Sunday, May 13, 2012

[转] 威尼斯和新加坡相似之处 Venice and Singapore: A Study in Parallels

http://www.zaobao.com.sg/special/forum/pages8/forum_zp120512.shtml
杨荣文/ George Yeo
编按:网路杂志“全球主义者”(The Globalist)最近在同作者的谈话中,问及历史上的海上共和国威尼斯对今天的新加坡有什么特殊意义。作者表示曾于1988年对此发表演讲,杂志因此摘刊了演讲的要点。

新加坡的面积很小。瑞士人认为他们的国家很小,但那些来过新加坡的发现相比之下,瑞士其实是很大的。我们的土地很少,也没有多少领空,即使是领海也有他人宣示主权。我们被迫得非常小心地计划和组织。

在新加坡生活并不容易。事实是我们必须比他人更努力才能求存。但艰苦会让我们成功还是失败?我们在过程中会变得更坚强或脆弱?汤因比(Arnold.J.Toynbee)的巨著《历史研究》告诉我们,文明不是在顺境而是在逆境中孕育的。刺激越大,反应也越强烈。

新加坡会继续成功吗?如果我们出现分裂;我们的领导人是软弱的;我们对自身的关键利益没有清楚的认识;也没有决心主宰自己的命运,那我们将会失败。

历史上有没有小国家存在相当长时间的例子?一个我们可以从中得到安慰的例子?一个可以仿效的榜样?

的确有这样的例子,而且是个绝佳的例子。它也使用狮子为象征,即象征传道者圣马可(St Mark)的带翼狮子。威尼斯——或它自己所称的“最安宁的共和国”——存在超过1000年。

期间又称“地中海女王”的它,大多数时候都蓬勃发展。威尼斯商人的生意头脑、勤奋和诚实,闻名欧洲与亚洲。

马可波罗的事迹至今还为人津津乐道。从莎士比亚的剧作《奥赛罗》(Othello)和《威尼斯商人》(The Merchant Of Venice),我们可以看到威尼斯在法律、政府、艺术及文化上所取得的骄人成就。在拿破仑于1797年到来前,从来没有人能够成功入侵威尼斯。威尼斯从来没有被占领或蹂躏。

由一些小岛组成——比今天的新加坡还小——位于浅湖及人口从未超过数十万的威尼斯,怎么能够留下这么辉煌的历史呢?究竟是什么原因让一些人决定从欧洲大陆过海到这些多沼泽、不太适宜居住的岛屿落户?

就像我们来自中国和印度的先辈,早期的威尼斯人离开欧洲大陆,是因为那里的情况已经不可忍受。那是欧洲的黑暗时代,西罗马帝国正瓦解,浪潮般的野蛮人席卷欧洲大陆,所到之处奸淫掳掠及残杀破坏。这些离开陆地至少2-3英里(3.2-4.8公里)的岛屿提供了避难所,可以避开残暴的西歌特人阿拉力克(Alaric the Goth)或匈奴王阿提拉(Attila the Hun)。

在苦难的压力下,威尼斯建立了它的防卫力量、经济和机构。新加坡同它的相似之处值得注意——我们也应该从它的经历吸取教训。

威尼斯的防卫是建立在海军力量上。它有个具有许多修船厂和工厂的大规模设施,让兵工厂(arsenal)这个阿拉伯字成为英文词汇的一部分。在鼎盛时期,兵工厂有超过1万6000名工人,能够每数小时制造一艘设备齐全的战舰。

这样的军事力量首先用来保卫威尼斯,其次用来为其商人打开航道、贸易渠道和市场。威尼斯参与十字军东征从来不是为了什么理想,而是为了维护其经济利益。

这是明智的外交政策,目的是永远不要在没有必要的情况下,卷入欧洲大陆邻国的政治和冲突。威尼斯的有力竞争对手热那亚(Genoa)就缺乏这样的智慧。它陷入北意大利的战争,并因此失去独立的地位。

威尼斯把其岛国性质变成优势,一直对是它生命线的贸易保持警惕。它建立了以宪法原则、法治及商人的集体利益为基础的行政制度。

慢慢的,当入侵的敌人每一次都被击退;当每一次危机都安然渡过后,威尼斯建立了能够凝聚其散布各地的国人那种众所周知威尼斯精神。公共服务的传统,提供了它所需要的有效治理国家的人才。

但威尼斯从不觉得自己是无懈可击的,也不把成功当成理所当然。这种不安全的感觉一直激励着它,让它永不松懈,它的人民团结一致,机构也保持活力。

威尼斯的成就对我们新加坡人是个启示——一个渺小的共和国克服了面积的限制,建立了不是依赖扩大领土,而是依靠国防、外交及自由贸易的经济帝国。

我们虽然是个小国家,想法却不能被局限。就像威尼斯的商人,我们必须兼具民族主义和环球精神。我们也要有狮子般的活力。

(作者是新加坡前外交部长。叶琦保译。) 《联合早报网》

Venice and Singapore: A Study in Parallels
http://www.theglobalist.com/storyid.aspx?StoryId=9609

“George Yeo, until recently Singapore's foreign minister, is a man given to thinking in profound historic terms. In a recent conversation, we asked him about the relevance of Venice's maritime republic to today's Singapore. To our surprise, he pulled out a speech from 1988, when he was Director of Joint Planning and Operation for the Singapore Armed Forces, in which he addressed that very topic. What follows is a condensed version of that speech.”


Singapore is geographically very small. The Swiss think they are small, but those who come to Singapore realize how big Switzerland really is by comparison. We have very little land, we don't have much air space, and even the seas are claimed by others. We are forced to plan and organize very carefully.

Life in Singapore is not easy. The truth is we have to work much harder than others to survive. But will hardship make us or break us? Are we strengthened or weakened in the process? Arnold J. Toynbee, in his massive Study of History, tells us that civilization is conceived not in ease, but in hardship. The greater the stimulus, the greater is the response.

Will we continue to succeed? We will fail if we are a house divided, if our leadership is weak, if we do not have a clear sense of what our essential interests are, and if we do not have the resolve to be the master of our own destiny?

Is there any example in history, then, of a small nation-state surviving any reasonable length of time? An example for us to take comfort in? A model to follow? There is such an example — and a brilliant one. It, too, had the lion as a symbol, the winged lion of the evangelist St. Mark. Venice — or the Most Serene Republic, as she called herself — lasted over a thousand years.

For much of this period, Venice flourished as the mistress of the Mediterranean. Her merchants were well-known throughout Europe and Asia for their business acumen, their industry and their sense of honor.

The exploits of Marco Polo are still familiar to us. In "Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice," Shakespeare provides a picture of the heights Venice reached in the development of law, government, art and culture. Until Napoleon arrived in 1797, Venice was never successfully invaded. She was never occupied, never ravaged.

Refuge from the mainland
How did a collection of small islands — much smaller than present-day Singapore — in a shallow lagoon, with a population never exceeding a few hundred thousand, come to leave such a mark on history? Why did sane men from the European mainland decide in the first place to cross the water to settle on these swampy, inhospitable and unpromising islands?

Like our forefathers from China and India, the first Venetians left the mainland because conditions there were intolerable. Those were dark days in Europe, when the Western Roman Empire was disintegrating, when successive waves of barbarians swept across the mainland, raping and pillaging, wreaking death and destruction wherever they went. Better the safety of these islands separated from the mainland by at least two to three miles of water than face the wrath of Alaric the Goth or Attila the Hun.

Under the pressure of hardship, Venice built up her defenses, her economy and her institutions. The similarities to Singapore are remarkable — and we do well to draw lessons from her experience.

The defense of Venice was founded on naval power. She had a mighty complex of naval dockyards and workshops which gave the Arabic word "arsenal" to the English language. At its peak, that arsenal had a workforce of over 16,000 with the capacity to launch fully equipped warships at the rate of one every few hours.

That military power was used, first, in the defense of the republic and, second, in opening up sea lanes, trading routes and markets for her merchants. Venetian participation in the Crusades were never borne of romance, but always motivated by economic advantage.

Hers was a wise foreign policy. Its goal was never to be involved unnecessarily in the politics and strife of her neighbors on the mainland. Genoa, a keen competitor to Venice, lacked that wisdom. Genoa entangled herself in the wars of northern Italy and lost her independence as a result.

Venice instead turned her insularity to advantage. Always sensitive to the requirements of trade, which was her lifeblood, the city-state established a system of administration founded on constitutional principles, the rule of law and the collective interests of her merchants.

Slowly but steadily, with each invasion successfully repelled, with each crisis successfully overcome, she developed in her people that famous Venetian spirit that bonded Venetians everywhere together. A tradition of public service supplied the men of ability she needed for effective governance.

But Venice never felt invulnerable. She never took her success for granted. It was this sense of insecurity that spurred her on, that kept her guard up, her citizens united and her institutions vital.

The achievement of Venice is an inspiration to us in Singapore — how a tiny republic can overcome the limitations of its size and build up an economic empire based not on territorial aggrandizement, but on defense, diplomacy and free trade.

Though our country may be small, our minds must never be. Like the merchants of Venice, we have to be both nationalistic and cosmopolitan at the same time. Our spirit, too, must be that of the lion.

1 comment:

the publisher said...

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