Being a Hakka with pride

There had been many occasions where I had to deliver a speech in public but before speaking in the Hakka language, I would wonder if, in my opening remarks, I ought to make an apology statement in Mandarin. Then I realized that, as a Hakka myself, why should I ever feel sorry for speaking my mother tongue? With such a realization, I just proceeded to complete my public speeches in Hakka, without the slightest compunction.

Deeply saddened by the loss of ethnic dignity and self-identity, which resulted from all kinds of oppression during the authoritarian era that ended three decades ago, I was determined to participate in social movements seeking to address such issues as ethnic minorities, community development, and environmental protection. What motivated me to take to the streets is a strong sense of justice as a young man and self-esteem as a human being. I believe that many government officials who have chosen to join the civil service have the same passion for public affairs. It is an immense blessing for me to have a perfect opportunity now to fulfill aspirations for racial equality, eco-friendly policy, and cultural education for future generations.

Over the past four years, former Minister Lee Yung-te has laid a solid foundation for sustainable development of Hakka culture. Based on what he did, I am going to focus my efforts on two objectives.

My first concern is ethnicity mainstreaming in Taiwan. The language and culture of ethnic minorities are not racially exclusive to their own people. They are also part of the country’s cultural heritage. Only if they continue to develop can the nation have rich cultural diversity. Therefore, I hope that general administrative policies can incorporate a Hakka perspective to mainstream ethnicity in Taiwanese society.

Second, to mainstream Hakka culture in Hakka settlements is what I attempt to do. Even though Hakka villages have a large population of Hakka descendants, the language, traditions, and ideology of the ethnic group are gradually dying out in the Hakka regions. Hakka culture should be an indispensable part of Hakka settlements as well as the country. So, my task is to restore our culture as a mainstream on our land.

With my total devotion to Hakka affairs, I am ready for building a better cultural environment for the Hakka community. Staff members of the Council and I will work hard together to help all members of the ethnic community realize their aspirations for what it means to be a Hakka in Taiwan. May Hakka culture last forever!