During Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) "thanksgiving" tour late last month, he encouraged KMT members to be woodpeckers -- those who criticize the party and favor reform.
As a "woodpecker," I targeted the "parasites," and the "lazy worms" of the party, meaning Lien himself, but got abuse in return.
I suddenly realized that the KMT had set a trap for its young members who urgently sought reform in order to isolate or even destroy them.
I subsequently read the biography of the statesman Fan Chung-yan (范仲淹) of the Northern Sung dynasty.
In it, the poet Mei Yao-chen (梅堯臣) describes Fan as a woodpecker, who in an effort to rid a garden of worms, annoys the gardener and is killed.
I felt deeply depressed, for I felt my situation was similar to this story.
Shortly after reading this biography, I was uncertain whether to stay in the party. [Editor's note: The author was recently stripped of his KMT party membership as punishment for "rhetoric and conduct that severely violated party protocol"].
In the depths of my depression, fate led me to Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文).
He felt concern for my situation, and told me former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) wished to meet me. Fate can be a heavy burden.
While the KMT was ignoring me, Huang and Lee extended their hand in friendship.
What was a relative youngster like myself supposed to feel? The KMT would not rest until it destroyed my political career, and by meeting with Lee I would simply be doing as they expected.
But it was a chance to meet a man who had led Taiwan for 12 years and I was in no position to turn him down.
Meeting Lee was quite an experience, and although I am a child compared to the former president, we spoke freely about all the aspects of the country's political situation.
He also told me he hoped to see the day when Taiwan was a mature democracy, where all political parties would propose policies based on a Taiwanese identity.
He frequently spoke of the development of Taiwan's sovereignty and hoped that a "Taiwan consciousness" could exist in at least 75 percent of the population.
He emphasized that identifying with Taiwan was to know "who you were" and "what sort of place Taiwan is."
Lee has been called "Mr Democracy" in the foreign media and the name fits him.
I am not only grateful that he was willing to share his know-ledge with me, but I hope I can repay him by taking the road that leads to democratic reform.
The hardships to be met on this road will be significantly more difficult than those I experienced during reform discussions within the KMT. It will be hard, but in the journey I hope to attain courage and insight.
Karma give us the opportunity to learn, and I have had the good fortune to walk away from the oppressive KMT, taking a path that leads from hardship to even greater hardship, but I feel that it is a blessing.
I also hope that in making this choice I do not hurt those who have supported me.
I know that in making this choice I have turned from my original path, but the motivation to achieve my goals have not wavered.
I remain dedicated to this land and its people.
Chiu Teh-hung is the Miaoli County Council chief of staff for the vice speaker and a former member of the KMT.
Translated by Ian Bartholomew
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