Tue, Aug 02, 2011 - Page 13 News List

Cuba cigar factory ‘readers’ keep oral tradition smoking
古巴雪茄廠「朗讀者」傳統 工人捲雪茄更起勁

Cuban cigar factory reader Grisel Valdez reads the newspaper to cigar rollers at H. Upmann Cigar Factory in Havana on July 12.
古巴雪茄廠朗讀者葛麗賽爾‧維爾達茲七月十二日在哈瓦那烏普曼雪茄廠中,為捲雪茄工人讀報。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

Perched on a wooden dais in front of 600 workers rolling Cuba’s legendary cigars, Grisel Valdez reads aloud — poems, novels and even sex tips from the newspaper — keeping workers entertained, their attention rapt, just the way it has been done for 150 years.

Grisel, 55, a petite former teacher who wears reading glasses she adjusts frequently, may have a job that predates electricity.

But nobody in Cuba seems to have any interest in replacing her with a transistor radio or TV.

Indeed, she prides her old-school duties for its content and delivery — in a range of voices (a different one for each character) when reading a novel, for example — as well as careful preparation before her sessions.

She chats with workers between reading stints to get feedback and take requests.

She is one of about 300 cigar factory “readers” who have been brightening the long and monotonous work day of cigar rollers for over a century and a half.

To some the tradition is so unique and valuable that the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has proposed including it as part of humanity’s intangible heritage.

Most workers spend 10 hours rolling, clipping and trimming tobacco with a few simple tools, for under US$20 (NT$600) a month.

They often start out a day with selections from the Communist party newspaper, and then veer into poems almost universally loved — such as Pablo Neruda’s love poems — and classic novels like The Count of Monte Cristo.

On this day, Grisel’s sweet and reassuring voice echoes through the H. Upmann building in Centro Habana, where the world-class Montecristo brand is made, reading out headlines about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the national mango harvest and government calls on workers to boost their productivity.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. rapt adj.

全神貫注的 (quan2 shen2 guan4 zhu4 de5)

例: The audience listened to the choir with rapt attention.

(觀眾以全神貫注的注意力,聆聽合唱團的演出。)

2. predate v.

早於 (zao3 yu2)

例: The radio predates the television.

(收音機的發明早於電視。)

3. foot the bill v. phr.

負擔費用 (fu4 dan1 fei4 yong4)

例: It is the taxpayer that foots the bill when it comes to universal healthcare.

(全民健康保險即是由納稅人負擔費用。)


The cigar factory reader tradition in Cuba dates back at least to 1865; for more than a century, the workers themselves pooled their money to pay the readers to keep their minds occupied by something more entertaining than the manual job at hand. Now the company foots the bill, though it’s not a huge one.

“I make 315 pesos (NT$342) a month, but I feel really appreciated,” said Grisel.

(AFP)

葛麗賽爾‧維爾達茲坐在六百名捲古巴傳奇雪茄的工人前的一個木製講台上,大聲朗讀─詩詞、小說,甚至是報紙上的性愛技巧─帶給工人們工作時的娛樂,以吸引他們全神貫注的注意力,這種做法已經有一百五十年的歷史了。

五十五歲身材嬌小並經常調整她的眼鏡的葛麗賽爾,曾是一名老師,而她目前所從事的工作,可能早於電力的使用。

但在古巴,似乎沒有人要以電晶體收音機或電視機取代她。

的確,她對於其古老傳統的工作內容與傳遞方式感到自豪,她在朗讀工作開始前,都會用心準備。她在讀一本小說時,會以一系列的聲音朗讀(每個角色聲音都不同)。

她在兩節閱讀工作之間,會與工人閒話家常,並從聊天中獲得工人們的回饋,並接受他們對閱讀內容的建議。

她是大約三百名雪茄廠「朗讀者」之一,一個半世紀以來,他們為了工時冗長且工作機械化的雪茄工人們,增添工作樂趣。

對一些人來說,這種傳統是非常獨特且有價值的,因此聯合國教育科學及文化組織,提議把該傳統納入人類無形遺產的一部分。

大多數工人每天花十小時,使用幾個簡單的工具捲製、重複裁切與修剪菸草,每月賺不到二十美元(約新台幣六百元)。

他們常常以來自共產黨的報紙迎接一天的開始,然後轉向幾乎人人都愛的詩詞—例如帕布羅‧聶魯達的愛情詩,以及像《基督山恩仇錄》這樣的古典小說。

在這一天,葛麗賽爾甜美而有力的聲音,回響在哈瓦那中心的烏普曼的大樓中,朗讀關於委內瑞拉總統雨果‧查維茲的頭條新聞,國家的芒果豐收和政府號召工人提高他們的工作效率。這裡就是生產頂級蒙特可里斯托品牌的雪茄廠。

在古巴,雪茄廠朗讀者的傳統至少可以追溯至一八六五年。一個多世紀以來,工人們自己湊錢給朗讀者,讓自己沈浸在比手邊的手工工作更有趣的事情中。現在,工廠負擔這筆費用,不過數額不大。

葛麗賽爾說「我每月雖只賺三百一十五比索(新台幣三百四十二元),但我感到非常受到賞識。」

(法新社/翻譯:林亞蒂)

Warning: Smoking can damage your health. 吸菸有害健康

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