Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Thursday that he was touched by Taiwanese tycoon Samuel Yin's efforts to establish the Tang Prize to complement the Nobel prizes.
"I am very touched and impressed by Yin, as an entrepreneur, who has this vision and global view to hold this award," Ma said during a celebration banquet at Taipei's landmark Grand Hotel.
The president said that the biennial Tang Prize, which takes its name from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a period considered to be the height of classical Chinese civilization, and is characterized by liberal policies and robust cultural activity, can also serve as a reminder and encourageement for future generations to pursue prosperity.
The prize awards achievers in four fields not included in the Nobel prize: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.
Among the nearly 600 guests at the banquet, mainly from the academic and diplomatic circles, were the five winners of the first-ever Tang Prize.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, won the prize in sustainable development; James P. Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan shared the prize in biopharmaceutical science; Chinese American historian Yu Ying-shih won the prize in sinology; and Albie Sachs, a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, was named the winner of the prize in rule of law.
A total of 16 dishes were served. Among them were jellied lamb meat, smoked grouper, crispy roast duck in taro crust, rice sprinkled with sakura shrimp and mullet roe, and a unique dish called "Tai Chi Chicken," which arranged regular, white-boned chicken and black-boned silkie chicken to form a yin yang, the symbol of balanced energy.
The dishes used local ingredients and many were inspired by poetry from China's Tang dynasty (618-907), the organizers said.
The ingredients include willow-pine mushroom from Wufeng in Taichung; roasted duck from Yilan; giant grouper, sakura shrimp and mullet roe from Pingtung; and seaweed from Penghu, according to the Tang Prize Foundation.
In addition to the delicacies, the guests also had the opportunity to listen to the Tang poems that inspired the dishes as each one was served, along with other performances.
The banquet is one of the highlights of the Tang Prize Week from Sept. 15 to 21, during which the five laureates are scheduled to give lectures about their life's work across Taiwan.
(By James Lee)