How much electricity does one need?
(V.T. Jayadevan, 2013, poet and school teacher, Calicut of India)
How much electricity does one need
Please tell me, Sir,
For one person?
From the first cry
To the last parting wet smile
How many megawatt?
To open one’s eyes,
To make the first steps
To sip nectar
along with butterflies,
To cross the borders
on the wings of migratory flights?
To make love
To heal pain and illness
To be serene
To sing, dance, sleep
To travel through
God and Devil
How many megawatt of electricity
will one need?
With how much megawatt
can we bring back the birdsong
that has flown away?
To help the stagnant pool
evolve into a cascading stream?
To breathe life
into a tender shoot
or a tiny flower bud?
Tell me, by passing how much current
can we restore the shy cool smile
of a little child
on a despondent man’s
dry parched lips?
How much electricity is needed
to make an urban man
a bit more humble?
a bit more civil?
a bit more loving?
With how many megawatt of electricity
can we bring back
a President, a Minister,
a political leader
(translated from Malayalam by S. Santhi)
Taiwan – And then Nuclear Disaster…
(Chang Chao-Tong, photographer, 2013, Taiwan)
Detail 1 (Image presentation re-arranged to suit
web display; quality of photographs impaired through reproduction.)
If Ansel Adams is a guardian of American landscapes, Jeanloup Seiff a mirror of French celebrities, Araki Nobuyoshi an alter-ego of Japanese psyche, Chang Chao-Tang (1943- ) is a raconteur of social, cultural and political changes in modern Taiwan.
Of all the works in Chang's retrospective show, personally I found the series titled ‘Taiwan – And then Nuclear Disaster…’ the most riveting. The images touch the nerves of the local as much as international audiences including me. The flash point is that the country is building its seventh nuclear reactor amid fierce oppositions. With Fukushima disaster still unresolved in Japan, the island is at the verge of shelving the unfinished project of Lungmen (construction started in 2009) altogether. A national referendum is scheduled for debate in parliament.
Thousands of miles away in India, there is a total of 22 nuclear reactors including the latest one in Tamil Nadu – the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant commissioned in July 2013 despite heavy protests from pressure groups and delays of up to six years. This is where the poem by Jayadevan recited above plays a part in the unprecedented ‘no nukes’ campaign.
In Hong Kong where I live, there are already five reactors in the neighbouring Guangdong province; but an astounding 28 are scheduled to be commissioned in 2020. Unlike the two countries mentioned, public attentions here are rare and few raise questions on the monitoring if not the validity of nuclear energy.
With due concern, how many nuclear reactors do you have in your vicinity?
TIME: The Images of Chang Chao-Tang 1959-2013
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
September 14, 2013 – December 29, 2013
On the descent: A month-to-month comparison of
my electricity bill in two years.
End note: For conscience and home economics, I am doing my part to cut down on domestic energy consumption.
如果安瑟‧亞當斯(Ansel Adams)是美國自然風光的守護者，尚陸‧謝夫(Jeanloup Seiff)是法國名人的鏡子，荒木經帷是東洋心理狀態的反射性格，那麼張照堂(1943- )堪稱是臺灣近代社會、文化及政治發展歷程的說書人。
從張氏回顧展眾多作品裡，筆者個人認為《臺灣 – 核災之後》一系列影像最具震懾力。它們除了觸動本土神經，對於海外觀眾如筆者感覺亦然。而引發爆炸性爭議始於臺北東岸正在興建第七座核子反應爐。由於福島事件爛攤子在前，當地民間激烈爭論應否擱置這個自○九年開始施工的龍門核能發電廠。就此，臺灣國會展開辯論是否按公投方式，謀求解開這困窘。
迢迢千里外的印度擁有二十二棟核反應爐，其中包括剛落成一棟於今年七月在泰米納德省(Tamil Nadu)投入發電。此核電站(Kudankulam Nuclear Station)在興建過程及六年延期中，遭受到前所未有的民間反抗。當中Jayadevan的詩篇恰恰代表這股反對動力。
在筆者居港之不遠處 – 廣東省已有五座核反應爐。按國家規劃將於二○二○年投入另外二十八座，這是多麽驚人的數目！與上述兩個地方不同，這裡的公眾對核能發電之安全極少理會，也談不上關注其監管、或質疑它的確實效益。