【編者的話】慟!

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1999 / 10月

文‧王瑩



「大地和自然在人的腳下,因而人常常忘了對大地和自然的謙卑」──李敏勇

九二一凌晨驚魂以來,災區的家破人亡、山河變色慘況縈繞在台灣每個人的心頭,加上餘震連連,媒體每天的報導都幾乎有新的狀況出現,傷亡人數、災區的醫療、衛生、道路斷絕、深山村落的災情、救災的檢討,政府與媒體的互批……,雖然和受災民眾的痛不能相提並論,但說這一兩星期來每個人都生活在驚恐、哀傷與憤怒之中也絕不是誇張之詞。

連篇累牘的地震相關報導、建言、反省、批評,從眼前的平面媒體,到耳中所聽的車上廣播,再到家中眼睛所看的電視、網路,災民的血淚、記者的辛勞、學者的憂心、十方大眾的痛心……,源源不絕地從各種感覺的通道中湧入心中,其中有不少極感人和發人深省的觀察與意見。

但不知怎地,詩人李敏勇的柔軟省思一直迴旋耳際:

「……人常常忘了對大地和自然的謙卑……」

詩人說的或許不是災變的直接原因,「謙卑」卻無疑是我們早已拋諸腦後的心態。對溫柔靜默的大地予取予求,更是五十年來台灣一心建設、發展下的盲點。

想想看,台灣在戰後的廢墟中重新站起來,從當年國民政府撤退來台,連公務員的薪水都發不出來;台灣一半的地方沒自來水、沒電,許多四、五十歲這一代人,兒時把布鞋放在書包裡到學校再穿,到今天台灣人前往世界各地「血拚」,在瑞士鐘錶店買勞力士買到店家昇起中華民國國旗!這樣巨大的變化,讓小時住過台灣、兩度來台講國家競爭力造成「波特」旋風的經濟大師麥可•波特一再豎起大拇指讚揚,也讓台灣人挺起胸膛高唱「愛拚才會贏」,這裡面有著我們埋頭苦幹的血汗和終於出頭的驕傲,賠上的卻是人的謙虛、溫柔、體諒這些讓人類社會之所以能夠進步、溫暖、雋永的傳統美德。濫砍、濫伐,開山、闢路、大種經濟作物的結果,也使得沉默的大地咆哮。一次次駭人的土石流難道還喚不醒我們的黃金夢?這次大地的怒吼是否會讓台灣人真的徹底反省,在經濟發展和環保生態間取得平衡,讓子子孫孫還能在這塊美麗的大地上永傳不輟?

台灣有太多的美好良善是我們不能或忘的。不久之前,詩人張香華就曾提到四十年前她少女時代的台北,圓山邊上的小溪清澈見底、游魚可數。我自己的母親也曾說過一個感人的故事:五十年前,母親幫人做衣服貼補家用,一位老太太送料子來做旗袍,母親不會上領子,做得亂七八糟,羞愧萬分,但老太太不但照付手工錢還繼續送料子來,母親輾轉打聽到底怎麼回事,原來老太太怕直接給錢會傷人尊嚴,所以以照顧生意的方式幫忙,她說:「他們逃難出來生活不易,我多做幾件衣服放著不穿也沒關係,」這件事母親一輩子都念著、想著這位素昧平生的本省老太太的體貼與善良。

台灣人熱情、善良、包容的特質在這次的大地震中也顯露無遺。政府、宗教團體、一般民眾整體的動員,真的是做到了「有錢出錢、有力出力。」「悲極無言說,做事就對了,」證嚴法師的一句話裡有著千萬人的愛心。即使是媒體的批判、民眾的怨言,也都是基於焦急、擔憂、憤怒,希望救援能快點到每一處受苦的災區,政府能詳細規劃重建的方案。

「九二一集集大地震」使得上萬的同胞失去了摯愛的親人和溫暖的家園,我們每一個人都有責任幫助受災者重建生活,也有義務省思,過去打拚五十年成長背後的創傷,為子孫的下一個五十年永續經營。只有如此,九二一受難者的血才不會白流,我們的淚也才有乾的一天。

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EN

[Editor's Note] Nobody wanted this. . . .

Anna Wang /tr. by David Mayer


"Because man treads upon the earth and the natural world day after day, he forgets his awe for the forces of nature." --Li Min-yung, poet

Since the earthquake hit in the wee hours of September 21, everyone in Taiwan has been haunted by images of fallen homes, shattered families, and once-verdant hillsides reduced by landslides to lunar landscapes. Bad news just keeps pouring in, and it would be no exaggeration to say that we have all been living under a cloud of fear, grief, and rage in the past two weeks.

It doesn't matter whether you're at home, on the street, in a taxi, at a restaurant, or surfing the Internet-terrors, tears, and sorrow bombard our senses from every direction. It has given us much to think about. For me, it brings to mind the words of the poet Li Yung-min, who wrote: "Man forgets his awe for the forces of nature."

This forgetfulness may not have been the direct cause of the disaster, but there can be no doubt that we have indeed forgotten the feelings of awe and humility that our predecessors once knew. In our single-minded pursuit of economic development over the past 50 years, we have been blind to the costs of unbridled exploitation of the resources of this silent, suffering earth.

When the Kuomintang government withdrew from the mainland, they came to an island that had been laid to waste during World War II. At the beginning, the government couldn't even pay the salaries of its own employees. Half of all localities in Taiwan had neither running water nor electricity. Many people now in their 40s and 50s have memories of walking to school barefoot in order to reduce wear and tear on their shoes. Today, by contrast, Taiwanese shoppers travel around the world on the most extravagant of shopping sprees. In one instance, a group of cash-laden Taiwanese travelers bought so many Rolex watches at one store that the elated store owner raised an ROC flag in their honor! This huge change has won strong praise from Harvard economist Michael Porter, who lived in Taiwan as a child and created quite a stir when he returned here last year to speak on the subject of comparative advantage. This progress is also a source of great pride for the people of Taiwan. Ours is a story of hard work and success, to be sure, but in attaining success we have lost the very qualities that make possible the progress of society-humility, human warmth, and a spirit of mutual understanding. We strip the mountains bare, replacing beautiful forests with roads and cash crops. Is it any wonder the earth has roared in displeasure? Haven't the repeated landslides awoken us yet from our dreams of gold and riches? Now that we've had an earthquake of historic magnitude, will we come to understand the error of our ways? Will we strike a balance between the demands of economic development and environmental protection so that our descendants can continue to enjoy life on this beautiful island?

There is so much good about Taiwan that is worth holding on to. The poet Chang Hsiang-hua, for example, recently wrote about the Taipei of her youth, where she remembers fish swimming in a crystal-clear stream at the foot of Yuanshan Hill on Taipei's north side. And I'll always remember the kindness that someone showed my mother 50 years ago not long after she had fled to Taiwan from the civil war in mainland China. Times were hard, and she was working at home as a seamstress to supplement the family income. An elderly woman, locally born, brought her some silk and asked her to make it into a dress. My mother didn't know how to sew the collar, and she made a complete mess of it. Surprisingly, the customer not only paid the bill without a complaint, but actually continued using her sewing services. It turned out that the customer had only given my mother work to help her out financially. This kindness was never forgotten.

The Taiwanese showed once again after the earthquake just how kind and accepting we can be. The government, religious organizations, and the general public did everything they could to contribute to the relief effort. Buddhist leader Cheng Yen perhaps best summed up the mood of these past two weeks: "It's all too sad for words. We just have to do what we can." Even when the news media have expressed criticism and the public has vented rage, it has been done out of a deep concern to see aid arrive in time to those who need it; everyone wants the government to put forward a detailed plan for recovery as quickly as possible.

More than 10,000 people have lost homes and beloved family members in the earthquake, and every one of us has a responsibility to help them rebuild their lives. We must also reflect upon the price that we have paid for the last 50 years of economic development so as to ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same kind of success over the next 50 years. If we can do this, the victims of this earthquake will not have died in vain, and we may one day begin to heal.

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