Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taiwanese identity from an American perspective

Thanks, Carl, for emailing and sharing your editorial with us!

From our reader Carl Chiang in California:

"I was reading your blogspot and I remembered that I had submitted an article a few years back about the Taiwanese identity topic.
Here is the link to my editorial to the Taipei Times from 2008 just before the last presdential election.  I suppose it would apply as well for the upcoming election!  Taiwanese identity from an American perspective."

Taiwanese and proud

Sun, Feb 17, 2008

After reading about the recent legislative elections and the upcoming presidential election, I'm intrigued by how voters in Taiwan grapple with the issue of national identity.

Having immigrated to the US at age six, I crossed cultural borders constantly during my childhood. Each morning, I would leave a house filled with Asian customs and traditions and then go to school surrounded by American culture.

When the "where are you from" question was asked from time to time, I usually replied "China," which was geographically accurate, as my family left Shanghai for the US.

However the "Chinese-American" label wasn't so accurate.

My father grew up in Taiwan, my mother grew up in Japan and my brother was born in Japan.

All four of my grandparents grew up in Taiwan speaking Taiwanese as their primary language.

Nevertheless, I described myself as Chinese-American to others throughout my childhood in spite of the obvious fact that I didn't have Chinese heritage.

Years later, while in graduate school, one of my roommates, a Taiwanese, was having a lively discussion with one of his close friends, a speaker of Cantonese.

The Cantonese friend thought of himself as Chinese and considered Taiwan as part of a greater China.

My roommate disagreed -- for obvious reasons -- and then turned to me to ask: "What do you consider yourself?"

I tersely replied "Chinese" while grabbing a quick bite during a study break.

Aware of my family's background, my roommate became exasperated and gave me a look.

Not being politically savvy, I simply finished my snack and went back to hitting the books.

A few years later, I heard the distinct sound of Taiwanese as my father was chatting on the phone. I assumed that he was talking to someone on his side of the family.

However, my mother said that he was on the phone with one of my cousins on her side of the family.

Unlike most of my cousins on her side, that particular cousin grew up in Taiwan.

They were discussing the upcoming 2000 presidential election, when it seemed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could replace the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

A few months later, that cousin visited us for the Thanksgiving holiday and cheerfully discussed with my father the first Taiwanese party to capture the presidency.

They spoke of that election with the same emotion felt when describing a profoundly meaningful personal event, such as one's wedding day or the birth of one's child.

I was disappointed in myself that I had not understood before how much significance this event held for my father.

The clues were there. He was born in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule, witnessed second-class treatment at the hands of the KMT during his childhood and ultimately had to leave his native Taiwan for a chance at a better life as an adult.

Add on the fact that none of my grandparents lived to see a Taiwanese elected to preside over their own country and it's clear why that election was so significant.

While one election certainly didn't undo decades of injustice, at least it gave hope to my father that the ship continued to point in the right direction.

As for my journey to the obvious, I'm not exactly sure what took so long.

Perhaps I was so focused on school that I didn't reflect fully on my origins. Perhaps it was fear that kept my parents from discussing sensitive political topics. Perhaps it was the hassle of having to explain the distinction between Chinese and Taiwanese to everyone.

Circling back to the issue of the upcoming presidential election, as Taiwanese voters proceed to the polls again, they need to carefully consider their own history in order to build that path to a better future.

I suspect that many are realizing now that they themselves have essentially handed the legislature to a foreign regime.

If the Taiwanese truly understand who they are, then they should be extremely wary of the KMT, who are likely to appease communist China, export strategic technology to China and shackle Taiwan to a Chinese economy that may well be a bubble on the verge of collapse.

The Taiwanese should make a stand now so that the ship continues to point in the direction of freedom.

Otherwise, they will hand their destiny over to the same people who forced suffering upon them for decades.

As a person of Taiwanese heritage with a US viewpoint, it is obvious that Taiwan must acknowledge its soul or risk losing that and much more in the future.

Carl Chiang

Richmond, California

Friday, October 28, 2011


《好國好民》的主角之一, Freddy 來信分享了他對這影片,這國家認同的議題,與台灣的看法:


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

觀後分享 · Share your thoughts

Dear Taiwan explores the topic of Taiwanese identity among Taiwan's youths.  The search for identity is, without question, personal for each of us, but collectively, it is also a pivotal step for Taiwan.
What do you think about the discussions in the film?  What are your views on Taiwanese identity? Join our conversation!  We would love to hear from you either via email or video!

《好國好民》探討了年青一代的台灣認同。 各人的認同過程也許直接,也許錯綜複雜,相同的是,這是我們 成長過程中,重要的一步。
聽了銀幕上受訪者的心聲,《好國好民》帶給你什麼樣的感受與反思呢? 歡迎以文章或影片的方式加入這個屬於大家的對話.分享你的觀點。

中英文不拘. Email:

First post from our audience!

We've received the first audience feedback from our good friend in Taipei!

On October 19th, 2011, I attended the premiere of “Dear Taiwan” at the National Taiwan University.  Coincidentally, the documentary was shown in the “Socrates Room”, as the purpose of the film was to provoke contemplation and dialogue on identity from the younger generation of Taiwan through series of questions and testimonies by other young Taiwanese.

The theme of the documentary centered around a seemingly simple question, “Who am I?”  As simple and short as the question is, it is probably one of the most difficult questions for any young person, who constantly undergoes the arduous process of self-discovering, to answer.  To a young Taiwanese, as the film has demonstrated, deriving at something that resembles an answer is an even more strenuous, hellacious and sometimes painful journey.

I was deeply moved by the testimonies of the individuals featured in the film, as I, too, have underwent my own expedition on my identity.  What I found most moving was the stories of Taiwanese, who have lived within the confine and comfort of the island, going overseas and were then suddenly confronted by the lack of recognition by their visited country and forced to identify with the citizens of a neighboring nation that has never governed, contributed to the welfare and development of Taiwan.  As shocking and sad as the experience might be, the realization and the importance of knowing who one is became salient.  It was difficult to not shed tears along with those recounting such experience. 

In all, I find “Dear Taiwan” to be thought provoking and touching.  The film also provided a window to Taiwan’s trying past and help explained the complexity of issues on identity in Taiwan.  I am very glad such film was made and encourage anyone who is interested in engaging him/herself in understanding and contemplating on who he/she is and where his/her place is in this world to watch it.

By E. Nokita
October 26, 2011 in Taipei, Taiwan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Success, and many thanks

It's been a while since we posted... and that's really because we got swamped with all the preparing that' was needed for both the Taiwan and U.S. premieres of the film.  Thanks to all who were able to come out and say hi, we really enjoyed seeing all of you.  We also loved all that you had to say about the film.  All the feedback really made us feel that the time and energy we've put into this project so far is well worth it.  Thank you!

For those that were unable to make it, there are more screenings coming!  Director Chen was so happy with how the premiere went that she's planning on attending another screening event next Saturday, October 29, at the Taiwan International Hall, located at 125 Nanjing East Rd., 4th Floor, Jhongshan District, in Taipei.  The event starts at 2pm, but doors are open at 1:30pm.  Be sure to get there early to grab a seat!

And for those in the Boston area who were unable to make the U.S. premiere in Boston this past weekend, don't you worry.  There will be another screening held on the MIT campus tomorrow evening, starting at 7pm EST.  More details on that can be found on our screenings page.  We hope you can make it!

Lastly, for those who are not in the Boston area and want to bring this film to your area, we want to hear from you!  Shoot us an email and we can figure out things from there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Photos from filming are up!

We just received and processed a batch of photos taken while Director Chen and her filming crew were working. We think it's very interesting and reveals quite a bit on who the film crew and who the interviewees are. Please take a moment to check them out on our flickr photostream

Friday, October 14, 2011

每週四週六,《好國好民》就在Cafe Philo

Cafe Philo 慕哲咖啡將定期放映《好國好民》!

10/27 (四) PM 7:30 (本場為導演場)
10/29 (六) PM 5:00
11/3   (四) PM 7:30
11/5   (六) PM 5:00
11/10 (四) PM 7:30
11/12 (六) PM 5:00
11/17 (四) PM 7:30
11/19 (六) PM 5:00
11/26 (六) PM 5:00
12/1   (四) PM 7:30
12/3   (六) PM 5:00

*請參考 放映表 • Screenings
自12/5-12/31可至Cafe Philo索取好國好民影片DVD,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Screening schedule posted

DVDs of "Dear Taiwan" will be arriving in the U.S. in T-minus 5 days!  We're super excited, and hope you are too.  To that end, we've already planned a few screenings around in the US, beginning with Boston, MA.  You should visit the 'Screenings' tab above to check if there is a screening in your town, or visit the 'Bringing the film to you' tab to see how you can make it happen.  Be sure to check back often though as we will be updating as soon as new information comes in.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coming soon!

The film "Dear Taiwan" is in the final stages of production and will be available soon!  As soon as the US tour details are finalized, we'll also post them here to share.  Sorry for the delay, but we thank you for your excitement.  In the mean time, please visit us at our Facebook fan page and follow us on Twitter @deartaiwan