Tue, Sep 17, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Poor showing in religious sites poll irks Nantou locals

By Lin Ming-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man looks at a poster outside Sinyi Township’s Wenchang Temple in Nantou County on Wednesday last week. The poster advertises religious sites in the county as part of the Ministry of the Interior’s online poll for ranking the popularity of Taiwanese religious sites.

Photo: Lin Ming-hung, Taipei Times

Many Nantou County residents have been complaining about their local government’s promotion of the county’s 38 religious sites after preliminary results showed that only three of them have made it into the top 50 of the Ministry of the Interior’s “Top 100 Taiwanese Religious Sites” so far.

The poll, which was launched on Aug. 20, is open to all county and city governments across the nation and will conclude on Oct. 20.

The results of the poll will be determined by academics and by the public. Academics’ votes will count for 70 percent of the results, while the remaining 30 percent will be determined by ballots cast online by the public, the ministry said.

Nantou County’s nomination of 38 religious spots puts it in third place, coming in only slightly behind the 42 nominations made by the Greater Tainan Government and the 39 submitted by the Changhua County Government.

One Nantou resident surnamed Liao (廖) said that the county government had erred by nominating too many places, causing the votes to be spread too thin, while another, surnamed Chen (陳), said that it was not doing enough to promote the event.

Chen said that many people are not aware of the poll and because public voting requires Internet access and an e-mail address, people in rural areas are being underrepresented.

“It is no wonder that we are getting less votes,” Chen added.

However, the Nantou County Government said that the voting was not over yet, and the current results mostly reflected votes from religious groups and their followers, not the general public.

The county’s Religion and Cultural Customs Division said that it would start promoting the poll more, for example by incorporating the subject into their computer classes to mobilize students to vote online.

In addition to promoting the list, this initiative would help students learn more about the religious sites in their county, the division said.

The 38 locations nominated by Nantou included Puli Township’s (埔里) Zhongtai (中台禪寺), Lingyanshan (靈巖山寺), Xianfo (仙佛寺), Dimu (地母廟) and Shoutian (受天宮) temples; Sun Moon Lake’s Syuanguang (玄光寺) and Wen Wu (文武廟) temples; a church (天主廟) in Sinyi Township’s (信義) Dili Village; and the Wenchang Temple (藍田書院), also in Sinyi.

Of the 38, the three that have made it into the top 50 so far are: Kuanghui Center in Caotun Township (草屯), which is in 19th place with 1,680 votes; Leizang Temple, also in Caotun, at 38 with 1,108 votes; and Zhushan Township’s (竹山) Zinan Temple at No. 39 with 1,094 votes.

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