Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AIT thanks Taiwanese, wishes them a happy new year in karaoke-style video

Stacy Hsu, taipeitimes.com;  see also (1) and (2 with videos).

image from

With the approach of the Lunar New Year, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday released a karaoke-style music video featuring its first self-composed song to wish the people of Taiwan an auspicious and prosperous Year of the Monkey.
The two-minute-long Chinese-language song was composed by AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office Public Affairs Officer John Slover, who lived in Taiwan from 2001 to 2009 before he assumed the post in September last year.
Against a backdrop of Taipei’s National Theater and Concert Hall, Slover led a chorus of seven AIT employees in singing the song, which features several traditional new year’s greetings, such as gong xi fa cai (恭喜發財), which literally translates to “wishing you a financially prosperous year” and wan shi ru yi (萬事如意), meaning “may everything go as you wish.”
The AIT, which represents US interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two nations, invited netizens to record their own versions of the song and share them on its Facebook page.
A short film preceding the music video depicted an AIT staff meeting, where the idea of giving Taiwanese a new year’s greeting in the form of a music video came into being.
“As you know, at the last staff meeting, I mentioned that we should find a way of telling the people here how great the relationship is. We do so much cooperation between the US and Taiwan. What I want to do is be able to say thank you and wish everyone a happy new year,” AIT Director Kin Moy says in the video.
AIT Public Diplomacy Section Chief Joseph Bookbinder proposes making a karaoke song to celebrate the Lunar New Year, given the popularity of karaoke in Taiwan.
Moy then turns to the camera and, imitating a style of monologue by US actor Kevin Spacey’s character Francis Underwood in the popular Netflix series House of Cards, says: “Technically, as the director of the institute, I should turn down this proposal, because it is inappropriate for diplomats to be seen singing on the Internet. Besides, our failure to carry a tune could jeopardize US-Taiwan ties.”
“But we at the AIT just like to have some fun,” he adds.
When asked why the AIT chose the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as the setting for its music video, AIT Cultural Affairs Officer Alys Spensley said they wanted a cultural location in Taipei that would be recognized by people watching the video.
“We thought the beauty of the architecture and the connection to culture was nice for this video,” Spensley said.
As for why the AIT director did not sing in the music video, Spensley said Moy was featured in the video’s opening and that he would continue to engage with the institute’s friends and fans via its presence on social media platforms.

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