Thursday, June 22, 2006

Enlightening comments on the Taiwan situation

Commenter Charlie has an excellent response to my last post on why Chen Shui-bian gave his speech in Taiwanese:

Why president Chen spoke in Taiwanese (Minnan)? As you mention: "to consolidate his base and to win back supporters who have been led to doubt him because of the recent scandal accusations against his son-and-law and his wife"

But actually there is a problem with this affirmation: "By speaking in Taiwanese, he was in effect saying: "I am one of you." At the same time, it was intended to exclude everyone else in Taiwan, including the majority of the opposition, as well as to confound the media.".

Actually there is a confusion on National Identity on the Taiwanese population, many fluent taiwanese speakers are not Taiwanese people, and many Taiwanese people cannot speak taiwanese, specially young people. Even many politicians who arrived from mainland in 1949 are fluent taiwanese speakers.

Former president Lee Teng-hui pointed this problem (2005/09/04), the lack of a national identity, and the mislead by politicians using their Taiwanese "roots" and using taiwanese in public speeches.

I think president Chen Shui-bian is a great politician, and he is trying his best to make Taiwan a democratic country, but I think his use of taiwanese (Minnan, Hoklo) doesn't benefits in anything to build a national identity, instead it only worsens the existing ethnical divisions.

Hakka people and "Yuanzhu Min" (aborigines) are also Taiwanese people as the ones who were born in Taiwan after 1949 and only speak Mandarin.


Blogger Charlie said...

Thanks a lot for considering my comment !!!

I also would like to see some futher commentaries about this. :)

Have a nice day

11:45 PM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

It's hard for me to know what Chen's ultimate intentions are, since I have been here that long, and haven't lived here the majority of the time he has been in office. I lived in Taipei two years while he was Mayor, and I remember him as being quite popular.

I certainly believe a president shouldn't only speak to one segment of the population, whether it be a minority or a majority, and that Hakka, Aboriginal, and Mainlander with roots in every part of China, as well as anyone else who chooses to settle down in Taiwan, all deserve a place here.

Taiwan is best when all of its parts are taken into account. It should never be reduced simply to Taiwan=Southern Min and everything and everyone else is repressed and hidden from view. That would be no better than the KMT promoting a national language and culture (not in itself bad) at the expense of the cultures that were already extant.

I see a great diversity in Taiwan--diversity in its Chinese cultures, in its Aboriginal (Austronesian) cultures, and in its absorption of international cultures and trends. This is what makes Taiwan a fascinating place.

Lastly, it seems to me that the trend over the past decade or more, is towards greater cultural representation. This is evident in the multiplicity of television channels--Mandarin, Minnan, Hakka, Austronesian, and English. That seems to be a positive trend, and has taken place while Chen has been president.

Just some thoughts.

9:06 AM  

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