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2015 UniSIM Public Lecture - Lung Yingtai: From Village to Metropolis: My Cultural Experience

The 2015 UniSIM Cultural China Public Lecture held on October 25, 2015 at The Grand Hall, SIM Headquarters attracted an overwhelming 1,600 audiences, not counting another 6,640 watching live streaming of the event worldwide.

The audience members who showed up were mainly fans of Professor Lung Yingtai, the guest speaker and a well-known writer from Taiwan. She spoke on “From Village to Metropolis: My Cultural Experience”. Professor Eddie Kuo, Chairman of the event organizing committee and Director of UniSIM Centre for Chinese Studies, in his welcome address, shared that till to-date, many Singaporeans remembered Professor Lung for an article she wrote in 1994 entitled ‘I am glad that I am not a Singaporean’. The article generated a flurry of responses from the Singapore readers then. 

Professor Lung spent more than 20 years living overseas including 9 years in the United States, 2 years in Switzerland and 11 years in Germany. She was Taipei City Government’s inaugural Director of Department of Cultural Affairs in 1999 and became the inaugural Minister of Culture in Taiwan from 2012 to 2014.

An exceptionally sharp, candid yet compassionate social critic, she shared how her growing years as a village girl has formed the base of her cultural experience as she gradually becomes a metropolitan. She was of the view that the index of happiness of the people at the lowest social strata should serve as a gauge of the level of happiness of the people of a country. As an intellectual critic who doesn’t mince her words, she felt that while Singapore has excelled in terms of economic growth, this invariably has come at the expense of fostering a strong cultural rooting. Singapore has made many remarkable achievements in the past 50 years, perhaps, in the next 50 years, it is time that we think about how we can deepen the roots of our Singapore culture.

During the talk, she shared many intimate photos from her personal albums including a beaming picture of her riding a bicycle by the street of Pintung County in Southern Taiwan, with an extra-long bright red flowery bolster saddled at the back of her bicycle.

The question-and-answer session was moderated by Professor Kuo. Professor Lung touched on topics ranging from an anxious mother who wanted to get tips on how to impart cultural values to her child; tracing of one’s cultural roots; to her views on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s re-post of her feature interview by Lianhe Zaobao in his facebook. She believed that grandparents have the rights to use the language they are most comfortable with to communicate with their grandchildren.

On behalf of the three co-organizers, Mr Anthony Tan, Executive Vice-President, Chinese Media Group presented a Gardens by the Bay gem encrusted art piece to Professor Lung at the end of the lecture. This was followed by a book autograph session which lasted for an hour and saw the queue stretching to the end of the Grand Hall.

The public lecture was jointly organized by SIM University, Lianhe Zaobao and Business China; and supported by Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning. The event was sponsored by Spotlight Taiwan Project (Special Patron: Dr Samuel Yin) and Lee Foundation.

A full recording of the public lecture can be watched here.
 
 

2015新跃文化中华讲座


10月25日下午,约1600人涌进了新跃大学的大礼堂,为了一睹龙应台教授的风采,及聆听她阔别新加坡6年后的第一场公开讲座。为了满足向隅的听众,主办单位特别通过早报网安排了全球现场直播,当天的浏览量达6,600。

龙应台应新跃大学、联合早报及通商中国之邀,以“从村落到都会—我的文化经验”发表专题演讲,为新跃文化中华讲座打响第一炮。

讲座筹委会主席,也是新跃中华学术中心主任郭振羽教授在致欢迎辞时提起了龙教授于1994年写的文章《幸好我不是新加坡人》,对当时新加坡的政治和社会状况有相当尖锐的批评,激起了新加坡人的义愤,至今记忆犹深。他把龙应台比喻为“侠骨柔情的游侠”,这个特质在她之后写的《请用文明来说服我》、《大江大海一九四九》、《亲爱的安德烈》、《目送》等著作里都可窥见。

龙教授在美国、瑞士、德国、香港等地生活了20多年,1999年出任台北市首任文化局局长,2012年,出任台湾首任文化部长。龙教授在演讲中提到了她在台湾屏东的成长经验,以及在海外多年的生活经验塑造了她的文化价值观。她认为文化扎根于乡土,传统得到了尊重,乡村幸福了,国家才算真正幸福。她说新加坡建国50年来有许多众所瞩目的成就,在未来50年,应开始深沉思考,文化要如何扎根进入深层之处。龙教授也分享了许多她的私房照片。她在屏东街头骑着脚车,后面扎了一个大红花抱枕,戴着墨镜咧嘴大笑的照片,拉近了她与听众的距离。

在郭振羽教授主持的提问时间里,龙教授以滨海湾花园的植物没有标示华文名字为例,说明这不是一件小事,它透露了新加坡在使用英语作为工具的同时,牺牲掉的是跟中文的最深层关系。

讲座结束前,新加坡报业控股华文媒体集团执行副总裁陈康威先生代表主办单位赠送了一幅以宝石镶成的滨海湾花园艺术品给龙应台。之后的签书会,签名的队伍绕着大礼堂边缘排了长长一条龙,约一个小时才结束。

新跃文化中华讲座获得了推广华文学习委员会的支持;李氏基金、台湾文化光点计划(特别赞助人尹衍梁博士)的赞助。

欲观赏讲座的完整视频,请点击此处

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(from left) Eddie Kuo, UniSIM; Wang Gungwu, Chairman, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Finance; Lung Yingtai; Aline Wong, Chancellor, UniSIM; Anthony Tan, Executive Vice-President, Chinese Media Group; Ch’ng Jit Koon, Business China
(左起)新跃大学郭振羽;新加坡国立大学东亚研究所主席王赓武;新加坡财政部兼文化、社区及青年部高级政务部长沈颖;龙应台;新跃大学名誉校长简丽中;新加坡报业控股华文媒体集团执行副总裁陈康威;通商中国庄日昆

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