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New Cabinet spokeswoman describes her role as 'translator'

2018/07/27 15:56:29

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) Taiwan's new Cabinet spokeswoman, Kolas Yotaka, describes her role as that of a "translator" and says the government should convey its policies from the viewpoint of the people to avoid misunderstanding.

Kolas is a member of the indigenous Amis tribe who was a legislator-at-large of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) before being appointed to the position by Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in mid-July.

After switching her political runway from that of lawmaker to administrative official, she is now faced with a different type of work, Kolas said in a recent exclusive interview with CNA.

As a lawmaker, she was the center of an office; but now, as the Executive Yuan's spokeswoman, she is one of Lai's aides, providing the premier with information and media reports, she said.

Kolas said her role as a spokeswoman is not like a makeup specialist or a fax machine, rather that of a translator who "translates and simplifies policies before conveying them to the people."

A spokesperson has also to serve as a bridge between the people and the government, she went on, underlining the importance of mutual communication.

People's thoughts must also be delivered to the administration, Kolas noted. For example, she went on, while the Environmental Protection Administration promotes restrictions against the use of plastic straws, the people's first question is "what can I use instead?"

To avoid misunderstanding, the government should be able to think and answer questions from the viewpoint of the people while conveying its policies, Kolas said.

Asked about some netizens' criticisms over her name, for which Kolas prefers to use Latin script to render her indigenous name rather than Chinese characters, she said that as an indigenous person growing up in a city, she is used to the language of discrimination.

Lucifer Chu (朱學恆), a writer and translator, has said disparagingly on his Facebook page that he does not need to remember Kolas' name because "your work is to talk nonsense that you yourself don't believe in."

Kolas said she would like to meet with Chu to explain to him why it is important for her to use Latin script. She has previously explained that her indigenous name cannot be pronounced correctly if not spelled with Latin script.

"It won't be inconvenient to read our name if people treat each other with open minds," knowing there are many different peoples in Taiwan, including the indigenous and immigrants, Kolas pointed out.

(By Ku Chuan and Elizabeth Hsu)
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