──社寮島石洞出現荷蘭人刻字最早記錄於法國人 M. C. Imbault-Huart 的《Ile Formosa》一書 （1898 年出版， p.195） ，他採集的荷蘭人刻名及年分如下：
HANS HUNBENER HANS HENRICK ROTENPORY
1664 AE JACOB BOSCH 1664 BPF
SCHELCK 1666 1664
NICOLUS CROS. AG 1667
某資料顯示每十四天就有一種人類語言消失。在我為期不長的索語路徑中，「女書」輕易地佔據一個重要的節點。如果流亡話語是讓自己於「不說母語」、「不立原地」（或者在地）的狀態中運動，那麼「女書」這種完全的自我傾訴、個人歷史回音、將自我語言陌生（封閉）化、以逃離被支配統治的線路，無疑地給出了一個真實的聲／身群。「男人寫男字在桌子上寫，女人寫女書在膝蓋上寫，可以一邊做飯一邊寫。」 這段視覺化了性別書寫、勞動、閱讀位置的文字，或許是「對抗電影」（counter cinema）的直接劇本。突顯對抗透明、不愉悅對抗愉悅、真實對抗虛構。如果藝術家董福祺的反語敘事作為女書動作的感知聲線，那麼慢動作與多重敘事將成為必須不斷翻譯才能溝通的影像。而這樣的生存狀態，恰是女書者當時異語的重點所在。
3 參照中研院「寫真．霧社事件」。http://knowledge.teldap.tw/focus/001005/ws1.htm （2015/07/18）
4 吳新榮著，張良澤總編，《吳新榮日記全集 1933–1938》，2007，臺南市：國立臺灣文學館。頁181–182。
The Traces of a Lost Mother Tongue
─────── Hsin-i Lin
Translated by Li-fen Wang
Narrator: Fu-chi Tung 
Place: Foreign Writing Cave, She-liao Island (Hoping Island)
It was in January 2015 when 3 Islands was being edited that I started to look for a suitable person for its voice-over. My decision was to recruit “an Okinawan male with a deep voice in his forties.” These were rigid requirements leaving no space or liminality for any alternative, not to mention they directly contradicted my strong resistance to “a standard language.” I was crystal clear that a standard language failed to react to the uncertainty brought along by the images; at most, it assured a historical presence and provided vague but identifiable oral evidence. It is ‘too politically correct’, to put it in another way. Nonetheless, it is my feeble and reluctant choice after filming the historic sites in 3 Islands.
With a friend’s help, I got in touch with Mr. Masahiro Kuroshima, an Okinawan who has been living in Taiwan for a long time and is a professional voice actor. While I was on my way back to Taiwan from Green Island, I had delivered a file of Japanese text (translated by a Taiwanese) to Mr. Kuroshima, yet he told me on the phone that the ten-page translation was not ‘correct’ (in the sense that the Chinese source text was unintelligible making the literally-translated target text Chinese-ish rather than Japanese). He suggested having it re-translated as the inaccuracy of the target text would hamper his voice acting. It reminded me of one of my 2014 articles Discourses of Exile: Nowhere to Go but Must Forward in which I wrote about my personal opinion of a target language. “The target language has to leave the territory and cross over; for it to leave the territorial context, the source language has to be destroyed; for it to leave the carrier it is born of, it has to perform its presumptuous statement in a broken, individualized, flawed, off-standard and unfaithful manner.” But I continued the contradiction by entrusting the source text to a native Japanese speaker mastering Chinese for Japanese translation. This time, it would be a correct Japanese translation so that the voice-over could be done; while on the other hand, 3 Islands slid into a flat historical structure and standard narration before my very eyes. On the day of recording, I listened to Mr. Kuroshima’s voice streaming in my headphones-professional, fluent, rich in tones, and was a voice that you would hear in commercial ads in movies. After the recording, I asked cautiously whether I could have an interview with him. I wanted to know how he, as Okinawan, saw the Battle of Okinawa and the issue of American military bases mentioned in the script.
“I am in favor of the station of American army in Okinawa. Who will protect Okinawa if they remove the bases? This is not simply about war-torn traumas, but it involves the structure of the world. If the American army withdraws, China will come.” Mr. Kuroshima said calmly, adding “I don’t like to speak Chinese.”
The standard language disappeared.
I ruminated on his opinions while asking further, meanwhile, I thought of the only paragraph that interested me in Takahashi Tetsuya’s The Sacrificial System: Okinawa and Fukushima:
Nomura Kōya sharply criticized Japanese people’s unconscious colonialism in Okinawa in his book Unconscious Colonialism: the Japanese People’s US Military Bases and Okinawans. He questioned, “If Japanese people did not discriminate Okinawa and did not treat it as a colony, how would they react after being asked by Okinawans, ‘Why not move the American bases to Japan?’”
Japanese people: “I like Okinawa so much!”
Okinawans: “If you like Okinawa that much, then moving the bases to Japan should be a piece of cake, right?” Japanese people: “…(the silence exclusive to the powerful)” 
Nomura Kōya’s criticism of unconscious colonization targets the Japanese living outside the colony, the same group of people to whom Kenzaburō Ōe doubted if he belonged. These unconscious colonists claiming “to love Okinawan culture and fight against the American army bases with the Okinawans by shouting ‘Americans get out’ in their one or two routine visits to Okinawa every year.” They happened to be the reason that I felt extremely upset after filming at the site where the Tokashiku Suicide Incident took place. ‘Their political correctness, as I mentioned earlier, was too much’, and it reminded me of Taiwanese people’s passive attitude toward the nuclear waste issue in Orchid Island. The powerful play silent. I watched this Okinawan before me, and his personal position underscored the imperativeness of a standard language in this film: it summoned an invisible hollow that I had been craving for. It referred to the hollow in an individual’s words, or one’s denial to his/her native language (but what is a native language?), or the exile of the inner language, or a discrepancy in translating culture. A crack was thus created to allow the fleeing of echoes to history. Because of this voice-searching experience, I came to reassure that translated images and personal languages have to be shown at the same time. The simultaneity is not only a direct literary quote and a direct historical documentation, but it must illustrate a grammar and logic of images as well as an independent voice, which is, the presence of art.
I thought of Fu-chi Tung, a video artist exploring verbal irony. If Nezha is granted a body by projection, he has to talk in his own voice. Now the artist is about to speak for Khun-Giân. Khun-giân is a language bearer that does not speak a mother tongue. Since the search for the traces of “a mother tongue” is a search for identity, it is always difficult to summarize identity in a single sentence as it is the assembly of history, geography and reproduction of nationalism. While an individual is subject to be ascribed to a standard group identity, khun-giân functions to expose the off-standard parts of his/her language. The first node of this language search is Foreign Writing Cave, She-liao Island, where in Taiwan a western language is first found.
—Dutch writing in Foreign Writing Cave was first recorded by a French man named M. C. Imbault-Huart in his book Ile Formosa (p. 195, published in 1898). He collected Dutch names and some years in the cave, as shown in the following :
HANS HUNBENER HANS HENRICK ROTENPORY
1664 AE JACOB BOSCH 1664 BPF
SCHELCK 1666 1664
NICOLUS CROS. AG 1667
2. Kawanakajima, Wushe
Narrators: Fu-chi Tung, Chun-chao Chen / BaGuen DaDo, Jui-hsiang Huang/ HaBo MaNis, PiFu
Place: Kawanakajima/ Chingliu Tribe, Nantou
Authors: He Lai, Hsin-jung Wu and Haruo Sato
Yukio Haruyama (1902–1994) revealed his imperial perspective by describing Taiwan as “a stamp in the map of Asia in memory of the Sino-Japanese war” in Taiwanese Scenery (臺灣風物誌) in 1942 when Taiwan was still a colony of Japan. Being the stamp in memory of the Sino-Japanese war, however, Taiwan was not as flat as a stamp or was a single-voiced colony. Local writers showed their vigor and multiple voices in that same year. It was in 1942 that He Lai, the Father of the New Taiwanese Literature, was set free from prison; it was also the time when Hsin-jung Wu, the iconic writer of the Salt Belt literary workshop, co-authored with the Folklore Taiwan Magazine to publish a special issue on Jiali’s Plain indigenous people. The Taiwanese Japanese soldiers came into being in this same year when the Greater East Asian War Art Exhibition was held. Before 1942, He Lai wrote The Rich’s History in Southern Min in 1935. He incorporated different versions of the Lin Shuangwen Incident and translated these common people’s marginal talks into Southern Min Literature. On the other hand, Japanese writers adopted a Japanese perspective to conduct the writing of oral literature on real incidents happening in Taiwan (the Lin Family in Attabu and the Wushe Incident) and laced them with fictitious accounts. For example, Haruo Sato’s The Curious Case of the Lesson-for-Women Fan (1926) and Wushe (1925) and Chihei Nakamura’s “Savage Village in the Mist” (1939). They were the “marginal talks among local people” and were later translated into a distinctive genre. In 1930, He Lai inserted oral Southern Min into his Chinese poem “Southern Territory Lament” to describe indigenous people’s resistance to Japan while Hsin-jung Wu finished his “Song of Wushe Head-hunting” in the same year. In 1946, the government prohibited local writers from writing in Japanese. After the 228 Incident in 1947, Japanese was not allowed to be spoken whereas Hokkien (Southern Min), Hakka and indigenous people’s languages were eliminated. In the same year, Hsin-jung Wu was arrested and jailed. No matter how language policies have been changed, “marginal talks” has never gone away from people’s mouth and translation has always taken place. Haruo Sato had a piece of writing named “The Travel to She-liao Island” (1937) dedicated to the aforementioned She-liao Island, and he briefed the Okinawan tribes in the article.
On October 27, 1930, about three hundred strong Taiwanese indigenous people stormed Wushe Public Elementary School and killed Japanese people. This is the so called Wushe Incident and was the indigenous people’s response to the Japanese authority’s brutality. Before the Japanese colonization had its way into Wushe, the indigenous people had had their doctrine of life, gaya, whose literal meaning is “the words passed down from ancestors.” 
When I was driving on the Chingliu Bridge across Beigang River, a sign reading Kawanakajima Tribe could be seen easily. Even if I had Haruo Sato’s, He Lai’s and Hsin-jung Wu’s books in the car, I still wanted to know how the indigenous survivors in this marginal lot would tell the story of the Wushe Incident. What first came into my eyes was a humble studio selling villagers’ daily provisions and handicrafts. With my camera on one hand, I tasted some indigenous food and asked about the remedial effects when a middle-aged Seediq male started to chat with me. His name was PiFu (chief executive of the Chingliu Community Development Association), a man with grey hair, in traditional costume and had traditional facial tattoo on his face. Then I asked if I could have an interview with him on the Wushe Incident.
“He is the grandson of Mona Rudo,” he said while pointing at another middle-aged man with short hair.
We then had an interview on the lawn opposite to the studio, because I did not want to overhear the introduction to Wushe tailored for Chinese tourists. I wanted to listen to the non-official history or the non-history passed down by word of mouth. “The grandson of Mona Rudo” (probably not from a direct clan) was BaGuen DaDo. He said that everything he knew about the Wushe Incident was from the elders, but their descriptions varied as there were six tribes involved (Boalun, Hogo, Lodofu, Mahebo, Sunku and Talowan), and each tribe was treated differently after the incident.
“I was not there so I should not say much to avoid mistakes. I just want to live a peaceful life,” he said slowly and repeatedly.
PiFu, on the other hand, mentioned that he read a book about the Wushe Incident by accident when he was serving in the military. He recognized himself in one of the photos in the book and that was the beginning of his journey of self-recognition as indigenous, and he also joined the indigenous people’s Name Rectification Campaign in 1984. After the one-hour interview, he looked at me directly and said, “You should stay longer. It is only by living here that you may hear ‘what you want to hear’. I can translate (from Seediq into Chinese) for you.” I do not know which questions I asked made him feel that there was something ‘I wanted to hear’, perhaps it was because when he switched to Seediq, I looked different. I was not sure. After the interview, I strolled alone to film the village and the Memorial Hall for the Survivors. Then I bumped into Pifu again. He was in his van and had taken off the traditional costume. He rolled down the window saying,
“Will you stay here?”
“I will be back.” Then I caught his peculiar and blank eyes. He was silent for a long while and then drove away, at that moment, I thought I was a bloody tourist.
The mountains are so high and the caves are so deep
Never will I stand a chance to fly across both.
The winter is so cold and the night is accompanied by snow
Never will I feed anyon e in such coldness.
There are two thousand of us
Without knives and guns.
The world is freezing cold already
But we fall prey to the red-hat soldiers.
—One of Hsin-jung Wu’s poems written in “Southern Min: Song of Wushe Head-hunting”/ 1930–10–29/ Nan Ying Volume 2/ Its original title was “Pictorial of Wushe Uprising” renamed as “Song of Wushe Head-hunting” and was included in Chengying Impressions & Thoughts, The Collected Works of Wu Hsin-jung Volume 1 and “Chengying Poetry Collection” Volume 1.
3. No. 105, District 4, Honcho Area, Tainan
Narrator: Fu-chi Tung and Grandma Guo-mang Chen
Place: No. 105, District 4, Honcho Area, Tainan (this is the old address in 1945 when Taiwan was ruled by Japan); Its whereabouts is the west side of the intersection of Minchuan Road and Hsinmei Street.
Author: Hsin-jung Wu
There was the 228 Incident in 1947. The Nationalist government suppressed the use of local languages in Taiwan harsher than ever. All levels of schools banned the use of Japanese and teachers taught dominantly in Mandarin Chinese while local dialects were allowed to use sparely. People were encouraged to talk in Mandarin and no Japanese was allowed. Any violation would be treated with strict punishment.
March 1, Sunny
When I was about to have my lunch, the air raid siren was on. It was followed by a series of explosions. Later, I realized that Tainan was under attack.
—The Diary of Hsin-jung Wu, (from November 12, 1907 to March 27, 1967). Being one of the most prominent figures in the Salt belt Literary Workshop, the author founded the Jiali Youth Wind Association and Jiali Branch of Taiwanese Cultural Association. When the 228 Incident occurred in 1947, he was arrested and prisoned.
I read about Hsing-jung Wu’s diary written between 1940 to1945 when I was researching on his works. He wrote about the big air raid on Tainan in the diary, and it reminded me of the filming process when I went to the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage and the visit to the Annan District in Tainan where there is a Feihu General Temple enshrining a WWII Japanese pilot named Shigemine Sugiura. His diary is less literary and has the plain statements as you would see in live news reports. I tried to identify the most stricken part in the air raid and started to look for witnesses after reading the above quote. According to Yufu, a writer, the west side of the intersection of Minchuan Road and Hsinmei Street would probably be the place. After a whole afternoon of carpet investigation, I found Grandma Guo-mang Chen who was nineteen years old when the air raid took place.
“The bombs dropped upon us suddenly. There was a blackout and everyone was screaming. It was so scary.” The grandma described the situation in Southern Min and added, “It was so long ago, I don’t remember clearly now.”
Incorrect memory and incorrect history. It is at this point that translation is most needed. While I was listening to her reiteration of the air raid process, what was recorded was her faded fear and an echo to history emitting from the grandma’s deteriorating memory. She told me that she had a Japanese nameうめこ (U-Me-Ko), because she received Japanese education and spoke Japanese. The three Japanese alphabetsうめこdrove my attention to a passage in Hsin-jung Wu’s diary written in 1938:
January 4, Sunny
The expansion of the Japanese empire means the overflowing use of the Japanese language. It is impossible for me to prevent it as I am just a tiny castle. Just as I have to use Japanese in my daily life, it is natural to write my diary in the language. After all, the Japanese have started their rule before I was born and that I received Japanese education in the first half of my life. These are all significant facts so that I speak and write in Japanese, but it differs from people speaking and writing in English when they study in the United Kingdom. 
The grandma would at times be absent-minded or repeated in her memory circuit of personal history, illustrating what the French writer, Marguerite Duras, highlighted in her notes of Hiroshima Mon Amour that “This is the Hiroshima that you will never see.” In a film that reality intertwines with fiction, it is difficult to see historical truth from a panoramic perspective. Hospitals, museums, streets, photos, bodies, news reports, and ruins resulted from the atom bomb destruction are archived in files, buildings and beds. These are typical sites of disasters and ruins, so tourists visited similar places in Hanoi and Saigon after the war, because they were the official window to showcase historical trauma. This is why personal voices and official models full of political correctness are equally important. Since to explicate is to act, even if those personal voices may sometimes be a kind of wrong writing and even if the wrong writing resulted from a colonial education.
4. Women’s Script
Place: Xingcheng Street, Taipei
Author: Yan-xin He (a user of women’s script)
Pouring rain. There was no biological male in the office.
When I was waiting for the film file to be transmitted, I browsed the files documents on the book shelves and saw director Yu-i Kuo’s 2011 documentary Calling and Recalling: Sentiments of Women’s Script. It was the life story of Ms. Yan-xin He, the last user of women’s script.
“Grandma, why are you crying writing the script?”
“Writing the script itself is a suffering. It is because the writer has suffered a lot so that she can write the script.” 
In the film, an old lady with grey hair is wiping her tears while singing the Wedding Song. The voice is mature, sad but determined, but I was not attracted by the old lady’s touching life story but by the bundles and bundles of written symbols—they were unidentifiable, transformed from Chinese characters, and is a script both strange and familiar to me. Women’s script, the language exclusively to be used by women, is dying.
One of the surveys I read says that a human language disappears every fourteen days. In my short journey searching for the traces of a lost language, women’s script easily occupied a node. If the language of exile is for one “not to speak his/her mother tongue” and “not to be local”, women’s script is a language roundly soliloquizing and enables personal history to be resonated. It is the result of the users’ self-alienation and self-isolation from a familiar language, by doing so, the women have escaped the destiny to be governed and have undoubtedly formed a true voice/group. “A man writes at the table whereas a woman writes on the knee. She can cook and write at the same time.” This not only visualizes the description about sex writing, labor and reading space, but it also serves as a handy script for counter cinema, because it deals with the prominent vs. the obscure, the unpleasant vs. the pleasant and the real vs. the fictitious. If Fu-chi Tung’s narration featuring verbal irony is applied to voice for the women’s script, lots of slow motions and multiple narrations would have to be constantly translated in order for the images to achieve communication. The living condition of the women’s script users is exactly the reason why they choose to switch to a different language.
The file was transmitted. It was still raining heavily when I left the office. I wondered where the search of the traces of a lost mother tongue would lead me to?
And how the images would tell the story.
[ NOTE ]
1 Taiwanese artist. Fu-chi Tung’s recent creations are mainly about language. He see a language as a material to be reversed, disassembled and resembled, then the artist is able to create a new language that discloses the operating rules in daily life languages and challenges the viewer’s established perceptual experiences. His works include 2013 Un’words, First Person, Translation and Nonsense Talk.
2 T. Takahashi, The Sacrificial System: Okinawa and Fukushima, trans. Yi-chen Lee, Taipei: Linking Publishing, 2014, pp 164–165.
3 With reference to Photos and the Wushe Incident Exhibition held by Academia Sinica, from http://knowledge.teldap.tw/focus/001005/ws1.htm (Retrieved on 18/07/2015)
4 Hsing-jung Wu, The Diary of Wu Hsin-jung, ed. Chang, Liang-tse, Tainan: National Museum of Taiwan Literature, 2007, pp 181–182.
5 Excerpt from director Yu-i Kuo’s 2011 documentary Calling and Recalling: Sentiments of Women’s Script.
6 Li-ming Zhao, The Legendary Women’s Script, Beijing: Qinghua University Press, 2015, p 79.