Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

No written form?

As a Taiwanese-American, I feel it is my solemn responsibility to educate the public and often times “correct” misleading information pertaining to Taiwanese culture and history on an “overseas representative level.”

On Thursday last week, I was Web-surfing and came across what I deemed to be a misleading statement issued by the Tourism Bureau with regards to the Hoklo language (also known as Taiwanese) as it relates to mainstream Mandarin Chinese: “Mandarin is the most widespread and commonly used language. The Taiwanese language has no written form, which has prevented it from becoming as sustained and easily used as Mandarin.”

I find this statement offensively misleading, especially coming from a government agency; stemming from the Government Information Office. Whether deliberate or unintentional, this misrepresentation portrays the Taiwanese language as lacking a written form, false information that is disseminated throughout the World Wide Web in English. If the action is indeed intentional, the goal would maliciously perpetuate the idea that Taiwanese do not have their own distinct identity in the international community.

As for Mandarin Chinese becoming the sustainable and easily used “national language” (since the late 1940s), this is a separate issue. I ask that the Tourism Bureau and the Government Information Office retract the statement that “the Taiwanese language has no written form, which has prevented it from becoming as sustained and easily used as Mandarin” that appears on www.go2taiwan.net/chinese_language.php or any other mass-distributed information forum, and offer a formal apology and explanation for their belittlement and misrepresentation of the Taiwanese language to Taiwanese.

Please spread the word.

ANDY CHANG-CHIEN

Irvine, California

[Editor’s note: This passage has since been removed from the Tourism Bureau’s Web site.]

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