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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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Walk out from your nutshells, TI supporters !!

Michael in his blog mentioned a language issue that he and his kids encountered in the campaign gatherings of pan-green:

Every speech was in Taiwanese, except part of one (KMT rallies offer a mix). My kids sat there bored, addressed by people who couldn't be bothered to find a way to talk to the two Taiwan citizens I am raising.

and in a meeting of FAPA:

It was painful to watch. Sometimes I contemplate taking out ROC citizenship, but the brave new world they advocate doesn't include me or my children -- and if a strong supporter like me gets that vibe, how then the young on the street who chatter in a delightfully liquid lingo that is predominately Mandarin, with leaven of Taiwanese and English? Every person at the FAPA meet was older than I, and they were speaking Taiwanese. Not one speaker or two, but Every. Single. One. As I listened to a bunch of speeches in a language I didn't understand -- every word reinforcing my overwhelming alienness, one of the photographers standing next to me turned to camera guy next to him and remarked, rhetorically: "Why are they speaking that language? I don't understand a word they are saying!" Not one of those people took the time to compose and deliver their speech in Mandarin, a language spoken by everyone in the room -- and, mind you, a language understood by the people they most urgently need to communicate with: the Chinese. Of course there was no English, the language of the international media. Brilliant to hold a press event in a language the press don't speak.

I am very sympathetic to Michael's situation about this.

It's been a very long time since I started voicing the same view of Michael's to those die-hard TI (Taiwan Independence) supporters. The first time I reminded them was in a talk given by a TIer in a university IN USA. YES, IN USA, and he spoke Taiwanese !!! Without any translation to English, not to mention to Maderin !

It was at a time when China didn't look so huge. Many oversea Chinese students never had a chance to learn about Taiwan democracy development, and are very earger to learn more.

So they went to the talk, but couldn't understand a single word. One of them raised the issue to the speaker, requesting a translation service --- at least to English. The speaker refused and remarked,

"We have the right to speak what we want. It's your own problem that you can't understand."

I was so shocked and in disblief. After the talk I told them if you want to deliver your idea, speak something people understand. Otherwise, don't waste your time.

It's been more than 10 years. I couldn't believe these die-hard ancient TI fighters never learned. If there's only one single organization that can deliver strong TI messages in multilanguages, FAPA is probably the one. Yet they chose to cuddle among themselves. I really wonder what they expect to achieve by hugging to keep each other warm. To me they are filled with so much hatred that clouds their minds in a way that "feeling good" is far more important than "winning the battle."

To me, it is equivalent to treating themselves as pity victims. In that sense they don't really need opponents.

And, I am telling you, the language thingy is just only one of many "out-dated, suicidal behaviors" they have. There have been so many times I almost gave up fighting with them for their other certain-death approaches.

Certainly, they don't think they are suicidal. They call it "principle" --- "Without principles we have nothing."

Yea right. Look what we have now.

Anyway, I am with you, Michael. There's a long way ahead.

Update: Unlike those English-as-the-first-language people who are most likely to complain about this situation, I was born and raised in Taiwan. I speak fluently in Taiwanese, Mandarin and English. I was raised in a way that you don't speak secret language in front of others. If one of our Mandarin-speaking friends jumps in when we are talking in Taiwanese, we all switch to Mandarin and continue the topic. When we came to USA, if an English-speaking friend came to our party, we all switch our tone to English, even when many of us are really terrible at it. My family behave that way, and friends I met behave that way.

As a result, it becomes a basic politeness for me to respect visitors by not leaving them in darkness. Therefore, the strong resistance of TI supporters to Mandarin in a situation where they need it most looks alien to me.

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2 Comments:

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Dad said...

Completely agree with you about this issue. Especially the part where too many Taiwan independence supporters somehow equate speaking Taiwanese and being a victim worthy of pity or sympathy.

It's pathetic behaviour and will lead them nowhere.

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I honestly cannot even believe that I'm reading posts taking on the touchy political issue on the use of Taiwanese/Minnan. Kudos to the people who have stood up on this issue.

I'm happy because there might be hope for the Taiwanese Independence because they will take stock and reflect on what's not working. Taiwan as a democracy is supposed to celebrate diversity instead of fomenting ethnic division. You can't have a successful broad political movement that's based on exclusivity. Whatever happened to the old integrationist spirit of Dangwai that was part of the founding of the DPP before the party was hijacked by Hoklo chauvinists?

 

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