Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

The paradox of National Day

Tomorrow, the 10th day of the 10th month of 2018, Taiwan will celebrate the Republic of China (ROC) National Day, which honors the founding of the ROC by commemorating the Wuchang Uprising, which occurred on Oct. 10, 1911, in Hubei Province, China.

Unlike the national day of the US on July 4, known as Independence Day, which celebrates the signing of the US Declaration of Independence and the start of the Revolutionary War on US soil, Taiwan chooses to celebrate its day of national recognition by commemorating an event that happened in another country, China, from which it is — for the time being, anyway — independent.

Should Taiwan ever unite with China, the ROC National Day will cease to exist, because the ROC will also cease to exist. No more presidential speeches, no more parades, no more fireworks, no more “Taiwan” as it exists today.

The people of every country certainly deserve to take a day to celebrate their nationhood, but such celebrations should at least be held on a day that commemorates a homegrown national event, instead of what amounts to a nominal designation.

Granted, the title “ROC” conveys both sentimental and patriotic meanings.

However, it is also contentious and even offensive to the many citizens and their families who suffered during the authoritarian period of its rule over Taiwan.

Given Taiwan’s tumultuous past, it is difficult to choose a day that truly stands for it as a nation. Perhaps May 25 would be a possibility, that being the day in 1895 that in a valiant act of resistance Taiwan declared its independence for the first time. Unfortunately, the invasion of Taiwan by a foreign power prevented people from achieving the Republic of Taiwan that their declaration had proclaimed.

It serves no purpose to have a national day that commemorates the failure of a country to achieve itself. A national day should express a people’s pride in their nation, not its failures or its betrayal by another country that later insolently wishes to reclaim it.

On the other hand, as the UN does not even recognize Taiwan as a nation, perhaps it is best not to have a celebration of nationhood at all, certainly not one that commemorates a pseudo-national title and event.

Rather, Taiwan should have “a holiday of being” that celebrates the truth, the fact that it is and always will be a country unto itself.

This “Day of Being Taiwan” would celebrate the ideal aspirations of Taiwan that it commits itself to stand for, both now and long into the future.

Furthermore, oceanic boundaries need not enclose the ideals that the Day of Being Taiwan would celebrate. On the contrary, this holiday can inspire Taiwan’s longitudinal Southbound partners with symbolic innovative celebrations, while diluting the duplicitous treachery of its latitudinal belligerent.

Thus, the holiday on Wednesday should not merely commemorate a military revolution that precipitated the ROC in another country more than 100 years ago. Rather, it should re-establish and reiterate the aspirations that constitute the present ideal of being Taiwan.

Finally, the activities that people engage in on the Day of Being Taiwan should inspire eternal, not temporal values. Their significance each year should last beyond a single day to every blessed day of Taiwan’s existence.

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