First Batch of "Alishan Forest Railway Cultural Guides" Debuts Successfully

2019/01/02

    The Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office held the training for the first batch of "Alishan Forest Railway Cultural Guides" from December 10, 2018 to December 24, 2018. After two weeks of intensive training and a stringent evaluation, 18 trainees passed the selection to become the first team of professional guides with knowledge spanning across the Alishan Forest Railway, culture, and ecology.
Classic Example of Local Revitalization
    Director Huang Miao-hsiu of the Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office said that from July 1, 2018, the Forestry Bureau took back the Alishan Forest Railway. The Forest Railway will no longer be about the management of a transportation tool and its main objective will not just be about the number of passengers and revenue, but more importantly, it will be about passing down a cultural heritage and carrying it forward. To let the local people learn about their homeland, narrate their own story, and pass down the torch of the city's culture, the innovative recruitment of "Alishan Forest Railway Cultural Guides" took place to help the residents bring back everyday memories and create a new cultural journey.
Cream of the Crop
    The recruitment target this time round was limited to the volunteers of the "Alishan Forestry Village and Hinoki Village", out of which include retired teachers, civil servants, company executives who have participated in at least 60 hours of forestry culture and history courses and were selected after careful evaluation. They are equipped with expertise in railway, forest ecology, and birds and plants, as well as having over 100 hours of guided service hours. Due to the fact that the "Alishan Forestry Culture" has been submitted to the Ministry of Culture as Taiwan's first significant Cultural Landscape, and also to promote the world's most historic forestry railway, this was the first time recruitment was held for commentator guides. This time, 38 volunteers applied for the recruitment, out of which were three married couples who came together for training and mutual encouragement. The Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office specially invited railway experts Su Chao-hsu and Dr. Hsu Nai-yi, local culture researcher Chen Jun-wen, senior volunteer Wang Hong-ming, and the investigation and research team of the Chiayi Timber Factory to lecture and teach how to be a guide. A total of 56 hours in intensive professional courses and practical sessions were organized, after the written test and two days of on-site themed commentary guiding, only 18 people were selected. The pass rate was less than 50%, making those chosen the cream of the crop.
Commentary Guides Can Also Become a Local Cultural Industry
    The Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office successively launched themed trains since August 2018, to help deepen the public's understanding of the Alishan forestry industry and railway culture values, as well as improve the quality of recreation. Since the formation of the first team of guides, in addition to leading tourists to witness the century-old forestry industry and the wonders of the railway, the commentary material has also added in the uniqueness and value of the railway and culture since 2019. All of the indoor courses took place at the Chiayi Timber Factory, where the trainees gained an in-depth experience of this former site of the earliest industrial development in Taiwan and how it became one of the most precious cultural treasures of Chiayi City. The trainees also experienced in person the No. 3 viewing platform of Dulishan, where they saw the unusual sight of the passenger-carrying train setting off from Jhangnaoliao station, spiraling through the tunnel, and climbing up Dulishan. All of these experiences will be shared with visitors in the future. This batch of commentary guides who passed the evaluation will be paid a service fee of NT$150 per hour, and they will also be provided with accident insurance, standard uniform and hat for the guide service. They will integrate professional service with the warmth and friendliness of the local people and culture, to transform guide service into a local cultural industry.
Last updated on:2019-12-07
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