Tsai touts ‘romantic highway’ policy

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter, in TAOYUAN

Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday visited several Hakka communities along Provincial Highway No. 3 in Taoyuan and Hsinchu County, following a news conference to give details of her “Romantic Highway No. 3” policy.

Speaking to local political leaders, supporters and Taiwanese literary writer Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) in front of the Shengjiting (聖蹟亭) — the Pavilion of Sacred Relics — in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭), Tsai promised to turn the section of the highway that runs through Hakka communities in Taoyuan, Hsinchu County, Miaoli County and Taichung into an important route of development in tourism and agriculture that would lead to local prosperity.

“This is a highway of history, as, along the road, we can see the relics of [Han] settlements in history, integration between the Hans and Aborigines, and the combined prosperity of ethnic groups,” Tsai said. “It is also a highway of culture, as Chung, who left a classic page in Taiwanese literature, artist Hsiao Ju-sung (蕭如松), who left so many great works, and a well-known musician in Taiwanese musical history Teng Yu-hsien (鄧雨賢) all lived along the road.”

Besides artistic personalities, Tsai said there are important tea and fruit production regions, as well as research institutes for the national defense industry along the road.

“Since it runs through many Hakka communities, we could call it the ‘Hakka Romantic Road,’ but we will make it a project for all Taiwanese,” Tsai said.

Tsai said she deliberately chose to hold the press conference in front of Shengjiting, because it is a place where people burn pieces of paper with words written on them out of respect for literature.

“Each word that I speak and each that I write are out of sincerity; they cannot be lies,” Tsai said.

Tsai said that if she is elected president, she would set up a special task force for the project to take charge of integrating government and non-governmental resources while facilitating communications among government agencies.

Following the press conference, Tsai visited a bookstore coffee shop in nearby Pingjhen District (平鎮), where she spoke with community reform advocates to learn about their ideas and challenges.

Tsai also spoke with Chung in the Japanese-era house that he lived in and where he completed many of his literary works while teaching at Longtan Elementary School.

Chung shared some of the stories behind his works.

“This is why I want to preserve culture and memories through the Romantic Highway No. 3 project,” Tsai said. “We are fortunate enough to sit here and listen to a master writer telling his stories and we want generations to come to be able to learn the stories behind masterpieces in Taiwanese literature as well.”