Vincent Wang – External Vice President of UC Berkeley’s TASA

UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Though at times, through the process, I may talk about how busy life is, the truth is, I like it. I enjoy having to worry about the Dumpling Night in four days, or how to raise enough money for a cross-strait symposium in the Spring.

Who are you?

I am a 1.5 Generation Taiwanese-Chinese American. I was born in Taiwan and moved here to the states with my parents when I was 8. I love reading the news and just being aware of the international community, something that our country and the people within have constantly put off. My passion lies in connecting people on a personal basis and to look beyond stereotypes and ideas our society has instilled in us.

Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?

I am currently involved with Berkeley Taiwanese American Students Association (TASA), Strait Talk Berkeley, ITASA West Coast Conference, East Asian Union, and Delta Phi Epsilon. As the External VP for Berkeley TASA, I (along with my cabinet!) have been trying to increase our ties with other campus student groups such as CSA, TSA, HKSA, and other groups. In the process of expanding and growing in Berkeley, we hope to present more of what and who we are as Taiwanese Americans. Strait Talk Berkeley strives to bridge the bounds of the people of Taiwan, China, and the United States. Its emphatic approach to conflict resolution, through the help of the Interactive Conflict Resolution, has inspired me and hundreds of delegates and organizers. While remembering our past and present, we must focus on the future towards a more peaceful and dynamic relations across the Taiwan Strait.

Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?

I’m not going to lie, I’m a workaholic. To me, school work is minute compared to the things I have to do for various organizations and clubs. Without something to organize or plan, I feel listless and bored. Though at times, through the process, I may talk about how busy life is, the truth is, I like it. I enjoy having to worry about the Dumpling Night in four days, or how to raise enough money for a cross-strait symposium in the Spring. This constant sense of pressure drives both my extracurriculars and academics. Berkeley and the people of Berkeley have inspired me greatly. Just seeing other students, both within and outside the Taiwanese American community, drive me and my work. I strive to be as good as those before me, and perhaps even going beyond them. My cabinet, execs, and other team members inspire me to do better and to do more. What I do now has totally shaped my views for tomorrow. My activities are all for my own passion and interests, and thus, non-profits are the way to go!

What is your vision for the organization / project and the role that it may play in the broader community?

For all my organizations, I want to bridge different people of different societies and draw them closer to each other. Often times, we have stereotypes of different people groups or individuals, but I wish to break down these pre-constructed ideas and encourage individuals to know each other on a personal basis. Our past, and the pasts of our ancestors indeed shape who we are today… however, we are the ones who shape the identity and beliefs of our present generation. In a more globalized world, not only economically and politically, but socially as well, we come into contact with people from the four corners of the globe. The media today, along with campaign ads, tell us to think one way. However, we must be able to discern the truth and the lies, and find for ourselves the humanity within each individual and the collective potential for a better tomorrow.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I see myself as 1.5 generation. I adopt both the culture of Taiwan and the culture of the United States. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents fled China after Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese Civil War. Though my maternal grandparents already have business in Taipei, their ultimate emigration was due to the War. In Taiwan, they found solace and it was in that society they raised their children, my parents. When we look beyond the giants of different eras, we are able to see the pains and suffering of the common people, in any area of the world. I am proud of my grandparents and their struggle with the tides of time. Uprooted from their society and hometown, and ripped apart from their family for decades, they managed to become who they were and raised my parents to become who they are in the process. I am also proud of my parents who witnessed the rise of Taiwan in economic strength during the post-WWII era. For me, I welcome my Chinese cultural background, Taiwanese national background (I am still a citizen of ROC, Taiwan), and my American development.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

I hope to see a more cohesive, tolerant, and vibrant Taiwanese America. It must be known that there are pockets of Taiwanese America that often do not speak up, by they do exist. In any society, we will find people with different opinions and ideas. Sometimes their ideals may clash with our own. However, as American citizens who highly value freedom, democracy, and liberal rights, they must be given the opportunity and stage to voice their own thoughts and mind. We must be aware of these realities, for ignorance does not bring bliss, but chaos.

Any additional information you would like to share?

ITASA West Coast Conference is in UC Berkeley this year! As Fundraising Chair, I implore everyone to contribute toward our conference. Contact me at [email protected] for more info! Additionally, Strait Talk Berkeley will be seeking applicants for Taiwan delegates and US delegates very soon! So be on the lookout at straittalk.org!

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