Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 8 News List


Be proud of your nation’s flag

First, a quick introduction. I am a Canadian in my mid-50s and am thoroughly enjoying my first visit to Taiwan. The people are wonderful, the transportation inexpensive and the sights wonderful.

I believe Taiwan to be a hidden gem, which many of my fellow Canadians should consider visiting, but for some reason it does not seem to be as common as other Pacific Rim destinations, and that is a shame because the country has much to offer to a visitor.

But, I digress.

When I read Torch Pratt’s letter concerning Taiwan’s national flag (Letters, March 21, page 8), I must confess I was more than a little surprised. This was the first I had ever heard about the issue. That said, I think I can share something from my nation’s history that you might find of interest.

Everyone recognizes the Canadian flag for what it is — two vertical red bands, with a central white panel that holds a symbolic maple leaf. Canadians love our flag, and it always warms my heart when I see it displayed in a foreign country, as it’s a symbol of my homeland.

However, this was not always the case. Prior to 1965, the Canadian flag had nothing in common with the current one. The old flag contained a big red panel, with the national crest on the right-hand side, and the British Union Jack in the upper left quadrant.

In 1965, it was proposed that Canada replaced its flag with one that was distinctly Canadian. As much as most Canadians appreciate being part of the British Commonwealth, we wanted our own unique identity. In ways I suspect not unlike a teenager wanting to begin to spread their wings of independence — still loving their parents, but wanting to show autonomy and their own uniqueness.

The concept of a new flag was not met with fully open arms. Many people who had fought in World War I or World War II under the old flag were very upset about this, as was one of the national political party leaders. However, the younger generation were more open to the concept, and the search for a new flag began. After many unusual prototypes were presented, the current flag was finally selected, and the rest is history.

I heard concerns expressed that when shown in small format, the Taiwanese flag might be confused with that of Myanmar. I do not think that is anything to be concerned about. If you shrink down the Canadian flag and show it beside the flag of Peru, those two flags could also be potentially confused.

However, most of the time one looks at their national flag is when its flying in the breezes of their native land and there is no mistaking it for anything other than what it is. When I see it on the tail of an Air Canada aircraft, I do not mistake it for anything else.

To me, the Taiwanese flag appears to be a nice combination of esthetically pleasing components, bold color combinations and not the somewhat boring (please forgive me, those who come from countries that have this) a two or three panel spread of basic colors. If you really want to confuse flags, try to remember which combination of horizontal color panels represents which country. Canada’s red maple leaf and Taiwan’s bold white sun ensure that confusion does not happen.

As an outsider, I fully recognize my input has little merit in what Taiwanese as a people choose to do. That is entirely the choice of the people of Taiwan as a democratic nation.

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