Minister of culture reflects as agency’s anniversary nears

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, May 17, 2014 - Page 5

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) on Thursday commented on her ministry’s upcoming second anniversary by touting its efforts to “nurture the soil,” a term she uses to refer to laying groundwork for the further development of cultural pursuits.

“The most important work for the Ministry of Culture is not to organize a lot of events, but to nurture the soil. When we have good soil, people’s creativity will take root and blossom like flower seeds,” Lung said ahead of the anniversary on Tuesday.

Listing the achievements of the past two years, Lung said the ministry has drawn up legislation to promote museum development, protect underwater cultural heritage sites, define national cultural development principles and establish both a national performing arts center and a cultural and creative development institute.

It has also drafted amendments to laws governing public television, motion pictures, cultural heritage preservation and culture and arts subsidies, Lung said.

She also touted the ministry’s “Art Bank” project, which seeks to help Taiwanese artists gain more exposure, and the “National Memory Database,” which collects life stories from ordinary citizens.

It is also funding independent bookstores in rural areas to improve local cultural environments, she said, adding that she believes the ministry does not exist to “serve elites, but to improve the appreciation of the arts among grassroot citizens.”

However, Lung also expressed regret that certain goals have not yet been achieved, such as enacting regulations to make purchases of books or arts tickets tax-deductible.

The Ministry of Finance has been opposed to the idea, but Lung said she will continue to lobby for it.