Experiencing Asia-Pacific Culture

2018 Asia-Pacific Culture Day

2019 / January

Sanya Huang /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Phil Newell

“Eko eado!” This motivational expression from the Nauruan language means “never give up.” It may be used as a warning in calamitous situ­ations, or in a positive sense as an expecta­tion of oneself. Asia-Pacific Culture Day, held on October 27 and 28 of 2018 in the concourse of Tai­pei Railway Station, was organized by the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with 18 foreign embassies and representative offices in Taiwan, and the local governments of seven Taiwanese cities and counties that have sister city or friendship agreements with localities in the partner countries of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. With a theme of “Together Sparkling in Asia-Pacific,” the event attracted over 100,000 visitors in two days.


The opening performance at Asia-Pacific Culture Day was a uniquely Taiwanese dance work by T.S.D. Dance Crew, which set an energetic tone for the event. It was followed by the traditional Te Mwaie dance of the Republic of Kiribati; Barong dance from Bali, Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian Penabalan (Tabal) dance; a performance on tradi­tional instruments by Korea’s Hanayeon musical group; and two types of dance performed by the Tuvalu Students Associ­ation in Taiwan—the fatele and the siva. The performances were very exciting, attracting people to crowd around the stage, and allowing them to feast their eyes on the art and culture of numerous countries in only two days.

Colorful South Pacific island countries

Although ­Nauru, a diplomatic partner of Taiwan in the South Pacific, did not put on a performance, they did set up a “parroting” language game at the venue. People received on-the-spot instruction, and if they could correctly pronounce commonly used terms like ta­ra­wong (“goodbye”), ­tubwa kor (“thank you”), and nga ­ebonw (“I love you”), they would receive a bilingual sticker to com­memor­ate the event. The pronunciation of Na­uruan is different from that of the Taiwanese and Mandarin normally spoken in ­Taiwan, so people had to practice numerous times to produce the correct sounds. The instruction provided by the young teachers was earnest and kind, and they never got impatient or frustrated.

Papua New Guinea provided one of the most dazzling highlights of this year’s culture day. Using the painted-on designs of the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show as the theme, more than ten Papua New Guinean students studying in Taiwan, as well as officials stationed in Taiwan and their families—adults and infants alike—all painted their faces with colorful greasepaint. The contrast with their dark skin brought out the brilliance of the colors, arousing people’s curiosity to approach for an up-close look.

Several Asia-Pacific countries including Ki­ri­bati, Tu­valu, and Papua New Guinea displayed natural tropical products such as coffee, seashells, and coconut as their “special local products.” All of them displayed handi­crafts made from shells or woven from grass, such as necklaces, baskets, and rugs.

Two tracks: Culture and business

Besides Taiwan’s diplomatic partners in the South Pacific, Southeast-Asian countries also provided many highlights on Asia-Pacific Culture Day. The Taiwan office of the Malaysia External Trade Development Cor­pora­tion (­MATRADE Taipei), the official Malaysian organ­iza­tion for trade promotion in Taiwan, each year has invited authentic Malaysian restaurants in Taiwan to act as gustatory ambassadors, giving visitors memor­ies of the flavors of Malaysia.

The Indian booth, surrounded by visitors, gave out travel maps of India, and also sold well-known Indian brands of cosmetics products. They also invited two Indian scientists doing postdoctoral research in Taiwan, Ravinder Singh and Samir Mehndiratte, to act as ambas­sadors for their culture by demonstrating how to wind turbans in accordance with Sikh religious traditions. People gathered round to watch as turn by turn, Ravinder Singh steadily and methodically wound a strip of cotton cloth more than ten meters long around the head of a visitor, to create a firm conical turban. It was a real eye-opener for those looking on.

Taiwan cities also shine

For the past few years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has also invited several cities with close ties to Asia-Pacific countries, such as New Taipei City, Tainan, and Tao­yuan, to join in the cultural exchanges of Asia-Pacific Culture Day. MOFA has invited these cities, which have sister city or friendship agreements with cities in partner countries for Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, to set up booths at the event to let more people appreciate Taiwan’s cultural power.

There is a passage in the book Our Struggle by the Indo­nesian writer Yohanes Arif Wibowo that reads: “Let us continually be aware of and remember our hopes and goals wherever we are, from Brunei to Taiwan / In order to achieve our myriad dreams / It is certainly very arduous / But everything must start from here.” This quotation comes from a collection of bookmarks, compiled by the Tai­pei City Foreign and Disabled Labor Office, featuring selections drawn from works that have won the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants over the years. The bookmarks were available free of charge at the booth of the Taipei City Government, adding a rich literary tone to Asia-Pacific Culture Day.

The theme adopted by the New Taipei City Cultural Affairs Department was even more unique. They used the slogan “mobile museums” to attract families to their booth next to the main stage. Activities on the first day were led by the Shih­san­hang Museum of Archeology. They allowed children to reassemble broken pottery to get a feel for cultural restoration work, and even adults joined in the fun. The second day it was the turn of the Yingge Ceramics Museum, which entertained children enormously with its specially made mosaic puzzles.

Tainan, which greatly values exchanges with other cities, appeared at Asia-Pacific Culture Day for the third year running. Each year it has taken an important historic building in Tai­nan as its theme, from the Chi­kan Tower in 2016 and the Ha­ya­shi Department Store in 2017 to the An­ping Tree House in 2018 (with a model of the house as installa­tion art). The city’s booth introduced Tai­nan’s history, culture, and major tourist attractions in several languages including English and Japanese. There was also an activity on both afternoons in which people could get prizes for correctly answering questions about special features of Tai­nan. They could win such things as ­Cheng Gong potato chips, Tainan-­themed wang­zai­biao (round printed cards similar to those used in the milk caps game), and pencil cases in the shape of milk­fish. There was great excitement at the scene, attracting not only large numbers of foreign tourists, but many Taiwanese as well.

Cultural outreach

In the last 15 years, besides economic and trade inter­actions, Taiwan has been gradually expanding cultural exchanges with Asia-Pacific countries. For example, since its founding the National Center for Traditional Culture, located in Yi­lan County, has held the Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival annually. The area covered by this cultural exchange event has expanded from the Asia-Pacific region to include Northeast Asia, North Asia, and, in 2018, the international community as a whole.

But while the Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival brings in artists and performers from outside Taiwan, MOFA’s Asia-Pacific Culture Day draws on the talents of people already located here. Held in late summer or early autumn every year since 2012, it is seen as a major event by foreign embassies and representative offices in Taiwan. It mobilizes officials posted to Taiwan, their families, and overseas students studying in Taiwan, to sing or dance on stage or to set up booths selling authentic cuisine from back home, handicrafts and local specialties. These activities give visitors a chance to experience the rich cultures of Asia-Pacific countries using all of the five senses, including vision, hearing, and taste. Cultural exchange is by no means a one-way process of exporting culture outward, nor is it passive acceptance of outside cultural information. Rather, inter­action provided by in-the-moment participation in activities is an even better way for people to experience the splendor and richness of Asia-Pacific cultures.

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繁體 日本語



文‧黃淑姿 圖‧莊坤儒

「Eko Eado!」是諾魯(Nauru)語中激勵人心的話語,意指永不放棄,既是危難中的警示,也是自我期許的正向精神。2018年10月27日、28日連續兩天,在台北火車站一樓大廳舉辦的亞太文化日,由台灣外交部領頭,與18個駐台機構、7個台灣新南向政策目標國締結姐妹市或友好城市的縣市政府,以「心手相連,藝氣風發」為主題,兩天中吸引超過十萬人次參與。

亞太文化日的開幕表演由台灣家將街舞──鐵四帝舞團獨具台灣特色的《藝氣風發》舞作,點燃亞太文化日的火力,隨後上台表演的吉里巴斯傳統舞蹈「Te Mwaie」,以及印尼的峇里島巴龍舞、馬來舞,韓國Hanayeon樂團演奏傳統樂器,和吐瓦魯駐華學生會帶來費特樂(fatele)、斯瓦(siva)兩種舞蹈表演等,創造熱鬧的表演效果,吸引人群圍觀,讓人在短短兩天內飽覽亞太諸國的藝術文化。


來自南太平洋的邦交國諾魯(Nauru),雖未上台表演,但在現場特別設計「鸚鵡學舌」語言遊戲,讓民眾現場接受指導,只要能正確念出諾魯語中的再見(tarawong)、謝謝(Tubwa kor)、我愛你(nga ebonw)等日常用語,就可獲贈一張雙語貼紙,作為紀念。諾魯語的發音方式與台灣慣用的台語、國語不同,總要練習多次才能發出正確的音,年輕的老師教學認真且溫柔,一點也沒有不耐煩。


咖啡、貝殼與椰子等天然熱帶物產,是許多亞太國家的共同特產,如吉里巴斯、吐瓦魯、巴布亞紐幾內亞等國,也都在現場展示用貝殼、草編製成的手工藝品,如項鍊、提籃與地毯等。「今年參加亞太文化日非常成功!」索羅門群島大使館行政助理Maricar Salvnga表示,很高興參加亞太文化日,現場展示索羅門群島特展的椰子油、椰子乾等產品,訊問度高,可望未來能透過物產貿易,加強兩國交流。




被人群包圍的印度攤位,現場除了提供印度旅遊地圖、展售印度著名美妝品牌產品,還邀請 Ravinder Singh、Samir Mehndiratte兩位在台從事博士後研究的高材生,憑藉對自身文化的熱情,現場示範如何遵循錫克教傳統,綁出漂亮的頭巾。群眾圍觀看 Ravinder Singh穩妥地整治長達十多公尺長的棉布,一圈又一圈,有條不紊地圍繞在民眾頭上,纏成緊實圓錐狀的頭巾,著實讓人大開眼界。排隊等著纏頭巾的民眾一個接一個,文化交流的任務自然又輕鬆地達標。




「讓我們不斷的清醒及記得從汶萊到台灣的希望及目標/為了達到我們的一百萬個夢想/的確是真的很累/但是一切必須從這裡開始」,摘錄自印尼籍作者Yohanes Arif Wibowo《我們的奮鬥》片段,這是台北市勞動力重建運用處製作的文學作品摘錄書籤,來自歷年移工文學獎的得獎作品,放置在台北市政府的攤位上,供民眾自由索取,為亞太文化日帶來濃濃的文學氣息。









文・黃淑姿 写真・莊坤儒 翻訳・松本 幸子

「Eko Eado!」とは、ナウル語で「あきらめるな」という意味で、苦難に遭った時などに人を励ましたり自らを奮い立たせる言葉だ。



「アジア太平洋文化デー」の開幕式では、まず台湾伝統の家将街舞で有名な「鉄四帝舞団」による『芸気風発』が披露され、続いてキリバスの伝統舞踊「Te Mwaie」、バリ伝統のバロンダンス、マレー舞踊、韓国の楽団「ハナヨン」による演奏、ツバルからの留学生による舞踊が繰り広げられた。にぎやかな催しに思わず足を止めて立ち寄る人も多く、たった2日のイベントとはいえ、アジア太平洋諸国の芸術文化をたっぷりと味わえるものとなった。


台湾と国交のある南太平洋のナウルは、舞台でのパフォーマンスはなかったものの、ブースではナウル語を口真似してもらうゲームを催した。その場で簡単に発音指導を受けて、「さようなら(tarawong)」「ありがとう(Tubwakor)」「愛しています(nga ebonw)」などの言葉が正確に言えると、2言語がプリントされたシールをもらえるというものだ。ナウル語の発音は台湾語や中国語とは異なるので、なかなかうまく発音できないが、若い「先生」がやさしく熱心に教えてくれるので参加者も楽しそうだった。


熱帯でとれるコーヒーや貝殻、椰子は、アジア太平洋諸国の多くでも特産であり、キリバス、ツバル、パプアニューギニアも当日は、それらを材料にした籠やカーペット、ネックレスなどの手工芸品を展示した。「今年の参加は大成功です」と、ソロモン諸島大使館の職員であるMaricar Salvngaさんは、文化デーのイベントに参加してとても満足感げだ。展示したソロモン諸島のココナッツオイルやドライココナッツに興味を示す人が多く、今後は貿易を通して両国の交流が深まればと願う。




人気の高かったインドのブースでは、インドのガイドマップやインドの化粧品ブランドが紹介された。また、台湾で博士課程に通うRavinder SinghさんとSamir Mehndiratteさんの2人が、シク教のターバンの巻き方を披露してくれた。10メートル以上に及ぶ布が頭にぐるぐると巻かれていき、最後にはしっかりと丸く収まるのがなんとも驚きで、自分も巻いてもらおうと人々が列を作った。




「絶え間なく呼び覚まし、思い出させてほしい。ブルネイから台湾まで来た希望と目標を/我々百万個の夢に到達するために/確かに疲れて果てている/けれど全てはここから始めなければならない」これはインドネシア人のYohanes Arif Wibowoさんによる『我々の奮闘』という作品からの抜粋だ。台北市労働力重建運用処(外国人及び身体障害者労働処)が、移住労働者文学賞の歴代受賞作品から抜粋した語句をしおりに印刷し、ブースに置いて無料で配布したもので、アジア太平洋文化デーに文学の味わいを添えた。







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