A Taiwanese American Look at the Sunflower Movement

Let me paint a picture. The golden age of the American economy, where the US was the uncontested global hegemon after the Second World War, tripped over itself in the 1970s. Inflation, unemployment, and income inequality all rose significantly in the coming decades, contributing to what sociologists call the Great U-Turn, in reference to the receding of hard-earned social progress. Manufacturing jobs disappeared, entire towns across the country falling into despair in their absence. This crisis marked…

Reflections on 228

To strangers who don’t know the history, 228 is just a bunch of numbers.  However, 228 actually refers to February, 28, 1947. It marks the date of the massacre of around 30,000 people and the imprisonment of over 140,000 Taiwanese citizens who were suspected of opposing the Kuomintang (KMT) government.  To certain Taiwanese people, it’s a date where blame is put on the government for what happened. To others, it’s just an incident in history where thousands died.  But to me, 228 is what…

Making History Happen

By Felicia Lin When I first heard about Su Beng, a lifelong Taiwan independence activist, former undercover Chinese Communist agent, would be assassin of Chiang Kai-shek, historian and author of Taiwan’s 400 Years of History, in 2003, I was intrigued. I wondered what would motivate a man like this and quickly decided that I wanted to meet him because I knew that his was a story to be told. What began as a simple idea to write a story based on his life has grown into a project to document it.…

Magic Continues at TACL-LID Camp

It ended with a pinch, a squeeze, or even a simple hand on a shoulder. “Touch somebody who has made an impact on your life. Touch somebody who made you laugh. Touch somebody who is now your friend”. Such a simple gesture left 42 youths with a deep connection and impact after attending TACL-Leadership Identity Development (LID) Camp at UC San Diego during the month of August. It had been 10 years since I last attended LID Camp and it was now my first time serving as a camp counselor. I was…

What Would You Tell Allie, a 6 Year-Old Taiwanese American Adoptee?

Recently, Lora C., the loving mother of 6 year-old adoptee Allie C., messaged our TaiwaneseAmerican.org Facebook Page to ask for our advice about how to help her child learn about and accept her identity as a Taiwanese American. I was moved by how much Lora was willing to share with us and how she regarded us as a potential community resource, given that their family lives in the Midwest, where there are relatively fewer Asian Americans. Even though I was uncertain about how I could help, I arranged…

Loops of Yarn

by Annie Lin I didn't learn to knit from my grandmother, even though she was a knitter. She spent almost every summer in the backyard of our house in suburban Southern California, perhaps because plane tickets out of Taiwan were cheaper then or perhaps because it was a way to escape the humidity of Taipei in July. When she wasn't weeding the garden or laundering our clothes with a bar of slippery brown soap, she was sitting in a lawn chair next to a plastic bag of green or gray yarn and knitting…

The Making of the Taiwanese American Identity

Growing up in the Taiwanese American community, I learned as a child the importance of understanding how history and politics shape and define our community. We become well versed in geopolitics across the span of several centuries, including comparative cases of identity formation and nationhood. We learn the story of how groups of diverse peoples living on an island, called Ilha Formosa by Portuguese sailors on a Spanish ship, became caught between the warring visions of ambitious and powerful…

Taiwanese Oyster Omelette Reduxe

*This is a post-script to "Flipping Out: An Irreverent Photo Essay on Making the Taiwanese Oyster Omelette" (“Oh-ah-jen” 蚵仔煎) since people inquired about recipes As Mrs. Lin did not use a formal recipe (like all venerable grandmother chefs, she comes from the "a pinch of this" and "a handful of that" era), below are tried-and-true recipes from two tasty Taiwanese food sites: Taiwan Duck and its excellent step-by-step video on how to cook (and flip) the oyster omelette. Mrs. Duck—okay,…

Flipping Out: An Irreverent Photo Essay on Making the Taiwanese Oyster Omelette

Ah, "Oh-ah-jen" (蚵仔煎). Oyster omelette. Taiwan night market staple. Street food favorite—and rare find in the United States. McD's does not exactly have an Oyster McOmelette on the drive-thru menu. So, last Saturday, several of us made the pilgrimage out to Union Church in Astoria, Queens to take part in TAP-NY's "Cooking Series" (aka Cooking 101 with a Taiwanese "Ah Ma"). Mrs. Lin, our oyster omelette Yoda, introduced us to the main ingredients of sweet potato starch, eggs, oysters…

Finding Myself through the Taiwanese American Community

I grew up in San Marino, a small 3-mile radius town that was pretty Asian. No, I mean really Asian: my high school was 75% Asian, and probably 30% Taiwanese. I always knew I was Asian because I looked it and spoke Taiwanese at home, but I didn’t actually know what that meant. So when I went to college at Northwestern University where the Asian population was (only) 20%, I was in for a culture shock. “Oh my God, white people.” When I got to Evanston, I was hyper aware of my Asian identity.…