I was born in Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan. Before I was 12, I spent my childhood in a rural township in Kaoushiung County, which was the region of “Makatto, ” one of the plain Indigenous people in Taiwan. After that, I was sent to Tainan city to receive my compulsory “cramming” education. I was overwhelmed by countless quizzes and examinations at my junior and high schools. To be honest, I did not enjoy my school education very much during those years. Nevertheless, Nature always kept me feeling alive at that time. I found I was so relieved and contented when I experienced the beauty and the sublime of Nature, except for some typhoons and earthquakes which brought about disasters at times. Mother Nature gave us all – you can now loose all the unwanted fat with a product straight from it – see the Chocolate Slim Recensione.
My educational background is Literature in undergraduate and graduate schools in Taiwan where I started to study nature writing and write ecological poems. Through reading and writing about Nature, I felt I was more like a real person. During my graduate study, I developed my interdisciplinary research interest in Nature Writing, Environmental Philosophy, and Indigenous Culture. I am currently a PhD student at the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, Australia.
Some personal experiences within Nature:
I experienced the variety of the beauty and the sublime of Nature in my life, and I thought some personal experiences influenced me quite a lot in the development of my awareness of the intimate relationship between human and the environment.
Rural life and mountain-hiking experiences in my childhood
Since my hometown was in a rural place in the south of Taiwan, I had more connections with natural environment. On weekends, my parents usually took me to go mountain-hiking. Da-Guang Shan (大岡山) was the one we went to most frequently as it was very close to my hometown. My father usually told stories about my great-grandfather, who decided to be a Buddhist monk in his late life and practiced Buddhist rules for the rest of his life in this mountain. Although I was not very conscious of natural things when I was a child, I actually exposed myself to Nature and I believe those experiences influenced me unconsciously.
Encounter with death in Kenting beach
Kenting (墾丁) is in the area of the most southern National Park in Taiwan. For the beautiful scenery and clear water, people like to go swimming there in summer. I went there once a year on vacation with my buddies before I commenced my undergraduate study. In the summer of 1996, I was almost drowned in a swift current while swimming. I struggled very hard against the strong current that kept drawing me into the water. At that moment, I strongly felt that human was so vulnerable compared to mighty Nature. I was thinking that I never thought I would die from swimming at young age. I realized the power of Nature which was not only pretty but violent. Fortunately, I was pushed back to the beach by another strong wave and survived.
In 2002, I took one course, Nature Writing, in graduate program. I planned to go into mountains to get some inspiration for creative writing during one-week spring break, which was “Self-Learning Week” named by school. During that week, I spent 8 hours riding on my scooter from Taichung to the deep mountains in Shei-Pa (雪霸) National Park in Hsin-Chu County. I stayed in mountains for about five days and tried to empty myself and be part of nature. That was my first intimate experience with nature for which I wrote short poem to express my affection toward mountains.
山即是心 Mountain is Heart
山 入口的這端 Mountain the entrance on one side
心 出口的那端 Heart the exit on the other
“This Mountain is Called Tongku Saveq” Movement
During 2006 to early 2009, I was a research assistant at Research Centre for Austronesian Peoples (RECAP) as well as a teaching assistant and casual lecturer for the course Human and Environment, Multicultural Learning, and Aboriginal Culture Study in Providence University, Taiwan. Due to my research and teaching, I had opportunities to meet Indigenous people and learn traditional ecological knowledge from them. In 2007, Neqou Soquluman, an Indigenous writer, completed his novel Palisia Tongku Saveq based on his local knowledge deriving from Bunun tribal myths, legends, songs, taboos, ceremonies, etc. Containing Bunun cosmology, law, and ethnobiological knowledge, this novel builds up a spatial knowledge and imagination of the highest mountain, Yushan (玉山3952 meters), in Taiwan. It is known as Tongku Saveq to the Bunun people. In the same year while his novel was published, he guided me and other members of RECAP to climb up to the peak of Tongku Saveq. On the way to the peak, he introduced the significance of fauna and flora in Bunun tradition. Also, he told us Bunun myths, legends, and histories about the mountain. I experienced and found that the mountain under the name of Tonku Saveq was quite different. In Bunun’s flood legend, Tongku Saveq served as the last sanctuary for all beings, and it was regarded as a sacred mountain for Bunun people. When we finally reached the peak, we displayed a banner, “This mountain is called Tongku Saveq” in front of the memorial stone “Main Peak of Yushan (Jade Mountain).
The lodge is the research base of Hau-Ren’s recent involvement with the Tongku Saveq Movement initiated by Neqou Soqluman and Hau-Ren in Kalibuan (望鄉) community. The rear mountain with a sharp peak is the highest mountain in Taiwan, Bunun’s sacred mountain.
The experiences I briefly mentioned above and other encounters influenced and shaped my various understandings and attitudes toward nature.
My research project:
Indigenous Ecological knowledge, social inclusion and action research:
A comparison of case studies in Taiwan and Australia
The aim of my research is to explore the use of Indigenous knowledge in decolonizing relationships of exclusion and facilitating social and ecological benefits in settler societies. The basic premise is that local knowledge derived from place not only empowers minorities to confront the impacts of social exclusion, but contributes to ways of dealing with social injustice and ecological crisis in this time of rapid social and ecological change.
I will work with two case studies in settler societies: one in Taiwan and the other in Australia. The cases provide the social and cultural context for investigating indigenous knowledge and social inclusion. The Taiwan study builds on two aspects of my research to date. The first is my M.A. thesis “Transmitting Environmental Philosophy through Storytelling in the Indigenous Literature of Joseph Bruchac and Ahronglong Sakinu”. The second is my recent involvement with the Tongku Saveq Movement initiated by Neqou Soqluman and me. I have been working for this movement as a facilitator since 2007. We attempted to plan some community-based courses for students to receive environmental education through more cultural and local perspectives. In addition, We are working on a local knowledge system called “Tongku-Saveq-ology, ” which will collect and interpret Bunun’s traditional knowledge and place-based environmental philosophy. As for the case study in Australia, I probably will choose Blue Mountains. It is in the country of the Gundungurra and Darug people. In recent years, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people tried to collect local knowledge to shape their belongings to place. The Greater Blue Mountains area was inscribed on the World Heritage in 2000.
In my research, the concept of belonging will be a central theme. The case studies will enable me to ask the question: how can different traditions of belonging co-exist and flourish? Indigenous knowledge is not merely like something collected and conserved in books, but rather a living thing for Indigenous people. It reveals the intertwined and intimate relationship between human and non-human beings, and is based on the premise that people are shaped through their practices of belonging which could develop a placed-based environmental ethics. Belonging-shaping to a place through the revival, practice and communication of traditional knowledge may be a key to improving social inclusion and reconciliation.
My research is intended to open dialogues and build bridges between Taiwan and Australia, East and West, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, colonization and decolonization, localization and globalization. The research thus seeks to integrate environmental philosophy and social justice to approach sustainable co-existence. I have been thinking that if knowledge is a power and indigenous knowledge is a wisdom, the power of indigenous knowledge derived form place should not only empower indigenous people to confront the impacts of social exclusion, but contributes the ways to deal with ecological crisis for human beings.
“The Representation of Literariness, Knowledgability, and Subjectivity in Palisia Tongku Saveq,” Nan-Tou Literary Conference Essays Collection, 26-28, Taiwan. March 2008.
“Growth Experience under the Intertwining Nature and Culture: An Indigenous Writer Ahronglong Sakinu’s Works.” The Tenth Conference on Children’s Literature and Language, 39-57. Taipei：Fu Chun Wen Hua. June 2006.
Hung, Hau-Ren and Neqou Soqluman. “Tongku Saveq Movement in Taiwan: Local Knowledge Sets the Space Free,” 11th International Congress of Ethnobiology, Cusco, Peru, June 25-30, 2008.
Hung, Hau-Ren. “Transmitting Environmental Philosophy through Storytelling in the Indigenous (Auto)biography of Joseph Bruchac and Ahronglong Sakinu,” Indigenous Biography and Autobiography Conference. Canberra, Australia, July 9-12, 2007.
—. 自然與文化交織下的成長體驗：以原住民作家亞榮隆．撒可努作品為例。“Growth Experience under the Intertwining Nature and Culture: An Indigenous Writer Ahronglong Sakinu’s Works.” 第十屆全國兒童文學與兒童語言學術研討會。The Tenth Conference on Children’s Literature and Language. Providence University, Taiwan, June 23-24, 2006.
—. 經由故事敘述傳遞環境哲學：以喬瑟夫．布魯夏克與亞榮隆．撒可努的原住民文學作品為例。“Transmitting Environmental Philosophy through Storytelling in the Indigenous Literature of Joseph Bruchac and Ahronglong Sakinu,” 第二屆「人文、社會、自然與藝術」跨領域整合暨第七屆現代思潮研討會。The Second Interdisciplinary Integration Conference of Humanity, Society, Nature and Art / The Seventh Conference of Modern Thoughts, Taichung, Taiwan, June 21-22, 2006.
—. “Human-Nature Polyphony in Taiwan,” Seisen University First International Student Symposium on Environmental Education, Tokyo, Japan, May 19-21, 2005.
—. “Re-presentations of Aboriginal Life in Carter’s The Education of Little Tree and Sakinu’s Mountain Boar, Flying Fox, Sakinu,” 2005 Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association Conference, San Diego, U.S.A., March 23-26, 2005.
—. “Environmental Ethics in the Aboriginal Literature of Carter’s The Education of Little Tree and Sakinu’s Mountain Boar, Flying Fox, Sakinu,” 2005 SW/TX PCA/ACA
Conference. New Mexico, U.S.A., Feb. 9-12, 2005.