Kolas Yotaka, who never wanted to enter politics, embarked on a path she had never thought of because of a "original intention to change the world". As a woman, an indigenous person, she found: "Political work itself is not difficult, the difficult thing is that you will encounter a lot of misinterpretations, but you still have to move on." 」

In fact, Kolas never thought he would become a public figure, and one day he would be deliberately misinterpreted and scolded on the parliamentary questioning platform.

In 2014, Zheng Wencan was elected mayor of Taoyuan City. Kolas, who has been an anchor and producer for more than a decade on the original folk station, thought that she would retire all the way, but received an invitation from the mayor to serve as the director of the original people's bureau. "I thought about it for a long time, and I couldn't sleep for two or three days, and I didn't know if I wanted to take the job."

She thought repeatedly, what does she think is the most important thing in her life? "Changing the world is my original intention, now there is an opportunity for me to change the world, there is a budget to solve the problems of indigenous peoples, why don't I do it?" 」

So Kolas embarked on a path she had never thought possible. This turn, the scenery of life changed completely, she went all the way from the director of the original people's bureau, the legislator of the non-division, the spokesperson of the Executive Yuan, to the spokesperson of the Presidential Office.

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

During her tenure as director of the Taoyuan Indigenous People's Bureau, she assisted the indigenous women of the Lala Mountains in Taoyuan in establishing a brand for their own peaches, "Mama Peach", and in a promotional video, one of the women said that she was a widow.

Later, when questioned by the city council, some members believed that the deliberate emphasis on the word "widow" in the film was stigmatizing women and playing the sad card, "You yourself are a woman, you still consume women!" Will the peaches produced in August be called Daddy's peaches?"

When Kolas cried for the first time after returning home that day about work, she felt that kindness was completely distorted. Mothers work in their own land, work with their own strength, raise children, how can it become stigmatized because of the word "widow"?

"Political work itself is not difficult, but the difficult thing is that you will encounter a lot of unreasonable misinterpretations." This was the first lesson Kolas had learned since he started politics.

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Another learning is that in the past, you could get immediate feedback from readers and viewers just by producing a report, "but politics is not magic, all kinds of reforms take time, and it is possible that after ten years, your initiative will only have 200 more people to support you." 」 "But you still have to keep going, and if I don't even do it, I won't be able to step out."

Just like her personal choice of name, it is no longer just a "small change", but a "small revolution".

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

Being insulted by the name of the original people: To be hit is to test whether your faith is firm

Kolas Yotaka is from the Halawan Ami tribe in Yuli Town, Hualien County, Kolas is her name, followed by Yotaka is her father's name. The naming of the Ami people is directly and clearly expressed: "My name is Kolas, and I am a child of Yotaka."

In 2003, Taiwan amended the Name Ordinance to allow the traditional names of indigenous peoples or Han Names to be registered side by side with the Roman pinyin of traditional names.

Kolas also changed her name to Roman pinyin in 2007, believing that writing her name in the Ami script (Romaji) correctly pronounces the Ami name. "As I have also learned, reciting the names of thousands of non-indigenous people is a basic respect for a person."

But when she began to become a public figure, her name became the reason for the attack, and the insults of "traitor", "lackey", "prostitute", "separatist" and so on were mercilessly thrown at her.

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

My father would stand on the same side as her and exclaim, "When they call you by name, they are cursing me!" The father's name is indeed associated with Kolas. Whenever she heard her father say this, Kolas felt a little comforted to know that someone was always standing with her.

"He also tells me how big the setbacks and challenges are, and how strong our beliefs really are." Do you want to give up when you encounter difficulties, or are you willing to make yourself stronger and overcome the difficulties in front of you for the sake of your own faith?

Kolas said that every time he speaks under his own name, he is to let Taiwanese society and countries around the world know that there is an indigenous person in the presidential palace who works with the president every day. Aborigines are part of the island of Taiwan.

Sometimes she would receive encouragement from netizens, and the girl who had just changed her aboriginal name would send her driver's license and tell her, "Sister, I'm going to change my driver's license name luo today!" The little revolution echoed from afar, and society as a whole took another step forward.

"Don't give up your identity, don't deny your bloodline." Kolas remembers her father always teaching her to face her cowardice in every moment when she knows she can't do it, but more than necessary, "You have to beat yourself before you can move on."

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The strength of the family allows me to stand here and remember my father forever through writing

His father, who always gave support to Anding behind his back, died of illness on October 30, 2021, at 7:58 a.m. Kolas remembers the moment vividly: "It was as if there was another me, gone."

The father did not want to disturb everyone, and chose not to inform his relatives and friends, to keep the coffin at home, and to directly cremate. Two hours after his death, my father disappeared completely.

Kolas did not take a day off for the funeral, everything went as usual, and took on the task of accompanying Vice President Lai Ching-tak on a trip to Honduras.

"I always thought I didn't have any special feelings, I thought every day was just busy, I thought I was brave and was learning to accept my father's death. It wasn't until the moment I returned to china to stay in the quarantine hotel that I realized that I actually had a lot of emotions in my heart."

There was no way to escape, Kolas chose to use her good writing, squeezing out the pain in her heart little by little, tears smeared on the typing hands, honestly feeling the thought of her father, and releasing the self-blame of sending him to be cremated.

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

"I was like a sponge, I didn't know that I had absorbed so much emotion, and I didn't know that my father had such a profound influence on me, and he was another me." 」

Memories emerge, she wrote down the way she missed her father in 14 days, and gathered church songs composed by her father before his death, and published "Love is a Line".

Love is a line, and at the other end of the line, it is tied to family love, indigenous identity, courage and faith. Knowing where the way home is, knowing who she is, she is not afraid of getting lost.

This line, this strength, supported Kolas's political work all the way, leading her all the way forward.

(Extended reading: Father's Day after the father left: Dad of another world, I miss you very much)

There is an indigenous person in the presidential palace: Taiwan is a multi-ethnic country

After serving as spokesman for the Presidential Office, Kolas' job assignment was almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

She used to get up early to read the newspaper, collect news from major newspapers and online media in the morning, and understand the public opinion and people's feelings; She is also the main contact window for foreign media, responsible for responding to the most curious foreign affairs, defense and cross-strait issues in Taiwan.

The issue of national defense is her new study in this job, "I enjoy the learning process, I feel that the knowledge base of the human brain has been expanding, and my perspective on things has become different." 」

As she still learns English when she is still at work: "Because I am not a native speaker, I need to keep learning." And she also has a copy of "Ci Hai" at her fingertips: "In fact, every word has a lot of knowledge in it, and I want to seriously understand it."

Kolas itself is like a multilingual dictionary, from Mandarin, Ami, Hakka, Taiwanese, Japanese to English, which are all languages she specializes in; French and Spanish also have basic conversational levels that can be lived alone abroad.

The ability to speak multiple languages comes from the fact that she has lived in a multi-ethnic environment since she was a child, and different vocabulary also brings her to feel the worldview of different ethnic groups and cultures.

For example, in Chinese we say, "I'm XXX." The main word "I" is placed at the front. But in Ami, it says, "It's XXX me." I was put to the end, because in the Ami concept, the importance of the group is greater than the individual, so "I" is put at the end.

Or Ami describes a slender body, saying, "Your hands and feet are as thin as a 'rice stalk.'" Using the nature in front of them, the existing life experience, to find a suitable metaphor, including the mountains and seas and the earth, it is the beautiful place of this language.

Kolas, who is constantly improving his language skills, realizes: "Language affects your worldview, how you treat people, and your role in society." "When you learn a language well, it means that you learn a culture well, and you understand the worldview behind it."

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

Looking back at the road of political work, it has been nearly a decade since I left.

Kolas always hopes that she will let the world know that Taiwan is a multi-ethnic country. Han Chinese, indigenous people, new immigrants, foreigners, everyone lives together on this island.

If you are willing to agree that Taiwan is a multi-ethnic country, there will be less interference and discrimination against different ethnic groups.

Kolas Yotaka

Those who have the ability and opportunity to engage in public work must be honest with history and facts.

Kolas Yotaka

Let Taiwan develop naturally, do not suppress it, a beautiful new land of pluralism and communion, is where we live together.

Image courtesy of Kolas Yotaka, |

The interview postscript | two items from the spokesperson's office

The day of the interview is Kolas's last day as spokesperson for the Presidential Office, and she will resign to participate in the Hualien County Governor Election. We had the privilege of visiting her office on our last day.

Behind her was a stone from Hualien and a picture of her grandmother. "My grandmother's name is the same as mine, kolas." My grandmother sat in front of a tailor's cart, smiling at the camera, slender, like a straw of rice. "Everybody says I look a lot like my grandmother!" Kolas smiled proudly.

Kolas's parents had also visited the office once, and when they saw the photo, Dad smiled and said, "Grandma accompany you to work!"

On the other side of the office is a portrait of an Ami woman wearing a flower hat and smiling brightly. It's a work from the painter Yosifu, who says he's adept at capturing the radiance of Ami.

"We Ami women love to be pretty, and after drinking, the clasp and bottle cap can be used as a necklace by punching a hole!" 」 Kolas talks and compares the movements vividly, talking about the cuteness of the clan, and her eyes always shine.

The flower hat of the Ami woman cannot be thrown away. Even if I went to work at the presidential palace, I couldn't lose it. That's part of my body, it's who I am.

Kolas Yotaka

She always remembers who she is.