Wed, Jul 02, 2003 - Page 2 News List

President stars as Hakka TV takes to the airwaves


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was in the limelight yesterday as the nation's first Hakka TV channel officially kicked off with a grand opening attended by several hundred Hakka, including prominent Hakka politicians.

Hakka TV, initiated by The Council for Hakka Affairs and produced by Taiwan Television (TTV), is devoted exclusively to Hakka culture and language. Airing on channel 17, it offers programming 24 hours a day with nine hours of new programs each day.

The opening ceremony opened with a lively rap song in Hakka language which was followed by various performances from different Hakka groups from several cities. There were also pre-recorded video clips of Chen acting as a news anchor announcing (in the Hakka language) the launch of the new channel, and council Chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) acting as a news reporter reporting on the ceremony.

When Yeh went onto the stage to address the crowd, she said that a lack of respect and care in the past few decades had led to a slow but steady decline of the Hakka language and culture.

Since the Hakka Council was established, Yeh said, it has understood clearly that the traditional language and culture had to be adapted to modern life if they were to thrive and survive.

"Since TV is already an indispensable part of modern life, and it has huge impact on the creation and shaping of a culture, we chose TV as a medium to continue the Hakka language and culture," Yeh said.

"We have planned assorted programs for news, finance, children and so on. We hope with the help of TV, our next generation can get in touch with the Hakka language and culture, and that the Hakka language can return to the public arena," Yeh said.

Chen backed Yeh's sentiment when addressing the audience.

"I remember that Yeh once told me -- back when we first had TV, when everyone was watching the programs excitedly -- her grandma, who understood only Hakka, could not share other's enjoyment, and had to ask quietly what was exactly playing on TV. We [Hokkien people] also endured a time when no Hokkien programs were allowed on TV, and we knew what the oppression felt like. It is a good thing that now we finally have a Hakka channel," Chen said.

"This is a grand occasion," said a happy Wu Hung-te (吳泓德), who returned from the US especially for the event.

"My mom is a Hakka who understands only Hakka and Hoklo. It's wonderful that now, finally, there are programs she can understand and enjoy," Wu said.

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