Smangus documentary to screen on PTS

Smangus: A Year in the Clouds, a documentary about the Atayal community of Smangus, will screen on Taiwan’s Public Television Service (PTS) tonight (30 June). The documentary had its premiere in Smangus on Tuesday night. It is a co-production between PTS and British documentary makers Dean Johnson and Frank Smith. The team filmed various aspects of the daily life in Smangus over a period of 15 months.

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ChthoniC release new MV — TAKAO

ChthoniC have released a music video for their new single “TAKAO” (皇軍). The single is from their new album which is scheduled for release in August July. The video was directed by Vince Chuang (莊志文) who has directed other videos for ChthoniC including “49 Theurgy Chains“.

The video and song is about Taiwanese soldiers who fought for Japan in World War II. Some of these soldiers were indigenous people who were known as the Takasago Volunteers. Their story is the theme of ChthoniC’s forthcoming album. The video includes an 80 year old Atayal man whose father fought for Japan in Southeast Asia.

The song also features the voice of DPP legislator Yu Tien (余天). In a post on Facebook ChthoniC bass player Doris Yeh said, “Yu Tien’s voice perfectly provides the passionate vibe of the song.”

The Chinese name of the song means “Japanese Imperial Army” but the English name is “Takao”. This is the old Hoklo Taiwanese name for Kaohsiung, which was the harbor that soldiers departed from to join the war. Doris said, “This is a way of letting the fans around the world know Kaohsiung.”

The single is being released in Europe by Spinefarm Records. It includes a bonus track with Finnish metal band Ensiferum singing the chorus of “Takao” in English.

226 incident must be investigated

On the evening of 26 February a group of Taiwanese university students in Taipei went out to show their support for the Jasmine Revolution in China. While attempting to cross the road they were blocked from crossing by a group of plain-clothes people claiming to be police officers. The video embedded above shows the incident. The Taipei Times has also reported on the incident.

The students involved in the incident have established the “226 Students Self-Help Group” (226學生自救小組) and have created a blog, Facebook page and YouTube channel. I have translated the description of the event from the 226 students’ blog below. Continue reading

Day trip to Dajia in Taichung County

Wenchang Shrine in Dajia

I took the opportunity to do a bit of local tourism today heading out to Dajia (大甲) in Taichung County.  The first place I stopped was the Wenchang Shrine (文昌祠), a beautiful little temple with neatly kept grounds.

Worshipers in the temple

Next stop was the Dajia Matsu Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮). The temple is one of the busiest and most important religious centres in Taiwan. It is the starting point of the annual Matsu pilgrimage held in March or April. Continue reading

Around the World – new Kou Chou Ching MV

Taiwanese hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤) have just released a new music video titled “Around the World” (世界放風聲). 2010 has seen Kou Chou Ching touring to the USA, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The video features footage from the group’s world tour, but the lyrics leave no doubt that their music is 100% Made in Taiwan.

Here is my translation of some of the lyrics:

從東京到台北 再來到紐約 我們的腳步從來不停歇
From Tokyo to Taipei and all the way to New York,
Our feet have never stopped for stopped for a rest

巡迴 的武器是音樂 Made in Taiwan 的純正口味
On tour our weapon is music with a “Made in Taiwan” pure flavor

高喊台灣 我從來不害臊 這個國家是我的驕傲
Shouting out “Taiwan”, I’ve never been ashamed
This country is my pride

我要你聽到 明瞭 知道 台灣的榮耀 在這 Right now
I want you to clearly hear and know the glory of Taiwan
Right here, right now!

Taiwan and the biodiversity crisis

Michael Turton has posted an excellent interview with Dr Bruno Walther about biodiversity in Taiwan. Dr Walther is a visiting professor at Taipei Medical University and also works at the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute. In the interview he discusses some of the key challenges Taiwan faces to protect its biodiversity.

Dr Walther and Klaus Bardenhagen have co-produced a documentary about the biodiversity crisis called Crisis of Life. It features interviews with a number of leading scientists. The trailer of the documentary is embedded above and you can watch more videos on the website.

ChthoniC is UNlimited

Limited vision, limited union;
Unlimited division, unlimited illusion;
Limited freedom, limited right;
Unlimited island, unlimited fight.

"UNlimited Taiwan" by ChthoniC (閃靈)

Read more about ChthoniC's UNlimited Taiwan tour of the USA in 2007. Freddy Lim is quoted in the article as saying:

It's quite abnormal that Taiwanese artists or performers have said so little on the issue of Taiwan's quest for international recognition, whether they choose not to or dare not to. I'm a musician, but I also have every right to speak about my own views as a Taiwanese citizen.

You rock Freddy! UN for Taiwan!

Update: Freddy Lim has been appointed executive director of the youth department for Frank Hsieh's presidential campaign. See Hsieh announces his campaign slogan. (added 19 Jan 2007)

YouTube, Taiwan and A-bian

Video sharing website YouTube yesterday launched a Taiwan version of its site. The Taiwan News reports:

The internationally popular Web site YouTube yesterday launched a local site "YouTube Taiwan" with a Chinese-language interface, in a bid to encourage more Taiwan users to share their video clips, not only with Chinese-language Web surfers, but also with others around the globe.

Steve Chen (陳士駿), one of YouTube's co-founders is Taiwanese. YouTube was launched in February 2005 and rapidly became popular. It was acquired by Google in October 2006 for US$1.65 billion. 

To coincide with the launch President Chen Shui-bian has his own YouTube channel (English version). From the President's website:

總統YouTube影音頻道,讓您更貼近總統日常生活的點點滴滴,認識不一樣的「阿扁
總統」,歡迎上網觀賞。

The President's YouTube channel can let you get close to some of the President's daily activities. Get to know another side of President A-bian, get on the internet and take a look.  [English translation by David]

President Chen also celebrated the sixth anniversary of his electronic newsletter. The Taipei Times reports:

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) weekly electronic newsletter celebrated its sixth year yesterday and a series of short films featuring the president were posted on Taiwan's YouTube to coincide with the launch of the video sharing Web site yesterday. The A-bian e-newsletter, with weekly updates on Thursday, has published 314 entries since its inauguration on Oct. 18, 2001, and has 123,000 subscribers.