Kaohsiung events mark 228, look toward future

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 3

For many in Kaohsiung, Feb. 28 not only marks a day to look back on the 228 Incident, it also provides a chance for young and old alike to look ahead to the future.

On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the 1947 incident, in which many died at the hands of the military, the Kaohsiung City Government has arranged a series of events to mark the occasion.

However, these events do more than merely reflect on history. Under the theme "Here Awaits a Bright Future," this year's events have been designed to engage Kaohsiung's youngsters.

"Through music, dance dramas, fine arts, literature and movies, we hope to refresh people's memory of this historical tragedy, heal their sorrow with love and tolerance and help them step forward to a rosy future," said Liu Hsiu-mei (劉秀梅), Deputy Director-General of the Kaohsiung City Government's Bureau of Cultural Affairs.

The bureau said that the events will begin today with a "literary dialogue" at Municipal Kaohsiung Senior High School, a location that figured in the incident.

After violence broke out in Taipei, Kaohsiung City was soon troubled by instability. Students from the high school then organized self-defense groups.

A military attack on the school and the former city hall -- now the location of the Kaohsiung History Museum -- was ordered by military commander Peng Meng-chi (彭孟緝).

The attack resulted in the deaths of about 60 people, including city councilors.

Bureau of Cultural Affairs Director-General Wang Zhi-cheng (王志誠) -- who is also a poet under the pen name Lu Han-hsiu (路寒袖) -- political critic and poet Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) and Yang Tsui (楊翠), a professor of Taiwanese literature at Providence University, will discuss the incident with students of the school from a literary, historical and educational perspective.

Elsewhere, nearly 100 contemporary works of art that reflect artists' observations and reflections on the incident will be on display at the Kaohsiung History Museum. The exhibit will begin tomorrow and run for about one month.

Government officials, Kaohsiung residents and families of 228 victims will also attend a memorial event in Kaohsiung's Jenai Park (仁愛公園), where Kaohsiung's 228 Monument is located. They will be joined by student choirs.

A dance titled "Rebirth" will be performed by Kaohsiung's Spring Wind Art Group (南風劇團) during the memorial event, the bureau said.

Liu said the events were specifically planned to be held in places relating to the incident in an attempt to arouse an emotional connection between Kaohsiung citizens and local history.