【編者的話】以古人為師

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1995 / 4月

文‧蕭容慧



地球村裡,幾乎每個國家的大都市,都有交通擁擠、空氣汙染、垃圾泛濫……等問題,台北也不例外。

不但台北市民頗多埋怨,連國際媒體也認定它是「東亞醜小鴨」。在政府規劃台灣成為亞太營運中心的當頭,台北表現如何,著實是成敗的關鍵。因此我們策劃了一個探討台北都市規劃的題目,試圖釐清台北之所以成為今天的台北及未來解決之道。

哪裡尋找解決良方呢?我們發現,中國在唐朝時,長安城已有上百萬的人口。而日前逝世的漢學家李約瑟及許多學者都盛讚過長安、北京,是人類世界設計最完善的都市。「以古人為師」,或許是個好方法。本期的「封面故事」遂以台北市與中國歷史上的長安城作比較為切入的角度,看看沒有今日科技管理知識的古人,如何管理、規劃一個都市。

本刊文稿副主編張靜茹在採訪之後發現:都市的問題,其實是人的問題,文化的問題。

「今天只有人開始覺醒,都市才能改變,也才可能出現一個比較不失控的都市計畫」,華梵工學院建築與都市計畫系主任徐裕建的話,指出了改變都市體質的良方。

以位於台北市東區精華地帶的慶城社區為例,台北市政府有意將之規劃為商業區,當地居民卻不「領情」。住宅區變更為商業區的高額價差吸引不了他們,他們珍惜的是自己好不容易建設起來的家園。

「台北沒有大希望,唯一的希望就是近五年來市民已開始覺醒、說話」,台大教授夏鑄九認為,慶城社區在創造台北城市的新歷史。

這種主動地參與,與以往被動地被告知有天壤之別。

在過去,都市計畫擬定後,只要在公告三十天的期間內,沒有人提出異議,即可照章行事。然而,都市計畫的變更內容,投資商人瞭解得最透徹,當地居民卻不一定知道,一旦依法執行,居民毫無拒絕的權利。

如果能讓民眾參與都市的開發,提供政府參考的意見,新規劃的建築、道路或社區,就較能考慮到生活的機能及交通的動線,也才能設計出適合人住的都市。

雖然我們在「封面故事」裡介紹古人規劃都市的方法,其中或有可供參考之處,但我們也很清楚,今天的社會不再是千百年前的社會,回也回不去了。今人應以古人的智慧作為己身的經驗,珍惜有限的資源,善用進步的科技,才能規劃出人性化的都市。

海峽兩岸開始了民間交流後,「媽祖效應」可以說是一種很有趣的現象。

想了解這個現象,可由宗教、經濟及文化的角度切入觀察。早年,大陸雖經過文化大革命的變革,全力破除「封建迷信思想」,人們一樣在神明生日時偷偷祭拜。今天中國大陸的宗教信仰已然開放,像媽祖這種處於宗教與迷信之間的民間信仰,則是不被禁止也不被鼓勵。

然而在眾神之中,媽祖的聲勢可謂最大,特別是湄洲島的媽祖祖廟,吸引台灣眾多信徒前去進香。台灣的寺廟也爭相與祖廟攀關係、結為至親。

大陸的信徒們也不甘示弱,在經濟狀況日趨好轉的今日,也在做生意、考學校、求壯丁……諸事需要神明庇祐的現實考慮下,媽祖廟的香火不輟。在泉州天后宮甚至有大陸的年輕企業家發財後,一連謝上九天戲的派頭。

兩岸中國人同樣信奉媽祖,在不經意之下產生錯綜複雜的較勁心理。現象之一是,台灣的媽祖廟,為了建立權威,一向互爭自己是台灣最早的媽祖廟。如今則爭相與祖廟結為至親,以保自己的老大地位。

另一個現象是,在大陸,對媽祖誕生地究竟在何處也有爭議,因為牽涉到能否吸引信徒的捐資。明顯的事實是,人口只有三萬五千人的湄洲島,因著媽祖的魅力,每年平均有一百萬左右的外地遊客到訪。為了配合遊客的需要,發展出吃「媽祖宴」、穿「媽祖裝」、梳「媽祖頭」、作「媽祖夢」……。更有所謂的媽祖文化節,舉辦大型的媽祖祭典。而這一切,都帶動了「媽祖所在地」的經濟發展。

本刊編輯蔡文婷、薛繼光趕在元宵節前後,赴大陸湄洲島採訪村廟的神明出巡,並為讀者們深入探討媽祖如何在眾神之中脫穎而出,成為海峽兩岸的「和平女神」。

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近期文章

EN

Tapping into Ancient Wisdom

Sunny Hsiao /tr. by Brent Heinrich


In today's global village, the major cities in nearly every country face the problems of traffic congestion, air pollution and excess solid waste. Taipei is no exception.

Complaints can be heard not only from a good many Taipei residents; even members of the international media have labeled the city as East Asia's "ugly duckling." And in the context of the ROC government's plan to turn Taiwan into an "Asia-Pacific Regional Operations Center," the way Taipei City develops is crucial to the nation's success. For this reason we have prepared a study on the theme of Taipei's urban planning, attempting to analyze how Taipei has developed to its current state and suggesting future means of solving its problems.

But where to go in search of a solution? We discovered that during the Tang dynasty, China already had a city, Chang'an, with a population of over one million. To date, many scholars, including the late sinologist Joseph Needham, have concurred that Chang'an and Beijing are among mankind's most perfectly designed municipalities. "Taking the ancients as our teachers" is perhaps a very advisable method. Therefore, by comparing modern Taipei with historical Chang'an, this edition's cover story taps into the wisdom of the Chinese of antiquity, who did not have access to modern scientific management methodology.

After finishing the interview process for her articles, Sinorama's associate editor Chang Chin-ju discovered that a city's problems are really human and cultural in nature.

"Only if people begin to wake up can the city begin to change, can a city plan emerge which is not so out of control," says Shyu Yu-jiann, chairman of the department of architecture and city planning at Huafan College of Humanities and Technology, pointing out a good course of action for changing the city's physical makeup.

An example is the Chingcheng subdivision, located in up-scale east Taipei. The Taipei municipal government intentionally zoned it as a commercial district, but the residents there did not appreciate the "favor." The differences in property value between residential and commercial areas did not attract them; what they treasured was their own neighborhood they had worked so hard to build.

"Taipei doesn't have a lot of hope. Its only hope is that in the last five years its citizens have begun to wake up and speak out," avers Hsia Chu-joe, a professor at Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of Building and Planning. The Chingcheng district marks the beginning of a new history for Taipei City.

This kind of active participation is tremendously different from the former habit of passively receiving information.

In the past, after a city plan was drafted and publicly announced, if no one brought up any objections within a 30-day period of time, it could immediately be implemented. Nevertheless, professional investors usually had a thorough understanding of the contents of urban planning modifications, whereas local residents were not necessarily aware of them at all. Once changes had been executed according to law, residents did not have the slightest right to stop them.

If the populace can take part in the city's reforms and provide the government with relevant input, then when new buildings, roads or subdivisions are developed, we will be able to consider their function in terms of human lifestyle and the flow of traffic, to design a city more suitable for people to live in.

In our cover story we introduce the methods of urban planning of the ancient Chinese, which contain many points well worth considering. But we are also very clear that today's society is not the same as society thousands of years ago; we can not return to those days. Modern people should incorporate the wisdom of the ancients into our own experience, treasure limited resources and effectively use improvements in technology; only then will we be able to develop a humanitarian city.

After interaction began between people living on Taiwan and mainland China, one of the more fascinating developments was the "Matsu phenomenon."

To understand this phenomenon, we can analyze it from the various perspectives of religion, economics and culture. Several years ago when mainland China was going through the Cultural Revolution, "reactionary superstitious thinking" was forcibly crushed. Nevertheless, on the gods' birthdays, many people secretly worshipped them as always. Today the PRC's stance toward religious belief has been liberalized. But folk customs such as the worship of the goddess Matsu, half religion and half superstition, are neither prohibited nor encouraged.

Nonetheless, among the many deities, Matsu seems to have the greatest fame, especially the Matsu of Meizhou Island's Mother Temple, which has attracted great multitudes of believers from Taiwan. The Matsu temples on Taiwan compete with one another to foster relations and forge bonds of kinship with the Mother Temple.

And the faithful on the mainland are not to be outdone. With the current economic situation improving day by day, people hope to turn a profit, to test into a good school, to give birth to a bouncing baby boy with so many different concerns that require the intervention of the gods, the incense never stops burning in the Matsu temples. At Quanzhou's Empress of Heaven Temple, after a young entrepreneur struck it rich, he even made the grand gesture of footing the bill for a nine-day-long opera.

Matsu's universal veneration has inadvertently produced a complicated competitive psychology. One trend is that the Matsu temples on Taiwan, in order to build up authority, vie with one another for close relations with the Mother Temple, in order to claim that they are the island's original center of Matsu worship.

Another trend is that disputes have arisen over which site is the birthplace of Matsu. This question is important in terms of attracting the contributions of religious pilgrims. One undeniable development is that on Meizhou, an island of only 35,000 people, the magical charisma of Matsu attracts about a million visitors every year. In order to meet the demands of tourists, they have developed such diversions as eating "Matsu banquets," wearing "Matsu costumes," getting one's hair made up in "Matsu dos," dreaming "Matsu dreams," even large-scale Matsu cultural festivals. All of these affairs have brought about economic development in the "habitation of Matsu."

Sinorama writer Ventine Tsai and photographer Hsueh Chi-kuang rushed to Fujian Province's Meizhou Island around the time of Lantern Festival to witness the procession of the deities from the village temples. They have provided our readers with an in-depth analysis of how Matsu has come to prominence among the many folk deities, becoming the "Goddess of Peace" across the Taiwan Strait.

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