Story of the Month - July 2016

Story of the Month - July 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年七月

About 700 years ago, a Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan visited Angkor, a then-prosperous city in the Khmer Empire. His book The Customs of Cambodia portrays the everyday life of local people in this city with his firsthand experience.

約七百年前,元代使節周達觀到訪繁盛一時的吳哥城(今柬埔寨)。他所著的《真臘風土記》,利用親身經歷,描述出當地人民的日常生活。

 

 

Using clues from Zhou's book, our Centre member Sharon Wong Wai-yee digs into the stories behind the rise and fall of the ancient Angkor. As an archaeologist specialized in Southeast Asia and China, Sharon found "book knowledge" both informative and misleading. "Based on Zhou's description of the city's different architectural buildings and fabrics, archaeologists were able to identify the city's palace and temples that confirms the historical record." she said, "but Chinese records of that time are often tainted with a Sino-centric bias that undermines their reliability. Such bias, still lingers today."

本中心成員黃慧怡教授利用周達觀著作的線索,發掘出古吳哥城背後盛極而衰的故事。作為一位專於東南亞和中國的考古學研究者,黃教授指出古書上既有翔實資訊,也有誤導之處。黃教授說:「根據周達觀對吳哥城不同建築結構和材質的描述,考古學家可因此考證出符合歷史記載的宮殿和廟宇。然而,當時的中國古籍往往帶著以中為中心的偏見,削弱其可信性。同樣的偏見似乎今天仍然存在。」

 

 

Truth is the best weapon to dispel biases. Sharon's work pieces together fragments from the past and unearths new stories of the ancient Angkor people. Could the demise of this once-vibrant civilization give us insights in understanding today's cities?

事實是驅除偏見的最佳武器。黃教授的工作從歷史的碎片中拼湊出更多關於吳哥人民的故事。這座曾經充滿活力的古城衰落的故事,能給我們身處的現代城市帶來什麼啟示

 

 

The ancient capital city, Angkor, Cambodia (Photo by Sharon Wong)

 

The ancient capital city, Angkor, Cambodia (Photo by Sharon Wong)

柬埔寨吳哥古城(攝影:黃慧怡)

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