The Tài Tử Music and the Người Chăm Dancing- Intangible Cultural Heritages of Vietnam
The Tài Tử Music and the Người Chăm Dancing-
Intangible Cultural Heritages of Vietnam
As the only socialist country in Southeast Asia, the preservation of intangible cultural heritages in Vietnam plays a crucial role in the promotion strategy towards the image of the country in the global community. Vietnam thus can participate in international dialogues with more cultural elements, and let the world see various and abundant cultural heritages of Vietnam. Vietnam, which officially has 54 ethnic minorities and uses intangible cultural heritages as a means of diplomacy and tourism, still has some historical roots and backgrounds that cannot be easily understood and imagined by the outside world. As a member of the global Islamic community, the Người Chăm has a very unique identity in Vietnam. Vietnam government directly controls whether the traditional dances and musical instruments of the Người Chăm could perform outside of the country. Therefore, the Người Chăm performances in the show are reinterpreted by the Viet. Similar to the concepts that Taiwanese Han people explain the culture of the indigenous people. This article will discuss the Tài Tử Music and the Người Chăm Dancing performing in National Taiwan Museum, and explain the mutual interpretation and understanding between the performers and viewers, as well as the arouse of hometown memories of Vietnamese immigrants in Taiwan.
Keywords: Viet Nam、Intangible Cultural Heritage、Người Chăm、Tài Tử Music
越南，北鄰中國，西接柬埔寨和寮國，擁有超過9,500萬人口，人口數位居世界第15名。越南的首都是河內，最大城市是曾經被稱為西貢市的胡志明市。目前國內擁有54個少數民族，其中最大的族群為京族（Người Kinh），也稱為越族（Người Việt），是越南國境內的主體民族。
占族現今是越南國內重要的54個少數民族之一，但他們人數眾多，也可算是54族中的14大族群之一。占婆語屬南島語系，占族人原為印度教徒，之後也兼信佛教，現今則多數是穆斯林。占族樂舞過去作為祭儀的一部分，是酬神的必要環節，其中「仙女舞」源於越南中部美山聖地（Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn）的印度教寺廟牆壁上，仙女Apsara舞蹈雕塑的動態呈現，「扇舞」則是以舞姿模仿各式鳥類著稱。古老又多元神秘的占族樂舞，看在我們（他者）的眼裡，彷彿是吳哥舞蹈、印度與中東地區樂舞的翻版，因此在這裡要特別提醒，占族和吳哥王朝的高棉族是不同的族群，占族屬於南島語族，而高棉族屬於南亞語族。然而因位置相鄰，可見到印度教信仰與伊斯蘭服裝特色的影響與遺跡。在吳哥城內建築上的濕婆神（SIVA）、象神（GAṆEŚA）、龍神（NAGA，抑或稱蛇神，代表豐沛水源）、大金翅鳥（GARUDA，是印度教大神毗濕奴VIṢṆU的坐騎）等神像，均可在越南美山聖地的占族建築遺跡中見到。作為觀賞本次文化展演「他者」的我們，應該做更多的研究，與傳承占族文化主體的族人進行直接討論。
- Christopher Goscha（2018）。越南：世界史的失語者。聯經出版。
- John Thomson（2019）。十載遊記：現代西方對古東亞的第一眼：麻六甲海峽、中南半島、臺灣與中國。網路與書出版。
- 中央社報導：越南無形文資展台中開鑼 水偶之舞揭序幕
- Rie Nakamura (2005). Ethinicity of the Cham in Vietnam. Jebat: Malaysian Journal of History, Politics and Strategic Studies, 32. pp. 73-88. ISSN 2180-0251.
The Tài Tử Music and the Người Chăm Dancing-
Intangible Cultural Heritages of Vietnam
Author: Emily Hsu-Wen Yuan (Curator & Research assistant, Education Department, National Taiwan Museum) Editor: Sally Sz-Yu Tian
Vietnam, lying south of China and east of Cambodia and Laos, has over 95 million people and ranks as the 15th populated country in the world. The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi and the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City which was once called Saigon before. At present time, Vietnam has 54 ethnic minorities and the biggest one of them is Người Kinh, also known as Người Việt, which is the main ethnic community in the country.
Traditional Vietnamese dancing in Taiwan
TNUA Department of Traditional Music, School of Dance, The Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Department of Traditional Music and Department of Dancing in The Conservatory of Ho Chi Minh City co-organized the event “Stunning Vietnam- 2019 International Exchange for Intangible Cultural Heritages in Vietnam”. The students from the Conservatory of Ho Chi Minh City would have a little tour in Taipei after the show; therefore, National Taiwan Museum invited them to participate the event on the first floor. They performed 9 songs, including Người Chăm party songs, Người Chăm Apsara, songs of the Huế Royal House, the Tài Tử Music from southern Vietnam and songs describing folktales, love, loss and the diversity of ethnicities.
Developed in the late 19th and early 20th century, Tài Tử is a famous traditional music in Vietnam which were entertainment after work, reflecting the emotion and living condition vicariously. The band played Vietnamese Guzheng, Erhu, monochord, Đàn nguyệt and traditional cajon; also, the Người Chăm dancings were presented in this event.
Ancient and mystical Người Chăm dancing
Người Chăm (also named as Chăm Pa) was a strong and promising kingdom, established in the 2nd century AD on the mid-coast of what is now called Vietnam. The country acquired massive territories from the mid-Vietnam to the eastern part of present Cambodia. Người Chăm sailed to the present Vietnam through maritime trades and occupied the seaside areas at the middle area of Vietnam; meanwhile, it interacted frequently with the royal houses and civilians of Malaysia, Philippines and the Indonesian ancient country of Majapahit.
Người Chăm is one of the largest 14 groups out of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam. The Cham language originated from the Austronesian languages. Người Chăm was once all Hindus, part Buddhists later and mostly Muslims now. The Người Chăm dancings were a part of rituals, a necessary link to worship the gods; among them, Apsara is derived from walls of Hindu temples in My Son Sanctuary (Thánh địa Mỹ Sơn) at central Vietnam. Aspara focuses on the dynamic presentation of dance; while the “Fan Dance” is famous for imitating all kinds of birds. For the audiences, the ancient and mystical Người Chăm dancings are easily mistaken as dancing from Angkor Wat, India and Middle East; therefore, I would like to remind the readers of the fact that The Người Chăm are a different group from Khmer people, whose language is from Austroasiatic languages. However, due to the geographical location, the influence of Hindu beliefs and Islamic clothing features still remains. Placed on the buildings in Angkor Wat, god statues of Siva, GAṆEŚA, NAGA (or named as the snake gods, representing abundant water) and GARUDA (the vehicle mount of Hindu god VIṢṆU) etc. can also be seen at the historical sites of Người Chăm in My Son Sanctuary. As audiences of this cultural event, we should do more researches and make discussions directly with the people carrying on the culture of Người Chăm.
Absurdity and nostalgia: traditional dancings in Vietnamese hearts
The performance has also drawn a lot of attentions amongst overseas Vietnamese scholars and they have informed us privately that it is absurd and upset to see the combination of Người Chăm music played by Tài Tử bands, since the two are completely different performance types. Going through history, the ancient and strong Người Chăm had fought against the Vietnamese kingdom frequently in history, and the border had been often changed because of battlefield situations. The Viet, coming from the north and influenced by Chinese culture had been combating continuously and contradictorily in various relationships between dominance and subordination with Người Chăm immersed by Hinduism and Islam. In 17th century, the Người Chăm were defeated by the Viet and kept arousing random resistance to Vietnam government. Eventually, the maritime empire became an ethnic minority in Vietnam.
Nowadays, under the policy of Vietnam, Người Chăm with the identity of an ethnic minority, are not allowed to perform abroad without permission of the government. Also, My Son Sanctuary has become a reserved site for tourists and the Người Chăm dancings are no longer the same as before. In order to have the Người Chăm dancings presented in Taiwan, TNUA Dept. of Traditional Music had tried its best to negotiate and strive for this opportunity. Even though the way of performance was considered ridiculous by Vietnamese scholars, for the Conservatory of Ho Chi Minh City and TNUA Dept. of Traditional Music, to be able to present the traditional dancing of the Người Chăm culture is still a great achievement to promote and preserve the cultures of ethnic minorities.
In this event, we had many new immigrants from Vietnam and Indonesia to watch the performance in the National Taiwan Museum. One of the new immigrants from the southern Vietnam who grow up with the Tài Tử music immediately told me that she misses her hometown and mother with tears in her eyes. And those from northern Vietnam told me that these performances were exactly the same as they watched in their hometown after the show. They all had a great night. Since the performer were going back to Vietnam the next day, as a new immigrant ambassador and tour guide from the same country, her mission was to lead them in the city and have fun in Taiwan. From the effort and insistence of the schools of Ho Chi Minh City and Taipei City, we had the chance to see experience the richness and diversity of Vietnamese minority cultures once again.
In 1960 to 1973, Vietnam was tremendously destroyed by the use of bombs and Agent Orange in Vietnam War (Vietnamese call it “America War”) causing severe casualties. On April 30, 1975, North and South Vietnam were reunified (Fall of Saigon), many Chinese Vietnamese and locals became maritime refugees, separating in the areas in America, Canada, European, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau etc. I had gotten on the bandwagon to celebrate the “Reunification Day" on the net and immediately received the inbox messages from a Vietnamese elder living in Canada, asking me seriously to remove relative articles and sentences. That is the moment that I have realized that for those Vietnamese who turned refugees at those times, it was an unforgettable day that tore them apart and made them go far away from home.
Recently, Vietnam has become a promising country attracting many Taiwan enterprises because of the huge population and cheap labor force. Meanwhile, plenty of Vietnamese women come to Taiwan for marriage, changing the population structure, culture and society ethnicity. However, Taiwanese have neglected the uniqueness and diversity of historical culture from south-east Asia, leaving a superficial acquirement of culture and only caring about business profits. When National Taiwan Museum is running through all the projects, it has to provide the most authentic records with the cooperation of new immigrants, professionals and overseas scholars and promote the mutual understanding of both groups by holding all kinds of activities, seminars and tours.