The Ministry of Culture announced on Monday that it is launching a project to record the oral history of Taiwan and to store the information in an online database.
The goal of the project is to give Taiwanese citizens of all backgrounds a chance to relate, record and share their stories. Recording stations staffed with volunteers will be set up around Taiwan to help collect the stories, but people are also encouraged to submit their own recordings.
The recordings obtained in the oral history project will then be stored in its “national memory” online database and will be made available to social websites, TV and radio stations and other media.
Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said she hopes the initiative will collect personal stories from all over Taiwan, including aboriginal communities and fishing villages, and that people will help preserve the oral history of their grandparents.
As part of the project, professionals will also be hired to interview victims of Taiwan's White Terror period, an era in which hundreds of thousands of political dissidents and other civilians were persecuted by the government.
At a meeting with cultural officials from Taiwan's 22 counties and cities, Minister Lung expressed her hope that the nation’s cultural agencies will work together "to bring to life the stories of the Taiwan people."
"Taiwan is a peaceful and contented society, but deep down we are still very divided on our collective identity," Lung pointed out. This divided national identity can only be consolidated through a deeper understanding of the country's past, Lung concluded. NT$40 million (US$1.33 million) will be allocated to the project for its first year.