Wed, Jul 25, 2007 - Page 8 News List

When Sarah Gore married Bill Lee

By Dan Bloom

When the US media reported recently that former US vice president Al Gore's daughter Sarah Gore had married Taiwanese-American businessman Bill Lee (李君偉) in a California ceremony attended by both the Lee and Gore families, the local media in Taiwan took the news as a happy omen. However, a racist comment appeared on an Internet chatroom in the US just after the wedding that read: "Al Gore's daughter is marrying a chink? Boy, that is one Inconvenient Truth."

For readers here who might not be familiar with the insult, "Chink" is a derogatory word for people of Chinese or Taiwanese origin.

It is sad to see such racism in the US. But it's also interesting to note that none of the US news reports about the marriage mentioned that Lee's family was originally from Taiwan. This shows how multicultural the US has become, in that none of the wire services or gossip magazines felt the need to mention Lee's ethnicity.

Bill Lee, 36, is an American whose parents emigrated from Taiwan, and his father, Lee Chin-mu (李清木), told reporters after the wedding that he was happy to be related to the Gore family via his son's marriage. According to People magazine, Sarah Gore, a 28-year-old medical student in San Francisco, has taken her husband's last name.

Lee Chin-mu, who is a professor of medicine in the US, hails from Tainan County and moved to the US soon after graduating from the medical school of National Taiwan University, media in Taiwan reported.

Sarah Gore first met her husband at a function for her father's Oscar-winning environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, People magazine added, noting that the movie's executive producer, Jeff Skoll, served as best man at the wedding.

"As one person joked during the wedding toasts, global warming helped bring Sarah and Bill together," a family friend told People.

What does this marriage of the Lee and Gore families mean for Taiwan? It will probably lead to more news reports here about the former US vice president's work on global warming, and to more invitations for Al Gore to give lectures here.

Other than that, this is a typical "boy meets girl, girl marries boy" story uniting two families in the US, with a small but interesting sidebar about the connection to Taiwan.

Dan Bloom is a freelance writer in Taiwan.

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