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Minutes of Tainan City Government’s 266th Municipal Administrative Meeting10/05/2016

 Mayor's remarks:

1.       Working hand in hand to restore our beautiful homeland

I.         Taiwan was hit by two typhoons within two weeks in September, and the heavy rainfall brought by the typhoons presented a stern challenge and test to the drainage facilities around our city. I would like to express appreciation for the hard work by the teams from all of the municipal departments involved in responding to this situation. Thanks to their efforts, we were able to give our citizens solid protection from the impact of these storms, keeping the damage and inconvenience of flooding to a minimum.

II.       Typhoons always cause farmers concern about crop losses, while the city government has to pay particular attention to public health, environmental clean-up and restoring the city’s appearance. We are especially grateful to staff from the Public Works Bureau, the Environmental Protection Bureau, the Agricultural Bureau and all district offices for working so hard around the clock to clean and tidy up after the typhoon, and for assisting the soldiers of the Chemical Corps of the National Armed Forces with cleansing and disinfecting our city’s public spaces. This should be followed up with reinforced efforts to remind residents of the need to clear away water that has accumulated in containers around their homes, to counter the threat of dengue fever and other diseases. In addition, since this period of post-typhoon response coincides with the change of season, the Department of Health should closely monitor any changes in the general health of our citizens, and give appropriate warnings and guidance to the public as and when necessary.

III.     Reducing the impact and uncertainty that disasters bring to our citizens’ lives is an absolute duty of the city government. In order to enable all citizens to quickly restore their lives to normal, the Agricultural Bureau should be swift and active in examining claims for disaster-related agricultural losses, and should assist farmers with the legal requirements for making claims. With regard to relief applications from flood-affected households, the Bureau of Social Affairs and Bureau of Civil Affairs should work with district offices to actively help examine claims and approve relief. In the case of other typhoon damage to public infrastructure and services, including schools, public works and public facilities, the relevant departments should repair and restore them as soon as possible.

2.       Problems between the city government and the city council

I.         Over the past year or so, a disappointing incident has occurred in Tainan City Council. This not only disgraced the democratic spirit in Tainan but also severely damaged the collaboration between the city government and the city council, which have long worked together for the citizens’ well-being. It is also regrettable that conflicts occurred in the recent by-election of the chairperson of the city council.

II.       With the support of the Legislative Yuan, parts of the Local Government Act were amended in May this year to provide for the election and recall of local council chairpersons and deputy chairpersons to be conducted by open ballot, thereby allowing sunlight to shine into local politics. Those under legal liability have also been subject to legal sanctions. We can see that, though justice may often come late, it will surely arrive in the end. We have worked together hard and persistently through this difficult time, to defend and uphold our most core values for the future of all of our citizens and this city.

III.     Besides congratulating Chairperson Lai on being elected, I would also like to appeal to all council members to respect the result. While strong feelings may be aroused in an electoral process, the election is over now, and everyone should let go of the past and focus on the future for the well-being of all Tainan citizens.

IV.    After the council chairperson assumes office, Tainan City Council will convene the second regular meeting of the fourth session. I would also like to remind city government teams to remain deferential when facing council members' interpellation and suggestions, regardless of which parties they belong to, and that all departments should have their work reports well prepared and be fully ready to answer the questions of council members. We need to cooperate with the city council, to strive together for the good of this city.

Reports

1.       Report on the 2016 Nanying International Folklore Festival, submitted by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (refer to written sources for details).

Resolution: Approved for reference filing

Mayor’s remarks:

I.         This year’s Nanying International Folklore Festival is the 10th time of holding this biennial event, and the 20th anniversary since its inauguration in 1996. Over the past two decades, 129 groups from 44 countries have participated in this festival, which can be said to be Taiwan’s longest lasting international art festival. Tainan is Taiwan’s cultural capital as well as its oldest city. With a history stretching far into the past, it possesses more historic sites than anywhere else in Taiwan, while its folk arts are especially rich and colorful. During the Folklore Festival, there is a city-wide mobilization of host families, communities, schools, and even businesses, joining together for this splendid event. This international folk carnival not only features a street parade, but also includes performances in many different city districts, which members of the public can attend free of charge. I believe that such a meaningful and representative arts event deserves continued promotion, no matter who holds office as mayor, so that it becomes the arts festival that can best fly the flag for Taiwan. I would like to thank Director Yeh of the Cultural Affairs Bureau for the report he has just presented, and thank the bureau’s staff for their hard work and excellent preparation for the festival.

II.       This year’s Folklore Festival, on its 20th anniversary, has three main features: First, we welcome a return visit by an old friend, the Ondekoza taiko drumming group. Their performance at Wusanto in 2003 created a sensation, and their appearance now for the first time at the Performance Hall of Tainan Cultural Center will thrill our many citizens who for over a decade have longed for the group’s return. Second of this year’s main features is the expansion of brand value: The parade will be on a larger scale, and will include the floating of a memorial hot air balloon. The Cultural Affairs Bureau has also designed "Nanying 20" souvenirs and fringe activities, which everyone is invited to join in and which are deserving of encouragement. The third main feature is the showcasing of UNESCO intangible cultural heritages: In order to extend the ambit of invitations for international groups to take part in the festival, this year the city government has reached out far distantly to invite participants from Africa for the first time, and has also arranged for an Indonesian group to perform a program listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. These inclusions not only enlarge the scale of the festival, but also add to its color and excitement. The Cultural Affairs Bureau has relied entirely on its own resources in making contact one by one with groups from around the world, and arranging for them to join the festival. This achievement demonstrates the bureau’s international communication skills and executive ability, and I would like to once again thank Director Yeh and his staff for their hard work.

III.     As Director Yeh reported, as many as 21 administrative districts are involved in this year’s festival. International groups will head far and wide to districts across Tainan, including Baihe, Shanshang, Beimen and Jiangjun Districts, bringing international culture and arts into the lives of citizens up in the mountains, down by the sea, and at many different places in between. Moreover, this year the festival specially incorporates the citywide program of the 2016 Bring the Arts to Your Community event, which also demonstrates the city government's effort and determination in actively promoting “cultural equality” and “arts civil rights”.

IV.    Since weather conditions have become more unpredictable than in the past, the Cultural Affairs Bureau should make appropriate contingency plans for outdoor performances in case it rains, as well as for emergency and crisis management and other such contingencies. Everything necessary must be done to ensure that the performances can take place under optimal conditions, so that performers and audiences can experience the city government’s best quality of service. The Nanying International Folklore Festival is a large biennial international arts event that is tremendously precious to our city.  The Cultural Affairs Bureau should step up its efforts to publicize and promote this event, and I would ask all city government departments to grasp every opportunity of the arrival of foreign visitors to support the event’s promotion and to optimize related international service measures. Let us ensure that the program of the 10th Folklore Festival, on its 20th anniversary, is more splendid than ever, and let us make it a cause of pride for the citizens of Tainan.

2.       Report on the 2016 Tainan Gourmet Festival submitted by the Tourism Bureau (refer to written sources for details).

Resolution: Approved for reference filing

Mayor's remarks:

I.         The Gourmet Festival this year has three major features: First, it includes the discovery of hidden "gongfu cuisine", meaning the extraordinary dishes that are eaten daily by ordinary people. [Translator’s note: Though the Chinese term gongfu, or kung fu, is commonly used to refer to Chinese martial arts, its original meaning, as used here, refers to a skill that is achieved through hard work and practice, and which requires patience, energy and time to accomplish. In colloquial Chinese, one can say that a person’s gongfu is good in cooking, implying that they have great skill at it and have worked hard to develop that skill.] The core concept of the "gongfu cuisine" theme is to bring out the stories behind unearthed gems of such cuisine, emphasizing how chefs apply their skill, passion and creativity to painstakingly create each delicious snack and dish of this mouth-watering fare. From this, the general population can gain closer familiarity with, and fuller understanding of, this kind of cuisine and what goes into its making.

The second major feature of this festival is the selection of five types of classic culinary delicacies and their innovative combination with games. Through the exploration of these five main culinary themes from different angles, people can get to know the culture and quintessence of Tainan’s cuisine, so that it is more than just cuisine, but is life and is culture, and most of all is an asset belonging uniquely to Tainan. 

The festival’s third major feature is a cultural journey that gives all five senses a taste of gourmet cuisine. Building on the in-depth introduction of dishes that featured in last year’s festival, speakers will deliver explanations that penetrate into the soul of culinary fare, enabling everyone to understand the origins and culinary essence of Taiwan’s unique cuisine, and enabling attendees to enjoy a rich sensatory experience. This activity also incorporates virtual reality puzzle-solving games that are currently at the height of popularity, enabling visitors to understand Tainan food culture on a deeper level through stories and games, and to see into the inner depths of Taiwan’s ancient cultural capital.

These major features will enable people to appreciate that Tainan cuisine does not only consist of the tasty snacks that everyone is familiar with, but actually has a lot of other culinary treasures. Furthermore, Director Wang from the Tourism Bureau also mentioned that Tainan's famous chef, Master Ayong, will use food to interpret music, which will surely be a very singular experience for the audience.

II.       The choice of the simple two-character word gongfu for this year’s festival serves to highlight the essence of Tainan cuisine. Gongfu has three applicable meanings: First, it indicates that Tainan cuisine is a true skill, akin to the martial art of kung fu, as the expert skill of cooking. Secondly, when pronounced in Taiwanese, gongfu sounds similar to words meaning “highly skilled” and “time-consuming to prepare”, which can be taken to refer to the complex and meticulous process by which it is prepared, and hence to indicate its delicacy and refinement. This is reflected in the popular saying about Tainan cuisine that one should “eat to savor its delicacy, not to fill the belly.”  Thirdly, it indicates that Tainan people are courteous and warm-hearted toward their guests. When we visit other people's homes, we often say “na yi zhe gongfu”, which means "this must have taken a lot of time to prepare", to commend the host's warm and polite way of receiving guests.

I hope that this year’s Tainan Gourmet Festival can draw a broad and multi-leveled response from people all over Taiwan.

III.     Tainan has been rated by international media as a capital city of gourmet food. The Tainan cuisine that everyone knows about carries a high brand value. But it is the culture which lies hidden in the food that carries even greater and key importance. Behind these delicious foods, it is the sweat and tears shed in their making that form the core of this “culture”. I hereby extend an invitation to everybody in Taiwan: Come and visit us in Tainan to attend this splendidly prepared celebration of culinary art.