It has already been more than one month since I arrived in Asia, and I haven’t found the time so far to compose a blog-entry. This August 2011 in Taipei was just another amazing experience to me because of the good friendships we developed on the one hand and the challenges we had to undergo in Chinese class on the other hand.
Leaving Taipei was quite emotional as you practically see each other 24/7 for one month thus grow together really quickly, no matter how diverse the group actually was. I think the more diverse you are the more you can learn from each other. My take-away of Taiwan were a lot of endless discussions about the difference to mainland China, learning about the cultural development of a former Japanese/Dutch colony and getting to know locals. I would like to repeat in this place that it was never my intention to offend or judge whole culture-circles in any of the discussions we had – as a “passionately curious” person I just tried to find out what’s going on. I hope these kind of characteristics of mine are valued (although being annoying sometimes, probably ;)) as they are leading to better mutual understanding in my opinion.
I wasn’t at all surprised that Taiwan, at least Taipei, seems different to China as people enjoy democracy, freedom of speech and information. In addition, there seem to be quite a few tensions left between the “Peoples Republic of China” and the “Republic of China”, hence unification doesn’t really seem discussable. The question rises: “Why should China be further unified?” – It’s too big anyways. I was elaborating on this topic in our Explore Taiwan classes, as we had to write essays. One County_Two Systems
The urge of China to maintain their status of being the “country in the middle” sometimes doesn’t help bilateral relations. Examples are the few regions which want to gain (Tibet, Xinjiang) or already gained autonomy (HK, Taiwan). Especially the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) Hong and Macao have no ambitions to grow closer to Beijing (although having been handed over to China in the 90ies again for a certain agreed period) as they are economically independent and the living standard is pretty high.
In my paper I concluded the cross-strait relation of China and Taiwan like this: “Due to the ambiguity of cross-strait relations with China as an economic super power on the one hand as well as former colonialized, new free and democratic Taiwan on the other hand a mutual solution is still to be agreed upon. Referring to the 1992 Consensus both countries interpret their own culture and political development as the predominant for whole China, which might not be the best approach for their further diplomatic forthcoming.”
However, in a diplomatic world, autonomous regions and independent states should be administrable.
I don’t really know what took me to that topic now, as I originally intended to describe my life in Taiwan a little. I think the better job to describe that is done by the pictures on Facebook ;). Tomorrow we’re leaving Hong Kong to go to Guilin by bus. I’ll also send back my computer tomorrow, that’s why my online-presence, posts and picture albums will stagnate somehow within this September 2011.
I wish you all the best though! Have heaps of fun!