Erenlai - Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會
Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會

Social Changes and Challenges 變動中的華人社會

Here are materials that examine and assess the current issues that are influencing the Pacific-Asian culture and society.

經濟發展所產生的變動已經全面衝擊了人們的生活型態與觀念。

 

 

 

Friday, 24 August 2007

四年後我還是在羊圈

我26歲,我去過兩三個地方,做過建築,也做過礦工。四年以後,我還是在羊圈吧!照顧老的小的,我學到一些建築的基本技術。如果有錢的話,在羊圈造個大型磚廠,為羊圈每個家庭鋪新磚。

附加的多媒體:
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Friday, 24 August 2007

I just had a baby...

" I am 22, I come from Muli and am married to someone from Baiwu. We went together to Wenzhou in order to find work.
I gave birth to a little baby girl three days ago (i.e.e July 16, 2007), at home.
I was working in Wenzhou with my husband, in a toy factory, and I came back for giving birth. I expect to go back to Wenzhou in 6,7 months. In Wenzhou we were earning three RMB per hour and usually I was working from 7am to 12am, and from 1pm till 6pm, resting two days a week. This was truly a good job. I brought home 3,000 RMB."

Attached media :
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Friday, 24 August 2007

From Liangshan to Shenzhen

"I am just back from Shenzhen where I worked for three months in a plant doing cell phones, assembling parts. My formation lasted for 3 or 4 days, and afterwards I worked. The salary was 1,000 RMB, but once all the fees were deducted we were earning 700 RMB a month. We were 23 to leave together. The others still work in this factory. I came back because I heard about this opportunity in Shanghai.
In this factory, after one year you can sign a contract. Before that, you are just a temporary worker.
I’d like to study a technique, a trade, whatever which. I’d like to help the poorer people around here. I think we should plant more vegetables. I am interested in the greenhouse project."

Attached media :
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Friday, 24 August 2007

Should I leave school?

“I am 18. My parents just came back from Chengdu, where they have been working for three or four months in construction. I have two elder brothers. One is in college in Kangding. The other is in Guangdong for more than three years. He does not phone, we do not have any news from him. Last year still, he gave a few hundred RMB to my brother and to me.
I just finished first year of junior high school and was preparing to enter second year, but I do not know whether I should look out for a job or continue my schooling. I like school and would like very much to continue, but my grades are just average, and it is hard for my parents to support my brother and me. Should I go or not? That’s truly hard to decide. My parents would prefer that I go and find a job but they told me last night that the decision was up to me."

Attached media :
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Friday, 24 August 2007

Should I leave school?

“I am 18. My parents just came back from Chengdu, where they have been working for three or four months in construction. I have two elder brothers. One is in college in Kangding. The other is in Guangdong for more than three years. He does not phone, we do not have any news from him. Last year still, he gave a few hundred RMB to my brother and to me.
I just finished first year of junior high school and was preparing to enter second year, but I do not know whether I should look out for a job or continue my schooling. I like school and would like very much to continue, but my grades are just average, and it is hard for my parents to support my brother and me. Should I go or not? That’s truly hard to decide. My parents would prefer that I go and find a job but they told me last night that the decision was up to me."

Attached media :
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_en.jpg|}media/articles/Workers_Maningning.swf{/rokbox}

Friday, 24 August 2007

我怕考不上大學

我今年18歲。我在鹽源女子中學讀書,高一升高二。我父母都在外面打工,供我和我哥哥讀書,哥哥讀大學。我害怕繼續讀書考不上大學會很浪費錢。我父母說去外面也是可以。

附加的多媒體:
{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/slideshow_tw.jpg|}media/articles/Workers_Maningning.swf{/rokbox}

Friday, 24 August 2007

Tianjin,Guyang, Kunming, Lanping...

"I have worked in Tianjin, Guiyang, Kunming and Lanping (Yunnan)). In Tianjin, I worked during four months, in construction, around ten hours a day. My daily wages were around 40 to 50 RMB. In Guiyang, I worked also in construction, only for twenty days, the work stopped because of the rain. I worked in Lanping for six months, in a mine, for a wage of around 20 to25 RMB a day.
I left Baiwu looking for work in January 2005. I came back from my last job in February 2007. I am preparing to out again, as I have heard that there is an opportunity in Shanghai.
Somehow, I have learnt to build brick houses, but it would be difficult to make use of this skill in this district. I do not see many opportunities around. Tourism? No way. No well-known mountain, no big Buddha statue… Anyway, I still have a lot more to learn in construction.
My liveliest recollection? In Lanping, in the mine, four of my coworkers fell ill because of the lack of oxygen. There was my friend from Baiwu among them. We used the chariot to bring them back outside, we asked the boss for money and brought them to the hospital. They were OK after two days. I never was so afraid in my life.
When I went out for work the first time, we were eight to leave together, using the trunk of someone among us who was selling apples, and when the apples were sold we went to Yunnan. From Xichang to Dechang, Dechang to Yongsheng, and then to Lanping."

Attached media :
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Monday, 20 August 2007

Yuan-Li Ecological and Cultural Association

After Taiwan entered the WTO, Yuan-Li faced a loss of income. The farmers left the land fallow and moved away.
In order to improve productivity, the Yuan-Li Ecological and Cultural Association came up with a good plan: Duck Field Rice.
They hope the farmers will all follow it. They provide the residents a sales channel. Natural and organic products are their emphatic points. To increase value and strengthen marketing is their earnest aim. To create an ecological environment is their ultimate goal.
If you want to see ducks dancing with rice, be sure to come for a visit.
www.duck-field-rice.org.tw/

Attached media :
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Friday, 17 August 2007

Jieh Huey Social Welfare and Charity Foundation

In a society that evolves rapidly, with a higher proportion of two-income families, life is so busy that it is difficult to take care of both work and family, and it is easy to neglect the cleaning of the family environment. That favors the apparition of “ hourly housekeepers”.
By using the cleaning skills of Aborigene women the Foundation creates job opportunities for them. The Foundation also holds housework services lessons to increase the professional skills of the “hourly housekeepers” in cleaning, tidying, cooking…
In a long-term, they have increased the quality of their services and built a good reputation among their customers. The person in charge of the domestics within the association supervises the employees, and gives example for every task. The employees build self-confidence through their work which yield them a lot of satisfaction despite the efforts.
In the future, the Foundation will continue to train top quality housekeepers, creating more job opportunities while supplying more and more demands.

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http://www.jhf.org.tw/

Attached media :
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Friday, 06 July 2007

我陪邓朴方亲历香港回归

1997年6月30日,作为新华社香港分社一员,申再望负责接待邓朴方,一同见证了香港回归祖国。
1997年6月30日,即将回归祖国的香港成为全球瞩目的焦点。笔者作为新华社香港分社的一员,亲身经历了庆典的全过程。我的工作是负责联络并接待邓朴方参加庆典活动。由于邓朴方是高位截瘫人士,对他的接待有特殊安排。

初到新世界海景酒店

根据安排,邓小平夫人卓琳参加中央政府代表团,由女儿邓榕陪同,下榻位于九龙的海逸酒店。这家酒店的店东是香港首富李嘉诚,出席庆典的中央领导都住此酒店。邓小平的另一位女儿邓楠,下榻五星级的君悦酒店。邓朴方参加的是中央观礼团,下榻在新世界海景酒店。君悦和新世界海景与庆典会场直接联通,出入会场方便且安全。
6月30日下午,通向会展中心的道路架起了许多路障,邓朴方乘坐的轿车从深圳直接开到了下榻的酒店。打开车门后,手脚熟练的随行人员立即把他抱上了轮椅车,进入酒店大堂,而后乘电梯,进入套房,前后不过几分钟。
朴方在酒店休息时,吩咐工作人员打开了电视,电视台全部用粤语和英语播音,朴方说听不懂,就看了凤凰卫视的直播节目。6月天气炎热,由于身体原因,朴方住的房间不能开空调,室内温度很高,他满头大汗。为了给他洗个澡,他的随行人员和我把他抬进了浴室。朴方说:“再望,真不好意思让你抬我。”我回答:“朴方大哥,就当是自家人,不要见外。”随同朴方的工作人员,一位是他的随身医生,另一位是多年为邓小平做饭的厨师。他的秘书留在深圳,负责联络和接应。朴方的医生向我介绍了护理要求,一是朴方需要随时饮水,因此需要带几瓶水进会场;二是朴方的腰腹部连着一个体液瓶,医生必须跟着他,必要时为他更换体液瓶;三是朴方不能在人群密集的场所长时间停留,可能需要到会场外面呼吸新鲜空气,因此他的座位要方便出入。
举行交接仪式尚早,我们请朴方先用晚餐。晚餐是新华社食堂的师傅专门准备的,朴方吃得很满意,朴方的妻子从北京来电话,叮咛朴方要注意身体,别太劳累,又一再叮嘱纪念邮册签名的事,要朴方挂在心上。朴方对我说,这本邮册是为纪念香港回归特制的,里面有邓小平肖像的金箔小型张,本来7月1日才正式发行,邮政总局提前送给他一本,他想请代表团的全体成员在这本邮册签名。

会展中心见卓琳

当晚有两个活动,午夜之前是交接仪式,在新会展中心大礼堂举行,午夜之后是特区成立暨特区政府宣誓就职仪式,在三号厅举行。因为出席两个仪式的人员有所不同,加上主席台的布置不一样,所以分别安排在不同楼层。
我们把朴方送往新会展中心。沿途有不少人认出他,围上来的人很多,我担心被堵,不得不请周围的人让出通道,不由得嗓门也提高了。朴方提醒我,别高声吆喝,要礼貌待人。朴方注意到一旁的警员,因为再过几小时他们就要更换帽徽了,他很想看一下新旧两种帽徽有什么不同。我招呼一位警员,请他帮忙说明。这位警员很友善,立刻揭下自己的帽子递给朴方,还把新帽徽从衣袋里取出来让朴方看。这位警员看上去很开心,一直面带笑容。
出席交接仪式的嘉宾有四千多人,坐轮椅的就只有朴方,所以一路上颇引人注目,在通过多个检查点时十分顺利,几乎没有验证就予以放行。没有代表证的北京两位随行人员,也以特别护理人的身份进入会场。每位代表的挂牌证件就有若干个,缺一不行,丹麦王子由于证件不齐,也被警员拒之门外。
我陪着朴方来到新会展中心,朴方想见一见母亲,我就推着他来到一个特别休息厅。刚进门,就看见卓琳坐在右边的沙发上,身边是陪伴她的毛毛。朴方喊了一声:“妈,我来了。”卓琳笑容满面回答:“我们很好,你怎么样?”我同卓琳阿姨和毛毛多年没有见面,毛毛对妈妈说:“这是井泉叔叔家的老五,大蓉、二蓉的哥哥”,卓琳阿姨才认出我来,紧紧握住我的手说:“朴方和你在一起,我们就放心了。”毛毛说:“能在这里相聚太不容易了,咱们赶快照个相吧。”她边说边掏出一个傻瓜相机,请一位工作人员拍了两张照片。
毛毛的脑筋在任何情况下都是最灵的。比如相机,本来有规定不许带进会场,我担心在安全检查时被没收,就没敢带。结果看见不少人带了相机也没事儿,照样放行。毛毛的目光也很锐利,一见面她就悄悄对我说:“再望,你的鬓角好长,该剪了。”我才惊讶地意识到,这半个月自己在香港忙得昏天黑地,竟然连理发修面也忘记了。
朴方应去的休息厅也在同一楼层,这个厅较大,是专门安排给中央各部委和团体负责人休息等候的地方。我又帮他找人在邮册上签名,眼看邮册签名者增多,我心里也踏实多了。

亲历交接仪式

我们进入交接仪式会场时,四千来宾大部分已入座。朴方的座位在中方代表团靠前部分,为了方便他入座,工作人员特意把靠走道的一个座位拆掉,让他的轮椅能够直接停在这个位置。我的座位在同一排,我让给了随行医生,以便他护理朴方。后来,警员为我找到一个空位,这个位置甚至比朴方的座位更靠前,但当我坐上去时,才明白为什么它空着,因为有水珠从天花板往下滴。
不知在场嘉宾和电视机前的观众是否注意到,升降两国国旗的旗杆是特别设计的,旗杆的管内通风,通过风的作用,使两国国旗迎风飘扬,而不是通常所见的垂落状,这样就显得很好看。
升中国国旗的这一刻令人十分激动,这种心情很难用言语表述,直至今日,回想到那一时刻,依然是心潮激荡;当然,也有人伤心,港督彭定康在英国国旗降下时,就止不住垂泪。
午夜零时15分,交接仪式结束,我赶快起身,把朴方推出会场透气,会场里的冷气开得很足,再加上人多,这对朴方的身体很不利。随行医生为他检查了身体,幸无大碍。
特区成立仪式的会场在另一楼层。前几天我已两次进入这个会场,因为当时要演练特区政府主要官员和大法官宣誓场面,由我们新华社的官员代替他们入场站位和宣读誓词,以便现场主管指挥调度和掌握时间。有意思的是,每个站位的人都对应一位特区政府要员,在宣读完誓词以后,要各自念出别人的名字。念完之后,大家都忍不住笑起来。大法官的宣誓还包括英语誓词,因为终审大法官有一半是外籍人士,所有大法官都要带上假发宣誓。中央电视台的导播和节目主持人当时也来到了排练场,罗京站在观众席一侧,不细看差点认不出他。

送君直到皇岗口

第二天,我利用空暇时间,跑到湾仔邮局排队,领取我事先预定的特区第一套纪念邮票和首日封。回到酒店,我送给朴方以及他的两位随行人员各一枚首日封,他们很高兴。我请朴方在我的首日封上签名,他欣然同意。我还帮新华社其他几位同事带去了首日封,朴方也一一签了名。
我们推着轮椅,将朴方再次送进会展中心,董建华说:“今日,我特别高兴,卓琳女士能够参加回归盛事,我们对卓琳女士表示热烈欢迎和敬意。”卓琳起身向大家招手致意,全场响起了经久不息的掌声。
接下来的文艺演出,首先上演的是交响乐,在作曲家谭盾的激情指挥下,大提琴家马友友出神入化的演奏,宛如天籁的湖北古代编钟音乐,令全场观众如痴如醉。接着表演合唱《回归颂》,这首歌由董建华夫人作词,著名歌星谭咏麟、王菲、林子祥、叶倩文、黎明、张学友、刘德华、郭富城同台献歌,可爱的儿童合唱团的小朋友们轻声伴唱,他们个个都很投入,唱出了港人的心声。演出结束后,朴方特意让我们把他推到台前,他与小朋友们热情握手,久久舍不得离去。
下午4点,特区政府在会展中心举行招待酒会。泰国公主诗琳通、日本前首相村山富士等都来了,他们纷纷走上前来同朴方握手。会场里没有配备专门的翻译,我就临时担当了口译工作,只要对方讲英语,都经我翻译给朴方。最令人高兴的是董建华来了,两人交谈甚欢。我提出邮册签名的事,董建华的助理悄悄接过邮册,答应在朴方离开香港前办好。
大批外国记者进不了会场,在门外急得像热锅上的蚂蚁。我认识不少“外记”。一位法新社记者在过道上拦住我,提出拍照请求,我尚在犹豫,没想到朴方爽快答应,这位摄影高手立马启动快门,抢拍了几个镜头。事后我打电话给记者,提出要两张作为纪念,他二话不说,给我洗印了两幅大照片,分文不取,他笑称,这是法新社赠送给新华社的“礼物”。
朴方于下午5点30分乘车返回深圳。他提出要我同行,这是原来的安排中没有的。行前,董建华的助理派人将邮册送到,不差分秒。车过皇岗口岸,来接朴方的车已等候多时。当晚,深圳领导设宴欢迎朴方,邓仙芙阿姨的儿女、小弟、小妹都来了,家人团聚,其乐融融。朴方举起一杯红酒对我说:“再望,今天让你送我,是为了感谢你,咱们干一杯。”原本戒酒的我,将酒一饮而尽。
当晚我还得乘火车赶回去,市长派车将我送到罗湖口岸。回来已是半夜,盛大的焰火晚会早已结束,但天空还仿佛流动着一丝丝光影。

【原载成都日报,2007年7月2日】

附加的多媒体:
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Thursday, 21 June 2007

Dealing with the Loss of Cultural Resources

Remembering and Creating Anew

Recently, I met with a young Naxi scholar, whose hometown is Lijiang. He was lamenting the environmental and cultural exploitation of the region. While Naxi culture seems a “hot” commodity, the actual preservation of the inheritance is almost non existent and the area’s deforestation is a sad symbol of the population’s “deculturation.”
At some point in the discussion, my friend used an expression that struck me ‘All our cultural resources are transformed into cultural capital” he said. The formula goes far indeed, and I would like to say how I understand it, and what it inspires in me.

“Cultural resources” are ways of life, practical knowledge, belief systems or landscapes and cultural relics that belong to a community as a whole. The community takes its sense of identity from them, it uses them as tools for preserving and adapting its existence. It is ultimately the stuff from which people are able to enrich and create new resources that will help their descendants to go on with the task of living a meaningful existence. Cultural resources are a product of time, are nurtured by time and evolve with time.

“Cultural capital” makes such resources a “commodity” that can be priced, privatized, and transferred, while striving to get the best profit in the shortest time-span. The accumulation of cultural knowledge and the control of cultural goods are then used in such a way so as to confer money, power and status. This is exemplified in the way tourism nowadays is often conceived and conducted: not as a way of enhancing a community as a whole but rather as an appropriation of landscapes and relics to the profit of some people, to the extent that the life of many of those who were living in the original environment is actually spoiled.

The “commodification” of cultural resources is indeed a phenomenon that is seen in the whole world, including China. Its effects are particularly felt in minority areas. It is certainly not easy to remedy such situations. Changes in property laws constitute one direction: there are duties to fulfill when it comes to biodiversity, beauty of landscapes or water conservation, and, conversely, these resources can be treated as assets. Community awareness and search for a balanced developmental model are attitudes to be fostered in the long term, through the granting of more local autonomy. More important even is to cherish “culture” as a way towards full humaneness, as an endeavor that develops throughout history and by which humankind pursues a quest towards self-realization. In this light, if cultural resources are to be protected and preserved, rather than privatized and marketized, it is not only out of respect for the past, it is because they allow us to continue to invent and to adapt.
My Naxi friend does not content himself with complaining and lamenting. He collects texts and testimonies, and considers writing as his mission. Let us continue to collect and create, even among the cultural ruins we are witnessing today. In time of protest and emergency, the human mind often displays its full creative power.

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Attached media :
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Monday, 28 May 2007

Alternative Shanghai

Shanghai is the city of money, of power, of architectural progress… Shanghai is the city of the future… Shanghai is the city where the world is flocking to: Chinese from the hinterland, Taiwanese in search of a larger field of action, multinational companies, artists, adventurers and bankers… Shanghai is also the city where the next International Fair will take place, in 2010, and it ambitions to become then the point around which the entire world will revolve. Where and when is Shanghai’s rise going to stop?

At the same time, Shanghai is often presented as a soulless city: power and money do not harmonize easily with altruism and spiritual quest. The rise of Shanghai profits mostly those who focus on accumulating more wealth and more influence. It does not look like a place for poets or mystics. It is the kingdom of greed, opportunism and working frenzy. Watching the Shanghai of today, the opening line of “A Take of two Cities” comes again to mind” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Booming Shanghai might be slowly devouring the flesh and soul of its own children.

However, there is another Shanghai, a kindler and gentler city. Since its start, eRenlai nurtures friendship with a group of people who strive to make Shanghai a different place, where people care for their neighbors, where the rights of minorities are recognized, where the weakest are taken into full consideration, where the cultural resources brought by different groups of people are respected and cherished. The initiators of such a movement are Shanghai people themselves. They are helped in many ways by people from outside, who found in Shanghai what they were not initially looking for.

Taiwanese are especially numerous in Shanghai and its surroundings. Most of them deploy there their professional talents, and are making good money out of it. Often, they complain about Shanghai ’ recklessness – while contributing to it. Are they truly looking for the real soul of the city? Are they bringing an example of openness and generosity that would help Chinese civil society to mature and pacify? Are they taking initiatives that contribute to peace and solidarity? Are they just making use of Shanghai or do they contribute to its human development? Some of them may do so. Most of them need to be encouraged to look differently at Shanghai - and to act differently as well.

Our ultimate concern is of course about China’s civil society and its future. People and groups who contribute to accrued solidarity and diversity deserve to be better known, encouraged and empowered. Beyond political and cultural issues, the human quality deployed by citizens and associations is what will make China a better place to live, and a more friendly partner for the rest of Asia and the world. There are reasons for hope, but they are not always obvious. We have to look at China with different eyes. Alternative Shanghai is a good place to start with.

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