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CianCao Try Try Festival brings out local culture in Cianjhen and Caoya districts

NSYSU and Cianjhen District Office jointly organized the CianCao Try Try Festival by the bank of the Cianjhen River to celebrate the culture of the Cianjhen and Caoya districts in Kaohsiung City. Besides local residents’ dance performances - a show of local vitality, the Festival included a container exhibition displaying the local industry and culture, a theater performance – Ginza Street in October, and the results of NSYSU students and teachers’ involvement in cultural exchange with the local residents, hoping to build the “Cianjhen-Caoya brand” and let others get to know these two districts.

The main site of the CianCao Try Try Festival was the Hsing-Jen Park by the Cianjhen River bank, as well as the nearby market on Lane 138, Zhenhua Street and Cianjhen Elementary School. The participants could appreciate series of events deeply rooted in the culture of Cianjhen and Caoya, performances given by creative bands and independent musicians from Kaohsiung, local delicacies, vintage products, DIY workshops, a tricycle market, brought a festive atmosphere and a new kind of experience to Hsing-Jen Park.

This event was launched by the practice research team led by the Dean of the Si Wan College Dun-Hou Tsai. Dean Tsai said that the NSYSU team has been involved long-term with Cianjhen and Caoya communities, collecting local stories, and putting on display the local creativity and vitality through the works of the residents who migrated to these districts in the past 60 years, to develop a unique “CianCao style”. This lively festival with its distinctive local features was launched to promote the “CianCao spirit” and the “CianCao values” and demonstrate the rich humanistic history, craft, vitality, and the future vision of the Cianjhen and Caoya districts.

NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng further pointed out that the Kaohsiung Old Port and New Bay area was not only responsible for the economic growth of Taiwan, but also played an important part in establishing the city’s international ties. This local festival not only accentuated the long-term involvement of the NSYSU team of students and teachers and promoted the humanistic knowledge on the local environment, but also integrated the University’s regional co-learning concept with the concern for social issues to fulfill NSYSU’s social responsibility.

During this event, NSYSU demonstrated how the courses at Si Wan College led the students to interact with the local community and schools and displayed the results of this cultural exchange. Through diverse activities, such as exploration of the local environment, creative games, and international exchange, the NSYSU students let the pupils in the Cianjhen and Caoya communities gain a deeper understanding of the Taiwanese culture, build a sense of identity with the community, and bring out the energy of the local wisdom.

The container exhibition - “CianCao in the world, the world in CianCao” launched by Cianjhen Elementary School, narrated the historical changes in the Cianjhen and Caoya districts. NSYSU said that back in the days, the first export processing zone in the world was established in Cianjhen District – a strategic industrial town and important distant fishing port in Taiwan. However, with the changing of times, the relocation of the industry, and the society’s resentment towards the industry gradually caused the residents’ to lose the sense of identification with the district. Visiting the container exhibition, the Cianjhen residents could go through the industrial past of the district and compare the past and present lifestyle in the district.

Ginza Street in October, an environmental theater play by E-Mu Theater, was performed in the Cianjhen streets. The audience watched and took part in the performance of the play in the market on the Lane 138 of Zhenhua Street – an area often compared to District of Ginza in Tokyo. The play narrated the life stories of the local community with the historical background.

A Taipei-based vinyl record store from Taipei displayed its merchandise and played 78 rpm vinyl records with songs relating to the Cianjhen District, including: ”A Rainy Night at the Port” (港都夜雨), “Port Address 13” (港町十三番地), stepping towards Cianjhen, the visitors will listen to “Flowers in a Rainy Night” (雨夜花) and “Love Spell Will Win” (愛拼才會贏). These melodies not only evoked past memories of the older generation but also brought closer the Cianjhen-Caoya residents and tourists. Ms. Pei-Ru Lin, the person in charge of the store, expressed her hope that the festival will contribute to the cultural regeneration of the Cianjhen-Caoya community, just like age-old values that transform and revive.

The guided tour around the Cianjhen and Caoya districts organized as part of the Festival attracted avid cyclists. With an expert guide, the participants admired the scenery of the riverbank, roamed around the settlements, visited famous shops, immersed in the local lifestyle, and tried local flavors.
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