Sister city Nantou shares the love in Ipswich
THE ties that bind sister city Nantou,Taiwan and Ipswich together in friendship are closer than ever after a visit this week by a seven-person delegation to the city.
The sister city arrangement will see an exchange of culture and ideas and the opportunities for student exchange programs and business partnerships.
After yesterday's official welcome lunch the Nantou delegation visited Ipswich schools to hold talks on student exchanges.
Ipswich's honorary ambassador to Taiwan, Samuel Lin, has a company in Nantou and he thought it would be a good idea to introduce Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to the city.
Warren Chang, a councillor in Nantou County, said Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale visited and struck up a relationship with Nantou's Governor Lin which blossomed into a sister city arrangement.
"When they got in touch they both thought Ipswich and Nantou had a lot in common in both the land, people and in ideas going forward,” Cr Chang said.
"The only difference is the culture, so to bring the cultures together they came up with the idea of Ipswich students coming to Nantou and Nantou students coming to Ipswich.
"Secondly, they looked at how we can have business partnerships between Nantou and Ipswich.
"When we started we thought it would be a good idea to have a sister city relationship, but now that Paul has come to Nantou and our Deputy Governor Chen has come here we thought it would also be a good idea to exchange animals.
"The peacock in Nantou is special and we have two zoos which holds peacocks. So I think it is a good idea for a peacock to come to Ipswich and for a kangaroo from Ipswich to come to us to bring the two cities closer together.”
Cr Pisasale said he was a fan of the sister city arrangement "because it is all about sharing ideas and growing together.”
"Some of the things Nantou can help us with are unbelievable. It is not about dollars, it is about friendship,” he said.
"Anybody from Ipswich who visits Nantou will be treated like a king.”
Ipswich has been invited to send delegates to the Nantou lantern festival next year which is world famous.
The delegates will also be part of the Ipswich Festival Parade of Light on Saturday where they will carry hundreds of Taiwanese lanterns through the streets.
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Bell said the relationship with Nantou would continue to blossom.
"This is the start of a continuing lifelong relationship between Nantou and Ipswich,” he said.
"What we found in Taiwan, and Nantou in particular, is how similar the Ipswich business community is - particularly in the areas of education and health.
"There is a lot of commonality that we can share and the possibility for, not only a a trade exchange, but an exchange of teachers, doctors, nurses and skills in the area of health and education.”
Mr Bell said that for business to prosper it needed to have more than a narrow focus.
"We had the benefit of hosting Ross Greenwood in Ipswich recently and one of the key messages he gave to us is that the world is a very small place,” he said.
"You can do business from anywhere so long as you have a computer, a smart phone or some form of connectivity.
"What we found in Taiwan is a community that is equally happy, if not more enthusiastic, about doing business on the other side of the world.”
The Nantou delegates were initially welcomed in Ipswich with a few beers at the Pumpyard Brewery on Tuesday night and Cr Chang was quick to try and do a deal to bring the brewery to Taiwan.
"The brewery is something that is very surprising,” he said.
"That you are able to turn a former tech college into a brewery is something totally new to us.
"I think it is a great way to light up an old construction.
"We enjoyed ourselves very much.”
"We are going to get that (Pumpyard) brewery to Nantou.”
Cr Pisasale interjected at that point and said that Nantou was famous for pineapple.
Mr Chang nodded and said: "Our pineapple beer is going to be world famous.”
Cr Pisasale said Cr Chang "thought outside the square” in his council campaign where he focussed it on music and people.
In a bizarre twist, Cr Pisasale had picked out a Taiwanese song to sing with the Nantou delegates at the Pumpyard which was well known to Cr Chang.
"We have a special song that I had never spoken to Paul about before,” Cr Chang said.
"But he picked out the same (Taiwanese) song that I first got elected on from You Tube and sang it.
"That is unbelievable, because there are thousands of songs he could have picked out. He memorised it and sang it.
"Usually you don't use songs in elections, but in my election I made it like a concert.”
Cr Pisasale said Cr Chang was focussed on people and got elected as a result.
"That is what most appeals to me about him,” he said.