Day 7– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 7. journal Monday 28 May. Last day in Wutai.

  1. Portrait of the late legend of Wutai, 1, Portrait of the late legend of Wutai, we lived in his home. A great hunter, well respected man, a legend, books have been written about him.
  2. The great hall. Drekai (Rukai) people are descendants of the clouded leopard, the main pillar with the carvings of his father, he was a great craftsman too, with stag horns, testament to his hunting skills, Ceremonial Japanese swords from the colonial era, there were muskets too, perhaps from the Dutch period. Jesus, an introduced religion from the west, ingrained into the community. Lilies which is sacred and significant, Snake skin patterns, Kuomintang certificates, all amalgamation of Rukai's heritage and culture.
  3. Ah Yee, MeiHua, Luc's Aunt, an innovative entrepreneur, independent farmer, like many in her village, hardworking and resilient
  4. My backpack load, consist of my 3x5 box camera, 8x10 with processing tent, chemicals etc, making instant prints in the field, with a spare change of clothes. about 20kg.
  5. the ride down the majestic mountains, and across the only bridge that connects to the outside world.
  6. Train back to Taipei, this train takes about 5 hours back to the capital. In total it's about 12 hours door to door.
  7. back in Shilin District, Taipei, making my way up another mountain back to #studio94tw residency space. In the culture of the city / state, different sense of belonging.

In my short time there, I've learned much and experience some to ponder and reflect. On the challenges that communities face, the duality and sometimes multiple identities, in being resilient and innovative. And how important living memories are, especially in oral speaking traditions, in keeping cultural and social links between each other, with their past, to the relevance of the present, and the challenges for the future. #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. The late legend of Wutai

2. Rukai's amalgamation

4. backpack load

3. MeiHua

5. Only bridge link

6. Train back

7. back in Taipei


Day 6– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 6. journal Sunday 27 May.

  1. Sunday is the Sabbath. it's also the busiest day for the village as it is packed with tourist. 600+ was the count, thats more than the entire population of the village. Christianity has been here for more than a hundred years and most natives have included introduced religion & spirituality in their daily life, mixing with their traditional beliefs.
  2. Tourists walking through village.
  3. Sunday mass at the Wutai's village Presbyterian Church.
  4. First edition 2017 Bible translated to Rukai Language, Sunday Newsletter and a bookmark with my name, welcoming me.
  5. Congregation, sings church hymns in a mixture of Rukai and Mandarin.
  6. An introduction during the announcement, we were given a warm welcome and invited to lunch. Luc gets approached by many long lost relatives.
  7. Scoot diaries, heading down to visit Grandma, sending gifts and saying goodbyes. the views here are just majestic.
  8. Uselrepe, Grandma who named luc after herself. Journey home.
  9. More language classes and history with Moo Moo.
  10. Sorting out negatives, quick clean and packing up cameras.
  11. Scoot diaries with Anne Hor Fun. the mountain roads are dark and quiet at night. thanks for the lift #scoottaiwan
  12. Night ride with Aunt, Mei Hua, up the mountain to have a look at the village. Boosted up the image to get some detail in the dark.
  13. Selv Grass 安從慈 MeiHua and me, riding up the mountain on our last night here

In a remote village in the hills, visitors bring much revenue, but also much annoyance and disruption to this small community. But they are resilient and they adapt to their best ability. Spirituality is very important, as with every native communities, their connection to each other and the land they're on, be it through religion or through ritualistic ceremonies, it can be through big gestures and small ones. Social and cultural connections that bind a community together. #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. Rukai Christianity

2. tourist

3.  Sunday Mass

4. Rukai bible

5.  Congregation

6. church welcome

7.  scoot with Luc

8. Uselrepe, journey home

9 language class

10. sort out negatives

11. scoot with anne

13. riding up the mountain

12. wutai village at night


Day 5– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 5, journal Saturday 26 May on the southern hills of Taiwan, Wutai

  1. Conversations with Moo Moo (Grandfather in Rukai) Explaining the important significance of the head dress.
  2. The hand that caught the eagle, Palipilipi, a great hunter, and now elder of the community. Wealth of knowledge and also the humble farmer. Previously rukai language teacher, we've seen him watching athletics on TV numerous times. It must be the challenge & achievement he misses.
  3. The daily walk through the village, but this time full load with both cameras. I'm carrying the #8intrepid mobile studio kit.
  4. Walkthrough village is never just a walk. But many stopovers to find out the daily events and happenings. Here at Aunts place, given bunch of laicis and other, before being sent on our way with sometimes errands and messages to pass on. 
  5. Packed both cameras to head down Shensan, next village where the wedding is held. Between 3 of us, about 25kg load, walking the path.
  6. Native Library, beside the town hall and other gov facilities, amazed at gov effort, and to a certain degree, the community, having their own autonomy over themselves. 
  7. It's literally mountains rising from the ground. Majestic views of the valley and rolling hills, glorious skies. These southern hills seems remote, but are still accessible. 
  8. We were given ceremonial vest, in order to get access to the wedding grounds.
  9. Wedding- engagement ceremony, the village has turned out in their best. I really love their hand weaved back packs.
  10. Heard there were 4 different entourage that has come today, bearing gifts, the bride comes from the noble family, here a live 'Babui' (wild boar/ pig) on offer. 
  11. Pack hall, the ceremonies started at 630 am and ends at 5pm with a 2 hour communal dance ritual (ends early because the mosquitoes come out at 6)
  12. Bride's mother, the bride and her 2 sisters (pictured here) get carried on a 'litter' (known in Chinese as kiao) to the engagement venue through the village.
  13. Modern day steed, as the entourage make its way through the village, outriders clear the way for the procession.
  14. Communal Dance Ritual where the entire guests participate in a circular, hand-joined dance ritual, it goes on for two hours. 
  15. Setup kamra #1interchange at the end of their ceremonies, in order not to interfere with their rituals. Had an hour window to make portraits of selected guests.
  16. Important moment in the process, to let the sitter witness their own image appear, onto a physical form of a print.
  17. Spent the evening with Peresang, dinner was paid by her brother, and a lengthy portrait session. Coincidences with Peresang has turned out to be more than a blessing, we can't be more thankful for the wealth of knowledge and inspiration she has shared with us.

The community, social structure, and relationships, although simplistically projected as a tribe, but in its entirety, very complex, between generations, assimilations & associations, with duality personalities (sometimes multiple) facing the challenges of balancing identities #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. Conversations with Moo Moo

2. Palipilipi, a great hunter

3. daily walk village

4. stopovers

5. Packed both cameras

6. Native Library

7. Majestic views

8. ceremonial vest

9. Wedding- engagement ceremony

10. 'Babui' (wild boar/ pig) on offer

11. Pack hall

12. Bride's entourage

13. Modern day steed

14. Communal Dance Ritual

15. Setup kamra #1interchange

16. witness their own image

17. evening with Peresang


Day 4– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 4, journal, Friday 25 May on the southern hills of Taiwan, Wutai

  1. Part of the village is in intensive mode, it's the morning before the wedding and preparations and gifts distribution is in order, 8 pigs in total, headresses and the special miller wrap
  2. Elder ladies making the headdresses for the ceremony
  3. 80 portions, pork distributed among the extended family and community in this groom's village, yesterday it was for bride's village
  4. making of the millet wrap
  5. millet wrap
  6. Rubu, my first traditional #rukai meal of rice, corn and water spinach in a porridge like broth
  7. Attempted daytime portrait sessions with grandma #8intrepid #intrepidcamera
  8. reviewing the prints
  9. Instant portraits of @legeay731216 in his grandfather's hall
  10. Given a lesson in making natural jelly, using the inner spirit to bring out the taste. Wild Yee collected from a mountain lake makes the best tasting jelly I've tasted.
  11. Spent the late afternoon walking to professor's house for a portrait, but he wasn't in. Only saw 1 other person in the village when I was walking back, setup at the square and made a portrait of visiting couple. Coffee champion aunt stall in the background.
  12. Language class with Moo Moo (grandfather) who was previously a rukai language teacher in the community too. A very well respected elder, with a wealth of memories and stories from the past. 
  13. Calinga / Telinga / Ear, we share many rudimentary words. #austronesian origins of Malaysia and alot of tribes in East Malaysia. Where we are from.
  14. Cultural Mapping, is all documented, in oral traditions through songs, stories now dotted on the map as reference points. This publication from early 2000, hasn't had a public release yet, but holds so much important notes and references for their village and tribe. Needs a champion to pull it through.

The close knit of the community, roles and function, plays such important roles in keeping these cultures and structure alive. Rituals and practices might change, but what holds a village together is by working together, eating together, respecting each other. And it starts from the smallest nucleus of the family. #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. wedding and preparations

2. making the headdresses

3. pork distributed

4. making of millet wrap

5. millet wrap

6. traditional #rukai meal

7. daytime portrait sessions

8. reviewing prints

9. Instant portraits

10. making natural jelly

11. setup at the square

12. Language class

13. Calinga / Telinga / Ear

14. Cultural Mapping