Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Solidarity shines at Austronesian expo

CULTURE AND INDUSTRY The event emphasizes the importance of Aboriginal culture and forges ties with indigenous people from other Pacific nations

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu, right, and other guests watch indigenous Hawaiian performers during the opening ceremony of the 2003 Rainbow Expo at Exhibition Hall 2 of the Taipei World Trade Center yesterday.

PHOTO: LIBERTY TIMES

A four-day international expo promoting indigenous Austronesian culture and commerce opened yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center's Exhibition Hall 2.

The 2003 Rainbow Expo features over 200 stalls divided into seven sections, including Aboriginal industries, handicrafts, agricultural produce and food, service industries, sports, tourism and a stage for live performances.

Eleven tribes from Taiwan and indigenous peoples from ten other countries are represented, including Austronesian peoples from the Philippines and Malaysia.

Many of those participating in the expo attended the 2003 Austronesian International Convention held earlier this week in Taipei.

Performers from Taiwan and overseas will hit the stage during the expo.

Overseas performers have traveled from Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands to attend the expo.

The stalls also display and sell a range of hand-made clothing, bags, handicrafts, Aboriginal-style barbecued food and information on tourism. A massage service is also available.

The sports section outlines a history of Aboriginal achievement in baseball.

The Council of Indigenous Peoples, which organized the event, said it hoped to cultivate exchanges and share experiences with the overseas Aboriginal communities represented at the expo.

"We want to demonstrate that there are good prospects for traditional Aboriginal industries, including package tours and handicrafts, among others," said council chairman Chen Chien-nien (陳建年).

Chen said the council also hoped to promote newly developed service industries such as vehicle maintenance, and to highlight the achievements of Aboriginal baseball players.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) also attended the opening ceremony yesterday.

She said the government has been striving to achieve equality among the nation's different ethnic groups.

She encouraged local Aboriginal communities to see that culture could be transformed into viable industries.

Existing industries could be enhanced to capitalize on world trends, she said.

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