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    Mo, kuo chen's social anthropology essay-english-20100218 Mo, kuo chen's social anthropology essay-english-20100218 Document Transcript

    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 Rethink the Value of Senior Veterans’ Cultural Potential of Today’s Taiwanese Society Mo, Kuo-Chen / 莫國箴 Key Words: Senior Veterans / Veterans / Cultural Potential / Social Resources / Social Values / Mainlanders / Locals / Positive policies / Social Welfare / Self-confidence / Self-value / Veterans Affairs commission, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (VAC) Definition: 1. Senior Veterans: According to the Definition of VAC, veterans who were born before 1934/12/31, and had already enlisted in the army in Mainland China. The group has a population of 271,495, the statistics of 2009/12. 2. Veterans: 1 According to the VAC’s standard, any national of ROC who has serviced in the military as an officer, a sergeant, or a soldier whose experiences had been accumulated totally more than 10 years. The group had a population of 471,306, the statistics of 2009/12. 3. Mainlander: According to the general Taiwanese social definition, any national of ROC who was born in Mainland China and arrived in Taiwan after 1949 is called the mainlander. 4. Locals: According to the general Taiwanese social definition, any national of ROC who arrived in Taiwan before 1949 is called the local. 5. Veterans Affairs commission, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (VAC): A department of the Executive Yuan, R.O.C., was established on November 1, 1954, and in order to take care of the veterans who have contributed to the country and spent half of their life defending the country. I. Introduction The ROC Government relocated to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War in 1949; meanwhile, the movement of millions of people during the great migration to Taiwan, there were civil servants, teachers, merchants, and the largest was a group of the military and dependents. Afterward the large group of soldiers with their family dependents were placed in temporary accommodations throughout Taiwan, and later evolved into the military dependents community which was made of bamboo fence. For those outsiders who were the local Taiwanese, it seemed that they came from a common group; in fact, they came from different Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 provinces of Mainland China. Furthermore, they spoke in diverse accents by their own dialects and eating habits were quite different. The only common denominator was that they were the so called “Mainlanders”. In the general impression, the senior veteran is a special group of Taiwanese society. In fact, most of them were students or farmers with genuine before they were forced to took part in the Chinese Civil War and thereby they had little property when they transferred the military base from China to Taiwan following with the army. They were lacking of attention and better treatment during their early years in the army, and then because of the age or complex reasons, some of them were released or applied to retire from the military with receiving a quite small amount of pension then entered the local Taiwanese community one after another. The majority of bachelors got married with local Taiwanese wives and then settled in the same village as who have families in the residential military community. Some other singles went in the company of building illegal houses to live which made of the iron, wood and other simple materials throughout the city. They made their living by selling the handmade steamed bun, sesame seed cakes, soybean milk and many kinds of traditional Chinese food. Besides, another rest of people was arranged by the Government to construct Central Cross-Island Highway for development of the eastern part of Taiwan. In particular, the great infrastructure of the Ten Major Construction Projects was under construction by their efforts of these veterans. They live around Taiwan without asking any material rewards and money but only 2 left the footprint of their dedication for this land everywhere. With the economic booming up and democratic development in Taiwan, the general value of senior veterans wither and declines gradually in this diverse and bustling new Taiwanese society. In the new generation of most Taiwanese people also ignore and neglect the senior veteran’s contribution for the stability of Taiwan’s modernistic development in the past, and nothing more than the miserable tragedy is what we are losing the veteran’s multiethnic and rich connotation of Chinese culture. It’s undoubtedly that Taiwan’s economic miracle and democratic development becomes a positive model of the whole Chinese society, but neglect or even abandon more and more spiritual and cultural of intangible values under the capitalism social value. Along with these old soldiers passing away, the traditional Chinese culture we Taiwanese owned before is vanishing little by little. Perhaps there is no significant loss for the new generation in Taiwan in the moving fast society right now, or even some radical politicians don’t care about the traditional culture associated with China; it would be a pity and regret in terms of overall Taiwanese social development. It’s an inevitable reality about senior veterans fading away in Taiwanese social development, and then those who will fully disappear in Taiwan in the near future. The end of their life affects the number of intangible value of traditional Chinese culture can still be maintained by Taiwanese people in order to help future generations be able to link with the entire history of Taiwanese social development. Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 II. Main Discussion – The value of senior veterans’ culture during the social change The summary about senior veterans’ culture The following classification is as an introduction to enhance the realization of cultural awareness and the understanding of the senior veteran’s culture. Basically, it can be summarized into literature, art, music, folk performance, food and residential military community. 1. Literature Chinese literature is a documentary of life, a description of mood; it enriches the life and touches our soul and is recited for thousands of years. In the early stage of the ROC Government relocated to Taiwan, the Government's strongly enforced the anti-communist policy. The nostalgic literature conspicuous stood out suddenly in the modern literary history, and people wrote the immortal war-literature in the suffering of the difficult lifestyle. A vibrant neo-arts movement was launched and nurtured numbers of young artists. Some of the senior veterans retired from the army, they used pens to replace their guns then became veteran authors. The contents of their poetry, novels, columns and commentaries 3 comforted the soul of all Taiwanese with moving forward in time of change and ever-increase economic booming in Taiwan. 2. Art It’s a silent beauty of calligraphy and painting, and these works express the true beauty and perfect temperament, and also enrich people’s thought and feeling. Some senior veterans know these traditional Chinese arts from their parents before. They express their creative, innovative and good intentions in Oil painting, Chinese painting, calligraphy, comic books, photography, paintings and other arts about the war. 3. Music Music is the most genuine way to move people's emotion and touch our deep heart. During the early difficult period of Taiwanese society, the military and patriotic songs encourage Taiwanese people not to afraid of the poor and harsh life. Senior veterans can play many kinds of traditional Chinese instruments, and create diverse styles of melody connect with Taiwanese character. Some of them teach the traditional Chinese instruments in schools or play in the philharmonic society, even become very famous musicians in Taiwan till now. 4. Folk Performance Modern dance is the body language of literature, from the sound of steps rhythm touches Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 people’s heart. The traditional Chinese folk performance was brought by the senior veteran group from Mainland China which accumulated rich and diverse folk culture for hundreds of year. Include of Chinese opera, Story-telling with Bamboo Clappers, Traditional Narrating and Singing Arts, Mime, Martial Arts and Acrobatics, Acting and Technique in Puppetry, Chinese comic dialogue, two-man comic show…etc, each of them is quite precious for our overall culture. Some senior veterans became performers after they left the military and made efforts in preserving and continuing these performance arts. Many of Taiwanese people before had weak ability in reading, however they can learn about the history and enjoy arts by watching and hearing these folk performances. 5. Foods At that time, the ROC government moved to Taiwan from mainland China, brought about not only a large number of military and civilian population of new immigrants, but also gathered the different kinds of foods culture from Mainland China to Taiwan. Although Taiwan is a small island, people can enjoy all kinds of Chinese Cuisines here. The Northern food made from wheat, South grains, spicy Sichuan, Guangdong meat…etc, integrated into the Hakka cuisine and the variety of Taiwanese original snack. Thus Taiwan is now truly become universally known gourmet's paradise. 4 Everyone eat as cheap as they can in that both Taiwanese and mainlanders are poor era. In general, these military dependents settled with different families came from everywhere of Mainland China and made their food together and shared with each other. They sold these handmade simple foods outside the Bamboo Fence Village to earned little more money, then integrated into the Taiwanese society. There are many kinds of veterans gourmets well known around Taiwan even the overall Chinese communities now, for example, the sesame seed cakes from the north mainland, fritters, steamed buns, steamed bread, and which from the south mainland like the soy milk, Rice milk, millet gruel. Besides, beef noodles, fried dough twist, wheat powder tea, puffed-rice cakes, cold noodles, flat onion cakes and so on also become the general Taiwanese gourmets now. We can easily find many small breakfast shop sell these various foods everywhere in Taiwan now. They are senior veterans and mainlanders; moreover, many local Taiwanese people know how to make these foods then sell it. It is a kind of social integration! 6. Military Dependents Community (Bamboo Fence Village) The ROC National Army troops and their families came to Taiwan in 1949; meanwhile, there wasn’t enough space for a large numbers of mainlanders to live so most of them stayed in barracks after Japanese withdrew or borrowed premises, houses, and even took tents and built bamboo fences as the temporary accommodation. They lived in the severe and the simplest way without complaining, In addition, they manipulated everything availability with Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 hand-made skills. From that moment, the name of “military dependents community” became an indelible part of local culture of Taiwan in the modern times. These people who live together in the Military Dependents Community have their different owned backgrounds, cultures, religion, and habits. Under the poor, strict, and difficult living condition, they learned to help each other and respected mutual beliefs. Women helped to each other to take care of the children from different families when men stayed in troops or died for their military missions. The most impressive remembrance of the people who grow up in the military dependents community are the close neighbors’ yell, laughing, noisy kids, cooking smell, and the sounds when people playing in mah-jongg(the Chinese card) as a “live show” in these villages. The life here is like a “live story” written by these military dependents themselves. They were different before, but they made their new common life together after they knew each other. The military dependents community is a product during the special background of Taiwanese society. Under the tragedy of Chinese history, it comes out a great fusion of various Chinese cultures in these small Bamboo Fence Villages. The military dependents community is also a live historical evidence of the great migration of Chinese during Taiwanese social development. 5 The social shift and be neglected in new Taiwanese society Senior veterans embrace the diverse and rich traditional Chinese culture that was an indispensable element of literary and artistic life in the past Taiwanese society and the national education system. However, the Western world rapid information and luxury desire was replaced the simple life values while Taiwan made a progressive reform in social economy and democratic system. Nowadays, there is less and less new generation of Taiwanese people pay attention in knowing traditional Chinese culture. Although Taiwan now has become one of the developed countries in the world, there is a critical generational gap among Taiwanese cultural continuity that we can’t ignore it. On the other hand, some politicians use the radical political manipulation to spark Taiwanese people’s negative emotions in anti-China. They tried to cut off all China-related social consciousness, and therefore the senior veteran was involved in the marginalization of social values then become of the disadvantaged group in Taiwanese society. Base on the obedient natural character of the senior veteran and new social welfare policies shift from the Government, many senior veterans gradually become lonely and poor who have been forgotten. They are a silent group of increasingly disappearing, and have no alternative but to accept the mostly strange looks of today’s community as a response. In such a political atmosphere, many elements of traditional Chinese culture has gradually shifted and discarded from the subject of basic national education in schools. Taiwan is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, the Government tried to show in a number of policies to respect, preserve and continue the positive spirit of multiculturalism Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 while we are in a plight of quite a few successor to extend the traditional Chinese culture now owned by the senior veteran. It’s worthy of preservation and the continuation of the variety of existing cultures in Taiwan by positive values, compares with alternative cultures, it’s somewhat powerless and weak of the preservation of the senior veteran’s culture. First-hand historical experience of senior veterans History is an important and vivid reflection for the human development, and senior veterans alive in Taiwan now are indeed the only live-history of the contemporary world. They were born in a chaotic era of no choice and unfairness, and therefore they had to face much hopeless reality that couldn’t make choices by themselves. Their real life is like the most authentic teaching material of the society by the change from had a temporary refuge first to finally settle in Taiwan. New generations of Taiwanese understand that it was cruel and despairing to born in a war era from knowing senior veterans’ sad memory. Moreover, they also learn how to deal with the plight, help each other, and cherish the friendship between their fellows from their simple living attitude and philanthropy. These are positive materials of today’s materialistic but emotionless Taiwanese society. The war is cruel and heartless. However, the senior veteran’s heart has not been polluted; relatively they always keep a kind of gratitude with a conscientious attitude and play their roles of Taiwanese society. 6 Unsung heroes who quietly constructed the initial stage of Taiwan Many senior veterans’ careers are now limited by their lower educational background because of less opportunity during their youth. Some others still keep single with no families since the Government forbade them to marry local Taiwanese women before. As a result of many reasons, many of them just can only continually work as the manual labor to exchange the most basic livelihood after leaving the troop. In the early days of Taiwanese social development, the Government needed a large numbers of manual labors to invest in many major public construction projects while most of local Taiwanese residents usually engaged in farming for their livelihood. In the condition and such a context, the Government drafted many of veterans who were single or just could work as the manual labor again to engage in these projects throughout Taiwan. They have to risk their lives to overcome all difficulties to implement these projects. Taiwanese complete mainly major infrastructures now actually were established by these veterans’ great contribution before. These who have lower military rank, lower educational background, or single with no families paid their loyalty and contribution throughout their life much more than obtained the respect as the feedback. They just need very simple requirements for living without less complaint. By the military training of obedience lead them to become a group of Unsung heroes who quietly constructed the initial stage of Taiwan. Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 Integrate the foreign culture into the local culture The senior veteran’s was a kind of foreign culture for local Taiwanese residents. After passing by more than half a century of cultural communication, Taiwan has indeed become the new homeland for these senior veterans. Most of locals and mainlanders live together in common communities, and have a peaceful fusion with their lives; moreover, many senior veterans married local women and have their descendants. A part of them who have higher educational level became teachers in schools under the governmental assistance and created their new career, and furthermore took the heavy responsibility of popularizing the national education throughout Taiwan during the most difficult period. It’s easily to see the harmonious integration between mainlanders and locals of today’s Taiwanese society. Besides, the so-called foreign culture has completely integrated into the local culture and already become a new one that is full of new Taiwanese characters. Relative disadvantaged under the capitalist and political manipulation In the past half-century, Taiwan strived to shake off the poverty and instability; likewise positively invested efforts to promote herself to a stable and prosperous modern state. Senior veterans played the role of the core for Taiwanese social stability at that moment. However, it has tended to over-utilitarianism as the main social value of Taiwan society with the social 7 development and industrial upgrading over recent decades. Besides, through some politicians adopted abominable and extreme manipulations and radically aroused many locals’ exclusion of senior veterans’ original culture in the process of Taiwanese democratic progress and development. Because of the rapid social changes and under the negative social consciousness by political disuniting, those who were once a symbol of social stability and strength before are just degraded as the relative disadvantaged of today’s Taiwanese society. III. Conclusion To preserve and continue the senior veteran’s culture in order to reduce the defect of generational gap for overall Taiwanese culture Under the status of political confrontation between China and Taiwan, senior veterans own many real-orthodox traditional Chinese cultures reserved for Taiwanese society. People can have political opposition, but the history and culture should be intact and continued by generations. Taiwanese people should have the responsibility and duty to preserve each kind of the existing multi-culture and ethnic social values of Taiwanese society today. In one or two decades, many of the traditional Chinese cultures are gradually disappearing and losing as senior veterans pass away one after another one. It can be treated as treasures of culture of contemporary Taiwanese society whatever literature, art, music, folk performance, food and Military Dependents Community. Maybe the new generations of Taiwanese don’t think these Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 traditional Chinese cultures are so valuable right now; however it’s the most basic responsibility of human being to preserve historical and cultural property for future generations. The connotation of culture was caused by a long-term accumulation of social development. During the alternation of generations, the new generations of Taiwanese gradually lost their cultural connotation they had before by the social change and bias values. Because of this, Taiwanese magnanimous, kind heart, and ambitious vision are gone. The senior veteran’s culture isn’t tangible but deeply integrates in the common life and indeed affects Taiwanese social values. Their culture is only one of the multi-cultures in Taiwan, but rapidly vanishes by senior veterans passing away. They are the minority but who are charged with the heavy responsibility of the traditional Chinese cultural heritage for Taiwan. Thus Taiwanese people must correspond to the preservation of appropriate strategies before they are all leaving. To set aside the political radical thinking, take a broad of the cultural integration in order to reduce the defect of generational gap for overall Taiwanese culture. The integration of ethnic and cultural and the model of selfless social values Recalling the senior veteran’s life nearly, they had not only the experience of migrated from 8 Mainland China across the seas to Taiwan but also faced the cultural challenges of intermarriage. The most valuable point of them is the respect for different cultures. They were forced into a group of passengers originally came from all over a foreign land. Besides, they have to trust each other and lived together in various backgrounds with quite different languages, cultures, and living habits and even entrusted their lives and families to comrades. After leaving the troops, they have to re-learn to integrate into a completely different culture of Taiwanese local communities. They have the character of the tolerance for different cultures, the positive spirit of recognition and respect when faced different cultures with acceptance rather than exclusion. In addition, they always take public affairs precedent self-interest because of experienced the special historical background. Compare with the new generation’s selfish values, it highlights senior veterans as a good example of the new Taiwanese social values. The improvement of Veterans Affairs commission and positive policies The “Veterans Affairs commission, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (VAC)” is now the Government department which takes charge of not only all affairs related veterans but also the perspective of making veterans policies. However, the VAC is the authority dealing with overall general veterans’ matters but with less improvement and new positive policies specifically for the senior veteran within the operation. As their aging and death, most of the policies specifically for senior veterans have less response to a new era of social progress, and always treat them as a negative value of the Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 social burden and social care. In the existing organizational structure which made the major positive policies and guidance much emphasis on the new generation of veterans who were born in Taiwan mostly after the war. The VAC pays much more attention in social regeneration of the new generation of veterans, but ignores the positive social value of senior veterans. The Veterans Hospital is in a different form as their regular meeting place for many senior veterans nowadays. Many of them usually have nothing to do in the community; some are able to walk healthily keep on sharing their philanthropy as social volunteers; some who live in hardship and earn their livelihood by picking up recyclable materials to exchange for a meager income; the last part of them who were disabled in physical mobility just can only stay in the veteran’s home watching the sky and spend nostalgic days. Such a perspective of the policy and organizational operations for senior veterans now are both pessimistic and wasting attitude to the overall Taiwanese society. According to the above discussion about the value of senior veterans’ cultures, it can be improved in the policy and the organizational operation specifically for the senior veteran by increasing the positive values. To treat them as one of the cultural resource of Taiwan and provide an appropriate environment then encourage the senior veterans to share their heritage of culture. It transforms the previous concept of social assistance into another newly efficient use of social cultural resources. Furthermore, it can help senior veterans to regain the 9 self-confidence in the present Taiwanese society in the process of cultural communication. It not only can reshape their self-value and inspire them to desire for life-sustaining but also instead of the pessimistic attitude in waiting for dying. Culture is the intangible asset for liberal and democratic Taiwanese society. We people have the absolute power to express our individual political position, and choose what cultures we would like to accept. Nevertheless, we also have an absolute obligation to preserve and sustain the pre-existing cultures in the contemporary Taiwanese society and then pass down to future generations. The senior veteran is the group which disappears rapidly in today’s Taiwanese society. It’s one of a quite important social work for contemporary Taiwanese people to effectively preserve the overall Taiwanese cultures during the limited period of time! IV. Reference 1. Erving Goffman, 1960, “Behavior in Public Places-Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings”, The Free Press, A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 2. Erving Goffman, 1967, “Interaction Ritual-Essay in Face-to-face Behavior”, Aldine Transaction, A Division of Transaction Publishers. 3. Sharon Zukin, 1997, “Urban lifestyles: Diversity and standardisation in spaces of consumption”, Urban Studies; May 1998; 35, 5/6; Academic Research Library. Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 4. Edited by Emily Martin Ahern and Hill Gates, 1981, “The Anthropology of Taiwanese Society”, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 5. Yang, Pei-ling, 1993, “Veterns, Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen and Taiwan, National Taiwan University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis. 6. Allan G. Johnson, 1997, “The Forest and the Trees”, Originally poblished by Temple University Press, Chinese Language copyright 2001 Socio Publishing Co.,Ltd. 7. Lu, Hsiu-Ling, 1998, “Social mobility and social resources on military-depedent''s village - Field research of a veteran community”, Tunghai University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis. 8. Charles Stafford, 2000, “Separation & Reunion in Modern China”, Cambridge University Press. 9. Wang, Ying-Pei, 2002, “The Life Experiences of the Old Veterans With Families Who Settled Down Their Lives in the Community of Southern Taiwan-- Tenacity and Toughness Found in Their Lives, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p6~10; p107~124. 10. Hou, Jyu-li, 2003, “The Exploration of Single Elder Veterans'' Depression, Loneliness and Social Support in Taipei Area”, National Defense Medical Center, Taiwan, ROC. MS. 10 Thesis, p7~9; p21~38; p82. 11. Wang, Yo-Yi, 2003, A Study of Customer Relationship Management of Non-profit organization - to the Veterans Services Department as an example, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, , Taiwan, ROC. MS Thesis, p47~62; p104~110. 12. Liu, Te-Chen, 2004, “The Weak Men Under Patriarchy~~The Old Veterans’ Experience”, Shu-Te University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p17~22; p93~98. 13. Shu-Ming Lin, 2004, “The Comparative Study of the Social Support and the Life Satisfaction on the Elderly Veterans and Non-Veterans in Taichung County”, Shih Chien University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p16~28; p119~121. 14. Hung Lung-Hua, 2005, “A Study of the Veterans’ Retiring and Assistance System- Exploration of Function”, National Defense University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis. 15. Jhan, Wei-Syong, 2005, “The Economy of Aesthetics-60 Micro-perspectives on Transition of Taiwan”, Business Next Publishing Corp. 16. Huang, Chun-Man, 2006, “The development and challenges of living policy of Veterans Affairs Commission: a viewpoint from National Competitiveness”, National Chi Nan University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p58; p82~84. 17. Chiang-wan Fan, 2008, “Determinants of Quality of Life among the elderly in Veteran’s Home: The Role of Depression, Physical status, Physical activity, and Social Support”, Tzu Chi University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p6~8; p46~52. Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com
    • BAS 2010 Social Anthropology Essay 2010-02-18 18. Tzeng, Yu-Shiang, 2009, “A Narrative inquiry of the Veteran’s life course”, National Defense University, Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis, p6~8; p46~52. , Taiwan, ROC. MS. Thesis. 19. Veterans Affairs commission, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. http://www.vac.gov.tw/home/index.asp 20. The Veteran’s Culture http://lov.vac.gov.tw/Index.aspx 21. Wikipedia http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/榮民 22. National Central Library , Taiwan, ROC http://www.ncl.edu.tw/mp.asp?mp=2 11 Mo, Kuo-Chen / Mobile: +47-45677218 / Email: kuochen.mo@gmail.com