Wed, Dec 21, 2011 - Page 16 News List

CIP officials reject Aboriginal dancer’s traditional tattoos
原舞者秀紋身圖騰 官員竟說不行

A dancer from the Mountain Ocean Music concert performance named Wang Jui-che shows his tattoos on Dec. 14. On his back and arms is the image of a slithering Deinagkistrodon snake, while a mountain hawk-eagle spreads its wings on his shoulders.

Photos: Hsieh Wen-hwa, Taipei Times
照片: 自由時報記者謝文華

The Executive Yuan’s Council of Indigenous People’s (CIP) has unexpectedly rejected the traditional tattoos of an Aborigine, because they felt the tattoos were not formal enough for the concert the CIP was holding at Taipei’s Daan Forest Park last Friday. When dancer Wang Jui-che displayed his Paiwan tattoo culture at a press conference last Wednesday announcing the concert, a CIP official told him to put on his traditional tribal clothes because it was an official event. One member of the production team named Namo criticized the official for discriminating against the dancer and asked, “If even the CIP is incapable of respecting Aboriginal cultures, how can we expect respect from ethnic Han?”

Wang Jui-che was wearing sports attire and slippers during a rehearsal last Wednesday when CIP official Chan Chuan-chuan asked in dismay, “How could you wear slippers to a press conference?” Namo responded by saying “He’s acting the part of a laborer. Should he wear a suit or something?” Wang uncovered his upper torso, showing his colorful Paiwan tattoos as he went out on stage, and stressed that the tattoos were unique to the Paiwan tribe. Chan, however, still thought it was inappropriate and asked him to wear a shirt.

A member of the Paiwan tribe named Tsu Jui said the Paiwan tribe believes that after a person dies, they become Deinagkistrodon snakes. After the snake dies, they become mountain hawk-eagles, and then finally turn into the water within bamboo joints. The Paiwan have a class system, and usually only nobility, chiefs, or sub-chiefs are allowed to get tattoos. Commoners can only have tattoos if they obtain merit through war, or buy the right to get a tattoo by paying tribute to a chief.



1. discriminate v.

歧視 (qi2 shi4)

例: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a policy that discriminated against gays in the US military.


2. slipper n.

拖鞋 (tuo1 xie2)

例: I like to feel my feet against the carpet, so I hate wearing slippers.


3. to pay tribute v. phr.

進貢 (jin4 gong4)

例: Japan, Korea, and Vietnam all paid tribute to ancient China for hundreds of years.






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