Sun, Jul 04, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Lin's a racing hero

By Christian Lloyd Bell

Hanss Lin, the Taiwanese who just won the Shanghai rally race, is a champion in many ways. First, he has put a Taiwanese on the auto-racing map. This is a significant accomplishment, considering that this sport hardly exists in Taiwan. Things should change thanks to Lin. This young man's courage and talent will hopefully inspire other Taiwanese to excel in this exciting sport.

Furthermore, Lin's courage is evident in his national loyalties. He is a pillar and Taiwanese vanguard, continuing to race with the ROC flag, albeit an old relic. Hats off to Lin for taking on the Chinese officials as well as his competitors. Chinese hegemony is at work everywhere, including in auto racing. Trying to pacify young Lin failed, because he is patriotic to Taiwan. The awkward behavior of the race officials offended Lin, his crew, his family, Taiwanese and obviously myself.

This behavior is seen time and again, just as A-mei has been on the receiving end of it, Taiwanese businessmen are subjected to it and all Taiwan's officials have experienced it. This was also seen in the presidential election with the Chinese loyalists in Taiwan.

This is unacceptable, and is the reason why Lin and other Taiwanese continue to be counter-hegemonic. "Chineseness" is a powerful cultural force that is now wreaking havoc in Taiwan. We must respect Chinese culture as well as the great nation of China, but we do not have to be Chinese in doing so. We've fought hard to establish Taiwanese culture and nationhood.

Taiwanese should applaud Lin both for his impressive achievements together with his steadfast support of Taiwanese dignity on China's soil. Maybe Lin's courage will help other Taiwanese athletes who compete internationally and face the same Chinese hegemony, whether it's in China, Taiwan or anywhere. The Olympics, billiards, golf and little-league baseball are some areas that come to mind. Out with the notion of "Chinese Taipei" and in with the new. Accept no less, just as Lin cannot.

Taiwanese companies and the government, I hope, will jump on board and sponsor this Taiwanese national. Sports help separate Canadians from British and Americans, and Taiwanese from Chinese. Taiwan has go-cart racing; this is how Canadian Greg Moore started his career.

Shame on the Chinese officials -- but maybe they will cause Taiwanese to continue to realize that Taiwan cannot sell out. I would hope that A-mei and other Taiwanese doing business in China will learn a valuable lesson from Lin.

Christian Lloyd Bell

Victoria, Canada

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