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Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com


Tweets @cerisefive

Friday, 16 March 2012 12:40

Tradition versus Modernity

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Taiwan's culture draws on many different sources, stemming from traditions from the different parts and ethnic identities of China, the Pacific and its Austronesian peoples as well as its colonial legacy from Spain, Portugal and Japan. These traditions in the 21st Century engage in dialogue with the globalized world and The artists in this section


“If comic books didn’t exist, I would have been dead by primary school…dead of boredom.”

CHIU Row-Long was born in 1965. Due to all the small nudges received and encouraged by having both a father and a grandfather who were illustrators, his younger brother and him both grew up to be comic artists. CHIU Row-Long excels in the realist style of design and writing, and is particularly inspired by the history and culture of the Taiwanese aborigines (his wife is a member of the Seediq tribe). He has participated in the creation of numerous aborigine language educational textbooks. He spent several years conducting research and compiling all sorts of documents relative to the revolt by 300 Seediq aborigines against the Japanese colonialists. This revolt is the most heroic, albeit tragic, that has occurred in the modern history of Taiwan.


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“I always wanted to explain the world, and comic books are the tools heaven has given me to do so!”

James HUANG was born in Taipei in 1966. After completing his studies, he started working in animation. In 1987, he published his first, 16-page long comic book, The Blue Side, in the journal Huanle (Joy), under the penname Red Army. His humour is famous for being very sharp. For the next few years he published a few more books until 1996, when he edited a long comic book, The Little Boy Kui-hsing, before diving into the world of animation and video games. In 2003, he was recruited by the biggest Taiwanese online gaming company, Gamania, where he worked in the department of design and the creative centre. Through Gamania, he participated in the creation of the animation film “108 heroes”, which was broadcast on an American animation channel.

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Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

Interpreting China for the West - Jean François Billeter

Jean Francois Billeter (畢來德) is a Swiss sinologist who published in French a series of studies and translations on the Zhuangzi. Two of his books were recently translated into Chinese in Taiwan: Leçons sur Tchouang-tseu (莊子四講) and Contre François Jullien (駁于連). We had the opportunity to meet him during his visit to Taipei to present his books last November. In this interview he discusses his attempts to overcome the domination of Chinese scholars in interpreting Chinese classics and Chinese history, and explores the possibilities of looking at China with a Western audience in mind.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 17:17

Voicelessness and Disenfranchisement

Efe Levent is an icon of Shida Park, the heart of the student area in Taipei and a place of unexpected encounters and events near the eRenlai headquarters. This tall, long-haired, metal-head student of anthropology hails from Ankara originally and while finishing his PhD at Jiao Tung Normal University in Hsinchu, he has also been contributing to our magazine and is a regular visitor to our office. After many coffees and a couple of other stimulating drinks, we finally decided to tighten our ties to each other as Efe offered to take charge of one of our monthly focuses. For this, he brought in his finest team of writers, i.e. three other exchange students sent by the University of Paris VII. Being Turkish, Haitian or French students in Taiwan and having widely varying topics of research such as political history, the philosophical concept of emancipation and even the Marquis de Sade, it was not obvious to find a common subject to develop together.  Like a challenge or even a kind of “gibe” to their own situation in Taiwan, we asked them if they would be inspired by voicelessness and disenfranchisement. And they answered the call very enthusiastically coming up with five pieces aiming at remapping these two concepts in a multicultural and contemporary context.

First Efe tries to debunk the myths that the Western media, using its frequently overpowering voice, perpetuates about the Middle and Far East; He also brings us a documentary which tries to renegotiate the cultural relation between East and West by examining the mundane reality of everyday interaction in two industries, namely the food and music industry; Jean-Claude Noël attempts to wrest the true voice of Sade from misinterpretation; Francklin Benjamin analyses the legal process by which the French government essentially disenfranchised the Roma people living there; and finally Julien Quelennec displaces disenfranchisement from the usual interpretation of  the "deprivation of rights", using "Occupy Wall Street"movement and the film Punishment Park as examples.

Painting by Bendu

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 18:33

CEFC Files: National Identity in the History of Taiwanese Film

Wafa Ghermani is currently a doctorate candidate in cinema studies (La Sorbonne and Lyon Universities). She focuses on the evolution of identities in Taiwanese film history since 1895 (the beginning of the Japanese colonial era) until today. She explains here how she delimited her field of research and gives some of its oultines while retracing for us briefly the timeline of cinema in Taiwan.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:35

Micronesian Memories of War in the Pacific

Lin Poyer is a professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming. Her recent work focuses on the Micronesian experience and history of the Pacific War, during the Japanese colonization and afterwards. In December 2011, she was invited to Taipei by the Taiwan Center for Pacific Studies to give a series of lectures presenting her research. We had the opportunity to meet her beforehand and learn about the impact of WWII in Micronesia and the specificities of its oral history in the region.

Thursday, 15 December 2011 15:12

原住民的共同寶藏 ─ 烏米斯塔文化中心

第八站 - 溫哥華島 - Alert Bay - 烏米斯塔文化中心

建於1980年的烏米斯塔文化中心原是一個計畫,目的在收回在早期殖民年代中被政府奪去的「誇富宴」 (potlatch:西北太平洋沿岸美洲印第安人獨有的一種古老的民俗,為確定和重新確定社會地位而實行的對財產和禮物的禮儀性分配。) 相關文物。烏米斯塔文化中心因此得名,烏米斯塔具有重要文物回歸的意義,且提供了創建這個設施和 Tsalala舞蹈團的背後動機。烏米斯塔計畫還包含一座現代博物館和文化教育設施的運行,一座藝廊和禮品店,觀光團體導覽,還有舞蹈團的演出。我們團隊在島上看到加拿大早已廢除的原住民寄宿學校的遺址,當時加國政府曾嘗試教育和轉化印第安人,強迫他們接納歐洲文化、宗教,和生活方式。之後我們集合到表演儀式的集會房子,在那裏學生們和 Tsalala舞蹈團彼此交流,不僅感受到了他們對傳統文化的尊敬,也藉由他們更了解自己本身的文化。



── 李慕凡 Wilang Watah - 陽明大學醫學系四年級 - 泰雅族

── 李靜怡 Iwan Ilong - 真理大學觀光事業學系四年級 - 太魯閣族


── 林凱恩 Piho Yuhaw - 政治大學民族學系三年級 - 泰雅族

「這次參訪過程,不管是政府機構或民間組織,對方介紹的一開始一定是告知我們,現在所屬的土地是哪個部落及族群,這是很令人感動的。加拿大稱原住民族為『First Nation (第一民族)』;台灣稱為原住民族(Indigenous),二者有異曲同工之妙。兩國都確認原住民族是該國原本抑或第一居住在此的民族,但在台灣我們何時會談起土地的故事以及以前居住在此的民族?加拿大處處感受得到當地族人及友人對於土地的認同以及認識,令人動容。」

── 陳睿哲 Yahu Kunaw - 東華大學民族語言與傳播學系三年級 - 泰雅族


Photos by C. Phiv

Monday, 21 November 2011 17:52

Farewell Dance with the Kwakwa-ka-wakw

U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, Vancouver Island

The U'mista Cultural Centre, founded in 1980 was a project to house 'potlatch' artefacts which had been seized by the government during an earlier period of cultural repression. The return of the potlatch artefacts provided the name of the centre - U'mista's or 'the return of something important', and provided the motivation behind the creation of a physical facility and Tsalala dance troupe. U'mista's operations include the running of a modern museum and cultural education facility, an extensive art gallery and gift shop, group tours, and presentations by dance troupes.

The group spent a whole day on this beautiful island at the mouth of U’mista centre, where they saw the remains of a Canadian Residential School, a legacy from the days when the Canadian government was attempting to educate and conform the Indians to European cultural standards, religion and way of life After a few of the students took a ceremonial dip in the freezing saltwater we were taken to the ceremonial house of gathering where the students observed and shared traditional dance performances with the Tasala dance troupe. This process learnt about their respective cultures...but also to further know themselves through the eyes of the other.

For readers in China:

Filmed by C. Phiv and D. Chen, edited by C. Phiv, subtitled by Adrienne Chu

"U’mista, the final stop on our journey was also the one that left me the most lasting impression. As we arrived they happily performed a traditional dance to express welcome. During the performance, we saw lively, enthusiastic kids, unsparingly displaying outstanding postures and flexibility. I now truly understand the meaning of the totem poles standing between the city and the countryside – with the creation of an environment you demonstrate respect for culture; with respect for culture, you create an invisible unity, and from this united spirit, the Indigenous people will find the roots of their family."
Yabax Hayung (College of Nursing, National Taipei University of Health and Nursing Sciences, Atayal Nation)



"I was very moved to find that every time a government representative or civil group talked to us they would start off by introducing which First Nations traditional tribal lands we were on. While the terms First Nation in Canada and Indigenous in Taiwan express similar things, and in both countries they recognize the precedence of the arrival of our peoples, in Taiwan when do you ever hear someone start off by introducing a story of the land and which Indigenous group used to live there?"
Yahu Kunaw (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communications, National Dong Hwa University, Atayal Nation)

Photos by C. Phiv


Monday, 21 November 2011 17:43

Giving Urban Aboriginals a Chance

Victoria Aboriginal Friendship Centre (VAFC), Victoria City, Vancouver Island

The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society is a charitable welfare organisation with a specific mission to support the needs of 'Aboriginal people making a transition to the urban community. It aims to be holistic and cultural, providing social services; support in health, education and recreation, family support and maintenance of traditional values. Since Taiwan also has a significant urban Aborigine population, this was also an excellent chance for our students to see how successful the First Nations people have been in reconciling their dual identities in the city? Are the urban aborigines maintaining and even reviving their culture in this global city? How extensive was the support compared to that in Taiwan?

Filmed and edited by C. Phiv, subtitled by Vica Zhuhan

"The Victoria Aboriginal Friendship Centre was a social work centre of sorts, providing support for various issues often encountered by the First Nations population. For example they provide child-raising counseling for mothers, to avoid a situation where the government doesn’t recognize them as suitable parents and takes over childbearing responsibilities. They also provide services for the same young Indigenous people who had been forced away from their parents as children and were now trying to return to society as adults. This included a halfway house in which they were provided accommodation and a family setting, to give them encouragement. Finally there was also support work from community elders."
Ibu Isliduan (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, National Dong Hwa University, Bunon Nation)

"...Mr. Bruce Parisian described to us their bitterness that the local Indigenous people are forced to leave their communities for the city in search of jobs. It struck me, because the same situation also happens in Taiwan. This centre was created by a group of less than ten Indigenous peoples. But they still managed to raise huge funds from civil society and the government. I really admire their efforts, and I think we can learn a lot from them."
Rimuy Watan (School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Atayal Nation)


Photos: Top: Richard Chen Down: Shu-ching Hsueh

Monday, 21 November 2011 00:00

Between the Horror and the Sublime

Daniel Arroyo is 29 years old and he is a Spanish painter. He studied Fine Arts at Barcelona University and Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. He has been living in Taipei for 7 months where he is currently learning the Chinese language and where he hopes to exhibit his work soon. He is very interested in seeing how his work will evolve in contact with Asian culture and Asia's approach to the sacred and the everyday, the dialogue between these two being a major driver of his artistic creation.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 20:01

First Stop on the Spirit-Catching Train

Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver City

After spending the morning sightseeing around Vancouver City, at the Queen Elizabeth Park, Chinatown and the pinnacle of western welfare states in action at less well-to-do end of East Hastings, we then moved on to the first major cultural exchange in our trip. Stanley Park covers 400 hectares of evergreen land close to downtown Vancouver. During the summer months from May to September the Vancouver Park Board has transformed a part of Stanley Park into an Aboriginal summer village, the Klahowya Village Park, a vibrant cultural experience of song, dance, art and cuisine. They offer storytelling, spirit catching train rides, two daily dance performances, Aboriginal cuisine and daily cultural tours including specific ‘Nations days’. There are also crafts, with artisans working on-site doing woodcarving and weaving, which you can have a go at making yourself or buy from their store. This setup was particularly relevant to the Taiwanese students exploring cultural enterprise as a way of reaching financial autonomy, a necessary condition of long-term political autonomy. We hoped to take this opportunity to understand how Klahowya village uses ecological tourism and cultural enterprise to initiate cultural revival and also provide jobs for local aborigines, in a way that is respectful to their traditions and people.

"We began our journey at Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, where we witnessed the collaboration between the First Nations and the government on a cultural enterprise project of sustainable management and promotion. From May to September every year, Klahowya Village becomes a small tribe with the aims of cultural preservation and promotion. We were lucky to experience one of their exorcism ceremonies, a village train ride and to take part in a traditional dance dialogue. The exorcism ceremony, in which ash and leaves are waved over the body, was very similar to that of the Amis’ culture."
Ibu Isliduan (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, National Dong Hwa University, Bunon Nation)

"Not being able to say “No” to others is a weakness. We compromise easily, thus our life, studies and even culture are taken advantage of by others. In Klahowya Village, after an elder shared his music and dance, one journalist came to ask him to do it again. He refused and said, “Culture is not a tool of marketing nor consumption, is our dignity.”"
Takun Neka (Department of Public Affairs, Ming Chuan University, Atayal Nation)

For readers in Mainland China:

Video filmed by Cerise Phiv and Diane Chen, edited by Cerise Phiv and Nick Coulson, subtitled by Yen-ching Chu

Photo courtesy of Laurent Vu-The

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 00:00

Privacy, Intimacy and Teleportation

Jose Ramon Duran, PhD student at National Taiwan University talks about the hazards and the future of the internet.

Thursday, 29 September 2011 17:56

238 x TW ÷ 105 = 100

In order to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of its foundation, the government of the R.O.C planned a broad array of activities and festivals. One program in particular caught our attention due to its extravagance and ambition: last February, the Council for Cultural Affairs decided to invite more than 200 young individuals from all over the world for a cultural exchange in Taiwan. After going through an elaborated selection process involving, for example, the posting of a video of motivation, 238 delighted candidates coming from 105 different countries, earned a plane ticket and the experience to be hosted by a family in Taiwan over twelve days. In exchange, they had to report about their stay on the island on blogs and other social media. Renlai had the chance to meet with seven of the ‘home-stayers’ coming from Latin America, Africa and Northern Europe. One can question the depth of such an exchange because of its short time span and its ‘touristic’ aspect, but one can also measure the benefit that the two parties drew from this experience. On the one hand, most of the visitors compensated the brevity of their stay with an intensity in the diversity and originality of their encounters and discoveries; and on the other hand, they brought a fresh and original look at Taiwan’s communal spaces and sites. So let us succumb to the impromptu and see Taiwan through the eyes of the newcomer...

Photo courtesy of Alice Lin

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