Culutre ministry to orally record Taiwan’s history

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Apr 09, 2013 - Page 4

The Ministry of Culture yesterday said it is planning to record an oral history of Taiwan that it will preserve in an online database.

The project will give Taiwanese of all backgrounds a chance to share their stories and have them become a permanent part of the nation’s history, the ministry said.

Recording stations staffed by volunteers will be set up around the nation to help collect the stories, the ministry said, adding that people are also welcome to submit their own recordings.

The ministry also said it plans to hire professionals to interview victims of the White Terror era.

During this dark chapter in the country’s history, hundreds of thousands of political dissidents and others were persecuted by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

The ministry said the oral histories will be stored in a “citizens’ memory” database and will be made available through social media, television, radio and other media.

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said she hopes that the initiative will reach all corners of the nation, including Aboriginal communities and fishing villages, and that people will help preserve the oral history of their grandparents.

Speaking to cultural officials from the nation’s 22 counties and cities, she urged them to work with the ministry “to bring to life the stories of the people of Taiwan.”

“Taiwan is a peaceful and contented society, but deep down we are still very divided on our collective identity,” which can be consolidated through a deeper understanding of the past, Lung said.

The ministry said NT$40 million (US$1.33 million) will be allocated to the project in the first year.