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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE,
people in Taipei
Ken Lin Translated by Yvonne Chen
whose ancestors migrated from China¡¦s southern Guangdong
Province have traditionally been regarded as Hakka, while
those from the Swatow (Shantou) and Amoy (Xiamen) regions
are known as Fulau. Many Hakka trace their ancestry to the
mountainous areas of Fujian, Jiangxi, and Guangdong.
Hakka population is roughly four million. The Hakka dialect
is experiencing something of a revival due to the government¡¦s
¡§Restore Our Mother Tongue¡¨ program. My own discovery
of this ethnic minority dates back to junior high school,
when my best friend spoke to his parents in an incomprehensible
language. However, the main character in this story is my
new roommate, James.
looks Chinese, speaks to me in English, but is French and
grew up in Tahiti. ¡§But, I¡¦m Hakka,¡¨ he says in broken
Mandarin, pointing out that a Hakka ancestor immigrated
to Tahiti at the end of the nineteenth century. James¡¦
family motto is ¡§respect tradition, work hard, and endure
hardship.¡¨ It turns out that most of Tahiti¡¦s ethnic Chinese
exhibits many Hakka traits. He works hard, and the unity
and solidarity of his family is impressive. Family members
dispersed around the world stay in touch, and are brought
closer by a family website featuring updates and discussions.
the encouragement of James and his family, he and I--a pure
Hakka from a Pacific island, and a Fulau Taiwanese--embarked
on a trip to discover Hakka Taipei. James will post the
results of our quest on his family's website.
Hakka Culture House
11, Lane 157, XinYi (HsinYi) Rd., Sec. 3, DaAn
(02) 2702-6141, 2702-6142
Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-9pm; Sat & Sun 9am-5pm; closed Mondays
Taipei Hakka Culture House is a modern building with a trendy
exterior and a traditional Hakka interior. The interior
contains delicately carved window railings. The ground floor
reception hall is furnished with traditional items for tea
drinking, discussion, or teaching, while the library contains
books and reference materials on Hakka culture. The receptionist
says a growing number of Hakka are seeking information on
Hakka culture and language.
2nd and 3rd floor exhibition areas display Hakka artifacts
reflecting religious beliefs, traditional foods, ethnic
identity, population distribution, architecture, and industrial
culture. Traditional Hakka buildings are no longer found
in Taipei, but through models and pictures we can get a
sense of Hakka lifestyles long ago. Hakka people settle
in groups and retain farming traditions even after moving
to the cities. A good example is the Liu Linkang family.
Fifty years ago, they moved to Taipei¡¦s TongHua Street
from Hsinchu County's Hsinpu. Four generations live together
in a five-story building with a vegetable garden on the
roof terrace. TongHua Street has slowly become a Hakka enclave.
and temples are serious matters to Hakka people, who differ
from other ethnic groups in that they pay tribute to the
Sacred Dragon below their altar, and will guide ethereal
spirits according to fengshui. These ceremonies are still
practiced in Hakka villages and temples outside Taipei.
4th-floor culture classroom is a venue for Hakka language
and folk-song classes. The basement is used for dance and
theater rehearsals, while visitors can relax in the wood-and-stone
covered roof terrace.
Hakka Art and Culture Center
3F, 19, Lane 157, XinSheng S. Rd., Sec. 1, DaAn
(02) 2709-3234, 2709-4443
Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-9pm; Sat, Sun 9am-5pm; closed Mondays
Hakka Art and Culture Center is a relaxing exhibition hall
for Hakka study. The spacious, bamboo-furnished social room
is a good place to socialize and exchange information. A
great place for in-depth studies of Hakka culture, the library--Taiwan's
first Hakka-theme collection--houses over 4,000 books, including
culture, recipes, and original papers. Two display rooms
show Hakka artwork and artifacts; seminars and speeches
are held from time to time.
Northern Hakka Culture Hall
161, MingDe Rd., Peitou (near Mingte MRT station)
Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-9pm; Sat, Sun 9am-5pm; closed Mondays
songs are central to Hakka culture. While working in the
hills, Hakka women used to sing to raise their spirits,
or to communicate or compete with each other. Also unique
to Hakka culture is the ¡§Three-legged Tea Picking Play,"
a comedy based around folk songs and ballads.
Taipei Northern Hakka Culture Hall is an exhibition hall
centered on Hakka plays and music. The entrance cleverly
engages theatrical and temple spatial elements to give a
sense of the old outdoor play days. The corridor displays
the history of Hakka plays. The display area periodically
schedules small exhibitions of Hakka performance groups.
Miniature Theater puts on Hakka plays and provides classes
on Hakka folk songs, the ¡§Three-legged Tea Picking Play,"
and children's puppet plays. The goal of these activities
is to instill the importance of Hakka culture in the next
generation. Information on Taipei's 31 Hakka folk-song clubs
can be found here.
group of activists has begun writing Hakka pop songs. The
members include Yen Ziwen, Chen Yungtao, Hsieh Yuwei, and
the popular Hakka rock band Jiao-Kong-Da-Dui.
remember those who died in the Lin Shuangwen uprising in
1786, Hakkas in northern Taiwan constructed temples and
present annual offerings. The government has declared the
20th day of the seventh lunar calendar to be Hakka Yiming
most memorable activity on Yiming Day is the hundred-year-old
Male Pig Contest. The overfed, colorfully adorned 600-kg
male pig is a sight to be seen. This Hakka celebration has
grown larger every year, and besides the male pig offering,
there is also a march to welcome the gods and bring good
luck, and rice-offering activities. This year¡¦s Yiming
activities will begin from Taipei City Council, pass Taipei
City Hall, and go through to Warner Village.
foods are known to be greasy, fragrant and salty. Because
Hakka people used to do a lot of laboring, they preferred
salty dishes that could replenish the salt lost by sweating.
known Hakka dishes are Plain Boiled Chicken eaten with kumquat
dipping sauce, Salt Roasted Chicken, sweet and sour tasting
Julienne Ginger With Intestine, Hakka Stir-fry (preserved
meat and squid), Salted Egg With Bitter Melon, various pickled
vegetables, and Meinong Chow Fun.
desserts are noteworthy. The pounding of glutinous rice
into a sticky paste is always seen at Hakka festivals. The
paste is cut up into chucks, and eaten with peanut powder
or powdered sugar. It goes best with Hakka tea.
delectable dishes include Barbeque Sauce Squid Broth, Dashi
Beancurd, Hot Licorice Soup, Papaya Milk, Shihai Soybean
Milk, and Fengyuan Cake from Shue-Hwa-Chia in Fengyuan.
important to Hakka people is Lai-Cha--green tea, sesame,
peanuts, Chinese herbs, rice, beans and other ingredients
are ground up in a mortar and mixed in hot water. Special
Hakka rice is added. Lai-Cha can be sweet or salty, vegetarian
or non-vegetarian; other foods can be added as well. In
Hakka villages, it is considered impolite not to offer Lai-Cha
are many Hakka in Taipei even though there are no Hakka
villages. Hakka strongholds are WanQing Street, NanChang
Street, Roosevelt Road, TongAn Street, and XiaMen Street
in the ChungCheng district; TaiShun Street, TongHua Street,
WoLong Street, JiaShing Street, WuShing Street and HuLin
Street in DaAn; HerJian Street, WuChang Street, ChangChun
Road, and TaCheng Street in ChungShan district; and ShiPai
Road in Peitou. The land god temple on TongHua Street is
a Hakka shrine. Hakka elders can be found singing folk songs
everyday in Youth Park. The Hakka Boxing Association, located
at 3F, 251, BaDe Rd., Sec. 2, is also an important part
of Hakka culture.
migrations and discrimination have instilled great fortitude
and determination in Hakka people. Like other minority cultures,
Hakka culture deserves our respect and appreciation. In
addition to the cultural centers described in this article,
various websites provide information about Hakka culture:
Hakka Grandma website: http://www.hakkaup.org.tw
2. Hakka website: http://ihakka.net
3. Official website of the central government¡¦s Council
for Hakka Affairs: http://www.hakka.gov.tw