Over the past two decades, the number of street artists and performers in the nation has been steadily increasing. Growing numbers of young people are taking to the streets to showcase their talents and maybe earn a bit of extra money, but one would still not expect to see an elementary-school principal performing on the street.
However, Peng Huan-chang (彭煥彰), the principal of Beipu Elementary School in Hsinchu County’s Beipu Township (北埔), breaks this stereotype with his second career as a street musician.
Though he may not be the type of person one would imagine as a busker, Peng says that being a street performer does not conflict with his profession; rather, it complements it.
Photo courtesy of Beipu Elementary School
“We teach our children that music is good for you, and if that holds true, what’s wrong with the principal of a school performing music on the street that everyone can enjoy?” Peng said.
The 45-year-old principal hit upon the idea of street performance in 2008, when he was principal of Shakeng Elementary School. Teachers at the school were encouraged to form clubs, so Peng invited other faculty members who loved music for jam sessions and they eventually formed a band.
Doubling as the band’s frontman and lead guitarist, Peng said the band originally only planned to perform for students on special occasions such as birthday parties, but their performances were so well received that they started playing at social functions on behalf of the school.
Photo courtesy of Beipu Elementary School
“We included the school’s name in our band name, which was Sha Hen Da (沙很大),” Peng said, adding that the band was even invited by a technology company to perform at the firm’s year-end banquet.
“That was a major boost to our morale and confidence,” Peng said, adding that the invitation had motivated the band members to apply for a street performers’ license. “It was a test of whether we were professional enough as musicians to be given a license to perform.”
The band joined the Hsinchu County Association for Music in 2010 and received a street artist’s license in 2011.
After Peng was transferred to Beipu Elementary School, he became even more active in promoting the arts in education, hosting periodic talent shows to encourage students to sing, dance or act.
“The shows serve as a platform for children to train themselves to showcase their talents and to develop the courage to be on stage,” Peng said. “The purpose of education is to bring out students’ potential and let them develop the knowledge and wisdom that will help them improve themselves.”
Principals are not meant to lock themselves in the office, they are meant to eliminate the distance between themselves and their students, Peng said, adding that when the students saw him playing his guitar outside of school, it made them more confident and more willing to exhibit their own talents.
“Once students have confidence in themselves, they can better realizer their full potential at school,” the principal said.
Lee Kuo-lu (李國祿), the deputy director of the Hsinchu County Government’s Bureau of Education, said Peng was a passionate educator and not afraid to express himself, adding that the effect he had on his students was admirable.
“He teaches by example and the results are simply astounding,” Lee said.
Kuan Wu-te (官武德), the parent of a student at Beipu Elementary School, said: “I’ve been to see the performances organized by principal Peng and have seen that he really goes out of his way to interact with the children and share his talent with them.”
Kuan added that his son always happily recounted interactions with Peng and school performances when he came home from school.
Making learning entertaining, so that both the teacher and the student enjoy it, is a great help to the students, both in developing the right mindset toward education and in learning itself, Kuan said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb