Erenlai - Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界
Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界

Looking at the World from Other's Eye 透過他人的眼睛看世界

 
 
Here is an offering of the traditions, insights, experiences and stories of others so as to enter into their world, enrich our personal development, stir up our consciousness and open our eyes. A path to embracing everyone everywhere…

就算我們的生活經驗再豐富,總有我們沒看到的、沒想過的或沒體會到的事物。在這裡,讓我們一起來分享不同的觀點、論述與生命故事。但願因心界的開放讓我們學會更大的包容力,讓我們能全心去接納那些跟我們完全不同的他者

 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Standing Proudly Despite the Chair

Vincent Huang, a campaigner for gay rights took time to explain his experience in the Gay Movement and what bearing his disability has on his role within it and on his outlook on life in general.

Photography and Filming by Pinti Zheng, Editing and Subtitling Conor Stuart

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Rethinking 'Pacific Time'

In this video, Fr Arthur Leger from Fiji explains the different concepts of time prevailing in Oceania and in particular in Fiji Island: the time for basic needs, the community time and the sacred time.

Monday, 21 February 2011

From Atolan to New Guinea

Futuru Tsai is a native of Hsinchu in Taiwan. He first went to the Atolan Community (Dulan) when he was 23, where he became the honourary son of Kapah, a local Amis person. He was given the Amis name Futuru and also joined the Atolan Community’s Sakakaay No Kapah (Age Group).

Friday, 11 February 2011

Everyone in China rides bikes

A unexpected encounter in China stirs up a very old memory for Paul Farrelly.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Behind the Scenes at the World Expo: Schmoozing with the Stars and Scraping Up Poo

Maximilian Kalkhof talks about his experiences as the presenter of the German Pavilion at the World Expo in Summer 2010. He discusses the pros and cons of the recent government campaign to "improve" Shanghainese manners, as well as the problems faced by countries in representing their own modernity on the world stage.

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Interview and Video editing by Conor Stuart

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A review of "Beyond Hatred"

A documentary by Olivier Meyrou, France, 2005
 

This French documentary discussed the murder of a 29 year old gay man by three skinheads in Rheims, France. It was interesting in that it worked in a distinct way from the way events such as this are normally covered by the press or in other films that portray the events as they happen like the melodramatic Matthew Shepard Story or Prayers For Bobby that intentionally pull on heart strings for a big impact. The more introspective style of the documentary started 780 days after the death of Francois Chenu, and focused on the journey of the parents and the siblings of Francois as they reluctantly let go of their anger towards the perpetrators, and faced them in court to hear their testimony and defense. The documentary portrayed brilliantly the very banal nature of the proceedings surrounding the trial, and the way in which the grief played out for each member of the family. It cuts through the performative rhetoric of the victim, that one sees already polished whether in press releases and or in lawyer's prepared statements, by showing us the emotive discussion and preparation, even debate over a single word in the prepared statement. In this way the audience is brought to the realization that the strong face that the family show under the spotlight in the documentary is revealed to be more complex.

 
I thought one scene was particularly interesting, in which the mother tells the camera that some part of her does not want to confront the perpetrators, because she knows when she sees them her anger will be dissipated by hearing of their deprived background, and the anger and rage will be diluted by pity or a desire to comprehend. She felt that, by the very fact of communicating and talking about the case, she was being dragged forward to a more rational place than the pure desire for vengeance. She realises the necessity of moving forward but is reluctant to leave that state of mind.
 

During the trial in the film, the audience observes that the family are torn by their rational democratic and humanistic principles and horror at the loss of someone they love at the hands of imbeciles. The better angels of their nature draw them to sympathize with the destitution of the perpetrators' lives, and the irresponsible actions and indifference of the parents of the accused.

 

Another interesting aspect to the trial was that the youngest perpetrator's legal representative was a Frenchman of "Arabic" descent. Given that the skinhead gang was intensely anti-Arab (one of their friends had pushed an Arab into the Seine where he then drowned), I thought it was extremely interesting to see how much the lawyer was involved with the young man and how much he pushed for leniency towards him. I also thought that his frank discussion with the family and about the remorse (or lack of) felt by the boys was incredibly powerful in that he was able to acknowledge their grief and appealed to their conscience at the same time, which he was able to do in part, because of his ethnic origin. During this discussion we can recognise the family's internal struggle, in that they want to know how to forgive, but are unsure of the remorse of the skinheads.

 
The whole structure of the courtroom and the way the case was handled, gave a lie to the way that these things are represented on television. The grief shouldered by relations of the victims as they go through proceedings makes all the little details and the minutiae of the law heavy with melancholy. There are several shots of office spaces, and corridors, which in their dreariness, replace the dramatics of the murder with the dull realization of the reality of this kind of loss.
 

In contrast to more traditional media outlets, the focus on the film, was on those left behind, and the grief and justice process. Francois never appears in the film, nor do the aggressors, or any photos of the violence committed. In this way, we stand in the place of the parents, who are left imagining the pain that their son went through, but the film ends with an open letter to the perpetrators. It is hard to know how the family's actions are perceived by the killers, and at times the family seems worried that they are laughing at the liberal values of the family that compel them to get involved in the lives of the attackers rather than maintaining distance.

 
Definitely worth watching 4/5
 
Below is the open letter to their son's killers:
 

Monday, 24 January 2011

Birth, Growth, Disease, Separation

La Naissance : souviens-toi et va vers toi !
A Franco-Taiwanese Show for young children (under 3 years old)
By The Company East and West and The Flying Group (Length: 1 h)

Jung Shih Chou, married to a French art director, Franck Dimech, is known in Taiwan for her former collaboration with the Wild Shakespeare sisters’ theatre group. She has lived in Marseille, France, for more than four years and with her last show, aptly named the Birth, she tries to build links between France, her adopted country, and Taiwan, her birth country. Starting with a series of four shows based on the theme of rest and awakening, the young Taiwanese actress is eager to share her Chinese culture with French audiences and vice-versa.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Translating Modern Chinese Poetry

Jessica Marinaccio is a masters student reading Chinese Literature at National Taiwan University as well as the English Secretary at the Academia Sinica. In this video she talks about her thesis, which details the circumstances of the first anthology of modern Chinese poetry translated into English.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Овсянки / Silent Souls (2010)

 

This is a Russian film by director Aleksei Fedorchenko (Алексей Федорченко) which was shown on the 14th November 2010 as part of the Golden Horse Film Festival (金馬影展) held in Taipei annually. The film lends itself to comparison with a recent Taiwanese film which is also being shown at the festival Seven Days in Heaven (父後七日). Both films deal with the grieving process, although the way it is dealt with and its cultural significance differ greatly. Silent Souls deals not only with the death of the wife of a friend of the protagonist, Tanya, as well as the death of the protagonist's father, mother and sister, but also with the death of the Meryan culture,

which the protagonist sees as a necessary evil, that should be let be. Although the Finno-Ugric Meryan language had been lost, some of the traditions, like tying coloured threads onto the pubic hair of new brides and dead women and "smoking" i.e. telling someone else all about the intimate secrets between you and your lover before their body is cremated, had been preserved by some. The protagonist had collected these cultural remnants, along with photographing the typical Meryan features, but he knows that with his death the only traces of the Meryan way of life will drift into oblivion. The Meryan customs bring comfort to the man whose wife has passed and to the protagonist when his father passes. Seven Days in Heaven, in contrast, although it also shows the traditional funeral rites, uncovers with gentle humour the artifice of these rites and how distant they hold one from the real emotions of grief. The two films on the surface seem then to work to opposite ends, the former is a melancholy eulogy for the great Meryan cultural traditions in anticipation of the imminent extinction of their memory, while the latter is a tender but satirical look at the traditional culture of Taiwan folk religion.

The film touched on issues of national identity and seemed to me to point to a similar yearning for the past as that of Irish Nationalism, which is a very tangible comparison for me. It is Irish Nationalism which invents for itself a pre-colonial conception of Ireland which a United Ireland could hypothetically inherit, it insists that Irish cultural traditions should be resurrected, and Irish language and culture should be imposed in what is now called Northern Ireland, which would be incorporated into the Republic of Ireland. It is likely however that it was Ireland's colonizers themselves that endowed a collective identity upon the Irish, whose concept of the world I doubt fitted into the modern concept of nations or indeed "the Irish". This in my opinion would change the nature of those traditions, reinventing them into autocratic conventions that mimic the very cultural hegemony that erradicated them in the first place. The protagonist's resigned entreaty from beyond the grave is to "let it be", to let the cultural traditions that he so painstakingly researched fall into irrelevance is moving and reminiscent of the words of Hugh in Brian Friel's Translations:

"a civilization can be imprisoned in a linguistic contour which no longer matches the landscape of ... fact. [...] We must learn those new names. [...] We must learn where we live. We must learn to make them our new home. [...] It is not the literal past, the 'facts' of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language. [...] We must never cease renewing those images, because once we do, we fossilize."1

This then is the element that unites the two films, the necessary evolution and dissolution of cultural rites with the passing of time. Nothing can be forcibly retained in the cultural mêlée, retaining anything by force wil l change its nature.

The film is beautifully shot, and the emotions behind the stolid 'expressionless' faces are intriguingly moving. There is no doubt that the film is open to a variety of interpretations and at times, given my unfamiliarity with Russia, some of the jokes were lost on me, however, there was a remarkable anti-dramatic quality to the film, with the unresolved love triangle, the raging passion of grief and the death of a culture all faced with a melancholy abandon, and acknowledged dispassionately by the characters themselves. The activity of the birds in the film could be taken as a proxy for the human emotion, when the men are silent the birds call excitedly, and just before the violent crash that concludes the film, the birds become silent.

Film Rating:

5/5

Slow moving but beautiful for that

 


1 'Translations' in Brian Friel: Plays 1 Brian Friel Faber and Faber Limited London 1996 pp 419,444-445

 

Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Chercher et rechercher

Chercher et rechercher, venir pour chercher, s’arrêter pour chercher encore, partir en ayant trouvé autre chose que ce qui était attendu. Le cheminement du chercheur que nous sommes tous est imprévisible et nous avons tous en mémoire des itinéraires dont les bifurcations nous ont surpris.

“Qu’est-ce qu’il cherche dans ce détour incompréhensible?” Justement, l’expérience de l’incompréhensible peut conduire à prendre des sentiers nouveaux, à frayer des avancées inédites, à tracer des sentes à ses risques et périls. Chercher, c’est partir du bien connu en éprouvant une insatisfaction et en désirant une plus grande clarté, une nouvelle lumière. Chercher, c’est se mettre en route à partir d’une histoire et porter en soi ce désir tenace de marcher vers l’avenir en éclairant le présent.

Une pause alors s’impose. M’arrêter pour considérer ce qui a eu lieu, me poser dans mon présent pour prendre acte de qui je suis, tourner mes regards vers l’avant pour découvrir à nouveaux frais ce qui est possible et désirable : chercher est un travail d’enfantement qui peut provoquer des ébranlements inattendus. Chercher est une joie : joie de la naissance, joie de la découverte, joie de la surprise. Chercher et rechercher, jour après jour, c’est tout simplement être vivant. C’est ré-ouvrir chaque matin notre regard sur le monde et sur les autres, c’est ré-entendre le murmure des voix humaines en quête de sens et d’attention.

“Le sol est rude. Et de cette rudesse
je m’éprends. Seule importe au petit matin
l’unique joie parmi les êtres et les choses.
 
Alors tentons de délier les mots rétifs,
de suivre encore le chemin
par où quelque sentier nous donnera la mer.”

Philippe Delaveau, Petites gloires ordinaires, poèmes. Gallimard,1999, p 95-96.

Accueillir les petites gloires ordinaires est le fruit secret et précieux de la recherche incessante qui nous éveille chaque matin à la beauté fragile du monde. Ces gloires font naître en nous de la passion. Cette passion inventive et incessante pour ce qui est là, chaque jour redonné à notre vigilance amoureuse. Cherchons, cherchons encore, cherchons toujours : la joie sera donnée.

(Photo by Liang Zhun)

 

Friday, 27 August 2010

From noise music to guqin

In this short interview, Fao explains us what brought him to Asia and what moves him in music creation. He also gives us a glimpse of his eclectic talent by interpreting a guqin piece and a composition of his own mixing tabla and electronic music. Fao will give a concert of guqin on September 11 (19:00) at the "Salon for the Art of Guqin" (n.29 Bo ai rd, Taipei City) and he will also be performing at the Peacefest in Hualien (September 17, 18, 19).

Friday, 23 July 2010

Theatre review: He is my wife, he is my mother

He is my wife, he is my mother
By Katherine H. Chou
Inspired from Li Yu’s Silent Opera

This contemporary first production inspired by an ancient text relates to the Chinese Nanfeng Fashion in two different times and places.

What's the Nanfeng Fashion (南風)? It was a custom in fashion from Fujian, the province in South-Eastern China across the strait from Taiwan, where a lot of Taiwanese are originally from. The word 'Nanfeng' (which means wind from south) indicates the homosexual inclination of Fujian's inhabitants. The Fujian province is also known for having allowed homosexual marriages during the Ming dynasty.

In the city of Putian, where a part of the story takes place, Mazu -the Goddess of the Sea- was born. The city became a pilgrimage place for Taiwanese people and believers in Mazu.

So what is this first production telling us?

In a nutshell, it's about the eternal love between Xu Jifang, a young widower, who is a very cultivated landlord recently returned from China, and You Ruilang, a young poor boy blessed with incredible beauty. In 1912 they met each other in Putian during Mazu's celebration, which was exclusively reserved for men. Despite his old friend Chen Dalong's despair, Jifang ruined himself in order to marry the young You, who emasculates himself to prove his love and his devotion to his husband and also that he will never leave him for a woman. Out of jealousy Chen Dalong condemned You to be beaten with sticks but out of love, Jifang will take his place and die asking You to “take care of his young son”.

The second part of the story takes place in 1959, a period during which homosexuality was severely repressed. Ruilang changes his name for Ruinang and migrates to Taiwan. He became a woman and lives with his cousin who travels all year for business. As a mother, Ruinang raises Jifang's son Chengxian, prohibiting him to see other boys to spare him the suffering You knew. Unfortunately the relationship between Chengxian and Chen Nianzu, who is being discovered to be Dalong's nephew, is close to the Nanfeng Fashion for Ruinang's distress. He will be the one to receive the prize of the best mother.

Art Direction

8155cUsing double-scenography, the director shows the two periods “time-space” of the story, with magnificent drapes or interior scenery. Katherine Chu the director and author of the show, imagined a special representation: in the first part, Lee -the artist who interprets Dalong and his nephew- plays “Nanguan”, and we discover with a lot of sensitivity a homosexual love tending to universality, subtly directed – we have to admit the intelligent choice to give You's role to a androgynous woman and Jifang's to a masculine features actor – with love scenes and complicity of a surprising beauty. The aesthetic of this first part is inspired from the traditional and very symbolic gestures, but with a pinch of contemporaneity.

The second part's direction is more realistic, less aesthetic, but nevertheless a suppleness and a beauty rise from the moves of the actors, inherited from the artistic tradition. Lightness is also there thanks to the cousin, a funny interpretation by Wu Wei Wei, contrasting with the “straighter” interpretation of the conscientious mother by Hsu Yen ling.

All the roles are performed to a high degree: Yen ling is remarkable for her interpretation of You - by her walk and also by her voice – and excels at playing the joyful mother. Wei Wei is so amusing in his tomboy role: her joy is communicative. Hsu Hua-chien is excellent as a numb and cold lover and as a son repressing his homosexuality. Lee Yi-Hsiu, who's got a beautiful voice, plays his role admirably. And the others actors are as well.

“He is my wife, he is my mother” will be performed again in Taipei from the 29th to the 31st July 2010 at the Metropolitan Hall (at 7:30 PM except the 31th at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM). Although the question of homosexuality is more or less well accepted in Taipei nowadays, this story in “two times-two spaces” raises interrogations about China's history, its past, its conflicts, its present, its contradictions, with acuity and intelligence. At the end of the show, which we will not reveal, leaves us with a question which will still be powerful when we are out of the politically correct and the lobbies.

Photo courtesy of the Creative Society and K. Chou

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