Taipei Guest House to open
The Taipei Guest House will open from 8am to 4pm to the public on Jan. 1 to coincide with a series of New Year festivities around the city, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. All patrons must present a picture identification card and will be admitted into the compound after a security check, the ministry said. Photography is prohibited. Taipei Guest House, completed in 1901, was originally the house of the governor-general to Taiwan during Japanese rule. The historical baroque style building is now used by the government to hold celebrations or receive guests.
Taiwan is 25 percent Hakka
The Council for Hakka Affairs yesterday released its latest census results, which showed that Hakka, at nearly 6 million people, accounted for 25.6 percent of the population. The number included 3.1 million people whose parents were both Hakka, 1.1 million who had at least one Hakka parent and 1.6 million who did not consider themselves Hakka, but had Hakka ancestry. “The numbers will be an important reference for the council’s future policies,” council Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) told a news conference in Taipei. Huang said that policies on the agenda included setting up special Hakka cultural regions in townships with populations that were more than 40 percent Hakka and Hakka affairs authorities in counties or cities where the Hakka population is more than 10 percent.
‘Red Caution’ to premiere
The first public screening of the documentary Red Caution (紅色戒嚴) will be held tonight at 7pm at Liberty Square in Taipei, the Northern Taiwan Society said yesterday. The film documents police brutality against anti-China demonstrators and other measures, considered by many as violation of freedom of expression and human rights, during China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit to the country last month. The film was shot by independent documentary directors Chen Li-kui (陳麗貴) and Chen Yu-ching (陳育青) and was funded by the Taiwan Society.
Cold front to chill New Year
Those planning to celebrate the New Year countdown outdoors may have to get ready for cold weather, as the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecast the arrival of a cold front on Monday. The bureau said another cold front from the north would also come later next week. Temperatures in the north and northeastern regions are likely to drop to as low as 11°C on New Year’s Eve. And there are chances of showers in mountainous areas in the north, northeast and south, the bureau said.
Penghu gives free bus rides
Free public bus rides will be available from Jan. 1 for all registered residents of Penghu County. Penghu County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) encouraged residents to use the free buses instead of using their cars or motorcycles to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The county government recently allocated NT$20 million (US$606,000) to support the initiative after several county councilors proposed that the county government provide its residents with better social welfare programs and help promote environmental protection awareness, Wang said. Students in Penghu have been allowed to ride public buses for free since Dec. 1.
Underprivileged get tickets
Taipei City Government and several enterprises donated tickets for the renowned Cirque du Soleil to underprivileged children and art students yesterday. The troupe will perform for the first time in Taiwan next month and in February. Taipei City Government donated 520 tickets to children from orphanages and halfway houses. Before its main shows, the troupe will perform the show Alegria on Jan. 13 for about 800 underprivileged people. The company’s shows usually feature acrobatics and dazzling costumes that are the hallmark of the circus, but the performances also incorporate elements of theater. Cirque du Soleil will pitch its famed Grand Chapiteau, a large circus tent that can seat approximately 2,500 spectators, on Jan. 7 in Taipei. Taiwanese fans have not balked at the high admission prices for the show, paying NT$1,900 to NT$7,000 for tickets to the shows, which are almost sold out.