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The Eslite Books at the Taitung Story Museum
Despite being remotely located at the eastern Taiwan and nicknamed as the Back Mountain, Taitung is however a place rich in ethnic cultures. In additions to Southern Fujian, Hakka, and other Chinese immigrants living in Taitung County, there are also 6 indigenous tribes that comprise almost one third of the Taitung population: Puyuma, Ami, Paiwan, Rukai, Bunun and Lanyu Tao. Since the history of Taiwan was first recorded, the east has always been the forgotten frontier behind the mountains. However, its belated development has inadvertently preserved the natural environment and the traditional culture of the indigenous people.
The migration history of Chinese immigrants in Taitung has only some two hundred years, and such relatively short time leaves not many historic relics in Taitung. However, the ethnic and cultural diversities in Taitung are unaffected. The harmonic relationship among the Southern Fujians, the Hakkas, other Chinese immigrants, and indigenous people has created a living environment for co-existence and mutual prosperity. The resulting humanity and culture are even more vibrant than other counties and cities where unitary culture often dominates. The high proportion of indigenous people in the population makes the ethnic culture in Taitung abundant, creating more art and tourism features. The Taitung Story Museum is a fulfillment of the concept of ethnic culture museum that tells the historic tales of Taitung.
The population in Taitung is 238,943, among which 126,727 are males and 112,216 females. Despite the small size of population, there are plenty of talented people who have created the history of Taitung. Behind every story of success there is a history of painstaking and struggle.
The Taitung History Museum aims to present the journeys of struggle taken by those Taitung residents who have made great achievements in history, culture, sports, art, and other aspects. They are all witnesses of the historic development of Taitung, which the future generations shall learn about and follow. More Taitung miracles will be made, and the history of Taitung will be more sparkling.
The Taitung History Museum is located at the intersection of Boai Road and Tiehua Road in Taitung City; it is originally the Taitung Land Office. It is surrounded with tourism attractions and government offices. For examples: Liyu Mountain, Taitung Park, Stadium, Railway Art Village, Taitung University, Taitung University Laboratory Elementary School, County Government, City Office, Taitung County Police Precinct, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and Taitung Hostel for Teachers and Public Workers. It is very close to the commercial center. It is where education, culture, tourism, leisure, and travel functions are gathered in one place.
The Taitung Story Museum is actually an example of the use of an idle land lot with improved hardware and software. With the joint efforts from the local cultural and historic groups and performers, the resources and efforts are united into a force that maximizes the potentiality of cultural creativity and sustainability. At the same time, it allows the local residents and foreign tourists to better understand the development process of Taitung history and the contributions to society made by countless people.
Since a long time ago, the Taitung residents have developed a harmonic ethnic culture that echoes with the rhythm of the nature under the natural and primitive environment of mountains and ocean. The Back Mountain seems more relaxed and friendly when compared with other counties and cities with intense commercial competition and solitary interpersonal relationship. Taitung has an elegant natural environment and abundant multiple ethnic culture; thus, it is known as the back garden of Taiwan and the last pure land in Taiwan. It is also a city that is most beautiful, friendly, inhabitable, and ideal for sports.
As the center of politics, culture, and economy of Taitung County, Taitung City, with mountains in the back and ocean in the front, is a green city with a space for diversified leisure activities. The Aboriginal Culture Hotel on Mahengheng Boulevard, the Black Forest Park, the Artificial Lake, the Pipa Lake, the Sea Shore Park on the Datung Road, the green bicycle trail, the Stadium, the Bureau of Cultural Affairs on Nanjing Road, the Hostel for Teachers and Public Workers, and the Sinsheng Road new business circle are connected as a diversified leisure belt.
The Taitung Story Museum happens to be at the center of this leisure belt and may function as the connector. In the future it will be the new living center for the residents in leisure activities, local humanity, history education, social relationship, and art events.
In the consideration of differentiation and sustainability for the Taitung Story Museum, the Taitung County Government has especially commissioned the Museum’s operation to the Eslite Co., Ltd. (the Eslite Books). To bring the service standard in Taipei to Taitung, the Company will invest NT$10 million to renovate the 1st and the 2nd floors of the Museum as the theme space, expand the reading area and parent-children area, and install air-conditioning and fire safety systems.
The intended goals are: (1) To tell the local stories of Taitung and its residents and the local humanity spirit of Taitung through books; (2) To aggressively maximize the functions of the Museum, thus encouraging the residents to understand local culture and history, promote art quality, create an aesthetic living environment, and cultivate humanity ambience; (3) To facilitate the multiple ethnic cultures and promote Taitung as the center for the study of Austronesian culture; and (4) To develop Taitung into a city of art that is the most ideal place to live by combining indigenous people’s music, art, dance, and natural ecology landscape.
In the future the Museum will also present the stories about how the children born in Taitung have achieved their successes. Examples include Hu, Tie-hua (father of Hu, Shih) the magistrate of Taitung during the Cing Dynasty; Yang, Chuan-guang the legendary Asian Iron Man; Ke, Shou-liang the great stunt actor; Ding, Syue-jhu the painter; Guo, Ying-nan the senior singer; Li, Tai-siang the musician; all were born and raised in Taitung.
There are more great Taitung achievers. A-Mei the pop music queen; Ji, Siao-jyun the Golden Melody best female singer award winner; Chen, Jian-nian and Wang, Hong-en the Golden Melody best male singer award winners; Chen, Si-cing the Tea King; Syu, Lan-siang the Vinegar King; Ciou, Chuei-chang, Lin, Long-sing, and Lin Long-shan the Rice Kings. All of them are the pride of Taitung for their excellence in music and agriculture. Their marvelous stories shall also be the theme of the Story Museum in the future.
The Taitung Story Museum operated by the Eslite Books shall provide a comfortable, spacious, and bright reading area for the residents of Taitung County, making reading a very joyful thing to do and become one of the major leisure activities among the Taitung residents. Currently the space on the 1st floor will be converted into an open reading area that includes books shelves, a reading area, and a parent-children reading area. The 2nd floor will be the Story Museum, where the history and culture of Taitung will be comprehensively exhibited to the people of Taitung.
It is estimated that the brief accounts of Hu, Tie-hua; Ding, Syue-jhu; Li, Tai-siang; Guo, Ying-nan; Yang, Chuan-guang; and Ke, Shou-liang will be gathered and compiled in two stages in 2006 and 2007 through field investigation in the forms of picture book and audio book for display and promotion. In addition, the local culture museum and art groups will be combined to form an art environment full of local features.
Taitung is a place shared by multiple ethnic groups and talented people. The diversified culture brought by different ethnic groups makes Taiting a melting pot of races, creating a brilliant, colorful, and abundant Back Mountain Culture. Each of the ethnic group is a marvelous story consists of the hardworking, wisdom, and dedication contributed by countless people. Each of the stories is also a piece of Taitung history. Therefore, the Taitung History Museum not only collects, records, and presents history, but also preserves history.
The establishment of Taitung Story Museum not only encourages the residents to develop reading habit and inner quality, but also provides a space for residents to hold their small speeches, music concerts, and art exhibitions, thus promoting local art and good social conduct.
More importantly, the establishment of the Taitung Story Museum may consolidate the historic emotion among the Taitung residents, enhance their affection and approval for Taitung, and induce new knowledge and concept that keep society synchronized with the modern world.
At the same time the perfect cultural and educational position of the Story Museum can promote the surrounding business circle, government agencies, schools, and art groups toward synergy. It creates an artistic environment filled with humanity, ecology, and art. The residents may learn the beauty of art through reading in an elegant environment and increase their affection for their hometown.