President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday wrote down the Chinese characters for “hope” (盼) and “prosperity” (興) at a calligraphy celebration, saying he hoped the nation would enjoy prosperity throughout the year.
Ma, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) participated in the Taipei Chinese Character Festival organized by the Taipei City Government at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
All three showed their skill at calligraphy to welcome the new year.
Ma, who helped establish the festival six years ago during his term as Taipei mayor, stressed the importance of traditional Chinese characters as a unique feature of Chinese culture and said he hoped the characters would be listed by UNESCO as part of the world heritage.
“I’ve made efforts over the years to promote traditional Chinese characters ... Although mainland China uses simplified Chinese characters, I believe traditional Chinese characters are the right tool to pass on Chinese culture,” he said.
Hau wrote down the character for “safe” (安) at the event and said he wished for Taipei residents to have good health and safety throughout the new year.
Several thousand people attended the festival, where they wrote down their new year wishes in the center plaza of the hall.
The event also attracted some foreigners.
Mark Stocker, who has been living in Taiwan for 17 years, said he enjoyed learning traditional Chinese characters, and writing down traditional characters with a calligraphy brush was a new experience.
“I think traditional Chinese characters document the Chinese culture and help people who learn Chinese understand history,” he said.
Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs invited people to participate in the festival, which runs through Jan. 11 and includes an exhibition on Chinese characters in the exhibition rooms at the hall.
For more information, visit the festival’s Web site at chinese-character-festival.org.tw or call (02) 2598-7557 ext. 117.
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