Sunday, October 5, 2008

Taiwanese Pride

I'm loving on this letter in The New York Times regarding the recent article on food in Taipei:

To the Editor: As a Taiwanese-American journalist, I was excited to see Matt Gross’s article on Taiwanese cuisine. At last, I thought, thousands of American readers can see the beautiful, vibrant side of my childhood home.

But my heart sank when I saw that the headline read, “Feasting at the Table of the Other China” (Sept. 21). The New York Times Travel section dismisses the hard-won democracy in Taiwan by calling it “the other China” and by calling Taipei “the Chinese capital you haven’t heard much about.”

Taiwan’s culture, politics, and yes, its cuisine, are an amalgam of Asian influences, and distinctively its own.

Taiwanese citizens have fought and won many freedoms that have never existed in China, including the freedom to vote and to speak their minds. My Taiwanese family shares the same love for food that Mr. Gross describes of his in-laws, but we are even more fiercely passionate about our unique Taiwanese identity.

Eugenia Chien
San Francisco

I couldn't have said it better myself - which is good, because I didn't. This letter is much more reasonable and levelheaded than anything I would have written. Also, it's great to read such a letter written by an ethnic Taiwanese person; there's more impact than if it had been written by a foreigner who simply really loved Taiwan because it's great, not because it's his/her home country.

It would be great to see more of this in the media. If that were the case, Westerners and Chinese mainlanders alike might start to get the message that not every Taiwanese person considers themselves "Chinese", and even those that say "I am Chinese" (or "I am a Chinese" as the case may be) generally speaking do not want unification....

...and even those that do want unification - fewer than you'd think - don't want it right now.

Yay Taiwan!

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