Little Brother George Has Gone Ahead

Tribute to My Lilbro George Stephan Hsu, COL
(17 May 1943 – 20 Sep 2015)

George Hsu

Lydia and George Hsu

Kite flying with Lydia

George Hsu was many things to many people. He was and remains first of all father, husband, brother, cousin, uncle, father-in-law and grandpa to his large, far-flung family now gathered at Elgin in profound shock and grief. There was for many days perhaps also some defiance, as many of us found it hard to accept the fact that George has actually been wrenched away from us with such cruel suddenness. For 72 years, 4 months and 3 days, George had lived a full, creative and productive life, bringing joy, comfort and a sense of wellbeing to all those who have known him.
George Super DadGeorge's horse
Walking Jen down the aisle

George walks Jen down the aisle.


It was to be a happy, honeymoon-like trip for Kathy and sister Joyce Bless, this time to be just with their husbands George and Rick to enjoy a romantic visit to Key West Florida in a well deserved celebration of themselves, and of staying together as couple. But on Sunday the 20th September, when they were snorkeling some ways off Key West in eight feet of water watching stunning sea creatures and corals, God gently and silently scooped George up to Heaven. As if lost in a starless night sky, the world darkened around George’s beam, becoming suddenly pitch black for everyone else.
Root hunting with the Hsu clan
Stunned as if hit by a huge lightning thunderbolt, all became speechless, uncomprehending. People vehemently refused to accept the idea that they no longer have George on call. For here on earth still, each one of us in his or her own way had taken for granted that we would meet and hug and joke and laugh together, sharing our love for many, many long years to come. Dearest God in Heaven, forgive us, we are simply not ready to accept this loss. But we do thank Thee for sparing our George the agony of protracted hospitalization. He left earth during one of the happiest times of his life. Bless you, Happy Georgie, you lucky lad.
Doc's Saloon Menu
To myriad others beyond the Hsu clan, George was their best friend, college schoolmate, football team quarterback or tailback, drinking buddy, fellow prankster, chief story teller, unbeatable mechanic, brilliant physician, respected counselor, most trusted and beloved Captain – Colonel, and Community Leader. No one was ready to let him go, as if one had any say in the matter. Dear God, help us heal.

Our early family history

George as a young manWhen he was six, Mother took us three children to America away from China’s Civil War. There we lived with the large and loving family of Stephan Kuttner, Father’s best friend during their Jurisprudence School years in Berlin in the late 1920s. The Hsu children were quickly assimilated into the family, becoming part of the dinner table that pivotal year (1949-1950), where children of the two families fell secretly in love unbeknownst to one another.

When he was twelve, he became a step-uncle to my two young step-sons boys and told them, “Don’t be afraid of your step-mother. She’s only my sister. You don’t have to eat the spinach if you don’t like it.” On our trip to Europe when my baby daughter was found dead in the crib high up in the Alps, it was little George who bent over his infant niece, trying to breathe air into her lifeless body, tears streaming down his agonized face without letup. That was his first encounter with the profound urge to heal, to save, to protect life.

A most caring and insightful gentle man

Nearly thirty years later, in order to protect his own adopted and natural children in a State without public health care, he decided during an outbreak of equine encephalitis in the area, to study Medicine and become a local doctor. Almost forty years old, George was able to enter medical school on an Army grant, becoming the oldest student around.

But his doctor-teachers soon discovered that this Haverford mechanics graduate who designed car-crunching machines for the wide-open countryside, who turned Honda Preludes into super racing cars, who alone appeared in the OR with black fingernails, etc. turned out to be the only man in the cardiac ward to remain cool and calm when they discovered that the bulky pacemaker they were placing in the patient’s gaping cavity was dysfunctional. Sweat poured down the face of doctors and nurses alike as time ticked loudly away.

“Anyone have a screw-driver?” finally came George’s soft voice. And in no time the pacemaker too, began to tick away, in the fortunate patient’s chest. From the beginning, George had excelled at tying good knots with hand in pocket. But when his supervisor suggested he become a heart surgeon, George remarked, “That is a Craft. I wish to become a GP (General Practitioner) for that, Sir, is an Art.”

Eventually George became the most widely respected GP around, and people would drive hundreds of miles to get the opinion of Dr. Hsu. George dedicated his life and skills to medicine out of love of his fellow beings. He refused to prescribe unnecessary medication or order costly lab tests and exams for the many patients in his hard-working but also hard up farming community.
farming community with George
But this was to run squarely against vested interest, not only of private physicians, but of the State whose Board of Medical Examiners comprised of doctors with vested interests. A small group of Bismarck doctors had invested in just such an expensive lab-test service center, and in time came to resent the fact that they were missing out on George’s many patients who did not go for their costly tests and scans. Together they sued the country doctor George Hsu, for “Inappropriate Care” that is, for not doing everything possible for his patients. Our Family had thought nothing of the matter, since each of the city plaintiffs had serious lawsuits against them from mistreated patients whereas George had not a single complaint by any patient in all his more-than-twenty-years’ practice.

But to our dismay, the State of North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners comprising these disgruntled physician-investors, together with the Surgeon General and the State Supreme Court, seemed adamant that Dr Hsu’s Medical License be revoked, and the citizens of North Dakota deprived forever of their favorite country doctor. George’s patients were in shock, and in different areas held fund-raisers to hire a lawyer for George. They wrote to the government and to the newspapers – but all to no avail.

When asked once, “Without taking an MRI, how can you tell if your patient is bleeding in the brain or not?” he replied, “I have known my patients for three generations. You can tell simply by watching them walk.” To George, his patients were like his children. He lived to protect them, to heal them and nurture them, and to share his life and his joy with them. When a patient once let on that he no longer had a particular type of harvester, George drove his own over to that farmer’s ranch the next day. The startled patient found his favorite doc driving up and down in the morning sun working his fields, finishing all his chores by noon. George’s positive, giving nature and contagious good humor brought out the best in all those he met. the best in humanity, and that is Love. Love radiates outward; it is sharing in compassion.
Family at George's funeral
At the funeral, one of George’s nurse practitioners came up the pulpit and told us she had been working with all kinds of doctors on all kinds of jobs for over thirty years. “Never in my entire career have I ever met a doctor who knew more about medicine than George. George cared more for his patients, had such common sense when treating illnesses and wounds. No one was more skilled in diagnostics. He was simply one of a kind, a brilliant, unique man all around. He will be sorely missed.” The legendary Doc Hsu lived in a decaying society during a decadent age. His memorable medical career was sabotaged out of envy and greed, but continues to shine as a beacon of hope for all his patients, his friends and for young medics as an exemplar for the coming Age.
George with friends
George’s idea of a good life was to be able to devote as much time as possible to the people and activities he loved, in as creative and productive a mode as possible. First came the idea of farming. Farming land that the US Government paid farmers to let lie fallow. He amassed 1500 acres in North Dakota, mostly raising hay for horses and beef cattle. He also planted delicious chokecherries, buffalo berries, plums and currants that he would brew into a heavenly wine. To be sure, he grew the shrubs not only as windbreak, but in particular to entice the scrumptious North Dakota pheasants and grouse who would come to fatten themselves in Autumn, and adorn his dinner table in Winter.

On the farm, George did everything from plowing, sowing to harvesting, cutting and bailing, he was also a masterful fence-builder, agile horse-rider able to make his mount shimmy straight down the vertical side of a steep mountain. All the animals loved him, as do his children, making each their happy sounds whenever he’d come near. George was one of the very few people around who could fix tractors, twenty-ton trucks, highway line-painting machines, racing cars, sowing machines, snow-blowers, food blenders or pacemakers but also produces hay-bales on even square fields, keeps his cattle immunized and healthy, hand-delivering their calves. George was cheerful and helpful to anyone who ever came in need of healing, fixing, repairing, lending or feeding, and became a great friend to the farming families as well as the Sioux Indians miles around. If this sounds too good to be true, George indeed was to all of us not only incredible, but indispensable. He loved being admired – but admiring George was always a natural result of knowing him.

George met Kathy in Medical School when they became a valued team, especially in national emergencies. During the Gulf War when George was called to active duty for the second time after Viet Nam, now to the Middle East, Kathy was summoned as well as Army Nurse, and they left their eight children, their fields and cattle behind in Elgin to run the medical unit in what we the family believed was a chemical warfare zone. Our aged parents from urban Washington DC came over in their high seventies to look after George and Kathy’s virtual orphans, ready to remain indefinitely should the field doctor-and-nurse fail to come back. But these Medics eventually returned home to a Hero’s welcome when all Elgin and neighboring towns came out with flowers and flying banners, creating a memorable day near and far.

George PensierosoAs an army doctor in mobile hospital under extreme conditions, or from his quiet clinic in Elgin, North Dakota, George’s priority was always to do the job well. He didn’t care too much for all the formalities and protocol that calcify around institutions as they age, making it hard to distinguish what is more important: to heal or bandage the patient, or to fill out the form. George invariable chose the former, often to the neglect of the latter. For this neglect he was driven out of the medical profession by his peers who felt that failing to fill out all forms was more of a detriment than George’s unusual ability to heal, his pure record of complete trust from all his patients, some who had asked not to be put on tubes and costly equipment. They would rather North Dakota be deprived of one of their best physicians, in order to ensure everyone towed the line and filled out all formal requirements purely administrative in nature.

But this only freed George to turn his attention to his other beloved activities, Mechanics. Together with son Stevie a company was formed to do road-striping, providing the white, yellow, red, solid and broken lines we see on the highways – a rather lucrative job under Union Pay. This does not deprive any patient of their wherewithal, but brought in surprising income, and challenged George’s ingenuity to his great delight. He designed and put together from spare parts by hand, an entire truck-cum-device that mixed and spread paint on the road, and so began happy outdoor days working together with his beloved family. When the State approached him saying they would give him back his license to practice medicine provided he signed a paper admitting to “inadequate care of his patients” and/or paid the Board a fee of $50,000, George gave his wry smile and declined. He refused to cooperate with a world that cared more for protocol than for the practice of medicine.

George did not consider himself to have lost any self, aside from his Colonel’s uniform, to be shifting from a white gown to the proverbial blue collar – because to him all jobs carried out with his whole heart and mind bring satisfaction and joy. And the blue collar he had come to know harbored less hypocrisy or hidden greed. In time he opened up Doc’s Saloon in Glen Ullen that served all his favorite foods and drinks, delighting one and all. When we entered the place the local people immediately recognized us as George’s family; staff from Chef to waitresses came to us to hug us, one after the other each weeping tears of deep personal loss. George had given them the sense of self-worth, had appreciated and admired each of them for their special contributions. Their love for George was no less than that of nurse practitioners.

For George, no one was ever unimportant. He never entertained sentiments like, “Wait, I have something more urgent to do first.” He helped his kids with home-work, his grandchildren with kite-flying or buggy rides. He adopted and reared the children born to his wives from their former marriages, never saying to any child, “You are not of my blood. You are not my family.” He adopted them all, giving them the Hsu name, and cared for them with the same love and pride with which he reared all his own progeny. Later he took in our mother and step-father, caring them for years through their dying days. He took in and gave employment to his nephew, offered permanent shelter to his oldest retired sister and opened his home to his nieces each time any should face homelessness. George helped all who came to him, laughingly solving problems academic, chemical, emotional, financial, mechanical, medical, military or psychological.
Colonel George Hsu
In the Armed service, he earned the love of all his men as their platoon leader, captain or colonel, since he cared more about his men than anyone else. Throughout all the years in the Army rising from rank to rank, George never, ever had a gun in the house. He did not believe problems are solved by killing others. He even gave his mind to politics in the hope that this great nation to which he’d dedicated his life energies, would one day rise above mediocrity and fill its potential for genuine world leadership.

To this end, George gave tirelessly to the National Democratic Committee, even trying once for a seat in the State Senate to fight the growing corruption then directly harming ND’s own people. But he never let defeat of any sort dampen his own Spirit. There was always burning inside his heart a huge and compassionate store of love and of service. It is with this selfless spirit that he sailed through his colorful and multilayered life, earning the love of countless people of different persuasions and from all walks of life. He was always there for us. For anyone, actually.

Now George has taken this rare but eternal harvest of universal Love with him to Heaven. For unlike earthly riches or power, Love is what we can take with us. The outpouring of overwhelming love for George we have heard in Church and in the Community Center these past three days will in turn spawn new streams of inspiring and uplifting memories, gratitude and emulation. Although these rare and precious gifts are invisible, they are divine.

Go in Peace, beloved Lilbro, I came to America this month because of your urging, and promise to come and visit. Maybe you had some inkling, Georgie, about playing this last prank to stun the world around you. Before going on this last vacation you’d called up all old friends for long chats and, for once, you’d paid all your bills, ahead of time. You shed your body without a moment’s illness or struggle doing a most enjoyable watersport, sparing your family the draining anguish of protracted hospitalization. What a beautiful and carefree way to live, George, and to die. You are very, very blessed indeed. Let us give thinks to your Guardian Angels who have even made the Funeral Gathering in Elgin, a most Memorable Three-day Family Blast.
George Hsu at ease
Keeping him in their fondest loving memories are his wife, Kathy, Elgin, ND; 4 sons and daughters-in-law, Michael Hsu, in Texas, Stephen and Jody Hsu, Bismarck, ND; Anthony Hsu, Seattle, WA; Charles Hsu, Elgin, ND; 4 daughters and sons-in-law, Theresa Hsu, Elgin, ND; Jennifer and Casey Bettenhausen, Bismarck, ND; Sarah and John Bonvini, Gloucester, Virginia and Barbara Hsu, Mandan, ND; 8 grandchildren, two older sisters, Joan in Nepal, and Katherine in Annapolis, MD; step-mother Nancy Hsu, Seattle, WA; half-brother Alex Hsu and half-sister Barbara Hsu, both married and living in California. There is a still-growing number of nieces and nephews around the world as well as grandchildren to most of whom beloved Uncle George is already Legend.

James Cahill

Jim has left the world. Yesterday on Valentine’s Day, it is reported today, James Cahill put aside his long ailing body, his ever proactive service to the world of Chinese art history, his huge legacy books, papers, online lectures, mountains of indexes, photographs, slides many of which he’d taken himself, for us, and the thousands of other blessings and gifts to his field, his friends and family too numerous to assess, a legacy that will continue to nourish the coming students of Chinese painting for generations. But his indefatigable energy, his unbounded passion for his work, his singular generosity will remain a standard hard to match.
cahill
At last free from disease and suffering, dear Jim, lift off in joy to explore the wonderous realms beyond our present ken to which we’ll all return. Good night, sweet Prince.

在我台灣生命裡的漢寶德 —由台北、新竹到台南 翻譯:羅時瑋

原載:阿尾的落地窗 我與漢寶德初識於1981年除夕夜,那時我家樓上鄰居童虎一家人邀我全家一起慶祝。童先生當時是新竹科學園區管理局副局長,正負責園區的規劃與設計; 而我那時服務於加拿大英屬哥倫比亞的大維多利亞美術館,正進行為時一年的故宮博物院古畫鑑定研究,同時也在台大兼課,就住在長興街與童先生為鄰。 當時根本沒料到我後來竟然辭去美術館工作,而留在台灣繼續我的研究。那時童先生邀我給些點子,吸引在歐美已有成就的科技公司來台成立研發部門。

三十年前的台灣還處在低度開發狀態,為了吸引科技族的太太或成長中學童的媽媽,我建議園區應該要有綠蔭環抱的環境,設有網球場、泳池與騎馬設施,還要有高級餐廳與糕餅店、美容按摩沙龍、全區安全的單車道、或甚至騎馬路線。最重要的是要有一所步行距離內的優質雙語學校,可以對那些國外出生並受教育的孩子,提供不中斷的良好教育,並有機會學中文與中國文化。最後,為了讓那些在羅徹斯特或伯恩擁有家園的科技族絕對難以抗拒,我向童虎建議興建一處直升機坪,可運送園區住家外出購物或娛樂—這是他們原來生活中缺少的便利。我與童虎為了這園區計畫案經常一起討論,加上我們兒子同在士林美國學校就讀,所以我們兩家決定一起出外過除夕,也就在這晚上我首度遇見漢寶德。

台北初遇漢寶德伯伯
他外表英俊,談吐幽默,但又顯得持重老成。 那晚他跟我們聊到對一件博物館建築競圖案的不滿,有個參選案子為大部分展覽空間設計了大片玻璃窗,完全違背博物館需要氣候控制的基本原則,所有展出物件將受日照威脅而受損。漢寶德堅持這案不夠格該被淘汰,但最後投票結果竟然選出這個案子,而他還是評審召集人。經過這次教訓,漢寶德決定若下一次參與競圖評審,他要建議業主先僱用三家未參與的建築師事先過濾所有參選案子,先淘汰那些違反基本原則的案子,這樣可以節省時間並提升品質。

後來他參加競圖評審時就如此要求,以為就不會有太差案子出現。但還是讓他懊惱萬分,又是很差的案子贏得競圖。 他搖著頭無奈笑說:「你能想像我的感受嗎?又一次在我手上決定一個沒價值的建築設計。」我們一同嘆息,墜入沉默。我咆哮說為什麼我們竟讓這些惡質設計傷害未來的使用者,我說要讓壞建築師受到懲罰,因他們的設計會產生長遠傷害—不停的內部噪音、溼氣、黝暗,或展示品因光害而變色。

寶德溫和地中斷我的話,向我說出他的口頭禪:「唉!小虎啊!你到了我這個年紀你就會懂了!世界不是那麼簡單哪!」突然,他讓我想起我去逝的爸爸—徐道鄰,他也常在政府中做事,對抗一批「小人」。「啊!漢先生,我敬佩您,也喜愛您的精神。未來若有任何事情我可以效勞,請讓我知道。我將為您工作,用我生命幫助你!」我向寶德深深鞠躬,相信他是屬於我父親那一代的人物。

那晚情景深深在我心中留下烙印,我離開中國社會三十多年已漸減弱的「忠孝」意識,在我心中重新燃燒起來。寶德成為我的偶像,即使此後我很久沒再見到他。那晚之後我曾想過,為他工作或與他一起工作,也許會像是與父親工作一樣—我來不及好好認識的父親,青年時即失去他,使我強烈渴望要讓父親驕傲與快樂。

好多年後當台中科博館同事慶祝寶德的六十大壽,我受邀參加時才大吃一驚:「我跟漢伯伯原來是同一年生的,都是屬狗的!」但這幾乎十五年來,這位同年一直以理所當然的態度接受我給他那種對老長輩的尊敬與鞠躬,他即使沒有偷偷地笑我笨,而我可是氣死了!

主持科博館時的漢寶德
在牛津與墨爾本待過七年之後回到台灣,我任教於新竹的清華大學,那時寶德正在台中負責眾所矚目的國立科學博物館第二期的興建。1992年有一天我特別下台中造訪他,看他有多愛他的新職位。「新職位?我在這裡好多年了!我們早就開始這第二期工程!」他讓我看他的計畫與模型,後來帶我到樓下已開張的博物館餐飲部,裡面幾張桌子已坐滿館內員工,當他們見到我們時,全都站起來,像是迎接皇帝駕到一般。「寶德,這是怎麼回事?你說,你在這裡已那麼多年,你跟同事還保持那麼遠的距離!」

寶德決定我們到外頭用餐,我們走出博物館,在博物館對街上選擇一家小館子。我們進到燈光暗淡的店內,在角落有一群人立刻站起,又是博物館員工啊?我們找了離他們遠一點的桌子坐下,但是那群人其中一位走過來鞠躬,並悄聲說他家人來參觀他工作的地方,他帶他們來用餐。後來,當寶德結帳時,櫃檯告訴他剛才那位職員已為我們埋單了。寶德只能搖頭。我為我的朋友如此孤單而感到悲哀。依我在美國與加拿大的博物館工作經驗,我知道為了經營效率,管理階層與職員必須在緊密和諧與會心幽默中攜手工作。我規勸寶德:「你是說這些年你都沒有以朋友相待你的職員嗎?你沒在科學中獲得新見解、或從你的職員中學到以前不知道的宇宙趣聞?」他沉默地看著鞋尖,我猜到他從未到同事家中造訪或聚餐,也從未邀過同事到他住處。

這真可怕!」我後來說:「你需要一個中間人,一位你所信任的、又熱愛科學、與人友善的人。我正好認識這樣的人,他應會是你的超級副館長,他能將你的單調生活變成更溫暖愉快!」這人就是李家維,清華大學分子與細胞生物學研究所教授,當時擔任劉兆玄校長的主任秘書。那時清華大學剛成立藝術中心,我因為是中心的主任,常跟校內各種規定奮戰,激怒各單位職員,這時劉校長只是安排家維來調停我與任何職員之間的衝突。這樣讓我能夠張羅一些有創意的展覽與音樂會,帶給大家許多歡樂。家維那時已蒐集各種的化石與海洋貝殼、以及活的植物,他家就是一座生動的自然科學博物館,佔據家裡中心位置的是超大的綠色蕨類植物,訪客還必須繞過它走動。 他曾經向我吐露說,希望自己在五十五歲時能在博物館工作。現在正是時機,雖然距離他五十五歲還早一些。但對家維來說,這是多麼理想的職位—去溫暖與活化科博館內館長與職員間的彆扭氛圍。

後來我在藝術中心主持一項極精彩的黑白攝影展,關於放射蟲的單細胞微生物,由科博館的年輕科學家葉貴玉與程延年拍攝,他們正研究這些放射蟲的類型與分佈,以計算地球表殼特殊區域的年齡。 展出這些照片與借助放大鏡來看一些微小的放射蟲標本,使我們的展覽將科學轉變為可親手操作的實況藝術,我們於是邀請寶德來清華參觀這展覽。我請家維擔任接待與導覽,但到了約定見面時候,我正在市區遇上塞車而動彈不得,家維急忙代為迎接寶德的座車。他倆在清華藝術中心相遇,立刻就互相喜歡對方,這之後就是大家所知道的發展了。

未辦成的科博館展覽—青銅時代的克里特生活
為了科博館的開幕,我籌劃一項大型生態展—「青銅時代的克里特生活」(與中國夏朝同時期),在這展覽中將足尺重現克諾索斯宮(Knossos)的一些房間和阿克羅提利(Akrotiri)的某些房間,加上耀眼白光與海上風浪吹拂過橄欖枝椏的清新音籟。這種氛圍式的光線與聲音會隨著人們走過展區而變大或變小。我說服曾因「星際大戰」獲奧斯卡獎的設計家哈利藍吉(Harry Lange)加入,一起到雅典考察阿克羅提利(山多里尼)與伊拉克流(克里特),俾有利於展覽的設計。為了節省協商版權及保險的費用與時間,我們自己拍攝當地一些物件與壁畫,希望將它們以逼真方式在科博館開幕展中呈現。我計畫只向克諾索斯及牛津的阿喜摩陵(Ashmolean)博物館商借很少的考古真品。我還與青銅時代克里特島考古學家擬定一項十座博物館合作的巡迴展覽計畫。

克里特島曾經發展出人類有史以來最高度的文明,同時也是最具生態意識的文明。漫步在這展覽中,台灣觀眾將不只是看到、還會感覺到這些美麗的古代人類對地球及生物所抱持的深刻敬意。這是空前絕後的文明,沒有城牆,沒有強大軍隊,那裡的「皇冠室」比外邊的儀典空間還要低下,那裡的神聖密室只是一個小房間,位在地面下,得經過層層迴轉的樓梯通達,神聖又隱密,像是子宮,而不是高聳公共又政治的空間。

後來我到美國華盛頓特區史密森國家歷史博物館,我將哈利藍吉的草圖與計畫給策展人們過目,他們都很驚喜。有一人激動地說:「Joan!這就是我們這裡一直想做的「實體互動展示」(living and touching exhibition),去創造一種氛圍式身心環境!假如你們真能在台灣實現,我們願意向漢館長借展,經由史密森移動展覽服務機構的安排,到美國巡迴展覽。一路上每一站展出將付給台灣科博館至少12萬美金,需要扣除一些開銷,但還沒計算所有副產品的門市銷售呢!」有位很有經驗的史密森職員就坐下,按照藍吉初步估計的60萬英鎊複製與建築費用來計算總共成本。他們加上保險、裝箱、公關、教育資料、每個展間特殊活動的3-D電腦虛擬影像、還有可能的電腦遊戲等成本,總共是350萬美金。我當時為他們的熱心而欣喜若狂,高興地想著台灣的展覽可以輸出到美國—關於歐洲文明的大地之母;也可能輸出到歐洲,因為西班牙已聽到展覽消息而正在詢問展期。這可使台灣科博館顯得多麼精采優雅,多麼地幹練與慷慨啊!

實際上漢寶德經常問我,為什麼不籌備一項每個人都知道的古典希臘的展覽?為什麼辦一個這裡沒人聽過的古代克里特展?我不斷回答他,這地球正在災難中,台灣尤其蔓延著製造垃圾的消費主義,現代人需要知道其實存在著一種健康優美的另類生活方式。希臘人直接關聯到歐洲人的父性直覺,導向後來的工業革命與資本主義,他們循著直線的理論,而這種理論並不存在於自然中。但兩千年前的克里特人是歐洲意識的母性那一面,他們知道去榮耀自然,與土地和諧相處,他們從不像驕傲的希臘人那樣地「比上帝還聰明」。

幾個月過去了,寶德再度問起我:「你說過那預算是多少啊?」我說:「三百五十萬—美金!」「啊呀!小虎啊!—我以為你說的是台幣啊!我們哪裡有三百五十萬美金的預算哪!」那麼,在所有平面圖與各種圖面都已完成,就在藍吉工作室的物件製造要開動的前一刻,我們叫停所有進一步行動。至今我還保存著哈利的藍圖。

國立台南藝術學院
過一陣子寶德又說:「小虎,你這個怪人回來了!你來看看教育部要我在南部辦的一個藝術學校!你覺得怎麼樣?」他從書架上取出一疊空照圖,顯示茂密樹林中一潭美麗的湖水。「這基地美極了!」我說:「在科博館正式開幕後你要去做這件事?」他嘆口氣:「唉!他們一直要我做這事已經問了八年了!但我想預算正縮水,台南又熱得要命。再說,我們在台灣已經有四個藝術學院了。」「這不應是我們的考量」我說:「而是,我們應該問:現有的機構是怎樣的水準?它們是否缺少某種活力,而新的藝術學院是否可能提供這種活力?」我建議讓我到台北四個藝術學院勘察一番,再回來向他報告。我邀清華藝術中心的能幹又有創意的大助手與伙伴張蕙蘭同行,花一天時間走遍台北四校,它們與我1980年代台大時期記憶相較,似乎沒改變太多,像大部份台灣的大學,它們顯得格局不大,正需要一種全球性的意識。

所以我向漢寶德建議繼續規劃未來的台南藝術學院,並催促他開始進行校舍與校園設計,還有課程規劃。開始時只設研究所,每一所設五位職員,我問寶德他最想要的是怎樣的研究所類型,好讓我在全世界朋友中幫忙找到每一學科最好的教師來,如此每一所可有五分之一教師是外國籍,來自世界各地。我們可以特別去找到對教學與創作的熱忱高於追逐金錢或權力的教師,那麼我們或可從中國傳統官僚體制的腐敗自私中解放出來,而成為一群真正的教師!我們於是可以生產出一群富有公民意識與全球責任感的學生,他們將帶領台灣更愛惜與關懷自己這美麗但生病的島嶼。

寶德卻很猶豫。他已經花太多時光在公部門服務,遠離他個人的建築事業。他覺得倦怠,尤其他要應付很多政府會議,要為實現他的任務去爭取預算,他要應付許多他不認同的政府官員。他的美麗、智慧又活潑的妻子—蕭中行,也是他的伴侶、摯友與司機,尤其反對他再接任公務。她說,夠了,夠了!讓我們共度餘年,一起享受、去看我們孩子、四處旅行、去做我們多年來想做卻沒空去做的事。

很好的勸告,的確。寶德開始時也接受了。一年過去了,他對台南藝術學院沒有更多進展。我從清華寫信問他怎麼了?他說出他的理由,我於是說:「看,我們離六十五歲退休還有三年,在這三年中我們能做些偉大而漂亮的事,在文化上讓台灣進步,或許還教育出更好的公民。我們可從國際視野來啟動,我們可促進台灣藝術作品更現代化,達到世界水準。」或許,那長達三頁半的信發揮效用,寶德立刻開始為台南藝術學院工作,首先開辦四個研究所:音像紀錄研究所、博物館學研究所、造型藝術研究所以及藝術史與藝術評論研究所。

周末我從清華回台北加入規劃工作,晚上就睡在辦公室—敦化北路與民權東路口的財政大樓十一樓,大樓屋頂成為寬廣的活動露台,我們的辦公室有三層,要走狹窄鐵梯上下。這裡可眺望遠山和松山機場起落的飛機。寶德將自己辦公室裝修得很有中國文人味,背後是成排的傳統手工線裝書,案前陳列文房四寶。

「我們開學後學校沒有廚房、沒有廚師、沒有足夠水電,還要學生暫住教師宿舍,學生們可能要造反,你既然這麼調皮,我想你很適合來擔任學務長!」1996年9月開學後不久,寶德笑笑地對我說。可是,我不想離開可愛的風城新竹的環境,那裡有舒服涼風、寶山水庫的月圓景色、還有我校內辦公室裡滑動書架與老樹近景。我尤其害怕潮濕少風的氣候。寶德於是激我:「啊!你看?你不願意離開你尊貴的清華,來屈就我們這窮鄉僻壤的學校!」

但讓我遷到台南的最大理由是我的罪惡感與責任感—由於我說動寶德放棄與心愛妻子共度時光的計畫。因為,如同晴天霹靂,香港傳來噩耗—蕭中行因為突發的腦部栓塞而昏迷,她作為妻子與母親的夢想乍然粉碎。在那要命時刻寶德正外出考察,中行遭受腦部劇痛襲擊時只有她妹妹在場陪伴,而中行再也沒醒過來。中行一向活力充沛,她的聲音如鈴鐺,常伴隨一串笑聲,她的眼睛因為愛而閃亮又慧黠,她用心幫寶德打理出安定有序的時間與空間,她照料他的健康,包辦他從領帶到襪子的裝扮。事實上在她生前,寶德完全依賴她;在他的事業上她處處與他分憂,也經常給予睿智的建議。她確實建議過—事後回想起來是正確的—與其來回奔波在台北、台中與台南之間,他們應一起享受離開科博館之後的自由,共享恩愛餘年。她的意外離去,真是非常殘酷的考驗。

現在寶德落單,失去了他的另一半。我對他的悲傷逾恆感同身受,我也自責若非我硬把寶德拉往台南創校,過去的兩年將會多麼不同。我記得站立黑暗中等候從香港運回的靈柩,那天濕冷,我的視野盡是無邊的灰暗。陪著我的是家維—已是科博館的副館長,和南藝籌備處主秘。我們的悲哀是那麼沉重,我們心痛如割,如同墜入深淵,無從著落。寶德站在那憂傷的永恆裡,我走向他,將我的頭埋在他胸前,失控地啜泣:「為什麼?為什麼是中行?為什麼是現在?」我只能哭問蒼天。「喔,寶德,我真對不起…」我心裡掙扎的是:「都是因為在南藝工作使得你倆過去數月分隔兩地,現在你永遠失去與中行共享生活的願望…」我不能理解、也無法接受中行的離去。 太殘忍了、不公平、完全沒道理…當中行的靈柩抵達,被放在禮壇上,奇怪的事情發生了,突然那地方變得光亮而美麗,好像中行來到我們中間。我不知道這如何發生,但暗淡的無邊慘霧變成了光明多采,中行的煥發氣息確實沒有完全離開我們。

但是對寶德失去他的核心生命力量,我所感受的悲傷與痛苦持續好長一段時間。最後我想通了,我告訴他:「我終於了解為什麼中行要離開大家,因為她已完成她的工作。現在該你學習自己倒咖啡、區分你自己的藥片和襪子,也許還要去學會開車。中行一直是完整的,你一直只是一半,現在是你學著成為完整的時候了。」然而,我心中萬分過意不去,我因此決定答應寶德的要求,辭去清華大學職務,到台南藝術學院擔任學務長,並遷進校園住下來,當時我們的坡頂校長公館還沒完成,寶德住在沿溪的教師宿舍裡,我要求分配到他隔鄰的宿舍,以便任何時候都可幫上忙。那可怕的罪惡感一直在我心中迴旋不去,直到許多年後寶德再婚,也變得更能料理自己,我感覺他生命獲得了新的平衡與快樂才逐漸釋懷。

湖邊餐廳
現在學生來了,每四到五人分配住到空著的教員宿舍,內部有廚房,可自行烹飪。座落在小人工湖邊的學院餐廳,光亮而優雅,有良好視野與內部佈置。 做為學務長我曾發言要求一個大吧台,學生與教師可以點些快餐與飲料而圍坐一起。「啊,你想到酒吧,你這酒鬼?!」寶德這麼說我。雖然我相信好酒的教養效用,所有藝術家應學習優雅清醒地品酒,大學也該允許學生在餐廳一角喝酒作樂;但我要求一個四面吧台的想法,卻是觀察到像香港大學內類似空間帶來的民主與社交功能:人們可自由地坐下加入各方談話,因為大家會覺得是坐在同一吧台上。這使得各不同領域的教師可互相交換情報與共同關心的問題,透過這種輕鬆非正式的交流,有些重要決策非正式地在口頭上做出決定,可節省冗長的正式會議以及公文旅行。這只是一個特殊空間結構可節省時間的例子吧。

我們第一屆五十九位新生都願意承受校園未建完的各種苦境,也沒任何躁動的跡象。當較高區域缺水時,我就要求在公廁裝設淋浴設備以解決洗澡問題。但是我的另一番善意,卻意外地惹來學生抗議。

起先,我發現台灣稻米都有過度使用農藥的問題,查看校園四周的稻田時,我看到一片死水,沒有青蛙、蚯蚓,像鏡子般反映出靜止的天空。殺蟲劑殺死水中所有生物,這毒性也經由稻梗注入稻粒裡。天啊,我們一定不能讓這種米進入校園。 第二學期時學院餐廳即將完成,我們需要雇用一位廚師。正好寶德兒子從美國回來,大夥們一起被邀到省道上的一家商務度假飯店去聚餐。餐會中我看到一位廚師戴著高高白帽站著切出細緻的烤牛肉,以及讓人驚喜的烤鴨,兩者肉質都烤得好極了。一時興起,我說我們應該聘請這位廚師到學校為我們煮食,因他也做歐式料理,他可為我們餐廳供應非米食類餐點。「絕對不可能!」寶德嘲笑我:「沒人會放棄六星級廚師地位來為我們的五十九位學生作菜的,他永遠不會來到我們那鳥不生蛋的地方!」

「我卻來了,寶德!我從清華、從加拿大來到這,這就是為什麼我可以說動任何地球上你想要的人來這裡!」於是我走向切肉台邊的年輕人,跟他聊起來。這位了不起的何師傅,曾經花六年時間在日本學校學做歐式料理,當然他也會日本料理。「這樣吧,親愛的何師傅,你的創意在這裡太委屈了,只能每天每週地重複同樣菜單。」我耐心拉攏他:「來為我們學院工作吧,我們的餐廳跟廚房剛蓋好,你可以訂購你想要的烤爐,我會買給你。我想要你每天供應有機新鮮的蔬菜沙拉,用馬鈴薯來取代白飯。」他頗感興趣地回答說,他會做六種馬鈴薯料理:薯泥、烘烤、填料、快炒、油炸、清煮,加上各種醬汁。「啊,太棒了!加入我們哪,一起來發展你的未來!你要供應低於每人35元成本的餐點,又不要使自己吃虧。你將創造出健康、不含農藥的食物,我們也將集合所有附近有機農夫來提供他們的產品。」

出乎我們意料地,這位極端高明的何師傅同意來當我們的學院主廚,他服務那段時間裡提供了絕妙的烤肉,與日本料理如拉麵或烏龍麵。何先生也精於雕塑,以冰塊、紅羅蔔與小黃瓜雕出各種動物,很快地他成為本校國際雕塑大師與米蘭院士屠國威教授的好朋友,還成了他的用功弟子。

但是學生們現在卻群起抗議,他們都很憤怒—不是為停電或停水問題,而是因為我的馬鈴薯餐使他們整天都處在飢餓狀態。我解釋說我們希望保護他們不受毒米殘害。「我們吃了一輩子這樣的米飯,我們以後也將繼續吃!」他們憤怒叫喊。寶德止不住地笑我:「你終於自作自受了,哈哈!看你的長年素食!」

這是1996年到1997年初的一個年輕、成長中、帶點實驗性的校園群體的幸福時光,同時也漸清楚看到台灣已是地球上毒害最深的地方之一。有些農人農藥用量已超過美國最高用量的百倍以上,難怪台灣的癌症罹患率居高不下,甚至出現年輕化趨勢。但台灣人喜歡以「每個人都這樣做」來自求安慰,以為如此事情就是對的。

在幾乎三十年間,我與寶德為知己朋友,後來還成為他的屬下,我可能是唯一敢冒犯他、敢堅持說真話的人,也就是他的忠臣、諫臣,這是考驗他耐心的職位,而我的激烈犯諫還惹出他的心臟肥大問題。這是我們自願為各自信念所付出的代價,我們倆為各自設想的南藝最佳利益而奮戰。他從不是一位自以為是的官員,因此我們之間的尖銳歧見從未傷及我們的友誼,也未曾減少我對他的欽佩之情—對於他的嚴格標準以及他與所有美好精緻事物的驚人關聯。國家文藝獎的公開獎勵與台大頒授榮譽博士學位,都是對寶德在國內地位的難得肯定。恭喜了,寶德!