Statue of Guan Yu over Jinguashi, photo by Fred Hsu.
the most visible (internationally known) taiwanese that i know are just this handful
- ang lee
- godfrey gao (idek though he isn’t as ~well known~ as the rest of these guys listed)
- jeremy lin
- jason wu
- alexander wang
- ….. kevjumba?
that’s seriously it, absolutely no taiwanese women that are even half as famous as they are
there are a couple names i’d like to add but they’d only really be well-known within asia (and i also wish i could add justin lin but most people probably don’t even know he gave us the greatness of most of the fast & furious movies. godfrey doesn’t count, he’s only been in one flop western movie, otherwise he’s pretty established as a so-so actor in taiwanese dramas.)
so i just kind of writhe around on the floor sometimes when i don’t know of any that are specifically in acting who are popular.
like taiwanese ppl are so cool (there’s me!!! and amanda!!! and lots of other ppl!!) and taiwan is cool we have tons of dialects and god i love the lifestyle in taiwan and how busy it is and did you know we also beautiful indigenous cultures (i heard seediq bale (ugh i still have yet to watch it) was too violent and tons of other critiques but i was still rooting for it to be nominated for an oscar, the seldom told story of indigenous people rising against invaders? yes please, give it more recognition).
there are plenty of taiwanese films outside of lee ang’s filmography that should be recognized internationally
i get so so so excited whenever i see east asian representation amongst movies and television shows, but when will i ever see someone who’s like me?
we are not chinese. that is something to be made clear :~) china’s done enough to fuck us over, we are not of the same ethnicity. i may be a quarter chinese, as my grandfather had immigrated to taiwan when he was nineteen, but otherwise i’m taiwanese hakka through and through. 26th generation from my father’s side. (idk where i’m going with this but we’re not chinese. not all asians are the same. YES, IT DOES STILL BOTHER US WHEN THERE ARE ASIANS OF OTHER ETHNICITIES PLAYING CHARACTERS OF OTHER ETHNICITIES. we are at that point where it shouldn’t be that damn hard to find actors of color of a certain ethnicity for certain characters from a certain background. like seriously? casting directors gotta stop fucking us over.)
stereotypes is a whole different conversation
i’m just here to talk about how i can’t even see myself in the media that i watch and i’m convinced that it’ll take a decade in the least to finally see a character say “hey, i’m taiwanese”
i mean i have so many reasons to want to get into this industry but it’s also to make a name for myself as a taiwanese woman, it’s beyond important to me
EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS
also imo (on just one aspect of the lack of taiwanese visibility in the international field) a lot of the problems also stem from taiwanese people not readily identifying as chinese?
i’m 1000000% okay with someone saying they are chinese american instead of taiwanese american (i’m not like claiming every chinese person is actually taiwanese lmfao that’s ridiculous), but i stg everytime someone who i have related to as a taiwanese american says they are actually chinese, my heart sinks about a million tons. when i first heard that lucy liu says she is chinese american (though her parents came to the us from taiwan) i was SO DISAPPOINTED bc there goes my one taiwanese american hollywood celeb who i had idolized since pretty much forever you know?
same for miss america runner-up crystal lee! in an interview she said her parents came from taiwan, AND I WAS ECSTATIC BC FINALLY ANOTHER MAINSTREAM TAIWANESE AMERICAN LADY FOR ME. but then she went on to call herself a chinese american and o
and tbh.. i know some taiwanese people do consider themselves chinese (or maybe their parents just lived in taiwan for a bit and were actually from/born in china), but if your parents are actually (born & raised) taiwanese immigrants and you identify as chinese american?
in my experience, a lot of the times the identifying-as-chinese-american-instead-of-taiwanese-american issue stems from not really realizing the importance of confirming your taiwanese american identity (every census there’s always a campaign to remind taiwanese americans to mark [other asian] and write in taiwanese instead of just checking chinese) because i feel like many overseas/second gen taiwanese americans do not really care about the taiwan/china independence debate.. and since most taiwanese people are of chinese descent, they just assume they would be chinese too
and another reason i’ve seen is that it’s also so much easier to just say you’re chinese instead of explaining the complex nationality dynamics that come along with identifying as taiwanese.. and FOR MANY CELEBRITIES/FIGUREHEADS such as jeremy lin or lucy liu, it’s also to avoid the taiwan/china debate, bc tbh china has SUCH political clout and influence in the world that it wouldn’t do to have your celebrity platform include the idea that *GASP* taiwan is not a part of china!!!!!
except the empowerment that comes from realizing that one of the few asian americans recognized in mainstream media calls themselves taiwanese (american) !!!!! !!!! is so enormous bc taiwanese people as a whole have struggled with invisibility since the establishment of taiwan as a soveriegn nation i stg. and the amount of shit we get from our peers who scoff at us when we claim taiwan is not a part of china, or who think we are MAKING A BIG DEAL out of nothing when we insist on being called taiwanese instead of chinese… ~___~ SO WHEN WE FINALLY SEE AN ASIAN AMERICAN CELEB basically stand up for the cause by p much saying ‘yes, i am taiwanese, it is who i am, I BELIEVE IN THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE TAIWANESE IDENTITY and i won’t just lump myself as a chinese american bc it’s what people think’, it’s seriously so much motivation to stay patient and keep explaining to people every single time that NO i am not chinese NO taiwan is not a part of china.
to be able to proudly point out that see!!! jeremy lin is taiwanese!!! lee ang is taiwanese!!! and have these role models as OUR OWN… it’s an amazing feeling.
basically if you’re taiwanese (fully taiwanese or not, though i’m fine if you’re like part-taiwanese or you identify with your chinese side more or maybe don’t want to identify as (asian) american!!!!) but you don’t think that clarifying whether you’re chinese or taiwanese actually matters…. i…. d..k…
- Identity •
It’s like Taiwan just got out of a shitty relationship with Japan and is in their weird relationship with China where China is like “We’re married, two hearts that beat as one, you gotta use my last name, til death do us part” and Taiwan is like “You’re not the man I married, you’re kind of like his brother or something, I don’t know, I was in a bad place then and I might want a divorce?”
And China is like “if you get a divorce I will beat the shit out of you”, and then this dude America comes in and is like “Here’s some pepper spray Taiwan” and it’s weird because America also borrows a lot of cash from China but wants to kind of nice guy Taiwan anyway. America keeps reassuring China that you’re married and it’s confusing.
And then China’s like, “You know, things are getting tense, and I felt threatened by this divorce thing” and Taiwan is like wow here is a olive branch and they mutually decide to go get marriage counseling and America is like “nice” and so they have marriage counseling but China keeps the gun pointed at Taiwan the entire time in a jacket pocket and marriage therapy is freaking medically contraindicated in abusive relationships.
When people ask me what race I am, I tell them that I am half Taiwanese. For some reason, a lot of people feel the need to say,”That’s the same as China.” If I thought so, then I would say that I’m half chinese, which i obviously don’t think I am.
I came to the United States when I was 12 years old. My mother and I had not only hoped for a better life, but also to escape from an exploitative relationship with my father. We left everything and everyone behind to find freedom. Life wasn’t easy when we got here, but I was sure that as long as we are away from my father, we would live a proper life and I could be myself.
All that was shattered when my mom told me, just as I was looking into applying to college, that we were undocumented. I felt helpless and defeated. But I wasn’t angry at anyone, especially not my mom, for what she had decided to do in order for us to survive. I was just scared.
I had already told my mom about my sexual orientation and was very aware of the discrimination encountered by people who are queer. Being both undocumented and queer meant I felt locked out of two different worlds.
With my new identities, I quickly learned to choose between coming out as queer or as undocumented because bearing just one identity was easier than being punished as both.
Register by February 2nd to attend the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) 2014 East Coast Conference at Yale!
They say you’re unworthy of
Either country’s blood.
Don’t believe them - you’re simply
Strong enough for two.
56 Ethnicities of China in Order of Population.
Just a note - the artist who drew all 56 ethnic groups of China is Chen Shu Fen (陈淑芬) I’m trying to find an actual artist’s page somewhere, but so far no luck.
While I couldn’t find the artist herself, the 56 Ethnic Groups of China Women Series can be seen in the link in their entirety.
imperialism, sinocentricism, colorism, whitewashing.
Just saw this on the news, I am heart broken…
(Image description: Black & white print of white British men having their feet washed by a black African man in an African village)
As a child of diaspora from a colonized nation (Nigeria), colonization is something that I know and feel personally, but the image of it only revealed itself to me in stark relief in a dream I had last night.
I spent a year before this in Taiwan teaching English as part of America’s neo-imperialist machine to spread our language and culture and subsume and eventually destroy local identities and languages abroad. I was placed in a Taiwanese aboriginal community which was all the more damning, and it took me many months to understand my place and role as a colonizer in this setting causing damage every single day I walked into the classroom.
It didn’t matter that I was black and experiencing antiblackness, I was still a Westerner spreading our imperialist language and hurting the community which had embraced me with open arms as a “foreign looking” foreigner. I had Western privilege even if I didn’t have white privilege as well like my colleagues.
Understanding my Western privilege and the damage I was causing to the community and kids that I was working with (many of whom could not understand or speak their indigenous languages due to their own colonization by Japanese and Han Chinese over the preceeding centuries) was incredibly difficult to say the least, and it broke my heart to know how much I was hurting these kids that I had grown to care so much about.
I did what I could to minimize the damage after self-examining and seeing these things for what they were. I collaborated with professors and local teachers to create a community based cultural empowerment and art project for some of our students meant to promote their local language and culture—the same languages and cultures which I was helping to subsume during my day job. The project won national recognition, and the kids will soon get to be featured on the national stage in Taiwan for doing a project in which they personally explored and told the stories of their lives and community using tools we provided them to aid in their exploration. A positive message to send to kids in a community that faces tremendous amounts of institutionalized discrimination and marginalization within Taiwan to this day.
But at the end of the day, I was still an outsider and a colonial agent there hoping, praying that my work there could “cancel out” some of the damage I was at that point contractually locked into dealing for a year as an English teacher (I completed my grant in July). What was the net impact? What does colonization look like and how can I tell how much damage versus good that I did?
There is now a new teacher at my school- a pretty white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ve heard that my students love her, and I also can tell that she doesn’t have an understanding of her role there as a colonial agent which is just further compounded by her whiteness, making the damage she is doing in an already vulnerable indigenous community as an “English teacher” all the more damaging. I saw a picture on facebook of her working with some of my former students, them crowded around her smiling and laughing, and immediately my heart sank and shattered. I was devastated not that they had found a new teacher that they liked, but that the cycle of colonization was just perpetuating and exacerbating itself.
Later that night I dozzed off and suddenly I was in the midst of a vivid dream.
One of my students, Jesse, who I had seen in the facebook picture crowded around the white teacher smiling came up to my dream self, and he looked completely normal and happy. I was happy to see him when he suddenly rolled up his pant leg to reveal a ghastly scene.
His leg was covered with deep, open gashes that went down almost clear to the bone. Red with fresh blood along the length of the cuts, but old enough that the blood did not poor or gush— it just stayed smiling sinisterly at me with a pinkish-red gleam. The gashes were everywhere I looked up and down the length of his leg- vertical, horizontal, diagonal slashes going every which way tearing and contorting his leg into a mangled mass. And in between his flesh was discolored and beginning to gangrene and rot.
All of this on a body that outwardly looked completely healthy and “okay.”
My dream self was horrified and immediately called my collaborator on the cultural empowerment project I had done in the community in a panic. I wanted to know what I could do to help him. If there was anything that I could do to help.
But it quickly became clear from our conversation that there was nothing that I could do to help.
And then that part of the dream abruptly ended.
When I awoke I realized that this was all a metaphor for colonization. For not just the damage I had done to these students I cared so deeply about, but which, as I’d seen in that facebook picture of them with their new white teacher, has only just been compounded many times fold this year. You do not solve a problem caused by colonization by adding more colonizers to the mix, even ones like me that might “mean well” otherwise.
It was also so clear from his outward health but the tremendous scars that laid right beneath the surface (when he pulled up his pant leg) what colonization really looks like. It is not always a physical manifestation, but the longer and far more damaging legacy is internalized and shows itself in different ways.
The loss of language, of customs, traditions, a way of being, living and seeing the world.
That’s only some of what colonization strips the colonized of in the metaphysical domains of our minds and spirits. These are some of the same losses that I’ve incurred as a child of diaspora from a colonized nation and which I perpetuated during my own time abroad as an English teacher.
This is the ugly face of the colonization and destruction that links and binds so many of us together across space and time.
I will just end with this quote from Chimamanda Adichie which encapsulates these ideas so well, as it’s so important that we all understand what colonization “looks” like and the tremendous damages and losses which are incurred under any and all colonial regimes:"[He] was dangerously wrong to quantify the effects of colonialism and to reduce it to land. This does not diminish the enormous practical and emotional significance of the loss of ancestral lands. But the truth is that the losses associated with any unjust government— and colonialism was an unjust dictatorship—cannot be limited to those things that we can measure. The losses are more nuanced: the loss of language and stories, the loss of a way of being and a way thinking, the loss of dignity, and the loss that comes when succeeding generations inherit those losses."
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Commonwealth Lecture 2012
Those more nuanced losses are arguably the most damaging and lasting legacy of colonization, and those were the same scars which my dream self found on my former student hidden right beneath the surface.
And that is what colonization looks like.
By Daniel Hung
What’s special about this special election is that two of the five candidates running are Taiwanese-American. This is perhaps the first time in American history that this has happened, and we may not see such a ballot again for quite some time. Currently, Angie Chen Button is the only Texas State Representative of Taiwanese descent, and only two other Texas State Representative, out of 150 Texas State Representatives, are of Asian descent at all. This special election provides a rare opportunity to elect another Texas State Representative of Taiwanese descent.
"A Gradual Shift in Public Loyalty" in Taiwan. An Infographic from the Washington Post.
(Source: Washington Post)
Now known as the “White Shirt Army,” the young people have become the biggest, most surprising social movement in Taiwan’s recent history…
“We don’t support any side or leader,” said Liulin Wei, a lanky, soft-spoken 30-year-old who sparked the movement with a short online post four months ago. “We are for civil rights, common values, democracy. And we made it very simple to join. You just put on a white shirt.”
As with the U.S. Occupy movement, there are no formal leaders or members among the white shirts. And similarly, there have been some signs that its decentralized approach could cause the movement to eventually peter out.
*Image from Facebook.