Vietnam, Taitung share deep cultural connection: Taitung official
Hanoi (VNA) – The Taitung County Government will lead local culture and creativity businesses to attend the “2019 Vietnam Taiwan EXPO” organised by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) at Hanoi’s International Centre of Exhibition from August 8 – 10.
What factors led to Taitung County Government’s participation in this year’s exhibition? VietnamPlus extended a special invitation to Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-Ling to share with our readers the features of Taitung’s exhibits and why she led culture and creativity businesses from Taitung to Vietnam for this exhibition.
In Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-Ling’s view, Vietnam is strange yet familiar to Taiwanese. To a certain degree, the familiarity stems from the marriages and migrant workers who travel to Taitung but with time, Vietnam has rapidly grown from our stereotypical impressions and evolved into the “New Economic Tiger of SEA”.
Relations between Taiwan and Vietnam continue to grow as new migrants from Vietnam have grown past 1000, making them the second most group of foreign residents in Taitung. Delicious street food from Vietnam can be found in many places and new migrants from Vietnam are being seen as friendly, passionate, hardworking people.
– In recent years, Taitung has been selected by Lonely Planet as a top 10 tourism destination in Asia and by Booking.com as a 2018 top 10 emerging city for tourism. Can you please give us an introduction of Taitung’s geography? Also, what conditions have helped Taitung rise as a city with this international reputation?
Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-Ling: Taitung is located at the southeastern side of Taiwan and faces the Pacific Ocean. We are a multicultural city surrounded by mountains, the ocean, and a rich natural environment. It’s approximately a 3-hour flight from Hanoi to Taiwan where you can transfer by plane or the eastern train line to escape from the chaos of Taiwan’s major cities and enjoy a slower pace during your travels in Taitung.
Many people’s first impression of Taitung may be the hot air balloon carnival or international surfing competitions. Taitung’s international reputation, aside from our unique natural environment and hosting of international events, I believe is something that can be attributed to the cultural fusion of diverse groups. In addition to Taitung’s rich natural environment, we also have cultural soft power that is rich with depth.
– What was the reason that drove you to lead a delegation of culture and creativity businesses to Vietnam and attend this exhibition?
Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-Ling：Taitung’s creative industries are actually quite diverse and enjoy freedom of creativity; this is due to our background of diverse groups and cultures. Taitung was bestowed with many precious natural resources and materials, but how are these objects converted into creative products? We rely on the creativity of these various workshops who are able to cleverly create their culturally rich interpretations.
Each year, the Taitung County Government organises youth camps to cultivate creativity as well as participates in domestic and foreign culture exhibitions. These include the Wenbos of Xiamen and Beijing, Thailand’s BIG+BIH, IICF, and other exhibitions. We posted pretty good results at all of these events and received acclaim for our products. Workshops that participated in these exhibitions also received many requests for exchange and partnerships after returning home.
Our assertive participation in foreign exhibitions aim to establish the brand of Taitung City as well as increase the visibility of our culture and creative industries in addition to expanding the foreign distribution networks for our workshops. On a cultural level, Vietnam and Taitung are deeply connected and when I discovered that we both come from branches of Austronesian languages and shared a cultural connection, it made me believe even more that leading our culture and creative industry to Vietnam for exhibition is the right choice!
In addition to exhibitions in Vietnam, the Taitung County Government is also aggressively seeking to connect with local ceramic workshops in Hanoi. We hope to sign memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with workshops to breakthrough language and national barriers to seek exchanges of techniques and culture which will further amplify our beautiful cultures and friendship through craftsmanship.
– I’m wondering if the magistrate has any recommendations on highlights in your participation of “2019 Vietnam Taiwan EXPO”?
Taitung County Magistrate Yao Ching-Ling: Taitung shares similar geography to Hanoi as we’re both surrounded by mountains and ocean. We have active cities as well as a quiet countryside. However, Taitung differs from Hanoi’s inland terrain due to our long and narrow terrain as well as Taiwan’s longest coastline that allows access to the beach closest to our homes in very little time. The theme of our Taitung booth this time is “TAITUNG ESSENCE”. We’ve selected to use imagery of the “sea” integrated with the creative businesses selected from a competitive group – Atabeads Culture Studio, Atelier Unique Tapa, and Mima’an will be exhibiting workshop products that will immediately establish a visual connection between Taitung and the general public in Vietnam.
The three workshops at this year’s exhibition boast different features. Atabeads Culture Studio is a collective of women from various tribes with the mission of preserving traditional decorative accessories. They combine traditional crafts with innovative packaging and design to reinterpret the spirit and characteristics of tradition. Bark cloth acts as functional clothing worn by aborigines to conceal their scent while hunting; however, due to their difficulty in production and preservation, the art is nearly lost. Atelier Unique Tapa has taken this mantle by producing clothing that integrates bark cloth with modern textiles to create accessories that are fashionable and practical. Do betel nuts have uses outside of chewing? Mima’an Workshop forgoes the traditional image of betel nut chewers by integrating aborigine totems with betel nuts and sheaths to create products that are beautiful, practical, and eco-friendly.
In addition to the visual experience of the exhibition and products, we also extended a special invitation to aborigine nose flute musician Lin Hsiao-Feng who will be performing regularly at the Taitung booth. Nose flutes are a traditional instrument played by Taiwan’s indigenous people; their double chambered structure can simultaneously play high and low notes in harmony to create a calm and leisurely sound. We hope that this combination of visual and audio will give people in Vietnam a “Wow~ so this is Taitung!” as well as a pure joy, curiosity, and the desire to visit the booth and discover more.
We welcome everyone to visit us at the International Center of Exhibition in Hanoi at the Taitung booth of “2019 Vietnam Taiwan EXPO” from August 8 – 10. Come and experience Taitung!-VNA