If the Chen Shui-bian administration had bothered to do much of anything really useful to promote Taiwanese, especially as a written language, then we probably wouldn’t be faced with crap like this.
President-elect Ma Ying-jeou met last week with Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明), the chairman of the Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature at National Chengchi University (Zhèng-Dà). Although Professor Chen is a former DPP official and supported Frank Hsieh in the recent election, the two reportedly found much to agree on, such as that the idea that Chinese characters are all that are needed for literature in Taiwanese; romanization and other such phonetic spellings, they agreed, aren’t necessary.
Zǒngtǒng dāngxuǎnrén Mǎ Yīngjiǔ jīntiān bàihuì Zhèng-Dà Táiwān wénxué yánjiūsuǒ suǒzhǎng Chén Fāngmíng, tā biǎoshì liǎng rén jīntiān tándào běntǔhuà, zhuǎnxíng zhèngyì, běntǔ wénxué, dàxué píng jiàn děng yìtí, lìng tā yǒu “kōnggǔzúyīn” zhī gǎn, liǎng rén hěn duō kànfǎ dōu bùmóu’érhé, lìrú Chén Fāngmíng rènwéi zhǐyòng Zhōngwén xiě, Héluòhuà niàn, jiùshì Táiyǔ wénxué, bùyīdìng kèyì yào yòng Luómǎzì, yīn lái pīn.
This is certainly discouraging though not unexpected news for romanization supporters — and for those whose idea of Taiwanese lit isn’t stuck in the Qing dynasty or even earlier. But there’s always hope that this is another of those times in which Ma is simply persuaded by or agreeing with whatever is in front of him; and he may change his mind later. Regardless, though, it doesn’t augur well for a modern Taiwanese literature or for government work on — much less promotion of — romanization over the next four years.
source and further reading:
- Mǎ qǐngyì／Táiyǔ wénxué bùbì fēi yòng Luómǎ pīnyīn; Mǎ: rèntóng Chén Fāngmíng kànfǎ (馬請益／台語文學不必非用羅馬拼音 馬：認同陳芳明看法), April 17, 2008
- Chen Fang-ming’s blog
- The Taipei Times article on the Ma Ying-jeou–Chen Fang-ming meeting did not mention this issue.