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Taiwan mourns ‘Uncle Kun-pin’ who put spotlight on plight of rice farmers

Huang Kun-pin spent more than half a century working the land in Tainan

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Rice farmer Huang Kun-pin (right) with Tainan City Mayor Huang Wei-che (CNA, Huang Wei-che photo) 

Rice farmer Huang Kun-pin (right) with Tainan City Mayor Huang Wei-che (CNA, Huang Wei-che photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan mourned the passing Saturday (Feb. 20) of “Uncle Kun-pin” Huang Kun-pin (黃崑濱), whose appearance in a documentary focused public attention on the plight of rice farmers.

Huang was born in 1929 in what is today’s Houbi District in Tainan City, and spent most of his life growing rice in his home town. However, he gained celebrity status in 2004 as one of the interviewees in the documentary “The Last Rice Farmer” (無米樂), which painted a bleak picture of agriculture in the wake of Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization two years earlier.

The television show drew 2 million viewers and started a debate on how to revitalize the island’s farming sector, attracting young people back to the countryside.

Huang was later appointed a national policy adviser by the president and was frequently consulted by policymakers and media on agricultural issues.

After Huang fell ill early last year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited him in May and October, CNA reported. He died Saturday at his home in the presence of his wife and daughter, while his son rushed from Taipei to their family home. Top politicians offered their condolences and said they would continue his respect for the land.


Updated : 2021-03-02 22:49 GMT+08:00