The Development and Sustainable Growth of the Historical and Waterfront City
Da Hsuan Feng
Senior Executive Vice President
National Cheng Kung University
The honorable Hsu Tain-Tsair (許添財市長,) Mayor of Tainan City, The honorable Budiarsa Sastrawinata, President of INTA (and a member of Indonesian Parliament,) Distinguished international members of the panel discussion from Poland, UK, Germany, France, United States and Japan, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Da Hsuan Feng, and I am the Senior Executive Vice President of National Cheng Kung University.
I want to thank all my colleagues in the College of Planning and Design who are instrumental in organizing this very critical conference.
Serendipitously, it also happens at one of the most exciting times for the region.
Since there is real-time translation in this conference, please allow me first to use Chinese to express NCKU’s deep felt appreciation to Mayor Hsu.
(The following is in Chinese.)
Mayor Hsu, this is certainly one of the most exciting times for Tainan City (台南市) and Tainan County (台南縣.) Just a few days ago, these two administration entities, representing nearly two million people, has been amalgamated and upgraded. Within a year, this region shall assume the stature of a “Municipality (直轄市).” Ever since at the end of the Ming Dynasty the national hero Zheng
Cheng-Gong (鄭成功) landed in Tainan nearly 400 years ago, the entity “Tainan” has taken on profound historical proportion that is second to none in Taiwan. It certainly makes Tainan one of the most important centers for the ubiquitous Min-Nan culture (閩南文化) in the entire Asia Pacific region, from two shores (兩岸) to Southeast Asia.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that my university is the only one in the world that carries the name Zheng Cheng-Gong.
Building on this deep cultural heritage, there is no doubt that ever since Tainan became formally a city 36 years ago, this transformation that happened two days ago is a history making monumental one. There is no doubt in my mind that in the coming decades, there will be unimaginable and heart throbbing changes occurring in this Municipality.
For this change, Mayor Hsu, I represent National Cheng Kung University, whose entire campus sits within your city, to express our deep gratitude to you and your colleagues. We know that for the past several months, you and your colleagues have poured much of your “heart and blood” (心血) in making this a reality. We know that without the colossal effort of you and your colleagues, this exciting reality will only be a mirage.
(Back to English)
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank all my NCKU colleagues for organizing this very exciting “pre-conference.” You have already heard a comprehensive discussion of Tainan by our esteemed Mayor, and a “mission statement” of the whole purpose of “regional development” by the Honorable Budiarsa Sastrawinata.
What is discussed in this conference is undoubtedly fundamental to our region, especially with the “new found excitement” arising from the regional upgrade. The future of this region must depend on how we best utilize and maximize the impact of our resources, albeit hard (infrastructure) or soft (human resource,) for the population in this region.
To this end, whether we are talking about city planning, urban planning or regional planning, it all boils down to one thing, and that is the most optimum manner to execute “public policies.” As a research intensive and comprehensive university of our region, it is incumbent upon us that we promote and engage these issues actively.
How do we do that? For one thing, although NCKU has been active in regional activities in many dimensions, I suspect that the community’s perception is that we still are quite “inward” looking, very much an ivory tower. It is interesting that MIT or UC San Diego in Boston or San Diego, respectively, not actively engage in regional economic and intellectual activities, they also strongly promote” it with publicity. One way for us to carry out the “promotion” is for NCKU to be proactive in developing what Cambridge University refers to as the “town-gown” relations. This means that it would be our responsibility to work seamlessly and closely with the political leaderships of the entire region.
In his welcoming speech a few minutes ago, Mr. Sastrawinata challenged Tainan to come up with something special so that our region could blink on the international radar screen. I like to take this opportunity to throw out one way which makes us unique.
Also, the concept of “history” was mentioned both by Mayor Hsu and by Mr. Sastrawinata. Thus is seems that “history” would be a good starting point.
I mentioned earlier that Min-Nan cultural (閩南文化) roams between the “two shores,” and to a first approximation, it means Tainan, Quemoy (金 門) and Amoy (廈門). Besides the fact that people in this vast region sharing the same language (閩南話), this also was the region which Zheng Cheng-Gong (鄭成功.) some 400 years ago established his presence. In fact, in Tainan and Amoy, there were statues of Zheng, the most impressive one stands very tall and proud in Amoy.
In fact, as I have alluded to earlier, the Min-Nan cultural region goes beyond merely the two shores, way beyond. In the 19th and early part of the 20th century, because of living hardship, a very large number of young men in the region went to Southeast Asia (i.e. Singapore, Malaysia) to seek a better life. Their descendents became the pillars of the society of today. Yet, despite long separation, they still hold on to their Min-Nan culture heritage. Hence, Min-Nan cultural region can and must include Southeast Asia as well.
Thus, in any regional renewal plan for the Municipality of Tainan, we should and must position ourselves as one of the “horse carriages” (馬車) for the development. After all, as so many have mentioned in this conference, and reiterated by Mayor Hsu, “culture” MUST be the foundation of any plan.
Ladies and gentlemen, by positioning Tainan as one of the cultural anchors for this effort, coupled with the new fond enormous enthusiasm for our region because of the upgrade, and with visionary leaders in the region, I am confident that it will generate unprecedented intellectual and economic excitement for the region in the 21st century.