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American plays ROC national anthem at Taiwan event in New York

2012/05/14 17:43:37

New York, May 13 (CNA) Traditional delicacies and authentic handicrafts, as well as an American saxophonist who performed the Republic of China national anthem to an appreciative crowd, were all in the spotlight at the Taiwanese American Heritage Week in New York Sunday.

Isaiah Richardson Jr., who gained fame on YouTube for playing the country's national anthem in the New York subway, performed the piece and waved the ROC national flag to add some extra Taiwanese flavor to the event.

He also played the Chinese-language songs "Jasmine" and "The Moon Represents My Heart" to the cheerful audience at the event, dubbed "Passport to Taiwan," which took place in lower Manhattan.

Richardson, who studied mandarin Chinese in New York before visiting China for seven months and Taiwan for four months, said he started performing in the subway two years ago and usually plays Taiwanese music when no Taiwanese people are around.

"People don't know it's Taiwanese music, but they think it sounds beautiful," he said.

Richardson, however, added that "I believe Taiwan is its own place. It bothers me that Taiwan can't represent itself as Taiwan."

Richard Gottfried of the New York State Assembly, whose daughter-in-law is from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, was also present at the event. He is a strong supporter of Taiwanese culture, especially its food.

"(It has) terrific food. Anybody who hasn't been to Taiwan really is missing a treat and should go and visit," noted Gottfried, who has been to Taiwan several times.

"We feel very close to Taiwan. It's a beautiful country, a wonderful democracy, and a great friend of the United States," he said.

"Passport to Taiwan" featured bamboo weaving, the making of traditional dough dolls made of flour and ground glutinous rice, and Taiwanese sugar painting, as well as performances by several bands that played at Taiwan's Spring Scream music festival in Kenting earlier this year.

The event, organized by the Taiwanese American community of Greater New York, was part of celebrations relating to the Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month that takes place each May in the United States.

(By Leaf Chiang and Jamie Wang)
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