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Taiwan Church News

3383 Edition

26 December 2016 - 1 January 2017

Church Ministries

 

Rev Omi Wilang: A Huge Gap Exists Between President's Tsai Aboriginal Policy And Its Execution

 

Reported by Lin Chia-jin

 

Reflecting President Tsai's official apology and political promises to Taiwan's aboriginal peoples on August 1, The Aboriginal People Day hence after, Rev Omi Wilang - secretary of PCT Indigenous Mission Committee - expressed his deep disappointment in a recent interview that there was a huge gap existed between President Tsai's aboriginal policy and its execution. He hoped the responsible officials could show their audacity to carry out those aboriginal policies solemnly pledged by the President and desperately desired by the aboriginal people.

Criticizing President Tsai's inappropriate or awkward U-turn on three sincere promises: 1) nuclear waste to move out of the Orchid; 2) legal re-establishment of the traditional aborigine reserve; 3) setup of Aboriginal Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee under the President Office, which were pledged to solve in President's apology and pledges on August 1, Rev Omi Wilang urged Tsai administration to check if the execution of these promises had been went wrong?

According to Rev Omi Wilang, central government's current stance of nuclear waste on the Orchid - to re-organize a truth finding committee on nuclear waste - is apparently to put off the schedule of solution, as the rental contract signed between the government and the Dao people on the Orchid had already expired.

On the issue of how to draw the bounds of traditional aborigine reserve, current bill proposed by central government will not only split or even wrongly explain the traditional reserve, but also very likely to set an unfair limit for the interested parties.

As to the issue, how to elect the members of the Aboriginal Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee under the President Office, Rev Omi Wilang bombarded the authoritarian mindset of the Council of Indigenous Peoples intentionally overlooking diverse democratic voices expressed from different aboriginal people. "Apparently the whole administration heads toward a wrong direction, as a huge gap exists between President Tsai's aboriginal policy and its execution!", remarked Rev Omi Wilang.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3383 Edition

26 December 2016 - 1 January 2017

Headline News

 

PCT Pays Condolence To The Families Of The Victims In Taoyuan Scaffolding Collapse And Urges More Pastoral Ministries For Urban Aborigines

 

Reported by Lin Yi-yin

 

On December 21, during the engineering process of cement pouring, an unexpected scaffolding collapse occurred to a library construction site at Taoyuan Dasi Senior High School. Five workers were killed under tons of collapsed scaffolding materials and several others injured. According to a preliminary finding, this deadly accident might be caused by a weak scaffolding, warned in advance by the site workers, being unable to support the top-story structure during cement pouring.

As two of the five killed workers, Mr Liao Chung-jen and Mrs Huang Hsiu-mei, were confirmed as a couple of Amis aboriginal from the Duli tribe of Pintung, Rev Omi Wilang, secretary of PCT Indigenous Mission Committee, and Rev Lin Wei-lien, secretary of Church and Society Committee, both went to Chungli Mortuary Service Office on December 27 to pay their heartfelt condolence to the families of the victims.

In the past 20 years, the victimized couple made their livings via plastering or frame-working at construction sites among the cities at northern Taiwan. Though their two young boys, playing for school baseball team at Linluo Junior High School in southern Taiwan, studied and lived in a far distance away from their working parents, the whole family was still strenuously connected in a hard working spirit shown in each member. But, this tragic accident not only shocked Taiwan society but also changed everything for these two boys!

Except that Taoyuan City Government and New Taipei City Government pledged to take care of the medical and welfare demands of these victimized workers and their families, this accident also  made manifest the importance and urgency of the pastoral ministry for the urban aborigines.

Based on a population census, till the end of November in 2016, conducted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples under Taiwan's central government, there were totally 552, 687 indigenous people in Taiwan. In a deeper demographic analysis of the aboriginal population, the actual number of urban aborigines, which means the aboriginal inhabited in urban cities, reaches a figure of 256,755(46.46%) people; the figure of aboriginal population in traditional mountain tribes is 163,515(29.59%), and the aboriginal figure in rural or plain tribes is 132,417(23.96%).

On the other hand, a PCT census of church members, up to the end of 2013, shows that there were 253,311 PCT members across the island consisting of 69,549(27.45%) aboriginal members. But, comparing to the fact that there are 419 aboriginal churches serving the mountain tribes and 94 churches serving the rural and plain tribes, there are only four urban aboriginal churches existed at present with a vision to serve a indigenous population of 256,755 people! A mission impossible, isn't it?!

According to Rev 'Eleng Tjaljimaraw, Associate General Secretary of PCT General Assembly Office, there were actually quite a lot of aboriginal workers also lost their lives at construction site, just like the victimized couple at Taoyuan, but most of them usually cast as a common or individual event in the media. In addition, pastoral care for the urban aborigines was obviously not enough, observed Rev 'Eleng Tjaljimaraw, adding that PCT were increasingly lost contact of urban aborigines due to two major factors: either they were not accustomed to the work and faith of urban PCT church or they were attracted to other denominations.

In order to strengthen the pastoral ministry for urban aborigines, the Indigenous Mission Committee reiterate the current pastoral framework of "The Project of Companion and Co-operation In Urban Mission", encouraging each PCT aboriginal presbytery to work closely with kinds of urban PCT church to care for urban aborigines or plant an exclusive urban aboriginal church. Currently, there were already four aboriginal presbyteries operated in this urban mission project. From 2017, four more aboriginal presbyteries, Tayal, Taroko, Tso, and Pinuyumayan, will join into this project, said Rev Omi Wilang.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

Sister-in-law of the victims in Taoyuan scaffolding collapse, the Amis aboriginal couple of Mr Liao Chung-jen and Mrs Huang Hsiu-mei, was solemnly paid in a condolence and financially supported with a NT$ 30,000 offering by Rev Omi Wilang, secretary of PCT Indigenous Mission Committee, and Rev Lin Wei-lien, secretary of Church and Society Committee, at Chungli Mortuary Service Office on 27 December, 2016.

Photo by Lin Yi-yin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3381 Edition

December 12 - 18, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Mrs Intiw Commemorated As The First Indigenous Christian In Taiwan's Aboriginal Church History

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

Commemorating the first Amis Christian, Mrs Intiw, who was born at Sapat and baptized in 1916 by Rev Duncan Ferguson at Tikay Church, a centennial thanksgiving service was held at Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church on December 10. Over 300 Amis Christians assembled to witness this historical moment. A joint-statement was read in the languages of the Amis and the Chinese by three moderators of PCT presbyteries, including Amis presbytery, Eastern Amis presbytery, and Western Amis presbytery respectively, pledging to carry on the evangelical mission in Taiwan's aboriginal society.

According to the church documents of Tikay Church, reported in a Centennial Seminar On Commemorating Mrs Intiw held by Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary in May 2016, Mrs Intiw was confirmed as the first baptized indigenous Christian on 22 October 1916. The baptism of Mrs Intiw is even eight years earlier than Mrs Ciwang Iwal, who was baptized at Hua-lien Habor Church in 1924 and commonly respected as the Mother of Aboriginal Faith in Taiwan.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Mrs Intiw is commemorated as the first baptized aboriginal Christian ever recorded in Taiwan's church history. Over 300 Amis Christians assembled to express their thanksgiving in a centennial commemorative service at Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church(also called Tikay Church in 1916) on 10 December 2016.

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

 
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Taiwan Church News

3381 Edition

December 12 - 18, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Witnessing Unity, PCT Churches Share Good News of Christmas At Hua-lien City Downtown

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

On December 11, the Alliance of Hua-lien Missionary Church held a Santa Claus parade celebrating the Christmas in the downtown of Hua-lien City. Singing the Christmas hymnals along the main streets, many church members preached the good news with gospel tract and wished Hua-lien citizens a happy new year in 2017.

Led by the youth marching in church flags and banners, church members dressed up as Santa Claus proclaiming the good news of Lord Jesus' being born in manger two thousands years ago. At the plaza of Far Eastern Department Store, where the parade of Santa Claus headed for, a musical concert was held with the performances of church choirs, worship bands, and street dances to celebrate Christmas with Hua-lien citizens. In the end this Christmas musical concert, the audience sincerely blessed Taiwan and Hua-lien City with a peace and joy in the famous Christmas hymnal of "Stille Nacht".

Rev Masao Nicar, Moderator of Amis Presbytery, gave his heartfelt praise and thanksgiving to God that Eastern Presbytery, Amis Presbytery, Taroko Presbytery, and Bunun Presbytery could be worked together to engage in this Christmas parade in Hua-lien City downtown. This is a strong witness of unity among the churches, stressed Rev Masao Nicar.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

PCT church members of Eastern Presbytery, Amis Presbytery, Taroko Presbytery, and Bunun Presbytery were called to share good news with Hua-lien citizens via a Christmas parade in Hua-lien City downtown on 11 December, 2016.

Photo by Amis Presbytery

 
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Taiwan Church News

3381 Edition

December 12 - 18, 2016

Church Ministry

 

The Past Is Never Simply The Past - The Second Speech Of Mr Martin Eberts On Transitional Justice In Germany

 

Reported by Chen Yi-fan

 

On December 10, the second speech of Mr Martin Eberts(director general of German institute Taipei) on the experiences of transitional justice in Germany was held at the chapel of Tainan Theological College and Seminary. Moderated by the associate professor Liao Kuei-hsiang(director of Department of German Language and Culture) and translated by Ms Wu Hsin-ru( president of South and North Press), the speech of Mr Martin Eberts was responded by Rev Wang Jen-wen(church history lecturer at TTCS) and Ms Kawlo Iyun Pacisal(NPP lawmaker).

Eberts expressed that for German government it was never an easy job being engaged in such a super-complicated engineering like transitional justice. The famous Nuremberg trials after World War II were only the very beginning of German government's dealing with the war crimes of Nazi, said Eberts, adding that a systematic of de-Nazification was not yet started until 1949 by a new German government then. Even, up to date, the transitional justice for the victims under Nazi atrocities is still under way, remarked Eberts.

As to crimes committed by the communist regimes of eastern Germany, lots of problems still had not been properly solved after the unification of east and west Germany in 1990s. Except the issue of compensation for the victims, for example, a more embarrassing problem is about unequal treatment between the former oppressive officials in east Germany and the exploited victims under the communist regimes of eastern Germany. "Everybody wants to forget about such embarrassment and get back to normal life as soon as possible. But such rush mentality to forget is just abnormal and incorrect!", observed Eberts.

Therefore the transitional justice should not only focus on the punishment of the individual criminal, a reconciliation with the victims is also an important proceeding as well, remarked Eberts, as not all injustice could be solved by an ideally judicial procedure. This is the reason why it is so important, to build up a valuable culture of commemoration about the past, for the voice of the victims would be heard for sure and not fallen into oblivion by the next generations, said Eberts.

Eberts remarked that every society has to find her own way to go though her past, yet if a systematic method could be done in dealing with transitional justice, many errors happened in other countries could be avoided.

Only when the complaints and stand-offs within a traumatized society are decreased, the success of transitional justice would have the chance to come, envisioned Eberts, advising that it is critically important to separate the crimes of individual person from the collective society and deal with them carefully; a major reason that Europe could proceed a peaceful reconciliation is that the German people were never put into a trial by the whole Europe, concluded Eberts.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Mr Martin Eberts(director general of German Institute Taipei, sitting center in front of altar) delivered his second speech, entitled as "The Past Is Never Simply The Past", at the chapel of Tainan Theological College and Seminary on Human Rights Day - 10 December, 2016.

Photo by Chen Yi-fan

 
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Taiwan Church News

3381 Edition

December 12 - 18, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Council Of Indigenous Peoples Held International Conference On Taiwan's Aboriginal Policy

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

In order to review Taiwan's current aboriginal policy and celebrate the 20 anniversary of the establishment of Council of Indigenous Peoples(CIP) under Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, an international conference, entitled as "The Indigenous Administrations and Legal Systems International Conference: Comparisons among Taiwan, United States, and Canada", was held at Hsin-chuan district of New Taipei City on 9 December, 2016. Six CIP high-ranking officials also attended this conference to co-host and respond different issues raised by the engaged scholars and the participating audience.

Based on his comparative studies between Canada and Taiwan, investigating their respective aboriginal agency and related administrations, Dr Kuan Da-wei, an associate professor of department of ethnology at National Cheng-Chi University, reported his findings toward his two problematics: (1)what is the ideal of a legal joint-government for both a central government and her subordinate aboriginal autonomy? (2) how to proceed a better management after natural disasters like typhoon, mud-slides, and etc devastated the aboriginal society within a country?

On the legal basis of a joint-government for a central government and her respective aboriginal autonomy, which played a critical role to set up an aboriginal reserve area, Dr Kwan pointed out that such basis was done via a long term of negotiations in Canada, while in Taiwan it was stipulated to be exclusively designed and worked out by central government.

It is hard to tell, though, which model is better, i.e. a long term of negotiation vs central planning, but the advantages of Canadian model through a long term negotiation are that the aboriginal became a real party owning subjective dominance over this joint-government, observed Dr Kuan, adding that a seeming efficient but actually idle administration in Taiwan's central government not only obstruct the delivery of a joint-government but also place an intolerably administrative limit on many aboriginal rights which had already been granted by The Indigenous Peoples Basic Laws.

As to the question, how to do a better management after natural catastrophes, Dr Kuan reminded the audience that, as shown in his studies of the experiences of Canadian government, it is not enough to restore the infrastructures only after natural disasters had happened. The point is to keep functional a social network within the aboriginal society, indicated Dr Kuan, meaning that an efficiently horizontal communication between central government's agencies and a perpendicular integration to include aboriginal cultures, knowledge, and resources would be the best option in need!

Mr Alang Manglavan, director of Public Construction Department of CIP, affirmed Dr Kuan's findings and suggestion to ease the devastating post-trauma via a constructive research into the social contexts of the aboriginal cultures. Among 748 aboriginal tribes across Taiwan, now there were 47 tribes extremely vulnerable to their environmental danger like earthquake, typhoon, and mud-slides etc, reported Alang Manglavan, adding that these were the aborigines desperately needed to be supported by a conservative policy - the victimized aborigines could leave the damaged household or tribe location, yet never leave their valley or mountain - which is full of aboriginal wisdom!

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

An international conference, entitled as "The Indigenous Administrations and Legal Systems International Conference: Comparisons among Taiwan, United States, and Canada", was held at Hsin-chuan district of New Taipei City on 9 December, 2016.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 


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