轉譯工地文化

展現草根生命力
:::

2020 / 9月

文‧陳群芳 圖‧莊坤儒


「媽媽你看,是挖土機耶!」幼小的孩子看到工地機具,總是像發現寶藏般雙眼發光,而揮汗蓋房子的師傅,也彷彿他們心中的英雄;但曾幾何時,長大後的孩子,不再好奇圍籬裡的世界,圍籬內外成了平行時空。所幸,透過書籍、戲劇、展演場域,我們得以感受與一探工地裡那股認命不認輸的生命力。


夏日的午後,我們跟著島內散步的導覽行程──「做工的人普拉斯,鐵皮裡外的艋舺」走訪台北萬華。穿梭在大街小巷,聽著老師解說,基層勞動者為什麼愛喝青草茶、夜市裡的紅螞蟻內褲是工地師傅的愛牌,乃至五金街的興衰、勞動薪資的變化是如何影響建築外觀等,彷彿更貼近做工者的呼吸。

工地現場的第一手田調

這位如此接地氣的導覽老師叫做林立青,一名以工地監工之眼,書寫勞動者生命故事的作家。

2017年林立青出版第一本著作《做工的人》,真實呈現他看見的工地生活,首年就創下4萬本的銷售佳績。隔年他出版了《如此人生》,把八大行業、酒促小姐、職災勞工納進書裡,批判與震撼的力道更強,林立青無疑是華文書市少見的耀眼新星。

看似橫空出世,其實林立青2012年便開始在臉書發表文章。起初他和一般人一樣,寫職場遇到的鳥事,例如客戶要求不進廁所就能把磁磚換掉的工法,林立青戲謔地稱這個需要的是魔法不是工法。這些文章起初少有人注意,「大概只有八個人按讚吧!而且其中一個還是我媽。」林立青笑說。

隨著在工地工作的時間越久,林立青周旋在業主、各種工班、勞檢員、警察間,他走進做工者的生活裡,他借錢給師傅應急,他在警察開單時仗義執言,看得愈多,他越發想保護這群人。無力改變體制的無奈、社會充斥的偏見縈繞心頭,讓林立青夜不成眠。把他們的故事寫下來,讓大眾有機會了解,是他能做的努力,也是他安心睡覺的解方。於是林立青的文章越寫越長,越寫越深入。

2016年林立青寫下〈工地八嘎囧世代〉,試圖平反大眾對八家將的偏見。

「對他們而言進大企業工作也沒啥意義,腳踏實地認為只要肯拚就好。一群人圍著宮廟互相介紹工作。板模拿到就介紹泥作,水電進場就推薦木工。……然後隨著年齡增加,技術和功夫的進步後,一個一個獨立出來變成真正的師傅,又變真正的包商。賺了錢再回頭謝神謝兄弟謝拜把的情義相挺,謝老婆不離不棄。」

當時林立青臉書好友數不到500,這篇文章卻有近萬人按讚、破千次的分享。受到鼓舞的他,接連又寫了關於檳榔西施、工地使用止痛藥的文章,這些多數作家鮮少碰觸的議題。林立青近身觀察這些被主流價值批判的族群,寫出了大眾不曾看過的人生。以筆為邊緣勞動者發聲,吸引了出版社的注意,林立青成了台灣第一位監工出身的作家。

勞動者的真正價值

林立青喜愛閱讀,他讀武俠小說,也讀托爾斯泰,既不是記者也非文科出身,讓他的文字自成一格,直接、真實,還多了一分大俠的豪氣。自認非典型作家的林立青,他身處的視角讓他看得比一般人透徹且深入。在監工與作家的身分之外,他也當志工,跟著社工家訪,了解弱勢者的生活困境。林立青不只寫下他們的故事,更連結身邊的資源。

例如,看到個案小小的房子裡擠了一大家子,屋外下雨屋內就漏水;馬桶壞了,必須跑到山上的公廁,這樣的居住環境,孩子如何不往外跑?讓孩子能安心待在家,才有改變的可能。於是他找來「義築小團」的朋友,一群人大熱天跑到九份為弱勢家庭搭建房子。這些行善志工團的成員,很多都是脖子披毛巾、戴著宮廟帽子、一般人眼中的八家將,他們或許講話葷素不忌,但哪裡有需要就往哪裡去,「因為做工者的個性很直接,做就對了。勞動者的真正價值來自於勞動,實際的參與帶給我們自信與快樂。」林立青表示。

問林立青下一本作品想寫什麼,他說他想寫市場,「裡頭涵蓋了台灣人的拚搏、認真、上進等特質,是個極有生命力的地方。」雖然出一本書無法立即改變勞動環境,但林立青說他要一直書寫勞動者的故事,因為他理想的社會,是「所有人的聲音都能被聽見。」

改編戲劇,直入人心

林立青的文字讓人們得以進入工地的世界;而製作人林昱伶與導演鄭芬芬則試圖讓台灣的工地文化走得更遠。

2017年《做工的人》轟動書市,林昱伶被書裡的人生故事感動,買下戲劇拍攝版權。自稱同溫層很厚的林昱伶,在看書之前,對做工者一點也不了解,讀完林立青的文字她心裡很震撼。尤其是〈走水路〉那篇,提及了焊工的職業傷害,高溫燒熔金屬的強光、廢氣與灼燒,造成夜盲、反覆發作的眼炎、肺部纖維化、皮膚嚴重脫皮等。雖然工作環境惡劣,但不工作就沒收入,身體的病痛,使得有些做工者選擇以毒品來麻痺身體的病痛,以求能拖著身體繼續工作。

文章真實地描寫鐵工兄弟的生活景況,也寫到哥哥中風後為不拖累家人,最後哀求弟弟為自己注射過量毒品而離世,以求解脫。兄弟間的情感、工人生活的無奈,全濃縮在字裡行間,林昱伶和鄭芬芬都深受感動,決定以此作為同名改編戲劇的故事主線。

林昱伶與鄭芬芬跟著林立青走入大大小小的工地,以及做工者喜愛的小吃攤,她們結識各式各樣的做工者。「想像中工人生活一定是很苦很苦,被社會壓迫到喘不過氣;可是當他們活生生在面前,他們聊的都是開心的,讓他們有希望、有追求的事。」林昱伶表示。例如小孩考上國立大學,也有打零工的街友分享自己正追求喜歡的社工等。「我們在他們身上感覺到一種生命力,為了家庭打拚而保有的希望感。」他們樂觀與認命不認輸的精神,深刻地留在林昱伶與鄭芬芬心中,也堅定了她們想用喜劇切入的決心。

在做工者身上看見光

經過一年多的田調與醞釀,戲劇《做工的人》在2019年開拍,並在今(2020)年五月於HBO Asia所屬的20幾個國家上檔。

戲劇以一對個性迥異的鐵工兄弟為主線,哥哥阿祈個性樂天、愛作夢,弟弟阿欽則是沉默嚴謹,總是幫哥哥善後。有別於原著的沉重,劇集一開場就是阿祈的發財夢,例如蓋四面佛寺、在工地偷養鱷魚等,自己淌渾水還牽連身旁的同事與家人,奇幻又略帶荒誕的劇情,讓觀眾對阿祈這角色又好氣又好笑。或許有人會覺得阿祈的發財夢、買樂透太過不切實際,但面對無力翻轉困境的現實,再怎麼努力也買不起建案裡的房子……,「這或許是他的世界裡最有可能翻身的方法。」林立青解釋。

除了鐵工兄弟,劇裡還有憨厚的板模包商、以車為家的怪手司機、在陽剛的工地現場調度緩頰的工地大嫂,其他如檳榔西施、超商店員、性工作者等圍繞著工地生活的勞動者們也收納其中,把原著中的百工群像通通搬上螢光幕。用戲劇呈現小人物認真生活的樣貌,也點出子女看待父母職業的辛酸與不捨。故事尾聲,阿祈中風倒下,兄弟倆選擇走上施打過量毒品自殺一途,喜劇開始悲劇結束,在觀眾心頭留下印記。文字可以留白,交由讀者想像,但戲劇必須考究細節,寫實呈現,難怪林立青會說,戲劇的衝擊力道比他的文字還強好多倍。

戲劇播出後,有做工者的孩子開始在網路上書寫自己的故事;也有觀眾向林昱伶分享自己記憶中做工的爸爸回到家總是很臭很髒,不喜歡和爸爸接觸,但現在因為這部戲,跟爸爸之間有了共通的話題;也有觀眾表示自己的父親就像阿祈,會拿錢去做善事卻一點也不顧家,讓他不能理解也還無法與父親和解,在林昱伶面前邊講邊哭。《做工的人》像是鬆動了人們的心結,讓大家在戲裡面找到一些溫暖,就像鄭芬芬在特映會上說的,「希望大家看完會想關心身旁的人,能在這些角色身上感覺到光。」

打開圍籬,用設計連結

只要有心,運用藝術設計的專業,也能為工地生活帶來改變。

位於台中的工家美術館是台灣第一座以工地文化為主題的藝術場域。前身為勤美璞真文化藝術基金會成立的實驗型街區美術館──勤美術館,以將在地文化對接當代生活為使命,拉近民眾與藝術的距離。2018年勤美術館的階段性任務達成,原址將興建一座永久性的美術館。

施工期預估三年,傳統的作法是將工地圍起,待完工後再對外開放;但基金會不忍深耕多年的街區文化生活因而中斷,再加上大眾對於工地現場常有著危險、髒亂的刻板印象。人們無從得知工地現況;而師傅默默在工地付出勞力,一棟建築彷彿憑空而起。

為打破既定印象,基金會以向工地裡的無名英雄致敬為概念,在工地旁以工務所形式開啟工家美術館計畫。工務所是工地的辦公室,也是師傅們用餐休息的場所,通常以組合屋打造。基金會以友善工人的思考為出發,找來十組設計師與藝術家,建造一座新型態的工務所。外觀是透明的兩層樓建築,一樓有餐廳和老榕樹打造的戶外庭園,二樓則是師傅與民眾的共享空間。工地便當的需求量大,外訂的便當通常早早就製作完成,師傅吃的時候早已涼掉,而工家的餐廳提供現做的熱騰騰便當,並注重食材的均衡,照顧師傅健康。

平日下午兩點前二樓空間不對外開放,僅供師傅們午睡,兩點後則是民眾觀展的場域。為減少師傅對藝文場所的距離感,設計師以建築工地常見的浪板、鷹架等材料作為布置,讓工家美術館帶有工業風的粗獷。現場有用水泥袋為靈感特製的睡墊,讓師傅自由打造午休空間;考量師傅不喜歡進出冷氣房,以免因劇烈的溫差造成身體不適,因而加裝了風扇。這些體貼的細節,都是讓師傅們能在館內感到自在、放鬆的考量。

一點一滴化解疏離

自去年開館,工家美術館至今已推出三檔展覽,找來以工地文化為創作素材的藝術家,有以工地常見的衝車人為藍本,製作成祈福神像;也有用塌塌米組成的卡車頭裝置;最新一檔展覽則是找來設計師江奕勳,以工地語彙製作成標語、抱枕、廣告看板等,以繽紛的色彩,呈現工地的生命力。

工地外的街廓上,邀請附近里民種植可食植栽,拉近社區與工地的距離。假日舉行工地相關的藝文活動,像是使用工地器材的打擊樂、工地題材的行動劇。透過各種方式讓民眾見證未來美術館是如何在做工者的努力下,慢慢成形。「希望藉由工家美術館打破城市裡的某種疏離。」執行長何承育說。

工家美術館開館至今,已有許多建設公司前來參觀,就連一旁工地原本的工務所,也因為受到美術館的激勵而加長了屋簷的設計、增加座位區,逐漸提升工地的休息環境。雖然改變並非一蹴可幾,透過工地文化的轉譯,開啟了人們認識做工者的契機,未來才有進一步改善勞動環境的可能。下一次經過工地,我們不會感到厭煩,而有更多的理解與溫柔,感念這些無名英雄的付出。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Voices from the Grassroots

Reinterpreting Construction-Site Culture

Chen Chun-fang /photos courtesy of Kent Chuang /tr. by Phil Newell

Small children are always dazzled when they see the machinery at construction sites, while the workers who put up buildings seem like heroes. But after growing up, children are no longer curious about the world behind the construction hoardings, and life inside the hoardings is like a parallel universe to life outside. Fortunately, through books, theater, and performances, we can explore the vitality and energy of construction sites.


On a summer’s afternoon in Taipei’s Wanhua District, we are taking a walking tour offered by Walk in Taiwan, entitled “Workers Plus, Bangka Inside and Outside the Hoardings.” Wandering through wide streets and narrow alleys, we hear our guide explain such things as why ordinary workers love to drink herbal teas, and how changes in construction workers’ wages affect the exterior appearance of buildings. It feels like we are getting a better understanding of the lives of these laborers.

First-hand site experience

Our guide’s name is Lin Yaqing, and he has written a book of the stories of workers’ lives from his vantage point as a construction-site supervisor.

Lin published his first book, We, the Laborers, in 2017. It authentically describes construction-site life as he saw it, and in its first year achieved impressive sales of 40,000 copies. The next year he published The Laborers’ Lives, in­corpor­ating workers involved in nightlife businesses and those who have suffered occupational injur­ies into the book, which gave it even greater impact.

In 2012 Lin Yaqing began posting essays on Facebook. At first he wrote about strange things that he encountered at work. For example, a client wanted a technique to change out the tiles in a bathroom without workers going into the bathroom, on which Lin ironically commented that what was needed was not a technique, but magic. At first few people took notice of these essays.

As Lin continued working at sites, over time he dealt with owners, health and safety inspectors, and police, and got to know the lives of the workers. He lent money to laborers to tide them over emergencies, and spoke out boldly in defense of justice when the police issued citations. His frustration at being powerless to change the system and at deeply held prejudices among the public made it hard for him to sleep at night. His outlet was to write the workers’ stories down. In the end, the more essays Lin wrote, the longer and more in-depth they became.

In 2016 Lin wrote “The Bagajiong Generation at Construction Sites” in an attempt to reverse the general preju­dice against people associated with temple perform­ance troupes.

At that time Lin had fewer than 500 friends on Facebook, but his essay got nearly 10,000 likes and was shared more than 1000 times. Encouraged by this response, Lin went on to write essays about betelnut girls and the use of painkillers by construction workers. Lin had observed up close these marginalized workers who were so often targeted for criticism by people holding mainstream values, and he used his pen to speak out on their behalf. His writings attracted the attention of a publisher, and he became Taiwan’s first author with a background as a construction supervisor.

The real value of workers

The perspective provided by his work gave Lin, who considers himself an atypical writer, deeper and more penetrating insights than most people can achieve. Besides being a construction supervisor and an author, he also is a volunteer who accompanies social workers on home visits to understand the lives of disadvantaged people. Lin not only writes down their stories, he helps them to gain access to resources.

For example, there was a large family in Jiufen living in a small house with a leaky roof and no working toilet (they had to use the public toilet up the mountain). Seeing this, Lin sought out his friends from a volunteer construction team, and a group of them went to Jiufen on a hot day to build a house for this disadvantaged family. In fact, the members of this volunteer organization were people whom most see as temple performer types, wearing hats marked with the name of a temple. They may not be polished, but they go where they are needed. “The real value of workers comes from labor, and actually working gives us a sense of self-confidence and happiness,” says Lin.

Lin says that for his next book he wants to write about traditional markets. “In markets you can see the energy and conscientiousness that characterize Taiwanese. They are places of enormous vitality.” Although publishing a book can’t immediately change anything in the labor environment, Lin says he wants to go on writing the stor­ies of workers, because in his ideal society, “everyone’s voice can be heard.”

TV adaptation

After We, the Laborers made a big splash in the book market in 2017, producer Jayde Lin, who was very moved by the stories in the book, bought the rights to make a TV drama series based on it, entitled Workers. She was really shaken after reading Lin Yaqing’s text. She was especially touched by one essay about the occupational hazards of welding—the power­ful light from the welding arc, the fumes, and the intense heat cause night blindness, pulmon­ary fibrosis, severe skin peeling, and other conditions. Despite these problems, welders need to work to make money, and so some choose to take drugs to numb their pain so that they can keep working.

Lin Yaqing’s essay authentically depicts the living conditions of construction metalworkers. It includes the story of one elder brother who, after suffering a stroke, implored his younger brother to inject him with an overdose of drugs to end his life and allow him to escape his condition. The brothers’ emotional attachment and the frustrations of workers are all condensed into the lines of the text. Jayde Lin and director Cheng Fen-fen were both very moved by this story, and decided to make it the main storyline in the TV show adapted from the book.

Jayde Lin and Cheng Fen-fen visited numerous construction sites with Lin Yaqing, and got to know a variety of workers. Jayde Lin says, “We felt a sense of vitality in them, a sense of hope they got from giving their all for their families.” Their optimistic never-say-die spirit made a deep impression on Lin and Cheng, and was the basis for their decision to make the show a comedy.

Positive energy

Workers premiered on HBO Asia in May of 2020.

The show is centered on a pair of metalworker brothers who have completely different personalities. The elder brother, Ah-Qi, is a happy-go-lucky dreamer, while the younger, Ah-Qin, is quiet and conscientious, and is always helping his elder brother out of fixes. The episodes tend to begin with one of Ah-Qi’s get-rich-quick schemes, such as putting up a temple to Phra Phrom or secretly raising an alligator at a construction site. He not only gets himself into trouble, but also draws in coworkers and family. The audience is both exasperated and amused by Ah-Qi as portrayed in the bizarre and absurd plots.

Besides the brothers, the show includes an excavator operator who lives in his car, and a woman construction worker who plays peacemaker at the heavily masculine construction site. It also incorporates other workers whose lives revolve around the site, such as a betelnut girl, a convenience-­store employee, and a sex worker. The serial shows what life is like for hardworking nobodies, and also depicts the sadness and compassion with which their children view their parents’ professions. At the end of the story, Ah-Qi suffers a stroke, and the two brothers decide to end their lives with an overdose of drugs; what began as a comedy ends in tragedy, leaving a deep impression on viewers.

After the serial was broadcast, some children of workers began to tell their stories online. One viewer shared with Jayde Lin their memories of how they resisted contact with their father, who always returned from work dirty and smelling bad, but how now, as a result of this program, they had something to talk about with him. Another viewer wept in front of Lin as they said that their own father was like Ah-Qi and would give money to help others yet ignore the needs of his own family. Workers seemingly loosened the shackles on people’s hearts and everyone was able to find some warmth in the series. As Cheng Fen-fen said at a special showing, “I hope that after watching this program, we can all show more concern for the people around us, and feel some positive energy in these characters.”

Connecting with design

With good intentions and a little effort, it is poss­ible for people with expertise in the arts and design to bring changes to construction-site life.

The Kong-Ke Museum in Taichung is Taiwan’s first arts venue dedicated to construction-site culture. Its forerunner was the CMP Block Museum of Arts, a city-block-sized experimental museum founded by the CMP Pujen Foundation for Arts and Culture that had the mission of linking local culture with contemporary life. In 2018 construction began to replace the CMP Block Museum of Arts with a permanent museum.

The project is expected to take three years. Typically construction sites are surrounded by hoardings and closed to the public. But the team at the foundation couldn’t bear to see the city block culture they had spent so many years working to nurture just come to an end. They also considered how the public has a stereotype of construction sites being dirty and dangerous, and how, if people have no way of learning about what a construction site is like, it will seem as if the building just magically appears.

To break through pre-existing notions and to salute the nameless heroes of the construction industry, the foundation opened the Kong-Ke Museum next to the construction site, using the format of a site office. They hired ten teams of designers and artists to create a new type of site office. The result is a two-story building with a trans­parent exterior, with a restaurant and outdoor garden on the first floor and a shared space for construction workers and the public on the second. There is a big demand for take-out meals at construction sites, but usually meals ordered from restaurants are made well in advance, so they are cold by the time they get to the workers. However, the restaurant at Kong-Ke provides freshly cooked take-out meals and makes a point of providing healthy balanced fare for laborers.

On most days the space on the second floor is closed to the public until 2 p.m., before which it is only available for workers to take their midday naps. It then becomes an exhibition space for the public to visit. To reduce the sense of unfamiliarity that construction workers might feel toward an arts venue, the designers have laid out the space with items that are common on construction sites, such as corrugated steel sheets and scaffolding. There are specially made sleeping pads, inspired by bags of concrete, so that workers can use the space for midday rests. Construction workers often prefer not to enter air-conditioned rooms, to avoid the discomfort that can result from dramatic temperature changes, so electric fans have been installed to provide cooling. Such thoughtful attention to detail puts the workers at ease inside the museum.

Closing gaps bit by bit

Since opening last year, the museum has held three exhibitions, for which they sought out several artists whose works reference construction-site culture. One made a statue of a deity of good fortune using a traffic-­directing dummy (a common sight around construction sites). Another made a truck cab out of tatamis. For the latest show, the museum hired designer Angus ­Chiang to turn construction-­site vocabulary into slogans printed on throw pillows and other products, using a riot of colors to express the vitality of construction sites.

They also invited people from the neighborhood to grow edible plants on the sidewalk outside the construction site. On weekends and holidays they hold construction-­related arts activities, such as percussion music played on construction tools and equipment. “We hope the Kong-Ke Museum will help break through a certain kind of alienation in the city,” says Jonas Ho, CEO of the CMP Pujen Foundation.

Since the opening of the Kong-Ke Museum, many construction companies have come to have a look around. Even the original site office next to the museum has been inspired to gradually improve the environment it provides for workers to take a break. Although change won’t happen overnight, the reinterpretation of construction-site culture can create new opportunities for understanding, which can help improve the work environment in the future. The next time we pass a construction site, we will feel a greater sense of understanding and affection as we think with gratitude of the dedication of these unsung heroes.

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!