The recent announcement by the Ministry of the Interior of a measure requiring the renewal of national identification cards on July 1 has drawn calls on tribespeople to reclaim their Aboriginal names. \n"Aboriginal names have been buried under cultural and political oppression over the years," said Mayaw Biho (馬耀比吼), a documentary filmmaker and key player in a campaign to rectify the names of the nation's Aboriginals. \n"After more than 20 years since the launch of the first name-rectification campaign, many Aborigines are still reluctant to change their names," Mayaw said. \nMayaw has made several documentary films related to Aboriginal issues. The Amis tribe native uses his documentaries as a means to share Aboriginal culture with others. His films have won several awards and screened at film festivals around the world, including the 2004 Riddu Festival in Norway and the Taipei Biennial Festival. Capitalizing on July's national identification card renewal period as an opportunity to persuade more Aboriginals to change their names, Mayaw plans to shoot three promotional ads to raise public awareness about what he says is a necessity for indigenous people to use their native names. \nMayaw's plan has garnered support from private sponsors. He was awarded the 2004 Keep Walking Fund of NT$1,000,000. The fund, co-sponsored by the Chinatimes Cultural and Educational Foundation and Jonnie Walker Corp, encourages people to carry out their dreams through creativity. \nIn addition to television broadcasts, Mayaw's ads may also appear on the TV screens at MRT stations starting from May, with the assistance of the Taipei City Indigenous People's Commission. \nName rectification empowers Aboriginals and helps them become self-aware, People's Commission secretary Feng Ya-chun (封雅君) said, adding that Mayaw's ads might serve to subtly encourage Aborigines to adopt their original names. \nIn 2003, Taipei County's Administration Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs set up a one-stop service the enables Aboriginals to change the names on their identification and health insurance cards and other documents all at once. \nTaiwan's Aboriginals were not allowed to use their tribal names under the Japanese colonial period and the subsequent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime. It was not until 1995, after continuous lobbying by activists, that the KMT government allowed Aboriginals to use their original names. \nThe 1995 amendments to the Statute of Names (姓名條例) assured indigenous people of the right to use their Aboriginal names. Later, in 2003, another amendment to the law gave Aboriginals the right to list their original names in Romanized form along with the Chinese version of their names on identification cards, according to the Ministry of Interior. \nBut Aboriginal rights advocates are not satisfied with the progress being made. \nMayaw said that after a decade of having the right to do so, only 756 Aboriginals have reclaimed their traditional name -- less than 1 percent of the total Aboriginal population, or around 450,000 people in Taiwan. \n"Discrimination against people with Aboriginal names discourages many from changing their names. The government has failed to give an additional incentives [to name changing] beyond amendments to the law," said Lin Pi-ching (林碧清), a non-Aboriginal webmaster of the Amis film-making team, which is dedicated to promoting Aboriginal name rectification through documentaries. \nMayaw, who began using his Aboriginal name instead of his Han Chinese name, Peng Shi-sheng (彭世生), in college, said he didn't changed it officially until 2000 because of the complicated procedure. \n"My father is not an Aboriginal, and my mother adopted a Han name when she married. In order to take an Aboriginal name, I first had to change my mother's identity back to Aboriginal so I could prove that I was an Aboriginal and rectify my name," he said. \nThe limited knowledge of staff at registration offices across the nation about the uniqueness of Aboriginal names also adds to the difficulty of name rectification. \n"The limited space for filling out names in most of the forms is inconvenient for Aboriginals, whose names are usually longer than the Han ones. Some officers would ask people to delete one character or two to have their names fit in the space, which is ridiculous and rude," Mayaw said. \nVice Interior Minister Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said the new identification cards will have no space limitation for names. \n"We understand the importance for Aboriginals to acquire their original names. Many city and county governments now offer one-stop services for name rectification, which are faster and more convenient," Chien said. \nBut the fact is that staff at local household registration offices haven't been trained to serve Aboriginals in this matter, which has resulted in negative experiences among many Aboriginals. \nBut Siew Cheng-chia (蕭成洽), chief of the ministry's Household Registration Administration, says name rectification procedure is not difficult. \n"I think the name rectification procedure is simple and easy. Our local offices are more than happy to provide assistance, so Aboriginals should have no difficulty in changing their name," Siew said. \nMayaw said the government should more actively help promote name rectification. In addition to training to local household registration office staff, the government should also allow tribal tours to educate people there of the importance of getting their original names back. \nNevertheless, the campaign for Aboriginal name rectification will continue until all Aboriginals adopt their original names, Mayaw said. \n"When you see Aboriginal politicians still using their Chinese names, you know that the campaign still has a long way to go," he said.
SMALL RESPITE: The past few rainy days, which came after one month of virtually no rain on the west coast, did not ease Taiwan’s water shortage problems, the CWB said A weather system from southern China has over the past three days replenished Taiwan’s reservoirs with almost 16 million tonnes of water, giving Taiwan a slight relief from a water shortage, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) said yesterday. From 12am on Tuesday to 4pm yesterday, about 15.97 million tonnes fell in the catchment areas of the nation’s reservoirs, which is slightly more than Taiwan’s average daily water use, it said. However, the rain would ease today, with only isolated showers forecast in Hualien and Taitung counties, as well as in southern Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said. For other regions, cloudy to
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi