Friday, December 28, 2012

Rapacious KMT Policy: Further examples of threats to Taiwan's wilds and rural lands

What can such a mistress do but attempt to maintain some point of attractiveness to lessen the blows of abuse?

When people in power in a nation do not have a close love and identity with that nation, they will tend to destroy it. The Japanese occupation of Korea resulted in vast wholesale exploitation of Korean lands and resources, in effect stripping Korea bare for the war effort. Taiwan escaped such destruction because at that moment in history when its west coast was ceded to Japan by the Manchurian Empire, Japan wanted a colony to hold up to the Western colonial powers to show how it was on equal footing. So Taiwan was carefully managed and treated like a jewel of the Japanese empire. (However the Taiwanese people were still discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens.)

Not so for Taiwan under the fascist Leninist regime of the Chinese Nationalist Party, the KMT. Treated like Korea, it was stripped bare for the war effort. Paradoxically, the KMT regime was so corrupt that it quickly lost the war in China before it could completely destroy Taiwan. Left only with Taiwan, itself, the KMT was forced to somewhat identify with this land. They tried to remake it into an image of their own lost homeland. Even though making Taiwan a shabby copy of other lovers, the KMT dictators did want to keep some pretty places (and faces) to play.

Dictators also want power and money. And they need henchmen for that. And the henchmen also need power and money so that their loyalty to the dictator will be unshakeable. It was not enough to outright steal Taiwanese companies, businesses and factories that had been family owned for generations. It was not enough to steal Taiwanese retirement savings by the "quantitative easing" of the time: damn the inflation, print money full speed ahead. The KMT also went after poor farmers. So began the long arrangement of robbing farmers of their lands, rezoning them to become commercial property and making KMT cronies hefty profits.

Though it has not yet had a legislature that identifies with Taiwan, in the 1990's, finally Taiwan had a president who identified with Taiwan. And for another eight years until 2008, Taiwan had a imperfect reprieve of sorts from the rapacious lust for power and money.

But ever since the KMT won back the presidency, Taiwan has again become simply a resource to be exploited, a mistress to be used and then thrown out on the street when its usefulness and beauty have been completely degraded. What can such a mistress do but attempt to maintain some point of attractiveness to lessen the blows of abuse?

Can the Taiwanese people ever get the KMT to actually identify with Taiwan? Will there ever be a wedding ring rather than an offer of a pittance for prostitution and a swift kick out the door once an immediate lust is slaked?

Even an article such as this one can do little to shame the KMT into its obligations as an entity living off the people of Taiwan.

Following are some threats of new bruising and beatings on Taiwan that cannot be covered by clothing:

Forced takeover of Hakka farmers' lands in Chudong.

Forced takeover threats to farmers' lands in Tamsui.

Forced urbanization from Haulien to Taidong

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Modern Day Beatrix Potter of land preservation knows that "beauty is worth preserving."

If you have seen the movie, Miss Potter, you will realize that after her phenomenal success in publishing children's books, Beatrix Potter used her wealth to buy up large tracts of farms in Cumbria (the Lake District) of northwest England in order to preserve them from developers who were buying the farms to subdivide them. She donated thousands of acres to a land trust to preserve them as working farms rather than allowing them to be developed. Often, the farmers and former owners were hired on as land and farm managers.

The natural beauty of Cumbria

Unfortunately, Taiwan has not had a wealthy person or trust with such a vision. For decades, the KMT dictatorship government used farm land as a cash cow by forcing farmers to sell their land at low prices and then when cronies bought the land, the government rezoned it for commercial or residential, thus allowing KMT government officials and cronies to make enormous profits on the deals.

I-Lan County looking southwest from Jī-ket (Er-jie)

Even now, when such deals are more scrutinized, the destruction of indiscriminate land urbanization continues. For example, in I-lan County, farmland diminishes rapidly as wealthy people buy it for their weekend residences. Even with land restrictions, they will buy a plot, build a small building that meets the land use restrictions, get a government inspector to come and issue the permit for that small building. Then after all the paperwork is done, they will build a massive add-on to the building that triples or quadruples the size, thus ending up with mansion that would never have been originally allowed on the land zoned for farming.

An encouraging contrast can be found in a Taiwan News report of one man who used his wealth and corporate earnings for land preservation. Fortunately his vision also includes the preservation of tree species and mountain and hillsides from erosion and mudslides. Unfortunately, no one else has followed his example and done similar things in the flatlands which developers so hungrily crave in hopes of massive profits. Even with the so much real estate empty in Taipei, developers continue to build in the hopes that one day they will get rich Chinese to come into Taiwan to buy their expensively priced apartments. No concern meanwhile has been shown for Taiwanese who are increasingly squeezed out of these artificially inflated real estate prices. Furthermore, many in Taiwan seemed more concerned for short term profits rather than the long-term health and sovereignty of Taiwan.

But for now, Taiwanese can be thankful for men like Lai Pei-yuan.

Following is the Taiwan News article:

Lai-sang – Taiwan’s “King of the Forest" Taiwan News, Staff Reporter 2012-11-22 10:30 AM

Lai Pei-yuan’s interest in trees started out simply enough. Originally engaged in a shipping firm operated by his family, he happened at one time to buy a modest piece of land from a friend. As things happened, he gradually became attached to the land and started acquiring more parcels in the Da-xue-shan (Big Snow Mountain) area of central Taiwan. Now 26 years after he acquired his first patch of soil he has spent billions of NT dollars acquiring public land for orchards and forests and finds himself bearing the title of “King of the Trees” and dubbed “Lai-sang” – a combination of his surname Lai and the Chinese name for Tarzan – by his friends and associates.

"He adds that the numbers don’t mean anything to him – meaning that how much he has spent acquiring the land and planting trees is not important. He says the most important thing is that he has been able to do all this for the good of the people of Taiwan."

As Lai’s son Lai Chien-chung tells it, the elder Lai’s family – including himself – were a little leery of Lai’s motives in taking up forestry and fruit farming, but eventually they came around and now offer their full support for his efforts to grow trees and fruit. Lai Chien-chung says that in the beginning his father would purchase fruit orchards, then pare them back and plant various species of trees including Taiwan camphor, Taiwan incense cedar and black pines. After 26 years of buying land and re-planting hillsides Lai Pei-yuan estimates that he has planted over 200,000 trees and converted nearly 100 hectares of orchards into lush forests.

While Lai’s family members were not quite sure of their father’s motives in the beginning, they still were willing to get their hands dirty and could often be found digging up grass and planting saplings on the sides of mountains. They also learned to love the land, and Lai Chien-chung took the initiative in planting coffee trees among the other species of trees.

Lai-sang’s motive in planting saplings was not so that he could harvest the grown trees for lumber. He simply wanted to cover barren hillsides with healthy, green forests. Everyone around him was curious as to what kind of fool he might be, giving up his home and family to go off into the mountains by himself and plant trees.

For the first few years after Lai bought his first parcels of land he would set off early in the morning with a couple of helpers to prepare the soil, lay down water pipes and plant trees, often coming home long after the sun had gone down behind the mountains. Luckily his family was very understanding and accommodating as he paid out funds for what many saw as useless tracts of wilderness. And Lai’s stubborn perseverance eventually moved the rest of the family to pitch in and join him in the mountains, planting trees and pulling up unwanted plants and weeds on the slopes.

Lai continued acquiring land and planting trees and now claims to have more than 200,000 trees on his property. He estimates that the total cost of acquiring the orchards and land, purchasing saplings for planting and paying workers to assist in working the land at nearly NT$1.5 billion.

The chairman of Ta-ay Freight and Cloud Road International Co., Ltd., Lai Pei-yuan always longed to go into the mountains as a young man, and it was in the mountainous area of central Taiwan that he finally came upon his ‘heaven on earth’. He admits that in the beginning he was largely ignorant of environmental protection. For some time he entertained the idea of reclaiming land to grow alpine vegetables, but after witnessing time and again how Taiwan's mountains and forests were being ravaged by the construction of roads and planting of orchards with their attendant need for pesticides that were often misused he began to revamp his view of the mountains and forests. He saw how the torrential rains brought by typhoons would trigger mudslides and flooding and realized that what this little place called Taiwan needed was the concept of "planting trees and returning to Nature".

Over the years Lai has never taken advantages of subsidies offered by the government for forestation efforts. Instead he has lavished his attention on each of his precious trees, taking good care of them without any need for pesticides or other chemicals. He claims a survival rate of 98% for his trees and points out that officers from the Forestry Bureau often turn to him for advice on techniques for planting trees. read more...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Movie about Ka-gi (Chiayi) baseball team

From the Taipei Times, November 19, 2012: Yes they “Kano”

When Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), the director of Cape No. 7 and Seediq Bale, heard of a Chiayi high school baseball team that “almost” won the all-Japan Koshien summer tournament in Kobe in 1931, he just knew he had to make a movie about it. So he wrote a script, signed on as producer, asked Umin Boya to direct it, raised a pile of money, hired a cast of Taiwanese actors and extras, and the film, currently in production in Chiayi and other cities, is set to be released in early 2014.

The movie’s working title is “Kano,” the nickname of the old Chiayi Agricultural and Forestry Vocational High School, which no longer exists. The nickname comes from the first two English letters of the two Japanese words “Ka-gi No-rin,” with ‘Kagi’’ being the Japanese word for Chiayi and ‘’No-rin’’ being the Japanese term for agriculture and forestry.

“From time to time, Japanese tourists will stop here,” says Yu Guei-in (余佳蓁), a senior at National Chiayi University (NCYU), who works part-time as a secretary at the museum.

“Last summer, a Japanese reporter from the Sankei Shimbun newspaper came here to look around and ask us some questions about the movie, and three French tourists stopped by in August while visiting the city’s temples,” Yu says.

While most people in Chiayi know about the team’s exploits in 1931, few are aware that just a few steps from the modern 15-story glass-paneled city hall there is an old one-story Japanese-era building, hidden behind a long cement wall, that serves as an informal Kano museum for the team.

The building, still sporting sweet-smelling tatami mats and sliding paper doors in the Japanese style, houses the offices of the Kano Alumni Association. Supported by the city and a local university, it has a volunteer staff and is open Monday to Friday for tourists, scholars and history buffs. It’s a quiet place now, but once the movie is released, it could get crowded.

Inside the wooden structure, built in the 1920s, there is a library with dozens of copies of the Kano Alumni Association annual magazine, still published in Chinese by National Chiayi University (MCYU), and hundreds of old black-and-white photographs of the 1931 baseball squad. Outside in the courtyard there’s even a statue of one of the original team’s players holding up a bat and seemingly still ready to play ball.

Tourism opportunity

The Chiayi city government sees an opportunity in the 2014 release of the Wei-produced movie, which is said to be a cross between a baseball drama and a love story. Yes, Wei wrote a young woman into the script, and she’ll be the love interest of one of the players. So with expectations high that the movie will attract tourists from across Taiwan and Japan in the future, the city government’s tourism department donated a nice chunk of change — NT$500,000 — to help fund the movie.

Nearby, National Chung Cheng University, just a 30-minute bus ride from Chiayi, is planning to set up a tourist attraction based on the movie, since some of the action scenes will be filmed at Chung Cheng University.

According to Angel Chen (陳廷萱), a graduate student working on her master’s degree in marketing, the movie’s connection to Chiayi and Taiwan’s history during the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945) offers a “perfect storm” of public relations and tourism opportunities for all those involved in the movie’s production. [read more...]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Book of Austronesian Stories Published in Mandarin with Only Austronesian Titles and Illustrated by Austronesian Children

Only the story titles are in the original Austronesian languages. You will note the same problem -- they do not capitalize or make complete sentences with the Austronesian languages so as if to say it cannot be written in complete sentences but only the sounds represented.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Endangered Austronesian Languages

There is a good article in the Taipei Times regarding the grave danger of losing of the Austronesian languages of Taiwan.


However, it is the influence of Mandarin Chinese that poses the greatest threat to her endangered mother tongue, Liao says

A 50-minute Aboriginal language class a week, often taught by a non-native speaker, is ineffective, argues Yuki


Liao Hui-ling, 37, one of Orchid Island’s only nurses and a member of the indigenous Tao (達悟族) people (known also as the Yami, 雅美族), is sensitive about the loss of her mother tongue.

“Without my language it’s like I don’t have water, and I’m thirsty,” Liao says. Liao Hui-ling is just one of three names the married mother of two uses in daily life. To her parents she remains Sinan Matopush, her Aboriginal name. At work she uses her Chinese name and when dealing with the dozens of curious English-speaking tourists she hosts every year on the island, she uses the moniker Teresa. It is a multilingual existence that Liao leads — like many of her compatriots — but it comes at a cost.

“I can speak my own language, but I can’t speak it well. My English is better than my Yami,” concedes Liao.----

However, it is the influence of Mandarin Chinese that poses the greatest threat to her endangered mother tongue, Liao says.

“When kids go to school they learn Chinese. When they study books it’s in Chinese. When they deal with the government it’s in Chinese. How can my language continue to the next generation like this?” she says.

Critically endangered languages

In fact, in Taiwan today all the country’s Aboriginal languages are facing grave threats to their future survival. Many of the spoken forms of the 14 recognized indigenous groups — whose languages and dialects gave birth to the collection of Austronesian languages that are now spoken worldwide by about 300 million people — are at a point of almost total collapse.

When the UN’s global cultural arm UNESCO undertook an evaluation of 24 Taiwanese Aboriginal languages in 2009, it found that nine of them were already extinct. Particularly hard hit are those communities located on the nation’s west coast, including Siraya and Babuza. A further six languages — including Kavalan which is spoken in and around Hualien County and Thao which heralds from Nantou County — are critically endangered. In some cases only dozens of speakers remain.

Even Amis, Puyuma and Paiwan — numerically some of the stronger Aboriginal languages — are struggling and are now listed by the UN body as vulnerable.

language of identity

“There is an idea of a person’s identity and ethnicity in their language,” says Truku-speaking Apay Yuki who is a member of the Taroko tribe. “If you don’t speak it then you don’t know who you are … Language contributes to a person’s identity.” Yuki, an assistant professor with the Department of Indigenous Languages at National Dong Hwa University (國立東華大學), recently returned to her native homeland to carry out research into the health of her mother tongue. The findings, she says, are distressing.

“You could see that the younger group are showing serious and ongoing language attrition and the local language is being seriously damaged. When people who speak Taroko fluently, generally those aged above 50, are gone then the language is gone,” she says.

Yuki says that the loss of Aboriginal lands combined with years of repression — both at the hands of acquisitive Han Chinese settlers, colonial Japanese forces and the punitive period of Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Martial Law era — enacted a terrible toll on indigenous people as a result of which “social structures were changed.” However, she argues, while the oppression continues to haunt Aboriginal peoples, today’s linguistic threats are different. Waves of migration to cities away from traditional Aboriginal language strongholds as younger people search out work, coupled with a loss of value attached to local tongues, are dealing a double blow to already weakened languages.

Yuki adds that government policy has consistently failed to make the teaching of Aboriginal languages a priority. A 50-minute Aboriginal language class a week, often taught by a non-native speaker, is ineffective, argues Yuki, who also questions how resources are being used.

“There is [government] funding, but I’m not sure how effective it is. The money is a waste … The first thing to do is to really dig out the root problem about why people are not re-learning their languages.”

Bottom up approach

Yuki argues that a “bottom up” approach would improve the re-learning of local languages and says the benefits of speaking the language of your elders is immensely rewarding.

“We are now trying to convey to parents how important it is to speak our languages and what cognitive benefits it brings. Personally, after re-learning my language, I feel — as a family — we are closer, I feel a sense of belonging. I’m proud of being Taroko, it’s an affirmation.”

The person charged with shaping and implementing government policy on Aboriginal languages is Ciou Wun-long (邱文隆), an official at the Council of Indigenous Peoples. The 40-year-old Bunun tribe member, who has headed the department’s Language Section for five years, says reviving Taiwan’s 42 Aboriginal languages and dialects is a “formidable” task.

Ciou cites the 60-year-long ban on local languages, and today’s multi-racial society where there are “limited places where indigenous languages can be spoken,” as key factors explaining the demise of Aboriginal languages.

However, he maintains “there is still hope,” and cites the council’s 2001 Aboriginal Language Skill Certification Examination as a bureaucratic achievement designed to arrest the slide toward extinction.

“In addition to the language proficiency test, Aboriginal dialects have also been included into the school curriculum … [which] has also helped relevant teaching materials come into being, and has helped to cultivate teachers of Aboriginal languages,” Ciou says.

Furthermore, Ciou argues, the council’s drive to establish written systems for indigenous languages has boosted conservation efforts, with 13 dictionaries completed thus far.

However, Ciou concedes that with the number of programs the council is endeavoring to push ahead, government resources are insufficient. “The government only allocates an annual budget of between NT$110 million and NT$120 million into language revitalization, an amount that is inadequate to fund the works the council has been doing,” Ciou said.

By contrast, the government spent over NT$215 million on a two-night rock musical to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Siraya Language Symposium

辦理時間:2012年4月23日(星期一) 9:20~12:30
電 話: 06-2991111#8265;0988-681102

⋯⋯ 國際知名的南島語言學家,亞歷山大‧阿迪拉(Dr. Alexander Adelaar)教授,受台南市政府民族事務委員會及台南西拉雅文化協會邀請到台南發表西拉雅語學術成果。Adelaar博士研究區域包括印尼、婆羅洲、馬來西亞,甚至馬達加斯加,當然包括南島語系重要的據點--台灣。其學術著作質精量多,包含數篇與西拉雅語法相關的學術文章,並已出版西拉雅文法書,世界各地知名學府-荷蘭萊頓大學、美國康乃爾大學、澳洲國立大學、德國法蘭克福大學等等都有他的足跡。Karl. A. Adelaar 教授現任職於澳洲墨爾本大學。

2011年《西拉雅語繪本》獲第三屆國家出版獎佳作殊榮,緊接於2012年2月21日發表出版《西拉雅語有聲書》,並獲市府100年度優良出版品優等獎,其中Alexander Adelaar教授皆參與重要審查工作,台南市政府素仰其專門學識特於本年4月23日,舉辦西拉雅語學術研討會暨文法書發表,並透過學術論壇奠立西拉雅語復育工作豐厚的學術知識體系雛形。



09:00 ~ 09:20 與會人員簽到
09:20 ~ 09:25 與會來賓介紹 主任委員 馬躍‧比吼
09:25~10:15 Karl. A. Adelaar教授 翻譯:黃駿教授

1.西拉雅文法書發表Siraya Grammar book presentation
Siraya Spelling ~ from the text into applicability of the materials

10:15 ~ 10:25茶敘時間break

10:25 ~ 11:15 Karl. A. Adelaar教授 翻譯:黃駿教授
1.西拉雅語法~文本遵循與選擇 的可能性
Siraya syntax ~ text to follow and the possibility of choice
Dialect differences and establishing vocabulary corpus
11:15 ~ 11:25茶敘時間break

11:25 ~ 12:30族語復育會議~從文本到應用實踐
Restoration of the indigenous language, from text to application
Karl. A. Adelaar教授
Edgar Macapili老師
Uma Talavan老師

Karl. A. Adelaar
知名的南島語言專家,研究範圍涵蓋印尼、婆羅洲、馬來西亞、馬達加斯加及臺灣等地的原住民語。其學術著作質精量多,包含數篇與西拉雅語法相關的學術文章,並已出版西拉雅文法書。世界各地知名學府-荷蘭萊頓大學、美國康乃爾大學、澳洲國立大學、德國法蘭克福大學等等都有他的足跡。Karl. A. Adelaar 教授現任職於澳洲墨爾本大學。

Edgar. M:西拉雅詞彙初探作者、西拉雅繪本作者、西拉雅有聲書作者
黃 駿:曾任菲律賓德拉薩大學英語與應用語言學學系助理教授
施朝凱: 西拉雅繪本作者、西拉雅有聲書作者
Uma Talavan:西拉雅詞彙初探主編;西拉雅繪本及西拉雅有聲書策劃及執行編輯 — with Edgar L Macapili, Chao-Kai Kyle Shih and Ji M My.