Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 2 News List

President Chen to open Hakka festival with a song

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students from Ku Ting Elementary School perform at a news conference held by the Council for Hakka Affairs yesterday to promote a Hakka cultural event on Sunday at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will sing mountain songs to mark the opening of a Hakka traditional arts festival at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on Sunday, chairwoman of the Cabinet's Council for Hakka Affairs Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) said yesterday.

Yeh said the title of the festival -- "Let's Sing our Mountain Songs and Have a Happy Chat" -- sums up the aims of the festival.

"The first thing about being a Hakka is being able to sing mountain songs," Yeh said.

When a Hakka meets another Hakka, Yeh said, they need only a few words to introduce themselves. "They need only to sing mountain songs and affinity between them develops immediately," she said.

"As for `Have a Happy Chat,'" Yeh said, "I really hope the younger Hakka generation can learn more about their mother tongue."

According to Yeh, the number of Hakkas in Taiwan is falling.

"I hope Hakka people can have confidence in their culture and language," she said.

Many young Hakka are forgetting their language and know little about their culture, "therefore, the government is sparing no effort to promote the Hakka language and culture," Yeh said.

She said the disappearance of any language or culture is a great loss to society.

"Hakka is a minority group among Taiwan's four major ethnic groups. I think the four ethnic groups still need to learn how to tolerate other groups," Yeh said.

The festival performances, including singing, martial arts and dramas, will take place on the squares on the west and the east sides of memorial hall. A food fair will also be held to promote Hakka delicacies.

Sunday's festival will run from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

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