2008年9月20日 星期六

Feasting at the Table of the Other China

Asia/Pacific Issue

Feasting at the Table of the Other China

Christie Johnston for The New York Times

Beijing hosted the Olympics, but Taipei takes the gold for food with a breadth of offerings, including C’est Bon, above.

Published: September 21, 2008

LIKE any great restaurant, Old Wang Beef Noodle Soup King has no sign. It sits on Taoyuan Street, not far from Taiwan’s presidential palace, and there are pretty much only two ways you’d know to go there instead of the similar noodle shops that surround it. Either you spy the line, which is long but fast-moving, and figure all those families, businessmen on lunch break and fashionable college kids are onto something. Or you catch the scent of broth — soy, anise, chilies, beef — which draws you inexorably into the dining room, where your intrepidity is rewarded with chewy wheat noodles, a rich and clean-tasting soup and hunks of meat that shred juicily at the slightest pressure from your tongue. There may be no better beef noodle soup in all of Taipei.

Hidden in plain sight, popular but light-years from trendy, surprisingly accessible and instantly enjoyable, Old Wang is also a perfect metaphor for Taipei, the Chinese capital you haven’t heard much about in 2008. This was, after all, Beijing’s moment in the sun, with the Olympic Games giving it the opportunity to strut its stuff on the world stage.

And Taiwan? The little democratic island of 23 million just can’t compete with the Communist state of 1.3 billion that claims it as a renegade province and would react unfavorably if Taiwan’s leaders were officially to declare independence. Unless you’re in the semiconductor business, chances are you’ll choose the Forbidden City over, say, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, especially when Taiwan’s tourist bureau promotes it with slogans like “Taiwan: Touch Your Heart.”

Which is a pity if you like to eat, for food is one arena where Taipei — the world’s most underrated capital city, according to Monocle magazine — blows Beijing away. Its food incorporates more influences, spans street food to haute cuisine with greater aplomb and is out and out more delicious than that of its mainland counterpart. Not to mention that its people are perhaps the most comestible-crazed Asians outside of Singapore — no excursion is complete without, say, a bag of stewed duck tongues at journey’s end.

My high opinion of Taiwanese food may be somewhat biased: My wife, Jean, grew up in Taipei, and her family still lives there, on the edge of Ximending, an exuberant neon-lighted night life-and-shopping zone that’s like a friendlier version of Shibuya in Tokyo. Whenever we visit — as we did for a week last November — her family and friends ensure that we fill our bellies with the best food around.

Defining that superlative cuisine, however, is tricky, for Taiwan is a melting pot. Virtually every cooking style of the mainland is represented, thanks to the waves of immigration that began in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.

For Shanghai soup dumplings, there’s the world-famous Din Tai Fung, and if you love the fiery food of Sichuan province, check out the retro Chuan Guo for hot pot (a bubbling communal soup in which you cook meats and vegetables) and the new-school Kiki for dishes like fly’s head (ground pork stir-fried with chilies and chives).

Japanese ingredients and techniques have a long history there as well, since Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895 to the end of World War II. Sushi is as common in night markets as oven-roasted buns stuffed with sweet, peppery pork; teppanyaki has advanced far beyond Benihana; and humble tempura is a fixture, transmogrified into batter-free tian bu la.

Side by side with these influences lives Taiwanese cuisine. In part, it resembles the food of China’s Fujian Province, from which much of Taiwan’s population immigrated beginning in the 17th century: heavy on pork, seafood and vegetables, with an emphasis on textures that may seem odd to Westerners. Soups tend to be extra thick, and Q, a springier analogue to the concept of al dente, is essential, whether you’re chewing noodles, fish balls or the tapioca in your sweet milky tea.

To find these flavors and textures in one place, follow the crowds to Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle, a Ximending staple since 1975, where dozens of people stand, slurping from bright-green plastic bowls. They’re all eating Ay-Chung’s signature dish — actually, its only dish — mian xian: thin rice noodles in a vinegary, glutinous broth, studded with needlelike bamboo shoots and Q-y curls of pig intestine, and topped with sprigs of cilantro, chopped garlic and chili sauce.

Strange as the combination may sound, it works. The intestine resists your bite for a split second, then pops as you cleave it. The garlic, chili and vinegar give it a punch that clears the sinuses. The cilantro cuts through everything else with its soapy, floral aroma. And the noodles and warm soup provide a heartening backdrop for everything else. To the Taiwanese, this is comfort food, a regular indulgence (Ay-Chung’s 27-year-old manager told me he’d been eating there since middle school) that can, if you’re denied it too long, easily turn into a craving.

AY-CHUNG’S noodles belong to a category of Taiwanese food called xiao chi, or small eats. Often, this means snacks sold on the street and in night markets, like a spicy-sweet grilled sausage or something odder, perhaps stinky tofu, the flash-fried cubes of fermented bean curd that smell like an open sewer. Of course, as anyone who’s fallen in love with odoriferous French cheeses knows, aroma and flavor may be connected, but they are not interchangeable. Stinky tofu has an uncannily earthy flavor that is, at its best, sweet as well, and matches perfectly with chili sauce and cool, crunchy pickled cabbage.

Xiao chi, however, encompasses more than just street snacks, according to Shu Kuo-chih, whose book “Notes on Taipei Xiao Chi,” based on his column in Business Weekly, was published in 2007. To Mr. Shu, a tall, thin man who claims not to have cooked a meal since returning from the United States in 1990, xiao chi is simply the Taiwanese way of eating, a culture of small plates — to use an apt New York restaurant term.

“It can be lunch, snack and dinner food,” Mr. Shu told me over a bottle of wine one night at Mei’s Tea Bar, a hangout for Taipei’s culturati. “You can sit as long as you want and just take one bowl of noodles.”

When we’d finished our bottle, Mr. Shu took me, Jean and his publishing friends Max Lin and Rebecca Huang for some late-night/early-morning xiao chi at Yonghe Soy Milk King, a fluorescent-lighted breakfast parlor on a stretch of Fuxing South Road. In the stainless-steel kitchen, vats of warm soy milk bubbled, cooks scrambled eggs and wrapped them in scallion pancakes, and sticks of you tiao, a kind of Chinese cruller, emerged glistening from an oil-filled wok.

We ordered all of the above, plus rice balls — small cylinders of glutinous rice wrapped around shredded pork and pickled daikon — which are the Taiwanese version of the Japanese onigiri. They had never been my favorite (too dry, chewy rather than Q-y) but these were a revelation, juicy, a little sweet and bursting with honest flavors of rice and pork.

“It’s one of the best rice balls in the whole of Taiwan,” Mr. Shu said. No one argued; our mouths were full.

Not every xiao chi meal is lowbrow. In fact, the once-rustic Taiwanese fare has gone progressively upscale in recent years. AoBa, the reincarnation of the venerable Chin Yeh, was the sexiest restaurant I visited in Taipei: wood floors and tables that glowed under soft lighting, a semi-private corner table shrouded in red banquettes, glossy black-and-white photos that evoked not glamour but intimacy. AoBa managed to give chic a heart.

Naturally, the kitchen took a similar approach, gussying up traditional Taiwanese dishes with enough quality ingredients and precision preparation that they became wholly new without losing their essential flavors. A seafood salad not only came loaded with squid and shrimp but was, to my surprise, an actual salad, with piles of fresh lettuce. (In the minds of most Chinese cooks, only barbarians eat raw vegetables.) A stir-fry of celery and lily bulbs was pure simplicity, preserving the individual textures and flavors of the vegetables, as did the radish fried rice, a shockingly straightforward approach that managed to redeem the entire shopworn concept of fried rice.

Nor was service neglected. Waitresses and busboys came and went nearly invisibly, refilling teapots and clearing dishes with studied efficiency. Jean and I and our friends, Annie Lu and Thomas Willemsen, who both work in Taiwan’s pharmaceuticals industry, left feeling almost humbled by the experience. Who knew food so simple could be so sublime?

The next day, Jean and I joined her mother, two aunts and an uncle for lunch at the Eat Rice Center, a restaurant on bustling Yongkang Street whose simple name belies its sophistication. First, the dining room: subtle lighting, pebbled and tiled walls warmed by wooden plaques with elegant calligraphy and a mural depicting an outdoor kitchen in the countryside.

Then, of course, there is the food, a mix of Taiwanese standards and dishes from Yilan County, a mountainous region on the northeast coast. Historically, Yilan was isolated, two factors that shaped its cuisine. Its dishes tend to be minimalist in an almost Zen way: pig’s liver cut into neat triangles and pan-fried; or gao tsa, literally leftover cakes, made of egg whites and pork or chicken broth whipped into airy cylinders and deep-fried — pure peasant genius.

“It’s very hot on the inside but cool on the outside, and that represents Yilan peoples’ character,” the restaurant’s owner, Lu Wen-yong, explained in a mix of Mandarin and Taiwanese, a Chinese dialect that is many locals’ first language. “Country folk are shy and not good at expressing themselves, but if you get to know them, you see they’re people of private passions.”

The passions on display at C’est Bon, possibly the most ambitious restaurant in Taipei, were hardly private. At first glance, C’est Bon might seem pretentious, with its French name (its Chinese name translates as the Way of Eating), its quirky décor (a potatoesque boulder hangs from one white wall, and a torso-shaped bamboo log, nicknamed Adam, sits submerged in a glass vase) and its waiters sporting skirt-like pants and T-shirts adorned with a single pink feather. And the chef Chuang Yue-jiau’s shaved head and thick black eyeglasses could certainly give the impression she’s a hipster dilettante.

But Ms. Chuang, who opened C’est Bon in 2002 with the photographer Hsieh Chun-te, is Taiwan’s most devoted locavore. She hires family farmers to raise pigs just for her. The snow chickens come from a farm 10,000 feet up Hehuan Mountain. The fish is speared only at night, in the wild currents north of Taiwan. She even grows her own rice in Yilan County, using beneficial micro-organisms to make it especially plump and flavorful.

None of this would matter if her cooking weren’t exquisite — but it is. The multicourse set menu began with what looked like a block of tofu swimming in a pool of chicken broth. One bite proved this wasn’t soy but rather eggs and chicken kidneys whipped together and steamed into a cake that tasted, oddly but pleasurably, just like matzo ball soup minus the heaviness of the matzo meal. At the same time, it tasted wholly, inescapably Taiwanese.

What followed were dishes of equal innovation and purity: a purée of squid accompanied by a fat black mushroom that had been stewed for an entire day; a duck-taro-and-shrimp pancake with a sweet plum sauce and shiso leaves. It all culminated with a little bowl of cherry tomatoes. They’d been grown below sea level, in a field fed by both fresh and saltwater, and Ms. Chuang had macerated them until the sugars took on a sweetness deeper and richer than any standard dessert.

Two days later, I returned to C’est Bon to ask Ms. Chuang the question I’d asked everyone in Taipei: What exactly is Taiwanese food? In response, she told me about lu rou fan. It is, perhaps, the simplest dish ever: ground pork, stewed in soy sauce and served over rice. Yet there are infinite permutations. (I once ate it three times in a single day; the best was at San Yuen Hao.) In fact, it was lu rou fan that began Ms. Chuang’s career as a chef. She’d once sold it from a street stall, working tirelessly to perfect the dish, and her pursuit of the best rice, meat and spices eventually paid off, enabling her to create C’est Bon.

Then her waiters brought out her special lu rou fan. Like everything else, it was amazing, a peasant dish elevated to the highest levels. The pork was meaty and sweet, and fragments of crispy fat nestled like microscopic rock candies amid the toothsome grains of rice.

As I swooned, I remembered something my mother-in-law had said back at Old Wang’s while I was devouring my noodle soup. It was just two words — “kou fu” — and I’d turned to my wife for a translation.

“‘Lucky mouth,’” Jean explained. “She means you’re having a good week of eating.”



Many airlines fly to Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport from the New York City area. For late September, EVA Airlines (www.evaair.com) has round trips with outbound flights stopping in Anchorage and nonstop returns for around $1,100.

Travelers should be aware that in Taiwan Chinese is still mostly converted into the Latin alphabet using the Wade-Giles system, but transliterations in pinyin, adopted by Beijing in 1979, are sometimes used. Chung Hsiao Road, for example, is sometimes rendered as Zhongxiao Road.


Several big, relatively luxurious chains have arrived or been renovated in Taipei the last few years, including the Sheraton (12 Chung Hsiao East Road, Section 1; 886-2-2321-5511; www.sheraton-taipei.com; doubles from 6,900 Taiwanese dollars, or about $210 at 32.63 Taiwanese dollars to the American dollar) and the Grand Hyatt (2 Song Shou Road; 886-2-2720-1234; www.taipei.grand.hyatt.com; doubles from 8,100 Taiwanese dollars). There are a number of boutique hotels like the Ambience (64 Chang-An East Road, Section 1; 886-2-2541-0077; www.ambiencehotel.com.tw; doubles from 2,760 Taiwanese dollars), whose rooms have Philippe Starck furnishings.

Those looking for a middle path between size and style might consider the San Want Hotel (172 Chung Hsiao East Road, Section 4; 886-2-2772-2121; www.sanwant.com; doubles from 5,600 Taiwanese dollars), a cozy, smartly run hotel in the middle of Chung Hsiao East Road, one of Taipei’s biggest shopping and eating districts.


Eating in Taipei is not only delicious but affordable, thanks to the relatively stable exchange rate. Most sit-down restaurants will have English translations on their menus (or English-speaking employees) and will accept MasterCard and Visa, but you should bring cash and your best point-at-what-you-want skills to informal places like Ay-Chung and Old Wang. Prices below do not include drinks.

AoBa, 116 Anhe Road, Section 1; 886-2-2700-0009; www.aoba.com.tw; multicourse set menus for four start at 2,800 Taiwanese dollars.

Ay-Chung, 8-1 E-Mei Street; 886-2-2388-8182; www.ay-chung.com;, small bowls of mian xian are 40 Taiwanese dollars, big ones are 55 dollars.

C’est Bon, 23 Lane 33 Chung-Shang North Road, Section 1;886-2-2531-6408; www.cestbon.com.tw; the multicourse set menu is 2,200 Taiwanese dollars a person.

Chuan Guo, 52 Jianguo North Road, Section 2; 886-2-2506-3622; 600 Taiwanese dollars a person.

Eat Rice Center, 5 Lane 8, Yongkang Street; 886-2-2322-2632; www.sit-fun.com.tw; 300 Taiwanese dollars apiece.

Kiki, multiple locations, www.kiki1991.com; 400 Taiwanese dollars a person.

Mei’s Tea Bar, 16 Lane 37 Yongkang Street; 886-2-2394-2425.

Old Wang Beef Noodle Soup King, 15 Taoyuan Street; a bowl of beef noodle soup is 140 Taiwanese dollars.

San Yuen Hao, 9-11 Chongqing North Road, Section 2; 886-2-2558-9685; 100 Taiwanese dollars a person.

Yonghe Soy Milk King, 102 Fuxing South Road, Section 2; 886-2-2703-5051; 100 Taiwanese dollars a person.

MATT GROSS writes the Frugal Traveler column for the Travel section.

2008年9月12日 星期五

36 Hours in San Francisco

36 Hours in San Francisco

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

A mural in the Mission District.

Published: September 14, 2008

FOR much of the 1990s, San Francisco’s Mission District maintained a precarious balance between its colorful Latino roots and a gritty bohemian subculture. Then came the overfed dot-com years. Rising real estate prices not only threatened the Mission’s working-class enclave, but also its status as the city’s center of all things edgy and artsy. Sleek bars moved next door to divey taquerias. Boutiquey knick-knack shops came in alongside fusty dollar stores. But prosperity did not sap the district of its cultural eclecticism. With a population that is about half Latino, a third white and an estimated 11 percent Asian, the Mission still remains a wonderful mishmash. Where else can you find epicurean vegan cafes, feisty nonprofits and a Central American butcher shop that, for a memorable time, anyway, had women’s undergarments in the window?


4 p.m.

It’s one thing to operate a pirate radio station, with foul-mouthed D.J.’s hopping from rooftop to rooftop to hide the transmitter. But the ever-defiant Pirate Cat Radio went and opened a cafe (2781 21st Street; 415-341-1199; www.piratecatradio.com). Now you can stick it to the man over a spot of tea or vegan donuts. The grungy décor and sparse offerings are true to pirate form — the fun lies in watching the illicit broadcasts through the smudged window.

6:30 p.m.

Don’t let the trendiness fool you: the food at Weird Fish (2193 Mission Street; 415-863-4744; www.weirdfishsf.com) is actually terrific. Situated on chaotic Mission Street, this guppy-sized spot serves inspired dishes like sweet-and-spicy rainbow trout ($8), sautéed tilapia ($8) and something called the Suspicious Fish Dish (varies). Even the blackened catfish ($8), novel enough on its own in these parts, gets a bright makeover with fruit salsa. There are excellent vegan options, too, from yam, avocado and spinach tacos ($5) to pea shoots with ginger and soy sauce ($4). There’s often a line, but you can wait outside on the street, enjoying that singular pleasure of sipping wine beside a bus stop, which serves as Weird Fish’s de facto lounge.

8 p.m.

On a good Friday night, the neighborhood is theatrical in its own right. For more distilled drama, catch a performance at the Marsh (1062 Valencia Street; 415-826-5750; www.themarsh.org), a small theater devoted to small stagings. Award-winning productions have included “Squeezebox” and “Tings Dey Happen,” a one-man show about Nigerian oil politics. Seating is first come, first served, so buy tickets in advance ($8 to $50) and arrive early.

10 p.m.

It can seem that one hears indie rock or Mexican polka in the Mission, and little else. But the Savanna Jazz Club (2937 Mission Street; 415-285-3369; www.savannajazz.com) has live sets every night but Monday in its cozy, New Orleans-style room. Cover, $5 to $10. When the last chord is struck and you’re still longing for something late-night and local, discover the bacon dog craze on your walk home. Vendors sell them — a food best consumed in the dark — on the sidewalk along Mission.


10 a.m.

Listing all the creative galleries, shops and restaurants in the Mission may be impossible. The best thing to do is carve out a few hours for strolling, knowing that the majority cluster along Valencia, Mission, 16th and 24th Streets. A few standouts: Aquarius Records (1055 Valencia Street; 415-647-2272; www.aquariusrecords.org) is the city’s oldest independent record store and a sanctuary for music lovers. For guilt-free gluttony, follow your nose to Mission Pie (2901 Mission Street; 415-282-1500; www.missionpie.com), a bright corner cafe run partly by Mission High School students that sells scrumptious treats in collaboration with Pie Ranch, a nonprofit farm where teenagers learn about sustainable agriculture. Galería de la Raza (2857 24th Street; 415-826-8009; www.galeriadelaraza.org) showcases projects by Chicano and Latino artists and activists. And check out Creativity Explored (3245 16th Street; 415-863-2108; www.creativityexplored.org), a nonprofit studio where developmentally disabled men and women make and sell beautiful art.

2 p.m.

What you’ve heard about Mission burritos is true: they’re big and everyone eats them. Arguing over the best is a popular sport, but you won’t go wrong with Taquería Cancún (2288 Mission Street; 415-252-9560), a no-frills joint that packs a crowd. Take a Super Veggie ($6.50) up 19th Street to Dolores Park, and enjoy the downtown views among the Frisbeeing, smuggled-beer-drinking multitudes. If it’s the last Saturday of the month, scout out the Really Really Free Market (www.reallyreallyfree.org), a haphazard and funky exchange that’s worth a perusal. The prices are really really unbeatable.

3 p.m.

At first glance, the Mission District might seem perennially 23, with a Pabst Blue Ribbon fixed forever in its collective fist. But there’s real history in this youthful quarter. Two blocks from Dolores Park is the city’s oldest landmark and the district’s namesake, Mission Dolores (3321 16th Street; 415-621-8203; www.missiondolores.org; suggested donation, $5). Founded before San Francisco itself, it remains a hub of cultural and religious life. It’s a quick tour, but the bright frescoes and hushed basilica balance the surrounding hoopla with a welcome calm. Hitchcock buffs will recall its cameo in “Vertigo.”

6 p.m.

San Francisco is a cocktail-before-dinner kind of town — just ask Sam Spade. Among the district’s grooviest bars are the Latin American Club (3286 22nd Street; 415-647-2732), Doc’s Clock (2575 Mission Street; 415-824-3627; www.docsclock.com) and Papa Toby’s Revolution Cafe (3248 22nd Street; 415-642-0474). The combination of ambience, music and robust gawking make these perfect run-ups to dinner.

8 p.m.

It may sound gimmicky, but the dinner-and-a-movie at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street; 415-648-7600; www.foreigncinema.com) is an elegant, white tablecloth affair. If the weather’s nice, snag an outdoor table in the austere, vaguely Soviet cement courtyard. Start with oysters ($2 to $2.50 apiece), before carving into the likes of delicate tombo tartare with ginger-lime vinaigrette ($12) and the bavette steak ($28.50). When the sun sets, a foreign film is projected silently on the far wall with subtitles. Heat lamps keep you toasty and, if you want to follow the dialogue, the waiter will even bring vintage drive-in speakers.

10:30 p.m.

Hot, sweaty bodies shaking it on a plywood floor in a thimble of a room with holes in the ceiling. If that’s your cup of tea — and, in a way, that sums up the Mission perfectly — head over to Little Baobab (3388 19th Street; 415-643-3558; www.littlebaobab.com; $5 cover). The bass thumps and an international crowd sloshes around admirably.


11 a.m.

San Francisco has a storied mural tradition and the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (2981 24th Street; 415-285-2287; www.precitaeyes.org; $10) runs casual, yet informative tours of the neighborhood’s vast, ever-changing collection. Memorable murals include scenes of a bloody Honduran massacre painted on a garage on Balmy Alley. A few steps away, weeping families pushed out by developers cover a wall. Perhaps most poignant are the simple portraits of neighborhood figures — the flower seller, the bakery owner, the guy who break dances.

12:30 p.m.

With so much new activity, it’s refreshing to see the bones of older San Francisco peek through. Stop by St. Francis Fountain (2801 24th Street; 415-826-4200) for brunch. Look past the trendy crowd’s tattoos and leggings and you’ll see a fastidiously preserved ice cream parlor from 90 years ago. They still make a terrific egg cream ($3.50), and the eggs Florentine ($9.50) aren’t bad, either. According to legend, the 49ers were founded on the back of a napkin in one of the booths.


The low-slung Mission District lacks big hotels. For polished digs, head two miles into the South of Market area. The InterContinental San Francisco (888 Howard Street; 888-811-4273; www.intercontinentalsanfrancisco.com) is the city’s largest new hotel and the views rule. Rooms start at $229, though discounts can be found online.

In the Mission itself, the options are limited. The hostel-like Elements Hotel (2524 Mission Street; 866-327-8407; www.elementshotel.com) is centrally located, cheap and has little else. Thin walls mean you won’t miss out on street life, or the noises down the hall. Private rooms start at $60.

The unmarked Inn San Francisco (943 South Van Ness Avenue; 800-359-0913; www.innsf.com) looks like just another rambling Victorian. But inside, you time-warp back to an ornate and tranquil 19th century — the kind with a jasmine-perfumed hot tub out back. The tiniest of the 21 rooms, which shares a bath, is $120; the garden cottage is $335.

The Banks of the River Seine

Insight | 13.09.2008 | 04:30

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Banks of the River Seine

The banks of the Seine have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.

Paris is a river city. Its history is resolutely tied to the Seine, the river that runs through it. Ever since the first human settlements in this area, the Seine and its banks have played a primordial role in the economic and cultural development the city. Today, they remain the pulsing heart of the city. They are lined with some of the world’s great architectural masterpieces, including the Louvre Museum, the Grand Palais and the Place de la Concorde. In 1990 the Unesco decided that the banks had to be seen as a single geographic and historic entity; one that constitutes a remarkable example of urban riverside architecture, that harmoniously blends each period of history.

Report: Genevieve Oger

2008年9月11日 星期四



By Rebecca Knight in Boston 2008-09-12

Many of the cultural stereotypes of Americans – such as the neurotic New Yorker, the friendly Midwesterner and the chilled-out California dude – may have some basis in fact.

A study by researchers at Cambridge university in the UK found that the personalities of people in the US often differ according to the state in which they live.

“Obviously it's not as simple as saying that you're guaranteed to be more anxious if you live in New York,” said Jason Rentfrow, a professor in social and political sciences at Cambridge, who led the study.

“But it does mean that if you live there, statistically you are going to run into people who are more irritable and anxious which, [because of the effects of] emotional contagion, is likely to rub off on you.”

Researchers analysed the results from more than a half million online surveys – as well as data from the Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and the Bureau of Labor Statistics – to create a “personality map” of the US.

Wisconsin, for instance, had high readings for extraversion and agreeableness but low for openness, suggesting that people there are sociable and traditional. Arizona, on the other hand, ranked high on conscientiousness but low on neuroticism, signifying that people there like order and discipline but are relatively relaxed.

The research team also found that personalities are geographically clustered. For instance, “neuroticism” was highest in the east along a line stretching from Maine to Louisiana, and lowest in the west, suggesting the country has an identifiable “stress belt”.

Prof Rentfrow said that the strongest personality traits within a given population become self-reinforcing by influencing the area's culture. Where the population was creative and intellectual – as was found to be the case in New York and California – one might expect to find people who were interested in art, literature and science, he said.

This, in turn, leads to the creation of universities and museums, which then have an effect on the views and values of the local people and encourage more creative and imaginative people to move to the region.

Prof Rentfrow said his work had applications in business. Companies planning to relocate may consider the personalities of people in the region as they consider their potential pool of employees. And start-ups may want to go where “openness” is high and there are more patents produced.


英国《金融时报》丽贝卡•奈特(Rebecca Knight)波士顿报道 2008-09-12



英国剑桥大学(Cambridge university)的一项研究发现,美国人的性格往往随着所在州的不同而不同。

剑桥大学社会政治学教授、这项研究的负责人杰森•伦特福罗(Jason Rentfrow)表示:“这并不是说如果你住在纽约,你就肯定比别人焦虑。显然不是这么简单。”


研究人员对50多万份网络调查结果以及来自人口调查局(Census Bureau)、疾病控制中心(Centers for Disease Control)和劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)的数据进行了分析,旨在绘制一份美国“性格地图”。







Sanctuary of Lourdes

Pope Benedict XVIth Visits France, in Particular the Sanctuary of Lourdes



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The majority of visitors are pilgrims who fill the public spaces of the Domain
The majority of visitors are pilgrims who fill the public spaces of the Domain

Sanctuary of Lourdes

Yearly from March to October the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain (as it is most commonly known) is a place of mass pilgrimage from Europe and other parts of the world. The spring water from the grotto is believed by some to possess healing properties, however there have been from the beginning sceptics of the miracles reported to have taken place in Lourdes. A common misconception is that miracles are the core of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, and the reasons for visits. Although this is probably the case for some visitors, the majority of pilgrims come as part of their Christian faith, and to help those in need.

An estimated 200 million people have visited the shrine since 1860 [3], and the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognized 67 miracle healings[3]. Especially impressive are candlelight and sacrament processions. Tours from all over the world are organized to visit the Sanctuary. Connected with this pilgrimage is often the consumption of or bathing in the Lourdes water which wells out of the Grotto.

At the time of the apparitions the grotto was on common land which was used by the villagers variously for pasturing animals, collecting firewood and as a garbage dump, and it possessed a reputation for being an unpleasant place.[4]

[edit] Hospitalité Notre-Dame de Lourdes

During one of the Virgin Mary’s apparitions to St Bernadette in 1858, she asked that people come in procession to the Grotto. In the early days care for sick pilgrims was provided by local nuns and charitable workers. As numbers of visitors grew, especially those from the rest of France, local facilities rapidly became swamped, and large groups such as the Hospitalité de Notre-Dame de Salut were set up, consisting of lay men and women whose objective was charitable aid to the sick pilgrims of Lourdes. The Hospitalité Notre-Dame de Lourdes splintered from the former group in 1885.[5]. Ever since there has been a "ministry of welcome" in Lourdes, receiving and caring for all the pilgrims who come to the apparition site, especially the sick and infirm.

The HNDL is active in Lourdes during the main pilgrimage season (which normally lasts from Easter until November), and it also provides people to welcome pilgrims at the Piscines (Baths) during the winter.

Pilgrimage groups are associated with many different organisations and charities. Many are from a specific region (for example British pilgrims generally travel with their own diocese or archdiocese), while others are based around a specific type of pilgrim. An example of this is the UK's Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT). HCPT takes disabled children and their carers on pilgrimage to Lourdes. HCPT groups are numbered, e.g. group 83 which leaves from Coventry. Another example is the Catholic Association Pilgrimage, which includes various dioceses, the Carmelites and groups under one umbrella.

[edit] Ukrainian Church

The five-domed St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lourdes was designed by Myroslav Nimciv, while its interior polychrome decorations were by famed artist Jerzy Nowosielski. The church is about a 10-minute walk from the basilica and the grotto, on a street named in honor of Ukraine, situated on a narrow piece of property close to the railroad station. Visible from the basilica, the height of the building makes up for its breadth[6].

The Ukrainian Catholic church is located on 8 Rue de l'Ukraine, 65100 Lourdes, France

[edit] Scepticism and criticism

The streets near the Grotto are lined with shops selling objects of popular piety.
The streets near the Grotto are lined with shops selling objects of popular piety.

Since the earliest of the apparitions, Lourdes has been the subject of intense debate regarding their nature. The earliest investigators, including the priest Abbey Dominique Peyramale, and the Police Commissioner M. Dominique Jacomet, were both initially convinced they were dealing with a hoax (each later changed his mind), and several researchers have since called several aspects of the Lourdes phenomenon into question.

The apparitions at Lourdes took place against the backdrop of a rich network of popular piety, which was common throughout the Pyrenean region in the 19th century. In the decades leading up to 1858, some children in small Pyrenean villages (on both sides of the border) claimed to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary in remote locations. Critics[citation needed] argue that Bernadette was simply repeating a well-tried trick to gain attention and notoriety

Modern Lourdes has no shortage of glitz on display. Some visitors may dislike the commercialism practised in parts of Lourdes, with neon-emblazoned gift shops overflowing with what Malcolm Muggeridge, although a supporter of the shrine, called "tawdry relics, the bric-a-brac of piety".[7] Critics argue that the Lourdes phenomenon is nothing more than a significant money spinner for the town and the region, which therefore has a strong vested interest in keeping the pilgrims coming;[8] however, the trinket shops are privately owned, and hawkers and souvenir stalls are strictly forbidden inside the sanctuary itself.

2008年9月5日 星期五

Google and Vanity Fair event at Minneapolis' modern art museum

Google and 'Vanity Fair' party with the GOP

Around 2:30 a.m., partygoers leave the Google and Vanity Fair event at Minneapolis' modern art museum during the Republican convention.

(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET News)

MINNEAPOLIS--Republican partygoers in the Twin Cities this week may have been sporting slightly more formal attire than their counterparts in Denver--think more suits and pearl necklaces--but that doesn't mean their parties were any less bumping.

The Google/Vanity Fair party Thursday night in Minneapolis for the Republican convention largely measured up to, and in some respects surpassed, the Google party in Denver.

The two parties were the same in concept--well-known politicians, unknown aides, and a smattering of Hollywood celebrities moved through rooms sporting colored themes, finger foods, and open bars. However, the lines at the bars in Minneapolis were shorter, and there was a greater selection of food: there were chocolate-covered strawberries, sushi, sliders, and even a mashed potato bar complete with fixings like lobster and caviar.

The party was held at the Walker Art Center, a modern building that stood in eye-catching contrast to the traditional churches that dotted the neighborhood. Inside the center, one of the nation's top contemporary art museums, were high ceilings, sharp angles, and modern chandeliers, lending the party a slightly more sophisticated feel than last week's at Denver's Exdo Event Center.

The one Hollywood celebrity CNET reporters spotted at the party late in the evening was Rosario Dawson, who diplomatically attended both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Google co-founder Larry Page (apparently minus wife Lucy Southworth, who showed up last week) showed up in a pinstriped suit; Google CEO Eric Schmidt and senior legal VP David Drummond were at the Republican convention earlier in the week, a Google representative told us.

Partygoers seemed pleased with the evening. However, no one--not even the social conservatives--appeared happy when the bars shut down precisely at 1 a.m., apparently because of a city ordinance.


2008奥运 | 2008.09.04


《南德意志报》驻华记者吴亚尼(Janis Vougioukas)曾在北京奥运会期间在自己的博客中介绍过北京的世界各“村”。德国村、奥地利村、荷兰村、英国村,各有一番风光和特色。中国人也乐 意去那里享受一番不出门的世界。让我们来回顾一番吧。也说说那难忘,那精彩。

我们从奥地利开始。人们说,这是一个秘密,一个憩园,而就在中国首都的核心 里。奥地利之家在北京使馆区一个五星级饭店宽广的里。桌子上摆放出节日的气派,用小花瓶饰之,白玫瑰在花瓶里漂游着。奥地利奥委会在一个古典中国亭子里设 了一个咖啡厅。系着袖珍围裙的中国女跑堂端上午餐肉,切成按口型可以正好入口的形状,连同牙签一起送上,还配有放在小小玻璃瓶里的蕃茄酱。轻音乐在花园里 飘着,从桌上飘过。这里有电视机,里面重播着当天的比赛。但几乎没人往那里看。也许搞清楚了自己国家在这一天反正没能赢得金牌之后,整个奥运漩涡在这里就 变得缓和轻松了。

餐馆里的自助餐引起的注意力就要大得多了。这跟奥地利任何地方一样的舒适,安静,高 贵,轻松。唯一指出我们是在中国的标志是那些在顶上散发蓝光的灭虫灯。这种灯人们在意大利度假的时候也见过的。如果有一只蚊子飞向这么一个灯,它就会被细 细的丝挡住,而这丝是通了电的。每次昆虫的爆炸都发出小小的一个噼啪之声。

奥运会涉及的从来就不仅仅是体育。200多个国家参加北京夏奥,这是世界上最大的国际 活动。同时这是最大的媒体和市场营销事件。每个参加国都试着宣传自己的国家。在奥运期间,许多国家在中国首都开出了自己的据点,作为体育迷、赞助商和记者 的聚集点,作为给当地人看的橱窗,运动员的基地仓库。这些"之家"的设置很说明有关国家的自我形象,再就是体育的意义。让我们逛一圈吧。


在宾馆大堂最里面的地方,立着一块报到牌。在那里必须先以照片和手印进行登记。每个来 访者接下来得到一张芯片卡,个人信息被存进了电脑里。通过转栏进入的入口处就在电梯后面。德国之家的安全措施是最严的。但似乎谁也不在意这个。一名工作人 员说:"如果中国人得到这么一张上面有他们照片的卡,他们会高兴得要命。"就让我们相信他一回吧。


首先引人注目的是,这里的一切都更彩色,就连灯光也不例外。也许这是因为约50家赞助 商都坚持要用上自己的公司色。在德国之家,赞助商就是处于中心的。转栏和指纹扫描器是联邦印刷厂提供与安装的。这些设施也安装在德国边境上。一台德国储蓄 银行的自动取钱机立在这里,还有一个瑞士保险公司的幸运转轮,一家炭精生产厂展出它的产品,到处都是写得极大的品牌名称。甚至还有一家德国之家地板的官方 提供商。这里的气氛也跟附近的奥地利之家大不相同。这里更拥挤,更喧哗,所有人都紧张地看着电视屏幕,追踪着比赛进程。尽管如此,这里显然体育只是顺便的 事情,这里的气氛就象一个免费提供啤酒的销售活动。奥运会的作用是拯救德国这个区位。再就是,在德国之家,根本见不到体育迷和旅游者。对大多数人来说, 200欧元的入场费太贵了一点。加快脚步吧。


英国之家叫"伦敦之家"。4年后,夏季奥运会将在英国首都举行。这个王国现在就想要唤 起人们的先行之乐。这里也有安全检查措施。入口处放着来客表,这里有个机场里用的那种行李检查机。但显然没人在乎来客把什么东西放到传送带上去。英国人找 到了一条介于商业和派对之间的中间道路。伦敦发展公司的主人大卫.亚当说:"17点前这里举行研讨会和报告会。接下来我们就开始庆祝了。"同时,英国首都 一些博物馆在这里办了一些展览。许多中国人到这里来喝一杯afternoon tea(英国下午茶)。

伦敦之家旁有个小湖,湖的另一边是俄罗斯之家。在很远的地方,就能听见吵闹的派对声 了。俄罗斯旗帜飘扬在平台上。据称,俄罗斯人在北京的这个"之家"是入门最严的,他们只对核过手印的、受邀请的客人开放。但据说这个派对是具有传奇色彩 的。以前所有人都要离开俄罗斯,而现在所有人都要进去。入口处站着一名看上去紧绷绷的俄罗斯女子,穿着中国式的丝绸服装。她说:"可惜我们已经关门了。派 对已经过去。"透过门缝看得见里面起伏的人群,笑声和极响的音乐往外奔涌。这个女人不象是可以谈判商量的主。也许是由于北约和格鲁吉亚?



Janis Vougiaukas

2008年9月4日 星期四

塔塔汽車(Tata Motors)宣佈低價位小型車“nano”的工廠停建

印度塔塔汽車(Tata Motors)宣佈,將停建預定2008年10月上市的低價位小型車“nano”的生產工廠。原因是農民要求西孟加拉邦政府返還所徵用的工廠土地,而由此 導致的抗議活動一直沒有停止。雖然從8月28日起已連續停建5天,但是該公司認為情況不會好轉,因此,為確保員工及施工人員的安全,決定停建該工廠。目前 塔塔正在考慮工廠遷址,很可能會因此推遲新車上市的時間(原計劃為10月)。

  生產Nano的辛古(Singur)工廠位於印度西孟加拉邦的加爾各答北部,此次農民要求邦政府返還徵用的4km2土地中的1.6km2。領導抗議活動的是當地政黨基層國大黨(All India Trinamool Congress)領導人班尼傑(Mamata Banerjee)。


  塔塔已對該工廠投資150億盧比以上,60家供應商也在周圍獲得了土地。塔塔的決定迫使供應商也停止了相應作業。(記者:林 達彥)

Tata Motors社、「nano」生産工場の建設中断を発表

大跃进五十周年:文浩(Felix Wemheuer)溯源

中国 | 2008.09.04


1 / 2向前

找到维也纳大学中国问题专家文浩(Felix Wemheuer)先生时,正是他前往美国哈佛大学从事一年研究前在维也纳的最后一天。他的研究课题是社会主义国家大饥荒比较。中国的“三年自然灾害”是 其中第四次。文浩先生曾多次深入中国农村,采访了许多人,写出了关于中国大跃进和大饥荒的专著和论文。值此大跃进五十周年之际,德国之声记者向他提出了一 系列问题。


文 浩:1957年,毛泽东到莫斯科去,在那里的一个讲话里宣布,中国要在15年内在钢产量上超过英国。这实际上是大跃进的开端。这是一个巨大的经济计划,中 国要在最短的时间内跃进,要在经济上和科学技术上与苏联和西方不相上下。大跃进的实际开端在日期上很难确定。这个过程实际上贯穿了全年,1958年8月开 了著名的北戴河会议,决定建立人民公社,使大跃进的方案再次极端化。从那时开始,也实行起了乡村里展开社会转折的过程,个人的土地被收回,办起了公共食 堂,要取代家庭内的厨房,农民被作为一支巨大的劳动军队动员起来,进行炼钢等大型的人民活动。


文 浩:我觉得这是毛泽东对从1957年开始的一个危机作出的答复。1957年在一定程度上是中国不安定的一年,发生了大规模的罢工浪潮,尤其在上海。非集体 化浪潮也是个危机,农民们一开始从集体中退出,出现了大规模退出合作社的浪潮,有一个省的农业机制在非集体化中整个崩溃了。还有知识分子巨大的不满,他们 在百花运动中发泄。然后发生了反右运动。我认为,毛泽东发起大跃进,是为了摆脱这个危机。他采取的办法不是更温和,返回原来状态,而是向前跃进,跳出这个 危机。此外,他越来越认为,中国必须从苏联的控制下摆脱出来,尽可能快地走一条自己的道路。这也是大跃进加速的因素。

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:


文 浩:那是很有意思的。我在河南农村做了许多采访。这个省受饥饿的影响非常严重。这场大饥荒1959年就继大跃进之后开始了。那里的农民对这个大饥荒记忆犹 新,当时他们受的是什么样的苦,在采访中也叙述了很多故事,那时的人是怎么偷东西的,试着吃一些通常不吃的东西,比如泥土,许多人逃离了家乡,到山上组织 了黑市,等等。这些记忆还都非常生动,因为饥饿是一种跟身体的受罪密切相关的事情,它印到了身体里面。这是人们无法忘记的。让人惊讶的是,他们非常坦率地 谈饥荒。由于中国年轻人对这个题目一点都不感兴趣,许多年纪大的人对有人愿意听他们讲这些故事非常高兴。


文 浩:我觉得,如果有人叙述说,那时我们没东西吃,腿肿得很粗,大家都躺在地上动不了,差一点就饿死了,这些对年轻人来说太遥远了。尤其是经济改革开始后出 生的一代人,他们根本没有自己挨饿的经验。他们的祖父母们对这些事情记得很清楚,50岁以上的都知道,在70年代的时候,虽然没有饥荒,但商品短缺。孙子 女这一代对这些一点都不知道了,这些故事没有给他们传递下去。在有些采访中,也很有意思,全家几代人都坐在一个房间里,那些年轻人还是第一次听到这样的事 情。


文 浩:数字的确认是很困难的。数字相当地政治化了。有各种各样的数字,从1500万到4500万饿死者的版本都有。必须要说明,相关档案至今没有对外开放, 大多数的数字是根据居民人口的统计数字做出的,在80年代的时候回头倒算了一下,比如说,1960年时出生率大大低于正常水平,或者说应该活下来的人大大 少于往年。但这些统计数字也不是很可靠的,因为在饥荒中,统计体系也在很大程度上崩溃了。在下面,人们也尝试着对农民进行操作,谁少报死人,就可以得到死 人本应得到的食品配给。因此,有关数字必须非常谨慎地对待。中国政府自己说这段时间失去了4000万人口,这当然也包括没能出生的人口,但其中一些本来是 应该出生的,如果与年前的情况进行对比就可以看到这一点。这在中国各地的情况有很大的不同,在河南、安徽、四川死了很多人,还有新疆,东北,但在城市里, 比如上海和北京,死者就相对少了。我觉得,这件事的澄清,在未来几代恐怕也不会做到。


文 浩:这是很难说的。在危机的年头,每个人都为自己的生存而斗争,不太清楚周围发生的事情。村庄之间的情况也有很大差别,我到过的有的村庄,死人较少,但在 其它村庄,在河南信阳地区,有的村庄饿死了一半的人。这是一个特殊地区,信阳,按官方的说法当时饿死的人就有100万。由于那里情况特殊,1962年还派 了解放军到那个地区去,解除当地领导的权力。有意思的是,人们当时都听说了在信阳发生了什么事情,这件事传了开来。那里的人也有不少逃离的,我跟农民谈 过,有的一直逃到遥远的青海省,逃到中国西部,在1962年大饥荒过去后他们才又返回家园。通过这种方式,当地的事情也在全国传了开来。


文 浩:这当然是有争议的,1962年,刘少奇说"七分人祸,三分天灾"。今天,中国的科研人员一致认为,这个灾难主要不是天灾造成的,主要是政策,一方面, 太多粮食从各村庄上缴了,1960年,从农村抽走的粮食数量创造了以前没有,后面也没有过的纪录,由于大炼钢铁也造成劳动力的缺乏,使庄稼不能及时收割。 人们指出的第二个重要原因是建立公共食堂,一开始的时候浪费非常严重,家庭厨房的东西都交了出去。再就是中国在这段时间继续向苏联出口粮食。这场灾难并没 有真的持续了三年。在有些地区,饥荒从1959年开始了,在1960年达到高峰,1961年在一些地区已经走向尾声。也可以说,饥荒是通过政治手段结束了 的。1961年,中国不再是出口粮食,而是开始进口粮食,个人用地又允许了,私人的厨房恢复了,大食堂取消,大炼钢铁停止了。通过这些措施,人们得以在两 年内使情况稳定下来。而这些措施也曾经是许多人要求的。在1959年庐山会议上,造成了一种气氛,任何批评都被谴责为右倾。出于这个原因,许多人不敢再发 出声音。有意思的是,在大城市里,共产党的统治仍然比较稳定,在北京、上海,从头至尾有粮食供应。在河北征集了许多粮食,为了保证天津市的供给。那些来自 农村的高级官员在这种情况下牺牲了农村,以求城市的稳定。


文 浩:那时中国跟西方外交关系很少,只跟社会主义国家有。而且即使在饥荒中,中国也坚持完成向苏联供应粮食的规定义务,以换取工业物资。另外,中国当时成功 地封锁消息,以致西方对那里发生饥荒知道得很少,更别说对其这么大的规模了。台湾和美国也表示提供援助,但被中国拒绝了。当时的外交部长陈毅说:中国人民 永远不会向帝国主义乞求食物。一方面,中国怕丢脸,另一方面也怕这些援助被用来干涉内政。也有一种说法,台湾于1962年计划要反攻大陆,但美国没有给出 绿灯。共产党当时并非不合情理地担心,通过饥荒会失去权力。

Dr. Felix WemheuerBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Dr. Felix Wemheuer


文 浩:我将到美国哈佛大学一年,研究的课题就是比较社会主义国家的大饥荒。苏联在1920年内战时发生过饥荒,合作化后,1933年又是一次,然后是二战后 1947年再次发生。中国大跃进后的大饥荒是社会主义体制中的第四次,这是令人惊讶的,因为中国人没有从苏联此前的事情中吸取教训。这不能说总体上是由于 制度而发生的,许多社会主义国家从来就没有发生过饥荒。在许多社会主义国家,比如德意志民主共和国,或者捷克斯洛伐克,除了战后头几年外,粮食、食品的供 应始终是有保障的。但必须看到,在中国和俄罗斯发生的饥荒,跟共产党和农民之间复杂的关系处理是有关系的。苏联布尔什维克也是在农民的支持下上台的,但在 内战里就已经跟农民发生了冲突,冲突的问题是,农民需要交给国家多少粮食。社会主义的苏联想要尽快实现工业化,因此需要尽可能多地调取农村的资源。农民 想,我们支持了共产党政权,实行了土地改革,我们想尽可能少地交给国家,于是产生了矛盾冲突。由于国家从农村调取了太多的资源,导致了饥荒的发生。这种做 法从长期看是一种自我削弱,因为削弱了农业,也就削弱了工业化进程的长期后盾。


文 浩:在开幕式表演上省略了最近几十年的历史,本身就是一件令人注意的事情。对原因可以有各种各样的猜测。这个大表演的主题是5000年的历史,那里展示了 中华帝国大场面的恢宏的过去。尽管如此,应该说,中国对过去50年历史也是在进行处理的。这个处理是在一个紧密的范畴里展开的,一方面通过中央委员会 1981年关于建国后若干历史问题的决议作出了规定,什么可以写,什么不能写。毛泽东犯了一些错误,尤其是大跃进和文化革命,但对他总体上要正面评价。在 这方面规定了紧密的界限。尽管如此,在研究领域里还是发表了许多东西,他们尝试着利用这个界定范围内的空隙,来探讨这些领域。出版了许多关于文化革命的 书,谈大跃进的比较少,这方面的解释也许是:现在研究过去历史的主要是这个年代的中国知识分子,在文革中受过苦的。而对过去受苦的农民感兴趣的人相对较 少。也要看到,这方面的辩论不是对着公众展开的,而是在一些学术圈子里。或者就是单独的书。对此,政府始终可以控制范围。


文 浩:我觉得,中国有不少人,尤其是年轻人,他们说,我们烦透了过去,我们要向前看。但世界上还没有一个国家能够把自己的过去简单地挤到一边去的。在中国也 有许多人,他们在文革中受了苦,被送到农村去,经历了饥饿,他们有要讲话的需求,要为过去悲哀,也要利用上述的一定的空隙。对过去的事情,尤其是文革,伤 痕经常很深,那时许多冲突就发生在家庭里,一家人还有分成两派的,因此,直到今天,许多事情在家里还是没法深谈。尽管如此,在表面之下有许多矛盾鼓动着, 随时可能爆发出来。有些人当时被批斗,他们今天说起来也仍然充满了愤恨,比如谁当时打了他。在我的采访中,有意思的是,干部经常很坦率地谈他们的优越,谈 恐怖的事情,但每个人都顾及,不能把村子里的和谐整个给破坏了。这是矛盾的,一方面他们想谈往事,另一方面,他们又害怕以前的冲突重新发作出来。而许多年 轻人根本不想知道过去是怎么回事。


文 浩:这在各个地区是不同的。在饥荒非常严重的河南,我的印象是,农民对过去那些饥荒年的回忆是非常负面的。当然,在其它地方存在着对毛泽东的崇拜。我交谈 过的农民对过去那些岁月是否定的,但他们对今天也有很多不满。尽管进行了改革,他们还要交很高的税,或者对腐败不满,他们说腐败相当严重。我经常有个印 象,中国农村居民似乎每个人都有许多故事可讲,比如什么人由于上访告当地的官员而被抓起来了。他们对当前也有很多不满。他们说,在自然灾害中,我们遭受了 饥饿,在文化革命中,哪个当官的打了我,而现在,他们是腐败的。有意思的是,我当时采访的许多农民出身是贫农,他们是共产党体制下的赢家,他们说,土地改 革很好。他们今天仍然住在当初土地改革时分到的房子里。但是通过大饥荒,他们失去了他们的信仰。但我到其它地区,采访其他人,听到的可能是完全不同的话。 因为到处都有很大的区别。在中国的城市里,有时我碰到四十几岁的人,他们说,在毛泽东时代没有人挨过饿。这些人当然也是有的,他们当然没有对农村饥荒的那 种记忆。因为城市相对来说是受到保护的。


文 浩:我认为,过去的负担始终还存在着,在许多人的大脑里。我觉得,许多经过大饥荒的人始终还有一种对饥饿的恐惧感。比如我有时在中国晚上坐火车,12个小 时,许多中国人带着大包,里面装满了方便面,五天都吃不了。许多根本没有经历过大饥荒的中国人,也有一种自我强迫性的储备意识,以备在任何情况下都有东西 可吃。这也可以说跟大饥荒的后续影响有些关系,集体心理上的。也可以说,这是整体的政治伤痕,那些政治运动引发的。许多在运动中受伤害的人,对伤害者怀有 情绪。因此也存在着许多潜在的冲突因素。也必须看到,由于有许多人失业,城市里失业的人很多,所以也有许多人怀念七十年代。


文 浩:通过城市化,农民失去土地,这是不可避免的。怎么跟将失去土地的农民打交道,是个问题,这是中国一个重要的矛盾源。农民出让土地,得到的报酬很低,比 如每亩5千元,然后政府以每亩5万的价格转售给投资商,国家从中得益之丰让人难以相信。理由是,土地是国家所有的,农民只有使用权。农民因此而经常很不满 意。这就引发了不少的骚乱。中国政府始终强调和谐。总体上看,不应该把骚乱总是看成是负面的东西,一些人感到自己受到了剥削和欺骗,因而抗争,我觉得这是 积极的事情。


文 浩:对处理过去、正视历史而言,我觉得首先应该开放档案。现在,档案已经比过去容易接近一些了,但如果事关三年自然灾害,饥荒,还应该允许人们哀悼。我采 访过一个女子,她在大饥荒里失去了3个孩子。应该允许她建立一块墓碑,纪念三年自然灾害中失去的亲人。在信阳这个重灾区,有群葬的墓,至今还没有任何人去 把它挖开。这也是未来的一个任务,更仔细地去调查。对农民来说,很重要的是如何让他们觉得自己不是二等公民,在对农民工方面,中国做了一些工作,但显然还 有许多事情要做。中国政府处在一个两难的境地中,给这个国家私有化,推动经济发展,但这也带来许多困难户,包括挨饿者,现在的家庭责任制从长期看也是难以 维持的,因为6亿农民没法给这个国家提供足够的食品,不得不进口许多粮食和食品。


Dr. Felix Wemheuer(中文名:文浩)生于1977年,曾在德国波鸿大学就读汉学,2000至2002年在中国人民大学中共党史系学习。从2004年开始在奥 地利维也纳大学任教,从2005年开始担任汉学教研室副主任,2006年成为全职副教授。与中国李女士缔结了姻缘。他先后出版的书有河南省大饥荒调查报 告;中国的"大跃进";以文化革命为榜样?-德语区的毛主义。还有大量论文。