Why Taiwan? The better question is, why not?
I am Taiwanese. I was born here and moved to the United States at 3 years old. Despite having Taiwanese citizenship, this is only my fifth time here.
Though I left at an early age, I held onto memories of Taiwan dearly. I missed having family around at all times — my maternal, extended family all live on one street! I missed being taken out to parks by day to feed the fish and markets by night, where I first noticed the moon followed me wherever I walked.
It might not seem like much, but it was enough.
Perhaps it was my grandparents who always told me, “You are Taiwanese. Not Chinese. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.” (Or who knows, maybe I ate some of the fish food I was suppose to give to the koi. I was a weird kid.) Whoever told me, thank you. I don’t remember a time I identified as “Chinese” and if people mistook me as so, I have always corrected them.
My Taiwanese pride is as innate as my patriotism for the good ol’ United States of America. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s the wonderful place with the first people who taught me how to love. When things weren’t so great in the U.S., I always wanted to escape to the arms of my grandparents. To me, they are the epitome of unconditional love.
Fellow Taiwanese don’t seem to get what I see in Taiwan. They are readily armed with all the problems we have, but which nation is without problems? They tell me, “Maybe Taiwan had potential before, but we are regressing.” To that, I say, in my terrible, simplistic Mandarin, “Like an arrow, we are being pulled back to launch into something greater.”
If we don’t have faith in our country, how do we expect the rest of the world to recognize we are a country at all? We don’t have the luxury of waiting for support. Unfortunately, a majority of our population sees Taiwanese independence as a lost cause. It’s dangerously becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in that we feel so helpless we don’t even attempt to try.
I say hell to that.
Every day that passes, we are fortifying our foundation as an independent nation. However, that doesn’t mean we can perpetuate indifference. I’m here to spread my American-learned patriotism here. I bleed red, white, and blue, for both AMURICA and Taiwan.
(And also for Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao.)
Ta ta for now,