TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The arts vouchers the Ministry of Culture (MOC) plans to distribute to young people can be used to watch movies, but only Taiwanese ones, reports said Thursday (March 2).
The original intention was to hand over culture checks worth NT$1,200 (US$39) to each 18-year-old, but the project’s scope was later expanded to cover all youths from 18 to 21, as well as those born between Sept. and Dec. 2001, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) reported. The change caused the budget to balloon from NT$200 million to NT$900 million, per the Liberty Times.
Responding to questions from lawmakers Thursday about how the vouchers would help support the local arts scene, Culture Minister Shih Che (史哲) noted the program would reach out beyond chain bookstores that benefited from the Arts Fun vouchers launched during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new vouchers would also involve smaller, independent bookshops, he said.
The minister emphasized that the culture checks were necessary to help an already vulnerable sector overcome the damage inflicted during the pandemic and the adaptation of consumer habits that followed it.
Shih told legislators he wanted to encourage young people to pay more attention to culture, and hoped they would watch more movies. Pressed by the lawmakers, he confirmed the vouchers would only be valid for the viewing of Taiwanese films.
As to the timing of the vouchers, Shih named June as the target date, though he acknowledged distribution channels still had to be strengthened in more remote areas of the country.