CommonWealth celebrates 20 years

Alfred Lee, The China Post

President Chen said that the 20 years of the CommonWealth magazine itself is the “Taiwan experience”. He made the remark at the 20-year anniversary of the CommonWealth magazine, one of the leading magazines in Taiwan. President Chen Shui-bian said that the hardworking local people and the native culture of Taiwan formed a solid foundation for Taiwan’s link to the international world.

The CommonWealth magazine published its “319 Special Issue” to mark its 20 anniversary. The the number of all the villages in Taiwan equals 319.

The president pointed out that it was good for a magazine to report on the plain but diligent lives of local people, so that people in different rural areas would be able to know that they were not alone in their endeavors. The special issues come in four volumes and focus on the history, culture, customs, traditions, people, legends, and scenes of the 319 villages of Taiwan.

President Chen said that he was very surprised to find out that he became one of the “features” of his hometown Kuan-tien of Tainan. Swarms of tourists came to Kuan-tien to see the neighborhood of his home and the huge lotus ponds. After reading the just published magazine, he was updated about the township of Hsinwu, which produced the largest amount of rice in Taiwan, and the city of Changhua, which has the largest number of mothers’ classes in Taiwan.

President Chen called on the local people to learn more about the native towns of Taiwan. He said profound understanding about one’s hometown would lead to deeper appreciation of one’s own culture and love for the nation. Morris Chang, who was invited to the anniversary as an speaker, described Diane Ying, the publisher of the CommonWealth magazine as Taiwan’s Katherine Graham, the respected former chairman of The Washington Post.

Many other celebrities were invited to the ceremony. They included Y.S. Sun, the former premier, Lee Yuan-tseh, the Nobel laureate, James Soong, chairman of People First Party, Ma Ying-jeou, Taipei City mayor, Lin Hwai-min, the leader of Taiwan’s famous dance ensemble, and Stan Shih, chairman of the Acer Group.

After the ceremony Diane Ying led a group of business leaders to Kuan Shan of Taitung as a campaign touted as “Go ahead 319”.

The CommonWealth magazine issued one million “village and township passports” as free gifts to be given away at 7-Eleven stores, post offices and freeway rest stations.