Hacienda Heights, CA
I served first as a mentor for the TACL Political Internship program, and then I eventually became a two-term President for Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP) in LA, helping to advise and develop other TAP Chapters across the country.
Who are you?
I am a 2nd generation Taiwanese American professional living in the LA area. I was born and raised in the East Coast (PA, NJ, upstate NY) until moving to Diamond Bar, CA when I was eight. I’m the youngest of three children with awesome role model parents that are very active in the community. I attended Taiwanese summer conferences and camps starting in elementary school through high school, and did the Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL) College Political Internship at Congressman Howard Berman’s office in DC. After attending UC Berkeley where I was active in the fraternity Alpha Xi Omega, I lived in Taiwan for six months after graduation. There, I got to work for Vice President Annette Lu and help with the formation of the NGO Democratic Pacific Union. It was then that I really became more involved with Taiwanese activities, finding my true passion to promote Taiwanese America. I served first as a mentor for the TACL Political Internship program, and then I eventually became a two-term President for Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP) in LA, helping to advise and develop other TAP Chapters across the country.
What do you do?
By day, I’m a Financial Advisor, working with my father on a team helping (mostly Taiwanese) people with their investments and financial goals. In addition, I currently serve as the National President for the Taiwanese American Citizens League, which aims to improve the quality of life of Taiwanese Americans in the US. Being a by-product of TACL’s programs myself, I hope to see its programs continue to develop our youth to become the next generation of leaders. I invest time into TACL to make sure that our leadership pipeline sustains, the camps continue, the internships (Political, Journalism, and Entertainment) and our young professional TAP networks continue to grow. My passion lies in all things Taiwanese –to help increase our awareness and improve our visibility, and preserve and promote our identity.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
As a 2nd generation, my parents have always instilled in me my identity as a Taiwanese American, but it really evolved over time through participation in camps, conferences, and learning more about the history and then actually getting to live in Taiwan for 6 months. Ours is a unique identity, and I always feel there’s an additional special connection that can be made compared to other ethnicities when I meet someone else who identifies as Taiwanese.
I’m most proud of my fellow Taiwanese people for the work that they’ve done, for fighting for what we believe in, for helping to bring about democracy in Taiwan, and for bringing recognition and increasing our count in the US. We are a people that stand up for what we believe in, even in the face of adversity and animosity.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
I hope for a strong and united Taiwanese American community that, although has many different groups, can be similar to the Jewish community in the overall works and things it can accomplish. I also dream that I can be recognized for who I am as a Taiwanese American, and not ever have to deal with questions about the legitimacy of my identity, nor have it confused with other races. This can be further accomplished through seeing more visible Taiwanese Americans in the mainstream, and I dream that many products of our programs will become famous for their achievements!
Any additional information you would like to share?
I’m apparently known for having more Taiwanese related T-shirts than any other clothes, but I’m most proud to wear the shirts that were made to promote the Census. Buy a shirt today! http://census2010.tacl.org/order.php
Are you the Benjamin Ling who went to Stanford for master and PhD in computer science?