The Taiwanese American Conversation about #BlackLivesMatter

BY CHRISTINA HU & LEONA CHEN | FEATURE PHOTO BY MIKE VON https://twitter.com/TaiwaneseAm_org/status/1269718346460614656 Taiwanese American yuppies, we’ve got some work to do. This is a long-overdue reckoning. A conversation is not a solution, but a critical place to start. And we believe that showing up imperfectly - with our unsure language, blind spots, and all - is better than not showing up at all.  I thought a lot about the role of Taiwanese Americans in civic society when…

An Open Letter to my Hafu Grandfather: My Taiwanese American Story

PHOTO OF DEREK SHAO & HIS GRANDFATHER Dear Ah Gong,  Mom didn’t tell me that you were a hāfu until I was about seven years old, and like most second graders at the time, I was too preoccupied with Wii Sports tennis and Cartoon Network to really think about what that meant. It wasn’t until I had learned more about the history of Taiwan and its relationship with Japan that I began to understand the circumstances surrounding your childhood, while also starting to make sense of experiences…

From Taiwanese Californian to Taiwanese Missourian: My Taiwanese American Story

There is only one Taiwanese restaurant in the city of St. Louis. When I introduce Taiwanese culture to my new college friends, I bring them to Tai Ke (台客), and my friends are always surprised when they find themselves eating a dish resembling Chinese food instead of Pad Thai. Yep, they thought Taiwanese people lived in Thailand. In a way, it is kind of funny because this is one of the quintessential experiences of every Taiwanese American: being mistaken as Thai. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbVSRXAjOOz/ Originally…

Two Perspectives on Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0AKwjfFE1u/ Editor's Note: I'm thrilled to present two perspectives on LATE LIFE: The Chien-Ming Wang Story - both from bay area-raised college students who chose to pursue college in the Midwest. Derek is a student at the University of Michigan, and Vivienne is a student at Washington University in St. Louis. DEREK SHAO In baseball, the term “late life” is used to describe sudden and unexpected movement as a pitch crosses home plate. It is a fitting metaphor…

Being in Taiwan During COVID-19: A Taiwanese American Student Perspective

    Editor's Note: Joyce was already living in Taiwan when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. If you are fleeing the states and traveling to Taiwan, or have recently done so, please practice self-isolation for at least 14 days - no matter how much you want to go out! Tricky Taipei has a great guide on life in Taipei during COVID-19, as well as an archive of coronavirus home quarantine stories. As I write this on April 28, Taiwan has announced its third day in a row of no reported new…

From Ilha Formosa to Passport to Taiwan: Comparing the 2006 and 2018 Taiwanese Tourism Bureau Campaigns

Editor’s Note: There are so many ways to advocate for Taiwan: on the streets with Keep Taiwan Free, in DC with organizations like the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, and, like Washington University in St. Louis freshman Vivienne Chang shows, in the classroom by incorporating thoughtful research and analysis on Taiwan into open-topic schoolwork. We were so moved by her decision to, in her words, “write every optional paper I get for each class about something that is related to Taiwan.”…

No, Double Ten Is Not “Taiwan’s Independence Day”

No, Double Ten is not “Taiwan’s independence day”.  Just bear with me here; I know it looks very much like Independence Day on July Fourth here in the United States. When I was growing up in Taiwan in the 1980s, it certainly felt like it.  It was something I looked forward to. The oppressive summer heat in Taiwan cools down, every house on the block hangs a big flag by the door, the flags gently swaying in the autumn breeze. School would be closed, my parents would have stayed home,…

Taiwanese American Summer Camp: Does the 3rd Gen Need It?

At the beginning of the summer, I received a Facebook reminder that the early-bird registration discount for TAF (Taiwanese American Foundation—the largest and longest-running summer camp for children and teens of Taiwanese descent in the US and Canada), was ending in just a week. Always a sucker for a good deal, I brought up the idea with my husband about sending our daughter. We both had attended the camp as teenagers and young adults, and considered it an essential part of our formative…

(In Memoriam) Su Beng: The Revolutionist

On June 26, 2016, a political commentator (my uncle), a university professor (my other uncle), and a deeply insignificant 19-year-old (me) shuffled into an apartment building in Xinzhuang, Taiwan to interview Su Beng for a nascent book of poetry about Taiwanese American identity. Small details swell with grand, wistful nostalgia. The trees in front of his building, by then iconic from how often they'd been the backdrop of frenzied, polarizing reporting. The portrait of Che Guevara, to whom…