Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Protest art

A makeshift exhibition records the development of the Sunflower Movement

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

Lin is a freshman in finance at Yuan Ze University’s (元智大學) College of Management. He arrived at the Legislative Yuan on the movement’s second day and later joined the crowd at the Executive Yuan.

“We went because there was so much pressure. You are waiting for the government, sleeping here for many days and no one pays attention to you. When Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) came that day, we were eager but he didn’t address the concerns, he only said the pact was good. So my mood was very low. Everybody else was about to collapse,” he said.

After the police violently evicted protesters from the Executive Yuan, collages featuring images of bloodied bodies taken from the pages of The Journalist (新新聞) magazine and other local media went up on the walls.

“When the police got to me, they asked, ‘Do you want to get up?’ and they took me by the shoulder. When I exited, someone hit me across the back, but I didn’t turn around,” Lin said.

On Monday, March 24, Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) said students had eaten his sun cakes during the occupation. New posters went up featuring the stolen cakes, including an image of the cake placed at the center of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s white sun emblem. Empty boxes of sun cakes were tied to the street lamps. Students photographed themselves eating sun cakes and embracing, a play on the word baomin (暴民), “violent citizens,” which is homophonous with “embracing citizens.”

A few days later, former KMT legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) spurred new work with his on-air gaffe that students were using bananas as the movement’s symbol. The next day, bananas proliferated at the protest site, tied to the stalks of sunflowers.

‘YOU DON’T EVEN PROTECT YOURSELF’

This public exhibition is temporary, of course. It will be dismantled when the movement ends. Ask Lin, though, and he’ll say it won’t be soon.

“I’m going to stay here for as long as it takes to get results,” he said.

Lin stressed that good things take time: The main problem with the pact is how little time it took to negotiate and to pass, he said.

“When South Korea deliberated its FTA with the US, it took six years, and both sides could go back and revise, over and over.”

“With us and China, the entire process took one year,” he said.

“The US is afraid of China, too, because they are growing so economically dependent. The US is revising their laws to counter the effect. Yet everyone here is thinking, China is coming, we are going to do so well,” he said.

Lin, like many others in the student movement, fears that Taiwan will flounder under the pact’s terms.

“Say all the basketball teams in the world come together and play. We are not afraid of competing. But if we are 10 people playing against 100 people, how do we play?”

Lin echoed many protesters when he says that he is not afraid of competing. “But we need a regulatory system that protects us. You want to interact with someone who points so many missiles at you, and you don’t even protect yourself.”

In between running the station, Lin has done some paintings too. His watercolors of simple sunflowers are taped to the front gate of the Legislative Yuan. One is ringed by splotches of red, which he said represents the recent bloodshed.

“I also painted a sunflower in a background of black,” Lin said. “It means we’re going to be a small light burning in the darkness.”

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