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Taiwanese indigenous poet urges care for environment

Taiwanese indigenous poet urges care for environment

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) A Taiwanese indigenous poet urged his readers at the ongoing Taipei International Book Exhibition Saturday to care more about the environment and not to forget the pain suffered by the indigenous people in Taiwan.
Monanen (???), a poet from the Paiwan tribe, recited his poem "The Aged Mountain" (??????) at an event at the book fair, which this year highlights indigenous cultures and peoples in Taiwan and New Zealand. The 59-year-old told CNA that he wrote the poem in the 1970s after reading news about people illegally chopping down yew trees in the mountains. The poem describes how the poet returns to his village to find that "the brutal wood-chopping continues" and that "the once fertile mountain of mine is now piles of stone." "Our descendants need to live on this land for generations to come, so we must not exhaust the earth's resources selfishly," Monanen said. Even today, Taiwan still faces many environmental problems, such as overdevelopment at the scenic Cingjing area, said the poet, who called on more efforts to be made to tackle these long-existing problems. Monanen's poems address environmental injustices and the discrimination and pain suffered by Taiwan's indigenous peoples. "I write poems because I have no other way to release the pain in my heart," said Monanen, whose own life story is a tragic one. He lost his mother at a young age and was tricked into forced labor when he was a teenager, while his sister was sold into prostitution. Monanen lost his sight in his 20s due to a long-term eye disease and a car accident. The poet said he hopes his poems can show young people the dark side of Taiwanese history and remind them not to forget these issues, even though Taiwan's society has progressed. Monanen is one of dozens of Taiwanese indigenous authors, artists and musicians attending the book fair this year. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-26 12:02 GMT+08:00