Taiwan cultural luminary takes over as CCA head
Renowned writer and cultural critic Lung Ying-tai took the helm of the Council for Cultural Affairs Feb. 15, expressing her wish to bring progressive ideas and practices into Taiwan’s top cultural authority.
“Equal cultural rights and access to cultural resources for people at the bottom rungs of society will be the guiding value for all cultural policymaking,” Lung told media after she accepted the position from acting Minister Lin Chin-tien at a ceremony in Taipei.
“Without a citizenry with strong cultural literacy, Taiwan will never be sufficiently strong economically or militarily,” she said. “And this process should begin with the most ignored children from villages in the country’s poorest regions.”
Lung said soft power is the real power of a country. “But that power is not manifested in activities like fireworks shows, but in the growth of cultural strength at all levels of society.
“To achieve this, I will need support from society as well as from other government agencies,” she said.
As the fourteenth chief of the 30-year-old CCA, Lung will be the first head of Taiwan’s new Ministry of Culture, scheduled to officially begin operations May 20, replacing the current council.
Addressing the long-standing weaknesses in cultural administration compared to other ministries and councils, Lung said she expected the new ministry to play a soft but persuasive role and infiltrate the value of culture, as opposed to economic development, into the government as a whole.
“The Ministry of Culture should work like a sugar cube melting in a big cup of coffee—the government—for all to work together to build the country’s soft power.”
Lung was head of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs from 1999 to 2003 when President Ma Ying-jeou was Taipei mayor. She has published over 30 books and taught in several universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan. (THN)