Ma remains Tongyong Pinyin holdout

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Aug 03, 2002 - Page 2

Despite the central government's decision to make Tongyong Pinyin the official system for the Roman-ization of street signs, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday remained firm in his stand that the Taipei City Government would continue using Hanyu Pinyin as its Romanization standard.

On Thursday, a consensus to use Tongyong Pinyin was reached between various ministries and local governments at a meeting held by the Ministry of Education, the ministry which had officially approved the system last month.

"The consensus reached [by various government agencies on Thursday] to use Tongyong Pinyin does not have any bearing on us, so the Taipei City Government will keep on using Hanyu Pinyin," Ma yesterday told an audience at the opening ceremony of the Guo Yuan-yi Pastry Museum.

Using the name of the museum as an example, as well as that of the National Palace Museum and all museums around the world, "which all use Hanyu Pinyin," Ma reiterated that Hanyu Pinyin is the international trend for the Romanization of Mandarin Chinese.

Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), the Taipei City government's spokesman, told the Taipei Times yesterday that, "since a conclusion that was made during that meeting stated that it is not compulsory for all cities and counties to use Tongyong Pinyin, we [Taipei City] will keep using the Hanyu Pinyin System, which is more user-friendly to the vast number of expatriates in town."

As an alternative solution, Kang Tsung-hu (康宗虎), deputy director of the city's Bureau of Education, added that the city would also consider the possibility of using both Hanyu and Tongyong Pinyin for the city's place names and road signs.

Thursday's meeting was attended by representatives from various government agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and a number of local governments. Measures drafted during the meeting will be sent to the Cabinet for review.

One of these draft measures calls for authorities to instruct the National Central Library to develop a computerized Romanization system for the conversion of Chinese characters into Tongyong by the end of this year.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would also work to amend the relevant laws and to have people's passport names Romanized according to Tongyong Pinyin by next June at the earliest.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government Information Office would coordinate seminars for Taiwan's expatriates to familiarize them with the Tongyong Pinyin system. These two bodies will also promote the use of the system to firms so that the companies can use it on their products.