A-chung was referring to an employment scheme launched after the typhoon by the government called the “880 Employment Program” (八 八零工), under which unemployed residents in disaster-stricken areas have been given short-term employment opportunities that require them to work eight hours a day in return for a daily salary of NT$800 (US$27).
Pacifying the typhoon victims with money is not a viable long-term solution, Yang said, adding that the government should instead seek ways to increase the economic value of agricultural products from Jiasian.
Yang said A Bridge Over Troubled Water is by far his most important work because “it has made him an angrier person.”
“Documentary filmmakers are supposed to bring attention to certain social issues, but many people are mistakenly expecting us to not only point out problems, but to also roll out solutions for them, which to me is utterly absurd,” Yang said.
He said making the film has taught him one thing: People should tell the government what to do rather than expecting it to do something or giving up on it.
“However, as the government has been occupied ‘removing a person over a troubled matter,’ it probably has not even noticed my film,” Yang said jokingly, apparently referring to government attempts to oust Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) over allegations of improper lobbying.
A Bridge over Troubled Water is Yang’s second documentary featuring post-disaster recovery following the release of his work Revival (甦) last year. This 22-minute film centered on the reconstruction of northeastern Japan after the region was severely hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on Mar. 11, 2011.
Comparing Taiwan with Japan in terms of their post-disaster efforts, Yang said Japan has used “soft power” by holding musical concerts, art shows or sports events.
“Japan’s approaches to reconstruction may not be completely applicable to Taiwan, but we could still borrow its wisdom,” Yang said.
“After all, the most difficult task in post-disaster recovery is not rebuilding houses, but rebuilding minds,” he said.