The 2012 4th Life Sustainability Awards Ceremony and Awardees

by on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 Comments

This year saw the 4th Life Sustainability Awards ceremony take place at the 2012 International Austronesian Conference in Taipei. The awards celebrate individuals' actions and passions for nurturing and protecting cultural, spiritual and environmental sustainability. This years setting award setting was particularly fitting, as it was the first occasion that a non-Taiwanese has received the award. Papa Mape, a Tahitian and Lifok 'Oteng, an indigenous Taiwanese, both were present at the conference to receive their awards. Their presence together on stage further emphasised and reflected conference's key theme, of strengthening ties and realising connections between Taiwanese and Pacific culture.

The first awardee, and the first non-Taiwanese to receive this award, was Papa Mape, an 85 year old fisherman and village elder of Mo'orea, Tahiti, who through sharing his traditional knowledge of the ocean has opened up doors for scientists as well as his whole community. Traditional knowledge is sacred in Tahiti, only passed down to family members and done so orally. Yet with the future of the environment unknown and thus a growing need to better understand it, Mape appreciates the value of sharing his traditional knowledge with Western scientific knowledge of environmental resource management. As a key example of tradition working with science, in 2011 the National Geographic Magazine featured his inspiring story. What drives Papa Mape to share his knowledge with scientists however, is for the young and future generations of Tahitians, as in doing so cultural and environmental sustainability alike are greater maintained.

Lifok 'Oteng, is an 80 year old Amis diarist, historian and musician from the Yiwan tribe near Taidong. Suffering paralysis when he was 14, he spent many proceeding years bed-ridden, using his time to self-study as well as learn musical instruments and languages. With greater mobility from age 27, 'Oteng began putting his great ability with language and communication to use, through visiting village elders from tribes and compiling their culture and histories. His diary, which he has consistently maintained for 60 years is furthermore a documentation of his interactions with cultures and histories. 'Oteng's drive and interest in culture has also seen him working as a Japanese translator, research assistant and field researcher. He is a pioneer and leading figure in his own Amis tribes' cultural history, and through his efforts of sustaining culture through documentation, now he himself is an important part of own culture's history.

Officially recognising this year's awardees and previous recipients is but a small token of appreciation in the name of sustaining culture, spirituality and the environment. The awardees tireless work and drive throughout their lives to do so, is a reminder and reflection of the importance and value of maintaining these forms of sustainability, for their communities and all of us alike.

Madeleine King

My name is Madeleine King, I am 21 and an undergraduate student studying at ANU in Canberra, Australia. I will soon be commencing my final year of my Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies degree, with Chinese language and Pacific Studies being my majors. Currently I am undertaking a 3 month scholarship in Taipei, studying Chinese at NCCU. It was since arriving in Taipei that I became involved with Erenlai. My key academic interests are of the Pacific region, the growing Chinese influence in the Pacific, as well as environmental and social issues in general. More generally, I like travelling, learning and experiencing new things. Being involved with Erenlai has allowed me to pursue both my academic and general interests, which is great!

我的名字是Madeleine King, 我的中文名字是麥荻。我是二十一歲。我,在堪培拉,在澳洲國立大學學習。我是一個本科生。明年是我最後的年關於我的學位。我的專業是中文和太平洋研究。現在在台北我做了一個獎學金了。我在政大學習。來台北得時候,我成為殘餘跟eRenlai. 我的學術興趣是太平洋研究,中國跟太平洋關係跟中國的越來越多影响,再說环境和社会的問題也有興趣。我本人,喜歡旅行,學習和新的經驗。因此,成為殘餘跟eRenlai是非常好因為我不但追求我學者的興趣而且我一般的興趣!

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