Erenlai - Zijie Yang (楊子頡)
Zijie Yang (楊子頡)

Zijie Yang (楊子頡)


Friday, 28 September 2012 15:26

The Sweet Burdens of Wu Sheng and Wu Zulin

Father Versus Son, A Revision of the Old Classics

The Taiwanese use the phrase “sweet burden” (tian mi de fu he 甜蜜的負荷) to describe the ambivalent relationship between parent and child. The phrase derived from poet Wu Sheng’s(吳晟) poem “Burden” (fu he負荷). The immense popularity of the poem can be partially attributed to its inclusion as Chinese literature textbook material, even more so perhaps becauseof its colloquial and vivid description of the bittersweet parenting experience that resonates with so many people. “Burden” was written in 1977, that was when Wu Sheng first tried hishand at parenting. Nobody expected that 30 years later, he would join forces with his second son Wu Zu-lin (吳志寧) to give “Burden” as well as his other poems a new life.

Friday, 14 September 2012 18:27

Reader Response to September Focus: Living Together

The Rock (1996)

Daphna has lived in the Shida Area for 6 years and studies at Chengchi University - here is her response to our September Focus on Living Together:

Friday, 31 August 2012 21:54






Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:36

The quiet strength of Ananda Marga

Dada Kaladharananda demonstrated yoga to us.

Ananda Marga is a global, spiritual and social organization which engages in Yoga and Tantra(密宗) founded in 1955 by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar). The mission of Ananda Marga is self-realization (individual emancipation) and service to humanity (collective welfare). Through its meditation centers and service projects around the world, Ananda Marga offers instruction in meditation, yoga and other self-development practices on a non-commercial basis, and responds to social emergencies (such as natural disaster relief) and long-term social needs. Dada Kaladharananda, who is in charge of the Ananda Marga Meditation Assoctiation in Taipei yoga house, told us they participate in lots of social activities in Taiwan, such as visiting more than 12 care centers for the elderly, schools for the mentally challenged, junior and senior high schools, Tucheng Juvenile detention home and also  Taipei Prison.

In Taiwan, Ananda Marga claims that 100.000 people have participated in their activities, although the  number of returning active members is around 1,000.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:07

Rediscovering Taiwan through wall art

The new wall art team Bihuadui is encouraging artists from Taiwan to reconnect with their roots and include elements of Taiwanese culture in their art. It addresses some of the problems such as isolation of the artists and estrangement from one's own culture by promoting collaboration between artists and painting in unusual locations.We talk to some of those artists about their opinions on the team.


Friday, 01 June 2012 17:04

Last Night of Wang Family's House

On the night of March 28th 2012, Wang family was to be evicted from the house they owned for years. This controversial case of one family has captivated thousands of young bodies and hearts. No matter if for support or opposition, these young people have left their computers and stepped out of their houses to meet one another, and used their youth to experience and to ‘make’ the society.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 17:51

Focus Response: Women and Nationalism

Zijie Yang's Response to eRenlai May Focus on 'Women and Nationalism' in which he discusses how there is differing standards in Taiwanese society's conception of Western people and people from South East Asia:

Friday, 27 April 2012 18:14

White Eyes: Overcoming Gender Stereotypes in the Rock Scene

The controversial lead singer of 'White Eyes' (from the Chinese meaning someone who doesn't respect the other people's face), Gao Xiao-Gao talked to eRenlai about her experiences touring in Texas, U.S. as well as discussing her resistance to the certain monikers pressed on her by the Taiwanese media, like 'girl group', as well as the demand by audiences for her to stick to the 'screaming banshee' style which she started out with:

Photo courtesy of The White Eyes

The White Eyes are performing at Zhizou Cafe in Taipei on Saturday May 12. More info soon.


A song "Dead Boy" by The White Eyes

The White Eyes 白目樂隊:

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 20:22

The San Ying Tribe Still Resists

The San-Ying aboriginal community (so named because of its proximity to a bridge connecting the San-xia and Ying-ge districts of New Taipei City) - consists mainly of Amis tribe aboriginal migrants from Hualian and Taidong who have set up a community of illegal houses next to the Dahan river. After the community was demolished by the then Taipei County government (Taipei County was renamed as New Taipei City in December, 2010) they set up a campaign in an attempt to save their community, which was then backed by sympathetic cultural and social campaigners. On the 17th January 2009, to thank their supporters, and in celebration of the Taipei County Government's decision to postpone further demolition, they held their first end of year (the end of the Chinese New Year) dinner for those who had helped in the struggle against the demolitions.


The fourth such celebratory dinner held in 25th February 2012 was opened with a dance led by members of the aboriginal community, then two teams were formed, the red team, consisting of San-Ying aboriginal residents along with San-xia Junior High School students, and the white team, made up of famous bands, in a contest modelled after the annual NHK Japanese New Year's Eve music show Kōhaku Uta Gassen (lit. Red and White Song Battle). The atmosphere was surprisingly light-hearted and amiable, and there was little of the anger and rage that had been expected. There were excellent performances by the white team, made up of singer Deserts Chang (張懸), Wu Zhining, son of the poet Wu Sheng (吳晟), the rock band Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) and singer A Bei (阿焙).

The young men of the San-Ying community formed a K-pop style boy band especially for the occasion, calling themselves the 'Sailai Boys' (from the Amis word for acting proudly), coming on stage from time to time, sometimes with mock 'erotic dances' and sometimes dancing dressed as construction workers. The middle ages men dressed up as the 'Sanba Dance Troupe' (from 三八 the Mandarin slang word for 'bimbo' or 'catty'), and with no concern about looking like idiots, they performed sexy dances to the crowd's great amusement, attracting the screams and catcalls from the audience.



The protest party provoked writers including Chu Tien-hsin (朱天心), Chen Xue (陳雪) and the founder of the 248 Farmers' Market, Yang Rumen, to donate books and rice to the celebration. Prior to the event the San-Ying community had collected lots of second hand goods, as prizes for a raffle, awarded to some of those who voted for one of the two teams.

The film below shows the San-Ying Aboriginal Community celebrating with their supporters, the band at the start are the Sorry Youth, then the leader of a similar protest movement, from the Shisi Zhang area of Xindian who are also faced with demolition, led the audience in song.

(Click on "CC" button for the subtitles)

Video for readers in China

Text and Video by Zijie Yang / Translation by Conor Stuart


Tuesday, 03 April 2012 18:49

滾滾政治流,我偏逆浪行─ 打一場與眾不同的選戰


Friday, 16 March 2012 14:47

Memories of the Local

The experience of local culture and how it is absorbed is often a big source of inspiration for manga artists. The two artists in this section give us an insight into what growing up in Taiwan was like, and the perspective on the world that this granted them.

“For me, comic books are a means towards understanding others, they are also a way to allow others to know what I think.”

Ruan graduated in advertising design and interior architecture. He was an assistant designer for many years. In 1997, he published the comic book A Civilian-turned-President: Abian. 2009 was a big year for Ruan, since he won the first prize from GIO for his book Donghuachun Barbershop and he also published the comic book serial Spring at the Emergency Room online. Ruan depicts the lives of the lower classes of Taiwanese society in a touching manner, which flourish against a backdrop of flowers and plants, of bricks and tiles, strongly influenced by local traditions. The Taiwanese television has already acquired the rights to adapt and show Donghuachun Barbershop as a television program.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch it here

“Comic books give me a space for freedom of expression, drawing gives me a feeling of serenity.”

Sean Chuang has made more than 400 commercials since 1996. More than ten years ago, he wrote A Filmmaker’s notes, which was well received by the public thanks to its fresh and hip style. It launched Sean Chuang’s drawing career and it inspired him to write the bilingual graphic novel The Window. Passionate and dynamic, he spent ten years perfecting this masterpiece. In 2009 he won the GIO first prize with The Window. During the 10 years it took, Sean Chuang went through a rough spell and almost abandoned the project, but the prize gave him confidence. The story tells of the fate of a small town in the North struck by war. Afflicted by poverty, the numerous inhabitants of the village desert it, leaving behind children and the elderly. Totally without dialogue, there is no lack of passion in this colourful comic. As he always does, Sean Chuang continues to make films on the one hand, whilst on the other he focuses on writing comic books.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch it here


Thursday, 01 March 2012 16:27

Youth Design a New Future for Themselves.

‘Youth Design’ is a project of the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare (TAAYRW), set up to provide foundational work skills and professional design training, allowing young people to familiarize themselves with design related jobs, and helping them to accumulate work experience, to successfully orientate themselves in the job market, and to develop their skills.

Senior project manager Hong Xiaoping explained, "It’s mostly design classes, for one hundred hours, work ethics, financial management and work shadow, to understand the nature of the work in the design and printing industries. Including classes on CV writing and team-work, allowing students to understand that having talent alone is not enough.

Opportunities for internships are also available depending on your CV and on mock interviews, as a means of pairing off placements and interns. Students submit their CV themselves, and have a choice of 2 or 3 companies. The internship allowance is provided my TAAYRW."

Hong Xiaoping told us that often companies question the value of having young people who have given up on their studies and have no professional background interning at their workplaces.Many firms discover that these young people have a lot more potential than they had imagined, although they often find they have to adjust their methods and preconceived ideas when dealing with them. Young people nowadays tend to question everything, and don’t like being bossed about. Once they are clear on the purpose of what they are doing, and they know its significance, they are willing to go and do it.


We also interviewed the Secretary General of the TAAYRW, Yeh Dahwa, and asked her to explain the idea behind the ‘YouthDesign’ project.

TAAYRW was founded eight and a half years ago, with the primary aim of changing the stereotypical idea within society that the youth are ‘dependent’, and instead to portray them as ‘citizens-in-the-making’. We promote rights including for welfare protection, public participation, recreation, health, education, and employment.

Society needs to see the changes that ordinary young people are going through, on the cusp of becoming mature citizens of society, and this needs to be supported by society, in terms of families, communities and educational institutions, and foster an atmosphere of social participation, citizenship and a safety net for those who fall into poverty.

When looking at the development of young people, you can’t just look at the situation from one angle, like focusing on those who come from under privileged backgrounds, or on the school entry system

The mainstream test-focused system.

Approximately 90% of young people make their life choices within the frame of the test-focused system, they are restricted by this system of values. If they don’t get into a good school or get good grades, their value to society diminishes, to the point that some of them might not even be considered people. Moreover, whenever there is any activity that contradicts this mainstream ideology appears, it is quickly blown out of proportion by the media, and becomes so-called deviant or antisocial behavior.

The question is, are the resources and choices offered by society enough? Everybody is forced to take the same path, but some people from different backgrounds are not suitable to follow this mainstream path, yet they are still constrained by it.

If the mainstream education system continues to bread people who are just good at pursuing good grades, then it will suppress the emergence of many kinds of creative talent, who will have to rely solely on their own effort, without support. For example a lot of people only have the chance to realize their talent abroad, why don’t we cultivate this kind of talent in Taiwan? The education policy focuses on collecting what is already a finished product, instead of nurturing new talent, it is very short-sighted.

There needs to be some planning ahead when it comes to policy. For example, if someone enjoys painting and creative work, how can we help them become a designer or someone involved in creative activities. This process cannot be achieved in one go, but rather needs to be cumulative. With this in mind, we hope that through or training project “Good Design”, we can let people know that the talent training that the Taiwanese government often mentions needs to be a cumulative, top-bottom process. It requires consideration from the business point of view, and investment from the education aspect. Moreover, it should support people before they have made a name for themselves.

Shattering some myths

A lot of people believe young people are part of “The strawberry generation” (Taiwanese term for those born between 1980-90, that were raised well off), that they are not good at dealing with pressure, that they are cold towards society. But why do people have to use this label? If people did a bit of research and widened their horizons before attaching these kind of labels, then these kinds of terms wouldn’t even exist.

We have seen a lot of employers who are interested in making use of young people’s energy, passion, and creativity. But they are scared because of the stereotypes they often see in the media, such as young people being hard to control or egocentric, so the first time they employ a young person they are usually wary. We feel that our organizations activities and accomplishments have become very important. We have invited a careers coach to serve as a bridge, helping companies and employers understand how to interact with young people. We hope that through these training activities, we can make people understand a lot of these young people are not “strawberries”; they work very hard and very seriously at their jobs, but this hard effort is not reported by the media.

Translated from the Chinese by Daniel Pagan Murphy, Conor Stuart

Chen Jiajun, the girl who participated in "Youth design" program tells us her story...

Li Xin, one of the participants of "Youth Design" shares her experiences studying in Taiwan and Denmark, and her determination to work in the art field, and how the project enabled her in this goal:


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