First, watch this:
Then read some of these articles, if you’re still interested:
Taiwanese Occupy Legislature Over China Pact
Student protesters repel police, hold Legislative chamber
Occupy the legislature: is it the only way?
Importance of Social Movements in Taiwan
Smear Tactics and Taiwan’s Compliant Media
I’ve been glued to coverage and wandering about in haze the past few days, my mind and heart in Taiwan with the people inside and outside the Legislative Yuan. I wish I could be there with them so much that it hurts. The live feed helps, but also has consumed nearly every waking minute I’ve had.
I am just old enough to have vague memories of what Taiwan was like around the time martial law ended and democratization began. I’ve come a long way since when, as a toddler, I kissed the KMT appointed mayor of Kaohsiung on the cheek in exchange for a commemorative city hall keychain.
My parents knew people who had been jailed, and I picked up pieces of conversations on these things, forming hazy ideas about the shady way in which Taiwan worked. We regularly walked past the shut-down offices of some magazine that my father told me had been famous but said things the government didn’t like and people got in trouble, probably the easiest way to explain Formosa Magazine to your small child.
These are fragmented, small memories.
I much more clearly remember the first presidential election and the euphoria surrounding it (and that horrid purple and green combination used on those campaign flags).
In 1997, I dressed up as “The spirit of Taiwanese Democracy” for a Halloween party. (There are photos somewhere, but they might all be at my parents’ in Taiwan.) I wore campaign flags that I’d made sure we collected off the street after the first election, knowing that I wanted a piece of that history.
I wanted to grow up to be someone that made a difference like the people I heard about in the 1980s.
Truth is, I haven’t. Though I believe that what I do is meaningful, in its own way, it’s not the dream I imagined for myself in the heady, early days of Taiwan’s democratic development in the 90s.
So read those links and watch that video, at least, for the younger version of me, that kid dressed in itchy campaign flags and hope?