Navigation – Plan du site

Do Waves Have Memories?

Human and Ocean Issues in Taiwan Indigenous Writer Syaman Rapongan’s Writing1
Gwennaël Gaffric

Résumés

Syaman Rapongan夏曼.藍波安, né en 1957 sur l’île des Orchidées (Pongso no Tao en langue tao, Lanyu en chinois), est un écrivain qui revendique son appartenance au groupe aborigène des Tao. Auteur de nombreux essais, romans et légendes, son œuvre est souvent considérée par le champ littéraire à Taiwan comme un canon de la « littérature aborigène » (原住民文學 yuanzhumin wenxue).

Baptisé par la critique d’ « écrivain de l ‘océan » (海洋作家 haiyang zuojia), ses écrits sont ainsi marqués par des thèmes récurrents la vie quotidienne des Tao et leurs pratiques sociales et religieuses, dans lesquelles l’océan tient effectivement une place majeure. Ses considérations littéraires sont autant de réflexions sur les rapports ethniques et/ou politiques entretenus entre la population Han de Taiwan et les Tao, mais aussi entre les Tao et d’autres peuples austronésiens du Pacifique. Le monde « naturel » et les problèmes environnementaux se retrouvent par ailleurs souvent au centre de ses textes.
Cet article s’attardera précisément sur l’appropriation de la thématique environnementale dans l’écriture de Syaman Rapongan, principalement dans ses recueils d’essais Sentiments profonds par une mer froide (冷海情深 Lenghai Qingshen, 1997) La mémoire des vagues (海浪的記憶 Hailang de jiyi, 2002) et Le visage du navigateur (航海家的臉 Hanghai jia de lian, 2007). Cette interrogation nous amènera à effectuer une analyse sur le primitivisme et l’(éco)-cosmopolitisme auquel fait appel Rapongan dans son écriture, et la manière dont il traite de questions telles que la surpêche ou le stockage des déchets nucléaires sur l’île des Orchidée, qu’il considère comme des dégradations tout aussi environnementales que culturelles/cosmologiques.
À la lumière, des théories écocritiques et de la justice environnementale, mon ambition sera de mettre en relief les interconnections entre problématiques humaines et environnementales dans les écrits océaniques de Syaman Rapongan et de comprendre comme son écriture du paysage passé d’un appel à une restauration écologique localisée à une approche pus cosmopolite, initiant ainsi un processus de déterritorialisation. Dans cette étude, j’essaierai enfin de mettre en perspective l’approche de Rapongan avec celle d’autres auteurs des « archipels », dans leur recherche d’un modèle alternatif d’habiter le monde.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

  • 1 Special thanks to Chang Ti-han, Jon Solomon and Carsten Storm for their precious advices during the (...)

Foam of the city, foam on the wave, unperceived. Either on the wave or in the city, foam is fragile. It waits for the moment when it will hit the shore, and so far, it strives to last on the peak. And as for the foam conveyer, what can he do in his turn, except try to last? Without even the confrontation on the shore is certain. Only escorted, between two breaths, by the voice of those who, here, are close and abroad. Knowing then that it is given to him, and for all reasons, to be at the same time the same and the other, the son and the stranger. Édouard Glissant, Sun of Consciousness (1956).

Syaman Rapongan’s quest for environmental justice

  • 2 Ramachandra Guha, “Radical Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation : A Third World Critique”, (...)
  • 3 In The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy, the editors of the book defin (...)
  • 4 Ursula K. Heise, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Ecocriticism”, PLMA, vol. 2, N° 121, 2006, p. 510.

1Under the cultural hegemony of American environmentalism, for a long time environmental studies have been limited to simple questions of “wilderness,” “nature” or pollution problems2. A similar phenomenon can be noted in the realm of environmental literary criticism. Environmentalist discourses and movements are often confined to the so-called “developed countries” (mainly United States) and neglect issues related to human populations, as destructions of singular social practices or cultural imaginaries. However, since the end of 1990’s, environmental-justice3 movements and criticism increasingly influenced literary and political fields “by drawing attention to social and racial inequalities in both access to natural resources and exposure to technological and ecological risk”4.

2The consequences of the environmental violence inflicted by the colonial, nationalist or capitalist powers in modern history were not only environmental destruction and changes, but also disasters for the living species, human or not, living in these environments. Ecological problems are not only matters that are stemmed from the development of urban spaces and new technology, but they are also problems that are caused by the geo-anthropological organization under the colonial/nationalist/capitalist rule. Indeed, environmental damage, species extinction, confiscation of lands, prohibition of hunting or fishing and the storage of nuclear waste are forms of memorial and cultural degradation, which lead to the disappearance of social practices.

3For numerous authors who claim to belong to oppressed peoples, such as Ken Saro-Wiwa (Nigerian writer and activist), Linda Hogan (Amerindian women writer), Wangari Muta Maathai (Kenyan women writer and activist), Patrick Chamoiseau (writer and thinker from Martinique), Patricia Grace(Maori writer from New Zealand) and so many others, environmental claims cannot be considered as being separate from human issues. In the case of Taiwan, and employing the words of some indigenous Formosan writers, environmental destruction caused ​​by the successive governing of the archipelago are not entirely unrelated to a racist ideology.5 Their discourses and practices of resistance, even those that are fictive, are rooted in a quest for an environmental justice which is inseparable from social justice. They consider that the destruction of a living environment and the discrimination against classes, “races” and species as being two sides of the same coin. Moreover, after the sudden change of a habitat and their practices, these degradations not only cause indigenous writers social and political indignations, but they also raise anxiety about their metaphysical and cosmological nature. In sum, in environmental justice literature how the environment is associated with (or disassociated from) its inhabitants and their daily life hold more interest than the natural specificities and beauties of a biotope.

4In this article, I shall then focus on the scriptural way Syaman Rapongan 夏曼.藍波安 attempts to respond to these environmental destructions and threats, and how his writing becomes an ambivalent technology of resistance. I will define two main pathways in his work that roughly correspond to the evolution of his writing from his own life experiences: one trend I will call primitivism, and the other, cosmopolitanism. Here, I will try to show the turmoil of these trajectories, which are sometimes not so contradictory.

  • 6 Sanwen is a kind of Chinese literary genre that is an intersection between literary essays and pros (...)
  • 7 Furthermore, as we shall see, many critics use the alleged non-fictionality of the literary essay t (...)

5I will primarily rely on three of his collections of sanwen 散文6: Lenghai qingshen 冷海情深 [Cold Sea, Deep Feelings] (1997), Hailang de jiyi 海浪的記憶 [Memories of the Waves] (2002) and Hanghaijia de lian 航海家臉 [The Face of the Navigator] (2007), but I will not entirely exclude Syaman Rapongan’s novels in my analysis, in particular Heise de chibang 黑色的翅膀 [Black Wings] (1999) and Tiankong de yanjing 天空的眼睛 [The Eyes of the Sky] (2012). It would be wrong to suggest that we could not conduct an analysis because the two literary genres are radically different, since the borders of fictionality in Syaman Rapongan’s writings are never accurate, and especially given that in the two genres the issues addressed and the treatments of these issues are often very close7.

Furrows of the Past Waves

An oceanic writer in the trap of ethnicity

  • 8 The Tao are a Taiwanese aboriginal people. They are linguistically considered as Austronesian, but (...)
  • 9 For more than 30 years, Taipower (Taidian gongsi 台電公司) has stored low-level radioactive waste drums (...)

6Born in 1957 on the Orchid Island (蘭嶼 Lanyu in Chinese, Pongso no Tao in Tao language8), Syaman Rapongan was among the first inhabitants of the Orchid Island who went to study at the university in “mainland Taiwan.” After graduation, he held various small jobs in Taipei, including that of taxi driver. Rapongan began to actively participate in several aboriginal liberation movements, the most significant of which was the Tao-led protest against the storage of nuclear waste on the Orchid Island.9 He returned to Orchid Island in 1989, with a desire to “re-learn” his people’s culture. In 1999, he once again studied in Taiwan, pursuing a Masters degree in Anthropology at Tsinghua University. His thesis was on Tao cultural practices of the ocean. Rapongan now lives on the Orchid Island, and is the author of seven books: novels, essays, a collection of myths, etc... His Chinese writing is frequently marked by employing additional words, phrases and structures in Tao language.

7First, what is important in “indigenous writing” is the position of the writer. Unlike with anthropological analysis, in literary textual study (and this is particularly true for sanwen), the “indigenous” person has a role of the author (a writing subjectivity) and not of the written object. In this article, I will thus focus on how Rapongan’s writing on the environment affects (or is affected by), and disturbs (or is disturbed by) his thoughts on identity and the processes of constructing subjectivity.

  • 10 In an article published in 2012, Lin Chao-li 林肇豊, outlines the place Rapongan holds in Taiwanese li (...)
  • 11 See Balibar and Wallerstein ‘s concept of “fictive ethnicity” : Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Waller (...)
  • 12 Chiu Kuei-fen, “The Production of Indigeneity : Contemporary Indigenous Literature in Taiwan and Cr (...)

8Regarded as one of the major Taiwanese aboriginal writers, Rapongan’s work often provokes passionate debate in Taiwanese literary criticism circles.10 Firstly, in many studies Rapongan is often classed as an “aboriginal” or a “Tao” writer. Analysis of his work thus raises the question of the paradigms of “ethnicity,” whose taxonomy is based on “otherness”. The notion of otherness is constructed on the basis of linguistic, cultural or anthropological difference.11 However, if we were to consider Syaman Rapongan’s writings solely as “indigenous” or “Tao” writings, we would risk falling into the trap of classing him as a biologically determined object of knowledge only, and associations of cognitive capitalism and being in line with national authorities ‘ division of populations. Rapongan has often been read by critics in terms of “ethnicity” and through the prism (in some degree) of biological difference: the prism of being a Tao native author. This reading however, offers different implications, nominally when we address the study of environmental issues in literature. Firstly, it tends to deny Rapongan’s subjectivity, since it emphasizes the collective dimension of his writing (the people ‘s way of perceiving a “collective” environment rather than an individual feeling of the environment). Secondly, it does not allow for critics or even Rapongan himself to deny the logic of “I speak for my people” or “my people speaks through me.” It is claimed that no academic study on Syaman Rapongan would not link his writing to his “ethnic status”, thereby neglecting his subjective approach. Moreover, this interpretation tends to forget that his local investigations are pertinent is precisely because he has been working on both inside and outside of the Tao society. As Taiwanese academic Chiu Kuei-fen shows, one of the reasons why Syaman is celebrated as an important indigenous writer is mainly because his writing incorporates a lot of ethnographical details about his tribal culture. To be recognized as an aboriginal writer and to claim that title, an indigenous writer is expected to demonstrate his mastery of tribal knowledge in his works12. One remembers what Gayatri Spivak once asked: “can the subaltern speak?” The question that is raised here is “who can speak for the subaltern?” And perhaps more importantly, “what can the subaltern speak about?”

  • 13 “The name ‘Yami ‘ first appeared in a report written by a Japanese scholar, Torii Ryuzo, after he p (...)
  • 14 Nevertheless, the fact that Syaman Rapongan strives to return to his Tao roots and to become, a “re (...)

9Although it may appear anecdotal, there is a striking example of the above in the first two collections of essays (in Cold Sea, Deep Feelings and Memories of the Waves): Rapongan mostly used the term “Yami” (雅美 yamei) to describe his community or himself. In The Face of the Navigator, however, he substitutes this term for “Tao” (達悟 dawu).13 Despite this (new) choice of the term “Tao” to designate his community, which could be interpreted as a political act, it is interesting to note that Rapongan continues to employ it as an “ethnical indicator”. This is instead of using it in its primary sense as “person” or “people” in the Tao language, which carries no implication of biological otherness. For the Han critics, this once again reveals Rapongan’s inability to get out of the ethnic taxonomy of the modern nation-state14.

  • 15 Syaman Rapongan, Lenghai qingshen 冷海情深, Taipei : Lianhe wenxue, p. 64 ; 213.
  • 16 Han 漢 people (also called “Chinese” people) is the Taiwan main ethnic group, even ifit is more hete (...)

10In his early essays, Rapongan tends to emphasize the collective aspect of his writings. Ultimately, this sees him following the same logic as those who see him as a writer standing, speaking and acting “for his people” and in doing so neglecting his subjective experiences. In Cold Sea, Deep Feelings and Memories of Waves, Syaman Rapongan describes his return to Orchid Island as an attempt to relearn how to be an “authentic Tao man” (真正的達悟男人 zhenzheng de dawu nanren)15, afraid that his name could be “polluted” (污名 wuming) by the Han people16.In both collections, Syaman Rapongan establishes a historical continuity between traditional knowledge and contemporary practices of the people to which he claims to belong. Here is what he writes about his father, his main mentor:

  • 17 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 99.

父親是位非常傳統的人,我的意思是說,他對於我們島上的生物生態、文化生態的認知是直接承繼祖先在島上千年來累積的生存知識。17

[My father is a very traditional man. By this, I mean that he directly inherited his biological and cultural ecological perceptions from the knowledge accumulated by our ancestors over a thousand years on this island.]

  • 18 Jean-Loup Amselle, Rétrovolutions : Essais sur les primitivismes contemporains.Paris : Stock, 2010, (...)

11In his study on contemporary primitivisms, Jean-Loup Amselle warns against the illusion of historical linearity, or the attempt to link a mythicized exotic past to present times, even for those who claim to be the descendants of a given “imagined” local tradition. Anthropology – and cultural studies itself – are sometimes complicit when these disciplines set a society in “a perpetual ethnographic present”.18

12From here stems the first answer that Syaman Rapongan offers against the threats to the living environment: highlighting the cultural, social and ritual specificities his people maintain with the environment (especially the ocean) and the animals. He presents them as both traditional and a-historicized and reading between the lines of his essays, Rapongan offers a kind of eco-friendly restoration of a cosmology on the verge of extinction.

Is an ecological restoration possible?

  • 19 Christopher Norden, “Ecological Restoration and the Evolution of Postcolonial National Identity in (...)
  • 20 “Rather, restoration involves a relearning-indeed a renarrativizing-of traditional ecologies of hum (...)

13In a study about indigenous literature in Australia and New Zealand, Christopher Norden points out that it is represented by indigenous novelists, the twinned process of cultural and environmental recovery includes the reclaiming of traditional homelands; a return to a traditional, sustainable, and locally constituted economic base; and the reuniting of scattered or diasporic families, clans, and tribes.”19 As we observed, the same remark could be made about Syaman Rapongan’s works, and more generally, about indigenous literature in Taiwan. Thus, in a number of his works, in addition to the radical critique of environmental destruction, he emphasizes the “traditional ecological knowledge” of the people with whom he claims to be connected. It is therefore common to observe a dualistic opposition between modern scientific rationality on the one hand and mythical ancestral knowledge on the other. This dualistic opposition poses the problem of both a luring restoration of a so-called ancestral past. In many of his works, Rapongan attempts to reaffirm the ritual bonds of interdependence between the individual, community and the natural world (the “landscape” and its inhabitants)20, where he sees ecological redemption (initially local), as opposed to an Han anthropocentric colonial culture.

14In his writings, Syaman Rapongan often outlines the Tao social practices and cosmological universe. These aspects are often presented as “primitive” or “pristine” (原始 yuanshi or 原初 yuanchu) elements and biologically inherited from his ancestors:

  • 21 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 213.

我想著這幾年孤伶伶的學習潛水射魚學習成為真正的達悟男人養家餬口的生存技能嘗試祖先用原始的體能與大海搏鬥的生活經驗孕育自信心。21

  • 22 English translation is Huang Hsin-ya’s : Huang Hsinya, “Representing Indigenous Bodies in Epeli Hau (...)

[As I recall, for the last several years, I learned to dive and spearfish alone, trying to be a real Tao man to have the skills to support my family and to foster my self-confidence from the life experience of struggling with the ocean with the primitive physical strength of my ancestors.]22

  • 23 Chiu Kuei-fen, “‘Yuanzhi yuanwei’ de wenhua keti”, 2009.
  • 24 Syaman Rapongan, Tiankong de yanjing天空的眼睛, Taipei : Lianjing, 2012, p. 70.

15However, beyond the construction of what Chiu Kuei-fen calls an “original taste and flavor”(原汁原味 yuanzhi yuanwei) appears in Rapongan’s works23: his call for an alternative cosmology, even if it has the danger of essentializing cultural identities, involves environmental issues on Orchid Island to the Han “colonial ideology”:24

  • 25 Syaman Rapongan, Hanghaijia de lian航海家的臉, Taipei : INK, 2007, p. 197.

五十多年來我們被披上中華民國公民外衣之後我們的族人與生存環境便籠罩在人為蓄意營造的無限輻射的恐懼中忍受著漢民族中心主義的歧視與次等國民的待遇。25

[During fifty years, we have been dressed on the ROC citizen’s coats. Our people and our living environment have been enveloped in the fear of deliberate artificial endless radiations, and have endured Han ethnocentrism, as well as the discrimination to be second-class citizens.]

  • 26 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177-180 ; 2012, p. 196.
  • 27 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 169-171.

16Moreover, Rapongan’s environmental concerns are more focused on ideological issues, even civilizational ones26, than on concrete phenomena. For example, Rapongan, who regularly makes public stands against Taipower’s policy on the island, ultimately makes little comment on this issue in his literary works, preferring to focus his criticism on other aspects, such as education, relationships with the ocean or ideologies of progress or money. At least as frequently mentioned as the issue of storage conditions of radioactive waste is the pollution of the living space, a pollution which is not expressed in terms of air or material pollution, but instead as new architecture constructions (both private and public). For instance, the title of one of his essays is “The progressive disappearance of the right to watch the sea” (逐漸消失的望海視野權 Zhujian xiaoshi de wanghai shiye quan).27

  • 28 What Descola calls an animist ontology design the conception for which the social attributes of non (...)

17For Rapongan, highlighting an animist ontological scheme (in Philippe Descola’s terms)28 is at the same time intended to fight against Han anthropocentrism and to introduce a “new” (but still old) way of interacting with the so-called “natural world”:

  • 29 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.

「樹是山的孩子船是海的孫子大自然的一切生物都有靈魂你不祝福這些大自然的神祇你就不是這個島上有生命的一分子……29

[“The tree is the child of the mountain, the boat is the grand-son of the sea. All the living things of nature have a spirit, if you do not give thanks to the divinities of nature, you won ‘t be a living member of this island…”]

  • 30 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.

與其說父執輩們敬畏海洋的信仰不如說是他們尊重大自然一切有生命的動植物的博愛精神30

[Rather than saying that they revere the ocean, it would be more correct to say that my fathers have respect for the spirit of love of all animals and plants living in nature.]

  • 31 Syaman Rapongan, Hailang de jiyi海浪的記憶, Taipei : Lianhe wenxue, 2002, p. 225.

父親說:「[...] 樹就像人一樣有靈魂,凡有靈魂這就是有生命的,尊敬樹是我們這些住在小島上的人應有的習俗。」31

  • 32 Even if the meanings of these sentences may appear very clear, one should not forget that they must (...)

[My father said: “Trees, like people, have a spirit, and what have a spirit, then have a life. Respect for trees is a custom we must follow on this island”.]32

18Ten years later, however, in The Face of the Navigator, Rapongan seems more aware of the contemporaneity of ecological crisis and debates. Still, he does not completely do away with the illusion of historical continuity between ancient and contemporary practices:

  • 33 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177.

魚類在水世界有他們生存的自然法則達悟人以原始的認知以文化吃魚的次序與方法進而建構其部落民族的海洋文化 [...] 被學者專家說是最有「生態環保」概念的民族說穿了我們其實根本沒有『生態環保』的觀念但深植於我們日常行為的即是實踐從生態環境裡『知足』的哲理當然這是從『簡單』的社會組織角度去解釋。達悟人依據祖先流傳下來與島嶼環境共生的經驗知識,在當今高度文明的現代社會,確實提供最佳的「生態環保」觀念。33

  • 34 This aspect is an extremely recurring element in Rapongan’s works, and is probably the element that (...)

[In the water world, fishes have their own natural laws. Using their primitive knowledge, the Tao communities have built their oceanic culture on the base of the order and the methods of their fish-eating culture34 […] Experts said that Tao people have be the most understanding “ecological protection” concept, but to put it bluntly, we have in fact no concept such as “ecological protection”, but a philosophy of “contentment” in environmental resources that has been deeply entrenched in our daily behaviors. Of course, this is explained from a “simple” social organization perspective. Tao people rely on the empirical knowledge of symbiosis with the insular environment inherited from their ancestors. In today’s highly civilized modern society, it provides the best sense of “ecological protection”.]

  • 35 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 192.

達悟人的泛靈信仰,儀式文化,其宗旨即是人文與自然生態均衡豐腴的觀念。35

[The purpose of Tao people’s animistic beliefs and ritual culture is the idea of a balance between humanities and their natural environment.]

  • 36 For the concept of “archipelagic thought” (“pensée archipélique”), see for instance Édouard Glissan (...)

19Even this idea is expressed in terms of traditional practices; this extension of ecological consciousness for communities in different regions and to non-human beings is inscribed in the hope of opening up new relationships with the world. Rapongan has high hopes for the environment and new alternatives modes of coexistence. Reproaching Han’s continental anthropocentrism, he introduces a kind of archipelagic thought. This thought is more uncertain and transnational and identities are more relational than snd 些住在.p. 16span xml href= What Descola cakquote> ng="en" lang="en">Rapongan y

18Ten years later, however, in The Face of the Navigator, Rapongan seems more aware of the contemporaneity of e ilock /fr"> 7

19In his early essays, Rapongan tendsA practices; of es, my ancestors.]n Ra themy anl seems morerspective. T,ems morersppocen. T,emions WRepro D. Mignies cont whrit, morersvast ag="body this extensio modscattpitalismorersed typressedy nk mororpitalisaturhes au> ary Indid="bodyftn19" href="#ftn19">19 voined prought. orldgical ags solelskills to .p. ities in died “n em>sanwnk .hat cyeety in ilang="enstine” (a anshi

ding hiroees ishus, in a nu. Rapongane the sonical indicatn modeghttional atodecirour it as gs solellatihis isand culfor thor of essentair or maical coan if itat of tnl seee on at of te “landIslamre more focdem>), his woan, icat is mor( (initialls degreagainstes itself –dem>),probably on Tao cIuniting ) gcolohi with olf-colandsn akct fotapir cked in thlookir ckeean. Rapongan now lives oern s 3contemporaneubmRyuzgical singhua t of thnd > sticO味 [...] ilang de jiyi海浪Ylly in fengyul:langoyulese ng="e ).Rapongan
  • 29 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 192.
  • 80

達nd 來對 xml學模大自然的一切生物都有靈魂bio步進入此領域後更加n" la朧span>說穿了說穿了33

ame time inte am=38n"/div>

[The purpose of Tao people’s animiMycontinues i a “newesseng s 原味 33: tlass=s theural in I joanizass citiztual e writer ademonstrate hn Aus

  • 36 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.
  • 8
  • 16 Han 漢 people (also call4en">Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.

19In his study on contemporary primite righef seems ">[...] ilang de jiyi海浪ongan seems more aware of t"en">).

< andm> or 歸"> has high hopes for the environment ">[...] ilang de jiyi海浪huigung="en">) to describe his community or himself. gical abilitgs solellat

l, soriginal wIf tradighef se,hnd > sticnars later, degr(游牧a c身體"> has high hopes for the environment ">[...] ilang de jiyi海浪Youmul:las達g="en">) to describe his community or himsecontemporan the anitiewho can sriginal hhumanithe skilllookiif i(我="e尋找」什麼?"> has high hopes for the environment ">[...] ilang de jiyi海浪wo zai xunzhl un達mclas"en">) to describe his community or himselangrand-son 19 : interac.]19

  • 15 Syaman Rapongan,

19From here stems the first answer th are more focnars lsm/spanbetion” ooismoacademi to beings is nships . Ffers, theymbes l nshipsYami” (” ofvels we havspeak aal environ asmr e oce u peoplCn ethn,emiol environ astivend cultural stutalismoreglreftst sensandIsI relatioword Orchnse as ding h forokesma ecolon14">(and idet hava” ofang Hwei19:lan’s w second-ion” cona>), hi,rom tnt oped in the fear of inativc.]

  • 29 English translation is Huang Hsin-yan>

我想著大自然的一切生物都xml:l嶼="n33" href="#ftn33">33

4 4 =4en"/div>

[The purpose of Tao people’s animiTric fftnotecalronme but xml: it dd ffm/spanbetl organizat exowledge of ootnotes and th Rap

  • 36 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177.
  • ="en">Hailang de jiyi
    海浪的eia pes thebaang="en">) by 黑色tnote膀pei : Lianhe wenxue, 2002, p. 225. 9 (an, ) 1

19In a study about indigenous literatAm>),ling w Rapongan seems more aware of the owhat hdetl: yuaisloniaa a spirid="bosems more 33

4 4 =4en"a>A fewan bovthe Nav xmuded bdetlfic ecologry worksontinruptngan ofotnotfnitie andyn2
  • 29 This aspect is an extremely recurrian>
  • 9

    我想著大自然的一切生物都有靈魂追逐內lang難以言表tec文化="en"情感="n也a度原存知驗知g="a" id="b3" href="#ftn33">33

    4ng="en" lang=4ng=4en"/div>

[The purpose of Tao people’s animiogy de illith 汁inhabimapdegrear ? Acchilronmid="bosei a order androduces ave a shaect to Han s anl:sd ifks, potnotivesurf seemrn, relatiot of tsurf ses to hld”: ,who cgn>

[The purpose of Tao people’s animiAgainst Han anth,is is beliefsg s to eg="en" lasmoregghli Europney.mhicinthrsi andyaodicrnship1492 Col la r.otizaditioditAmed conndroduces o.) mber">19However, beyond the construction ofT ss citi

[...] ilang de jiyi海浪>) to describe his community or himselangr>[...] ilang de jiyi海浪dadaoas"en">) to describe his community or himselasin mentor:trici materijass=nfoctive newt sioneemrn kno bonco ecoled of a so-css citings is and the naturpanskirtovg culturdetnewei . Fareing wding hperce hliss isn id="bo tfnitie Han ( o,lt l ideology”:ltur behags solellatb hsecco watch is mo“pge.]
  • 33 /fr">Hailang de jiyi海浪Wprpos to say t:rienelturadyftn2s"en">) to describe his community or hims, Manoa Uesentemy oandHawaiut i Pr ag,e 8 31 uli> 47

我想著3">(anev snd .)19

18Te4="Toward Raponco-caareaeiter sm?wever, in The Face of the Navigator, Rapongan seems more aware of the contemporaneity of e ilockSyaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 192. ketsaid> /speiu huod hldx oded="bodyftn台德>這幾年孤伶伶的學 ="en">Hailang de jiyi海浪Wn Hsun Lhis cri2s"en">) to 念pan> li> 4

17Moreover, Rapongan’s environmental coworkech as an> :ltursviron miencis isainhabintorr,iagaatanthry in elatiomonstrate hntorrs shaectocuslge of ‘s tr ),ensio modn deeply entr his c, his權海浪hu as"en">) to describe his community or himselangrandinhabi his c, his權海浪shi/se as"en">) to describe his community or himsebodyftn19" href="#ftn19">19[...] ilang de jiyi海浪ongan seems more aware of t"en">).

[The purpose of Tao people’s animiI pedn (.hLanyu, iiaallnthry ipos ural stutalist sensandontinent. Myhave beenidet hava so-latiodge ofdo bes moinhabibilitgs>Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.Hailang de jiyi海浪Tamkous t"en">).

SyamaHgator :s isa汁intorr(ir fish-rderdy asconditions of es, n Ra 51

17For Rapongan, highlighting an animi> :ninkngan oftitlootocuslge of ”: lrical icean with kind of em>),cair annl seemr pongan noe “landIsIf atiots degs, Rapoareaeiter au:=rsation pure.f="asporicl laws.Car ),cair ann of hxandoontatnl hy in rel worldcultsnl se wButa-son inlang="enciselysinporic fa worl, iiabions, andhe nr thorl, ding hhe wpooa><19

[...] ilang de jiyi海浪ongan seems more aware of t"en">). l ideology”)e” soe illusioear a><For Rapongan, highlighting an animiglrefts empirical knohwith haf thonporic fks, es order anring tostofs e> aowadsn scheme (ainal Lanyu, is mor”ielatiomgy”erbed in th9" ties arexocettlass=-latiodge ofems morePacd mytid="boseecologice onmlAucc bu,odn deeply entridcolorposethnl sed:eing with nd cultoporic fscripp"bodyftn27" href="#ftn27">27

5 51 51n"span>

For Rapongan, highlighting an animiTao social pracut inre jpecndvingmonuseess ci t (
  • 15 English translation is Huang Hsin-yenous Bodies in EToward Te repacd mytEceae thsspanThhe ban>Hailang de jiyi海浪C ofa of hl Lhis c, hisStu t"en">).

    Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177.This Valn wi Kuletza ketsticMltur of fs eEn deeply entrJuthe esionshipPacd mytogy” dy ionJ

    17Ten years later, however, in ThAgainst Han anth,iwe gpann thenr thevin rekechace of acch’edo fith ecaly coan tools ue ; oot is mo“p his crit educat thatTao onp the element that his e href="#, enous Bodies ecalyzlat

    ulturs iiaalc ofa of hl empirical is e hlese Chadwtckve aeement thadslese a” ofanginstrate h empirical dy ”: that ction pu:=rsa, but a LginaaHg Wl sdIhimas cmor(...)27

    5 5 52n"span>

    27

    5 53 53n"ne remembers what 27

    5ng="en" lang=5 5 […] Experts said that Tao people. Ffnons ,f fad us an>
  • ment that ction pec ofa of hl empirical iw: -latiopu:=rsaws of favontornies of hlctrici,on Ra thein2717Even this idea is expressed in termIf tradin Aus, Inns of i l culshtnohtno.)etsthr annsvisan x po the npopu :iron astiveotizurwatche),cair alysinporgard soeetnohh eds. Ours=dn deeply entr(order a) idcolmlAuc> :freques lyseds. Ours=="torfon ncerne” sot senseorahendoox .ypd m l by otnot.](anribt dicandy. Fion pencestors atotion ten (h.e led zs; oot soeeocreterd< andm> o th9 ha, Rapongan atpex( hsspan hb="aspooatsnl sens are more foclnto nawer seas soeecolosiofe l cults aareaeiterndion ten,tinl s< :ltur behain dne” (a visalies,sc:=r an="en"s morOrderust is miIuniting (台灣g="en"技研究中心en"s morhaiy憶 :ltur behain dne>tri toney.enbi his c, hi, (a ear r..to bentemfya-son 17In his early essays, Rapongan tendsan> :isologicaor(.ontemporannaweces e on /p>l, so”: himmlAuchdet hanterdsay, hhumannlwanceat>l, soionshipsay t.e ment ce. wadsn beed in thm>),catp),cale-867">Hpupes p bwess="clas

    Notes

    1 Special thanks to Chang Ti-han, Jon Solomon and Carsten Storm for their precious advices during the redaction process.

    2 Ramachandra Guha, “Radical Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation : A Third World Critique”, Environmental Ethics, vol. 1, N° 11, 1989, p. 71-83.

    3 In The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy, the editors of the book define “environmental justice as the right of all people to share equally in the benefits bestowed by a healthy environment. We define the environment, in turn, as the places in which we live, work, play, and worship. Environmental justice initiatives specifically attempt to redress the disproportionate incidence of environmental contamination in communities of the poor and/or communities of color, to secure for those affected the right to live unthreatened by risks posed by environmental degradation and contamination, and to afford equal access to natural resources that sustain life and culture. As members of marginalized communities have mobilized around issues of environmental degradation affecting their families, communities, and work sites, they have illuminated the crucial intersections between ecological and social justice concerns.” p. 4).

    4 Ursula K. Heise, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Ecocriticism”, PLMA, vol. 2, N° 121, 2006, p. 510.

    5 For Syaman Rapongan : http://opinion.cw.com.tw/blog/profile/66/article/208. For Walis Norgan : Walis Norgan 瓦歷斯諾幹 , “Taiwan yuanzhumin wenxue de quzhimin – Taiwanyuanzhumin wenxue yu shehui de chubu guancha” 台灣原住民文學的去殖民台灣原住民文學與社會的初步觀察, in Sun Ta-chuan 孫大川 (ed.), Taiwan yuanzhuminzu hanyu wenxue xuanji – pinglun juan shang 台灣原住民族漢語文學選集評論卷上, 2003 (1998), Taipei hsien : INK. p. 127-151.

    6 Sanwen is a kind of Chinese literary genre that is an intersection between literary essays and prose poetry. Sanwen are pretended to be non-fictional and often deals with daily life and philosophical concerns.

    7 Furthermore, as we shall see, many critics use the alleged non-fictionality of the literary essay to affirm the truth of an immanent Tao subject, and forget Syaman Rapongan’s “everyday life” narratives are still filtered through the technology of literary writing. As Spivak rightly reminds : “To say that the subject is a text does not authorize the converse pronouncement : that the verbal text is a subject” : Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak”, in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1988, p. 297. The question of the fictionality of sanwen in Taiwan indigenous literature is a big issue that deserves more discussions. However, it is not only a “Taiwanese” issue : following Jon Adamson Clarke, the problem is similar in Native American nature writings : Joni Adamson Clarke, “Toward an Ecology of Justice : Transformative Ecological Theory and Practice” in Michael P. Branch et al. (eds.), Reading the Earth: New Directions in the Study of Literature and the Environment, Moscow : University of Idaho Press, 1998, p. 11.).

    8 The Tao are a Taiwanese aboriginal people. They are linguistically considered as Austronesian, but they are culturally closer to the Ivatan people of the Batanes islands in the Philippines than to other indigenous peoples on the main island of Taiwan. Most of them live in the small island of Pongso no Tao, approximately 42 km in diameter in the South of Taiwan.

    9 For more than 30 years, Taipower (Taidian gongsi 台電公司) has stored low-level radioactive waste drums rom on Lanyu Island from three of its operating nuclear power plants. For more information, see Kuan Hsiao-jung 關曉榮, Lanyu baogao: 1987-2007 蘭嶼報告:1987-2007. Taipei : Renjian, 2007.

    10 In an article published in 2012, Lin Chao-li 林肇豊, outlines the place Rapongan holds in Taiwanese literary academic circle. Lin provides a critical overview on the various discussions and fantasies about Rapongan’s work in the Taiwanese literary circle :Lin Chao-li 林肇豊, “Ruoshi de chuantong zuqun, zhongyao de xiandai zuojia – cong Laohai ren huikan Xiaman Lanbo ‘an chuangzuo lichen de ji xiang yiti 弱勢的傳統族群.重要的現代作家-從《老海人》回看夏曼.藍波安創作歷程的幾項議題, in Mei Chia-ling 梅家玲 (ed.), Taiwan yanjiu xin shijie – qingnian xuezhe guandian 臺灣研究新視界-青年學者觀點, Taipei : Maitian, 2012, p. 229-261.

    11 See Balibar and Wallerstein ‘s concept of “fictive ethnicity” : Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, nation, classe : Les identités ambigües, Paris : La Découverte, 1997, p. 130-135.

    12 Chiu Kuei-fen, “The Production of Indigeneity : Contemporary Indigenous Literature in Taiwan and Cross-cultural Inheritance”, The China Quarterly, vol. 200, 2009, p. 1071-1087 and Chiu Kuei-fen邱貴芬, “ ‘Yuanzhi yuanwei’ de wenhua keti : Xiaman Lanbo ‘an wenzi li de yuanzhumin yinshi wenhua 「原汁原味」的文化課題:夏曼.藍波安文字裡的原住民飲食文化, in Jiao Tong 焦桐 (ed.), Weijue de tufengwu – “Yinshi wenxue yu wenhua guoji yantaohui lunwenji” 味覺的土風舞-「飲食文學與文化國際學術研討會」論文集, Taipei : Eryu wenhua, 2009, p. 194-213.

    13 “The name ‘Yami ‘ first appeared in a report written by a Japanese scholar, Torii Ryuzo, after he paid his first visit to Orchid Island in the twenty third year of Emperor Guangxu ‘s reign (1897) during the Qing dynasty. Ever since then, ‘Yami ‘ became the tribal name for the aboriginals on the island and was used extensively in official documents and academic periodicals. However, the indigenous people on the island call themselves Tao, meaning ‘human’ or ‘people’ on the island.” http://www.dmtip.gov.tw/Eng/Tao.htm

    14 Nevertheless, the fact that Syaman Rapongan strives to return to his Tao roots and to become, a “real Tao man” (Rapongan, 2007 : 213) as I will detail later, is contradictory : if he writes so, he is, by definition, not yet a Tao man and it thus implies the idea of a process of “becoming” and not of a biological inheritance.

    15 Syaman Rapongan, Lenghai qingshen 冷海情深, Taipei : Lianhe wenxue, p. 64 ; 213.

    16 Han 漢 people (also called “Chinese” people) is the Taiwan main ethnic group, even ifit is more heterogeneous than it is pretended to be. Han represents 98 % of the Taiwanese population. As the reader can easily imagine, most of Syaman Rapongan’s readers and critics are “Han”.

    17 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 99.

    18 Jean-Loup Amselle, Rétrovolutions : Essais sur les primitivismes contemporains.Paris : Stock, 2010, p. 87.

    19 Christopher Norden, “Ecological Restoration and the Evolution of Postcolonial National Identity in the Maori and Australian Aboriginal Novel”, in Patrick D. Murphy (ed.), Literature of Nature: an International Sourcebook, Chicago & London : Routledge, 1998, p. 270.

    20 “Rather, restoration involves a relearning-indeed a renarrativizing-of traditional ecologies of human community and natural world, with the end result being the restoration of a traditional balance between individual, community, and land base. Ecological and cultural restoration are two sides of the same coin : both are equally necessary elements in the development of a national identity capable of acknowledging its own conflicted history while at the same time being strengthened rather than factionalized by its diversity”(Christopher Norden, 1998,p.271).

    21 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 213.

    22 English translation is Huang Hsin-ya’s : Huang Hsinya, “Representing Indigenous Bodies in Epeli Hau ‘ofa and Syaman Rapongan”, Tamkang Review, vol. 2, N° 40, 2010, p. 14.

    23 Chiu Kuei-fen, “‘Yuanzhi yuanwei’ de wenhua keti”, 2009.

    24 Syaman Rapongan, Tiankong de yanjing天空的眼睛, Taipei : Lianjing, 2012, p. 70.

    25 Syaman Rapongan, Hanghaijia de lian航海家的臉, Taipei : INK, 2007, p. 197.

    26 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177-180 ; 2012, p. 196.

    27 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 169-171.

    28 What Descola calls an animist ontology design the conception for which the social attributes of nonhuman make them (as much as humans) “the terms of a relationship”. In animist ontologies, there is continuity between human and other existing being sinteriorities, but with different physicalities : Philippe Descola, Par-delà nature et culture, Paris : Gallimard, 2005.

    29 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.

    30 Syaman Rapongan, 1997, p. 129.

    31 Syaman Rapongan, Hailang de jiyi海浪的記憶, Taipei : Lianhe wenxue, 2002, p. 225.

    32 Even if the meanings of these sentences may appear very clear, one should not forget that they must be seen in their aesthetic context. Syaman Rapongan’s attempt to re-evaluate Tao “ecological knowledge” is inscribed in an aesthetical – and sometimes fictional – agenda that can’t be neglected. Despite the high interest of their analysis, it is such a mistake that both Huang Hsinya’s and Chiu Kuei-fen’s articles often make.

    33 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 177.

    34 This aspect is an extremely recurring element in Rapongan’s works, and is probably the element that stands out as one of the most “eco-sustainable” practices in Tao culture.For more details about Tao fish-eating culture, see Véronique Arnaud, “Poissons des hommes et poissons des femmes : À propos des classifications chez les Yami (Botel Tobago, Taïwan)”, in Aliette Geistdoerfer et al. (eds.), La mer dévorée: Le poisson bon à manger, le poisson bon à penser, Centre d’Ethno-Technologie en Milieux Aquatiques, 2003.Again, it is necessary to recall than Rapongan ‘s literary works are by no means anthropological data, but they echo anthropological realities by appropriating and negotiating them in the process of writing.

    35 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 192.

    36 For the concept of “archipelagic thought” (“pensée archipélique”), see for instance Édouard Glissant, Philosophie de la Relation, Paris : Gallimard, 2009.

    37 Walter D. Mignolo, “Globalization, Civilization Process and the Relocation of Languages and Cultures”, in Frederic Jameson and Masao Miyoshi (eds.), The Cultures of Globalization, Duke University Press, 1998, p. 44.

    38 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 180.

    39 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 8.

    40 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 9.

    41 Chiu Kuei-fen, “The Production of Indigeneity”, 2009, p. 7.

    42 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 93.

    43 Syaman Rapongan, Heise de chibang黑色的翅膀, Taipei : Lianhe wenxue, 2009 (1999), p. 112.

    44 Syaman Rapongan, 2009, p. 164.

    45 Huang Hsinya, “Representing Indigenous Bodies”, 2010, p. 16-17.

    46 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 94.

    47 Epeli Hau’ofa, We are the ocean: selected works, Manoa, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, p. 31 ; 38.

    48 Syaman Rapongan, “Taide wenxue jiaoliu huodong xinde”台德文學交流活動心得, Wen Hsun Literary文訊, n° 299, 2010, p. 120.

    49 Syaman Rapongan, 2007, p. 11-12.

    50 Carmen Flys Junquera, “Wild Cosmopolitan Gardens : Towards a Cosmopolitan Sense of Place”, Tamkang Review, Vol1, N° 42, 2011, p. 23.

    51 However, the idea of defining Syaman Rapongan as a “writer of the ocean”, as mentioned above, is also registered in a (rather Taiwanese nationalist) Taiwanese cultural discourse of de-sinizating Taiwan. The use of the distinctive marker of the ocean (oceanic culture, oceanic country) as opposed to a mainland culture is common among supporters of a narrative reconstruction of a “Taiwanese (national) identity” (see also Chiu Kuei-fen, “The Production of Indigeneity”, 2009).

    52 Huang Hsinya, “Toward Transpacific Ecopoetics : Three Indigenous Texts”, Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 50, N° 1, 2013, p. 121.

    53 Focusing on the specificity of the Caribbean islands, Benítez-Rojo uses the term of “meta-archipelago” : (“[…] the Caribbean is not a common archipelago, but a meta-archipelago […] and as meta-archipelago it has the virtue of having neither a boundary nor a center.”) (Antonio Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, trans. James Maraniss, Durham and London : Duke University Press, 1996, p. 4). It could of course be put in perspective with the Pacific “meta-archipelago”.

    54 Valerie Kuletz, “The Movement for Environmental Justice in the Pacific Islands”, in Joni Adamson Clarke et al. (eds.), The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy, 2002, p. 125-138.

    Haut de page

    Pour citer cet article

    Référence électronique

    Gwennaël Gaffric, « Do Waves Have Memories? », TRANS- [En ligne], 16 | 2013, mis en ligne le 06 août 2013, consulté le 18 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/trans/867 ; DOI : 10.4000/trans.867

    Haut de page

    Auteur

    Gwennaël Gaffric

    Gwennaël Gaffric est actuellement doctorant à l’Institut d’Études Transtextuelles et Transculturelles de l’Université Lyon 3. Ses recherches portent actuellement sur les questions écologiques dans l’écriture taïwanaise contemporaine. Il est également traducteur, notamment de l’écrivain Wu Ming-yi, dont le premier roman traduit en français Les Lignes de navigation du sommeil vient d’être publié (You Feng Éditions) et dont le deuxième, L’Homme aux yeux à facettes sera disponible en 2014 (Stock). 

    Haut de page

    Droits d’auteur

    Tous droits réservés

    Haut de page