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.