In his opening speech at the this year's A-ha Hakka Arts Festival (2006 a-ha 客家藝術節) in Meinung Township, Kaohsiung County on Saturday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) praised the uniqueness of Hakka culture and said he hoped the government and opposition could set partisan concerns aside to support an increase in resources for the Council for Hakka Affairs.
Su said that having served as Pingtung County commissioner and provincial government councilor, he had visited many Hakka townships and villages. He has appointed several Hakkas to the Cabinet team, including Council for Hakka Affairs Chairman Lee Yung-teh (李永得), Council for Cultural Affairs Vice Chairman Wu Chin-fa (吳錦發) and National Science Council Deputy Minister Yang Hung-duen (楊弘敦), all three of whom hail from Meinung.
Su also said that since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) election, particular attention has been paid to Hakka culture by increasing the budget for the Council for Hakka Affairs and establishing a Hakka TV station, for example.
He expressed his desire for an increased council budget to enable further promotion of cultural diversity and protection of Hakka culture.
The theme for this year's festival is "music without borders." The event was opened by environmentalist musician Matthew Lien who sang old Hakka favorites together with singer Hsieh Yu-wei (謝宇威).
The festival will take place over four Saturdays at different locations around the island. Saturday's event will be followed on Nov. 11, Nov. 25 and Dec. 12 with events at the Luo Family Complex in Chiatung Township, Pingtung County (屏東縣佳冬鄉羅家夥房), the Chiang Kai-shek Performance Hall in Fengshan City, Kaohsiung County (高雄縣鳳山市國父紀念館演藝廳), and the plaza outside the Kaohsiung City Music Hall (
Further details can be found at www.hakka.gov.tw.