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Cultural rebirth draws young back to Hakka communities


Following a report on cultural and artistic revitalization along Provincial Highway 3 by the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday pointed to the Hakka community as an excellent example of the wealth of Taiwan's civilization, natural beauty and openness to different cultures. Since the Executive Yuan's September 2016 launch of a cross-ministry platform, nearly NT$26.5 billion (US$850 million), of which NT$2 billion (US$64 million) was allocated from the special budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, has been invested in the shaping of humanistic culture, preparation of the environment and development of local industries. These efforts have promoted Hakka culture and art, as well as stimulated Hakka village economies, which will continue to lead to a revival of Hakka customs and culture and an economic renaissance within Hakka communities.

Thus the Romantic Provincial Highway 3 project not only represents an important aspect of the nation's policy on Hakka affair, said the premier, it also nourishes the revival of Hakka culture and proved to be a powerful impetus for the promotion of local creativity among Hakka communities. He added that Provincial Highway 3 carries visitors through Hakka areas rich in hidden beauty, culture and history, a unique and irreplaceable corridor filled with narratives irresistible to curious minds.

Under the direction and attentive efforts of the HAC and many other central and local government agencies, the sustained rebirth of Hakka art and culture has become gradually more apparent. Recent years have seen the reopening of six traditional Hakka mountain forest trails, the renovation of many significant Hakka historic public and commercial buildings, as well as the rebuilding of renowned Hakka author Chung Chao-cheng's former residence, and a memorial to the music of the late Teng Yu-hsien, master of Hakka and Taiwanese folk music. More cultural and artistic sites are to be finished in turn next year.

With still more projects in sight, the HAC has already held a cycling competition, themed conventions, and co-produced a program with the National Geographic Channel to promote Taiwan to an international audience. Last year saw almost 5 million visits for cultural and ecotourism, generating nearly NT$1.9 billion (US$63 million). Perhaps even more admirable is the return of almost 800 young people to the locales of their childhoods and their investments in creating new hometowns for themselves.

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