Joshua Yang Profile picture
Apr 18, 2020 17 tweets 9 min read
As it is obvious that the #Taiwanisation of #ROC drastically accelerated recently, it is probably a good time to share some songs that reflects on the ever-changing #Taiwan Identity & imagine what constitutes a decolonised #TaiwanAnthem that could better represent the people.
1921: 'Taiwanese Cultural Association Theme Song' (臺灣文化協會會歌).
Written by Chiúⁿ Ūi-súi (蔣渭水), a leading figure in Taiwan's resistance movement at the time. It emphasises on the pan-Asian identity「我等都是亞細亞黃色的人種」
and a rather modern understanding of the difference between 'Nationality' (Japanese) and 'Ethnicity' (Han)「漢族血脈日本百姓」There is a history of Taiwanese making the distinction, because of the long historical mismatch between 'colonial nationality' and 'cultural affiliation'
2. After ROC took over #Taiwan, the 'White Terror' martial law period lasted for 38 years. Most entertainment that contains Japanese/Taiwanese elements or awareness was severely suppressed by the colonial regime. This is best depicted in 'Taiwan, Mother's Name' (母親ê名叫台灣).
It's the mountains, oceans, rivers, conscience, justice and hope of this island (as opposed to that of China) that people have a strong attachment to. And it really outlines the oppression of #Taiwanese people, not being able to call 'Mother' her own name.
3. '#Formosa' (美麗島): song was written in the 1970s, when campus folk songs with nativist sentiment have become popular in underground scenes. The song really embraces the ocean, free land, buffalo, rice, banana, and champaca as a part of its identity.
Yet it's controversial for different reasons. Some hardcore activists reject the song due to the #colonial nature of the language (hint: #Mandarin). Also, it does not recognise the indigenous people as it emphasises on the settlement & cultivation of the land「篳路藍縷以啟山林」.
This is comparable to the controversy surrounding Australia day, as the day also symbolises the start of the long deprivation and suffering of the Indigenous people. Or that of the #Australian national anthem as the land is not really 'young and free' for the traditional owners.
4. Another beautiful work is 羅大佑's 亞細亞的孤兒 'The Orphan of Asia'. There are a lot of subtle analogies that got under the radar of the ROC censorship. It shares the same title with the Japanese-Taiwanese novel アジアの孤児 written by 吳濁流.
Just like in the novel, the song explored the #Taiwanese identity of being oppressed and marginalised. The trauma caused by 'Red' China and the fear for ROC 'White Terror' is poetically put in one line:「黃色的臉孔有紅色的污泥,黑色的眼珠有白色的恐懼」.
And as most of the western nations switched recognition from ROC to PRC, there was a deep sense #Taiwan was being abandoned by the world. This melancholic sentiment is also depicted in 「西風在東方唱著悲傷的歌曲」「沒有人要和你玩平等的遊戲」
5. 台灣翠青 'Taiwan the Formosa': . The hymn-like song is written in Taiwanese pe̍h-ōe-jī by clergyman 鄭兒玉 (Tīⁿ Jî-gio̍k). This song has often been proposed to be the national anthem for a future of the Republic of #Taiwan.
The Pacific ocean is also an important part of this #Taiwanese identity. It follows along the line of how #Taiwan has long been oppressed by foreign regimes and is then able to build its own nation for #selfdetermination. 「早前受外邦統治,建國今在出頭天。」
The song values the constitutional foundation of a republic (共和國憲法的基礎), the equality of four major ethnic groups (四族群平等相協助), and the beliefs in universal human values and commonwealth.
6. There are many modern songs that manifest a strong #Taiwanese identity. But the most influential and well-known song in recent years, would definitely be 島嶼天光 'Island's Sunrise' . This is the unofficial anthem of the 2014's Sunflower Movement.
There is a lot of articles that go into detail on the #SunflowerMovement and 'Island's Sunrise'. But in short, the movement really shaped the political climate, civic technology and youth engagement in #Taiwan today. And the song played a critical role in the movement.
So I think I am quite done with my Saturday rant. Other songs I can think of: Goodnight Formosa, 自信勇敢咱的名, 海洋國家, 台灣 ()
Do share what you think might be some interesting songs on #Taiwanese #Identity and your thought on an ideal #TaiwanAnthem!

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More from @joshiunn

Nov 26, 2021
I caught up w/ a 3rd-gen Chinese-Taiwanese school friend who returned to Taiwan recently. After a decade of studying & working in Shanghai, he believes that it's time to leave China for his own safety. His view went from pro-China to extremely anti-CCP over the past few years. 1/
Back in high school, his Waishengren (post-49 Chinese-Taiwanese) backgrounds did set him apart. His parents have great family connections in China & they have settled in Shanghai for business. Despite being good friends, we'd have arguments on TW's status & Taiwanese history. 2/
He was a staunch supporter of the ROC & truly took pride of Taiwan being the "real China". Like a lot of the top Waishengren students in the 2000s/10s, he aspired to study university in China & work in a fast-growing 1st-tier Chinese cities. He followed his Chinese dream. 3/
Read 8 tweets
Oct 10, 2021
For those wondering why it's the Japanese transliteration 亞細亞 (アジア) & not the commonly used term 亞洲, it is indeed a Taiwanese cultural reference that traces back to the Japanese era. 亞細亞的孤兒 is a Japanese-language novel that reflects on the complex TW identity. 1/
Published in 1946, Orphan of Asia depicts a Taiwanese student who got caught in conflicting identities. Feeling marginalised & abandoned, the protagonist disappears w a mental breakdown. It's a powerful depiction of the psychological impact of colonialism. toolkit.culture.tw/en/literaturei…
The singer 羅大佑 picked up the title in 1983, wrote a song w/ an identical name & further explored the TW identity of being oppressed and marginalised. There are a lot of subtle analogies (red mud, white terror) that got under the radar of ROC censorship.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 9, 2021
In Taiwan, the difference in collective memory has contributed to the diverse attitudes towards ROC symbolisms. While some Taiwanese despise the flag, in the Yunnan-Chinese-Taiwanese community in Taoyuan, ~30,000s of ROC flags are set up each year for national day celebration. 1/
The village in the 龍岡 Longgang area traces its root to the Yunnan KMT troops that were retreated to northern Thailand & Burma in the 50s. As their history has been closely tied to the expelled ROC, it is understandable that some ppl have a sentimental attachment to the flag. 2/
Interestingly, a sign claims that "patriotism is dying out due to intermarriage" (with the Taiwanese). This resonates what Dominic Yang describe as "the social trauma of the homecoming in Taiwan", the uneasiness that some KMT migrants experience in the wave of "Taiwanisation". 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 29, 2021
Language loss is not only a loss of cultural autonomy, but a loss in connections. The past ROC language policy has robbed my grandma of meaningful connections w/ her own Mandarin-speaking grandkids. She sits at the dining table but she doesn't understand their conversations. 1/
Like a lot of working-class Taiwanese in the 50s, my grandma migrated to Taipei from the south in search of better opportunities for her family. Even though they settled in Taipei, she never had the chance to learn Mandarin due to her age, social circle & economic hardship. 2/
My grandma worked hard as a female factory worker throughout her life to raise her children. Yet, under the colonial language policy, her Taipei-raised family has become predominately Mandarin-speaking & it's difficult for her to even participate in her family conversations. 3/
Read 6 tweets
Sep 27, 2020
Suniuo, or Teruo Nakamura, a Taiwanese Indigenous man, is the longest-lasting holdout of the Imperial Japanese forces. He survived in the jungles of Indonesia in complete isolation for 31 years. He returned to ROC-controlled Taiwan in 1974 & struggled to fit into his homeland. 1/
Born in 1919, Suniuo, a member of the Amis, was a young sumo & baseball enthusiast from the East coast of Japanese Taiwan. He was enlisted in the Takasago Unit (高砂義勇軍) & was stationed in Morotai island of Indonesia before it was overrun by the US-Australian troop in 1944. 2/
After 1944, the patriotic Suniuo rejected demobilisation & "stayed hidden at all costs, cooking only in the dark so people wouldn’t see the smoke." He built a hut & remained in the Indonesian jungle alone for 31 years, surviving by hunting, farming, & recording moon cycles. 3/
Read 12 tweets
Aug 30, 2020
My grandma passed away in Taiwan last night. I have been trying to go & visit her but the travel ban in place has made leaving Australia difficult. The COVID19-era is particularly rough when this happens. It's hard to articulate my feelings but I'd share one of her stories. 1/ Image
She was born in Tainan under Japanese rule. she had a comfortable childhood before WW2. From a moderately well-off city family, she had a fairly Japanised upbringing. She was given a Japanese name & education. She went by her Japanese nickname 梅 (u-me) throughout her life. 2/
Her family had great connections with the Japanese mainlanders & her dad would always take her to these social gatherings with their Japanese friends. She always looked back to her childhood with fond memories & she enjoyed sharing this part of her life over & over again. 3/
Read 8 tweets

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