|Uniting Around Tradition|
The ethnic diversity in Taitung makes its holiday season colorful and dynamic. Like important holidays in the West, many indigenous festivals also take place around the winter solstice.
Each of Taitung’s seven indigenous groups have unique ways of celebrating this time of year. For instance, the indigenous Puyuma of Tamalakau celebrate a Yearly Festival that includes a hunting ritual and a ceremony for the dead.
The 2021 Tamalakau hunting ritual, called Mangayaw in Puyuma, took place from December 24 to 30. This included a three-day ceremony that takes the village’s men into the mountains to hunt.
Elderly people from the tribe lead the other men, which include boys that are coming of age, into the mountains to teach them how to hunt and survive in the wilderness.
Further north, indigenous Amis celebrated their Winter Harvest Festival in Chishang on January 15. The Winter Harvest Festival always includes a traditional dance in which over 500 people link arms to welcome in the new year and pray for a bountiful harvest.
This year’s festivities also gathered Amis talent from around Taitung through a song and dance competition. The organizers hoped that this format would give indigenous Amis a place to display their creative energy. More importantly, they wanted to provide a venue for indigenous song and dance to carry on tradition as well as develop new and innovative styles.
Both the Amis Winter Harvest Festival and the Puyuma Yearly Festival reflect important values in indigenous culture regarding the New Year. Namely, letting go of past grievances and being grateful for a bountiful harvest as well as peace and safety. In 2022, these festivals take on special meaning as everyone hopes that the global pandemic will finally ease up.
|Taitung, An International Livable City|
The Taitung County Government is actively upgrading and cultivating an atmosphere to welcome the arrival of international tourists after border restrictions are lifted. In order to enhance Taitung’s global visibility, the government has continued to promote an internationally friendly environment in recent years.
A press conference and certification ceremony were held on November 30. The conference showed the results of the county's efforts over the past year, including training English guides and establishing an international volunteer team, carrying out bilingual transformation for stores, cross-generational bilingual training, and producing Taitung’s first foreign language magazine written by foreigners. April Yao, the Taitung County Magistrate, said that Taitung has created all-around international friendliness through four aspects: language, space, service, and local experience. The County Government hopes to make it easier for foreigners to travel or live in Taitung while creating a livable international city for people to “Drift East.”
Taitung’s slow life, cultural diversity, mountains, and ocean are all very attractive to international travelers. The County Government is working with locals to make foreigners think of Taitung as a second home in terms of food, shopping, life, and in-depth travel. In addition, the Taitung County Government also hopes to attract more professionals from all walks of life, assist in local development, and make Taitung a better place to live.
The “Store Bilingual Transformation Project” uses bilingual environmental planning to build bilingual signs for businesses, such as guide signs, product introductions, and menus while integrating Taitung’s local characteristics and culture to update the store’s environment. “TERT (Taitung English Reception Team)” continues to recruit international volunteers in response to large-scale international competitions or international conferences within Taitung County. The “Cross-Generational Bilingual Training Program” explores the international potential in Taitung’s various townships. Moreover, this plan introduced international tourism concepts and conducted systematic English courses to promote the transmission and revitalization of Taitung’s youth to Taitung’s various industries. “Hello Taitung” magazine seeks foreigners who have had "Taitung experiences" to speak out and use their own experience or stories to convince foreigners who are not yet aware of Taitung to move here and experience the beauty of life in Taitung.
The exhibition lasted for two days and fully demonstrated the energy and capacity created by Taitung’s international friendly environment. It went deep into various regions and many industries. Taitung is an international livable city making it worth it to “Drift East!”
The workplace is changing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people that have the means and flexibility are moving out of crowded and expensive cities to work remotely in rural areas with cheap rent and beautiful scenery.
The Taitung County Government has therefore been formulating plans to leverage its strengths to attract remote workers, sometimes known as digital nomads. Digital nomads live in exotic locations around the world for several months at a time, work through the internet, enjoy an area’s natural beauty and immerse themselves in local culture.
In this regard, the Taitung County Government has been collaborating with Crossroads, an organization that helps promote internationalization throughout Taiwan, since January. During meetings in January and April, Crossroads and the County Government discussed the emerging landscape of remote work and how Taitung could tap into this trend.
Thus, the Taitung County Government invited members from Crossroads to try living in Daniao, Dawu, and determine the feasibility for long-term remote work in the area. From December 9 to December 15, David Chang, the secretary-general of Crossroads, led a delegation of remote workers to live and work in the community for nearly a week.
This trial tested whether foreigners could integrate into a community that has traditionally had little contact with outsiders. During the day, the participants worked on their own projects, ranging from software engineering to performing arts promotion, through wireless internet tethered from their mobile devices.
When taking breaks from work, the members had chances to interact with the residents by volunteering at the local elementary school, participating in a music festival and sharing their experiences with the township government.
Everyone was moved by the warmth and openness of the residents as well as the natural beauty and relaxed pace of life found in Taitung’s indigenous communities. After the trial concluded, the members of Crossroads expressed interest in future collaboration with the County Government through various areas such as education, tourism and remote work.
|* PLEASE NOTE: Event dates are subject to change or cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to the websites of specific events for more information.|