Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Special status is all Taiwan needs

By Jou Yi-cheng周奕成

People with no self-confidence imitate people. People with self-confidence want to be special.

Taiwan doesn't have to be a normal country, because Taiwan has always been special.

When you think of it, there are actually very few normal countries in the world.

The Maldives cannot really be called a normal country. Uganda is not a normal country, of course.

Somalia isn't a normal country either. Venezuela, Bolivia and Panama are a bunch of abnormal countries. Israel can't possibly said to be a normal country and Japan doesn't consider itself a normal country.

The countries that have joined the EU all gave up being normal countries. The US has never wanted to be a normal country and gladly advertises that it isn't.

Exceptionalism -- the idea that a country is special, has a special history, a special way of coming into being and a special fate or even a special mission -- is often what makes people identify with their nation, as it strengthens national consciousness.

No doubt, at some times in history, exceptionalism came with too high expectations and egotism, prompting some countries to turn imperialist.

But that goes only for more powerful countries. For a small country like Taiwan, exceptionalism holds no such dangers.

In fact, it fits reality and can help the country progress.

Taiwan is a country. Because the history of how it came into being is so special, it is destined to be a special country.

But Taiwan has not always been a country. It was only because of its situation in the Pacific during the Cold War that Taiwan could become a country.

This was not the result of a universal or special right, but was rather the consequence of international politics.

Of course, Taiwan's continued existence as a country has nothing to do with the two great powers on either side of the Pacific Ocean.

It remains a country because Taiwanese chose it to be.

Historical fate has given Taiwan the opportunity to become a country, but it has also set conditions for this -- nobody will be like you, you are one of a kind. If you want to be a country, you can only be a special country.

If Taiwanese want their homeland to continue to be a country, they also have to accept that Taiwan is special and cultivate this specialness, because the nation's very future lies in this recognition.

Of course it makes sense for Taiwan to strive to become a normal country, because it has to undo the fairy tale woven by China.

The yearning to become a normal country can be easily understood. It is even more understandable for Taiwanese to be recognized and respected by the international community -- as long as the price to pay is a reasonable one.

But Taiwanese often complain about not being normal and often blame this feeling on other people.

They blame China, the US, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the pro-unification faction, ethnic Taiwanese who do not support the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the DPP monikers who aren't diligent enough.

But this is not a healthy attitude -- especially when it comes to the DPP's "normal country" resolution.

It is common knowledge that this idea has been used time and again by the DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun to constrain the party's presidential candidate.

If our country is really so abnormal, then this kind of behavior is nothing better than a cynical exploitation of that status, which can only benefit but a small group of politicians.

This story has been viewed 3148 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top