Taipei resident and Mynamar native Celia Yang (楊華美) considered herself fortunate after Cyclone Nargis, which devastated Myanmar earlier this month. Both her brother and sister were safe and sound, though their houses were badly damaged by flooding.
Still, after hearing first-hand accounts of the damage and the countless number of displaced people, Yang wanted to “bring more attention” to the cyclone victims.
So she gathered with friends and members of Burmese community in Taipei to organize the Myanmar Cyclone Relief Concert — an all-day, outdoor event that takes place tomorrow at the Xinyi Public Assembly Hall near Taipei 101.
Besides live music throughout the day, Yang has planned for a photo exhibition on Myanmar and screenings of a short film containing footage of the cyclone aftermath, compiled by two students at National Taiwan University.
Food vendors from Taipei’s Burmese community will also be there, selling Burmese snacks such as tealeaf salad. Rock Starkey will also set up his portable pizza shop, Pizza Explosion.
One positive outcome of organizing the concert for Yang has been the opportunity to strengthen her ties with the Burmese community in Taipei. She says she is grateful for the help of Taipei-based groups such as the Myanmar Overseas Student Association (緬甸僑生同學會) and the founders of New Idea (新觀念緬甸資訊網), a Web site dedicated to providing information on Myanmar.
Through these connections, Yang and co-organizer Sean Scanlan have been able to bring in several musicians with ties to Myanmar.
Eric Duan (段培權), the lead singer of Hsinchu band Underflow, was originally from Myanmar’s Shan State. Underflow, which plays industrial rock, participates every year in an annual benefit for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi held at the Wall (這牆) in Taipei.
What: Myanmar Cyclone Relief Concert
Where: Xinyi Public Assembly Hall (信義公民會館), 50 Songqin Rd, Taipei City (台北市松勤街50號)
When: Tomorrow from 1:30pm to 10pm
Details: Free admission
Duan, who came to Taiwan 10 years ago for university studies, says he’s looking forward to tomorrow’s event: “It’s good to tell [Taiwanese] people that somebody needs help back home.”
He suggests that with the sizable Chinese population in Myanmar, Taiwan has a reason to care: “Those Chinese people [in the KMT army] used to fight for you.”
Another act of note is the Hong Kong pop-rock act Soler, a duo of twin brothers, Julio Acconci and Dino Acconci. The Acconcis, whose mother is Burmese, will be making a short diversion from their Asian tour to play an acoustic set tomorrow.
The lineup also includes Timmy, New Hong Kong Hair City, Pan Africana, the Pine Top Surgeons, Bopomofo, the Muddy Basin Ramblers (my own band) and Taimaica Sound System.
Tomorrow’s event goes from 1:30pm to 10pm and is free of charge. Originally Yang had planned on charging an admission fee with all proceeds going to the Taiwan Red Cross, but she said that venue regulations prevent her from “actively pursuing donations.”
Still, the goal of the event remains the same: “Please don’t forget about the victims,” she said.— David Chen