Sun, Aug 03, 2014 - Page 8 News List


Racism breeds racism

I was very surprised at the article about TVBS reporting the concerns of Taiwanese about the risk of their quality of life decreasing as a result of “more foreign workers with darker skin” (meaning Filipino workers) coming to Taiwan (“TVBS news channel accused of ‘racist’ reporting,” Aug. 1, page 1).

The “differences in customs between citizens of Taiwan and foreigners, especially in terms of habits and daily life” observed by a woman interviewed by TVBS is often a slur used against people of Chinese origin visiting foreign countries.

I would have expected that people of Chinese origin who have often been the victims of racism to know better and think twice before casting racist comments at people that, incidentally, are known to be among the cleanest in the world.

Carmen Pena


Taiwan’s new name?

As a stand-up comedian, I am perplexed by the absurdities people keep throwing around when discussing our country’s name, Thailand. Whoops, Taiwan. Come on, it is almost the same! Their Bali, our Kenting (Cue rim shot).

Who is in favor of calling ourselves the Republic of Taiwan? Great. So internationally, we’ll be known as “ROT.”

Despite Taiwan’s self-inflicted dire economic situation today, I can’t see how this ROT label will inspire the confidence of foreign investors.

Imagine how that will look on maps. Next to China and Japan, it will be ROT, a total face-palm PR fail of the worst kind.

I propose a different acronym that truly reflects our history and current youthful dynamics in our country: The “Formosan Islands of Taiwan.”

Way back in history, Formosan Aboriginals populated all of the Pacific islands using boats unimaginable today, with a long-term survival plan that worked across the vast ocean, to Australia and eventually Easter Island. No history of Taiwan is complete without these facts about the ancestral tribes, which are sadly now marginal groups, some unrecognized.

I’m going to start calling myself a “Formosan.” It is not an ethnic group. It is the lifestyle that we have all come to enjoy in our increasingly adoptive island home.

As a birth adoptee myself, I feel that Taiwan has truly adopted me. I love this place. I am proud to live here.

Using the name Formosan Islands of Taiwan would yield the acronym FIT, which sounds like the true state of the nation, especially considering the youth.

The funniest thing I say when asked by Taiwanese is, “Oh yeah. I love Taiwan. It is the best non-country in the world.”

What is not funny is that they inevitably reply with “Ai you, zhen me ban” in Mandarin, or “Bo wha tou” if they speak Taiwanese (otherwise known as Hoklo in certain fringe media outlets, wink).

We need to acknowledge that the ROC is not an actual country, it is a government in exile. The UN is useless, and Taiwan is a red-headed stepchild like Gaza.

When I learned I had to add “ROC” after “Taiwan” on the boxes I shipped here, I asked myself: “Am I moving to a rock?” After arriving, helpful expats explained that ROC is not short for the “rest of Canada,” eh?

The reasons to celebrate Taiwan are all around. It takes little effort to see the beauty, kindness, generosity and helpfulness of Taiwanese of nearly all ages.

The Formosan Islands of Taiwan covers both the historical and current trajectory of this amazing national entity-like quasi-thing we have because of ambiguity on all sides.

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