Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Love Taiwan video #213 (and counting)



I use this title to reflect a recent wave of videos like this oneFacebook posts like this one, and a plethora of logos (see a google image collection here) celebrating love for Taiwan. The above video, which was just forwarded to me by an informant, is both cheesy and with beautiful shots. It was created by the Kaohsiung tourism office. Kaohsiung "City" is now the old "Kaohsiung City" plus "Kaohsiung County." (No one has been able to explain to me why the DDP benefited by this change, but everyone dismisses it as being due to politics.) The mascot is a Formosan black bear, and he/she is wearing pants made of "Hakka cloth" which is now quite popular, another localist symbol. The ad has many local references meant to appeal to potential to tourists; only if you have heard of some of these before can they possibly make any sense, since they flash by so quickly. For example, many people know the numbered streets 四維路, 五福路, 六合路 (and may know of the night market in the latter). Quite a collection of symbols.

The ad also seems to be only aiming at a domestic audience because you need to know Taiwanese Hokkien to understand the chorus: 水啦 súi-la means "beautiful." But 水 “water" is actually pronounced chúi, though you can hear they are singing súi. (Actually, there is a secondary pronounciation of water as in 下水 hā-suí, but surely the character for "beautiful" is not the same as that for "water.") This is a good illustration of how Taiwanese does not have characters associated with sounds, or at least most people do not know how to write Taiwanese using characters.  I don't know how to write it; my older Taiwanese Hokkien dictionaries only use Mandarin characters (meaning they are translating the romanized Taiwanese Hokkien into Mandarin, not picking characters to represent the spoken Hokkien), so they write it as 美. My new Taiwanese apps are not consistent; one writes it as 媠 and the other 媄. The Education Dept. dictionary says it is 媠. Taiwan needs a stronger comic book industry to help standardize Taiwanese Hokkien writing. 

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