Cultural Centers

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Cultural Centers

Postby baberenglish » 14 May 2012, 11:13

Mother’s Day. Did the lunch. Didn’t want to sit inside and watch the news all day. Had to give the relatives some face. Don't see them too often. Grabbed all the in laws and stuffed them in the van for an excursion. I hate doing this because I am the one that has to initiate everything. Did something neutral that nobody would bitch about. Kept it ‘free’ to satisfy the frugal demons. Visited the latest cultural center in Taiwan. It is located near Sanyi in Miaoli county. Big building. Great design. Not much inside. To me it’s a waste of money. You don’t learn jack in there except how wooden ducks are painted and how they wove bamboo baskets for the Japanese.

My wife thought it was racist and portrays Hakka people as a bunch of bumpkins selling bin lang, driving trucks and selling ban tiao(Hakka noodles). She was pretty pissed. Only 25% of this country are Hakka. Why such a heavy emphasis on this and not on Taiwanese ‘cultural’ centers?

The Taiwanese centers are even better. Every ‘real’ Taiwanese is a member of the DPP, hates mainlanders, loath the Japanese and sell cigarettes in mom and pop stores.….get my drift?

WTF?

What is going on with these places? Is it preaching the importance of culture in society or does it have a hidden agenda(propaganda)? Personally I think it preaches separatism and isolationism. On a micro scale of course.

So I thought about why so many local gov’ts are so crazy about building cultural centers dealing with pretty much anything.

I went home and looked up the number of these centers around Taiwan. Not surprisingly, every county has them. The number of ‘cultural’ centers has grown exponentially over the last decade and there is no sign of them stopping.

Every process or system seems to have ‘culture’ these days-some of the themes:
  1. Hakka (the most)
  2. Taiwanese (surprisingly only three-political overtones perhaps??)
  3. Fishing
  4. Strawberries
  5. Countless other fruits
  6. Farming/Sugar/Salt/etc...
  7. garbage incinerator-right on the beach in Hsinchu
  8. the list goes on and on….I think I counted over 40 different ‘themes’

Most county magistrates have to develop something for people to be attracted to. People aren’t attracted to something that has an admission cost. They want the locals to stay within the county’s borders, buy gas and go to some local restaurant on the weekend-the money essentially ‘stays’ in the county. This has an extremely high multiplier effect on the ‘local’ economy.

Is there a rate of return on this investment? It depends who you talk to. The true cost of these places-land/building/variable costs-does it add up to being feasible long term for the community? I have heard about a lot of families profiting dearly from land buy back for these centers. It is disgusting the money they get. It is not guanxi because everyone else in the small town have to work their ass off.

It has nothing to do with education because the themes of these centers are covered up the yin-yang at most schools so it is nothing new. If you look up the content in these centers the content is similar to a Gr. 2 textbook.
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Cultural Centers

Postby headhonchoII » 14 May 2012, 13:50

Did you see the new Hakka parliament in Tongxiao near Sanyi, now that is a cultural center par excellence, imagine the kickback potential!
Hakka areas have many because they genuinely are based in beautiful natural areas that had an interesting history, think Hsinchu , Miaoli, Meinong etc.

Taiwanese culture is more based on fishing and trading goods although of course there are farmers too.

Anyway.. If you understand that many projects exist due to politicians getting their cut you will understand why they fix a given road every year or are so intent on creating massive flood prevention schemes or building new government buildings even though the current ones are perfectly adequate.

The trend of interpretative centers is worldwide, where I'm from we have one for cliffs. Meanwhile they blocked people off from looking over the side of the cliffs directly for suicide prevention. So now you pay in, pay for parking which used to be free , the get to go past the stupid interpretative center and now cannot fully enjoy the cliffview. Taiwan ain't that bad, they don't even charge into the natural parks here in general and small admission fees for most things and the usually have free parking.
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