Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The beautiful original peoples of Taiwan

Among the things I'm going to learn in Taiwan is the story of the original people of that country.

They are beautiful people.






Their story, unfortunately, is not very beautiful. Much could be learned from it.

Here is an excerpt of that story from the most simple source available, the Wikipedia -

Taiwanese aborigines (Chinese原住民pinyinyuánzhùmínWade–Giles: yüan2-chu4-min2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: gôan-chū-bîn; literally " original inhabitants") is the term commonly applied in reference to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan estimated about 2% of Taiwan population . Although Taiwanese indigenous groups hold a variety of creation myths, recent research suggests their ancestors may have been living on the islands for approximately 8,000 years before major Han Chinese immigration began in the 17th century (Blust 1999). Taiwanese aborigines areAustronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the PhilippinesMalaysia,IndonesiaMadagascarPolynesia, and Oceania (Hill et al. 2007Bird, Hope & Taylor 2004). The issue of an ethnic identity unconnected to the Asian mainland has become one thread in the discourse regarding the political status of Taiwan.
For centuries, Taiwan's aboriginal peoples experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of colonizing peoples. Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage and other dispassionate intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity. For example, of the approximately 26 known languages of the Taiwanese aborigines (collectively referred to as theFormosan languages), at least ten are extinct, five are moribund (Zeitoun & Yu 2005:167) and several are to some degree endangered. These languages are of unique historical significance, since most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesianlanguage family (Blust 1999).
Taiwan's Austronesian speakers were formerly distributed over much of the island's rugged central mountain range and were concentrated in villages along the alluvial plains. As of 2009, their total population is around 500,000 (approximately 2% of Taiwan's population). The bulk of contemporary Taiwanese aborigines live in the mountains and cities.
The indigenous peoples of Taiwan face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. Many aboriginal groups have been actively seeking a higher degree of political self-determination and economic development since the early 1980s (Hsu 1991:95–9). A revival of ethnic pride is expressed in many ways by aborigines, including incorporating elements of their culture into commercially successful pop music. Efforts are under way in indigenous communities to revive traditional cultural practices and preserve their traditional languages. Several aboriginal tribes are becoming extensively involved in the tourism and ecotourism industries to achieve increased economic self-reliance from the state (Anderson 2000:283–90). The Austronesian Cultural Festival in Taitung City is another means to promote aboriginal culture.

For the rest of their story in Wikipedia, you may read it here -
Taiwanese aborigines 

20 comments:

  1. New look for 2013. Thumbs up!

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  2. "Their story, unfortunately, is not very beautiful. Much could be learned from it."

    u may google any aborigines and see if the story were told differently? perhaps start with orang asli malaysia?

    try google "台湾原住民歌手人物" (taiwan aborigines singer/figure) and look at the long list, many are familiar name. now make a comparison against our orang asli, shall i say u r right that much could be learned....from taiwanese?

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    1. Yes, much to be learned...on how to survive as a race.

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    2. good to hear that. here is some clue, learn the entire democratization process of taiwan since the 80', that give room to the possible of aboriginal movement, and along the way, u see the ugly side of politician that resemble our own. however fact is taiwan politics move away from one party state and turn into one of the most vibrant democracy in asia, that allow the aborigine to claim what they deserve, beautiful isn't it?

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    3. True. It would however be even more beautiful for the aborigines if Taiwan became democratic much earlier than in the 1980s. I think Malaysia is a bit more advance on that count. Well, there are good things about Malaysia too. Still, we need to continue learning and improving.

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    4. The origin of man3 January 2013 01:05

      The aboriginals of Taiwan has austronesian origin. What does this tell you? The earliest 2 million years old humans tools are found in Malaya. What does this tell you? The migration of people is from the equator sea upwards. It is not like some ignoramus said that the migration wave is from Yunnan to Malaya.

      With more evidence it is logical that earliest forms should come where the weather is warm, wet and humid like shores of Malaya. As the Malays move upwards they become more mongoloid. It is not only in Taiwan but also Japanese, they share the same austronesian roots. Japanese and Malay are the only languages to form words by repeating the same word. So language is a better form of migration linkage.

      Thus Malay or its variants are found in Phillipines, Indonesia, Sumatera etc that is the same source.

      Be careful of biased european linguists. How could Taiwan be the source of austronesian malay language when malay is widely spoken in austro/polynesians islands?

      They are just assumptions not supported by evidence while the 2 million years old Lenggong Valley is hard fact. It is more likely that the Malays were sea farers and they reached as highup as Taiwan and Japan.

      By the ways they are beautiful pictures but dont they look like Malays to you..?

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    5. "The aboriginals of Taiwan has austronesian origin. What does this tell you?"

      it meant they r not that original but moved to taiwan from somewhere else?

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    6. I think they are the first people to settle in Taiwan. That's why they were considered as the original peoples of the island. Even the Han Chinese who settled in Taiwan much later refer to them as that.

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    7. bc, i never dispute that though i don’t think they r the first, u may google term like changpin and pahsientung to find out more. the chinese are not familiar with western concept like aborigine and indigenous, they used term like yi (夷) and fan (番), taiwan started to use the term ‘aborigine’ in the 80’, however china prefer ‘indigenous’.

      whatever we call the aborigines, or where they are coming from as the above commenter indicate, either out of taiwan model or out of sundaland model is beside my point, and i never claim they are not austronesian, my contention is the taiwan government acknowledge their mistake in the past and now doing more to improve the livelihood of the aborigine, and give them more room and aid to develop their language and culture, and this is proven by looking at taiwan music industry, this is thing we can and should learn from taiwanese. we compare apple to apple ie government to government, we learn history so not to repeat past mistake, we should not bound by history and paranoia.

      i can agree with you that malaysia were more advance than taiwan in many respect not limited to political system alone before the 70'/80'. we are a democracy (in form though) while taiwan was under military ruling, moreover unlike malaysia that work on our own, taiwan (roc) receive lots of aid and support from american due to their rivalry with china (prc), thus u r absolutely correct there r many good things about malaysia, however like u said, we shd continue learning, and striving to be more democratic, in both form and substance.

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    8. Well, if there are others before them in Taiwan, I don't think they are still around to lay such a claim. So, as far as I'm concerned, I have to go with most Taiwanese who call them the "original inhabitants". As for the substance of Malaysia's democracy, I think there is a degree of substance there....at least more than the substance of democracy in, let say Singapore. Then again of course, we must always strive to improve.

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    9. i dont kknow how taiwanese define 'original', however some chinesse scholar claim that the so call aborigine were from china, could basing on both the yunnan theory and the ancient yue people (or southern chinese, thus genetically, i being a cantonese can be closer to u than a northern chinese), the one that have a claim on taiwan today is china, not necessary han chinese if you do have a grasp of the concept.

      and i fully agree with u that our democracy is much better than singapore, thanks to great leaders like badawi, anwar and nik aziz. n yes we never give up and must strive to improve, more n more.

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    10. I rather let the Taiwanese be the judge of their own affairs and history. That's why I'm going there - to study from them about their country.

      Well, as for our democracy, I think the leaders we really have to thank should be the wise founding fathers of this country.

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    11. good call. who r we to tell beautiful or not.

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  3. BC, good luck again for your big move. Remeber that missing family, food and home is normal, so give yourself at least a year to settle in.

    Again you have chosen a good topic above - adapt, develop or disappear.

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    1. Thanks. Well, as you may noticed they survived by preserving their culture and heritage....as well as adaptieng and developing as according to the changing social environment.

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  4. Why are you idolising mata sepet ?

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    1. Prophet Muhammad said seek knowledge all the way to China. Learning is not the same as idolising. Idolising is like - idolising Anwar Ibrahim or idolising Tok Guru Nik Aziz or idolising Tokong Guan Eng.

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    2. hahaha....seek knowledge all the way to China....betoi ke? Kena tanye Ibrahim Ali dulu.....

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  5. Hey the left one look's like me !(last picture).

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    1. Errr... I think I look a bit like the one in the middle :-)

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