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Ko Wen-je: Promote cultural activity in Taipei with popularly-elected director
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-09-02 08:39 PM
Ko Wen-je launched the 17th in a series of short videos introducing his "New Deal" Monday, with the latest covering cultural policy. Under his previously announced theme of "Change in Taipei begins with Culture," Ko advocated cultural autonomy in the city through re-organization and more transparent allocation of the city’s resources in supporting culture. Ko said the city’s support of cultural events and programs should be equitable and fair. He advocated the establishment of an Advisory Council for Cultural Policy for Taipei, composed of senior figures in the city’s cultural world and backed by personnel with experience and interest in the development of the city’s culture. Ko also suggested that in the future the director of the city’s Bureau of Culture be chosen by popular vote.

Ko was accompanied by the former director of the National Culture and Arts Foundation Su Chao-ying in a morning press conference in which he pointed out that like the nation’s pattern of income, society in Taipei is becoming more and more M-shaped in its makeup. He noted that creative types with connections in society have it good, while those who are less well-known find it very hard to survive. For example, he said, the Taipei Flora Festival was a NT$14 billion extravaganza and the Taipei 100th anniversary celebration went through some NT$ 3.3 billion. "The Dreamers production burned up some NT$200 million in one sweep,” noted Ko, “yet most artists don’t know where their next meal is coming from."

Ko said he would completely dispose of the present order and establish a system under which the resources allotted for cultural activities can be more equitably distributed. To avoid possible charges of favoritism in the future, he advocated the establishment of a cultural policy advisory council to determine policies and budgets. The mayor would appoint senior cultural personalities to the council in a transparent and impartial manner, and the council would assist the mayor in making cultural policy decisions.

Ko said that candidates for the office of director of the city’s Bureau of Culture would be nominated by the cultural policy advisory council from a list compiled by various cultural groups, with final selection via voting on the Internet. The director will serve to enhance cultural and aesthetic aspects of life in Taipei city and will represent the mayor in overseeing cultural activities throughout the city.

Asked whether he supported tearing down the old Taipei Train Repair Depot, Ko referred to his campaign proposal for a "cultural city" with its six key sites. His support of these locations shows that he is very concerned about preserving the culture and history of Taipei as opposed to untrammeled development in the city.

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