Erenlai - Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)
Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com

前e人籟執行主編

Tweets @cerisefive

週五, 22 五 2009 01:28

Rumour and prevention

Last week, the Internet showed again its formidable rapidity: on Sunday night (May 19 2009), a prolonged but moderate earthquake shook the area of Los Angeles. Almost instantaneously, people started to flood Twitter with messages and the news of the earthquake was coursing through the world of microblogging long before the Internet press published the information. Rumours on the Internet can spread like pandemics and the way to control their nuisance could be equally employed to prevent pandemics.

As the main task of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is to be a worldwide health monitor, teams of the organization also dedicate themselves to track down the rumours of illnesses on the Internet in order to analyse them and evaluate the risks of pandemics. Nevertheless, the evolution of any flu virus is totally unpredictable, which makes it very difficult to foresee its extent of danger. In the case of the “swine flu”, the WHO has been very careful to prevent a repetition of the panic effect produced during the SARS epidemic. This time round, they have been more watchful with the terms used during informative campaigns. Recently, I heard on the radio a doctor working at the WHO insisting on the fact that the correct name of the flu is “A/H1N1 influenza”. Beyond what could seem to be an excess of pretentiousness, it is indeed important not to encourage false associations of ideas which could create paranoia and generate disastrous consequences such as the recent mass slaughtering of pigs in Egypt. Furthermore, the expression “swine flu” is inappropriate: despite its swine origin, the virus has not been yet isolated on animals and is only transmitted between humans. ’The Mexican flu’ or ’the North American flu” are different names used to define the A/H1N1 flu and they show how difficult it is to apprehend the pandemic, Le Monde even pinned the term “grey flu” (“grippe grise”) to underline the uncertainty experienced by organizations and States when it comes to taking decisions and measuring their efficiency.


The recent outbreak of A/H1N1 flu in Japan has caused the government to take special measures such as closing down more than 4000 schools while health officials called for calm, stressing that the virus had not caused any deaths in Japan and that most cases were relatively mild.
週二, 24 三月 2009 00:00

山中人

射在棲身的鐵皮屋頂上的酷熱攪擾了早晨的謐靜。他伸伸懶腰,一躍而下。幾週過去了,他可以感覺到肢體愈來愈僵硬。這是個惡兆,表示水還在漲。和住在氣候極端地區的人一樣,他老得早,卻又沒有年紀可言。他不知道自己何時出生;其實,他連災難發生前的一切都不記得了。他走到外頭,感受照在臉上的陽光。一如往日,他從巡視「田產」的儀式開始他的一天;而所謂的田產,也不過就是幾個靠垃圾堆撐起的老篷屋和建築物罷了。他閉上眼睛,試圖重新拼湊各種感官記憶的片段:聽來如撞擊般的轟然巨響,穿破耳膜,害他從此耳聾的尖銳噪音。到底他是真的在陷入毫無知覺的昏迷前感到了溫暖的血滴噴灑在顱內,抑或者只因為夢見這場景太多次了而信以為真?

他突然發現跟前執著的小東西:一隻貓在他腳邊,翠綠的眼神定定看著他,討著每日發放的糧食。這隻貓是他幾個月、甚至幾年以來,在這附近唯一見過的生物。他其實也說不準時間,因為他已經過了好一陣子不知年月的日子了。「老頭子,」那貓似乎在說,「你別老記掛那些填不飽肚子的陳年往事吧。」

「好吧,小聰明,那我們來看看今天有什麼魚要上鉤吧……」老人調整頭上的草帽。

他們一起沿著水泥地間鑿出的小溪溝朝下游走。雖然溪水看似混濁,但其實清新乾淨,嚐起來甚至帶著甘甜。隨著快走的腳步,他聽見自己的心跳節奏,強勁的砰砰聲喚起了其他的記憶:駭人的隆隆聲,海濤像巨鞭般痛擊著城市。他不得不停住,他的頭開始痛了起來。他揉揉太陽穴,想要擺脫口裡那股餘波留下的鹹味。頭幾週,那平原就像一個巨大的火鍋:房屋、汽車、樹木、動物和屍體漂浮在由瀝青與海水調製的濃稠液體中,混合物慢慢被無可言喻的熱氣烹煮得翻騰起泡。接著島嶼開始下沉,為數不多的倖存者必須往更高的山上爬去。老人與貓來到池塘邊;老人看來很滿意,兩個捕魚器都滿了,其中一個捕魚器裡還有個沾上變硬瀝青的扁平塑膠盒。

他一回到家,就將今日的收穫清洗乾淨,用木籤串起青蛙,將所有漁獲都放上烤架。他和貓咪共享一餐,貓咪仔細地啃著魚頭,一吃完就立刻轉身離開。老人通常會小睡片刻,但他想研究一下今天撈到的「寶」,因此他把那個扁平塑膠盒拿到「工作室」去:工作室其實是隨手搭建的遮蔽所,裡面存放著他在山中找到的各式物品──他的寶藏。有許多他撿到的寶仍散亂的堆置在四周,等著清洗,有的還需要修理,之後再分類。他在很短的時間裡,就收集到足以建立一座貨真價實博物館的物品,但實際上只有幾層架子展示著精心挑選的寶。他的最愛是保存良好的金亮幸運符。他喜歡假想前人曾將這些小擺設掛在玄關或窗邊,因為糾結的奇妙字體所投射出的影子,就像狂熱的精靈般,在牆上跳著舞。他自己的脖子上也帶了一個,之前他還試圖掛在貓身上,貓咪用爪子狠狠拒絕,之後便逃得遠遠的。大多數的東西對他來說都很陌生,不曾引發任何記憶;儘管如此,清洗、修復和分類還是讓他創造出熟悉的範圍,讓自己確信這些東西當初必定有著那樣的用途。就某種程度來說,這些祭壇為的是要記錄編列他過去所曾經屬於的文明。

他仔細刮去塑膠盒上的瀝青,發現了一張褪色的照片。他唸出上面的字:「亞基瑞,神的忿怒」。那是上個世紀一部電影的封面。一名眼神狂亂的男子回身向右望,鐵製的頭盔與纏亂的金髮形成對比。他的膝上是一名金髮少女,胸口中了一支箭,也同樣望著那神秘的方向。他用指甲刮除盒子另一邊殘餘的瀝青,揭開上面的字:「西班牙軍人羅貝‧亞基瑞帶領一群征服者深入祕魯叢林深處的亞馬遜河尋找傳說中的黃金城(El Dorado),但卻只落得發狂葬身異地的下場。」老人默默將這幾行字反覆讀了又讀,彷彿重複默念就能夠揭開其中的神秘意涵。亞基瑞徒勞的追尋讓他感到莫名的不悅,因為那無法激起他遺忘的回憶,卻又讓他內心深處受到幾許感動。他不難想像這些人如何奮力開路進入茂密熱帶叢林,一個其實與他目前所處境地相去不遠的陌生世界。他可以親身體會到一個光靠想像力所導引的存在有多麼瘋狂和脆弱。

他忽然抬起頭來,烈日當空,燒烙他疲憊的眼皮,刺痛他起皺的項頸。他又開始耳鳴,於是他回到棲身的住所躺下,夢見穿著鐵衣的人們,頭一遭踏上這座為所人遺忘的島嶼。


 

本文亦見於2009年4月號《人籟論辨月刊》

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附加的多媒體:

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週二, 30 九月 2008 01:53

Sustainable architecture by the people for the people


Hsieh Ying-chun was born in Taichung, and grew up in Hualien. After he graduated from Tam Kang University, he devoted himself to the practice of architecture, and received many awards for high tech factory building and public building designs. Soon after the 921 earthquake took place, Hsieh Ying-chun went into the Thao’s tribe in Nantou County where the damage was most severe and conducted the collaborative rehabilitation with the Thao people, an ethnic group with only 300 people left. Hsieh has founded “Atelier 3” in Nantou’s Thao’s tribe and set up his way of practicing sustainable architecture. In recent years, Hsieh has promoted the idea of collaborative building in the Hebei, Henan, Anhui, and Sichuan provinces in China and is continuing to promote his idea of “collaborative construction” and sustainable architecture.

Hsieh Ying-chun thinks that sustainable architecture has three main axes: Social culture, Economy and Environment. It has to be conducted through simplified construction methods, open buildings, and establishment of an economically self- sufficient construction system, which is done by exchange of labor. Also he implanted the concept of environmental protection and Green building to the villagers, helped to construct self-consciousness and cultural diversity in tribal communities, and established local micro-economy units such as cooperatives.

“’Less architecture and more humanity’. This is one phrase I’ve always said. In another words, I tend to practice the simplest and least unadorned architectural style, so that the meaning of culture, society, and community can permeate into the space. It also means to “empty” architecture, and let Humanity, Spirit, and Nature retrieve their prominent position.

Throughout all these years promoting construction solidarity in Thao community and other 921 earthquake aftermath areas, and also practicing sustainable architecture projects in China in recent years, we always insist on our ideas and principles of sustainability. To build sustainable architecture, we not only need to consider technical problems of green architecture, but also the complicated mechanisms of society, culture, and economy lying beneath. It sometimes seems inevitable to give up tradition in the modernization process. However, in the process of rapid change, can we maintain the holistic thinking and arrangements of the whole environment, the society and the culture, like our ancestors did?

I always remember one time when our fellows were staying in tents to pass the winter. A Thao “Ina”(the respectful form of addressing elder women in Thao language) came, carrying an “ancestor spirit basket”(which is a representation of Thao’s religious belief) in her arms, murmuring the name of the ancestors, walking like this all the way into the community. The recently built bamboo houses were still green, and we could smell the fragrance of bamboo in the air. It was when the rehabilitation of the Thao Tribe was almost complete and the Thao families were just moving in that I realized for the first time how genuinely useful I could be to others as an architect.

I’m very grateful to the friends who support us in all kinds of ways!”


Read Hsieh Ying-chun's statement


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週一, 17 十二月 2007 20:32

Europe is not a Chinese puzzle! China-Europe Forum 2007

A book that was published in Chinese and in French draws our attention to a most creative initiative, due to the “Fondation Charles Meyer pour le Progres de l’Homme”: the biennial China-Europa Forum, the second installment of which was held in October 2007.

The Forum had been conceived as a ‘two-stage’ event to implement dialogue between China and Europe. The first installment, which took place in China (in the city of Nansha, close to Guangzhou), invited the key actors and protagonists in the construction of the European Union to share with the Chinese their experiences and vision for Europe. The main subject of this forum was European Integration, and how China and the world at large could learn from Europe’s experience.

As European construction and development were the starting point and center of discussions, the published proceedings of the first Forum Europe is not a Chinese puzzle! (L’Europe, c’est pas du chinois!) can be seen as a presentation and a history of the European construction from an Asian perspective. Contributors such as Michel Rocard, Wu Jianmin, Jordi Pujol, Milan Kucan or Jean-Louis Bourlanges discuss issues related to world governance and globalization, through the European Union experience: “What are the challenges of a China-Europe partnership?” (Wu Jianmin) and “Can the European Union be a source of inspiration for the world governance?” (Michel Rocard)

More than a simple forum of discussion for mutual understanding, the initiative opens up a platform for redirecting the European construction towards the development of a multipolar world, a goal for which China’s contributions will be crucial. The relationship between Europe and China is not meant to benefit only the two regions, it should contribute to new ways of conceiving and implementing world governance.
週一, 20 八月 2007 23:45

Taiwan Aborigines Sustainability Association

Aboriginal industry has been ignored for a long time. The Taiwan Aborigines Sustainability Association has seen the potentials of the Wang Hsiang tribe. They established the “Wang Hsiang Bunun Holiday Village”. They plan ecological trips to enable sightseers to realize the beauty of Yushan. They cooperate with experts and scholars to map out worthwhile tourist sites. They point out their characteristics to create more and more jobs for the local people. With the local industry improved, they believe the manpower will get back.
You see Yushan every time you open the door. There are maple and cherry blossoms everywhere. These are the best natural resources, and the “Wang Hsiang Bunun Holiday Village” is proud of them.

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週一, 28 五 2007 10:04

My Teacher the Ostrich

My present teacher of Chinese is a fine woman, she’s smiling all the time and she likes to go off track during the class. But there is still something that annoys me with her… I have already mentioned the “tofu generation” phenomenon in one of my previous posts, that is to say the fact that Taiwanese youngsters don’t feel any concern about politics, neither about the environment they’re living in, and are mostly obsessed with a successful career which would give them an enviable position in the society and the salary that goes with it.

One of my previous teachers of Chinese once told me that foreign students were more active, more independent than Taiwanese students who encounter big problems of adaptation when they enter the university. I think this time of adaptation is normal and most of my friends studying at the university seem perfectly happy and autonomous, as a majority of them live away from their family. In fact when I attended some second year classes as an auditor, what struck me more was the way students are taught. It was a class of social work in Taida (the National Taiwan University) and the teacher seemed to me incredibly motherly for a college teacher: she would first ask the students if they had read the papers (I don’t remember any of my teachers asking me that, they would just assume I had read it and if not… too bad for me!), if it was not too hard, if they were tired… I may be wrong but it appears to me that her teaching method was leaning towards treating the students like children. My experience in Taida was not that bad and, in fact, it can be quite nice to have a professor who does not simply enter the classroom to give her speech and then leave but encourages interaction with the students. But the other side of the coin is that sometimes it can be really boring and annoying, most of all when you wonder if the teacher is not thinking you’re an idiot!

Like I said before, my actual teacher of Chinese likes to digress, her favorite subjects being her son when he was 4 years old – he is now 20 – and food or physiognomy. She believes for example that when your index is longer than your ring-finger, then you have an artistic nature, that if you have a mono-eyebrow, then you might be an obtuse person. When my classmate said these are superstitions, my teacher just very firmly replied that these come from a precise observation of nature and people… For having already heard these sayings I just accept them as part of the local folklore but it worsened when she started explaining us once that there are four seasons of three months each because the Earth is tilted etc… It is interesting indeed… for an 8 year old kid! Well, as we seemed to have definitively put aside the short story of Bai Xian-yong that we were reading, we started talking about the situation of Tibet which lead us to Taiwan . As our teacher just remained silent all the time, we asked her about her opinion which was: “you know, it is so complicated that we’d better leave it to future generations.” No comment.

Once, my teacher described herself as being an ostrich for joking: a door had just violently slammed in the hallway and her first reflex had been hiding her face in her hands. My teacher is also extremely conservative: she only eats Chinese food, and thinks that taking a shower in the morning after waking up can endanger one’s life. In a time when Taiwan is promoting its cultural diversity, I’d rather ride a tiger than an ostrich…
(Painting by Bendu)
週四, 19 四月 2007 11:49

Egg or Banana?

 
Before arriving in Taiwan, I didn’t know I was “so Chinese”. Born in France to ethnic Chinese parents and raised in Paris, I am what one would call a “banana” (in between, I’ve discovered that the opposite – white outside and yellow inside – is called an “egg.”). As I look Chinese, it seems normal that Taiwanese people at first glance, would also consider me as a Taiwanese. When I first arrived in Taiwan, I was not used to specifying the fact that I am a “Huaqiao” or “Huayi” - that is to say “overseas Chinese” or “FBC” (French Born Chinese) - and would simply reply that I was French. An answer to which people usually responded with suspicion : “ You’re not Taiwanese, are you?” (I’m quite proud to say that I hear that sentence less often now, it must be a proof that my oral Chinese has greatly improved since then). People often gave me funny looks when I said with confidence that I am French, and they would also say, “I had no idea French and Asian people look alike so much…”. I also almost had an argument with a cashier once in a supermarket who kept insisting, “are you sure you are French? You must be Chinese, why do you speak Chinese with a funny accent?” to which I had to moderate my answer by explaining that my mother is Taiwanese but that I was born and raised in France etc… At the end she simply said, “Well, you are still Chinese, that’s all!”

Is being Chinese a fatality?

As soon as I arrived in Taiwan, I started having identity issues. Strangely, I almost never felt these itches while I was in France- particularly in Paris where people are of very mixed origins. Maybe some people would have mistaken me for a tourist, but everybody can potentially be a tourist over there, it all depends on the way you are dressed and your mannerisms rather than your physical appearance. It never occurred to me the need to say I am a French Born Chinese. Of course people would eventually ask me where my parents are from but my saying that I’m French had never been something strange or rare.

Here, in Taiwan, I’m actually experiencing a strange transformation: the “banana-becomes-an-egg” mutation. First, I gradually changed my answer, now I always mention the fact that my mother is Taiwanese, etc. “Nice to meet you, I’m Cerise. Don’t be surprised, I’m a French Born Chinese, my mother is Taiwanese but I was born in France and I have lived there almost all my life.” That became my name card. By means of saying again and again “I’m Chinese”, I really started to believe it - self-suggestion seems to work after all!

Is this what immigration and integration are about? Before coming to Taiwan, I didn’t know that I would acclimatize myself so well. Some of my Taiwanese friends say: no wonder, it must be in your genes. Then I, my mother and my brother must also have French genes because we are very well integrated in the French culture. For what I know, I am a “pure Han product”, I was born with two blue spots on my bottom (don’t worry, they disappear when the baby grows up) and I have a visible line on my forearm, both signs that are said to be the genetic marks of Han people. Both of my parents are Hakkas, a Chinese linguistic group and, when I was a child, my father used to say proudly that my brother and I were 100% Hakkas… with a “little something French”, he would add to make us laugh. Thus, from a genetic angle, I cannot claim to be the result of mixed heritage like many Americans, but on the culture front, I am the result of my parents’ past migration to France: a French girl with a little something of Chinese…

(Photo by B.V.)

週一, 26 二月 2007 14:32

"Tofu Generation"?

Not long ago, I ran into a friend of mine, an English teacher in Taipei with whom I studied Chinese at The Language Center of the NTU. We did the usual greetings and I asked him about his job, how he was doing. His comments about the kids he’s teaching startled me: I still don’t know if I should laugh or cry. He told me that what he deplores most is that the kids he’s teaching look like “tofu”! That is to say, not energetic, very passive. According to him, the main cause is probably the lack of sport and most of all the lack of motivation. Even if his remark is excessive, I agree with him, on a certain point.

The Taiwanese kids I know are very nice kids but excessively shy and don’t seem to have any demonstrative interest to things around. It is the same for some youngsters of my age: when I arrived in Taipei, I would often offer my cousin to go out, visit museums, go for a walk (maybe not the best idea on a hot day of August) or just go to a bar to have a drink with friends. She would always politely refuse, saying that she was not interested. Even going to a bar seemed to her very boring! And no speaking of political issues either. My cousin just showed disinterest in anything not closely or directed related to her such as her work or our family. I believe she’s not representative of all Taiwanese youth but she’s also one of many Taiwanese youth. On the other hand, there is the merging of a “We” generation, expression invented by Newsweek last year to describe a part of Asian youth getting involved in public actions, NPOs, etc. Even if that “We” generation tendency seems only a little twitching, there are already real demonstrations of its rise, among Chinese students also!



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