I've lived in Taiwan since 1999, and during that time I've said goodbye to a lot of foreign friends. Some of these friends were, of course, more like acquaintances, but others were people that I was genuinely close to. Saying goodbye to close friends is never easy, but in many ways it's the price of being a foreign resident in Taiwan. 我1999年搬到台灣. 住在台灣的這幾年我陸續跟很多外國朋友說再見. 有的外國朋友屬於點頭之交, 有的則是感情很好的朋友. 跟好朋友說再見不是一件簡單的事情, 但這就是當台灣的外國住民的代價.
Most foreign residents don't stay here for long. Yes, there are guys like me who've been around a while, but most people leave after a year or two. Some don't even make it that long. Maybe they get tired of Taiwan. Maybe they get kicked out. Maybe they just have other plans in another part of the world. They all have their reasons, and all of these reasons are equally valid. 大部分的外國住民不會留在台灣很久.大概住一或二年就離開的, 當然也有像我一樣住在台灣很久的. 也有一些住不到一年. 有的厭煩了台灣的生活. 有的則被驅離. 也許他們在世界的另一個角落有其他的計畫. 每個人都有自己的理由. 每個理由都有意義.
At this point in my life, I can't tell you how many times I've been in a bar for someone's big send-off. Sometimes the someone in question is happy to be leaving, and sometimes they are nervous. Sometimes they worry that they'll be on the next plane back to Taiwan, trying to pick up where they left off. "Not to worry," I say, "I'll be here when you get back." 在這個時刻, 我不知道已經幾次在酒吧裡參加朋友的歡送會. 有的人要走的時候很高興, 有的人則很緊張. 有時候他們擔心自己可能馬上又回來台灣. 我會跟他們說 "不用緊張" , "你回來的時候我還在這裡吧."
Very soon I'll see some more friends leaving. Two of these friends, an American couple, are going back to New York. Another of these friends, a local business owner, will be taking his son back to Arizona. I'm sorry to see them go, but I know that the world is a big place, and many people end up going elsewhere. 很快地我又有幾個朋友要離開台灣. 其中兩個朋友是男女朋友, 他們要回去紐約. 另外一個在台灣做生意的朋友要帶他兒子回去亞利参那. 我看他們離開有一點難過, 可是我知道世界很大, 很多人要去很遠的地方追求他的夢想.
Thinking of these foreign friends, so many other faces pop into my mind. The guy I worked with in Hsinchu, with all the tattoos. The girl I taught with in Taichung, who moved back to South Africa. The guy who left for Canada in a great big hurry, desperate to escape a half-crazed girlfriend. I can remember so many people, and my memories of them are mostly good. I've said goodbye to a lot of people over the years, and I'm sure that I'll be saying goodbye to many more in the future. 想到這三位外國朋友的時候, 同時出現許多其他的外國朋友的面孔在我的腦海裡. 一個身上有許多刺青的新竹工作時的同事. 我在台中工作時的一位搬回南非的女同事. 也想起一位急著離開台灣的加拿大朋友, 因為他要躲開他半瘋狂的女朋友. 我想起很多人, 而且那些回憶大多數是好的. 我在十幾年中跟很多朋友說再見. 我也知道以後還會跟很多朋友說再見.
It's not easy to say goodbye. But I suppose there are always new friends, waiting in the future. There are also old friends, whose plans - or lack of plans - bring them back to Taiwan. 跟朋友說再見不容易, 可是未來還有新的朋友等著我們去認識. 也有可能老朋友會回來. 可能台灣在他們的計畫中, 或是他們沒有計畫好, 所以就回來.
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I hope people aren't reading this blog and thinking I'm against development. I'm all for development if it benefits the right people. If I am sometimes skeptical about the way Taitung County is developing, it is because development never benefits all people equally. 希望看這個網站的讀者不會認為我反對地方發展. 如果一個地方的發展造福了需要幫助的人, 那我會舉雙手贊成. 我有時候對台東的發展抱持著懷疑的態度是因為它不一定幫助需要幫助的住民.
I have discussed development in Taitung County in this blog many times before. In any such discussion, I advance from the understanding that 1) development cannot, and indeed should not, be halted or reversed, and 2) local development projects do not benefit all local people in the same way. Some development projects do not really benefit local people at all. 我已經多次在這個網站上討論過台東的發展. 在這些討論中, 我相信的其中一點是發展的腳步不會停止也不會回復原狀, 其二是地區的發展計畫不一定能幫助地區中大多數的人, 有的發展計畫甚至不能幫助當地居民.
Some of these development projects may even carry hidden or unintended costs, such as when coral stores plunder local coral and thereby deplete the fishing stocks, or when a new hotel flushes its waste water into a local river. There is always a cost of development, and this cost should be assessed by the community beforehand. 有的發展計畫可能隱含了許多的代價. 例如社區的珊瑚店讓海裡的珊瑚變少了, 以後海裡的魚就變少了. 或是新飯店把廢水排放到附近的溪流. 所有的發展都有它的代價. 當地的人要能最先了解他們要承擔的代價是什麼.
There are a lot of hotels going up around Taitung County. These hotels - if and when completed - will generate a lot of money. They will also generate jobs for local people. But you have to ask yourself how much of that money goes into the local community, and how much is outsourced to other parts of Taiwan. These hotels will certainly employ local people, but if the jobs generated are only a handful of low-paying, long-hour jobs, then one has to ask if having that hotel is really worth the bother. To be sure, economies take time to develop, but there should be an immediate benefit to the community. 台東到處蓋很多飯店. 這些飯店蓋完之後會賺很多錢, 也能給台東住民新的工作機會. 可是我們要問自己的是這些錢會留在台東? 還是可能流到遠地去了? 新的飯店當然會有當地住民當工作人員, 可是薪水低時間長的工作不一定能提高民眾的生活品質. 我知道經濟發展需要時間, 但應該要對當地有立即性的好處才是.
Taitung County is changing now. Tourism is assuming an ever more important place in the local economy, replacing agriculture as the county's chief economic occupation. Property prices are rising, garbage and traffic are becoming bigger problems, and many are watching as new arrivals from out of town open prosperous businesses in Taitung, while they themselves struggle to get by. Certainly not all of these things are bad for everyone, and they will affect everyone differently, but they will affect everyone here in time. 台東縣正在改變. 旅遊觀光對當地經濟越來越重要, 領先農業的貢獻. 房地產價格越來越高, 路邊的垃圾跟路上塞車的問題也愈嚴重, 還有從外地來的人也經營了許多生意, 當地的人卻辛苦的生活. 不是每個人都覺得這樣不好. 因為每個人受影響的程度不一樣, 可是隨著時間的改變, 有一天大家都會感受到那股影響.
I just hope that we are educating ourselves about the shape development is taking. Then, after educating ourselves, I hope that we are taking actions in our best interests. Development isn't something that other people ought to decide for us. It is, rather, something that we should participate in together. Taking part in the ongoing political discussion is part of this process, as is spending your dollars wisely. 我只希望我們教育自己了解這些開發會形塑出的未來. 了解到未來的發展之後, 我們可以用行動來創造我們要的世界. 發展計畫不應該是別人為我們決定的. 而是應該由我們大家一起決定的. 參加社區政治討論和用你的消費行為來發聲.
If you live in Taitung, I would encourage you to look into what plans the local government has for your future. It may be that you will agree with all of these plans. It may be that you find fault with some of them. If you object to what others plan for your future, you owe it to yourself to make your voice heard. I know that for some people this is hard to do, especially given the local culture and the nature of local politics, but it may be the thing most worth doing. In a democratic society, you have the right to complain. 我鼓勵台東的住民了解一下社區政府的發展計畫. 有可能你同意所有的發展計畫. 也有可能你覺得有一些發展計畫是有問題的. 如果你不贊成計畫中的某部分, 我希望你能讓政府單位知道. 我知道對一些人來說這樣做不容易, 尤其是文化跟政治因素可能會阻止你這麼做, 可這卻是最值得做的事情. 在民主社會裡, 你有權利抗議.
I believe that it is the people of Taitung who should decide the shape of things to come. I also believe that development in this county should be both sustainable and profitable for local people. If such a belief makes me seem "anti-development," then so be it. 我相信台東的未來應該是由台東民眾決定的. 我也相信台東縣的發展應該要兼顧環保和民眾的生活品質. 如果這樣的想法讓別人覺得我反對發展, 那就讓我是個反對發展的人吧.
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