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“You belong to my heart, how could you leave me now?”

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Amid classical pop melodies and the resounding clapping of an audience comprising village elders and community leaders, 74 freshmen from the National Chi Nan University concluded their 12-project showcase on the regional history of Ailan Plateau (愛蘭台地), which is also referred to as “Chuanshan (船山),” or “ship-shaped mountain.” The host venue Puli Senior Care Center was also transformed into the Grand Chuanshan Theater (船山大戲院) for the occasion.  

Enrolled in a Chinese literary course charted by NCNU instructors Damuli (林鴻瑞) and Paparil Tavali (李瑞源), the 74 students spent the past half year visiting communities across Chuanshan and reading up on related research and literature. Their deepened understanding of regional history shone through their 12 completed projects that uncovered moving stories and crystalized the common memories of all residents of Chuanshan.

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The opening film, “Puli Memories: Maria Maternity Hospital,” was dedicated to Lillian Dickson (孫理蓮, 1901-1983), a Canadian missionary who devoted her life to helping those in need in Taiwan, and the Puli Christian Hospital, which evolved from a medical clinic established by Dickson.

Encompassing shadow puppetry performances, book recitals, original films, radio dramas, and board games, the 12 team projects reflect the diverse innovation and technical aptitude of participating NCNU students. Teachers from Ailan Elementary School and the Affiliated Senior High School of NCNU also expressed interest in utilizing the materials for class, while several guesthouse operators offered up their venues for hosting future showcases.

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Moreover, many of those student creations took inspiration from Hoan-pô-kúi (番婆鬼), or witches from indigenous Pazeh (巴宰) lore that originated from the Nantou plains. The closing film “Batan,” named after the Pazeh word for “friends,” was another shining example of how students coaxed forth new perspectives on regional heritage.

Offering thanks to the NCNU Shui Sha Lian Research Center for Humanities Innovation and Social Practice, Damuli also commended the participating freshmen for their dedicated outreach efforts and care for the neighboring communities.

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