Taiwanese folklorist Lin Mao-hsien (林茂賢) lectured on Taiwanese folklore and culture at a July 21 salon talk at Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (青雲亭) in Malaysia's Melaka, which is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
As a well-known folklorist in Taiwan who specializes in Taiwanese traditional drama as well as Taiwanese vernacular songs, Lin currently works as an associate professor of Taiwanese literature at the National Taichung University of Education and Providence University. He also serves on the Cultural Assets Review Committee of the Ministry of Culture, and advises the Yilan County Government.
Built in the 17th century, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is currently the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. Besides being used for worship and social gatherings, it was also the arbitration institution for the vast overseas Chinese community. In 2002, the temple even won the UNESCO Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation as a remarkable example of architectural restoration. Nowadays, it serves as a religious center and a cultural exhibition venue.
Lin humorously shared intriguing short stories on Taiwan's rich folk culture during his July 21 session, which successfully attracted more than 60 participants. Folklore dictates the customs of ordinary lives and the norms that the people abide by, including festivals, religious beliefs, ceremonies, and daily rituals, he added.
He explained that due to early waves of immigration and colonization, Taiwan had gone through ethnic feuds, rebellions, disasters, and plagues. Hence, Taiwanese folklore presents the cultural characteristics of marine culture, ethnic integration, and innovation. To a certain extent, the traits of Taiwanese folk culture are similar to those of the Chinese folk culture in Malaysia.
"Taiwanese Folklore and Culture" was held as part of the ongoing "Tea Philo" series organized by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia. The next session on Aug. 17 will feature Dr. Wu Rung-shun (吳榮順), director of Taiwan's National Center for Traditional Arts.