Friday, August 29, 2008

Taiwan Tips #4

Photos from our morning walk:

MY QUESTION: Regarding Taiwan and its culture, would you say there are any "must knows" for an adopted child? Anything that you would consider the thread of the culture that our son should have knowledge about?
To me, I think the 'common' threads are:
1)Taiwan is the melting pot of China and East Asia and Taiwanese. You might find this funny, because most Westerners have the misconception that there is a monolithic Chinese culture. China actually has a very diversified cultures of difference 'peoples' (Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, Mio, Yioa and etc..) However, due to geographical limit, these diversified peoples didn't mix much until KMT retreated to Taiwan after losing the civil war. Of course Han Chinese from Fujian immigrated to Taiwan first and built a dominant culture and language that is more Southern Fujianese centric. When KMT armies arrived, many of the soldiers from all over China brought their hometown's traditions, dialects, and food. Over the years Taiwan has blended these different cultures in the food, and people. This mix is most obvious in a variety of Chinese cuisines that you can get in Taipei.
2) Taiwanese are very hospitable and friendly.. much more so than mainland Chinese or people from Hong Kong. We are just very "busy body" but I love that about Taiwanese. (Even though there is a cruel side of Taiwanese culture, but now I feel this balances it and that is why I still hope to move back to Taiwan one day.)
3) Taiwanese are proud that Taiwan is the 'first' democratic Chinese society. :)
4) Taiwanese are adventurous and very entrepreneurial (after all we are descendants of explorers who crossed oceans or the Taiwan Strait to look for a better life in an unknown Island:). That is how we achieved the economic 'miracle' despite constant military threat from China. Our economic miracle was built by millions of small businessmen who often had very little education and they just knocked on [the doors of] Western companies with a suitcase of samples. If you think about it, Taiwan's situation is very similar to that of the Palestinians: both up against a stronger 'country' next door and is not recognized as a 'country' by the majority of the world. Yet, Taiwan has been practical and were able to find creative and practical ways to co-exist with China which is no small feat. Instead of sinking into a cycle of violence and fight against the stronger 'enemy', Taiwan is a now a thriving democratic society, even though not officially recognized by most nations. Under China's threat, Taiwanese has churned out companies that manufacturing shoes, Tennis racquets, high tech companies that for computers (Acers, BenQ), computer chips (TSMC) and foundry manufactures. A big part of China's current economic development was from direct/indirect investments and factories built by Taiwanese businessmen. Taiwan has one of the highest foreign reserve in the world. I am very proud of Taiwan's economic achievements, also considering that Taiwan is only 1/2 the size of CA! :) Can you actually see that Americans and Taiwanese are actually very similar in our entrepreneurial spirits..:)~


Hauswife said...

OK, Tish, photos added if you really want a time warp... ;)

Rebecca said...

Wow, fascinating!! The Taiwanese seem much more western to me - must be that "rebel spirit". :)

I wonder which people group Owen belongs to...?? He is pretty big for his age, and is in the north, so I wonder if he is Mongolian. I bet if I asked a Chinese person to guess, they could!

Thanks for sharing!! These will be fun things to share with M when he is older. :)


PS Love the leaf pic!!!

Sarah said...

great post, tish!

kris said...

Thanks for sharing this, it's amazing how little I know about Taiwan! Love the leaf pic!