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Taiwan Church News

3271 Edition

November 3 - 9, 2014

Headline News

 

 

PCT, Local Residents And Civil Groups Protest Against Daan Matsu Cultural Park To Locate In Greater Taichung City

 

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

 

Even though many civil groups have publicly protested many times, warning Taichung City Government(TCG) would waste taxpayers' money at NTD 1.2 billion(about USD 40 millions) dollars to build an illegal and unnecessary Daan Matsu Cultural Park(DMCP), an opening ceremony of this park building project is still arranged to hold on November 1, in spite of the public's suspicion about buying vote for the campaigning Mayor Jason Hu, breaching the constitutional stipulation on religion equality and escaping environmental impact assessment.

 

 

Outside the opening ceremony of DMCP site, local residents and several civil groups demonstrate their angers - "Kidnap Matsu, Escape Environmental Impact Assessment!" - with their placards. But, Mayor Jason Hu obviously won't pay any attention to their appeals. In addition, Rev. Wang Jin-chai, Director of Church and Society Committee of PCT Taichung Presbytery and environmental lawyer Ko Le-jen are barred by police force from entering into the protection site.

 

 

Rev. Wang Jin-chai laments that the anti-DMCP statements, signed by more than 4000 Taichung citizens one by one, were sent to Mayor Hu in the end 0f May, 2014, yet still without any response from him. Rev. Wang reiterates the project of building DMCP has breached the constitution, which stipulates the government should treat all religions equal, and should not encourage or limit the particular religion. Therefore, says Rev. Wang, the government should spend the taxpayers' money on the social welfare or infra-structures beneficial to all citizens, but not particular religion or party.

 

 

Lawyer Ko Le-jen remarks that, as the commissioned legal agent for PCT Taichung Presbytery, she has officially submitted the citizen advise, with the concurrent signature from many civil groups like Matsu's Fish Conservation Union, Taiwan Academy of Ecology and etc., asking TCG to stop construction of DMCP immediately. If this request is not responded from TCG within due date, the lawsuit of executive accusation would be launched automatically. Rev. Wang also wish this problem  constitutional breach could be exposed through righteous legal process, as he believes: "Righteousness exalts the nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people"(Proverb 14:30).

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Outside the opening ceremony of Daan Matsu Cultural Park site, local residents and several civil groups demonstrate their angers - "Kidnap Matsu, Escape Environmental Impact Assessment!" - with their placards. As this construction project is suspectable to breach the constitution clause of treating religion equal.

 

Photo by Simon Lin

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3270 Edition

October 27 - November 2, 2014

Church Ministry

 

 

Let Kaurna and Siraya Be Spoken!  A Seminar On The Language Revitalization Of The Australian Aboriginal Kuarna Language Is Kicked Off To Share Experiences With Taiwan's Aboriginal Tribe

 

 

Reported by Hwang Yi-lek

 

 

On October 27, a historic seminar of the language revitalization of the Australian aboriginal Kaurna language, is held at Kou-bei elementary school, Tainan. This event is organized by Siraya Culture Association(SCA) and supported by Department of Taiwan Literature of National Cheng Kung University(NCKU), Association for Taiwanese and Vietnamese Cultural Exchange(ATVCE) and Taiwanese Romanization Association(TRA).


 

Dr. Rob Amery and Dr. Mary-Anne Gale, who are a couple and both serve in Adelaide University leading the research project to revitalize the Gaurna and Ngarrindjeri aboriginal language respectively, are invited to address in this international seminar and share their experiences at their field work.

 

 

Before starting the seminar, a local tour to learn something about Siraya culture is arranged: Rev. Lee Hsiau-chung, pastor of Kou-bei Presbyterian Church, welcomes the arrival of the Amery couple and briefly introduce how the church engage in the process of revitalizing the Siraya language. Students of Kou-bei elementary school perform some Siraya folk songs to greet their visitors and communicate with the Amery to show how Siraya language revitalization goes. And then, several tribes, like Green Valley Siraya, Taizuma and Jiucengling, are visited by the Amery via inspecting tribal architectures, photographs and antiques, to learn further about the history, Alid Tsoo faith and current living conditions of the Siraya people.

 

 

The reason, why the Amery are invited to address their experiences in language revitalization of the Australian aboriginal languages - Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri, is due to their early start in 1990s. It is about 10 tears earlier than the revitalization of the Siraya language. Wan Su-juen, President of SCA, remarks that the precious experience of the Amery in the language revitalization for the Australian aboriginal tribes could help Taiwanese aboriginal people to find solutions during similar challenges. Wan traces the initialization of Siraya writing up to Rev. Georgius Candidius, a Dutch pastor stationed in Formosa between 1627 and 1631, who translated the Matthew Gospel and a catechism into Siraya, and complied a formulary. All these becomes the important reference material to revitalize Siraya language.

 

 

Not incidentally, Rob Amery responds that the documents left by the missionaries are also very indispensable during his field work and revitalization of Kaurna language. Just like Siraya before revitalization, Rob explains, Kaurna only has written records but no sound system to identify. It became a very difficult problem to know the correct pronunciation. So, many techniques were tried to restore the Kaurna language system: new words were created, not only by comparing the languages of the neighboring tribes, but also by borrowing or synthesizing from other words.

 


 

Rob Amery said, "Speaking tribal language is totally different from speaking the official language, people can feel the difference from the bottom of their heart." Rob stresses the importance of aboriginal lyrics in the process of language revitalization. He also organizes workshop to collect how people talk within their family relationships and translate them into tribal languages in order to imbuing old language with a rich vocabularies of daily lives. Over the past 25 years, more than 10,000 Australian students had learned the aboriginal languages at some extent. And more and more school wish to open the course on aboriginal languages. Yet, the insufficiency of teachers is always the problem.

 

 

Another method to make the aboriginal language popular is to restore the aboriginal name in naming administration district, city park, transportation system, even the art in public plaza. Just like people can use the old Siraya name, Tah Bah Kan, to rename Shihua district, and it would trigger lots of creative action in language revitalization, explained by the interpreter Mr. Ou Cheng-lian.

 

 

The Ngarrindjeri language, explains Mary-Anne Gale, has less power to revitalize and restore because the Ngarrindjeri tribe locates in more rural area and lack of adequate political support. In the beginning of her linguistic field work, only 500 words could be collected. Now it has reached 3,700 words and could be compiled as a dictionary. But, Gale reminds the audience that the thoughts of linguistic scholars are sometimes different from the tribal elders. In addition, some historical documents could go wrong, so the job of language revitalization has to be very careful!

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Dr. Rob Amery and Dr. Mary-Anne Gale, experts of aboriginal linguistics and distinguished professors from The University of Adelaide, Australia, are invited by Siraya Culture Association at Tainan, Taiwan, to share their experiences of language revitalization of Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri aboriginal tribes in Australia on October 27, 2014.

 

Photo by Hwang Yi-lek


 
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Taiwan Church News

3270 Edition

October 27 - November 2, 2014

Church Ministry

 

 

Why Celebrate Taiwan Retrocession Day On October 25? The Indigenous Protest Their Lands Annexed And Their Histories Wiped Out Beginning From This Shameful Day

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

Raising the placards, "Our own land, we will retrocede! Our own land, we will take it back!", the Indigenous Peoples Action Coalition of Taiwan(IPACT) takes on the street on October 24 and holds a press conference on the Katagalan Boulevard, appealing to restore back the original name of their home land. In addition, they accuse the KMT government still carries on annexing their tribal land and wiping out the histories of the indigenous peoples.

 

 

Rev. Yabu Eyo, from PCT Tayal Presbytery, takes his own tribe -Piyaway- as an example, explaining how KMT government forced his tribal people to forget their original tribe as Piyaway and changed name into "Fu-hsin"(meaning "retrocede" in the Chinese). All this is just to commemorate that KMT Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has retrocede or take back the indigenous peoples from the hand of Japanese army.

 

 

Rev. Omi Wilang, General Secretary of IPACT and Secretary of PCT Indigenous Ministry Committee, points out that not only Piyaway was name changed as "Fu-hsin", but the aboriginal Sbtunux hill standing against Piyaway tribe was also re-named as "Shi-ko", which was named after Chiang Kai-shek's home town in Zhe-jiang Province of China.  It is said one day Chiang stood on the top of Piyaway and being stunned by the beautiful scene of Sbtunux, which reminded him about "Shi-ko" of his old home town in China. So, the barbarian name-change started and the identity and the histories of the indigenous was wiped out!

 

 

Except the geographical names, remarks Rev. Omi Wilang, many his tribal people are also arbitrarily designated a family name by Chiang Kai-shek's KMT regime. For example, if there were many taro produce in some tribes, then most their family name would be rendered "Yu"(meaning taro in Chinese); if there were many rocks in the tribe, then they would be given family name "Hse"(meaning rock in Chinese). Even when a very powerful KMT politician, James Song, in his high tide with popularity, many aboriginal people were allowed to change their family name as "Song" to claim and become Song's privileged relatives in an illusion and false pride.

 

 

Rev. Omi Wilang concludes with a insightful comment: the history of Taiwan Retrocession Day is actually a history full of blood and tears from the indigenous peoples, in the words, the lands of the aboriginal are annexed and the histories wiped out! And the biggest problem behind all these unnecessary turbulence and upheaval for the Taiwanese aboriginal, which is also what PCT try to engage and tackle most, is how to stop the brutal violence of this invisible state machinery, guided by the one-China policy, unabashedly betrays the interests and well-being of Taiwan. "We are the Austronesian people. And there is absolutely nothing could be related to China!", said Rev. Omi Wilang.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Carrying the placards, "You Retrocede Taiwan! We Aboriginal Suffer!", the Indigenous Peoples Action Coalition of Taiwan(IPACT) takes on the street on October 24 and holds a press conference on the Katagalan Boulevard, appealing to restore the original name of their home land and history.

 

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong


 
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Taiwan Church News

3270 Edition

October 27 - November 2, 2014

Headline News

 

 

Promoting Grass Root Civil Rights Movement, PCT Holds Training Camp To Learn What Is Love And Non-Violence During Protest

 

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

 

From October 24 to 26, a group of 60 people, mainly young students, gathered at the Lebanon Resort at Ta-ken, Taichung, attending the PCT training camp, named as "Grass Root Civil Rights Movement - Training Camp For Love And Non-violence During Protest". This event is organized by PCT Church and Society Committee to promote the non-violence methods within demonstrations, which became more and more blossoming across Taiwan island, especially after Taipei's Sunflower Student Movement in March, 2014. Prof Hwang Kuo-chang, a renowned leader in Sunflower Student Movement, and many civil rights activitista were invited to share their thoughts and experiences to the audience.

 

 

Rev. Cheng Kuo-chung, pastor of Taipei Just Action Church, introduces the Urban Rural Mission(URM) to the participating members. He points out URM, as a mission for liberation and justice, was brought into Taiwan in 1982 by Prof Albert Lin and strongly supported by PCT, having already trained 1200 members as the grass root social reform activists across Taiwan. These URM graduates came from all walks of life and even from different religions. They played the critical power when Taiwan society transformed herself from an authoritarian dictatorship into a new-born liberal democracy. Using love and justice as principles, upholding non-violence as the methods, URM demonstrates the people power through organization the oppressed to reclaim the human rights and restore the dignity God once bestowed.

 

 

Huang Kuo-chang, Associate Research Professor of Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica, stresses that the real dominating power of current Taiwan politics are the Chinese communist regime and the privileged conglomerate shuttling between the Taiwan Straits. It is most strikingly evidenced from the scarce Taiwan's coverage of HK occupy central movement, as the most accessible Taiwan cable media, which accounts for 95% of news channels, refrain from reporting HK's umbrella movement at the very beginning. Further, there is few Taiwan cable television station dare to criticize the Chinese communist regime, which is the most threatening force against Taiwan democracy. Therefore, when all the situations of Taiwan become more and more disadvantageous, the youth in their twenties or thirties should be awaken to care about the politics, because they are the mainstream of future society.

 

 

Prof Tsay Ting-kuei and Rev. Wang Rong-yi, utilizing the idea of the Open Space Technology(OST), jointly host the seminar to discuss many important social issues: indigenous education, land justice, consolidating Taiwan consciousness, how to boost up the influence of civil rights organizations and etc. And elder Tsai Ming-hsien, former Defense Minister, help the audience to understand what is the crisis and opportunity of Taiwan from diplomatic, military and economical dimension.

 

 

Quoting the verse of James 2:26, " so faith without deeds is dead", Rev. Wang Jin-tsai, Director of PCT Church and Society Committee, urges the participating members in the close session service: to act through our limited life, unite with the public with the same hearts, and learn fearlessly the spirit of love and non-violence from Lord Jesus to fight against the oppression, then we can realize the kingdom of God on the earth as it is on the heaven. Even a lot of challenges lying ahead, we could still strive to build a new and independent country with a positively creative mind!

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Prof Tsay Ting-kuei(standing with glasses), utilizing the idea of the Open Space Technology(OST), leads the young students to discuss many important social issues: indigenous education, land justice, consolidating Taiwan consciousness, how to boost up the influence of civil rights organizations and etc.

 

Photo by Simon Lin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3270 Edition

October 27 - November 2, 2014

Church Ministry

 

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, CTOT, Asks PCT To Help Organize The Expo of "Mackay House" From December to Next January In Taiwan's Aletheia University

 

Reported by Lin Jia-jin

 

On October 23, Ms. Kathleen Mackay, Exective Director Of The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei(CTOT), pays an official visit to the Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong, PCT General Secretary, and asks Lyim to help organize the impending December exposition of "Mackay House", which is about the outstanding contribution of Canadian missionary - Rev. George Leslie Mackay - in 19th and 20th century Taiwan. Rev. Lyim promises to support the exposition with the related documents and antiques, and exchanges opinions with Ms. Mackay about PCT's relationship with Union Church of Canada and some other issues.


 

Ms. Mackay asks Rev. Lyim what are his most urgent challenges after being assigned as PCT General Secretary? Lyim frankly replies that there are three critical challenges confronting PCT since he took the office: first, evangelical mission, which would transform PCT into a grown-up and witness church; second, build up Taiwan as the blessed kingdom of God and keep her free of any military, economical and cultural threat from China; third, encourage PCT members to become loyal servants of God, meaning glorify God and help people!

 

 

Ms. Mackay also asks how PCT deals her relationship with China's church? Rev. Lyim talks in straight that PCT chooses to help the family church under suffering and persecution at present, instead of standing by the official China Christian Council(CCC) who unwisely accepts the political interference from the Chinese Communist Party. Lyim thinks China needs to reform from within to have democracy, freedom and human rights, as these universal values is not only needed by Taiwan society but also desperately demanded by the Chinese people.

 

 

At the end of meeting, Rev. Lyim asks Ms. Mackay and CTOT to take part in the 150th Anniversary of PCT Missionary celebration in 2015.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Ms. Kathleen Mackay, Executive Director of The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei(CTOT), pays her official visit to Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong, PCT General Secretary, at PCT General Assembly Office on October 23, 2014.

 

Photo by Lin Jia-jin

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3269 Editions

October 20 - October 26, 2014

Obituary News

 

 

Taiwan: Whose Country? Whose History? - Two Giant Taiwanese Historians Are Remembered For Their Outstanding Achievement And Passion To Build Up A Taiwanese Subject With Historical Visions

 

 

Written by Wang Chao-wen

 

 

In the fall of 2014, two giant Taiwanese historians were unfortunately passed away: Academia Sinica academician Ts'ao Yung-ho died on September 12, due to an old age at 94 years old; Professor Chang Yen-hsien, 67 years old, died on October 3 due to a sudden heart attack during his oral history investigation for 228 Massacre in 1947 en route at Philadelphia, USA.

 

 

Ts'ao Yung-ho is an autodidact and polygot in many languages, including Taiwanese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, English, German, Dutch, French, Spain, Portuguese and Latin. In 1939, Ts'ao failed his university entrance, but he undauntedly worked hard to get a job as a librarian at Taihoku Imperial University, now Taiwan University, which gave him access to a huge range of materials he would have never seen otherwise. He also studied with Professor Iwao Seiichi to read the archived material from the Dutch Formosa era. And this pioneering Dutch documents mining from a Taiwanese point of view prepared him to earn international academic recognition afterwards.

 

 

Within an interview in 1990s, Ts'ao proposed a concept of "Historical Perspective of Taiwan Island", stressing the study of Taiwan history should jump out the bondages imposed by the perspective of Chinese(Han)-historiography. Instead of being limited by the Chinese-center perspective, Ts'ao suggested future historians should focus kinds of histories, e.g. ethnological, cultural, linguistics and etc, running on this Taiwan island from primordial times. And this epoch breaking proposal had a great impact for the historians working for next generations.

 

 

Chang Yen-Hsien, a PhD of historiography from famous Tokyo University, concentrated his scholarly efforts to build up "Taiwan Subjective" and "Taiwanese Consciousness". He deemed the research within official archives as insufficient. He once said the historian could certainly found some policy decision or political mechanism within the dusty archives, yet such studies were formal and even superficial. They can not touch the real intentions and emotions of common people's mind. So, it is why Chang insist to do the oral history investigation, especially on oral historical reconstruction of the 228 Massacre in 1947, anticipating to carry on the tradition of Taiwanese resistance to the injustice and restore back the historical justice to the victims of 228 Massacre victims and the related sufferers.

 

 

It is a very sad news that these two giants of Taiwan historiography had left us consecutively in the fall of 2014. We believe their excellent works will keep encouraging the heart of Taiwan society. And now, it is our business to carry on their good job!

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 


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