The most noteworthy thing about this year's Golden Melody Awards was not who won the big prizes. Instead, it was a statement by Lin Sheng-hsiang (
He distinguished himself by refusing to accept the two awards and donating his prize money to a number of agricultural community groups and individuals in a show of support for farmers.
Lin naturally left the show's hosts and the press dumbfounded, but his point of view and actions have received considerable support from the public, who it seems are considerably less starry-eyed than the media and music companies assume.
Lin was objecting to the fact that the awards are categorized by language. He thinks that the language of music crosses boundaries delineated by ethnicity, language and sex, and argues that the jury should have judged only the musical quality of performers, songs and albums.
The fuss calls to attention the actual value of the Golden Melody Awards' division of music into four categories based on language: Mandarin, Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), Hakka and Aboriginal languages.
Superficially this might be regarded as respectful and protective of the creativity of the nation's different ethnic groups, but in effect it consolidates a cultural system that marginalizes minorities.
There are more meaningful measures that can be adopted if encouragement for minority musicians is the goal.
For example, the Hakka and Aboriginal affairs commissions could advance legislation that would provide wider support for Hakka and Aboriginal musicians. This would obviously extend to funding for music education.
Such support would be more effective than the Golden Melody Awards setting up special prizes for separate language groups, which seems to relegate music in minority languages to a secondary category in terms of quality or the degree to which it can be accepted as "popular."
Aboriginal and Hakka musicians in particular have been weakened by political, economic, historical and cultural factors, but the groups have never been lacking in creativity or skill.
Artists including Lin Sheng-hsiang, Chen Chien-nien (
What the separation of music into language categories does is lower the standards applied to artists working in minority languages and thus retard their development. In the long term it serves to consolidate the dominance of Mandarin and Hoklo and smacks of condescension.
As to the future of the Golden Melody Awards, the Government Information Office might also carefully consider this point: Is it appropriate that an event whose aim is to stimulate the market for pop music is paid for by taxpayers?
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering