Brussels, March 7 (CNA) Manneken-Pis, the symbol of the city of Brussels, was dressed Wednesday in traditional Taiwanese Hakka clothing to promote the nation’s cultural diversity to the Belgian people and the world.
In a ceremony held at Brussels City Hall, Taiwan’s representative to the EU and Belgium Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) gave the Hakka outfit to a representative of the non-profit association “The Friends of Manneken-Pis,” an organization founded in 1954 that is responsible for choosing new clothing for the iconic sculpture from among the hundreds of submissions received from around the world.
The outfit, consisting of a wide-sleeved upper garment and pants, was used to dress the famous bronze sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin.
In a later ceremony to unveil the sculpture wearing its new dress, Tseng, who is himself Hakka, said he felt extremely emotional to witness the historic moment bringing Taiwan’s Hakka culture to the world stage.
The Hakka outfit is a perfect symbol for Taiwan’s Hakka culture, which is known for its simplicity, elegancy and pragmatism, he noted.
A Hakka dancing and singing performance featuring eight students from Pingtung’s Nei Pu Elementary School was then staged near the statute to introduce Hakka culture.
According to the Brussels city government, the costumes of Manneken-Pis are changed every three days on average. So far, it has worn more than 1,000 outfits from around the world.
Tseng told CNA that the successful bid to have the famous statue dressed in a Hakka outfit was originally proposed by a Taiwanese person who wrote a letter to the foreign ministry’s headquarters in Taipei making the suggestion last year.
After receiving the letter, the ministry asked the representative office to make the pitch to the city government. It took nine months of work to realize the proposal, he added.
It was made possible also with the assistance of the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) under the Executive Yuan, which provided the outfit designed by Yeh Le-chang (葉立誠), an assistant professor at Shih Chien University’s Department of Fashion Design. The HAC also decided to send the students from Nei Pu to perform, according to Tseng.
(By Tang Pei-chun and Joseph Yeh)