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Taiwan: What should be recalled? The Festival or the county's head commissioner?

12 years, since 1996, Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival has successfully played the role of train to pull the touring industry of Yilan county, integrated local community, and hence become the model of all the other burgeoning and upcoming cultural festivals held at every city, every county and every town. However, you, no matter you are a Taiwanese or a foreigner, an adult or a child, will not be able to attend next years’ folklore and folkgame festival at Yilan any longer because this year's festival is going to be the last.

The well-known folklore and folkgame festival witnesses a different path of development took by Yilan citizens from the other areas in Taiwan through several different leadership of different political parties, many Yilan citizens were also proud of having the festival doing so well. But why such a once brilliant model of local activity must end this year? The head commissioner of Yilan County Lu Guo Hwa who announce this message 「in a sudden」 blamed the fatality of the festival to 「the change of time and space contexts and the flux of price index which affect people's visiting willingness, and has seriously damaged the financial base of holding another folklore and folkgame festival」(zh;report from UDN). And, without receiving any financial support(zh; report from UDN) from central government, the head commissioner is forced to make this decision with great sorrow. While he also said with full confidence that a new summer project for Yilan will be planned as a replacement of folklore and folkgame festival before the end of September, and he also promised the scale of it will be as great as any festivals in last 12 years–it does not sound like a very serious promise though.

Volare, who has been a working crew of the festival, tells us the hidden agenda and contradiction behind the curtain:

自從去年12月選舉換大大老闆,今年2月換大老闆以來,整個工作團隊就一直處在double低氣壓狀態;老闆們想新人新氣 象,利 用2006 ICFFF替自己增添功績,可是又沒有提出啥麼具體的方案,而我們這些第一線的工作人員所做的分析,卻也不入他們的眼;他們一個指示下來就是要辦雙園區 51天,也不管籌畫時間夠不夠,是否有足夠資金這樣辦理,我們就是得硬幹。再加上大大老闆一心認為ICFFF是前人功績,他的累贅,根本無心打理這一活 動…

After last December's election, we have a new big big boss, then this February we have a new big boss, and the whole crew members are under double depression since then; bosses like to use new faces and want to create good records for themselves with the 2006 ICFFF while delivering no concrete plan. The analysis made by us, who stand on the frontline, can never get their attention. They simply ordered a 51 days, 2 playgrounds of festival without caring about the lack of time to prepare, the lack of money to manage–we just had to do it! Furthermore, our big big boss always thinks of the ICFFF a record made by former head commissioners and a dragging dead weight on his shoulder, so actually he paid no enthusiasm on this activity…

Lack of Budget is the one and maybe the most important factor that stifles the festival, but the meaning of festival cannot be tagged by a single price, especially to most Yilan citizens and thousands and thousands of tourists who once enjoyed in the festival. In fact, the host has been using the most economic and efficient way running the festival. Lee Jin Huei, the former chief executive of the festival, explained the tight squeeze of holding the festival last year.

其他縣市經常羨慕宜蘭可以用這麼優惠的條件邀請到這麼多優秀的表演團隊,可是一聽到要自己連繫這麼多國際事務、又不能委託經紀公司代辦就紛紛打退堂鼓。

Many other cities and counties envied that Yilan could successfully invite so many awesome groups of performers with such inexpensive offerings, but when they heard that we had to deal with such huge amount of international affairs without having an outside agency to take charge on behalf of us, they just retreated.

She attributed the success of ICFFF to the perfect timing, great place, and well-working crew and performers; however, what followed the success are poor imitation and the penny pincher attitude of the local government which implanted its fatality.

Since Commissioner Lu announced the end of this 12-year-old model activity before entering any discussion with any local tourism business runners, the opposite political figures show their disapproving against his hurried and brash decision and their sorrow right away. Just as expected, the topic of an once brilliant activity grew by DPP local head commissioners killed by new KMT head commissioner is a even more brilliant excuse for a coming political fight, which could merely blurred the focus of issues and the untimely future of ICFFF. Many Yilan citizen bloggers soon speak out their mind, and some of them are ready to go further–starting cosign for the continuity of ICFFF and the recall of the head commissioner!

The Short-hair Girl in the Ivory Tower(zh)heard the news and just felt pleased and sorrow at the same time. She thinks that the ICFFF has lost Yilan's smell, and it's time to end. She hopes that in the future the tourists to Yilan would cherish her hometown much more instead of being visitors for only a couple of days. Little Rain Frog does not agree with the Officials that:

官方竟然將「特色被模仿」當作人潮流失的理由,可見他們根本不瞭解,特色需要不斷的創新,環境需要不斷的維護,稍微鬆懈,「品質」就沒了。

It's unbelievable that the officials uses 「specialty been imitated」as a reason people don't visit anymore. From the stupid reason we can see that they don't understand the specialty needs to be recreated and the environment needs constant maintain. A bit of loose will cost all the quality.

On the Official blog of ICFFF(zh), kkman just started the 「I JUST WANT ICFFF」cosign(zh). And Mark, a geek with political sensitive even began the online campaign to recall Commissioner Lu(zh).

當早上聽到宜蘭縣長呂國華宣佈停辦『宜蘭國際童玩節』,我只有一個單純的想法,這是宜蘭人自己造的孽,必須宜蘭人自己來解決…辦的不好,可以改進。但是停辦,就再也沒有機會。

When I woke up with the news that the Commissioner Lu had announce that this year's ICFFF to be the last ICFFF, I had only one simple thought: it's our own failure and we shall figure it out on our own…unsatisfying activity can be approved, but once you end it, there is no more chance.

Mark's idea is soon followed by many. Jas as an Yilan citizen, a designer who cares about public affairs and well-known blogger thinks that the commissioner was just covering his lack of ability by ending the ICFFF:

我們甚至看不到絲毫企圖解決問題的積極方案,這連帶也讓人懷疑縣府對問題評估的正確性…缺乏正向挑戰問題勇氣與作為的人,我們確實應該質疑他們察覺問題、解決問題的能力

We can't even see any positive plans coming out to solve the problems, which make me curious about how correct it is when the gov. measured the obstacles…A man without the gut to challenge the problems in the face and do something to them, well, we should be suspicious on their ability to find out what is wrong and what should be done.

Jas made two beautiful stickers for bloggers within his short lunch break time.


On the social bookmark wesite HEMiDEMi, people gathered and discussed this online activity. brahman brought out a possible solution(zh):

不知道國際童玩節有沒有商標專利? 如果宜蘭基於財政考量,不想續辦,那麼看看其他縣市有沒有興趣要接手的,用一筆象徵性的價格把整套商標及活動流程買過來,也許這是個三贏的辦法?

Is there any trademark or patent protection on ICFFF? If the Yilan county has no willingness to continue because of financial concern, then maybe some other counties would like to take hand–just buy the whole trademark and activity rundown with a symbolic price–and maybe this is a win-win-win solution.

Rainlan says in HEMiDEMi's discussion(zh):

回憶、檢視一下呂國華競選縣長時的承諾吧 「…闢建亞洲最大的台灣風味小吃城,發展集觀光、美食、特產行銷及精緻工藝品販售的台灣風味美食廣場,以及推動海洋之星計畫,如籌建海岸、海面及海底 的奇景觀光遊樂區、海洋文化館、藍色走廊、賞鯨之旅…等具體競選牛肉」 哪一項已經做到或規劃了?!小吃城、美食廣場在哪裡?上個月,縣府規劃的購物網站也面臨關站的命運,哪來推廣「特產行銷與精緻工藝品販售」啊!

Let's review his election campaign. Here are his promises: 「To build the largest Taiwanese local cuisine market in Asia. To promote tourism, delicious foods and handicrafts to the world. To contruct the 『Ocean Star」 project, including recreational area at coastal region, oceanic culture museum, whale-watching tour, etcs.」 Where are those projects now? Has he done anything? The cuisine-shopping website designed by local government was closed last month. Where are those promotion and marketing now?

munch shares his criticism(zh):

同質性高,不是各地縣市節慶、私人樂園的能力大增,而是童玩節本身降格以求,放棄冬山河、乃至蘭陽平原的文化厚度,吸引迷戀後山 的朝聖客,反而淪落到拿著冬山河水清涼一夏的肉博戰,進入同質性高的商業戰場。 如果,只是多一個戲水場所,那麼童玩節再見吧!

The reason for the 「similarity」 is not because the other local festivals and private wonderlands are getting much excel in their business, but because the ICFFF degraded itself and turned its back on the cultural thickness grown by Dong Shan River and the LanYan Plan, and the pilgrims who are enchanted by 後山. Instead it fell low to become a flesh battle titled with Cool Summer using the water of Don Shan River, therefore into the business battlefield with no difference between each competitor. If ICFFF represents nothing but one more place for dabblers, then let's just say goodbye to it!

Now we'll just wait and see whether these online campaigns are going to bring a second life to ICFFF or just become what ICFFF has became: a dying activity. However, we hope that democracy runs on the rail, and we also hope that Internet can be a powerful tool to push democracy forward and let politicians hear citizen's voice. Just as Jas say(zh):

我們是鄉民,鄉民只知道貼貼紙話嘴炮,鄉民只知道童玩節給我們帶來的樂趣,鄉民只知道你不會做事就下台換人吧。

We are mobs, we mobs can only put on stickers and shout out lod online, we mobs only know the happiness ICFFF once brought to us, we mobs only know that if you are incapable then you shall be replaced.

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