The San Ying Tribe Still Resists

by on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 Comments

The San-Ying aboriginal community (so named because of its proximity to a bridge connecting the San-xia and Ying-ge districts of New Taipei City) - consists mainly of Amis tribe aboriginal migrants from Hualian and Taidong who have set up a community of illegal houses next to the Dahan river. After the community was demolished by the then Taipei County government (Taipei County was renamed as New Taipei City in December, 2010) they set up a campaign in an attempt to save their community, which was then backed by sympathetic cultural and social campaigners. On the 17th January 2009, to thank their supporters, and in celebration of the Taipei County Government's decision to postpone further demolition, they held their first end of year (the end of the Chinese New Year) dinner for those who had helped in the struggle against the demolitions.


The fourth such celebratory dinner held in 25th February 2012 was opened with a dance led by members of the aboriginal community, then two teams were formed, the red team, consisting of San-Ying aboriginal residents along with San-xia Junior High School students, and the white team, made up of famous bands, in a contest modelled after the annual NHK Japanese New Year's Eve music show Kōhaku Uta Gassen (lit. Red and White Song Battle). The atmosphere was surprisingly light-hearted and amiable, and there was little of the anger and rage that had been expected. There were excellent performances by the white team, made up of singer Deserts Chang (張懸), Wu Zhining, son of the poet Wu Sheng (吳晟), the rock band Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) and singer A Bei (阿焙).

The young men of the San-Ying community formed a K-pop style boy band especially for the occasion, calling themselves the 'Sailai Boys' (from the Amis word for acting proudly), coming on stage from time to time, sometimes with mock 'erotic dances' and sometimes dancing dressed as construction workers. The middle ages men dressed up as the 'Sanba Dance Troupe' (from 三八 the Mandarin slang word for 'bimbo' or 'catty'), and with no concern about looking like idiots, they performed sexy dances to the crowd's great amusement, attracting the screams and catcalls from the audience.



The protest party provoked writers including Chu Tien-hsin (朱天心), Chen Xue (陳雪) and the founder of the 248 Farmers' Market, Yang Rumen, to donate books and rice to the celebration. Prior to the event the San-Ying community had collected lots of second hand goods, as prizes for a raffle, awarded to some of those who voted for one of the two teams.

The film below shows the San-Ying Aboriginal Community celebrating with their supporters, the band at the start are the Sorry Youth, then the leader of a similar protest movement, from the Shisi Zhang area of Xindian who are also faced with demolition, led the audience in song.

(Click on "CC" button for the subtitles)

Video for readers in China

Text and Video by Zijie Yang / Translation by Conor Stuart


Zijie Yang (楊子頡)


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