In an era of democratization, the Taiwanese people have successfully redefined the term Taike (台客), which was regarded as a derogatory term decades ago, but now is seen as an expression of strong national consciousness, pride and self-confidence, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said.
Chen made the remarks in the latest issue of his online weekly newsletter, A-bian's Electronic Newspaper, published yesterday.
In response to the recent debate about the term Taike, Chen had said on Aug. 25 that the Taiwanese people are the real masters of Taiwan rather than its guests, and called on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and its chairman, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), to abandon the "myth of one China."
Yesterday, Chen repeated his ideas about Taike, saying that the 23 million Taiwanese people are the real masters of their country.
"We have to abandon the old definition of the term Taike, which scorns Taiwanese people. The new definition stands for an energetic Taiwanese people who have a strong consciousness of their country, self-identity, pride and self-confidence," Chen said.
Chen said the values of Han culture have been the "mainstream" in Taiwan for centuries. Since 1949, other cultures had been denigrated by the KMT, who fled to Taiwan from China, Chen said.
"Under these circumstances, the Taiwanese people, the real masters of this land, were deprived of their right to speak for themselves because they were treated by the KMT government as Taiwanese guests, or Taike. The term Taike actually reflected the oppression of a foreign autocratic regime that was imposed on the Taiwanese people," he said.
Chen said Taiwanese society was formed by immigrants over four centuries, but the recent process of democratization had offered Taiwanese an opportunity to redefine the term Taike.
He said that in a democratic environment, the value of diverse Aboriginal cultures had been recognized, and that this recognition had led to a rediscovery of Taiwanese identity.