Mon, Aug 06, 2012 - Page 10 News List

The legacy of a spinning top master
陀螺達人好身「手」

Yu Mao-hsiung displays his tops in Changhua County on July 31.
尤茂雄七月三十一日於彰化縣展示其陀螺。

Photo: ChangTsung-chiu,Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者張聰秋

After studying spinning tops extensively for five decades, Yu Mao-hsiung, from Changhua County’s Fuhsing Township, has become a veritable master of the spinning top. He can simultaneously spin seven tops using the five fingers of a single hand. He has taken his prized possession, a 40kg spinning top, to the streets as a prop for various grassroots movements. Yu has used the rotation of the top to mock the malleability of politicians and also as a testimony to Taiwan’s democratic presidential elections.

The 60-year-old Yu became interested in tops playing with them as a child, and eventually got to where he could perform with tops and make them himself. He has even organized the Spinning Tops Education Association to promote the spinning top. Yu has made countless tops, some weighing as little as several hundred grams to those weighing as much as 50 to 60 kilograms. Spinning tops possess endless intrigue in his hands.

Yu is often invited to perform at local traditional events, and his spinning top performances are an indispensable part of the democratic speech events held at local temples. But what is the relationship between spinning tops and the democracy movement? As it turns out, Yu has a giant spinning top with a very special background. Aside from performing with the top, he also used it at rallies for democratic presidential elections on March 30 and 31 in 1992, as well as to show support and help Taiwan’s first president and vice president get elected in Taiwan’s first democratic election on March 23, 1996.

Yu recalls the passionate calls for democratic presidential elections during that historic time. He also remembers taking his giant top to the north of Taiwan on March 30 in 1992 to participate in the resistance movement, performing with his spinning top in a protest play, using the top’s rotation as a metaphor for politicians and the public’s hopes that politicians do not simply turn into moldable figureheads. The next day he took the top to Changhua to participate in the local democratic election movement.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. mock v.

諷刺 (feng3 ci4)

例: The children mocked the teacher behind her back.

(小孩在老師背後諷刺她。)

2. figurehead n.

傀儡 (kui2 lei3)

例: The queen is merely a figurehead.

(皇后只是個傀儡。)

3. heirloom n.

傳家寶 (chuan2 jia1 bao3)

例: The huge stamp collection will one day become a family heirloom.

(大量的集郵冊未來會成為傳家寶。)


Many people are surprised by Yu’s spinning tops, especially his grandchildren, who are quite proud of everything their grandfather has accomplished, and say it is no wonder that their grandfather considers the spinning tops to be a family heirloom.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

彰化縣福興鄉「干樂達人」(干樂:陀螺)尤茂雄,鑽研陀螺五十年,四處表演推廣陀螺民俗,他可以用單手五根手指同時打出七個陀螺,不過,最讓他喜愛的是一顆四十公斤重的大陀螺,這顆大陀螺還當過街頭運動的行動劇道具,藉由陀螺的旋轉諷刺政治人物任人擺佈,為台灣民選總統留下歷史見證。

六十歲的尤茂雄,小時候玩陀螺玩出興趣,玩到後來會表演、會做陀螺,還成立干樂教學協會推廣陀螺民俗,至今已打過無數個陀螺,從每顆數百公克重,到五、六十公斤重的陀螺都有,陀螺經過他手,轉動的世界妙趣無窮。

尤茂雄經常獲邀參加民俗活動演出,甚至連廟口民主開講活動,也少不了他的陀螺表演,為什麼陀螺會跟民主運動扯上關係,原來尤茂雄身邊有顆別有來歷的大陀螺,除了表演之外,曾在一九九二年三月卅日和卅一日,見證過爭取總統民選的民主歷程,更為一九九六年三月二十三日台灣第一次民選總統和副總統,打下成功的一戰。

尤茂雄道出當年歷史說,那個時候,地方湧起總統民選的聲浪,他記得一九九二年三月卅日,他帶著這顆大陀螺北上參加抗爭運動,在行動劇中,他現場表演打陀螺,用陀螺旋轉比喻政治人物,希望不要變成任人擺佈的傀儡,第二天他再帶著相同陀螺參加彰化的爭取總統民選運動。

不少民眾感到訝異,尤茂雄的孫子更為阿公的表現感到驕傲,孫子們說,難怪阿公會把這顆大陀螺當成傳家寶珍惜。

(自由時報記者張聰秋)

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