南洋尋鄉情

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1989 / 2月

文‧王煒昶 圖‧王煒昶


「你姑婆年輕的時候,就到南洋去了」,

每次提起遠方的親戚,祖母總是帶著思念,再一次說起那些遙遠的故事……。


「南洋」,指的就是東南亞附近水域內的群島。大約元朝以前,中國一直把這個地方稱為「南海」或「西南海」。明代著名的「三保太監下西洋」這堜瓵蛌滿u西洋」,也指的是南洋西部一帶。

「新客」不新

來自沿海省籍的住民,或多或少總會有一些親朋好友,在祖父輩的時代,帶著妻小、一點盤纏;或竟是孑然一身,到東南亞開拓自己的一片天空。

東南亞的人們,把從中國南下的華人,稱作「新客」。不過,就整個中華民族歷史來說,中國人到南洋的紀錄,卻一點兒也不「新」,可以上推至漢代以前,甚至紀元前一千多年的周朝。

根據學者們的研究,漢武帝時代就有中國人由海路抵達東南亞;再從蘇門答臘、爪哇及婆羅洲出土的陶器,甚至有人相信中國漢代商人、移民已在這些海島定居。

晉朝末年僧侶法顯至印度取經,取海路經過麻六甲海峽歸國,最南曾抵爪哇和馬來半島。紀元六世紀的隋煬帝則曾派使臣張權到「赤土」——就是今天的泰國南部去開展商業關係。

貿易在先,定居在後

到了元朝末年,十四世紀左右,一位中國商人汪大淵寫了一本遊歷南海群島的「島嶼記略」,其中包括了談馬錫——現在的新加坡華人聚集區的描述。

十五世紀鄭和率領艦隊七度南下遠征,訪問了卅多個國家,還在麻六甲擊退泰國的艦隊。至今,麻六甲還有一個香火鼎盛的三保太監廟,來紀念此事。

學者們認為,早期中國與東南亞連繫的最大動機是貿易,很少人志在定居。但在十七世紀之後,東南亞幾乎籠罩在西方殖民勢力下,大量的中國移民就在這時被召募到東南亞,來應付經濟發展帶來的人力需求。

除了自願開闢新天地的華人,也有一些人竟是被荷蘭人中途打劫,把中國船隻上的乘客水手都抓了去當苦力。到了二次大戰,太平洋戰爭爆發,一批批的台籍青年被日人徵召至南洋為軍夫;爾後大陸淪陷,也有不少人渡洋而去……。

一代一代的華人,終於在這塊離家鄉不算太遠的地方,漸漸奠定了事業的基礎。他們於是大興土木、把家鄉的雕樑畫棟重現異國。幾代下來,雖然他們大都歸化了當地的國籍、總不忘提醒自己的子孫:祖先是屬於一個有悠久歷史文化的民族。

重現畫棟雕樑

先民在事業有了穩固的基礎後,當然不會忘記曾經庇祐他們渡海而去的神明,有一百七十多年歷史的新加坡天福宮裡,褪色的牆壁訴說著先民奮鬥的事蹟,時間在這埵乎靜止了下來;而背後的摩天大樓又把我們喚回了車水馬龍的現代都會。

與天福宮迥然不同的,就是大伯公廟了。這個位於新加坡離島的廟宇,在每年農曆九月,潮水般的香客與喧鬧的鑼鼓、加上豔麗的閩南式廟宇,讓民族鮮活的生命力又重視在這個國度。

同樣是渡海,同樣是流著相同的血脈,幾個世紀前的先民看到如此情景,應該感到無比的寬慰吧!

中國家景在南洋

在新加坡 Orchard Rd.的一條巷弄堙A有一家露天的餐廳,招待客人的,除了懷舊的西洋老歌外,就是那張泛黃的全家福。它被醒目地擺在巷口,告訴路人,中國來的移民如何一斧一鑿地建立起這片有著中國精神、混合著馬來風情與歐洲風格的社區。

而穿梭在麻六甲的街道,門檻上的對聯仍然透露著華人家族對生活的期許。客廳堛漱荇v椅、木雕屏風、陶瓷,無一不是先民從遠方帶來的,讓人覺得彷彿走進了一個閩南宅第。

具有濃厚民族色彩的泰國,在金碧輝煌的王宮堙A也有幾尊氣勢磅礡的中國武將石雕,與泰國的守護神一起護衛著王宮……。

而破嘵寺的中國將軍與獅子,嚴肅中不乏詼諧的手法,那是源於十八世紀泰國人對中國的印象了。

在可見的景觀中可明顯地看出,華夏文化的履痕已在異鄉南洋和當地的腳步融合,並發展出獨特的風格,令來客驚喜、訝異、又駐足不忍離去。

〔圖片說明〕

P.4

天福宮新加坡

P.5

福建廟新加坡

P.6

青雲亭.麻六甲馬來西亞

P.7

幼稚園(以前是私塾).麻六甲馬來西亞

P.7

青雲亭.麻六甲馬來西亞

P.8

Orchard Rd的巷弄一景新加坡

P.9

雕花木門新加坡

P.9

麻六甲馬來西亞

P.10

祭典之後新加坡

P.11

麻六甲馬來西亞

P.12

王宮泰國

P.13

破曉寺泰國

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Testimony to the Chinese Heritage in Southern Lands

Wei C. Wang /photos courtesy of Wei C. Wang /tr. by Peter Eberly

"Your aunt went off to the South Seas when she was young" --every time Grandma mentions her faraway daughter she recounts the story of their parting.


The South Seas, or Nan-yang, in Chinese refers to the area of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Almost every Chinese who lives on Taiwan or along the coast of the mainland has heard of a friend or relative from their grandparent's time who set off for the Nan-yang area to start a new life.

Scholars say that Chinese merchants visited Southeast Asia during the reign of the Han emperor Wu (140--86 B.C.). And from ceramic ware unearthed in Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, some believe that Chinese immigrants had settled there as early as the Han dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.).

Near the end of the Chin dynasty (265--420) the Buddhist monk Fa Hsien passed through the Straits of Malacca on his return from a pilgrimage to India, reaching Java and the Malay Peninsula. During the sixth century, the Sui emperor Yang sent the envoy Chang Ch'uan on a mission to open commercial relations with the land of "Red Soil" in what is today southern Thailand. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, about the 14th century, the Chinese merchant Wang Ta-yuan wrote a book called Tao-yu chi-lueh, or A Sketch of the Islands, which included a description of T'an Ma Hsi, a Chinese community that is now Singapore. And in the 15th century, the eunuch Cheng Ho led seven naval expeditions to the south, visiting more than thirty countries and along the way helping the Malaccans defeat a Thai invasion--a deed commemorated by a popular Malaccan temple that still exists today.

Scholars say that trade was the main motive behind links between China and Southeast Asia in ancient times and that very few Chinese wanted to settle there. But after the 17th century, when Southeast Asia fell under the domination of the Western colonial powers, a large number of Chinese immigrants were recruited to the area to meet the manpower needs of economic exploitation.

Besides emigrants voluntarily wishing to start a new life, the passengers and crew of Chinese ships were sometimes shanghaied by the Dutch and impressed as coolies. Young men from Taiwan were shipped off in batches as soldiers to the islands of Southeast Asia during the Second World War. And many Chinese have fled to the area since the fall of the mainland to Communism. . . .

Generation by generation, the Chinese people established themselves in these not-too-distant lands, transplanting the elaborate architecture of their native lands to their new homes as soon as they achieved success. Although most in time became naturalized local citizens, they never forgot their roots or neglected to remind their children of the magnificent heritage of their ancestors.

Nor did the early immigrants forget the gods that protected them on their journey across the seas. The faded walls of the 170-year-old Fukien Temple in Singapore tell the story of the struggles and achievements of the early settlers, even as the skyscrapers towering on either side call us back into the bustling present.

Far different in feeling is Ta Po Kung Temple, located on an island off the coast. Gaudily decorated Fukienese-style, the temple bursts with vitality each year during the ninth lunar month, when it is visited by flocks of Singaporeans to the raucous accompaniment of gongs and drums.

What invites customers to an open-air-restaurant in an alley off Singapore's Orchard Road, besides the old Western music, is a yellowed family portrait. Strikingly placed at the alley's entrance, it seems to tell passers-by something of the labor of love in which Chinese immigrants worked to build up their community, Chinese in spirit but mixed with the style of Europe and Malaysia.

And along the streets of Malacca, an antithetical couplet flanking a doorway still expresses a Chinese family's hopes and ambitions. The straight-backed chair, the carved wooden screen, and the pottery in the living room are all objects brought from afar by early immigrants, making the visitor feel as though he had stepped into a traditional Fukienese residence.

In the resplendent Royal Palace of Thailand, a country rich in national color, several imposing stone statues of Chinese generals defend the palace along with native Thai guardian deities. . . .

And in Thailand's Wat Arun, the severity of a Chinese general and lion is relieved by some humorous touches, revealing something of the Thai people's impression of China in the 18th century.

[Picture Caption]

Fukien Temple, Singapore.

The Temple of Heavenly Fortune, Singapore.

[Picture Caption]

Cheng Hoon Teng, Malacca, Malaysia.

A former Chinese private school, now a kindergarten, Malacca, Malaysia.

Cheng Hoon Teng, Malacca, Malaysia.

Carved Wooden gate, Singapore.

A scene from an alley off Orchard Road, Singapore.

Malacca, Malaysia.

After worshiping, Singapore.

Malacca, Malaysia.

[Picture Caption]

Wat Arun, Thailand.

The Royal Palace, Thailand.

 

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