Skip to main content

Cultural Forum Session II

"Southeast Asia & Taiwan: Austronesian Music and Cultural Exchange"


Huang Hsin-Ying
, Division Chief, The National Center for Traditional Arts
Chi-Shan Chang, Taiwan Assistant Research Fellow, National Museum of Prehistory,
Dr. Made Mantle Hood, Research Center for Asia Pacific Music of TNNUA


Tsai Tsung-Te,
Prof. of Taiwan National University of Arts
Lee Schu-Chin, Associate Professor, TNUA School of Music Department of Traditional Music

Transcript (Speakers)

Benjamin Chi

Benjamin Chi:

Good afternoon, everyone. I am the deputy director of the Cultural Exchange Department of MOC, Chi Tung-Yang. On behalf of MOC, I'd like to thank everyone and our honorable Southeast Asia Advisory Committee members, our speakers and commentators for sparing your time attending 3rd SEAAC cultural forums this Saturday.

This morning we focused on the exchange of the culture and visual art history between Taiwan and Southeast Asia as well as the exploration of all possibilities. This afternoon we will have discussions on music and cultures. MOC is a rather new government agent, and we engage in connection through our overseas embassies in terms of international exchanges. Other than that, we hope to have exchanges mainly through professionals around Southeast Asia and Austronesia. MOC itself has various resources and programs for cultural exchanges. Besides SEAAC, we have Taiwan-SEA Cultural Exchange Programs and Youth Cultural Gardeners. These are the direct resources for cultural exchanges. Also, MOC has intermediary organizations such as the Cultural Taiwan Foundation, and we will also establish Taiwan Creative Content Agency. The ministry will make good use of all these intermediary organizations and various kinds of resources. This year, the Cultural Taiwan Foundation will work on cultural values and mutual understanding. Taiwan Creative Content Agency will have more exchanges and exploration into the real market of the cultural and creative industry with our Southeast Asian neighbors.

Thank you all for attending the cultural forums today. I’ll hand over to our host, Professor Tsai Tsung-Te, our speakers Professor Nobuo, Professor Wu, Division Chief Huang, Professor Chang and so on. I hope you can make good use of the time and enjoy the talks today. Thank you.

Tsai Tsung-Te

Tsai Tsung-Te:

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for coming today, especially on a Saturday afternoon. We were just joking that this is the best time for taking a nap. Yet, I believe the forum this afternoon will be spectacular. We invited a few great respondents who have experiences related to Southeast Asia and Taiwan music and culture as well as students from TNNUA to perform Southeast Asian music. So, I'd say the forum this afternoon is going to be brilliant.

I used to joke that Southeast Asia is the closest stranger to Taiwan. Why? It's mainly because Southeast Asia is very close to us, and it’s the closest to us compared to Europe, America, Africa or the Middle East and such regions. However, it might be historical or political causes that result in fewer interactions between Southeast Asia and Taiwan in the past. One thing to notice is that when I said we're close to Southeast Asia, it's not just on the geographical level. We know that Taiwanese aboriginal languages belong to the Austronesian language system, and they share the same language system with Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and so on. Besides the languages, the music of those countries shares a similar background as well.

We grow abundant bamboos in Taiwan. In fact, in a lot of Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia and so on, bamboos serve as important materials in their traditional instrument systems. In our aboriginal music system, we can see quite a few instruments made of bamboos. From this, we know Taiwan is tightly linked with Southeast Asian countries in terms of music and culture activities. It was mentioned several times this morning that though we are linked so tightly with Southeast Asian countries, what’s unfortunate is that Taiwan was oftentimes absent in the culture of Southeast Asian region.

However, our government has been working hard on the New Southbound Policy during these years, and the Ministry of Culture has also done a lot financially, industrially, educationally, especially culturally. Just like the Deputy Director Chi mentioned, the Ministry of Culture has done a lot of projects. These projects not only enhance Taiwanese people's understanding of Southeast Asian music and cultures but also encourage students to visit Southeast Asian countries to get to know more about their cultures and even combine theirs with ours. So, I think it’s a great start.

Moreover, the National Center for Traditional Arts had organized a few exhibitions of Southeast Asian music instruments and Traditional Arts Festivals for more than a decade. Through these events, a lot of Southeast Asian cultures were brought in Taiwan and the citizens got the chance to have a deeper understanding of the cultures. On the other hand, many universities in Taiwan have been devoted to Southeast Asian culture research, and we have students attending exchange programs and visiting the countries and learning their traditional culture systems. So, in the forum this afternoon, we invited 3 speakers to introduce how the music and culture exchange between Taiwan and Southeast Asia has been through these years. We also have 2 respondents to address related topics.

Besides these, as you can see, there are many musical instruments on the stage, it means that we're not just going to talk about it, we’re also going to have real performances. We hope you have a great time this afternoon.

Hung Hsin-yin

Huang Hsin-Yin:

Deputy Director Chi, Professor Tsai, and honorable guests, good afternoon. I'm delighted to have the chance to share the efforts the National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA) has been put in regarding Taiwanese and Southeast Asian traditional music, the exchanges of arts and culture, and related projects. First, let me introduce our Taiwan Music Institute. It's a subordinate agency of the National Center for Arts since 2002, and it's been more than a decade. The institute has had international exchanges based on the Taiwanese music artifacts and archives, research of folk music, traditional music, the contemporary music, composers' manuscripts, and documentation of contemporary music creation. This is how Taiwan Music Institute has been working so far.

We're mainly aimed at collecting and compiling Taiwanese music history, and there are 3 steps of it. First, it’s to archive music artifacts and data, including physical artifacts collection, original copy archives, and metadata establishment. Also, by setting up a digital database, we hope to enable more people to acquire relevant information. Second, with the collections of the artifacts and the historical data, we hope to lay the groundwork with research and survey as well as relevant material publication in order to accumulate the precious data of Taiwanese music. Third, we want to continue Taiwanese traditional music and contemporary creations through exhibitions and performances with our language and interpretation. This is our goal.

Taiwan Music Institute has collected the works of around12 Taiwanese composers and musicians so far, including their complete manuscripts throughout their lifetimes, their performance information, brochures, posters, profiles, and portfolios. We have more than 4,000 artifacts and more than 30,000 manuscripts. Also, we have around 4,000 field survey videos and audios, and the other materials are like Nanguan and Beiguan music and the sheet music of traditional drama. Down here we can see we have archived original crafts, including literature documented on paper or in videos and audios, such as field survey tapes in the early periods. Then we processed them with professional skills, and we numbered and collected them in archive rooms with constant temperature and humidity. To complete the archive process of a craft and to set up the metadata are the fundamental procedures.

Besides, we have updated these digitalized data on different platforms. For example, Taiwan Music Information Exchange Platform Database targets at exhibiting ethnic music, such as Taiwanese aboriginal music, Han music, contemporary creations, and world music. We have more than 3,000 rows of aboriginal music, and each row contains more music. There are 16 Taiwanese aboriginal groups listed on this page, and if you click on one of the groups, you can look up all the field survey audios recorded in recent decades. The other thing is if you click on a song, you can see a row of its metadata, including a brief introduction, whether the song was performed by a priest on a festival, how it was performed, who the composer was, at which tribe it was performed, when it was recorded, and whether the recording was released and so on. You can see all this information on it. This is a database of ethnic group music.

The other database we have is called the Online Database of Taiwanese Musicians. By its name you can tell it mainly collected materials regarding people, so on this platform we have gathered data from famous musicians, composers, traditional musicians, music educators in Taiwan. So far we have had data of around 170 musicians on this platform, and there are about 60,000 rows of data on it. The interface for each musician varies, for example, this is a traditional nose flute artist. On the page, we can see his profile, a brief biography, as well as his chronology of events and his archived artifacts. You can also see the data we have accumulated through research programs on it. If it’s for a composer, his or her interface includes a complete biography, portfolio, and manuscripts.

After gathering ethnic group music and the musicians' introduction, we activated another program: Taiwan Music Map, that we applied LOD (Linked Open Data) and GIS (Geographic Information System) to share the resource presented in a mapping way on the internet. With these techniques, we get to connect all the data whether it’s from Taiwan Music Institute, National Center for Traditional Arts or other private institutions.

We have collected more than 10,000 rows of data on it, and the design of the platform allows you to browse through 11,254 archives visually. Besides the archives, you can also choose to examine the data by its locations and regions. For example, this is the map of Taiwan, and there are different colors on it, so you can see different music works, musicians, ethnic group music or musical artifacts. This is how you can search in the form of maps. If you look into the details, you can see the folk musician Wu Rung-Shun marked on his birthplace, Yuli Township in Hualien County, and there are 30 pieces of music information next to it. Moreover, you can also see archived artifacts, audios, and videos, and there are introductions of this ethnic group or artifacts. This is one way.

The other way is to search by timeline. Down below you can search through the context of time. For example, this is a precious photo of Professor Hsu Tsang-Houei recording Chen Da's folk songs in Hengchun area on July 28, 1967. So, we can search for archives through the context of time. Also, it can be done according to different locations. For example, this is Chen Da Memorial, and we can see the archives through the map.

So, through these platforms, we have a point called archiving the artifacts and connect the exhibitions and stories of the archives through a line, then the plane would be a thorough integration. We hope to make everyone quickly know more about Taiwanese music through different platforms. What’s more, Taiwan Music Institute tries to make Taiwanese music grow and develop with research, archives, exhibitions, and studies related to music. It mainly dated back to 1967, when Taiwanese folk music scholar Professor Hsu Tsang-Houei and Professor Shih Wei-Liang launched a folk music collection project because they were aware that Taiwanese music was gradually westernized. There were 2 broad-scale field surveys recording and collecting around 2,000 rows of date of Taiwanese traditional music and aboriginal music. The data is currently stored in Taiwan Music Institute.

When we got the data, we thought about how we can make use of it and enable other people to conduct research and development with it. First, the data was stored in tapes, so we had to digitalize it, which means to transcribe it. When the date was first handed to us, it was seriously molded due to the humid and hot weather in Taiwan. So, we had to remove the mold and dry the tapes before we transcribe the audios. After that, we started with notating and analyzing the songs. Then we set up the metadata, including the lyrics, which ethnic group the songs belong to, the purpose of the songs, and the interpretation of the songs.

In 2008 we activated a project by bringing the music back to the tribe where it was recorded 50 years ago and interviewing the elderlies, including some of the offspring. The tribe members got to listen to their grandparents' or parents' recorded voices, and some of the songs may have already vanished. With the recordings, the members could review and face the tribe’s music history. This is the research of music history. Also, we have an ethnic group music research project surveying the current situation of each tribe’s music. By integrating the existing data and current situation, we gathered five generations of the tribe or the ethnic and helped them know more about their ethnic group music and write their music history through music performances.

So, how do we do it? We brought the recordings back to the tribe so that the tribe’s elderlies could plan the concert with the young generation. After knowing their history, they interpreted the old music with a modern method and exhibited it through the performance. I have a video clip of the performance of Amis people from Falangaw to show you how it was done. At the music concerts, the young generation, as well as the elderlies, were willing to go back to the tribes and relearn their music and the tribal spirits. Also, the kids of a younger generation could learn about their ethnic group music.

Besides such traditional exhibitions, we also have crossover performances. Take musical theaters for example, by integrating various forms of media, we get to display different kinds of ethnic group music. We had a music concert to help the tribe members, no matter which generation, identify with their own culture and the tribal spirits and make their music history.

As I mentioned earlier, we have archived artifacts, related research, and music performances to energize Taiwanese music. On the other hand, we also exhibit the music with technologies and relevant music themes. Since last year, NCFTA (National Center for Traditional Arts) has organized a permanent exhibition called "Musical Instruments in Asia Pacific." We all know that musical instruments are great media for people to know more about music because music is the art of the time. We can directly connect it with the country's culture and music through the exhibited objects. As Professor Tsai mentioned, we can see Taiwan has a different music culture and context compared to Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian regions if we look at the musical instruments’ materials, composition, performing skills, and the syntax.

NCFTA has organized 18 Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festivals, and it usually takes place in October. To deepen the public's understanding of Asia-Pacific music cultures, we curated such an exhibition, so the public can visit the parks and learn about the music culture in different countries. At the Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival, we would even have groups perform Asia-Pacific music and dance, and this is how we present it in the exhibition areas. Besides the Hoklo, Nanguan, Beiguan, and aboriginal musical instruments, we also included the Northeast Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, then covered the musical instruments throughout Southeast Asia. We have ensembles as well as the display of some of the unique musical instruments. For example, the saung harp from Myanmar. We placed the phoenix-shaped, crocodile-shaped, or even elephant-shaped saungs together so the public can get to know more about special musical instruments from Myanmar.

Apart from musical instruments, we also have images of Asia-Pacific dance and music. To enhance the public's understanding, we have a dance-music-wall and people can play musical instruments on the wall. Also, there are a few somatosensory interactive games using technologies for the public or children on field trips to know more about Asia-Pacific musical instruments. They can play musical instruments by activating the sensors, and we picked 4-5 items from Asia.

This one you see on the photo is the Asian musical instruments map. By touching the projected panel, we can know more about the representative musical instrument from each country. The music will be played, and the musical instrument will be shown simultaneously. For example, we can see the wood pounder from the Taiwanese Shao tribe, and the sound of it will be played, too. This is Japanese music, so the image of a Japanese lute will appear on the side. That means people can learn about certain musical instruments, the genres, and representative musical instruments from different countries on this musical map, and the way we mentioned above is intended to promote music exchange.

To sum up, the Taiwan Music Institute and National Center for Traditional Arts hope to serve as the entrance and platform for the public to know Taiwan and Asia-Pacific music through the exhibitions. NCFTA has some subordinate units to collaborate with other music companies, including Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company, GuoGuang Opera Company, and National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan. We hope to boost Taiwan’s international visibility and influence through the exchange among organizations. The NCFTA also hopes to collaborate with the performing groups at the Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival. It is expected to work harder on the exchange and research of traditional arts, Taiwanese music, or Southeast Asian music. This is my presentation. Thank you.

Chang Chih-Shan:

Good afternoon. After listening to the discussion this morning, I figured what I’m going to talk about is a bit different from the visual arts of music. Yet, I realized my attendance has an interdisciplinary meaning. So, I will share some of the cases when the National Museum of Prehistory is implementing New Southbound Policy. First, I'll introduce our World Austronesia Program. Then I’ll turn to the Baby Carriers International Touring Exhibition as the museum was carrying out Southbound Policy. I'll also talk about the situations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Last, I’ll explain how the museum collaborated with contemporary artists.

This is an introduction to New Southbound Policy. It includes 18 countries, and one thing to notice is that neither Pacific Islands nor Oceania is included. Yet, how we connect with places like this is crucial. The 2 major topics today are World Austronesian Research Program and the Baby Carriers International Touring Exhibition.

First, about the World Austronesia Research Program. This year, we've got into the full swing of renovating our Taiwan Austronesian exhibition showroom. Second, we will set up a new World Austronesian showroom. I felt inspired when listening to Yu Jing Seng's speech this morning. I was reflecting on "Why do we want to set up the World Austronesia showroom? Where do we position Taiwan in the concept of world Austronesia? How do we build something so regional?" And I figured we adopt different strategies and viewpoints. The speech was about another field but I still learned a lot. Next, we will build a kids-friendly museum, it has the Austronesia exploration center.

Also, we will execute 4 World Austronesia Research Program bases this year. The first one is Hawaii because we’re going to attend the Festival of Pacific Arts. The second one is Palau while the third one is Vietnam. They're mainly related to archeology. In Malaysia, we will be conducting World Austronesia Research about Sarawak. Then I will mainly talk about the research on how paper mulberries were carried out from Taiwan. That’s one of the highlights of the World Austronesia Research Program at the National Museum of Prehistory in recent years.

To sum up: Taiwan is the homeland of the Pacific paper mulberry. The paper mulberry on the Pacific Islands are mostly originated from Taiwan. It’s also the conclusion of our team's research. Why did we start with paper mulberry? We received the complete collection archived by Mr. Iwasa Yoshichika from Japan on March 17, 2008. He had passed away in 2014. There are around 18,000 pieces of his complete collection, including artifacts from Oceania and relevant research materials. He had never been to Taiwan, but the complete collection was donated to us. We have sorted out and published 200 pieces out of the bark cloth collection.

Why did we do that? The reason was that there is an elder of A'tolan Amis, called Shen Tai-Mu (Panay faki), who is an artist committing to creating artwork with bark cloth. One day, he came to visit the archives with his tribe people, and that’s when we realized we knew very little about the collection. We basically have zero knowledge of it. Yet, the collection was already donated to us, and the tribe wants to know about it, so we spent one year on sorting out and publishing the collection. Thus, the book "Felting Bark to Make Cloth" was published, and it inspired our research on paper mulberry. What is bark cloth then? These are the bark clothes respectively from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and Hawaii. You can see how huge the bark cloth is by comparing the size with a hand here. This is the bark cloth from the Marquesas Islands. It's made of breadfruit trees.

The trees as the materials of making bark cloth in the world, are classified into the 4 genus: the genus Antiaris, the genus Artocarpus, the genus Paper Mulberry, and the genus Ficus; the main resource among the 4 in Southeast Asia is paper mulberry. That's why I focus on paper mulberries in my research. Paper mulberry in Taiwanese Hokkien is Lớk-á-tsháu (Chinese: 鹿仔草) and it is also the main material of making bark cloth in the Pacific area. Second, they're dioecious, as you can see in the photo this is a male blossom and that’s a female one. This one here is female, and it's in full blossom. It should bear fruits after being pollinated. This is the way paper mulberries are. They are native in South China and Taiwan. Supposedly, they were carried to Oceania by the Austronesians-speaking peoples.

Why? They rarely blossom and bear fruits, and theoretically, such things aren't common in Oceania. Let's take a look at the next example. Paper mulberries are very common in Taiwan, as we saw earlier the female one in blossom. Basically, they can be seen below 2,000 meters above sea level. In 1996, there was an article with a map documenting there were only male trees in Oceania. The researcher was named Matthews, he drew a map in which he marked female and male trees with symbols in Japan, China, and Taiwan. However, on Oceania, there was only a leaf, meaning there aren't trees in blossom or bearing fruits. As you can see on the map, the trees that blossom and bear fruits were spread remotely, so I suppose that was aided by human beings. That’s why we launched this program in the first place.

Why is paper mulberry as a pointed commensal species for tracing Austronesian migration? First, they're the most important materials for making bark clothes. Second, they are widely distributed in the whole Oceania. Third, it’s because of their origin places, including South China and Southern Taiwan. They have reproduced asexually in Oceania, so they are definitely dispersals of humans. There is no similar indigenous species which was found in those places I mentioned above, so to speak, the possibility of the existence of hybrid is low. Moreover, paper mulberry is a kind of clothing material, but not food, so based on the fact we may say it provide a piece of information related to culture.

To recap, my points are: Where is the paper mulberry in Oceania from? Are they bred naturally or dispersed by humans? If they were dispersed by humans, what is the route? There are a few hypotheses: The first one is "Express Train to Polynesia," also known as "Out of Taiwan." The next is "Slow Boat Model." It’s about a slow boat sailing from the Bismarck Archipelago. This is what I wanted to examine. It seems simple, but it took me 7 years to prove it. What I needed to do was to collect paper mulberries at various places. This is a highway in China. Because of the long- distance, we collected the samples every 30-50 kilometers. And on this trip, I traveled from Taitung to Guangzhou, then to Fujian. The distance is about 4,000 kilometers. We were mainly collecting around Guangzhou and Fujian. We went to Yunnan, which is the place of origin of Pu’er tea; then we headed over to Xishuangbanna. We went collecting for around 1,000 kilometers.

Besides Guangzhou and Fujian, we visited Sulawesi in Indonesia. This is how they make bark clothe in Sulawesi: to beat it. They still make bark clothe nowadays. We also went sampling in Vietnam, mainly depending on the support from the Ministry of Education. This is Hawaii. The paper mulberry there basically appears in parks and campuses. It was said that paper mulberry didn't blossom in Oceania, but I saw androecium immediately. Then I realized the literature wasn't necessarily accurate and we still have to pick the samples on our own.

We had exchanges and were assisted by some museums. We adopted genetic markers when we were doing the research. I used chloroplast as the markers. It includes too many scientific details, so I'll jump to the conclusion later. How did we collect the samples? As you can see, the amount doesn’t have to be a lot. We could pick a coin-sized sample and extract DNA. After the extraction is done, it has to be dried on the spot with desiccant.

It took us more than 7 years since 2008 to 2018, to collecting the samples. The sites were widely spread all over East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Indochina, including Taiwan, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Sulawesi in Indonesia. We also went picking up the samples on Oceania, including Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Easter Island, and the Marquesas Islands. The other thing is that we extracted the DNA of the plants from 19 specimen museums, which are the Smithsonian Institution, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Natural History Museum in the UK.

Jumping to the conclusion, we collected 604 samples and analyzed their genetic distribution with computers. Each color represents a type, and there are 48 types in total. And then I'd like to introduce the relationship between DNA. The distribution in Taiwan is special. There are basically 3 types of paper mulberries in Taiwan, one of them belongs to the green group, which is located northern Taiwan, just like Fujian. So, we speculated that the paper mulberries in northern Taiwan were spread from Fujian. The second is the violet group, located in East Taiwan, like Okinawa. That's why I suppose the paper mulberries were spread from the number 3 on the map to Okinawa. The third type is the red area of Taiwan, which takes up a major part. It mainly appears in East and South Taiwan.

The highlight of the next slide is where the red area is located: first, Sulawesi. I remember it's in Java, too. Then it's Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Marquesas Islands, and Easter Island. They’re all in red because the paper mulberries at these places were spread from Taiwan. All the data from our research was updated to the gene bank. After the research was published, people would ask: Why would you say the trees were spread from Taiwan instead of back from Taiwan?

First, the genetic distribution always flows from places of high biodiversity to that of low biodiversity. It didn't happen in this area. Besides, I wouldn't know how to explain it if it appeared in pink. It's all in red, so it means the trees were all spread from Taiwan. The second question would be: How do you know it's not dispersed by modern people with flight? That’s why we used the materials from specimen museums, including the specimens from 1953 and 1899. They’re all from Taiwan. That denies the hypothesis. Thus, Taiwan is proved to be the origin place of the paper mulberry in Oceania. The number 16 and 17 on the map are basically located in the eastern and southern Taiwan. Here is the essay "A holistic picture of Austronesian migrations revealed by phylogeography of Pacific paper mulberry," we published on PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) in 2015.

To sum up: first, South China and southern Taiwan harbor the greatest haplotype diversity, supporting their native range status. Second, our chloroplast sequence data of paper mulberry demonstrates a tight genealogical link between populations of South China and the northern Taiwan, and between the southern Taiwan and Remote Oceania. This conclusion concurs with expectations of the "Out of Taiwan" hypothesis that indicates paper mulberries were originated from Taiwan. Paper mulberries are the first species with a clear connection with Taiwan — their place of origin. Such methodology was adopted on other species such as bananas and breadfruit trees. Yet, the only species that's been confirmed that Taiwan is the place of origin is paper mulberries.

As mentioned earlier, it was documented that the paper mulberries were all male. We made DNA tests and proved it wrong. The paper mulberries spread out from Taiwan are all female. There are only a few places, like countryside places, that introduce male ones. The ones originated from Taiwan are all female, so the documents aren't always authentic. This is what our research is all about. We had a few acknowledgments because it wasn’t complete by one single individual.

Now let me introduce the international touring exhibition of baby carriers. It's entitled "Fertility, Blessings and Protection: Cultures of Baby Carriers." On the carriers, we can see some embroidery because they bear the blessings for the kids. The conception started in October 2011, and then a research group was established in May 2012. We gather 10 colleagues and conducted a large-scale research. Then it was published at a conference on October 15, 2012, then followed by the second one in November 2013. This exhibition contains solid data. We have 20 pieces of research paper to support it.

The exhibition opening at the National Museum of Prehistory, Taiwan took place on August 8, 2014. Then it went touring at Taiwan Academies in New York in 2015, at the National History Museum in 2016; then went to Indonesia and Malaysia in 2017, and in Thailand in 2018. There are a few highlights of this exhibition. First, it sends some abstract concepts like maternal philosophy and parental love by using the materials related to their culture. Second, we have a professional research team, so we engineered a whole new curating strategy of the museum, meaning we organized one single exhibition with numerous researchers. Next, through the exhibition, we hope to inspire the audience with affection and love and show artistic and cultural creativity instead of solely stressing on cultural knowledge. These are the things we were hoping to put into the exhibition. So, a few artists were invited and collaborated with us.

For the New Southbound Policy, there were 3 major exhibition sessions. The first one was in the National Museum of Indonesia. The second one was at the University of Malaya Art Gallery in Malaysia. Third, it was at the Exhibition Hall of Art and Culture Building, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. The first exhibition in Indonesia was impressive that we collaborated with a local abstract artist Hanafi. Collaborating with the abstract artist made the exhibition different from the ones we usually see in the museums. He designed everything himself, from display pedestals to the whole exhibition hall, showing a high degree of aesthetic integration.

We also worked with a non-governmental organization, NTFP-EP Indonesia. They want to promote the usage of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to reduce deforestation by selling commodities manufactured without logging trees. Also, they offered the Dayak Klematan baby carriers, or we should call them baby cages, which are made of bamboo. They also used textiles and costumes to introduce the culture of Dayak. There was a demonstration of traditional weaving during the exhibition. Then for the exhibition at Malaya Art Gallery in Malaysia: there are strong Chinese communities. We noticed that the exhibition not only had an influence on local Chinese communities but also extended it to the local Malays, which made them want to learn more about the baby carrier culture. In Thailand, we organized a program in order to work with local art colleges.

Then I'd like to move onto the collaboration between NMP (National Museum of Prehistory) and contemporary artists. The first one is the exhibition in Indonesia, and the second the education program, the third the co-curating with contemporary curators in July last year. This picture shows the exhibition hall in Indonesia. The way a visual artist works is different from that of the museum—he transformed the entire exhibition hall. The transformation took a long time and a lot of work. Not to mention that the display pedestals were specially designed. All these gave the museum staff a hard time because fixing the artifacts on the display pedestals and making sure they are well protected are really hard work. This is the artist's manuscript, and that’s the actual exhibition hall based on the design. At the opening, the artist even had a contemporary dance group perform with traditional West Javanese music about childbirth.

Next, we asked the professors and students of Chulalongkorn University to study the tradition and custom of baby carriers as a role of carrying parental love and then they had a performance at the opening. The dialogue with contemporary arts. The exhibition curated by NMP and supported by the National Culture and Arts Foundation opened on July 13 last year. It's called "Wandering Seeds: Moving and Migration-Stories from a Place to Another." The National Museum of Prehistory is a museum of anthropology. How do we collaborate with contemporary arts? We had a dialogue. It was named "Wandering Seeds" so this anthropology museum curated an exhibition about seed dispersal, including paper mulberry we just talked about.

The exhibition involved many contemporary artists. In this picture we can see Lin Shuen-Long's work "Fish Poison Tree," which is about seed dispersal. We wanted to exhibit different art forms in the same room, and we saw it as an integration with art. This is the artwork called "Between Dream" by an aboriginal artist, Eleng Luluan. She used fruit foam nets to weave the work and showcase her dreams. This artwork is from a Truku artist, Labay Eyong. The work is mainly composed of textiles, and she was inspired by her grandma’s closet. I tried to echo the baby carriers with it. This work's artist is from Korea, and it’s about naturalized plants. The first speaker this morning also talked about growing such plants on the rooftop. He used plants picked from garbage piles because he realized that there were many foreign plants, and he wanted to discuss naturalized plants that are foreign or local. He made the plant specimens, but these are only prints added with his creation at the exhibition. The plants involved are foreign.

I'd like to briefly conclude here. In order to implement the New Southbound Policy in Southeast Asian countries, trust and contact in the early stages are crucial. It would be extremely hard to get in touch without former collaboration with each other. Venues are the most difficult part because they are usually hard to be confirmed especially when the exhibition dates are approaching. Second, we have to respect cultural differences. When we were in Thailand, it happened to be the time when the princess had to attend the graduation ceremony. So, the local organizer asked us to hurry up setting up the exhibition so the princess could visit. Then we compromised on curating and setting up the exhibition. That rush was due to a cultural difference.

Next, each country adopts different strategies. For example, the exhibition was in the National Museum in Indonesia, and in Malaysia, it was exhibited at the gallery of the university. By executing, I realized that the penetrating power of art and culture is strong, and it can even go beyond politics. When the audience is looking at the baby carriers, they are appreciating the cultural value instead of caring about the political intention. Last, implementing the policy is very difficult, so a little breakthrough is worth encouraging. This is my presentation. Thank you.

Made Mantle Hood

Made Mantle Hood:

Good afternoon. And thank you, everyone, for once again coming out on a Saturday. I have prepared a boring paper. But the logic for that was also the fact that today we're talking about music. But language, of course, is an umbrella where music and art and culture belong. So first of all, I would like to thank the Ministry of Culture for hosting this third Southeast Asian Advisory Committee meeting. I'm delighted that I can participate in this afternoon's session on Southeast Asia and Taiwan that looks specifically at Austronesian Music and cultural exchange.

After presentations from our colleagues this morning on festivals, and museum exhibitions, I'd like to focus on Taiwan's educational sector as one of the key platforms for the success of its Southbound Policy. Beyond the presentation, and display of cultural exchange, it's crucial to provide education about and valuable experiences in the cultures of Southeast Asia for viable long-term Southbound Policy. So in this presentation, I'll first provide a brief background on my home institution, which is the Tainan National University of the Arts (TNNUA).

Then we'll discuss some of the current platforms of cooperation TNNUA is using to foster exchange in teaching, research, and performance. Then I'll end my presentation this afternoon, exploring future platforms of cooperation and exchange. These include such directions as increasing language proficiency through songs. Signing MOU with Southeast Asian universities to increase graduate student enrollment, and fostering co-collaborative research between staff from such countries as Indonesia and Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, among others in ASEAN region. And throughout I argue that TNNUA’s unique position, as one of the leading research institutions in Southeast Asian performing arts, will benefit exchange and cooperation in Taiwan's go south policy. So my emphasis this morning is really the fact that through the performance activity of music and experiential learning, we get a deep understanding amongst Taiwanese to Southeast Asia, and the reverse.

Let me define platforms of cooperation. And what I exactly mean by that. And I'm a musician, and I love to entertain people. My father was also a musician and a composer. And he taught me almost everything that I know about music. Well, not everything. But he was very influential in my career path. He taught me that music can be found in every culture in the world. In this sense, he said, music was universal. And we hear that in our common language.

People use music to represent themselves and express their identity. But my father made the point that music’s meanings are not universal. Like language, music is infinitely diverse in its vocabulary, expressions, and dialects. So when students learn the music of another culture, they begin to appreciate the values, expressions, and meanings of that culture. For this reason, music and the performing arts can become important platforms for building common ground appreciation, cooperation, and exchange. The specific platforms for cooperation offer students not only the theoretical frameworks for research in the case of a university but also experiential learning through hands-on music-making.

Okay, let me tell you, of course, many of you are already familiar with Tainan National University. It was established as a college in 1996 and became a university in 2004. As the only art university in southern Taiwan, this university focuses on professional arts training, and advanced research at the graduate level.

There are four integrated areas offering Masters and PhD degrees from the College of Music, College of Sound and Image Arts, College of Visual Arts, and the College of Letters and Cultural Heritage. These graduate training programs propel TNNUA's mission to develop art education that strikes a balance between empowering local artistic concepts while simultaneously engaging with global trends in innovation and technology. This idea of balance is difficult to achieve. Not all students are interested in traditional art forms, going to an archive, digging through dirty old recordings and listening to tradition. But I feel the foundational exposure tradition that we're doing at this university has resonated well with students as they begin to do their empirical research and innovate within it.

So, my office is at the College of Music at the Graduate Institute of Ethnomusicology. And its foundation comes from anthropology, and sociology. So, it's the cultural study of music. Ethnomusicology is the study of music as culture. We teach our students that studying the music of another culture includes the social, the material, the cognitive, and the ritual aspects of musical behavior. When our students first come to our program, they usually have training in western classical music. Perhaps they have studied Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Or perhaps they've studied our rigorous seven-year Chinese music program. Or maybe they've just grown up listening to groups like BTS and K-pop and this type of thing.

Whatever their background, Ethnomusicology trains their ears and their intellectual minds, to perceive music, and understand music in other cultural contexts, as musicology takes them beyond the confines of their culture. And this is very important to step outside of your culture, not just through a casual display or an exhibition, but really immerse into another culture. It teaches in that there are numerous worlds of music, just waiting to be explored. And their journey often begins with our World Music Ensembles. And I believe, after my speech, you're going to see some of our students who have spent a long period of time immersing themselves in experiential learning in a music, another music culture.

Okay. The Tainan University of the Arts was established as a college and I mentioned that already. The methodology that has allowed TNNUA to be one of the leading institutions for Southeast Asian Performing Arts is experiential learning. Through World Music Ensembles, each student gets the opportunity to experience hands-on training in the music of another culture. This methodology is called "Bi-Musicality." It's a platform for exchange and cooperation. It's been used in major universities since the 1960s. For example, universities in the USA such as UCLA, Berkeley, as well as MIT and Harvard, have all employed "Bi-Musicality" as a method for crossing cultures through music. One of the most common ensembles used in universities around the world to teach music of another culture is the Javanese gamelan orchestra, made up of hanging bronze gongs, metallic phones, and percussion. The TNNUA gamelan is one of the largest in Taiwan, and we use it to teach both classical and contemporary compositions as well as Balinese and Sundanese Angklung styles.

And it's that experiential learning that I'd like to highlight there. Another thing that we offer at Tainan National University of the Arts is the World Music Camp. Each year, our university invites local and international guest artists from Indonesia, Japan, and Africa to teach their musical traditions. The camp usually takes place the first week of August. Continuing education students, primary school music teachers around the area of Tainan and undergraduate and graduate students live on campus for five days of intensive training. Students here have lectures in the morning. They introduce concepts about music in its cultural context. In the afternoon, students learn to sing, dance and play drums, gongs and other instruments in this style of the music tradition.

There are daily concerts in the evening and a final concert where students perform the music they have studied during the week. Asalato percussion which we're going to see in a minute, Javanese gamelan which inspires some of the percussion that sitting on stage performs alongside West African drumming, and dancing. This kind of experiential learning nurtures cross-cultural understanding between Taiwan and Southeast Asia because performing arts help to break down cultural boundaries through participatory learning. The more opportunities the institutions can create for their students to engage with Southeast Asian cultures, through language, culture and the arts, the more people to people, bridges as tangible outputs are going to be built.

I'll turn now to some research that our staff is doing also to help create and build bridges between Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Building bridges between Indonesia and Taiwan, our university performances and research have built platforms of exchange between Taiwanese audiences and Indonesian culture. A recent performance on March 23, here in Taipei, featured a collaboration between musicians from the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Javanese musicians who flew in from Indonesia for the performance and our own students. Produced by my colleague at TNNUA, Prof. Dr. Cheng Te-Yuan, the production was entitled "More than Gamelan: Fantasies of 10,000 Islands."

Our university PhD graduate, Chen Sheng-Yuan or as I call him, "Mas Awan," which is kind of his adopted Indonesian name. He studied Javanese language, culture, and other aspects through our ethnomusicology program. He spent several years living in Central Java, studying language, and most importantly, puppetry. And these experiences he brings back to Taiwan to share. So he performed the role of Dalang puppeteer. He sang songs in Javanese and Chinese, operated shadow puppets, and gave cues to direct the orchestra. All of these experience, essential learning platforms offered in ethnomusicology enable our graduates to present to Taiwanese audiences the cultural fusions and hybridization of performing arts that gesture south towards Southeast Asia.

Let me show you a video clip of the rehearsal of this performance where the gamelan is in the back of the stage and the Chinese Orchestra towards the front. This is a rehearsal and you can see in the distance, the Wayang kulit screen or the puppet screen in the back. Just to give you an idea.

So, other projects that integrate this Southbound Policy at the educational level. Our staff research projects on the performing arts also demonstrate our current platforms of cooperation and exchange between Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Prof. Tsai’s extensive research into diasporic Chinese communities in Southeast Asia has uncovered the rich and diverse performing arts history and contemporary practice of diasporic Chinese. His research articles and documentary films, such as "As Foreign Land Becomes Home Land: The Chinese Indonesian Culture Artists that Break through the Ethnic Barriers" have highlighted such genres as Wayang Potehi, Barongsai and musical theatre as increasingly significant markers of ethnic identity in a rapidly modernizing Indonesia. I can't stress that enough as in the past 10 or 15 years now, ethnic Chinese have much more freedom to express as they did not have in the very repressive regime of the New Order.

So freed from restrictive policies during the New Order era, Prof. Tsai writes the quote, "It's been 20 years since Indonesia opened the Reformasi Era, where now the Chinese performance arts culture is no longer in bondage." In 2017, Prof. Tsai became the first-ever Taiwanese citizen to be bestowed with the rank of blood-relative prince, or Kanjeng Raden Tumunggung, by the Surakarta Sultanate.

My current research project connects the expertise of my university's archival and heritage arts, with the archives in Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Denpasar. I'm looking at endangered styles of vocal music in each of these countries. I'm putting together senior singers who have been inscribed as practitioners of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, together with archivists, academics, to assess the sustainability of their traditions. I'm using a kind of applied ethnomusicology approach, and a co-designed methodology that I hope will help empower local traditions and future generations.

This leads me to my final point today, which is future platforms of cooperation and exchange. At the moment, my university students do not have enough training in languages in Southeast Asia, from Tagalog to Thai, from Bahasa to Balinese, the future of cooperation exchange requires more language training for our students. We've currently signed an MOU with Sunway University in Malaysia, and other institutes like the Institute Sydney, Indonesia, and Jakarta.

However, more networking and student exchange between institutions needs to be implemented. This would result in Taiwan hosting more international students from Southeast Asia and of course, the reverse Taiwanese students studying and researching in Southeast Asia. Co-collaborative research will benefit Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and many other countries in Southeast Asia if our current and future platforms of cooperation and exchange continue to gesture south. Thank you.

Transcript (Respondents)

Lee Schu-chin

Lee Schu-Chin:

Actually, I have photos and video clips besides text, so I'll have to go through all of them very quickly. You might have a chance to read the words in the future. I'm mainly responding to Professor Chang's talk. While he's a botanist and I'm not, I won't be able to respond to all of his talks. However, I was very excited when he was talking about paper mulberries. I've read about them on the internet these years as well. We know that there's lots of interdisciplinary research, like linguists studying the sequence of languages development and proving that Taiwan is the origin place of Austronesian cultures. Now we have a new finding related to paper mulberries. Professor Chang's talk is authentic and his theory has solid standpoints, so I was excited. Yet, as an ethnomusicologist, there’s one question I'm not able to comprehend, and that keeps me up at nights.

First, music is the most significant aspect that ethnomusicologists focus on, including singing and dancing with accompaniment, and the major part, the part where it's most visual to the audiences are the musical instruments. So, I specifically collected a couple of musical instruments appearing in Taiwanese aboriginal cultures and those recorded in Japanese archives to make compare and contrast. It's a pity that Taiwanese aboriginal songs are rich and various yet there are only a few musical instruments. I found a few and compare them with the ones from Southeast Asia.

We all know that twin-pipe nose flutes are only found in Taiwan, and they exist in Paiwan and are documented in Tsou's literature. The Austronesians in Southeast Asia have single-pipe nose flutes instead of twin-pipe nose flutes. In the 1800s, during the Qing Dynasty, it was documented that there were single-pipe nose flutes, just like the ones played obliquely in the North of the Philippines. The twin-pipe nose flutes of Paiwan are played vertically, and their bamboo drums are made of bamboo pieces, and the bamboo tubes are used as the resonance chambers which you can strike on. You play a bamboo zither by streaming through the strings with your fingers. I noticed that there is no literature on the bamboo drums in the past, but I saw the bamboo drums formerly at the Tainan University of the Arts and took some photos of them. So I am very proud of it. The bamboo drums are very much like the ones in the North of the Philippines, and it is the evidence that Taiwan is the origin of the Austronesians.

The other musical instrument is the Jew's harp. They are found in a lot of Taiwanese ethnic groups, but the ones of Atayal are one of a kind in the world. Why? Because they have one single bamboo tongue with several pieces of reed attached to it, and the number of the reed of is up to 7 pieces. The ones with one piece of the reed are the most well-known around the world. The Atayal play the Jew's harp by plucking the reed, so did the Pilipino in the past. However, theirs only have one piece of reed and it was easy to hurt the mouth, so now they stream the harps instead. This is what's unique of the Atayal, and I'm not sure why these harps aren't spread to other Southeast Asian countries.

Here are the xylophones which comprise of wooden bars. The ones of the Atayal are made of 4 wooden bars. When I visited the museum on Makalu islands in Sulawesi, I found and took photos of the wood xylophones with 4 wooden bars. What’s so unique about these xylophones? A scholar propounded a theory that the wood xylophones were brought from Indonesia to Madagascar 500 years ago, from the west to the east and then it became the traditional musical instrument of Africa. Originally, the xylophones comprised of 4 pieces of wooden bars, and I found the same one in Indonesia, too. In the Philippines, the xylophones even have more than 4 bars. We haven’t seen such xylophones in other aboriginal tribes in Taiwan so far, and I can’t say that they do not exist just because we haven't found them. But such xylophones are of course very special.

Then they are musical bows. We don't usually see them in Southeast Asia. In Taiwan, the Bunun and the Shao have such instruments. While the ones of the Shao have resonance chambers, the ones of the Bunun do not. They play the musical bows with a mouth-resonated way. Here are the bamboo musical instruments. As they strike the bamboo tubes on the rocks, they also have other bamboo tubes as accompaniment by the side. As the accompaniment, sometimes they use 3 or 4 bamboo tubes, and they interlock the tubes while performing. They still exist in the North of the Philippines, but they usually appear in 6 tubes. Those are primary bamboo tubes.

Everyone is familiar with stamping wood. We use it to pound rice, and they are usually round-shaped. The cuboid ones with a hollowed center are special, and we can place the millet or rice you’re about to pound in it and take turns pounding it. Because everyone would pound it at different timing, the rhythm would be interlocking.

The other one is the hanging bamboo xylophone. The Amis have very few wood xylophones now, but there are still a few in museums. The wood on the xylophones is placed flatly instead of being hung obliquely. The wood is composed of hardwood and softwood, so the timbres vary. In Southeast Asia, they first appeared in the form of bamboo tubes and are hung obliquely, and then they became wood xylophones. We can see them in a lot of Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The ones in Vietnam are made of bamboos and belong to ethnic minorities. Now they only use them when they're performing abroad, representing the country, and treat them as a national treasure. Of course, the hanging bamboo xylophones then became wood xylophones. In Thailand, they call them Pong lang.

I'll briefly talk about banana fibers since Professor Chang didn't address them. In fact, we can find them in Kavalan tribes in Taiwan or in South Philippines. I'm not sure about the North because they replace the fibers with color threads now. In Kavalan tribes, they don't dye the fibers. They make clothes with them. In the South Philippines, there's an ethnic group called Tboli people, and it was exhibited that they dye the fibers with plant pigments.

This is bamboo drum from Siraya and the one from the northern Philippines are similar. Every year, Siraya people make a new drum to replace the old and broken one. In Assam, India, they tie 2 strings with a piece of wood in the center, so they can strike on it. That’s their drum. On the right, that's a bamboo drum and a bamboo zither of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam. If you pluck it, it's seen as a bamboo zither; it's a bamboo drum when you strike on it. The white part in the center is where you can strike on. The left one is a Pilipino bamboo zither, and you play it by streaming. The middle one is from Sulawesi, and you can play it by striking. The right one is the bamboo zither of Vietnamese ethnic minorities. They are all very similar.

As I mentioned earlier, the traditional musical instruments of Madagascar were brought from Indonesia, and that includes not only wood xylophones but also bamboo zithers. The person's hairstyle and the clothes he was wearing in the photo show that he was ruled and colonialized by the French. The bamboo zither is somehow similar to the right one as well as the ones from Indonesia. It's only slightly more delicate than others. In the early times, there were only a few zithers, and the strings went from silky to metal ones. Irian Jaya on the right belongs to Indonesia, and the long stick on the side is a Jew's harp. It's played by plucking.

This bamboo drum from Palawan in the Philippines has marks burned by charcoal. The bamboo drum on the left belongs to the Amis, and the right one is from the southern Philippines. They still use them for some of the festivals. Here you can see 3 people striking the bamboo tubes of the Shao. The lower one is a Pilipino bamboo tube, and it usually comes in 6 as a set. The photo on the right shows people from the Solomon Islands are striking the tubes on rocks.

This is a bit special. It belongs to the northern Philippines, and the clothes are similar to that of the Atayal. The artist drew the painting according to how it was during the time. The people in it are pounding rice, and I'm comparing it with the photo below of the Amis pounding rice. There aren't many recordings, and this is the only one I found.

This is the twin-pipe nose flute of Paiwan. The one in the middle belongs to Kalinga in the Philippines. Kalinga is also known as the head-hunting tribe. The right one is from Malaysia, and the performer has to blow it horizontally. In the Philippines, people basically blow it obliquely. These are the twin-pipe nose flute, musical bow, and Jew's harp from the period of Japanese rule. Yet, the Tsuo no longer have these musical instruments, and we can only trace them through literature. The right one is Siraya's nose flute, and that’s a single-pipe one. This is from the Atayal, and they also have Jew's harps, but they have one piece of reed. This is a rice pounder, the lower one is a musical bow, and the right one is a twin-pipe nose flute. This is a photo I took at a museum on Ambon Island. The wood xylophone comprises of 4 wooden bars, while the one in the right photo is from the Atayal, also comprises of 4 wooden bars.

This is the hanging wood xylophone from the Philippines, and the xylophones come in thick and thin shapes. The right one is from the Amis, but the way it’s hung is different, and the texture of the wood is different. There are hardwood and softwood. The one below is Pong lang from Thailand, and it's basically evolved from bamboo. It used to be a hollow-centered bamboo. This is how it's usually played, and it can also be played by 2 people.

As for tattoos, the left one is from the northern Philippines. They mainly do it on the arms. The right one is the Atayal, they have tattoos on both cheeks. And the Jew's harps; this is from the Puyuma with one piece of reed; the right one is from the Atayal with several pieces of reed on one single bamboo tongue. Tattoos do not only belong to the Atayal. The ones in Paiwan culture are basically done on the back of their hands. And the bark clothes made of paper mulberries belong to the Amis.

This is from Kavalan, they made the clothes with banana fibers. That’s the banana stem on the right. Down below they're also Kavalan clothes, and they don't dye the clothes. They were sorting the fibers in the right photo. In this photo, they're producing banana fibers in the Philippines, and those are the clothes on the right. The Tboli tribe is located in Cotabato, South Philippines, and now they're Islamic. The clothes we see below were dyed with plant pigments, and done without prepared sketch. Banana fibers can be found not only in Kavalan but also South Philippines. Due to the limited time, let's end here. Thank you.

Tsai Tsung-Te:

Thank you all for hanging on until this moment. I think you are already tired. At the end of the talk, one more important thing is your feedback since the professors have had quite some presentations. We were actually planning to have an Australian speaker, Jacob, as a respondent. Yet, he was very humble and said that he's not especially familiar with this field because he's more experienced in theater and dancing. So, he'd like to offer me the time. Hosts don't usually speak up their opinions, but I'm quite a talker, so it's a great chance to share some of my viewpoints. Scholars like Professor Lee and I can go on and talk for at least one hour or more. I'm delighted and would like to say thanks to the 3 speakers as well as Professor Lee’s response. I'd like to share my research of Southeast Asian music and my reflections on teaching Southeast Asian music for years if I ever have the chance to respond today.

In school systems, we actually stress more on research. When conducting Southeast Asian music research in the past, we usually relied on Western literature a lot. There are even students paraphrasing some of the literature they've read and made it their own master's thesis. This isn't good, but it was also a common scene in academics in the past. Throughout my teaching history, I personally emphasize that besides conducting the research, we should focus on practicing instead of doing on abundant reading and sort out articles based on it. As for practicing, we focus a lot on field surveys.

I visited China a while ago, met some of the scholars, and read their theses. Many of the students spend only one month or 2-3 weeks on finishing their master's theses, and that's a shock to me. What I mean is that, as scholars, field surveys always take us a long time. I often tell my students a master's thesis will at least take them 6 months. 1 year is the most ideal time length, so I'd send them to Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam and so on as exchange students and learn languages and conduct field surveys. This is what emphasize and it may be different from the way people researched in the past. Besides, we all saw the performances of our students on stage. The performance actually has something to do with one of the students' master’s thesis. When he was thinking about his master's thesis he cared a lot about the immigrants' lives and music activities. So, I asked him to think about: is it possible to fit in their communities? How does a music learner fit in the communities? How does he collaborate with them?

After giving it some thought, the best way to engage in the communities' music and dancing events is to participate. That's why our students came to Indonesia and lived there for a year learning their languages and traditional musical instruments. After he came back, he was thinking if he should have a band since he's already learned the music. And so we encouraged the students to form a band and include immigrants so that they can connect with the immigrants with the practicing of the music. Then it gradually became his master's thesis.

So, speaking of practicing in the past, there were a lot of students in Taiwan rushing to graduate. They might spend very little time on field surveys and then came back. However, at our university, I stress on languages besides field surveys. How can someone conduct in-depth research and surveys without any knowledge of the local languages? It's very difficult, impossible even.

Under such circumstances, the students must learn their field languages. If they don't speak the languages, the survey basically fails. I'm afraid students wouldn't dare to apply for our university, so I'm not sure if I should say this. That student has actually studied for 6 years. He told me not to reveal it because he feels ashamed. I told him nothing is embarrassing of it because he's got the real deal on languages, field surveys, and the band. It’s not just to graduate. Those are 2 different purposes. And that’s why he's studied for 6 years for a master’s degree while he could almost get a PhD at the same time.

The other important thing is innovation. As I mentioned earlier that research is crucial, and we need to try to connect Southeast Asia with Taiwan. Like Professor Chang shared that he used a scientific approach to sort out the statistics and build up the relationship with Southeast Asian countries with Taiwan. What he did was very different from ours. Professor Huang mentioned that we have a lot of Southeast Asian musical instruments exhibitions in Taiwan, and that's a wonderful first step. As for the Ministry of Culture and NCFTA, they have also tried very hard, yet those are still static displays of Southeast Asian musical instruments. Besides the fact that we often invite them to perform in Taiwan, what's the connection between Taiwanese aboriginal culture and immigrant culture with the Southeast Asian countries at all?

We frequently introduce Southeast Asian cultures into Taiwan, and state that Taiwanese culture is related to and even belongs to part of Southeast Asian culture. Yet, I figured that oftentimes Southeast Asian people do not really understand the so-called Austronesian culture of Taiwan. On the other hand, we rarely have the Austronesian culture of Taiwan brought into the Southeast Asian culture system and have people understand, take a look, and even feel. We don't really have many chances like this. We often get in touch with European, American, even Japanese cultures, but we have done very little about Southeast Asian culture, which is the closest to ours. I suppose we've still got to work harder when it comes to directly connect to Southeast Asian with our Austronesian culture of Taiwan in the future.

So, we were talking about innovation. In the past, many students would ask me: Why does it matter to studying Southeast Asian music for us? And why do we have to study and then? Will we give better performances than people in Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam, or other countries? It’s not like this. We have talked a lot about practicing, and just as Professor Mantle pointed out before, our university focuses on "Bi-Musicality." We can’t only conduct theoretical research without actually practicing on playing musical instruments. Or else it'd only be in vain. It's like we can’t just read the books or documents relate to the West and then we go to do the research about the Southeast Asian music. It'd also be in vain. That's why we always focus on practicing.

When we're learning, studying, or playing Southeast Asian music, we're not trying to give better performances, and it's even impossible for us to inherit the culture. We’re just trying to feel and understand the differences between their and our music cultures with such research and practicing. Or even, by doing so, it can be used as a model for our own culture. We expect to practice Taiwan's innovative and integrated music style through such research and practice. We may not know.

The gamelan music style we were talking about is actually the second most mainstream style in the world besides the symphony orchestra from the west. However, we often neglected such style or even look down on it. I remember when I visited Indonesia a few years ago, a local friend said to me: Taiwan's industrial and economic development may be better than ours here. While I replied: It was before. It's not necessarily like that now. And then he said: We Indonesians may be poor, and our technology or marketing may be less advanced, but we're proud of our culture. We're full of creativity especially in terms of culture. Honestly, this is what we have to work on and learn from in Taiwan. Also, due to the time limit, I would like to save some time for our guests. Kindly share any of your opinions or suggestions, and we can discuss them.


I'm a research assistant from Taiwan National Museum. I'm here today because I knew Professor Tsai will be here and I’ve heard so much about you. The Museum has been working on the Southeast Asian cultural accessibility for a long time, and we also have our immigrant ambassadors as well as regular performing groups. I heard what Professor Mantle said in his speech, and I'm hoping that the museum can be used as a venue for performing the Southeast Asian traditional music in the northern Taiwan if the professors find it valid. We once combined a Tài Tử music and Người Chăm dancing to a performance before. At first, we didn't have any idea what it would be like. Yet, the actual performance was such an eye-opener for us because it was nothing like what we saw at the Vietnamese performances in Taiwan. Tài Tử music and dancing include Apsara performance, and there are many stories to be told. So, I hope we could have the privilege to collaborate with TNNUA on Southeast Asian traditional music or relevant traditional culture research.

Made Mantle Hood:

Yes, absolutely. I think the most exciting thing about a museum is this relatively new concept of a living museum, when it can truly come to life in a multi-dimensional way, in a multi-sensory way. My brother is a photographer, and he works in the archive, photographing old books. Just a book. But the museum is so creative to create some program for many different young generation children or middle age or old age to interact in new ways. So I'm very happy to collaborate and create some ideas. So how musical instruments can come to life, how to engage with the communities, Indonesian community Philippine community, to bring them into the museum.

And to be what we call co-creators in exhibitions, and often narrators in exhibitions, in other words, prioritizing the voice of the culture bearer in the museum, to give agency where previous generations the museum was closed, very isolated only for the top of society. But these kinds of interactions and engagements to give agency to the culture bearers are a wonderful way to go forward. So very happy to assist any way we can.

Closing Remarks

Chang Chih-Shan:

Thank you all for engaging in until this moment. After being here the whole day, I thought that the position of Southeast Asian music is correct. When I was participating World Austronesia program and studying for my PhD, I knew we had students send to learn about gamelan in Indonesia. The candidates receiving a scholarship at that time should have graduated. The other thing is Professor Mantle connecting music heritages with UNESCO is wonderful. We're a member of the UN after all. We may seem absent and isolated when talking about these things, but Music can make help us more connections.

Lee Schu-Chin:

I've read Professor Chang's paper he presented today. On the map, we saw how paper mulberries were spreading from South Taiwan to Oceania and the area were all marked in red. It means the spreading route is confirmed, and it has a great impact on me. I once listened to Sulawesi's music. A while ago, I heard Micronesia's music released by JPC. I was just thinking why they sounded so familiar, just like that of the Paiwan, and I couldn't find an answer. Today as I saw the map, I somehow felt that the theory makes sense, and it's easier to recognize the rhythm rather than the lyrics because we don't speak the languages. I'll study it more after I get back. The spread of the paper mulberries indicates immigrants are moving, so the music is likely to be spread along by the immigrants. That explains why the music styles are alike. I learned a lot today.

Made Mantle Hood:

Just very briefly, then I think elements that we can take away, each of us who come from various disciplines and backgrounds, we can see the value of perhaps our university in music and performance, the extremely valuable resource of an archive, an instrument archive, my personal research is going there to connect to the generations that often lose or get left out from the voices from the past. Any resource that we have that connects us to our Southeast Asian colleagues, and we can help in the revitalization of culture is a very valuable thing to do indeed.

It's very easy to lose your voice in a global society. How did you speak the way your grandmother spoke, your great grandfather spoke, it's very easy to lose the colors of your dress in a modernizing society very rapidly. So I think, as researchers as archivists as scientists, then it's our duty and the Ministry of Culture's, then to say: What resources do we have? How can we help to make connections so that the culture is not lost forever, because we have to help to create the meaning of the culture, just to keep it in a box and say, oh, we preserve it? Not enough. It has to have that regeneration, planting of the seeds, the gardener of culture, which is a beautiful phrase that I learned today. So thank you very much for inviting me to participate. I really enjoy so much. Thank you.

Huang Hsin-Ying:

As Professor Tsai mentioned, whether it's NCFTA or Taiwan Music Institute, we've collected a lot of materials on the aboriginal, which is Austronesian music. All these years we have been working on the research of our own music culture, but it hasn't been implemented in our neighboring countries, like having in-depth exchanges or research of Southeast Asian music culture. Though we have organized annual Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festivals, they can only enhance the exchanges among groups. I think what we can expect in the future is to understand each other's music culture more deeply through events like this.

Lee Schu-Chin:

Speaking of our research on Taiwanese aboriginals and Austronesian music, I feel that we haven't even touched 1% of it. Of course, that's a long-term atmosphere of society and academics. If you look at the Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia or Vietnam and so on, you'll realize they have various traditional music except for their musical instruments. Taiwan as an origin place of Austronesia culture, we could say that we have very few research and less understanding about the Austronesian-speaking people. That’s indeed a missing part in academics, so I hope the young generation can give it some thought and try to improve the situation.