Isle to Isle

Series

One of the Festival’s sought-after programmes, “Isle to Isle”, is set to return this year, continuing the excitement of interpreting the spirit of exchanging cultures, communicating through the arts and connecting two islands, Penang and Taiwan, together. This cultural programme collaboratively presented by George Town Festival, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia and Penang City Eye is marking its third year in 2021. Besides displaying the charming side of Taiwan’s new culture, ranging from the evolution of traditional art forms to the revolution of modern creative industries, “Isle to Isle” highlights the connection between Taiwan’s cultural background and its humanistic civilisation.

Festival-goers can also expect to discover Taiwanese books and magazines which showcase the isle’s thriving publishing industry via the “Read Taiwan” pop-up concept bookstore. Another highlight is the screening of biographical documentaries focusing on the spirit and life perspectives of selected Taiwanese culturati and artists to inspire the public and other creators alike. Furthermore, this year’s “Isle to Isle” will launch a series of in-depth events conducted online and onsite (with strict standard operating procedures in place) for the public to experience the aura and warmth of Taiwanese culture in these challenging times.

“Read Taiwan” Pop-up Bookstore

“Read Taiwan” is jointly organised by VERSE, Taiwan’s latest cultural media company, and Bleu&Book (青鸟书店), Taiwan’s most iconic bookseller. It will feature a plethora of unique magazines as well as evocative books pertaining to literature, arts, ecology, environment, society, humanities and lifestyle in Taiwan. VERSE, in particular, is a cultural magazine that has been generating buzz since last year for observing crucial and current cultural issues in Taiwan while exploring possibilities in magazines to introduce the appeal of Taiwan’s contemporary culture.

Dates: 24 – 26 September 2021

Time: 11.00am – 6.00pm

Venue: The Whiteaways Arcade, George Town, Penang

Sharing Sessions

Audiences can expect four online sharing sessions during the book exhibition period, which will be an extension of the “Read Taiwan” programme. By portraying Taiwan from various aspects, we aim to introduce Malaysians to the multiple facets of Taiwan. The sessions will be streamed live via Zoom on the official Facebook pages of George Town Festival, Penang City Eye, and other joint organisers.

Dates: 24 – 26 September 2021

Times: 3.00pm & 7.00pm

Platforms: George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

 

“Remembering the Taste of Taiwan’s Streets through Food” by Yuchun Hung

Opinions may differ when it comes to the taste of Taiwan, but one element remains constant: the food stalls lining the streets of the island, which form the tiny fragments that constitute the everyday life of the Taiwanese. Ordinary as they may seem, the intertwinement of taste and life has ultimately shaped the way people perceive and remember food, thus unconsciously becoming a pillar of strength in itself.

Given the astounding assortment of street food in Taiwan, how should you eat, which food should you begin with, and which food holds the most nostalgia? In this session, Yuchun Hung, author of “The Old-Fashioned Young Lady’s Shopping Itinerary” (《老派少女购物路线》), will be sharing her personal roadmap of Taiwan’s street food.

About the Speaker
Yuchun Hung (洪爱珠) was born in 1983 and raised in Taipei. She is a graduate of the London College of Communication in University of the Arts London. Other than working as a senior graphic designer, she also lectures part-time in a university while writing in her free time, penning her early experiences, her usual meals and the people she has met. Her numerous accolades include the Taipei Literature Award, the Lin Rung San Literature Award and the Taoyuan Chung Chao-cheng Literary Award. Her selected works are included in the anthropology “Chiu Ko’s Selected Essays of 2019” (《九歌一○八年散文选》).

Date: 24 September 2021

Time: 3.00pm

Platforms: George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

 

“Creating a Charming Scenery of Reading via Bookstores” by Tsai Rui-shan

Bookstores are not just places where books are transacted; they are realms where sentiments and knowledge are exchanged. Against the fierce competition in the bookselling industry in modern times, the effort to present unexpected forms in the bookstore by crossing domains proves to be a gargantuan challenge.

Having founded Bleu&Book and opening store branches while being involved in multiple large-scale reading events, Tsai Rui-shan has turned her bookstore into an organic entity imbued with natural prospects by connecting with various people. Her perspectives in book media, aesthetic curation and book selection enable her to encapsulate her mind in a book, which further extends into infinite thoughts.

“Books are the heart of every single person and to pursue freedom. To pursue freedom is to pursue happiness.” Undeterred by the diminishing book industry, Tsai Rui-shan forges her own path as she immerses herself in diverse bookstore blueprints to explore how Bleu&Book can thrive freely as a hybrid between an independent and chain bookstore. Along the way, she discovers methods to create a pleasant and charming scenery of reading contemporaneous to this era.

About the Speaker

Tsai Rui-shan (蔡瑞珊) is a bookstore owner with a love for words and the vice-president of VERSE. In 2016, she started searching for new possibilities by setting up a planning company that features books. Since then, she has won the La Vie Good Design Award and made it into Managers Today’s 100 MVP Managers list. Her résumé in event planning includes serving as chief planner of the sixth Wordwave Festival in Taiwan, event host of the first Reading Festival in Pingtung, forum host of the International Conference on Encounters between Southern Formosa and World as well as member of the curating committee in Pingtung County Cultural Affairs Bureau Library. She was also nominated in the 49th Golden Bell Awards. In addition, she has published a book titled “I Will Be Free Like a Bluebird” (《我会自由像青鸟一样》).

Date: 25 September 2021

Time: 3.00pm

Platforms: George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

 

“The Original Hometown Flavours: In Search of Taiwanese and Malaysian Food” by Chen Jing-yi

It has been two years since Chen Jing-yi visited Malaysia, her nostalgia for the people and food here growing since then. In her latest book, “Oh! So That’s How the Taste of Taiwan Is” (《喔!台味原来如此》), she takes her observations on food to another level as she discovers the overlap between Taiwan and the ancestral towns of Malaysian Chinese, such as Fujian (Hokkien), Minnan and Chaoshan (Teochew), where Malaysian Chinese food originates.

In her new book, Chen Jing-yi explores the ancestral towns and compares how certain dishes vary in China, Taiwan and Malaysia, including oh chien (oyster omelette), leng chee kang (sweet soup with lotus seed), apam balik (Malaysian pancake), yam rice, kong piah (Foochow bagel), mee kampua (Foochow dry noodles) and tau huay (bean curd). Her food map encompasses areas like Taiwan, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Tong’an, Hui’an, Putian, Fuzhou, Yunxiao, Chaoshan, Hong Kong, Macao, Jinmen, Mazu and Penghu. By comparing her findings with her experiences in Malaysia, Chen Jing-yi unearths one surprise after another, each carrying more meaning than the one before.

About the Speaker

Born in Tainan, Chen Jing-yi (陈静宜) has almost 20 years of experience in food journalism, covering extensive topics that span from fine dining to street food while working on a systematic categorisation of Taiwanese cuisine for the past 10 years. Her publications include “The Taste of Taiwan: From Sweet Potato Porridge to Crab Sticky Rice” (《台味:从番薯糜到红蟳米糕》) in 2011. As she battles against the wave of modernism to preserve wholesome flavours from the past, Chen Jing-yi frequently travels between regions such as Fujian, Guangdong and Malaysia to interview food enthusiasts and record the traditional goodness of Chinese food. In 2018, she published “Ah, This Taste: Exploring Malaysian Markets and Streets for the Heartwarming Flavour of Chinese Snacks” (《啊,这味道:深入马来西亚市井巷弄,尝一口有情有味的华人小吃》). It is the first book in Taiwan about Malaysian Chinese food.

Date: 25 September 2021

Time: 7.00pm

Platforms: George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

 

“Recreating the Landscape of Taiwan’s Contemporary Culture through Magazines” by T.C. Chang

From Hong Kong’s City Magazine to Taiwan’s Fountain and now VERSE, T.C. Chang is an established critic in the Chinese diaspora for breaking grounds in cultural media. Despite the decline of print publications, he insists on recording and interpreting new cultural ideas, commercial models as well as lifestyles through his magazine. His work goes beyond capturing the moment as he explores stories and movements that are changing Taiwan.

In his sharing session, T.C. Chang will guide the audience along a journey of understanding Taiwanese culture as he sheds light on how he constructed his present-day cultural perspective as well as how VERSE plays a role in observing current cultural trends and issues.

About the Speaker

T.C. Chang (张铁志) is the founder, president and editor-in-chief of VERSE as well as an author active in Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora. He had served as assistant secretary in The General Assembly of Chinese Culture of Taiwan and chief consultant for a number of exhibitions. As of now, he holds the position of chief consultant at Bleu&Book. Over the years, he has also worked as editor-in-chief cum joint publisher at Hong Kong’s City Magazine (《号外》), founding chief editorial writer at Bloomberg Businessweek/Chinese Edition (《彭博商业周刊中文版》), chief consultant at Business Next (《数位时代》), chief editorial writer at The Reporter (《报导者》), editor-in-chief cum programme host at “Talk to Taiwan” (《政问》) and president cum editor-in-chief at Fountain (《新活水》), which has won three honours at 2019’s Golden Tripod Awards.

Date: 26 September 2021

Time: 3.00pm

Platforms: George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

Documentary Screenings

Experience Taiwan’s cultural stories through the viewpoints of notable characters in these biographical documentaries focusing on the spirit and life perspectives of selected Taiwanese culturati and artists to inspire the public and other creators alike.

These four documentaries respectively delve into the fields of cuisine, filmmaking, calligraphy and music — all distinct genres that overlap in terms of creative ideals. Each documentary will be screened twice, with one session on weekdays and another during the weekend. Sharing sessions are to be held right after the weekend screenings for each corresponding documentary for the audience to interact with the documentary creators, which will generate interest and long-lasting impact for the years to come.

Dates: 2 – 7 October 2021

Times: 2.00pm & 8.00pm

Screening Platform: CloudTheatre

Ticket Price: RM20
*The ticket will grant you access to eight documentary screenings and sharing sessions.

 

Documentary 1: “André and His Olive Tree” (《初心》) – André Chiang, directed by Josiah Ng

“André and His Olive Tree” documents the culinary journey of renowned Asian chef André Chiang as he closes his two-star Michelin restaurant to return to Taiwan, where he plans to impart his legacy to the next generation of chefs. In this 100-minute-long documentary that took director Josiah Ng two years to complete, explore 30 years of Chef André’s career in eight distinct chapters that mirror his “octo-philosophy” in his cuisine, and how he utilises Taiwan’s natural ingredients in different combinations to create a truly Taiwanese Michelin dish.

Dates: 2 & 4 October 2021

Times: 2.00pm & 8.00pm

Screening Platform: CloudTheatre

 

Documentary 2: “From Ink to Apparel” (《读衣》) – Tong Yang-tze

In this crossover art exhibition series, Taiwan’s most illustrious calligraphy artist Tong Yang-tze challenges six budding fashion designers to incorporate calligraphy strokes into fashion. The final products will be displayed in five exhibitions named “From Ink to Apparel”, which will be held over the course of five years. From Taiwan to Asia, Europe and America, Tong Yang-tze and her team of Chinese fashion designers hope to demonstrate unlimited possibilities in the art of Chinese calligraphy.

“From Ink to Apparel” is composed of five short documentaries, with one filmed each year that records Tong Yang-tze’s intense collaboration with her team of fashion designers. To quote Tong Yang-tze herself, “Calligraphy is not just a tradition, but a contemporary art form that keeps up with the times.”

Dates: 2 & 5 October 2021

Time: 8.00pm

Screening Platform: CloudTheatre

 

Documentary 3: “Ga-Tau Chang” (《我不流行二十年》) – Chang Ga-tau, directed by Lungnan Isak Fangas

Taiwan’s largest independent music label, Taiwan Colors Music, has brought numerous singers and ensembles to fame over the years, including Pau-dull (Chen Jian-nian), Samingad (Chi Hsiao-chun), Panai Kusui and Nanwan Sisters. At the same time, the company also organises the highly-anticipated Hohaiyan Rock Festival every year, which has commenced a golden age for Taiwanese bands at the start of the new millennium. Having experienced 20 years of ups and downs, label founder Chang Ga-tau looks back on the albums he has produced, the rock festivals he has planned, his stage performances, his creative blocks, his personal midlife crises and the challenge of keeping his company alive. Together with director Lungnan Isak Fangas, Chang Ga-tau, also known as the Godfather of Taiwanese Independent Music, relates his undying Taiwanese rock spirit that has been burning ceaselessly for the past 20 years.

Dates: 3 & 6 October 2021

Times: 2.00pm & 8.00pm

Screening Platform: CloudTheatre

 

Documentary 4: “Past Present” (《昨天》) – Tsai Ming-liang, directed by Saw Tiong Guan

“Past Present” recounts the story of renowned Malaysian filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang. Other than discussing his filmmaking ideals, Tsai Ming-liang also brings the crew on a journey back to his hometown in Kuching, where he reminisces how he took turns every day visiting the local cinema with his grandfather or grandmother. As he puts it, he grew up watching Hollywood movies, yet he chose a path that deviated from typical commercial films, which still brought him the happiest moments of his life.

Dates: 3 & 7 October 2021

Time: 8.00pm

Screening Platform: CloudTheatre

“Read Taiwan” Pop-up Bookstore

Dates:

24 - 26 September 2021

Time:

11.00am - 6.00pm

Venue:

The Whiteaways Arcade

Sharing Sessions

Dates:

24 - 26 September 2021

Times:

3.00pm & 7.00pm

Platforms:

George Town Festival and Penang City Eye Facebook Pages

Documentary Screenings

Dates:

2 - 7 October 2021

Times:

2.00pm & 8.00pm

Screening Platform:

CloudTheatre

Language:

Mandarin with English and Chinese Subtitles

Ticket Price:

RM20

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