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National memories: Stories from eastern Taiwan
Lee Chih-chung (李吉崇), director of the National Living Arts Center in Taitung.
Lee Chih-chung (李吉崇), director of the National Living Arts Center in Taitung.
Date:
2014-02-13

Results of “Faces of Eastern Taiwan,” the Hualien and Taitung segment of the Ministry’s National Memory Database Project, were unveiled on Feb. 13 at the National Living Arts Center in Taitung.

The National Memory Database Project was first launched in 2013 to help collect and digitalize the personal stories of people from Taiwan. The Taitung Center has since helped to collect 80 stories from the Hualien and Taitung regions; these video recordings that delineate the common memories of the nation’s citizens are now available for public viewing at the project’s official website (http://storytaiwan.tw/).

Lee Chih-chung (李吉崇), director of the Center, led his staff in describing the process of collecting and recording those stories at the Feb. 13 press conference, while retiree Wang He-sheng (王河盛) recounted how he fought off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by writing a six-volume series on the history of Taitung’s Chenggong Township.

Chou Fu-an (周福安) and Chen Jui-ping (陳瑞萍), volunteers at two of the eight story-recording stations in Hualien and Taitung, also shared their touching experiences in helping the public record their stories.

Lee, who officiated at the press conference, explained the spirit of the project, noting that it is one of the keystone policies of the Ministry of Culture. Unlike previous historic studies that focused on objectivity, this project focuses on individuals and allows them to tell their life stories.

The Hualien and Taitung segment of the National Memories Project also takes advantage of modern technology and produces videos from the collected stories before uploading them online, added Lee. These materials are potential sources and inspiration for other creative productions such as television dramas, radio broadcasts, films, and novels, he noted.

The center has commissioned two affiliated associations and other private groups in the two counties to establish a total of 10 story-recording stations in eastern Taiwan by the end of 2014, with four planned for Hualien and six for Taitung. 

Retired public servant Wang He-sheng, dubbed "a walking encyclopedia," shared his story of recovery from Alzheimer's disease.
Retired public servant Wang He-sheng, dubbed "a walking encyclopedia," shared his story of recovery from Alzheimer's disease.
Wang's published records on the socio-economic and political history of Taitung's Chenggong Township.
Wang's published records on the socio-economic and political history of Taitung's Chenggong Township.
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