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Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com


Tweets @cerisefive

週一, 08 四月 2013 00:00

My God?

Taiwan is often cited as one of the most tolerant states in terms of religion so this month eRenlai decided to approach the topic of personal faith from a variety of perspectives, to examine the differences in beliefs that appear nominally the same, and the rich diversity behind umbrella terms like "Buddhism", "Atheist" or "Christian", which give the illusion of uniformity to our personal gods, or indeed our individual conception of the world.

First we look at how different people have come to their beliefs or lack of beliefs - whether through reason or by a more spiritual approach. We then look at what faith means for these people, whether it means living faith in a higher being or simply faith in human perception. Following on from this we examine the different ways that people, believers and non-believers conceive of the world around them, and how their faith or lack thereof goes to shape this; how they imagine god in terms of physical shape; how they interact with God; if their morality is shaped by their belief or lack of belief; and what it is like to be religious in Taiwan

Photo: Lu Kamiao



週五, 12 四月 2013 00:00

A School in the Solomon Islands

During the summer of 2012, while filming for the documentary Writings that Weave Waves, I had the chance to spend ten nights at the St Joseph Tenaru school dormitory. The St Joseph Tenaru Secondary School is located in the outskirts of Honiara, on farm land, and is managed by Marist brothers mostly coming from Papua New Guinea. The school now boasts 425 students majoritarily between 13 and 17 years old. At the eve of the start of school, we interviewed the then principal, Brother John Tukana who told us about the educational and cultural challenges he encountered during his three years spent at St Joseph. 

週二, 08 一月 2013 17:36

Taiwan's Pacific: Educational Links and Sustainable Fisheries

Professor Paul D'Arcy talks about the role for Taiwan in the Pacific - particularly the leading role it has taken in listening to the Pacific in the last few years, (with respect to the ban on the practice of finning sharks amongst other initiatives). He goes  on to outline areas in which Taiwan could continue to show leadership in the region, especially in regard to education and sustainable fishing:

週五, 21 十二月 2012 14:46

Two Atayal villages on Taiwan East Coast

Jinyang Village

In February 2012, during the Chinese New Year Holidays, I went with Benoit Vermander and my brother to two Atayal villages on the East Coast of Taiwan: Jinyang village and Wutah. There I met again with two of the aboriginal students I accompanied to Canada for a cultural exchange in September 2011. We asked them to take us to the places and people which would represent and explain the best their Atayal traditions. 

週五, 21 十二月 2012 11:54

From Tafalong to Honiara

The genesis of  the movie “Writings that Weave Waves”

It was in 2008 that I participated for the first time in the shooting of a documentary with the Ricci Institute:  during the month  of July of this year, as a small crew, we went to a village on the East coast of  Taiwan to follow a young Amis woman, Nakao Eki. She was engaged in research concerning aboriginal oral history, and as a part of her studies, she was returning for the first time in 7 years to Tafalong, an Amis village on Taiwan’s East coast (Hualien county) which is especially famous for its harvest festival. After two month of filming, editing, and post-production work, a movie was born: On the fifth day the sea tide rose…

Through the metaphor of the “tide”, the title already suggests the idea of Taiwan being shaped by waves. Indeed the title was chosen after one of the lines of an Amis song we recorded and which tells the legend of a mythical wave that brought to this place the  founding ancestors of Tafalong village. Besides this, the expression also reminds of the different waves that pound the shore of Taiwan: those of the ocean but also the waves of migration.

Thus, this very first movie experience not only introduced me to the basics of filming and editing but also to the aboriginal culture of Taiwan.  Indeed, the movie depicts the way the main character and her family deal individually and collectively with their history, and more precisely with the memory of their history. This first contact with the East Formosans already raised some questions about the way the aboriginals pictured in this movie related to the Pacific as the ocean is important in their legends and culture but they personally seemed to feel estranged to its physical existence.

At the same time, the Ricci Institute was following its shift towards the Pacific with the creation of the Taiwan Society for Pacific Studies (TSPS).  In September 2011, I had the chance to accompany the Ricci Institute in taking a group of 14 aboriginal students who were sent to Canada for a cultural exchange with the First Nations peoples (a project sponsored by the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan - CIP). I was  in charge of filming the trip. It was only 9 days but for some of the students it was the first time they had ever left Taiwan and despite the brevity of the trip it was a mind opening experience in a variety of ways.   First of all, they undeniably found more self-confidence , especially after the preparation for the trip for which they had to take classes on history, culture, dance and singing. They also bonded in special way with the aboriginals they met in Canada and one could feel a real kinship between them despite the fact that the cultures are not so similar at first glance.  In fact, it was through singing and dancing together that the connections between them really became clear. But at the same time, this experience also seemed to make some of them realize how much they were alienated from their own culture and traditions.

Two parallel concepts became the starting point of a new documentary:
1. How young Taiwanese aborigines relate to their own culture and how are their traditions and knowledge transmitted?
2. How do they relate in particular to the Pacific, is there only a global Pacific culture and what would be its features?

In the meanwhile, we were planning the conference and the idea of ‘weaving’ occurred naturally, after all, a movie can also be conceived as a patchwork of images woven together.  

I chose then to go visit two of the students who were part of the trip to Canada. And in February 2012, Benoit Vermander, my brother and I went to two Atayal villages located in Ilan County on Taiwan’s East coast: Jinyang and Wutah. Despite the fact that these villages are not too far from the ocean, these aborigines still consider themselves from the mountain more than the coast. We just asked them to show us their villages and aspects of their traditional culture on the go. Our plan was also to take these students to another island in the Pacific to let them experience the culture of another Pacific island. We decided then to set out for the Solomon Islands because of its special diplomatic links with Taiwan and because the country was organizing this year’s Festival of Pacific Arts. It was a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the diversity of the cultures of the Pacific where Taiwan aboriginal culture would also be  represented as the Council of Indigenous Peoples was able this time to send a performance troupe.

Unfortunately, neither of the two boys could come on the trip in the end. One was called for military service and the other had to finish his medical internship. So we went to find another student from a village in the same area. Yubax Hayung (羅秀英) was born of an Atayal father and a Bunun mother and she is from Aohua, an Atayal village located a few kilometers away from the other two villages and from the coast. She turned out to be a very interesting character to follow, being also probably one of the most unsettled within the group of students.

Thus, in July 2012, we flew to the Solomon Islands to continue the shooting and I completed the editing within four months in order to present the movie at the International Austronesian  conference organized on November 27-28 this year  by the CIP and the TSPS.

Solomons lilisiana

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The summary of the documentary is available here: http://www.erenlai.com/index.php/en/editorials/5138-writings-that-weave-waves-east-formosans-and-the-pacific


Or watch the trailer


週五, 19 十月 2012 20:01

Writings that Weave Waves: East Formosans and the Pacific

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East Formosa has been the departure point of the great migration that, six thousand years ago, shaped the present Austronesian world. And it is now home to the majority of Taiwan’s aboriginal population, some of them living in the plains and on the shore of Eastern Taiwan, and some in the mountains. The geography of Taiwan explains in part the diversity of its traditions and of its relationship with the Pacific world: In the central regions of Taiwan, the Mountain Range stretches from North to South with more than one hundred peaks rising over three thousand meters.  Further east, the smaller Coastal Mountain Range divides the remaining land into two parts, one located between the two mountain ranges, and the other directly facing the Pacific Ocean.

This documentary shows how aborigines in Taiwan, especially the younger generation, express and live their identity, while linking their narrative to the world of Oceania, which their ancestors contributed to develop, and where aboriginal people nowadays struggle to express their cultural, social, political and spiritual self-perception. In short, it is about the flow and exchange of experiences and stories (the ever-changing narrative weaved by the waves of the Ocean) that enrich and mix into one our local and global identities.  The Oceanic continent both separates and gathers together the people who inhabit it.

For the Pacific Ocean is not only a physical entity but a “storied” space as well: its immensity and the experience of crossing it have inspired in-depth stories, myths, poems, music and epics; its borders and islands have witnessed the rise and fall of cultural and spiritual traditions breaking along its shore, wave after wave.

Taiwan is a point of departure, a meeting point, and a destination for the stories weaved by the waves. This documentary aims at nurturing in Taiwan’s youth, especially in its indigenous youth, a sense of belonging within the Pacific world, while encouraging their creativity, their appreciation of the variety of the cultural resources offered by other Austronesian people, and its perception of the “resonance” that related stories, music and art forms inspire throughout this oceanic interchange.

Thus the filming of this documentary really started in Vancouver Island, Canada where some of our protagonists met with First Nations during a cultural exchange where both groups performed their traditional dances and songs. Then we get a glimpse of the way aboriginal traditions are preserved and transmitted in villages on the eastern coast of Taiwan and we travel through the Melanesian and Polynesian world with scenes and stories filmed during the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, held in Honiara, Solomon Islands, this year.

Director: Cerise Phiv 
Co-director:  Benoit Vermander
Image: Cerise Phiv, Amandine Dubois, Yubax Hayung, Wilang Watah, Takun Neka
Editing: Cerise Phiv,Amandine Dubois

Languages: Chinese, English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Chinese

Watch the trailer here

Readers in China can watch it here

The Premiere will take place at the National Central Library in Taipei on Tuesday November 27th at 5pm as part of the International Conference organized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Taiwan Society for Pacific Studies. You can join the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/129160723900797/

Or contact Email住址會使用灌水程式保護機制。你需要啟動Javascript才能觀看它 directly!


週三, 22 八月 2012 11:33

When in Rome...

A lesson of etiquette by Adrien Liu from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan.


週四, 10 五 2012 14:06

Animals in the Eye of a Scientist

An interview with a young French scientist

My name is Laetitia Kernaleguen, I just spent 14 months on the Crozet Island as a civil volunteer for the French Polar Institute. My mission was to study the demographic evolution of the penguins colonies there, with a special attention to the possible impact of global warming on their diet and their reproduction.


How would you describe your relation to animals?

Before going to Le Crozet, I was in French Polynesia where I studied the fish population and previously I had been doing researches in a farm on milking cows. The relation to the animal depends on the context: for example, in a farm where the objective is to make the cows produce as much milk as possible, the well-being of the animal is seen as a strain. As in research on animals, it depends on people but usually scientists want to stay neutral towards their study objects. For scientists who work with laboratory rats on which they conduct experiments, they have sometimes to sacrifice them so the relation is complex. Of course, it is also completely different if the animal is your pet, it is easier to identify oneself with it.

As for myself, I endeavor to avoid any form of anthropomorphism, that is to say to attribute human feelings to animals. For example, when seeing a penguin half-eaten by a seal, one would tend to think that the animal is in pain but that’s a projection. In fact, I was not even sure how much the penguins could feel. For our experiments, we sometimes had to take small samples of muscles or flesh from them and it was really not obvious whether they were feeling pain or not.

I should say that working as a scientist has probably changed my perception of animals, I think I have developed a professional point of view and tend to look at every animal in a scientific fashion...


So to you the penguins always remained a scientific object? What do you think of the people who humanize their pets?

I may sound a bit contradictory. Penguins are very cute animals and I cannot deny that there can be some growing affection for the penguins, especially in the rookery (ndlr: the place where the penguins gather to procreate). When you spend so much time with them, you are able to identify them and to distinguish different personalities. I did have some favorite ones and I did sometimes hug a chick or two, but I would try to avoid it as much as possible as it causes stress to the animals. Hugs stress the chicks.

As for people who treat their pets as humans, I wouldn’t do that, I would never dress my dog or my cat if I had one! But I don’t mind if others do that.


Do you think that man is bound to disrupt the animal equilibrium? Are the human society and the animal society two incompatible worlds?

The extinction of animal species is a natural process but man accelerates it. On the Crozet island, the human presence has disrupted the original equilibrium. Men have for example introduced the rat who has become a terrible new predator for birds of which some species have disappeared. There are no trees on the island, so birds have to lay on the ground and thus the eggs are eaten by the rodents.That said, man is not only the destroyer of nature; man has a strong impact on nature but every other animal has too, so it is mostly a question of to what degree. I think that man has fully occupied its place in the animal kingdom.

Besides, the observation of animals helps to put human evolution into perspective. In some respects, animals are more evolved than men: for example, penguins are capable of diving up to a depth of 400 meters; these birds also possess a special molecule which allows them to conserve food in their stomach during several weeks without digesting it, this is a remarkable adaptation to their environment!



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All photos courtesy of L. Kernaleguen

週一, 30 四月 2012 18:19

Kung Fu and Animation

Jean-Jacques was born in Paris and raised in Brussels, Belgium, where he spent most of his lifetime with his taiwanese parents. He has 2 passions in his life : animation, and chinese traditional arts. He graduated in Brussels from the famous national art university called La Cambre, where he majored in animation and film direction.

A few years ago, he rediscovered step by step and from a distance his Chinese cultural roots and history, through movies, litterature, arts, martial arts, and even cooking; and gradually he fell in love with it. He strongly believes this happened only because he lived at the other end of the world from his roots, hence the need to discover them in order to figure out who he was.

He came back to Taiwan 4 years and half ago in order to find a job in animation, and has since then been an animation freelancer, working for several MVs, ads, and also storyboarding for a taiwanese anime feature movie and TV series projects, as well as a role as a special FX artist for the same TV series project.

Eventually, he aims to direct a feature animation movie or series which would have the dynamics and rythm of japanese anime, blended with the aesthetic and philosophic aspect of the traditional chinese paintings. Two of the prototypes for his goal are his last student movie : The sword and the brush.

Alternate for readers in China


More links about JJ and his work




Watch here JJ's MV for DJ Code


週五, 16 三月 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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週二, 31 一月 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

週二, 17 一月 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.

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