Overarching thoughts on mobility, sound, and politics in Taipei
Social and historical context of wanderers in Taiwan:
Field site = Monga 艋舺 / Wanhua District of Taipei 萬華區
- Wanhua District is the oldest part of Taipei, what was known as Monga / Mengjia before the Japanese occupied Taiwan. On the Danshui River, Monga was an economic hub and a cultural center. Longshan Temple, the oldest temple in Taipei, came into being in Monga in 1738.
- I talked to a grad student who's made a documentary film about the homeless 游民 in Taiwan. From his interviews with the urban homeless in Taipei, he learned that the homeless community practices their own economy based on an internal value system. The area surrounding Longshan Temple is known to be a place where no one would starve to death, even to those outside of Taipei. Individuals of the homeless community take care of one another. An interviewee said that with a fluke disposal income, he bought 500 buns to share with those around him in his community.
- In a society driven by Confucian values on family, spatial movement could lead social instability. A man without a wife and children is a hooligan; a woman without a family is a prostitute or slut. If one's reproductive energy isn't disciplined by the institution of a family, then he or she becomes a wandering type, a detriment to the societal order. I also wonder if this movement is by choice, or is it a condition that later becomes stigmatized in a public discourse.
- Considering that flow is a threat or detriment to society, why is it that topics and practices of flow are so pervasive in Taiyuge (Taiwanese language music), in particular the songs associates nakashi? Is the sounding of movement empowering for those who wander?
- It is conceivable that some of the current homeless population consists of veterans from the war between the Chinese Nationalists and the Communist Party of China in the late 1930s. Many of the so-called "Old Soldiers" 老兵 fled to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-Shek either unmarried or spouseless. They remained unmarried into their old age.
Nakashi 那卡西, an itinerant music performance practice in (semi-)public spaces
- As a performance practice imported from Japan during the colonial Japanese occupation era, nakashi in its original Japanese is 流し, meaning "flow." The Japanese term also shares the root with the Chinese word for the wanderers types that I've mentioned above: liulang/流浪, liumang/流氓, liuyin/流鶑. The shared root liu/流 suggests a movement in space. Yiu (游), the first part of the term yiumin 游民, also implies movement in space.
- Nakashi in parks alongside the Danshui River: past and present
- I have begun to think of nakashi not only as a musical practice, but also as a cultural metaphor for people and practices associated with the fringe of society in contemporary #taiwan. It's a class thing, but class is defined by more than just economics, but as importantly by the complex system of social values.
- Nakashi mode of expression: LEDs and sound truck
- A note on pronunciation: the Japanese term 流し is pronounced as "nagashi", and overtime Taiwanized as 那卡西 in Mandarin Chinese.
Politics of mobility & sounds:
effects of gentrification on nakashi