Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Why China and Taiwan Are Divided, Really
Click here for Chinese translation
by Brian Benedictus | Aug 31, 2014
"And this is where the root of the Taiwan and China antagonism lies. While China and the CCP continues to march down the road of national unity, ethnic sameness, and ever-invasive claims to rule over their “historical territories,” there appears to be an inexorable shift within Taiwan’s society that continues to pull the population as a whole towards a lasting and permanent identity separate from one that is Chinese-centric, regardless of the pleas coming from the People’s Republic. For as America did in its infancy, Taiwan is becoming confident and finding its voice. Perhaps one day in the near future, there could even be a family in Ohio that hosts a student from Taiwan, and that student will say without reservation, “I am Taiwanese”. Period. And all the controversy and debate surrounding Taiwan’s ethnic and national make-up and identity can be passed somewhere else in the world where it is needed. China, maybe."
I am an American. Just like my mother and father, I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio (and as a result have the curse of being a perpetually heart-broken Cleveland sports fan), grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, and fighting with my brothers over who got the last of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I raked leaves in the fall, and enjoyed snowball fights in the winter. I loved trading baseball cards, playing soccer and video games (I’m still convinced that blowing into the game cartridges made them work), and upon reaching adolescence I adhered to the usual teenager rebellion tactics of wanting to pick out my own school clothes and pleading with my parents for an extended curfew; consistently going to battle with them with the logical ammunition argument of proclaiming “but all my friends can stay out later!” I lived what one could call a typical middle-class American upbringing, and have never questioned my own nationality. Why would I? Nobody else ever has.
Continued reading...in Ketagalan Media
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Skip ahead to the 12 minute mark if you want to avoid Chomsky's pro-communist hobbyhorse about Cuba and Russia. At minute 13 he starts talking about language.
"The prestigious American linguist, Noam Chomsky,
uses Catalonia’s efforts to revive a threatened language as an example
of the struggle of a people against state imperialism. Chomsky made the
point last month in a "Talk to Google" conversation at Google's offices
in Cambridge, MA, in which he pointed out that Catalonia will hold a
referendum in order to decide between autonomy and independence. The
conversation had slipped under the radar until the daily Ara reported on it today.
"There's a referendum coming up in Catalonia, another one in Scotland, asking about autonomy or independence. That's dissolving the European state system, something that has just been going on for a while, and reconstructing the languages.
"I visited Barcelona in the late seventies. You couldn't hear a word of Catalan. It was spoken, but in secret, because under the dictatorship, which the US backed, it was barred. Ten years later, if you go to Catalonia, all you hear is Catalan. It revived. The Basque language has revived. Other regional languages are reviving. If you walk around Wales, kids that are walking out of school are talking Welsh. Things like this are happening. The ?? achievement was unique. But it's kind of a natural development, I think that should be stimulated myself.
"We should recognize that there is enormous loss when the cultural wealth of a society disappears and that's encapsulated crucially in its language."
(Src: VilaWeb - News from Catalonia)
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
"... A popular video on YouTube, ‘Island Sunrise’ (島嶼天光) sung by students from The National Taipei University of Arts has lyrics saying that the dawn’s rays will soon ‘shine upon everyone on the island’ while before long it will be ‘time to come home,’ home referring to, of course, Taiwan. The song is sung in Tâi-gí with accompanying Chinese subtitles. This shows the emergence of an identity which is not linked to ethnicity or linguistic factors, but instead unifies all those who live on the island Taiwan and who share the notion that their identity and interests are linked to a separate territory. The name itself ‘Island Sunrise’ illustrates how this new identity is moving away from previous identity constructions which were shaped around dividing characteristics and are now based instead on the island, an inclusive concept which all people who identify with the island are able to share. The use of characters is also indicative of the emergent identity, as they do not uniquely translate the meaning of the Taiwanese lyrics, but also indicate the phonetic sounds of the Taiwanese lyrics. For instance, the word for ‘we’ traditionally written as 我們, pronounced women in Mandarin, is instead written as 阮們, pronounced ruan in Mandarin, a character meaning a traditional Chinese instrument, but much more closer to the Taiwanese phonetic sound of ‘we.’ Whilst using Chinese characters to express Taiwanese sounds, Taiwanese people upon seeing this would not view this as written Chinese, but merely borrowing Chinese characters to express the Taiwanese language.
These lyrics are accompanied by images of the protest which resonate on a sentimental level as they represent the non-politicised aspects of the protest and draws viewers into the shared experiences of the protest. These range from the students working together to collect garbage, doctors donating their time and resources, rail workers giving out lunchbox meals, all interspersed with images of the various faces of those taking part in the protest from primary school students to seniors. This video serves to show the humane side of the protest, whilst cultivating a sense of national sentiment. The fact it is sung in Tâi-gí only heightens this feeling as it suggests that the Taiwanese language is something that belongs to everyone who identifies with the island Taiwan and who want what is best for the island.
Through promoting these songs in video format on the internet and promoted via social media, anyone who identifies as Taiwanese is able to watch and learn the songs and in so doing are able to express their identification with the movement and their acceptance of the new identity which is emerging.