and pirates are being used differently. In Qi Jiguang’s Exploit of Exterminating the Wokou, pirates are the evil antagonist resisting the force representing justice. However, in A Little Pirate in the Late Ming Dynasty, pirates become the protagonists who drive the story, and are not depicted negatively at all.

Also, I attempt to analyse the two novels’ audience with a readability analyser, but it did not work out well. However, I can still see a lot of possibilities of applying textual analysing methods to Chinese words to do research.

 

References

Nie, H. J. (2010). 《 戚南塘剿平倭寇志传》 研究 (Doctoral dissertation, 四川师范大学).

Sung, Z, T., Chen, R, L., Lee, Y. L., , Cha, R. S., Tseng, H. Q., Lin, W. J., … &    Chang, G. E. (2013). Investigating Chinese Text Readability: Linguistic Features, Modeling, and Validation. Chinese Journal of Psychology, 55(1), 75-106.

 

 

老兵不死:香港华籍英兵(1857-1997)

暑假时,我在北京的报社里实习了近两个个月。报社的上班时间是中午一点钟,因此,每日里,我便都有整整一个上午的时间可在北京城游荡。清闲至此,我自然也没有少逛城里有名的书店。北京文化资源之丰厚自不必说,但我也发现了一个巨大的缺陷,那就是在北京可以买到港台书的地方着实不多。以我所见,仅有时尚廊、库布里克及三联书店三家有售港台书。其中时尚廊长处在于外文杂志极全,港台书则仅聊胜于无;库布里克名声在外,但港台书方面仅可算差强人意;而三联书店却很是特别:他们卖的两排港台书虽也少得可怜,但因为“厂牌”关系,在那里可以找到非常多似乎在香港也不多见的三联香港出版的书籍。也正因如此,当我在店里翻看时,除了英文版的《雪山飞狐》以外,还发现了这本书:

9789620435638

这本书讲述的是香港一个颇为特殊的士兵群体——华籍英兵。近几年,国民党在抗战中的重要贡献在官方主流论述中重获肯定,参与抗战的国民党老兵在前不久的反法西斯纪念阅兵上亦与共产党老兵同受检阅。但是,华籍英兵,这群穿着英国军服,在香港抗击日军的殖民地帝国军人,仍旧散落于遥远边缘,远离公众视线,少人问津。

1941年12月7日,日本发动太平洋战争,轰炸珍珠港,登陆马来亚。次日凌晨,日本也对香港发动空袭,轰炸启德机场,其陆军于空袭后不久由深圳攻入新界。由英兵、华兵及混血儿士兵组成的驻港英军随即展开抵抗,但因实力悬殊,且缺乏支援,战事持续18日后香港便告沦陷,史称香港保卫战。香港浸会大学助理教授邝智文博士在其著作《孤独前哨:太平洋战争中的香港战役》中对这十八天的战事作了详细记述,而在其另一部著作《老兵不死: 香港華籍英兵 (1857-1997)》中则聚焦于参与其中的华籍英兵团体。当时香港共有驻军9327人,包含华籍英兵与后勤人员1073人,其中大部分为炮兵与工兵,另有部分步兵。他们作为正规军队,与其他英兵,印兵,踞喀兵一道,在香港这个太平洋“前哨”抗击日军。

在《老兵不死》中,邝博士追根溯源,还原了英国招募华人英兵的完整始末。原来华人参加英军绝非只是在二战前后的事情,早在第二次鸦片战争便已有第一支华籍英兵部队出现。当时英国在“亚罗号”事件后侵入中国沿海,但因其后方印度发生佣兵叛变,导致后援兵力不足,只能在香港、九龙与广州一带临时招募苦力搬运火炮。英军招募的苦力多为客家人,因为他们是北方移民,身体健壮且又与政府关系紧张。在占领广州后,英军没有解散这些苦力,而是将他们组成了英军第一支华人部队“广州苦力团”,让他们跟随英军北上至华北与华中作战。

“广州苦力团”的表现让英军颇为满意,同时出于节省军费的考虑,他们开始思考在英军中成立华人部队的可能性。尽管英军内部对此一直存有争议,但华籍英兵的数量已渐有提升。据《老兵不死》一书,在当时英国军人的论述中,华人虽非“勇武民族”,却以纪律严明、刻苦耐劳、沉着冷静及忠诚可靠著称。在早期,华人士兵以担任水兵及后来的水雷炮兵为主,直至第一次世界大战后,认识到日本威胁的港英政府才加拨防务预算,并开始扩招华人士兵。招募到的华兵会加入到工兵、炮兵部队以及一支全部由华人组成的部队“香港华人军团”中,且开始接受战斗训练。二战中,香港沦陷以后,英军军官让华籍英兵脱去军服离队,免遭日军屠杀。不少华籍英兵在离队以后,还逃入中国大陆,向亦是从香港撤出的英军情报部队“英军服务团”报道,重新加入英军,协助进行情报工作,或者留在香港,协助营救被俘英军军官。随后,英军服务团将接收到的近 200 名华籍英兵组成了一支“中国部队”,亦即日后鼎鼎有名的“香港志愿连”。这支“中国部队”于 1943 年被派往印度战场作战,后来还被编入英军特种部队“歼敌”(Chindits)中,获得称号“香港志愿连”,并在进行丛林训练后深入到缅甸的热带丛林中作战,与国军、英军一道在缅甸孟拱夹击日军。

在阅读此书的过程中,我在报社的那位无比热爱历史的实习指导老师曾告诉我,要研究历史,应当要看一些史观性的书籍,《老兵不死》这种史料为主的书籍只适合在最初培养兴趣,有一定功底后自然便再看不上眼。由此,我不禁想,在“史观”映照之下的华籍英兵,会呈现出怎样一副不同的面孔?他们是听候宗主国差遣的殖民地帝国士兵,还是奋勇杀敌的家园守护者,抑或是殖民主义的“合作者”?恰恰在前言中邝智文便已说到,殖民地时期的香港华人的主体性长期遭到了“殖民地史学”与“爱国主义史学”的遮蔽。在前者中英人统治精英是主角,华人只是听候差遣;而在后者史观中,着重放大的只是香港对殖民的反抗,并认为“香港只是附属于中国的一部分,并无别的特征与权益。“两种史观之下的港人,都只是处在从属地位,毫无主动性。因此,在本书中,作者所做的便是将华籍英兵作为主体进行分析。因此书中的论述尽量避免了对他们为“帝国士兵”的价值判断,亦不将他们视作面目模糊的“永恒士兵”,而是着眼于个人,探索他们的生活、遭遇以及他们与殖民地政府的关系。作者甚至对“华藉”这一称谓也进行了澄清,指出并非华籍英兵们都拥有着共同的”华人“、”中国人“,乃至”香港人“认同,因为华籍英兵中各人的身份认同本不尽相同,其中不少人的身份认同会坐落于”客家“、”本地“等基于籍贯、宗族或族群等层次上,更不用说其中还有不少欧亚混血士兵。”中华民族“这一血统与种族想象是源于 19 世纪末反清运动及西方社会达尔文主义的建构,以之加诸华籍英兵头上并不恰当。

本书中,邝博士使用了大量档案及仍旧建在的华籍英兵或他们子女的口述史资料,还原了华籍英兵从二战以前直至 1997 年主权移交期间华籍英兵军旅生活的各个方面,包括华洋士兵之间的相处、心理状态、晋升状况、薪酬福利等,其中不乏趣闻轶事与颇为惊心的战争经过描写,尽管作者笔触甚为冷静,有时描写也欠奉细节,但全书仍颇为可读。1997 年主权移交后华籍英兵亦随即解散,英国方面对这些退伍士兵的安置在书中记述不甚详细。陈果电影《去年烟花特别多》中对此主题有详细探讨(片中的退伍华籍英兵结伙抢银行)。

近年香港本土呼声渐高,在这本土论述中,这一群华藉士兵奋勇杀敌,参军只为捍卫家园——香港,乃至辗转印度缅甸抗击日军,也是为有朝一日能够重返家园。但是,这些带有强烈政治诉求的阐释似乎也并不完全站得住脚。就《老兵不死》这一书中看来,这些华籍英兵参军的原因并不尽相同:不少确是为了保卫香港,但其中也夹杂着经济因素(参军薪水较高,且发放准时),乃至也有不少一开始是抱着消闲目的而去。但是,无论如何,这段华籍英兵的的发展历史,都是香港军事史,乃至香港本土历史中的重要组成部分,只有在这些历史与文化根基的依托之下,那些所谓本土论述与抗争方才言之有物,不至沦为空荡荡的口号。

参考资料

http://www.pentoy.hk/社會/t455/2014/12/22/鄧啟怡:被遺忘的香港研究:香港無戰事?/

https://newshongkong.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/蘋果日報-只求關懷%E3%80%80遭梁振英冷待/

https://theinitium.com/project/20150905-wwii-veterans/

http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/supplement/health/art/20120901/18004951

http://ahlee.pixnet.net/blog/post/35968986

http://www.localpresshk.com/2014/09/battle-of-history/

http://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20120630/00176_115.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hong_Kong

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhonghua_minzu

http://evchk.wikia.com/wiki/本土主義

书籍资料

作者: 鄺智文

出版社: 三聯書店(香港)有限公司

副标题: 香港華籍英兵(1857-1997)

出版年: 2014-5-19

页数: 280

定价: 88

装帧: 平装

丛书: 細味香江系列

ISBN: 9789620435638