Skip to content

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

 

我们本该有选择“迎合主流”或“不迎合主流”的权利;我们本该允许别人也拥有这样的权利;尤其是对我们最弱小的兄弟;但被怪罪的常常是个体;嘿,你说这人的心地嘿。

——糖消

👇

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

 

作者:Annie Jen 

译者:姚冬妮

校对:崔   颖

策划:姚冬妮 & 糖消

 

My Grandmother’s Favorite Scammer

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

 

BEIJING — One day last winter my mother sent me an odd message over WeChat. “Has Laolao said anything strange to you today?” she asked.I immediately sensed that something was amiss. My mother is a typical Chinese parent. She always feels obliged to withhold bad news from me until she has no other choice. Why was she worried about my grandmother?

去年冬天的一天,妈妈在微信上给我发了一条奇怪的消息。“姥姥今天跟你说了什么奇怪的话吗?”她问道。我立刻觉得有什么地方不对劲。我妈妈是那种典型的中国式家长。她总觉得得把坏消息瞒着我,直到瞒不住为止。她为什么担心我姥姥呢?

I thought back to my most recent visit to Laolao’s shabby apartment here. She had just turned 88, and other than the usual age-related forgetfulness and grumbling about kids these days, she was her usual self.

我回想起最近一次去姥姥住的破旧公寓看她时的情形。她刚过了88岁生日,除了一贯的老年健忘和对当下小孩们的抱怨外,她跟平时没什么两样。

My mother’s next message unnerved me even more. “Was she of sound mind?”

妈妈的下一条信息让我更紧张了。“她脑子还清楚吗?”

“You have to tell me what’s going on,” I messaged back.

“快告诉我出什么事了,”我回复道。

My mother informed me with uncharacteristic transparency that Laolao had asked for my parents’ bank account PIN, and urged my mother to trust her and not ask questions. Flustered, my mother had already turned over the PIN.

妈妈以一种不寻常的坦白语气告诉我,姥姥之前向我父母要银行账户密码,还让妈妈相信她,不要多问。慌乱之中,妈妈把银行密码给她了。

I fought the urge to berate her and began to scour the internet for information on bank scams that involved sworn secrecy. My heart sank when results filled my screen, describing our situation exactly. I was in an airport, on a business trip, so I messaged Laolao’s assistant at her office and told her to freeze all my grandmother’s bank accounts. But it turned out the bank couldn’t do anything unless Laolao herself requested it.

我抑制住了责备她的冲动,然后就在网上搜寻要求被骗人发誓保密有关的银行诈骗信息。当满屏的搜索结果描述的情况和我们遇到的事一模一样时,我的心不禁沉了下去。我当时在出差,人还在机场,于是就给姥姥的办公室助理发了短信,要她冻结姥姥所有的银行账户。但银行的回答是,除非姥姥自己要求,否则他们什么也做不了。

By this point, my family was mobilized, but Laolao was stonewalling. All she would say was, “This goes deeper than any of you realize.”

到这个时候,我家所有人都动员起来了,但是姥姥却在阻挠我们。她只是说:“这里的水比你们想的要深多了。”

 

My laolao (the northern Chinese word for maternal grandmother) is an exceedingly proud woman. As a teenager during the 1940s, she was an operative in an underground Communist resistance movement fighting Kuomintang rule, and I grew up on stories of her astonishing achievements. She was a single mother, and worked as a civil servant in Beijing through decades of political upheaval. She had gone up against impossible odds all of her life.

姥姥(这是中国北方对外祖母的称呼)是个非常骄傲的女人。40年代,她只有十几岁,就当成为了地下党的一员,反对国民党的统治,我是听着她的各种丰功伟绩长大的。她是单身母亲,在北京当公务员,经历了几十年的政治动荡。她一生都在与各种艰难困苦作斗争。

译者注:地下党(间谍),是指从事秘密侦探工作的人,民主革命时期,中国共产党在国民党统治的地区和日本侵略军侵占的地区,秘密进行革命活动的党组织,通常称为地下党。中国共产党著名的地下党有:钱壮飞、李克农、胡底等人。

So I was amazed, but not exactly surprised, when, in her 60s, she began a second career in bankruptcy reorganization with the energy of someone decades younger. In Chinese, we have a word, fu lao (“to yield to aging”) It is about accepting change, admitting defeat. Laolao would not yield. She treated aging as just another trivial obstacle, not something that would ever humble her.

所以,当60多岁的她以年轻了好几十岁的精力开始第二职业——破产重组时,我感到惊奇,但也不是完全惊讶。中文里有一个词叫“服老”(“屈服于衰老”),意思是接受改变,承认失败。姥姥从不服老。她把衰老当作另一个微不足道的障碍,而不是让她低声下气的东西。

And that was her weakness. The scammers convinced Laolao that they were an elite government task force trying to bust an international crime ring, and they needed her help. This elaborate fantasy involved secret meetings, daily calls on a dedicated phone, call signs, and at least one dead drop.

但这也正是她的弱点所在。诈骗犯们让姥姥相信,他们是一个试图打击国际犯罪集团的政府精英部队,并且他们需要她的帮助。这个精心设计的骗局包括秘密会议、每天的专用电话通话、通信呼号和至少一个秘密情报传递点。

“I didn’t put two and two together, but your grandmother has been making strange phone calls the last couple of weeks,” her assistant told me.

“我不想推断什么,但你姥姥最近几周一直在打奇怪的电话,”她的助理告诉我。

I tried to call Laolao again. When she didn’t pick up after several attempts, I started to assume the worst. The scammers knew that we had discovered what happened, I thought, and they had taken her money and killed her. With shaky hands, I called the police.

我试着再给姥姥打电话。试了几次她都没接,我开始往最坏的方面想。我想那些诈骗犯知道我们发现了真相,他们拿走了她的钱并杀了她。我抖抖索索地报了警。

When the emergency operator picked up, I was sobbing. She calmly asked me for Laolao’s address and transferred me to the police station in her neighborhood. I forced myself to speak. “My grandmother was a victim of a phone scam, and now I can’t reach her,” I said. “I’m afraid her life is in danger and —”

当接线员接听电话时,我已经在哭了。她平静地问我姥姥的地址,然后把我转接到她家附近的派出所。我强迫自己不要哭泣,把姥姥的情况告诉警方。“我的外祖母是电话诈骗的受害者,现在我联系不上她了,”我说。“我担心她有生命危险,而且——”

“We picked her up an hour ago,” an officer informed me. “She called us about 90 minutes ago, reporting that she has been involved in a phone scam, so we brought her to the station. She’s giving her statement now.”

“一小时前我们已经接到她了,”一位警察告诉我。“她在约90分钟前告诉我们,她卷入了一起电话诈骗案,所以我们把她带到了派所处。现在她正在做笔录。”

A few moments later, Laolao was on the phone, sounding as if this were the most ordinary thing in the world.

过了一会儿,姥姥接了电话,听起来她好像是在讲世界上最平常不过的事情。

“Laolao is fine,” she told me. “I’m just writing down what happened for the officers. I’m fine.”

“姥姥没事儿,”她告诉我。“我只是把事情经过写下来交给警察。我没事儿。”

“I’m going to fly over to be with you.”

“我要飞过来陪你。”

“No need. I am fine.”

“不用。我没事。”

By the time I got to her apartment the next morning, the police had informed me that her bank accounts were empty. She had lost almost all of the money she had carefully put away over more than 70 years. I expected to be greeted by a distraught, unkempt old woman, but Laolao looked just as she always did. Her eyebrows were neatly drawn, her face was relaxed, even peaceful, as she explained what happened.

等我第二天早上来到她的公寓,警察告知我她的银行账户一分钱没剩下。她失去了悉心存了70多年的几乎所有积蓄。我以为迎接我的会是一个心烦意乱、衣冠不整的老妇人,但姥姥看上去和往常一样。在解释发生的事情时,她的眉毛还是画得整整齐齐,脸部表情很放松,甚至非常平和。

The basic narrative was a classic: Someone called and told her that her identity had been compromised. That she was implicated in a money-laundering case with hundreds of millions on the line, and that she would soon be arrested. The same scam has been plaguing Chinese immigrants all over the United States, as well as in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere. I had always sneered at the victims for trusting strangers on the phone. Who could be so gullible? But these scammers get to know their marks thoroughly and are adept at ensnaring their prey.

基本过程听起来就像是个套路:有人打电话告诉她,她的身份被泄露了。她卷入了一起数亿规模的洗钱案,情况十分紧急,她很快就会被逮捕。同样的骗局也困扰着美国各地的中国移民,以及中国大陆、台湾、日本和其他地方的人。我总是嘲笑那些在电话里信任陌生人的受害者。谁会这么容易上当呢?但这些骗子对自己的目标了如指掌,并且非常善于诱捕“猎物”。

After they got Laolao’s attention, a handler impersonated a government official and appealed to her to cooperate with his team to clear her name. He was eloquent and convinced her that her country was depending on her to do what he asked and agree to strict secrecy, effectively isolating her.

在引起姥姥的注意后,一名诈骗犯冒充政府官员,请求姥姥与自己的团队合作来为她洗脱罪名。他能言善辩,使她相信祖国得依靠她去做他要求的事,并同意严格保密,这实际上使她孤立起来无法将这件事告诉别人。

Under his meticulous direction, Laolao purchased a burner phone and communicated with him under the call sign “Eagle.” After two weeks of constant contact, Laolao was picked up and taken to a remote hotel, where she was instructed to turn over her bank information so that the task force could use it to trace the maneuvers of the criminals. Laolao told me she had some misgivings, but complied.

在他的“悉心指导”下,姥姥买了部一次性手机,并以“雄鹰”为代号与他进行沟通。经过两周的不断接触,姥姥被带到一家偏远的酒店,在那里她被要求交出银行信息,以便特遣部队追踪罪犯的行动。姥姥告诉我她有些疑虑,但还是照办了。

I briefly wondered if this lapse of judgment was a sign that her mind was going. I had never known her to make decisions without feeling absolutely sure. But I had missed her real vulnerability.

我一度怀疑,这种判断失误是不是她脑子开始不正常的迹象。我从未见过她在没有绝对把握的情况下做决定。但我却没有理解她内心真正的脆弱。

“I was really impressed with the scammer,” Laolao told me. “He was quite a high-caliber individual. He was so eloquent and natural, and he sounded so dedicated to the welfare of our country, which is something I have devoted my entire life to. We were like instant old friends; he understood me completely, and very tenderly asked after my well-being and health every day.”

“那个骗子真让我印象深刻,”姥姥告诉我。“他是个很能干的人。很会说话,很自然,听起来又是如此关心国家利益,而这是我一生都致力于的事业。我们就像一见如故的老朋友,他完全理解我,每天都非常体贴地问候我的健康。”

The truth none of us wanted to face, least of all Laolao, was how alienated she felt, from her family and everyone else. She was once a woman in complete control, and she had given China a lifetime of service. She survived Land Reform, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. As a government official, she helped shape national policy, and there was a time when she was involved in every major family decision.

我们——尤其是姥姥——都不愿意面对的事实是,她觉得自己与家人和其他人之间是多么疏离。她曾经是一个掌控一切的女人,为中国奉献了一辈子。她经历了土地改革、大跃进和文化大革命。作为政府官员,她帮助制定了国家政策,同时,她也曾参与每一项重要的家庭决策。

But she had become stranded in a country she no longer recognized. She complained about the news vendors who refused to accept cash, the taxis that ignored her, the smartphones that wouldn’t respond to her elderly fingers. Laolao railed about the old ways being swept away, and we, her family, could do nothing but help her pay bills on her phone. We couldn’t turn back time and return her to a world she understood.

但她如今却身陷一个她不再认识的国度。她抱怨报纸摊不再收现金,想打出租车,司机也不理她,智能手机对她不再灵活的手指没有反应。姥姥抱怨旧的生活方式被一扫而空,而我们——她的家人,除了帮她支付手机账单,什么也做不了。我们不能让时间倒流,让她回到那个她能理解的世界。

Those charming scammers turned out to be the perfect antidote. They spun an irresistible fantasy of a high-stakes patriotic mission where her actions and commitment mattered, where a mysterious, well-spoken man made her feel relevant and in control. “If he ever gets caught I should like to speak to him again,” she told me. “He’s so talented that he could be rehabilitated to do some good.”

而那些迷人的诈骗犯此时就成了最完美的解药。他们编织了一个难以抗拒的幻象:一项重大的爱国使命,她的行动和承诺很重要,一个神秘的、谈吐得体的男人让她觉得自己是有用的、有控制权的。“如果他被抓住,我想再和他谈谈,”她告诉我。“他那么有天分,可以改过自新做些好事。”

In the days after her trip to the police station, I noticed that her apartment complex had been plastered with warnings: “Do not become involved in scams and give out private information to strangers.” That seemed to be the limit of what anyone could, or would do.

在她从派出所回来的几天后,我注意到她的小区里贴了很多警示牌:“不参与诈骗,不把私人信息透露给陌生人。”这似乎就是任何人能做或是愿意做的极限了。

It’s been months since Laolao’s misadventure, and she has returned to work and her orderly, frugal life. But every now and then, when she starts complaining about all the ways young people disappoint her, she reminisces about her former handler, how naturally their conversation flowed, how attentively he listened. “I know he was just winning my trust to get my money, but if he didn’t choose this life he could be doing great things for our country.” Laolao told me, “If they ever caught him I should like to make friends with him.”

姥姥的不幸遭遇已经过去了几个月,她已经回到了工作岗位,恢复了有秩序的、节俭的生活。但时不时地,当她抱怨年轻人如何让她失望时,她仍会怀念起以前那位上线,想起他们的谈话是多么自然愉快,他又是多么专心地倾听。“我知道他只是想赢得我的信任骗我的钱,但如果他不选择这种生活,他可以为我们国家做很多好事。”姥姥告诉我,“如果他们抓到他,我愿意和他交朋友。”

In a twisted way, she misses him. It’s a sharp reminder for me of how we have all failed, as a family and as a society, to help her feel less alone. In China, we like to believe we honor the elderly. We pamper them with gifts of fancy fruit baskets, imported foods and other indulgences.

她以一种扭曲的方式思念着他。对我来说,这让我们清醒地意识到,作为家庭和社会,没能帮她化解孤独是多么的失败。在中国,我们乐于相信自己敬老。我们用高档果篮、进口食品和其他宽纵作为礼物宠着他们。

But this shallow perspective on aging infantilizes the elderly and neglects to preserve their dignity. They are people who have “consumed more salt than we have of rice,” as the saying goes. They deserve better.

但这种肤浅的观点即把老年人当成小孩对待,忽视了维护他们的尊严。俗话说,老人“吃过的盐比我们吃过的米还多”。他们应受到更好的对待。

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

  • 本文原载于 The New York Times

  • 原文链接:https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/opinion/sunday/china-bank-scam-grandmother.html

一、了解取经号 | 我们是谁,在做什么,如何加入
二、学习贴士 | 如何打印输出PDF如何使用微信读书订阅取经号
三、翻译服务 | 咨询邮箱:[email protected]
四、社交媒体 | 微信公众号:取经号;微博:取经号JTW
五、译文归档 | 访问网站:qujinghao.com
六、学习社群 | 翻译社(暂停中)

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

添加伍豪微信,防止走丢

姥姥最爱的诈骗犯

Be First to Comment

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注