Fri, Dec 21, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Establish Hoklo TV station this session: groups

‘BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE’:One DPP lawmaker said a dedicated station budget is needed to train anchors, as ‘tai-gi’ has subtle tones and words with no equivalents

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party legislators and members of civic groups participate in a news conference in Taipei yesterday promoting a separate Hoklo-language (commonly known as Taiwanese) public TV station.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Civic groups yesterday called on the government and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to fight for the establishment of a separate Hoklo-language (commonly known as Taiwanese) public TV station in the current legislative session as the pan-blue camp plans to axe its budget.

Taiwan Language Advocacy Alliance director Hsu Hui-ying (許慧盈) said at a news conference that Taiwan is a multicultural and multilingual nation, and all Taiwanese ethnic groups’ mother tongues must be treated equally.

However, Hoklo has been suppressed for decades and most young Taiwanese cannot speak it fluently, she said.

“Public Television Service has Taiwan Indigenous Television for Aboriginal languages and Hakka Television for Hakka speakers, but why is there no Hoklo TV station?” Hsu asked.

The groups’ members and DPP lawmakers at the news conference said that people should have the right to speak their mother tongue.

Hoklo is not inferior to Mandarin Chinese, which was imposed on Taiwanese by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime, they said.

“We demand a dedicated public TV station, which we will call tai-gi tai (台語電視台). We completely reject the claim by the pan-blue camp that such a station is not needed because Taiwan has many mother tongues and Hoklo cannot represent the other languages,” Hsu said.

To her alliance and its affiliates, tai-gi (台語) is a specific term denoting an age-old language spoken by generations of Taiwanese, she said.

“Like all living languages, tai-gi has evolved with its growing culture and linguists have found it distinctive from the dialects of southern China,” Hsu said.

Past policies to make Mandarin the only official language was part of “cultural imperialism” by the KMT to subjugate Taiwanese, which led to the decline of other languages, Taiwan Radical Wings deputy secretary-general Joyce Lin (林春妙) said.

“KMT politicians have continued this oppression and colonial regime mentality by trying to kill off this new station,” she said.

The station, which is to launch in June next year, could be blocked, because some lawmakers are scheming to cut its NT$400 million (US$12.97 million) annual budget, Taiwan Citizen Participation Association chairman Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said.

KMT legislators Apollo Chen (陳學聖), Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) and Ko Chih-en (柯志恩), as well as Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), have pushed the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee to eliminate the station’s budget, Ho said.

At a budget review on Monday, Chin said that the real Taiwanese language should be Aboriginal languages.

There is no need to dedicate a whole TV station to the promotion of Hoklo, she said, adding that Public Television Service’s current schedule could allow for new Hoklo-language programs to be aired.

Tai-gi is a beautiful language, which holds the cultural treasures and wisdom of Taiwanese. We must not let it disappear,” DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said yesterday.

“The dedicated budget is needed to cultivate staff for the station and to train anchors to speak tai-gi properly, as it has subtle tones and many of its diverse words and meanings are not found in Mandarin Chinese,” she said.

Children are unable to speak their mother tongue, because in most sectors of society, Mandarin Chinese is the predominant language used, DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said, adding that this is due not to preference, but because of the KMT’s education programs and past prohibition on the use of other languages.

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