Keeping the Young Talents, Hakka Affairs Council Gives Talk at NCTU

  • 2015-01-08


Keeping the Young Talents, Hakka Affairs Council Gives Talk at NCTU
Reported by Hsiang-Hao Chen
Young people leaving their hometowns to seek a career in urban areas seemed to exemplify Taiwan’s economic development in the past. However, as the traditional rural industries begin to deteriorate, topped with the difficulty to survive in the urban areas for the young people, many found opportunities in this situation and decided to return home instead. This propelled the trend for returning home. For the traditional Hakka villages, how do they face the gradually decaying livelihood and how do they attract their descendants to be willing to return home to develop a career, and in turn protect and revitalize the gradually dwindling traditional culture and industry? On January 6th, “Hakka Youth Policy Forum” held it Hsinchu session at the NCTU College of Hakka Studies. During the forum, scholars, students and professionals working in the creative culture and agriculture fields from Hakka villages gathered in the same place. They conducted a lively discussion on how the Hakka Affairs Council creates its Hakka Youth Talent Policy. 
Hakka Affairs Council hopes to assist the Hakka youth through subsidies, helping them go through the transitional phase right after college, so that they have the opportunity to be exposed to Hakka culture and to revitalize the Hakka villages.
Professors Chang-Tai Chiu, A-Rong Liu and other scholars from Yuan Ze University, host the “Hakka Youth Policy Forum”. They hope to discuss the Hakka Youth Policy content through open forums, broadly collecting opinions from youth. Starting from last year, the forums have begun to be held in various universities. Chang-Tai Chiu first explains the policy content, where the subsidy targets youth between ages 18 and 35, and the definition of Hakka Youth is very broad, ranging from the “Right of blood” based on kinship, “Right of the Soil,” based on the location of residence to the broadly defined willingness to serve the Hakka culture and ethnic group. Moreover, the project’s focus is to assist college students to conduct internships in Hakka related enterprises, working holidays in Hakka villages, and after they graduate, they will enjoy related entrepreneurship subsidies.
NCTU College of Hakka Studies Assistant Professor Lie-shi Lo is the first to respond. He thinks that the program should also strengthen overseas Hakka community service, and include a long-term potential talent-grooming plan, so that the youth can execute their own plan and activity groups, allowing the youth to do their own thing. NCTU College of Hakka Studies Dean Wei-An Chang also adds that Hakka Village Entrepreneurship should be done based on understanding one’s hometown’s cultural background. It is only through understanding that one can revitalize the Hakka culture, and it is only then that there will be development for Hakka Creative Culture Industry.
Cyonglin Village Representative Yu-Yun Cheng questions the fact that they have already had a group of people actively cultivating the local area for a long time, but they have never felt that the Hakka Affairs Council has expressed any interest in them. She questions whether or not that the Hakka Affairs Council is determined enough to  implementing the subsidy. NCTU Graduate Program on Ethnicity & Culture’s 3rd year student, Mei-chen Lin directly points out that from her own experience from living and conducting research in Chubei LiuChangli, the locals directly have to face the problems of having their farmland being expropriated. She hopes that the Hakka Affairs Council should be more proactive in their actions in protecting the Hakka Villages. Hsinchu County Councilor Chiang-Chie Chou points out even more directly that the complicated project plans, reimbursements and other processes impeded the processes in  all the past projects. He hopes that the future plans can simplify these procedures, so that more people can benefit from the resources. Moreover, he also mentions the strengthening of cooperation between academic institutions and points out the common shortcomings among Hakka Villages, where they lack basic infrastructure, and if these issues can be improved, it will certainly increase young people’s desire to invest in Hakka villages.
Participants from various places have problems with the subsidy age range of 18 to 35 year old. They think that it should be broadened. Otherwise, those that are older than 35 years old, who have the desire to invest in the development of Hakka villages, will have their desires destroyed. In addition, there are other participants that point out the urgent issues that are relevant to Hakka youth and the survival of Hakka villages, such as inappropriate set-aside policies, land expropriation and lack of basic infrastructures, etc.
The forum ends with a conclusion made by Professor A-Rong Liu. He indicates that he will collect the invaluable information provided by the participants and hope that next time there will be official representatives from the Hsinchu government, so that the public’s opinion can be more directly communicated.
The forum is a full house, demonstrating the Hakka public’s concern for the related policies. The participating scholars includes NCTU College of Hakka Studies Dean Wei-An Chang, NCTU Department of Humanities Assistant Professor,  Lie-Shi Lo, Yuan Ze University Department of Sociology and Policy Professors  Chang-Tai Chiu and A-Rong Liu, etc., and the forum is moderated by the National Central University College of Hakka Studies Professor Li-Rong Wang. Guest participants include Taoyuan City’s Department of Hakka Affairs Director Jie-An Chiang, Hsinchu County Youth Farmer’s Association President Yang-Jing Cheng, Hsinchu County Farmer’s Association Director-General Bi-Cheng Wen, Chudong Township Council Deputy Chair Chai-Ri Cheng, Hsinchu County Green Party Councilor Chiang-Chie Chou, etc.