TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Visitors to the Kaohsiung City Hall may be drawn to a giant LED display hanging high on the wall of the lobby which broadcasts international news in English at designated hours, an uncommon sight for a city government building in Taiwan.
News from the Euronews channel has started airing at the Kaohsiung City Hall every day at 8:00 a.m, 12:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. since 2018, as part of the government’s efforts to engage its staff with what’s happening around the world, reported China Times.
The arrangement seeks to allow city staff to further connect to the world and catch up on international news, in line with Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) agenda to push ahead with his “bilingual city” plans, noted Acting Director Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞) of the Department of Administrative and International Affairs.
Han has been extolling the benefits of promoting English ability in the harbor city of southern Taiwan to gain a competitive edge on the world stage. In an ICRT interview on Jan. 4, Han stressed that Taiwan must endeavor to improve its English language capabilities, so as to stay relevant in the world, particularly to attract foreign investment.
Not only is Taiwan faced with competition from English-speaking countries like India and Singapore, it is finding itself struggling to beat the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam in terms of English proficiency, Han told ICRT.
Though not a fluent English speaker, the new Kaohsiung Mayor has made his vision of a bilingual city a top priority for his administration. In a recently recorded message, he wished everyone a happy Chinese New Year and addressed the public in English: “This year Kaohsiung will change. Let’s sell goods and welcome people. Kaohsiung will be prosperous.”