大马

By , October 30, 2015 7:08 pm

Horse

 

这匹帅气的大红马,是做给二娃云舒的。不得不说,四条腿的动物确实不好做。刚做好的时候,觉得简直丑到要哭。二娃拿到大马后就问:“Is this a donkey?” 在我解释过这其实是一匹马之后,她立即就改变思路把它当马玩了。这娃娃,真的是善解人意。

做手工的感觉还是很棒的,对自己越来越有信心了。耶!

 

我的外公(陈文宣)

By , October 30, 2015 5:27 pm

我的外公

作者:陈文宣

说说我外公的故事吧!

故事从1950年4月中旬说起,解放军大军从海南岛东北部海域多点登陆海南岛,我老家文昌也是登陆地点之一。很快国军就如潮水般溃败。那天溃败残兵在文昌文教墟(旧称行坎墟)上强行抓壮丁,我外公也被强行拉入溃败逃窜的队伍。

外公即叮嘱他那13岁的堂弟帮他看好咸鱼摊位,跟家人传个话,他随大军挑东西去港口,过几天就回来……那年他27岁,在墟上有个卖咸鱼的小摊位,他刚刚新婚不久,家有20岁的妻子,孩子很快就要出生。

几天过去了,他没有回来……几年过了,他没有回来……几十年过去了……大家只是知道国军残兵溃逃去了台湾,我外公的生死境遇,家人无从知晓。今天的我已经无法判断当时我外公的具体心情了,或许当时部队抓人充军当临时劳动力也是常态,或许他们真的以为只是临时“打打酱油”,谁又能想到后来那些本跟他八竿子打不到的生命轨迹呢?多舛的命运从那一刻就开始了。兵荒马乱,匆忙离去时我都不知道他是否来得及回头远眺一眼文教河对岸那个叫石井的小村庄,那里有他的家。

外公被抓壮丁2个月后,我妈出生了,她生下来就没能见到父亲。因为算是“遗腹女”,没有正常的家庭生活,从小就随着族人尊称我外婆为“淑英嫂”,一辈子都没改过称呼。外婆很能干,在十里八乡都很有威望,在那个集体大生产的年代曾经因为出色的务农业务当过生产队的队长。我现在还能有小时候我外婆抱着我到镇上开生产大会的记忆,也还依稀记得外婆在夜里哼唱的二十四节气的农谚。小时候关于外公的记忆落实在物件上,就是他留下来的一个凳形小柜子,上边有个放钱进去的斜孔,既可以当凳子坐,又是做生意时的钱箱。时光荏苒,那是他留下的唯一物件。

从此后外婆独守空房,抚养幼女侍奉公婆,一个人支撑着家庭的生计。时光过去了很多年……再后来她伺候年迈的公婆终老,女儿长大,结婚,俩个孙辈出生。她坚信终有一天还能与外公团聚,一家人还能再见面,虽时光遥遥,音信渺渺。

外婆一直守着那个家,从二十岁多,三十六年,守了一辈子活寡,直到去世的1986年,她再也没见过外公。她挺过了最难的时光,女儿成人,孙辈绕膝,在美好生活刚开始时候因为癌症匆忙谢世。我敬爱的外婆只活了57岁,她的早逝是我心底最大的无奈、永远无法弥补的遗憾。因为我从小知道家世,所以会很乖巧,我会自觉表现得优秀点,只是想让我外婆更高兴点,能让她更多点获得心灵的慰籍。

多年后我在《天涯社区》读到了文昌籍作家曾万紫女士写的《文昌阿婆》,那里面有这样的文字:“阿婆们便以青春年华,血肉之躯,守着薄田和老牛,守着祖屋和公婆,用纤细的肩膀挑起了家庭的重担,后来公公婆婆先后去世,留下她孤零零一人在祖屋继续地等待远方丈夫的消息……她们大多数人等待和翘首的姿势都足足持续了几十年……”这就是我外婆那代女人望夫石般的真实写照,当我在办公室电脑屏幕前看到这样的文字时,刹那间泪流满面,久久无法平静。

文昌是侨乡,上世纪上半叶有大量的人下南洋谋生,外公的姐姐早年去了泰国,在60、70年代她从泰国传回了一些口信,说确认外公在台湾,于是一家人总算有了确切的期盼。

1985年的时候,村里一起被抓壮丁的人通过香港的族人,陆续取得了与家乡的联系。这个时候我家也收到了外公从台湾的来信并托人带回的伍佰块港币。取得联系后全家人都非常的高兴,外婆还摆了村宴祭祖告慰过世的公婆,所有的亲戚和族人都过来道贺。

1988年陆续有老兵回来探亲,外婆苦等了一辈子,但她却没能等到这一天。在踌躇经年之后, 1991年外公终于经香港回到了阔别41年的海南老家。少小离家,直到年近古稀重回故土,世事已大变,山河已改颜,亲人已远去。我那时虽年少,但我看到了他面对父母、妻子坟茔的那种刻骨的悲伤和黯然,看到了他面对素未谋面的独女时的那种仿徨和愧欠。回首那些背井离乡、在外漂泊、年华已逝的时光,内心该是多么苍凉! 孤灯白发人蹉跎,功名只能纸上说了,就像那首为老兵写的归去来兮辞:

归去来兮,田园将芜,
是多少年来的徘徊,
啊 究竟苍白了多少年,
是多少年来的等待,
啊 究竟颤抖了多少年,
归去来兮,青春将芜
……
挥一挥衣袖是多少寒暑
……

那是1991年的春节,记得在一起看电视时恰好看到“美军沙漠风暴行动”在狂揍伊拉克,外公跟我聊起了他的过往。他说抗日的时候,他是共产党抗日组织的外围成员,通过摆咸鱼摊的便利负责监视镇上的日军活动,他还曾经有过武器,后来抗战结束后就淡出了。1950年被抓壮丁后,随着薛岳“伯陵防线”的溃兵从文昌一直撤退到了琼海、万宁。解放军的四野部队一路追击,他们过河的时候能看到河道上游漂下的尸体。当时他们都不知道将往那里去,去多久,只是一路随军溃逃。队伍里也有同乡逃脱的,只是他没能逃出。后来到了海岸,海岸一片混乱,到处是堆积的财物,大家眼里只有逃生的欲望,争先恐后上船,先上船的和后来没能上船的,上下开枪对射,滩头上一片混战。

后来船到了台湾。外公跟那些被抓壮丁的人一样,都被编入了国军。他说他在金门当了17年的兵,金门炮战的时候,他就在岛上。炮弹最近的时候就在他们隔壁爆炸。他有一只耳朵近乎失聪,还能看到伤痕,他跟我说那是被同僚虐待的见证。在金门的时候经常有解放军上岛抓“舌头”,他们都有晚上被解放军抓走的期待。他说他从没想到有一天能回到老家,他们那些再没成家的老兵基本上过的都是今朝有酒今朝醉的没有未来的生活,像浪子一样漂泊在那并不大的台湾岛。

外公在探亲期限结束后就回了台湾,后来他写信告诉我们,他再也不想回来了。虽然一直跟我们有通讯,偶尔也寄钱回乡下修缮老屋,他说他已经习惯在台湾了。我想他是再也不想面对那些长着衰草的坟茔了,或者一切对于他来说都太陌生了,他再也没回来过。

再后来,最近十年,他八十多岁后,我们就很少收到外公的来信了,我们的去信他也不回。我们知道他们那批人已经很老了,已经慢慢在凋零。

外公有位堂哥早年去了新加坡,在新加坡繁衍了一个很大的家族,很好地传承了宗族文化,子女跟在文昌老家的亲人一直有很密切的往来。他堂哥过世之前,叮嘱他的子女,说父辈人因世道流离,分散各方,有人在新加坡,有人在台湾、有人在泰国、有人在海南老家,一转身就是一辈子,父辈们已经注定无法再相聚,希望子孙们有能力有机会代他去见见他那些没再见过面的亲人……

2012年夏季的一天,我外公堂哥的大儿子从新加坡来深圳,他知道这些年父母随我住在深圳,他到我家来,跟我父母说他通过旅行社朋友的关系,根据我们提供的通讯地址,找到了我外公的在台湾的一些信息,他现在应该在台湾的荣民医院里。他准备亲自去台湾找我外公,完成他父亲的遗愿。那时深圳还没有开通台湾自由行,我还没办法去台湾进行寻亲,我们把希望都寄托在这位舅舅的身上了。

2013年6月的一天下午,我坐在广州到深圳的长途大巴上收到了舅舅打来的电话,舅舅说:“我现在在台湾,我找到你外公了,他现在就在台湾的屏东荣总医院里,我现在让你外公给你讲几句……”

还不容我有任何的思绪,我就在时隔二十多年后再次听到了外公的声音,他准确地喊出了我的名字,然后断断续续语焉不清地跟我说了大概半分钟的话,大概意思是他老了,回不去了,写不了信了……,然后电话就断了,我再拨回去,无法连接。

我总算明确知道,我外公还活着,虽然已经九十多岁了,但他还活着。这是莫大的喜事。

不久之后,新加坡的舅舅再次来到深圳,跟我们说起他到台湾的情况,并带来了外公在医院里的照片。舅舅说他从原来的寄信地址开始找,他去了几次台湾,找到了台东海边的一个小渔村的一间小房子,小房子已经人去屋空,那就是外公以前住过的房子。通过与村里邻居的探听,得知外公几年前已经被政府转到安置老兵的荣民医院去了,具体哪个地方他们不是很清楚。后来在根据这些信息查找的过程中才知道外公最后辗转到了台湾南部屏东地区的荣民医院。

我们对他的追寻,只知道他青年时被带上了一条不知所去的船,晚年被送上了一辆不知所终的车,中间的空白,就是一世不由自主的飘零和我无力描述的全貌。

舅舅带来了一张翻拍的外公照片,照片里的外公干枯苍老地躺在床上,已经完全没有了二十几年前那个微胖的样子。他九十多岁了,舅舅说他有一只眼已经完全看不见了,有一只耳朵也基本失聪了,起居现在由荣民院专业照顾。他已经很老了,留给我们再次见面的机会和时间也不多了,我知道,若时光错过,再多的牵挂惆怅也找不回来。

2014年深圳终于成为了新的一批台湾自由行开放城市,我终于可以去台湾了。7月我办好了去台湾自由行的手续, 8月5日经香港转机飞往台湾。在外公上岛64年后我也来到了这里。

关于这个岛,对于对岸的人来说,充满了神秘,带着各种图腾式的标签。对于中国另外一个姊妹岛的来寻亲的人来说,除了神秘还有着另外一份难于言表的情愫和期待。

飞机降落到了新北的桃园机场,到台北入住酒店已经是晚上,一路看来发现台北的建筑像极了海口的老区,到处都是骑楼,有些地方乍一看还以为是文昌文南老街。

根据地址,外公所在的屏东荣总医院在台湾的南部,离高雄不是很远。从台北到南台湾的屏东,坐火车要5个多小时。台湾的地貌跟海南很像,中部都是山区,人口多集中在沿海。沿着海岸线走,越向南部越像海南的地貌,偶尔还能看到零落的椰子树和槟榔园。

在台北的时候,我打通了荣总医院的电话,明确了外公的具体所在,也让工作人员转告我外公,我来看他了。对于久别重逢,对于这样的高龄,我想最好让他们有心理准备。后来我才知道,其实我想得太多了。

医院坐落在屏东县的内埔乡,一路过来,那景象依稀有海南的县城和乡镇的样子,能看到熟悉的槟榔园、骑楼店面和农家院子,若不是招牌上的旧体字,还真的想不到这就是南台湾的乡镇。这里坐落着据说是南台湾最大的荣民医院“高雄荣民总院屏东分院”。

这里虽不是我的乡,可是对于即将见面的场景,我竟然有着近乡情怯的惴惴和忐忑,我已经无法想象外公所处的具体情况了,种种设想和期待,就在不远的眼前。

在一个大雨骤起的午后,我来到了这里。

医院的人员问:“你从哪里来?找谁呢?”

客从何处来?我来自大陆,我来自琼崖,我来自文昌,我来找我外公,那是从公元一九五零年的海南文昌到二零一四年的南台湾,一段六十四年的国史、家事。

工作人员说,这些年时不时都会有大陆过来的年轻人来探望老兵,他们说着基本一样的故事。对于医院的人来说,他们统一叫老兵为“伯伯”,他们还有个更官方的名称叫“荣民”。

满医院都是垂垂老矣的老兵,一个“荣民”称号是他们那拨人的总称,无论是高阶长官还是普通士兵,无论是带着信仰从军的还是被迫充军的,此时已无任何差异,他们或卧床或坐在轮椅上,无一不是老态龙钟风烛残年,“荣民”二字掩盖了一切苦难和凄凉,社会给予他们的荣誉恰好是时代赋予的悲凉。

时隔二十多年后,我在南台湾的飘散着莫名异味的挤满老兵的荣民医院病房里见到了外公,他佝偻地躺在床上,干枯而苍老,他的双目已经完全失明,耳朵也基本失聪,已经无法自然进食,鼻孔里插着塑料食管,由医护定时灌注流质食物,这个景象跟我二十多年前第一次见到他时的印象已经完全吻合不上了。护士在他耳边说:“伯伯,你外孙来看你了……伯伯,你外孙来看你了……”我握着他的手轻声喊着他:“外公,侬来看你了……”他用杂乱而没有确切词义的话回应着我,时不时摇着我的手说:“好好好……”但我却无法确认他是否真实理解我来看他了。我问护士,我还能做点什么吗?护士说,你什么也做不了了,他已经意识不是很清楚了,语言都是片段的,他前两年刚转过来时意识还比较清醒还能说出整段的句子,今年说的话已经是片段式的,夹杂着普通话、闽南话、老家的话,很多时候我们也无法理解明确的词义,你要是早两年过来就好了,我建议你拍点照片就去走走看看台湾吧!我们会照顾好他们的,他不认得你了,你待久也无用的……

我守了三天,在第三天终于听到我外公说出了完整的句子:“你要照顾你妈妈哦!”他说这话的时候用劲一直摇我的手,久久不肯松开。很庆幸我刚好把这句话录了下来,就这一句话,此行无憾了,他知道是我来看他了,我们知道了从哪里来,也明白了将哪里去,我们完成了托付传承,我可以安心。

我查了他在医院的档案,档案非常简短地写着:出生日期:(民国)09年05月05日;出生地:海南特(区)文昌县;婚姻状况:未婚;子女数:无子女。除此之外,我没找到任何更详尽的信息了,他以前住哪里,干什么工作,服役在哪里……一概不知。在那个特殊的年代里,有些记录都不是很准确的,为了不连累家人,老兵在最初往往都会虚报自己的家庭情况。

如果我们没来,这里没人会关心他从哪里来,他原来还曾有家庭,竟然还有亲人和后代。一段并不太远的路,我家走来竟然用了六十四年。我已无力描述历史的全貌,那些历史的原因早已逝去,那些为数不多的“荣民”还活在自己的历史里,而今天的我们不可避免地活在他们历史的后果里。谁,又能逃脱时代呢?

七天探亲结束后我回到了深圳。这年的年底,我妈接到了老家来的电话,说外公的堂弟癌症晚期,想见最后一面。我带着母亲的托付和从台湾带回来的照片、视频飞回海口,在医院里我给外公的堂弟讲了外公在台湾的情况。大家知道,这都是他们那辈人最后一眼的告别了,那位守咸鱼摊的少年和那位卖咸鱼的青年,兄弟之间最后的一眼。外公的堂弟在那年冬至后几天过世了。

2015年3月26日,我在上班时,接到台湾方面邮件的通知:外公邢福应于午时12点54分,寿终正寝于高雄荣总屏东分院,终年93岁。

感念畴昔,悲凉凄怆,亲人永隔,不胜哀伤。外婆,三世同堂,女贤家睦,誉满乡邻,却没机会垂老而去;外公,孤苦伶仃,孑然一身,半世飘零,却能寿享人瑞。他们那批人,被迫入伍,被迫打仗,被迫离开家乡,被迫离开亲人,被迫客死他乡,太多的被迫与无奈。党派之争,让多少无辜百姓荒凉了自己的一生,临到最后,所谓敌人,不过就是邻村少年郎。

有一位文昌老人,他原来只是想暂时经过那个叫台湾的岛屿,可是,命运,却让他永远留了下来。

外公走了,对于我们家,一代人的故事,成了故事。

 

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Two-Child Policy?

By , October 30, 2015 7:06 am

Yesterday, China announced that the country would ease family planning restrictions to allow all couples to have two children after decades of a strict one-child policy. For many people in China, this was seen as a significant improvement in domestic affairs because “the government was giving the people more rights”.

My mother gave birth to three children in 1974, 1976 and 1978 respectively. In 1979, the one-child policy was introduced and enforced. Because my mother violated the one-child policy before the policy was introduced she was severely punished. I can not remember exactly in which year but it was probably in 1984 that my mother was forced to have a sterilization operation and became permanently “immune” to pregnancy. Around the same period, this happened to tens of millions of other women in China. As a child, I witnessed many people who desperately wanted a second child, who attempted each and every way to escape the obsession and prosecution from the government during pregnancy, who lost their lives when being forced to have an abortion when the fetus was already too big for an abortion, and who lost their jobs and financially punished when they had a second child.

My wife and I had our first daughter in 2004. In late 2009 we relocated from Beijing to Hainan, and both of us accepted the offer to become teachers in a local vocational colleague. It was at that time that my wife became pregnant with our second daughter. We made this known to the colleague, and both of our offers were cancelled immediately. We stayed in a small quiet village during this period, and gave birth to our second daughter in a hospital 80 kilometers away from the village in 2010. Out of the fear of the sterilization operation on my wife, the second daughter did not received immunization until she was 2 years old (when we found a community clinic that was willing to help privately), and she did not have an identity until she was 3 years old (when we paid a fine to the local government to obtain a citizen identity card for her, which allowed her to apply for a passport). In 2014, my family relocated from China to Australia, where both of our daughters can receive education and medical services without any fines or other troubles.

We have many friends with similar situations. It is hard to believe that every year tens of thousands of people travel from mainland China to Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, Australia, or some other countries, just to give birth to a second child. Even so, people are still under the risk of losing their jobs if they work for state-owned organizations such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, etc. I have two friends who were classmates in university, and they work for the same university after graduation. Both of them got their second child several years ago, but none of them were courageous enough to share this good news with their friends. When being seen with both children, they have to tell people that the other child belongs to another family member, otherwise their jobs might be at risk. In China, having a second child is a top privacy and the best-kept secret unless you are very rich or you are a person of unusual authority.

I can’t help but keep on thinking why we in China have to live in fear and despair. Are we not human beings that are born with the right and ability to fall in love, have sex, become pregnant, and give birth? How can a government take away such basic human rights from the people, prosecute those who practice their rights, and argue that the one-child policy is for the well being of the whole society? During the past 25 years, approximately 200 to 300 million people were “reduced” from this planet. Today, the one-child policy is changed to the new two-child policy, and many people applaud and see this as “the government is giving more rights to the people”. However, this new two-child policy is just as evil as the old one-child policy in that it emphasizes that the government – not the couple – has the right to decide whether to get pregnant and give birth. Considering the fact that the two-child policy was made because the country needs more “human resources”, will couples with no child or only one child be prosecuted in the same way as couples with two children in the one-child era?

Some Data on Aliyun’s New TeraSort Results

By , October 29, 2015 6:14 am

Recently Aliyun announced a break through in the TeraSort benchmark. They finish sorting 100 TB of data in 377 seconds. This is significantly faster than the previous world record 23 minutes created by Spark in 2014. Out of curiosity I compile some data regarding the clusters being used by Yahoo (2013), Spark (2014) and Aliyun (2015) to see what improvements are being made.

Vendor Yahoo Spark Aliyun
Year 2013 2014 2015
Data Source sortbenchmark.org Spark sortbennchmark.org
Single Node Configuration
System Dell R720xd AWS EC2 i2.8xlarge Unknown
CPU Intel Xeon E5-2630 Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 Intel Xeon E5-2630
Intel Xeon E5-2650v2
Total CPU Cores 12 (2 Phyiscal CPUs) 32 (vCPU) 12 or 16 (2 Physical CPUs)
Memory 64 GB 244 GB 96 GB or 128 GB
Stroage 12 x 3 TB SATA 8 x 800 GB SSD 12 x 2 TB SATA
Single Disk Sequential Read Throughput (128 KB blocks) 120 MB/s 400 MB/s 120 MB/s
Single Disk Sequential Write Throughput (128 KB blocks) 120 MB/s 400 MB/s 120 MB/s
RAID0 Sequential Read Throughput (128 KB blocks) 1,440 MB/s 3,200 MB/s 1,440 MB/s
RAID0 Sequential Write Throughput (128 KB blocks) 1,440 MB/s 3,200 MB/s 1,440 MB/s
Networking 10 Gbps 10 Gbps 10 Gbps
Cluster Configuration
Number of Nodes 2100 206 3377
Number of CPU Cores 25,200 6,592 41,496
Total Memory 134,400 GB 50,264 GB 331,968 GB
Total Sequential Read Throughput (128 KB blocks) 3,024,000 MB/s 659,200 MB/s 4,862,880 MB/s
Total Sequential Write Throughput (128 KB blocks) 3,024,000 MB/s 659,200 MB/s 4,862,880 MB/s
100 TB Sorting Results
Time 72 minutes 23 minutes 377 seconds

The Aliyun cluster has 331,968 GB memory in total, which is significantly greater than the size of the data to be sorted. This allows the data to be sorted to reside in memory completely, avoiding performance impact from disk I/O. In fact, in their report Aliyun described a “I/O dual buffering” technique, which allows data processing and disk I/O to be done in parallel. The report pointed out that “we ensure data are not buffered in OS page cache by running a data purge job that randomly reads from local file system before each benchmark run”. However, data can be loaded into memory quickly at the beginning of the benchmark because the cluster has sufficient I/O capacity to achieve this in around 20 seconds. The “Overlapped Execution” section in the report implies that the abundance of memory might be playing a much greater role than the “I/O dual buffering” technique. This is very different from the Spark cluster with only 50,264 GB memory, where extensive disk I/O must occur as part of the sorting benchmark.

Based on the above-listed data, it is quite convincing that Aliyun’s solution is better than Yahoo’s solution, considering the obvious performance advantages. However, it is very hard to say that Aliyun’s solution is better than Spark’s solution, considering the obvious resource advantages (memory in particular).

Another important aspect is that Spark’s solution was deployed on top of Amazon EC2. This means that such very-large-scale computation can be done with an extremely low cost – researchers only need to pay for the actual amount of computing resource being used for the amount of time they are using it. In Aliyun’s case, the cluster was a set of fixed asset for Aliyun. Considering the fact that Aliyun also considers itself as a public cloud service provider, is it possible for them to run this benchmark on their public cloud offerings?

Price Elasticity of the Enterprise Computing Resource Market

By , October 20, 2015 6:42 am

Price_Elasticity

今天得到一个好消息,我和Young Choon Lee与Albert Y. Zomaya合作的论文Price Elasticity of the Enterprise Computing Resource Markte终于被IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine接收了。

这篇文章构思于2013年底。第一稿完成于2014年5月,投给一个与云计算相关的会议,被拒。第二稿于2014年8 月投给IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine,历经两次Major Revision和一次Minor Revision,终于等到了这来之不易的好消息。

祝贺一下自己。同时希望后天就要投出去的另外一篇文章能够有更好的运气。

这篇文章的预览版。

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