This post started writing itself in my head in Chinese, rather than English, something that’s never really happened before. I feel awkward and plodding when writing the language, but here goes.






今天早上,新聞、臉書、twitter 看累了。心煩意亂。





“”My own country, saving it myself”
I love this slogan, but that phrase, “my own country,” maybe isn’t really appropriate for the odd kind of Taiwanese that I am.

Since March 18th, every day I’ve looked for new developments in the protests and occupation in news, on Facebook, and on Twitter. When I find sources in English, I share them because easily accessible English language media on this is woefully inadequate for your average American. When I’ve had the time, I’ve helped the text broadcast team translate portions of their live transcripts from the protest.

Yet If I was in Taiwan, this would be about all I could do too. Participating in a student protest while carrying foreign passport could impact my visa status, preventing me from coming back into the country next time, keeping me away from home.

Twenty four hours a day, I have access to news, which has its pros and cons. All day, I’m thinking of Taiwan, worrying for Taiwan. I haven’t been sleeping too well or focusing on school. The little everyday things of normal life seem especially annoying, given how they pale in comparison to the Sunflower Movement.

Taiwan is the country I feel to be my own, but I’m unable to save it. Doesn’t that make one feel useless?

This morning, after tiring of my survey of news, Facebook and Twitter for developments in Taiwan, I felt out of sorts and distressed.

I shut my computer and sat quietly, thinking about how cold it still is here in Chicago, and how that emphasizes how far away from Taiwan I really am. And how there aren’t sunflowers here.

But I have a crochet hook, and I have yarn. I made myself a sunflower. As my hands moved, my mind quieted.

At least, when it comes to my own sunflower, I’m able to make my own.


6 thoughts on “My country?

  1. As someone who’s Taiwanese by nationality but has been living in the U.S. for ten years, I really admire how you took the plunge to write a post in Chinese. I could barely compose an e-mail to my parents without noting the glaring English-esque Chinese grammar.
    Your Chinese is quite eloquent, in fact!
    While living in the U.S. during 318, I also struggled to find media coverage of the event in English, especially from an international perspective. No one around me seemed aware…

    • Thanks! I wrote it mostly like I would speak, I think. I don’t command the level of diction needed for formal writing in Chinese, but I can speak colloquially well enough.

      It’s incredibly difficult to get English language news on Taiwan from an international perspective. You may be interested in but it’s mostly editorials there, not strictly reporting.

  2. Stumbled across your article shared on News Lens on What makes us Taiwanese (nicely written!); came to your blog to read a few entries; came across this entry from 318 last year. Like yourself this was what I felt: “Twenty four hours a day, I have access to news, which has its pros and cons. All day, I’m thinking of Taiwan, worrying for Taiwan. I haven’t been sleeping too well or focusing on school. The little everyday things of normal life seem especially annoying, given how they pale in comparison to the Sunflower Movement.”

    As a Taiwanese living and working in Vancouver, I certainly remembered how those few weeks during the 318 period felt – seemed like there was nothing more important to do than Sunflowr Movement.

    I had the opportunity to be a part of the team that organized 2 protests in Vancouver, which turned out to be one of the best memories to look back for year 2014. And now I can proudly say 318 was only the beginning of a generation of Taiwanese who will look at their civil responsibilities as a part of what it means to be Taiwanese. I hope and pray that our generation will continue carry the torch until it’s time to pass onto the next generation.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, Hans! I agree. I had this horrid hopeless feeling when I left Taiwan in late 2013. 318 helped bring back some hope for the amazing things that new generations of Taiwanese will accomplish for society.

      • Thanks for the reply Katherine! I also just read your entry on Dr. Tsai’s visit to Chicago and your notes on her Q&A. I agree that we overseas Taiwanese need to think about what we have to contribute to the current and perhaps more importantly future Taiwan. This is the question I consistently wrestle with. I am in the health care sector in Canada, long-term care/elderly pharmaceutical care specifically. I am trying to assess how I can translate my experience in Canadian healthcare to Taiwan one day. June this year I did pay Taiwan a visit to their academia and industry leaders in long-term care — feels like there is a lot to be done in this field, especially so given the recent long-term care policy development and media attention in Taiwan. At this stage of life it’s still “equipping” but surely one day it will be time to leave the so-called comfort and security of Canada in hope to do something in Taiwan with the experience and training acquired in Canada over the years. This said, to me, it is always good to ask myself what I really have to give back to Taiwan (and if the respective field in Taiwan is receptive); or was it mere sentimental responses (or homesickness). Do I create value for the next generation or am I just taking away someone’s else’s job opportunity if I return?

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