TAIPEI (The China Post) – A mainland Chinese tourist who had visited Taiwan a few years ago were deeply moved by the hospitality and warmth of the Taiwanese and made the statement, “The most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is its people.”

幾年前,大陸遊客周遊台灣有感台灣的人情味與好客,回國後有感而發,寫下了「台灣最美的風景是人」一句。

This statement has become a cliché now but no doubt, it points out two phenomena. One is that Taiwan is seen in the international stage as a country that has a rich and profound local culture and snacks.

如今這句話已被用得浮濫,但它無疑點出了兩個現象,其一是台灣為國際間的印象是豐厚的庶民文化與小吃。

The other is that the warmth and affection manifested by the Taiwanese is so beautiful that people are highly impressed by such characteristics of Taiwanese. However, in addition to the humane qualities of Taiwanese, what else make Taiwan “beautiful”? Can this “beauty” of human nature be extended to additional experiences?

其二是人情味美得讓人幸福進而變成台灣專屬的圖像,但也讓人思索,除了人情味,台灣是否還有其他事物稱得上「美」,或能否從既有的人情之美中延伸出更多體驗。

The Ministry of Education has been promoting aesthetic education since five years ago The implementation of the aesthetic education program, according to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of the National Chiao Tung University, Zeng Chengde, Taiwan’s remarkable work has always been in its art education.

教育部推廣美感教育迄今已有五年,美感教育計畫執行、交通大學人文社會學院院長曾成德表示,台灣現今做得好的仍是藝術教育。

Parents train their children at a young age to learn musical instruments, dance, painting. However, now more attention should be placed on how to transform “beauty” into “aesthetics.” “This is where design comes in; it is about to understand how to improve the external environment,” he said.

父母培養孩子從小學習樂器、跳舞、繪畫,但現在現在要將注意放在是能否將「美」變成「美好」,「這就是設計思考,理解外面的環境怎麼做可以更好。」

Zeng said that the key to creating beauty in life must start from an object. A connection must be identified between the object and its external environment as well as with other related objects.

曾成德說,想於生活中打造美的關聯必需從一個物件出發,找尋物件跟外在環境以及更多相關物件的關聯。

“We want to create an association with the object. This association can be extended to colors, and color can be converted into pantones. What makes this combination beautiful? Why is it that our streets and our living environment are not considered beautiful? Maybe the color is wrong or the hue is wrong.”

「我們希望把物件變成聯想,聯想變成顏色、顏色再變成色票,為什麼這樣的組合美麗呢?那為什麼我們的街道跟生活環境不美麗?也許是顏色不對或彩度不對。」

He hopes that the awareness of this problem of beauty can become a problem reflected on by the public and become a way through which they observe the world.

希望美的問題意識能變成群眾思考問題、觀察世界的方式。

In this regard, Zeng stated, “Actually the practice of beauty has slowly seeped into our daily life.”

對此,曾成德表示,「其實美的實踐,已經悄悄融入到日常生活中。」

Beauty can only start from our daily lives. The Ministry of Education had asked eight practitioners of aesthetics to provide concrete implementation plans. One of these practitioners Hoshing Pastry Store was founded in the Nanmen Market in Taipei City.

美只能從生活中做起,教育部找來八位美感實踐家提供具體實踐計畫,實踐家之一「合興糕團店」發跡於台北市南門市場。

It was known for its traditional Jiangzhe steam cakes. A few years ago, the third generation of the clan came back after studying in England and initiated a redesign of the brand and its packaging for the traditional store.

以江浙傳統糕點鬆糕為主,幾年前家族第三代從英國海歸,以品牌設計、產品設計的角度重新包裝傳統老字號。

When people think of steam cakes, they are reminded of the ones that are available only during Chinese New Year. These cakes are slowly steamed and cut into several pieces to be shared by everyone in the family.

外界印象中的鬆糕多半是年節限定產品,蒸出好大一個一家人用刀子切著吃。

The store owner wanted to promote steady sales, even outside of the holidays, but most people nowadays would not pay for a big rice cake after their meals. When the third generation inherited the craft, she instituted a thorough transformation.

但考量到要脫離節日限制大量販售,現代人吃完正餐後不會再花錢吃一個大型米製糕點,於是手藝傳到第三代鬆糕已然改頭換面。

One of the responsible persons of the company, Ren Jialun said, that because customers are faced with so many choices, Ren decided to shrink the steam cake and provide different flavors that young people love.

負責人之一的任佳倫表示,現代人有選擇困難,於是他們將鬆糕縮小、調整成年輕人喜歡的口味。

Since the cake was small, it was easier for people to taste the different flavors available. The steam cake then became a dessert. After that, they redesigned the product as well as its packaging to conform to aesthetic tastes.

份量小可多嘗試,將鬆糕變成日常甜點後,再以美學觀念重新設計產品大小與包裝。

Currently, “Hoshing Pastry Store” has a more urban-sounding name “Hoshing 1947.” It had created a concept store at Dihua Street in Dadaocheng, where the entire production process can be seen clearly through its glass windows.

現在的「合興糕團店」有了另一個比較都會的名字「合興壹玖肆柒」,在大稻埕迪化街開設另一間形象店面,製作流程透過櫥窗一目瞭然。

The third-generation successor of the business uses the Japanese confectionery model with the products’ shelf life lasting for only two days. The intention is to let the customers experience the freshness and the originality of the ingredients.

第三代接班人採用日本和菓子模式,保存期限只有短短的兩天,用意是讓顧客吃到食材的鮮度與原味。

The company wanted to convey the aesthetics of and correct attitude in eating. While the business of selling the traditional steam cake exists, it has now imbued the dessert with vibrance, youthful culture, and art.

想傳遞的是關於吃的美學與態度,一樣賣鬆糕但比較文青、比較藝術。

The birth of Hoshing 1947 is also a story of young people taking over the family business and imbuing it with a new life.

「合興壹玖肆柒」的誕生過程也是年輕人接管家業、賦予新生的故事。

However, Ren Jialun, the third-generation head of the business, confided that the reason she was willing to return to Taiwan with her husband was to quell her own doubts: “Why are young people no longer willing to enter the traditional market?”

但第三代負責人任佳倫表示,願意和先生歸國執掌家業,最初目的在於消除內心的疑惑:「為什麼年輕人不願意再踏入傳統市場?」

If you want to know the culture of a country, look at its traditional market. The traditional market is actually a larger source of plebeian culture; however, this has become synonymous with being outdated and dirty in Taiwan.

若想看一國文化,先看傳統市場。傳統市場其實是庶民文化大本營,但在台灣卻脫離不了落伍與髒亂的形象。

The answer to Ren Jialun’s doubts are quite evident. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je once mentioned that the traditional market is the last thing that the government wants to touch.

任佳倫的疑惑其實昭然若揭。台北市長柯文哲之前曾提到,傳統市場是政府最不願碰的一塊。

The market may not stink but the people consider it as always being a damp, noisy, crowded place. The traditional market may not look and smell pleasant at all and young people no longer visit the traditional markets.

也許不到臭不可聞,但脫離不了潮濕、吵雜、五味雜陳等印象,傳統市場在視覺與嗅覺上實在談不上美,年輕人不再去傳統市場消費。

 

These markets are now only supported by “old” customers. Furthermore, most of their structures are old and dilapidated, thereby hindering rebuilding. That is why the government seems to be at a standstill in making any changes to the place.

市場只剩老顧客在支撐,加上建物、配置老舊在整頓上格外困難,以至於政府談市場翻身長久以來窒礙難行。

Sooner or later, the traditional markets will disappear. Ren Jialun said, “I am a child who grew up in the traditional market. I think it is a pity if this kind of living environment is gone for good.”

也許只是早晚問題,傳統市場已經快被時間沖散,但任佳倫說,「我本身是在傳統市場長大的小孩,我認為這樣的生活環境,如果哪天不見了很可惜。」

The traditional market is about the interaction among people, such as the lady boss who keeps the goods on behalf of her customers and the vendors who almost gifts you her goods when there are excesses. They form the fabric of the traditional markets.

傳統市場賣的是人與人的互動關係,老闆娘幫顧客留產品、貨進多了半買半送。

To put it bluntly, the beauty of the traditional market lies in the human relationships that have been formed. The joy people derived from this type of consumption is far different from the pleasure derived from buying in supermarkets.

說穿了,傳統市場的美是人情,這種消費模式是超市消費所無法獲得的樂趣。

Fearing that the traditional market model will disappear and that traditional snacks will be forgotten by the current generation, Ren Jialun decided to first target the young people, addressing their preferences first.

怕傳統市場模式消失,也怕傳統點心被世代遺忘,任佳倫決定先針對年輕族群做轉型開發,用年輕族群喜歡的方式讓更多人接受。

 

“Our ultimate goal is to bring this sense of beauty and experience to more people. Traditional markets can retain their business models while providing visual beauty to attract young people to come and visit and bring their foreign friends.”

「我們最終的目標是把這種美感、這樣的體驗帶給更多人,傳統市場可以保留他的模式,但也可以有另一種視覺上的美,年輕人會願意來逛、帶外國朋友來走走。」

“The ultimate goal is to return to the traditional market.”

「最終目的,還是希望可以回到傳統市場。」

Ren Jialun said that even when she went abroad and left behind their old family shop, her mind has been with the store. She still desired to return to renew the old store in Nanmen Market. She hoped that the people could come back and spend their money in the traditional market.

任佳倫表示,走出世界、走出家族發跡老店,其實心沒有離開,還是想回去更新南門市場老店,希望群眾可以回流到傳統市場消費。

“We can do whatever we can outside the market. Let others witness it. We can repackage our traditional industries finely and then bring it back to that field (traditional market). I hope other vendors can also work together and enliven the market.”

「把我們能做的在市場外先完成,在讓其他人看,我們可以把傳統產業包裝得很精美再搬回那個領域(傳統市場),希望其他攤商可以一起來,重新活絡市場。」

However, how can a large market rely only on the support of a single store. The question of how the government will promote beauty and life among the people and in turn change society is still a skill and art that needs to be improved.

但一個偌大的市場怎能光靠一間店家來扶持,政府要如何在群眾間推廣美與生活的關聯進而改變社會,還是一門待努力的技藝。

When asked if beauty is essential to the development of future society, architect Han Baode once explicitly stated in his two books, “Talking about Beauty” and “Talking about Aesthetics,” that Taiwan desperately needs aesthetic education.

被問到美對於未來社會發展是否真的這麼重要?建築師漢寶德曾在《談美》、《談美感》兩本書中直言台灣當前急需美感教育。

As such, the title of Han Baode’s foreword was, “The Argument of Using Aesthetic Education to Save the County.”

也因此,漢寶德將序言題為「美感教育救國論」。

Speaking of the importance of beauty, Zeng Chengde claimed, “Beauty is the backbone of a country’s competitiveness.” Taiwan can learn a lot from Singapore’s aesthetic education.

談到美的重要性,曾成德直言,「美就是國家競爭力。」新加坡則能作為台灣在美感教育上很好的借鏡。

Singapore is a tiny country and in the past, it was keen on developing its businesses, but there was hardly any creativity. However, in recent years, the Singapore government had added design thinking as part of its citizens’ education.

新加坡是彈丸之地過去傾力發展商業,完全沒有創意,但在近年新加坡政府將設計思考變成國民教育的一環。

Not only has it invited its first-class university to promote design thinking, but it also has even required government employees to earn academic credits on the subject.

不只請國內一流大學推動設計思考,甚至規定政府公務員都要修習相關學分。

Zeng mentioned that another successful example in Asia is South Korea. During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, South Korea hit rock bottom; however, in the same year, it began to promote design and aesthetic education.

曾成德提到,另一個亞洲的成功例子則是南韓。1998年亞洲金融風暴南韓跌落谷底,但也在同年開始推廣設計美感教育。

In the past 20 years, South Korea has become one of the world’s leaders in the entertainment industry.

二十年過去,南韓已經變成世界首屈一指的娛樂產業王。

“There is only one country in the world who can bring their passports into the museums of the European Union without having to pay, and that is South Korea, because their country has already paid for it,” said Zeng Chengde, adding that this was how South Korea cultivates its people.

「全世界只有一個國家的國民拿著護照進歐盟國家的博物館不用付錢,因為國家付掉了,那就是韓國。」曾成德說,南韓是如此培養自己的人民。

“What we want to push for is no longer moral, intellectual, physical, social, and aesthetic development. For me, beauty is the driving force for everything.” Zeng Chengde believes preliminary aesthetic education can be observed from the environment, or near the schools. Then, students can try to present what they have observed.

「我們想推的已經不是德智體群美,對我來說美可以驅動所有東西。」曾成德認為,初步的美感教育可以從觀察身邊、學校附近有什麼,再試著把它呈現出來。

“We need to encourage individuals to think what you have observed and what makes something beautiful or ugly. How can we discuss this or share this with others? This process has already crossed divisions of disciplines. This ability is what we need to cultivate in the 21st century. It is not only about science or business but about integrating design-based thinking into fragmented learning.”

「我們要讓大家想,你觀察到什麼,這些事物為什麼美又為什麼不美,我們又怎麼跟人討論、分享。透過這樣的過程已經跨過了分科教育,這種能力才是面對21世紀所需要的能力。不是偏重理工或商,而是藉由設計思考,整合所有片段式的學習。」