Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Local talent deserve Hakka awards

By Chen Ping-hsun 陳秉訓

Chinese singer Qiu Lin (秋林) won the Best Hakka Singer award at the Golden Melody Awards on June 23. This is a “cultural crisis” that deserves the attention of the authorities in charge.

The organizer added the category in 2003 to split the Best Dialect Male Singer and Best Dialect Female Singer awards into additional categories. The change was made to reflect the then-Democratic Progressive Party government’s cultural diversity policy, as well as to include more local elements in the annual event.

The Hakka-language categories had the goal of protecting and promoting the Hakka language, with the intended result of adding them to encourage local Hakka to create more Hakka music. This means that the Hakka awards must be saved for Taiwanese artists.

Winning the awards can bring the artists more opportunities to perform commercially. Such opportunities should be reserved for local musicians so that an environment beneficial to the creation of Hakka music is established.

With his previous album, Qiu was in 2016 nominated for Best Hakka Album and Best Hakka Singer — as the first Chinese nominee in the Hakka categories — but he failed to win an award that year.

This year, his latest album, Da Ling Jiao Xia 2 (大嶺腳下2), won over the judges, even though it was inspired by Hakka culture in China’s Guangdong Province.

Qiu’s win shows that the Hakka-focused categories are losing their cultural meaning. The awards no longer have the unique characteristic of encouraging the creation of local Hakka music.

Even more serious is that this development is likely to open a new path for China’s “united front” strategy, which has attempted to Sinicize Hakka culture in Taiwan.

Authorities should face this issue head on so local Hakka musicians do not lose their main stage.

Chen Ping-hsun is an assistant professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Technology, Innovation and Intellectual Property Management.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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