On February 19, the Lantern Festival, nearly 40 little kids from Xinfeng Township's Hsiao Po Shih Kindergarten wished everyone a happy Chinese New Year by performing lion and dragon dances at the lobby of Hsinchu County Hall. Magistrate Yang Wen-ke gave away pig-shaped lanterns and small souvenirs in return. Magistrate Yang, who had just promised to promote Hakka dialects in the government officials' meeting, turned himself into a Hakka teacher right away. He taught the kids how to say Chinese New Year greetings in Hakka, with a joyful atmosphere prevailing all over the county hall.
Magistrate explained the origin of the Lantern Festival in Hakka: "The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar, so Hakka people also call it..." Although hardly could some of the kids understand Hakka, they still tried hard to speak out "Happy Chinese New Year," " Wish you prosperity and wealth," and "Great luck this year" in Hakka. Magistrate Yang believed that more exposure would be helpful to learn a language, and he also believed that little kids could learn a language better.
On the morning of February 19, Magistrate Yang made a change at the government officials' meeting, delivering his opening speech in Hakka. He indicated that several local organizations had visited the county hall last week in the hope of promoting the use of Hakka and the sense of cultural identity. On the other hand, officials from Hakka Affairs Council also thought that the promotion of Hakka language in Hsinchu County left a lot to be desired. Therefore, as one of the major cities and counties where Hakka people live, Hsinchu County should take a series of measures to help Hakka take root among younger generations.
Magistrate Yang hoped that government officials could speak as much Hakka as possible in any meeting and activity held by the county government. Civil Affairs Department showed that it would encourage government staff to take part in the certification of Hakka language proficiency. Besides, Personnel Department was planning to offer Hakka language courses for government officials. Education Department also indicated that in addition to holding Hakka singing, speech, and recitation contests, Hakka language classes would be directly included in the school curriculum with the new curriculum guidelines put into effect in the following school year. Principals from local elementary and junior high schools would be invited to join in a forum held on February 22 for further discussion.