Aboriginal pastor and actor Nolay Piho has focused in recent years on building a school for Atayal children in Yilan County’s Fushan (福山) community instead of pursuing acting jobs.
According to the Chinese-language China Times, Piho, 55, has turned down five roles in the past two years, including a Chinese television drama role alongside Taiwanese actor Yu Da-ching (游大慶) that offered NT$15 million (US$478,774) for 15 days of filming.
His agent said that he could use the money to hire workers for the school that he was building.
However, Piho chose to stay in the community and build the school himself.
“I am not comfortable giving the job to others,” he said.
Piho is Atayal Aboriginal and was a carpenter before becoming a pastor and an actor.
He is best known for playing tribal chief Mouna Rudo in the film Seediq Bale.
He is leading the effort to build a school in Fushan with Atayal members of the community, and has been funding the project from his pastor’s salary of NT$25,000 per month, the China Times reported.
In response to media queries on when he would return to acting, Piho said: “If by next year the tribal classroom curriculum and the congregation are good to go, and there are good roles available, I will consider it.”
Piho said that he had been an alcoholic in his youth during a period of depression and that he became ill because of his drinking, adding that helping steer young people toward the right path was what motivated him to become a pastor.
He said his work to promote education has encountered many setbacks, but he continues to be hopeful, adding: “It is tough, but until my life is at an end, I will give my best to finish the job.”
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