Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Taiwanese need a strong leader

By Michelle Wang 王美琇

“Taiwan” is less the name of a nation and more a complex signifier that can be read from two perspectives. The first is what it means to other countries as an international entity; the second is about internal governance and the condensation of an entity in which people coexist.

First, let us look at what it means for people from the outside.

Last month, Taiwan returned to its annual frenzy for UN entry. Taiwanese, as they have done for many years, flocked to the UN in New York, loudly supporting the nation like proud family and friends at a TV talent show.

Meanwhile, the government labored largely unnoticed onstage through its well-rehearsed performance, the bored judges waiting for the performance to end. Set over, the judges gave the expected thumbs down, and Taiwanese retreated, tail between their legs, failing to progress to the next stage. There will be no UN entry this year.

However, this is not a talent show. It smells more like a circus.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has failed to stymie Taiwan’s national status hemorrhage on the international stage. Taiwan and the Republic of China (ROC) are being gradually erased from international communities, organizations and sporting events. The nation’s title is routinely replaced with “Chinese Taipei,” “Taiwan, China,” or “Taiwan, province of China.”

The national title is being wantonly replaced against the public will, portraying Taiwan as a part of China, which is a matter of great national shame and ignominy.

Yet, Taiwan’s presidents and governments have continuously been largely apathetic, turning a blind eye and allowing the vaporization of the nation to continue unchecked. The situation beggars belief.

The urgency of the rectification of the national title is not mere ideological discourse; it is part of the bitter experience of many Taiwanese.

Taiwanese traveling abroad have to go through the embarrassment of searching for Taiwan on computers at airport check-in desks, not knowing that “Taiwan” has been changed in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) list of countries: Neither Taiwan nor the ROC is on the official ISO list.

Being told your nation is not on the list is distressing for Taiwanese and something people do not forget in a hurry, but it is not an experience that presidents ever have to deal with.

This standardized system is not only used in airports, it is also used on Web sites used to access services in other countries, such as shopping or travel sites.

“Taiwan” does not exist in other countries. It makes one wonder how long the government is going to continue turning a blind eye.

Taiwanese have had enough of tip-toeing around Beijing and the US; we should not have to tolerate the indignity of having our nation trampled on and striving for sovereignty, which should be a given.

The government should stand up to the international community for what is rightfully Taiwanese, without worrying about being branded a “troublemaker.” If government continues to maintain the “status quo” or remains silent, the nation will continue to be shamed and trampled on.

If you want respect, you have to first respect yourself. Any nation that lacks the courage to solve its own predicaments will find it very difficult to enjoy the respect of others.

Taiwanese must continue to fight for what we want under the name “Taiwan,” to make ourselves the international community’s problem which can no longer ignored, otherwise we and our nation will be pushed out of sight, out of mind. Keeping quiet means being ignored, and that means getting erased.

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