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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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