Thursday, June 16, 2011

Simplified Characters removed from gov't websites

Mayor Ma of Taipei in 2002 ordered that Hanyu Pinyin, the official PRC romanization system, be used on all signs because it facilitated Taiwan's globalization. President Ma in 2011 drew the line at simplified characters.....
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday told the Tourism Bureau to remove the simplified Chinese version from its Web site, saying all government agencies should use traditional Chinese characters in official documents and on the Internet.

The president’s instructions came in the wake of a dispute over the use of simplified characters to cater to an expected influx of Chinese free independent travelers (FITs).
The Tourism Bureau had provided simplified Chinese among other languages on its Web site. The simplified Chinese version was removed yesterday morning.

“To maintain our role as the pioneer in Chinese culture, all government bodies should use traditional Chinese in official documents and on their Web sites, so that people around the world can learn about the beauty of traditional characters,” Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) quoted Ma as saying.
An interesting call by Ma, who has worked hard to shape the discourse on China from his bully pulpit as President (remember when he demanded that everyone in the gov't refer to China as "the mainland?"). The Tourism Bureau already uses simplified characters in their promotional materials in China, and called on shops and restaurants frequented by Chinese tourists to add menus and other information in simplified characters.
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Anonymous said...

Mayor Ma of Taipei in 2002 ordered that Hanyu Pinyin, the official PRC romanization system, be used on all signs because it facilitated Taiwan's globalization.

A little misleading. It is the PRC standard, true but it's also the international standard under the ISO and has been for almost 30 years. It's the standard of the UN, the US Library of Congress, Singapore, Malaysia and more. Saying that Ma ordered it because it's the official Chinese system is misleading - it simply brings Taiwan into line with global best practice.

Plus it's much easier to use than that godawful tongyong system.

Anonymous said...

Well, Tainan transportation is a complex issue. Fearing Tainan as a bastion of native Taiwanese culture and political power, the KMT govt purposely and continously tried to isolate Tainan and kept any kind of major transportation projects away from making it convenient for living in Tainan city proper.

In my mind, there are too many airports but the alternatives are not good. If Tainan could get a very fast link (MRT, THSR) to Kaohsiung airport, then yes, let's close down the Tainan airport. For domestic travel, a new HSR station should open at Sinshi just south of the Tainan Science Park and direct transfers to regular rail can be made. Otherwise, north Tainan, the majority of the population doesn't even have access to a HSR station and it's not convenient for the science park at all.

But until links to Kaohsiung International Airport are fixed and something is done so that HSR actually means something in Tainan instead of being a second stop for people living in north Kaohsiung, then yes, Tainan Airport has a role to play in transportation links to China and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The Seediq Bale trailer was awesome.
I am definitely looking forward to the movie when it comes out. Thanks for posting the link.

D said...

Solid marketing move. Mainlanders often admire Taiwan as a last bastion of "traditional Chinese culture" and the traditional characters are probably an important mystique element in the tourist experience.

Or maybe Ma just didn't want to be accused of taking the heart out of love.

Michael Turton said...

It IS misleading to say that, which is why I didn't say it. I wish commenters here would read the posts they comment on.

For me the issue is the choices Ma makes; sometimes he goes international/PRC, sometimes ROC.


Thomas said...

I find the drive to offer simplified characters silly anyway. It is taking the desire to give comfort to guests to an extreme. Having lived in Hong Kong for three years and seen an untold number of mainland tourists doing just fine with the traditional characters, the drive of businesses to change over this issue makes no sense. It is one of the few differences that does not really raise the ire of the Chinese.

Anonymous said...

I would be curious what China offers in terms of their signage.

Karl said...

The name of that body of water is, and always has been, "Chaon's Briny Blue Bath". Any other attempted nomenclature shall be viewed as an act of war.

Anonymous said...

The whole simplified vs traditional debate is such an godawful red herring. The Chinese don't melt from seeing traditional, HK has traditional, the Peoples Daily webpage has the option to display in traditional!