Asia Cement’s Commitment in Sustaining Tribal Language Heritage through Joyful Learning with Singing and Dancing


As the clock ticked 6 pm, the second floor of the community activity center in Fushi Village, Shlin Township, Hualien County, came alive with the gradual illumination of lights. The captivating melodies of Taroko tribal songs filled the air, setting the stage for an enchanting evening.

 This is a tutoring class sponsored by Asia Cement. The students coming to the class after school are from Fushi Village. They were doing homework, reviewing lessons, and waiting for their parents to finish work. After realizing the indigenous languages were declining, particularly younger speakers speak their own languages less, Asia Cement took the initiative to launch Taroko indigenous language teaching. They collaborated with Taroko music teacher Misa Masaw, who employs a full-language singing approach and this immersive teaching method makes tribal children to learn the language in a relaxed environment.

"This goes beyond mere instruction; it's a profound connection with the hearts of children," said Misa Masaw. To create a relaxed and enjoyable learning environment for children to practice the indigenous language seamlessly from their daily conversations, Misa Masaw takes a hands-on approach. By crafting teaching materials, and tailoring classes to different age groups, she ensures a personalized experience. Initially she was concerned about the children's patience due to potential comprehension challenges, Misa Masaw observed, after a few sessions, their curiosity, innocence, and sparkling eyes through the classes. Particularly during shared interactive singing, the smiles on their faces not only deepened her passion for teaching but also inspired her to continuously design traditional songs with cultural significance, instill renewed vitality into the preservation of the Taroko language.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Misa Masaw leads classes at the Sa-ba and Meng-Hou-Ai tutoring sessions sponsored by Asia Cement, occasionally joined by her husband, Mr. Ibi Ciru, as a teaching assistant when available. Misa Masaw observes distinctive atmospheres in these two classes. The one with fewer students tends to be quieter, while the other, with a larger number of participants, is lively. Navigating the diverse personalities of the children, Misa Masaw and her husband act as teaching wizards, employing a range of effective teaching techniques. With the support of tutoring class teachers, significant progress has been achieved in just two months. Yung-jou, a fourth-grader, said, “Attending the indigenous language class makes me happy. The teacher not only imparts daily life vocabularies and animal names but also incorporates singing, making learning truly enjoyable.” Hao-yo, a student in a higher grade, added, “Now I can chat with my grandma in Taroko language when I go home. I understand everything she says!”

The heartfelt reflections from these children serve as the most touching testimonials for the indigenous language program. Misa Masaw firmly believes that indigenous languages should take root from a young age, and she hopes that more passionate individuals will join the effort to overcome challenges in preserving indigenous language heritage. Tsai Yu-chi, the PR Manager at Asia Cement, wholeheartedly concurs and underscores Asia Cement's significant commitment to the education of indigenous students. In addition to tutoring classes, the company has introduced programming courses, organized live-streamed summer camps, and hosted documentary film festivals. The collaboration with Misa Masaw to offer Taroko indigenous language classes not only allows the children to savor the unique charm of their own culture but also exemplifies Asia Cement's unwavering dedication to nurturing neighborly relations and safeguarding cultural heritage for the long term.