才子辜鸿铭(1857-1928)
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才子辜鸿铭(1857-1928)

文 蒋黎金

我相信很多人都不知道我们同安曾出过一位才子叫辜鸿铭. 1857年, 辜鸿铭出生于马来亚槟城. 根据厦门日报报道, 他的祖籍乃今翔安新店浦尾村, 父亲在一橡胶园内担任司理. 英籍的橡胶园主布朗先生认辜鸿铭为义子. 13岁时, 带他到英国接受教育, 以优异的成绩荣获爱丁堡大学文学硕士学位. 接着他到德国莱比锡大学读土木工程, 获工程文凭. 之后又赴巴黎大学学法文. 1880年, 他学成回返槟城, 不久到新加坡海峡殖民地 政府任辅 政司. 在新加坡他与马建忠交往, 马建忠对中国文化学识渊博, 唤醒了他内心深处的中国情结, 三年后辞职回槟城老家, 开始补习中文, 学习中国文化. 

1882年,他到香港去, 继续学习中文, 闭门苦读. 经过几年的认真学习钻研, 辜鸿铭进步神速, 中文已有很深的根基, 但还无法渗透深奥的古籍.

1885年, 辜鸿铭回去中国, 应邀入张之洞幕府, 担任洋文案, 深得器重. 1905年, 上海”黄浦浚治局”成立, 辜鸿铭被聘为督办, 在职三年. 宣统复辟时, 任外交部侍郎, 后擢左丞. 1910年1月, 清廷赏给进士, 同年, 他辞去外交部职务就任上海南洋公学监督. 

辛亥革命后, 他表示效忠清王朝, 辞去公职前往北京. 1915年, 被聘为北大教授, 主讲英国文学. 他属于保守派而主张尊孔敬道. “五四”前后, 他用英文撰文反对新文化运动. 1924年他应日本大东文化协会的邀请赴日本讲学三年, 讲述东方文化, 其间他也曾到台湾讲学. 1927年秋, 辜鸿铭从日本回中国.1928 年4月30日在北京逝世, 享年72岁. 

辜鸿铭有极高的语言天赋. 他精通英语, 德语, 法语, 拉丁语, 希腊语, 意大利语等多种语言文字. 其中, 英, 德, 法三种语言掌握得尤为精湛娴熟, 说写一样流利. 他一生主要用英文著述, 其英语造诣更是登峰造极, 令人仰止, 连英国人也点头赞叹. 林语堂也赞不绝口, 说辜鸿铭的英语水平超群出众, 二百年来, 未见其右; 这使我们同安人也觉得骄傲. 今日, 我们同安又出了一位语言天才, 他的语言才能可媲美辜鸿铭, 他就是我们的乡贤李成业先生,一位资深的同步口译和翻译家.

资料来源:摘录自沟通中西文化的杰出代表–辜鸿铭

Mr Gu Hongming – A Talented Scholar 

I believe a lot of people do not know that Tongan had a talented scholar whose name is Gu Hongming. Gu Hongming was born in 1857 in Penang, Malaya. According to a report by Xiamen Daily, his ancestral hometown was in Xiangan, Xindian, Puwei(翔安新店浦尾). His father was a manager working in a rubber plantation owned by Mr Brown, a British subject who adopted Gu Hongming as his son. At the age of 13, Gu Hongming followed Mr Brown to Britain to receive his formal education. He achieved outstanding results and the University of Edinburgh awarded him a master’s degree in literature. Thereafter, he went to Germany to study civil engineering and obtained a diploma from the University of Leipzig. Subsequently, he enrolled himself in the University of Paris to study French. He returned to Penang in 1880 and came to Singapore to work as an assistant secretary for the Straits Government. In Singapore, he met Ma Jianzhong, a scholar learned in the Chinese culture. He was awakened by him and finally realized the importance of the Chinese language and culture. Three years later, he resigned from his post and returned to Penang where he started learning the Chinese language through private tuitions.

In 1882, he went to Hong Kong to further his studies, making much progress after several years of painstaking research. Though still could not gain full understanding of the profound ancient classics, he had already laid a solid foundation in mastering the Chinese language.

In 1885, he went to China and was invited to the shogunate of Zhang Zhidong, to be in charge of western affairs. He was highly praised and entrusted with heavy responsibility. In 1905, the “Huangpu Jun Governance” in Shanghai appointed him as Superintendent. He served in the governance for three years. When Xuantong Emperor was restored, he was appointed as a “She Lang” and thereafter as a “Zoucheng” in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In January 1910, the Qing government conferred him the title of “Jinci” and in the same year, he relinquished all duties in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and assumed the post of Director of the Shanghai Nanyang College.

After the Xinhai Revolution, he pledged his loyalty to the Qing Dynasty. He gave up all his official duties and went to Beijing. In 1915, he was appointed as a professor lecturing English Literature at the Beijing University. Being a conservative, he advocated Confucianism and Taoism. During the “May 4th” Movement, he wrote many articles in English condemning the New Cultural Movement. In 1924, he accepted the invitation by Dadong Cultural Association to lecture on “Oriental Culture” in Japan for three years. During which, he went to teach in Taiwan also. In the autumn of 1927, he returned to China from Japan and died in Beijing on 30 April 1928 at the age of 72.

Gu Hongming was a talented linguist fluent in English, German, French, Latin, Greek, Italian, and many other languages. In particular, he commanded exquisite skills to write and speak English, German and French eloquently. His literary works were mostly written in English and his proficiency in English language reached such a height that even the British admired him greatly. Lin Yutang had commented that in the past 200 years, none had surpassed the level of English language proficiency as that achieved by Gu Hongming. The remarks really made all Tonganese feel proud. Today we have another Tonganese whose linguistic talent compares favourably with Gu Hongming. He is our clansman, Mr Lee Seng Giap, a veteran simultaneous interpreter and translator.