From Violence to Songs, In Memory of Gao Yi Sheng / 228
28, Feb 2006 00:50
Cou people believe that Gao Yi Sheng's music is the key to their secret memory. Here it comes to another issue: For what should we feel pain if it is someone else who suffers? It is also a 'responsibility' issue. For example, 228 incident. Now people talk about 228. People just don't want to talk about 228. People raise and build 228. People deconstruct 228. People love 228. People hate 228. It is not only a huge totem but a strict taboo. A symbol which is not only feared of by Taiwanese people but also not able to be destroyed, a superego, which haunts in Taiwanese People's nightmares, dominating their free wills.
In Cou tribe, people tended to forget. History became incomplete. Dignity was shattered in Han's Chauvinism. There are more and more people realizing that Gao Yi Sheng's tragic life story does not only belong to Gao family, but also the whole tribe, the whole mountain, even the entire island. Partially because there were too many similar victims during 50 years period of white terror. And Gao's story is just relatively more visible (or audible) because he created.
If we say that in a psychoanalytical setting, patients recall their traumatic past by free-association, then would it be possible for us to recall the origin of wounds of a civilization by exploring those sporadic creative works spread in our history? In Gao Yi Sheng’s case, the machine of nation and it's violence is the fuse of a bomb. White terror can be equated to the censorship/silencer of the conscious. It covers the truth of history, reverses the right and wrong,, it led up to the chaos of value, identity and culture process.
In Gao's letters written in prison, tons of elements were embedded, in which you can find his agony, his love and hate, and his repression. For example, he not only once mentioned about his bad dreams. For example he reminded his family not to reply his letter in Japanese, just in case that the letter would be suspected for containing sensitive contexts. I his last letter, he said, "Remember this song [that we shared]? It's better if there is home and the land...My innocence will be proved one day. Please prepare a white square cloth. And [remember that] my spirit will be haunting over our fields and the wilds. Don't sell our rice field." In the letter, he did not point out directly about the coming death. He only used some symbols and metaphors. Here we might have to believe that behind his letters, and behind what were unable to be said, there is much more pain that we don't dare to look at.
Currently, there are some young aboriginal singers ready to 're-sing' Gao's songs. It is just like to ask ' how we ought to remember' over and over again. Facing these materials, I am going to argue how we are able to place a camera between our naked eyes the forgotten history. I remember a movie directed by Canadian director, Atom Egoyan, Ararat. It is about genocide occurred in Turkey, in which Amenians were killed by Turkish in 1915. In the film, movie director, actors and actresses, history consultant and audience gather to imagine that 'wiped-out' history. At this point it is more meaningful to look at how the truth can best be conveyed rather than what actually happened. It is the psychic reality that becomes our haunting and dominating superego. In the movie, young lovers said, " You control your ghosts, and I control mine." In a sense these ghosts, instead of the absence of feeding objects, seem to be related to the presence of 'attacking objects' described by Bion, that cause our hunger pain. But how can we manage our 'ghosts'? Back to Gao Yi Sheng’s issue, when we re-sing his songs, we are making testimony of our psychic truth, and we are shaping our identity, too.
In the name of Cou, meaning 'human', the tribe people are good at story telling. And they are easily convinced by myths. It is said that if Gao did not fail in the battle in which they fought against KMT troops, he might have become a mythological hero. However people believe that he was trapped in the spell that cursed by the spirit of fate. It is worthy looking at these myths. By simply looking at tribal narratives, his letters and people's taking action of 're-sing' his songs, we can find the psychoanalytical meaning. We might say that a simple poem, a song or an image can be a complete repository of history. Frantz Fannon said, " To speak means to be in a position to use a certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization." In the poem, In Memory of W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden wrote, "Now Ireland has her madness and the weather still, For poetry makes nothing happen." In Skynner's group theory, we need a space for 'nothing to happen’. Literally, there is still long way to reach the 'reparation' in the human right convention: restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. However, I hope that this action can bring us together to knock the door of 'psychoanalytical' reparation.