甚麼是南島語族?– 鍾鍾靈 [CN]

Submitted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

編輯留言:參與「沙拉碗」令我最開心的一點是我們時常有機會分享一些比較少被關注的話題,而鍾鍾靈與「沙拉碗」分享的第二篇文章正如此。在這篇文章中,我帶著微笑學習了鍾靈的背景,更學到南島語族的來源。而且,就像我們的中英文編輯湯玉如在看鍾靈的第一篇文章時做的,我選擇將鍾靈的習慣用語留在文章中,因為這樣讀起來比較「真實」。– 馮加恩
Editor’s note: One thing I really enjoy about The Salad Bowl is that we have the chance to share topics that are rarely spoken of – Chung Chung-ling’s second article is a perfect example of this. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about his past, as well as the routes of the Austronesian language. Like our English- and Chinese-language editor Judy Tang did when editing Chung-ling’s first post, I chose to leave his distinct cultural and language markers in place—just because it makes for a much “realer” read. – J. Feng

「南島語族」這個名詞,相信有很多人都是第一次聽到。在台灣就算聽過這個名詞的,也只是把它當成一個考試題目來死記起來,對這個名詞應該也不會有太多的想像與概念。

我的第一篇文章裡有提到有關於我是半個台灣原住民的身分。在這裡,我要從這個概念向更大的範圍來延伸,告訴各位一個族群的大冒險與史詩(你沒看錯,真的是「史詩」,但是沒有文字記載的史詩。沒有人會為它大歌大誦,因為這是一段被遺忘的故事)。在切入主題之前,我想先介紹一下台灣的原住民(因為台灣的原住民跟南島語族有很大的關連)和重新認識自己的一段小故事。 Continue reading

Barrelled Thoughts #41 – Back to the Future

Tuesday, April 2, 2014

I’d like to share with you all a seed of inspiration I received from a professor in our university the other day. But before I do that, I need to tell you a little bit about who this professor is.

Well, I say professor, but he’s actually more of a traveller; or a writer; or a researcher, anthropologist, volunteer, director, scriptwriter, hipster or hippie. He’s an American, and we know him as all of the above.

I am, of course, speaking of Mr. David Scott Blundell, who, as it so happens, trends on Twitter under #BlundellQuotes due to the simply out-of-this-world stuff that exits his mouth. Unfortunately, he does not Tweet — a real loss to society, as I believe he would give His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Twitter account a run for its money.

Mr. Blundell, who learnt how to drive in Soviet Russia, and who had visited 16 of India’s 27 provinces by the time he was just 22, was adopted as a god son by a Sri Lankan family, the result of which sees him travel to the land of tea and fast bowlers at least once a year.

His family is from Santa Monica, CA, and Mr. Blundell told us that the reason he left the ever-sunny suburbs of Los Angeles was because life was too comfortable and that he was tired of persistent conversations about swimming or tennis.

Yes, a true hipster in every sense of the word, Mr. Blundell left The Golden State to explore the four corners of the known world. He eventually settled on the eastern coast of Taiwan in Hualien, and now takes a two-hour train through the marble cliffs of Taroko National Park every morning to reach Taipei. “It’s the most beautiful train ride in the world,” he once said. Few would argue.

As a scriptwriter and director, Mr. Blundell’s inspiration often comes from travelling. He asked us which topic we would be most interested in if we were to write a story. It could be fact or it could be fiction, but there was only one thing on my mind.

I decided that the story I would like to explore would involve my parents. More specifically, their decision to immigrate to South Africa 30 years ago.

The Chinese are everywhere in the world, and in great numbers, but why did my parents decided to traverse an ocean as vast as the giant Indian in order to reach South Africa? And during the time of apartheid no less.

My understanding is that toward the end of apartheid, there was a group of people who saw the potential of opening businesses in the freshly opened South African market, and my parents were just two out of millions who would travel to what is now known as the “Rainbow Nation.”

This term “Rainbow Nation” is used to characterise the diversity, in South Africa, of the people, flora and fauna. I was intrigued to find out that South Africa is home to one of the world’s five fauna kingdoms, and the plants and trees found there are not seen anywhere else in the world.

My neighbours in the quiet suburb of Edenvale in Gauteng, Johannesburg, were Portuguese on the right and Afrikaans on the left. My Portuguese neighbours’ kids used to throw rocks into our swimming pool, and our dogs — mine a German Shepherd named Doobie; theirs a Boxer called Champ — would challenge each other’s masculinity by growling and jumping at each other from either side of the wall.

I was raised with English as my first language because of school, while speaking my parents’ native language at home — Chinese.

I’m proud to say that my parents, my sister and I contribute to the diversity of South Africa. This diversity, which was made stronger by my attending of a Greek high school, is truly what defines me and indeed my entire generation.

I don’t think it really hits people just how much the world has changed in the last quarter century. The world’s borders have literally been redrawn. Those who are my age or slightly older have been raised through the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the mighty Soviet Union and the disintegration of apartheid. And this generation grew up in an age where travelling suddenly became very accessible to the everyday citizen.

When my parents decided to travel to South Africa in the beginning of the ’80s, apartheid was still in full flow, but so was the air of democracy and freedom. My parents took the risk, along with a whole generation of others, for a shot at a better life.

They started a newspaper company in 1994, the same year South Africa held its first democratic elections. Nelson Mandela (bless his soul) was elected president, and well, the rest is history.

My question to them would simply be “how did you do it?” What was the motivation behind choosing South Africa? And how difficult was it to leave everything behind for a land, which, at the time, was widely considered uncharted?

These questions storm my mind as I try to figure out my own destiny. Come summer, I will have to make a decision that will decide the next 5 to 10 years of my life.

How, exactly, does one immigrate? How does one take such a huge leap forward into the unknown? More to the point: how does one truly — in every sense of the phrase — start anew?

These are all questions I would love to ask them, but at the same time, these are questions I hope I can answer myself in the not so distant future, as I take timid but firm steps toward a new life.

If you could ask a question, any question in the world, how would your story start? JSF.