Saturday, May 02, 2009

My interview with FAPA-YPG

1) Where were you born? /Where did you grow up?


2) Are you a Taiwan citizen?

I wasn’t when I first moved back to Taiwan, but I just got my citizenship a few years back.

3) When and how did you first get involved with Taiwan issues? What else since then has contributed most to your passion for Taiwan's democracy?

I didn’t really start to think about Taiwan issues until I attended Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF) and was able to meet other ABTs for the first time. Meeting other ABTs gave me a sense of belonging, but it also made me realize I was lacking in understanding of what it really meant to be Taiwanese especially in terms of history. I wanted to come back to Taiwan so I could improve my Taiwanese, learn more about the culture, and basically make some Taiwanese friends.

After having lived in Taiwan now for almost 8 years, I’ve been able to see first hand the incompetence and influence of the KMT. For over 60 years now, the KMT has used manipulation, murder, imprisonment, cooptation, and propaganda to maintain control over the Taiwanese public. There are so many Taiwanese people that have been brainwashed by the KMT system, that I feel that every voice, no matter how small, can have an influence here in Taiwan as long as you speak out against the system. I think due to Taiwan’s size, if you’re willing to just let your voice be heard, you can really make a difference. Seeing everyday Taiwanese people, old and young, speak and demonstrate their love for Taiwan contributes most to my passion for Taiwan.

4) What are you studying in school right now?

Political Economy

5) We know you've been doing a podcast on Taiwan politics targeted to the younger generation. What are some of the ways you try to engage their interest?

Currently, I’m trying to present politics in a more humorous manner. The things that politicians and the KMT say here in Taiwan are borderline ridiculous and rarely if ever based in fact. Just pointing these things out is funny enough. I’m also experimenting with some stand up comedy to try to introduce politics and news to Taiwanese youth in a funny, indirect way. I just wish my Taiwanese was better.

I also want to start interviewing people for my show and well as trying to record some shorter podcasts. The problem with my web show now is that it’s too long. Most young people in Taiwan don’t have the patience to listen to me rant for two hours every show. I’m going to need to get creative and up the production value a little bit too. I’m definitely going a little too ghetto-style now. I would love to eventually get a show like the Daily Show started out here, but that’s just a dream right now. But when every news channel out in Taiwan is like FOX News, you can’t help but think how successful a show like that could be in Taiwan.

6) How would you describe young people’s general outlook and knowledge about the political situation?

Extremely apathetic and dangerously lacking. Too many Taiwanese youth watch the TV news or read the garbage papers out here without even thinking about where these messages are coming from (KMT). The Taiwanese have also been trained since a very young age by the KMT to not get involved in politics.

7) We can see in some videos you weren't the only one. Who else protested with you?

The day I went to protest, one of my friends went with me as well as three friends from DPP city legislator Wang Ding Yu’s office. One guy was filming while the rest of us protested.

8) What happened after you were ushered out of the room? How did security react? Did you get into any legal or administrative trouble?

After I was pushed out of the room, all the media ran out after me to get a quote and my information, leaving Chang Ming Qing all alone. There was a heavy police presence that day, but they had all went to the school main gate because Wang Ding Yu had taken protestors to protest in front of the school to create a distraction. The police didn’t think anyone was actually going to go in and protest, so they left Chang Ming Qing guarded by only three security guards. After they ushered us out, they immediately returned to the auditorium to protect Chang Ming Qing. Nothing happened legally or administratively to me. The cops were harassing me for awhile (checking my household registry and calling me) until Wang Ding Yu told the Tainan chief of police that I was going to lodge a complaint with AIT. Since then, I haven’t heard from the po-po.

9) What gave you the courage to speak up?

I don’t think what I did in anyway was courageous. I just did what any Taiwanese person would have done if given the chance. When I think of courageous Taiwanese people, I think of the tens of thousands of people that had their lives taken during 228 and the White Terror (Chiang Ching Kuo’s Terror). People like, Deng Nan-rung, who in 1989 took his own life by setting his office ablaze after 71 days of self-confinement to protest the right for freedom of speech, are truly the courageous people of Taiwan. Speaking out just a few decades ago in Taiwan probably meant the end of your life, yet look at how many Taiwanese still spoke out, that’s courage. Without our parent’s generation of discrimination and sacrifice, I would have never been able to do what I did.

10) Many of us admire you for your bravery in the states. What was the Taiwanese public's reaction to your action? Have Taiwanese come to speak to you personally?

Overall the reaction was very positive. Right after my protest, I was interviewed by SET, and then Min Shi actually came to my house to do an interview. Min Shi mentioned my blog during their interview so after it aired a lot of people visited my blog. At first, most of the comments were all giving me support, but then I noticed a ton of haters leaving comments telling me I was crazy and that I should go back to the States. I was also asked to appear on Min Shi’s Boss Talk and was given a chance to speak at the DPP 10/25 rally as well. I also got free food for a week because all the restaurants I ate at saw my news and treated me.

The week after it happened, many Taiwanese people of all ages came up to me to shake my hand and just talk a bit about Taiwan. Surprisingly, when I went up to Taipei there were even some KMT supporters that said they respected what I did. What meant the most to me, were all the young Taiwanese people that came up to show their support.

11) What inspired you to protest in the way you did, as opposed to a different way of being heard?

Basically, I just used what I had at my disposal, my loud mouth and my incorrectly spelled banner. Taiwanese people need to be inspired to make a change from within. We can not keep looking to the rest of the world for help and guidance when we as a people are so divided. We need to come together and stand as one. Young people in Taiwan need to wake up and realize that we are the ones that will be responsible for Taiwan’s future. We must now collectively take a stand and let our voice be heard.