Culture minister, Polish, sign language featured at reading event

Minister of Culture Shih Che (??) on Friday evening gave a surprise to the attendees at the 2023 Taipei International Book Exhibition with a special reading of a work by Taiwanese writer Lin Da-yang (???).

Shih’s reading to approximately 200 attendees was not previously planned, making the recently sworn-in minister one of eight guests who shared literary works at the one-night-only reading event, “Listening to the Different.”

Shih read a few paragraphs from Lin’s article, “A room with a Snow View (??????),” which portrays the mixed feelings of joy and bitterness of a creator.

Shih later told the event host and professor Lee Ming-tsung (???) in a brief conversation that he wished to use Lin’s work to express gratitude to all writers.

“The words carefully sifted by writers through a lonely creative process eventually enable readers to reflect upon their own lives,” Shih said.

Shih also noted that Lin is a young writer from Kaohsiung, where the culture minister had served as deputy mayor for more than two years before being appointed to the Cabinet on Tuesday.

In addition to Shih, eight other guests also gave readings of poems or texts of their own choice in their native language, including Polish poet Marzanna Bogumila Kielar, Indigenous singer-songwriter Suming Rupi (???), and Taiwanese sign language anchor Sue Wang (???).

The Polish poet, who is also a philosophy professor, shared an extract of her poem “Nawigacje (Navigation).” The piece uses water, which exists in different forms and can be used for irrigation, as a metaphor for poems.

Wang, an anchor of a news program in sign language at the public broadcaster Public Television Service (PTS), shared a chapter of her book “I See Voice” (?????).

Wang, whose hearing was seriously impaired at the age of three due to an illness, began her career in entertainment as a fashion model after graduating from college.

The chapter shared by Wang, 52, described her first experience working in Japan as a model and how she managed to communicate with her agent – who did not understand sign language or Chinese – using various hand and body movements.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese writer Gustave Cheng (???) gave a reading of three short poems written in Taiwanese – “Questions and Answers (??), “Busy Everyday (???),” and “I am Going to Leave (?????)” – that portray the birth, growth, and aging of people.

Cheng, who has dedicated his career to promoting spoken and written Taiwanese, described the life of a person as a passenger going on a journey by train, with the scenery they see during the trip being the different experiences in their life.

The event was wrapped up with the reading by Suming Rupi of the lyrics of two of his Amis-language songs, which urge people to move forward despite hardships in life.

The reading event aimed to encourage the attendees to appreciate various cultures by listening to literary texts in different languages, according to Lee, who is known for hosting the PTS’s award-winning television program, “See You at the Market.”

While the attendees might need textual translations to understand what each guest said, they could still grasp the beauty of different languages by simply listening to the guests’ voices and rhythms, Lee added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel