I’m proud that, even though there are different political backgrounds within my family, we can live in harmony.
Who are you?
As a journalist, I write about the underdog, giving voice to the communities I represent – young, female, immigrant, Taiwanese and Chinese. I am a media maven, having written for The Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, The San Francisco Examiner and SOURCE Magazine. I have also taught writing at San Francisco State University, and serve on the journalism advisory boards of my alma mater, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington. I am currently working on my Executive MBA at University of Washington. I also serve as Vice President of External Affairs of NAAAP-Seattle, and work as director of the multimedia project for the Asian American Journalists Association.
What do you do?
I’m a microphone for my community, highlighting their culture, wants, desires and needs. My background is a big part of my life – it really defines who I am. My mantra is from Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see” – I really try to live by that.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
As a 2nd generation Asian American, I make a point to honor my roots. My name has three characters –my last name “Liu” means “willow tree,” my middle name “Chia” means home, taken from a poem and given to my whole generation, and lastly, my own name, “Ming” means bright. It’s actually a guy’s name – my grandfather didn’t want me to be a girl who couldn’t do anything on her own without a man. I am the first female in my family to have a career. The women in my family have all been stay-at-home-supporters; my great grandmother had bound-feet, my grandmother went to charm school, and my mother sacrificed her Ph.D. to take care of my brother and me.
My mother’s family has been in Taiwan for many generations and were among the first to settle in Taiwan. That side of the family served in Taiwan’s initial government. My mother’s father is a biochemistry professor emeritus at Taiwan National University, where my uncle and aunt also teach biochemistry. My father’s side is from Changsha, in the southern province of Hunan in China. My father’s father was a senator in the Nationalist government.
I’m proud that, even though there are different political backgrounds within my family, we can live in harmony. I’ve gone to China twice, and have visited Taiwan almost every year. It’s like a second home to me. I always say, I’m going “back to” Taipei, rather than “going to.”
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
Few folks know what “Taiwanese” is. They think it’s people from Thailand, which is silly. I want to inform people of what they are missing. I envision a future of a more awareness, acceptance and harmony.
Any additional information you would like to share?
I dearly miss my family. My mom’s whole side is there and I only get to see them once a year, if I’m lucky. I also really miss Taiwanese food, especially street food. I love the roasted sweet potato, the candied strawberries, the custard pies and the cheap boba. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Finally, catch my twitter – www.twitter.com/marianliu