National Taiwan Normal University to revise school song

Controversial phrases to be removed from Taiwan university school song after student complaints

National Taiwan Normal University to modify school song. 

National Taiwan Normal University to modify school song.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) said Wednesday (May 27) that it will take out controversial phrases from its school song after receiving a wave of criticism from its student body.

As NTNU prepares to celebrate its 98th anniversary on June 5, some students have expressed dissatisfaction over part of the lyrics that suggest Taiwan is China's territory. They asserted that the phrase "return to motherland" is inappropriate given the country's current political situation and that the words "teachers are the noblest profession" should also be modified since the school has evolved from a teacher training institute into a more encompassing university with many different departments.

Following a school board meeting, NTNU Library Director Ke Hao-Ren (柯皓仁) pointed out that the school song was written in 1948 and reflected the political background at the time. He said a special team has been assembled to rewrite the lyrics while the tune will remain the same.

Ke described the song revision as an act of "transitional justice" and said the board of directors has agreed the song should not contain any political elements, especially when they contradict mainstream sentiment. However, he noted that NTNU is planning to keep both versions out of respect for alumni who might hold different political stances, reported ETtoday.

According to Liberty Times, National Chengchi University (NCCU) also faced similar challenges in 2017 after its students protested against the lyrics "my party" (吾黨) in the school song to describe Taiwan. The phrase referred to the Kuomintang (KMT) during the island nation's authoritarian period and was deemed by many Taiwanese as a holdover from the country's pre-democratic era.