President Tsai presents Presidential Cultural Awards

President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday presented this year's Presidential Cultural Awards at the Presidential Office on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday presented this year’s Presidential Cultural Awards, saying that the values exemplified by the five winners have been a force that keeps moving Taiwan society forward.

The ceremony was held at the Presidential Office before a public reception which took place at 7 p.m. at Zhongshan Hall, a historical building near the office and was attended by Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁).

According to the press release issued by the office, Tsai congratulated the four individuals and one group on receiving the awards and listed their achievements while addressing the winners.

In the cultural endeavor category, the winner was Huang Yung-sung (黃永松), a publisher of influential magazines such as Han Sheng and Echo.

Tsai described Huang as “the most prominent aesthete” in the 1970s and commented that Han Sheng’s in-depth coverage of folk art documented Taiwan’s culture in that era and exerted a profound influence on different generations.

The award in the social reform category went to gay rights crusader Chi Chia-wei (祁家威), who has pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage for 30 years.

Tsai praised Chi for his continuous championing of marriage equality and rights for HIV and AIDs sufferers, saying that his persistence in pursuing those causes has helped to make Taiwan a more diverse and equitable society.

In response to Chi’s petition, Taiwan’s constitutional court in May ruled in favor of marriage equality and demanded that discrimination against same-sex couples under the Civil Code be addressed within two years.

Doctor Samuel Noordhoff (羅慧夫), winner of the award in the humanitarian category for his promotion of medical care in rural Taiwan and for practicing medicine across the island, was unable to attend the awards presentation.

Tsai held Noordhoff in high esteem for having led a life dedicated to serving people with love and professional skill, adding that the humanitarianism embodied by the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation is something that Taiwan will always treasure.

Suming Rupi (舒米恩‧魯碧), from the Amis community in Taitung County, who is a musician, singer, songwriter and actor, received the youth creativity award.

The work of Suming Rupi to ensure traditional culture takes root in Dulan village has resonated well with young people, Tsai said.

The group winner in the indigenous hope category went to the “One family in Community” project sponsored by Sinyi Realty, the leading real-estate company in Taiwan.

Tsai said that the project aimed at enhancing community wellness is the longest program sponsored by a single company, has most participants and has encouraged more businesses to contribute to community development.

By Shih Hsiu-chuan