Thu, Feb 19, 2015 - Page 2 News List

Paiwan poet urges public to care for environment

Staff writer, with CNA

A Taiwanese Aboriginal poet urged his readers to care more about the environment and not to forget the pain suffered by Aborigines in the nation.

Monanen, a Paiwan Aborigine, said he wrote the poem The Aged Mountain in the 1970s after reading a news report about people illegally chopping down yew trees in the mountains.

The poem describes how the poet returns to his village to find that “the brutal wood-chopping continues” and that “the once fertile mountain of mine is now piles of stone.”

“Our descendants need to live on this land for generations to come, so we must not exhaust the earth’s resources selfishly,” the 59-year-old said.

Even today, Taiwan still faces many environmental problems, such as overdevelopment at the scenic Cingjing (清境) area in Nantou County, said the poet, who called for more efforts to tackle these long-existing problems.

Monanen’s poems address environmental injustices and the discrimination and pain suffered by Aborigines.

“I write poems because I have no other way to release the pain in my heart,” said Monanen, whose own life story is a tragic one.

He lost his mother at a young age and was tricked into forced labor when he was a teenager, while his sister was sold into prostitution.

Monanen lost his sight in his 20s due to a long-term eye disease and a car accident.

The poet said he hopes his poems can show young people the dark side of Taiwanese history and remind them not to forget these issues, even though Taiwanese society has progressed.

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