Hakka Commission stages festival to boost awareness

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 2

In an effort to promote Hakka culture and boost ethnic confidence, the Hakka Commission (客家委員會) is hosting a cultural festival this Sunday at the square in front of the Presidential Office.

Fang Kuang-chun (范光群), head of the Hakka Commission, said yesterday at a press conference that the cultural festival, titled "Hakka's wish -- a harmonious society" (族群和諧 . 客家心願), is part of his group's efforts to promote public awareness and appreciation of the Hakka culture.

"Through this event," Fang said, "we hope people will gain better insight into Hakka culture and give it the recognition it deserves."

"We also hope that the public will come to embrace Hakka culture, among others, and see the beauty of cultural diversity in Taiwanese society," Fang said.

Fang said the festival will feature Hakka folk singing and dancing as well as Hakka cuisine, arts and craft demonstrations.

Fang pointed out that no Hakka events have ever been held in the area of the Presidential Office.

"We feel that it is very meaningful to have this event set at the square in front of the Presidential Office," Fang said. "It shows the administration's sincerity in handling Hakka affairs."

The Hakka Commission, established by the Cabinet on July 14, is the realization of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) election campaign promise to care for and support Taiwan's minority groups.

"Hakka are not a minority because of their population," said Leo Liu (劉永斌), the commission's deputy head. "But they are a minority in terms of their living culture."

Liu said that many Hakka descendants today can't speak their native language.

"The priority of the commission is to preserve the Hakka language in order to revitalize Hakka culture," Liu said.

There are about four million Hakka people living in Taiwan, representing 15 percent of Taiwan's population.