Taipei Discussion Transcript: America the Beautiful

Participants: Mary, Maggie, Willie, Fanny, Lynn, Angela

I’m team b, because I think if the US is our friends, they don’t want to urge us to buy the worst weapon. So I think, we just, not just the weapon, Taiwan is also the weapon! So the US is not our friend. We’re just a toy or a tool.

I support team b. I think America just want to take advantage of us. That’s why they will force us to buy, or to set the budget to buy their weapon.

Weapon, that’s the most important thing! Because it costs a lot.

Yes, is costs us more than fifty...

Fifty!!!

Well, now it’s down, but almost fifty.

And they’re not true friends to us, or they would support us to join the WHO. I mean, it’s impossible for us to join the UN, because china will fight that, but the WHO, we have so many doctors who help with that, and we need to share the information, about SARS, and birdflu, but they don’t help us.

Well, I think Taiwan was partly America’s friends before Chaing Kai Shek died, partially, because of WWII, and because Chaing Kai Shek established some good relationship with the us. But after the KMT lost the war against the communists, and went to Taiwan, then the American gvt put Taiwan as a kind of point to resist an evil empire. But at this time, they don’t want to fight china anymore, so Taiwan’s status is like they put their hand into like east Asian circle. Because they can control china at least a little bit by helping or not helping Taiwan. But it’s not about communists anymore, they just worry that china will be very strong. So they just want to earn something, make some profit, and want to control china from helping Taiwan. They won’t help Taiwan like they did 30 or 40 years ago, at that time, china will send sailors to Taiwan’s outside islands, and at that time the US will offer weapons freely to Taiwan, but not anymore. The position of Taiwan has shifted. Although Taiwan definitely needs US, and especially Japan, I think lots of people know that the US can put some soldiers in Japan, because they have a treaty. So they have a range in south Asia, which Japan and the us work to protect from invasion. They don’t say which country, but everyone knows its china. And Taiwan is within that range. So that’s the funnies part of this. And also this main force, that china doesn’t dare to too much in Taiwan, because of the existence of this agreement, and give US a reason to bring soldiers here. So there’s the Diauyutai islands issue, but china doesn’t do too much about it.

Well, they’re building concrete buildings on reefs off the coast of Philippines.

But the Diauyutais, they weren’t important in the 70s, they don’t really care about those islands, so they just use it as a political issue.

But there’s oil there,

Yes.

Actually, the US supported Japan to own the Diauyutais in the 70s already.

They were given to Japan to control and manage the island, but the ownership belong to Taiwan, that’s what was agreed then. A court made that decision

Whose court, which court?

Many years ago, I remember Taiwan fight for Diauyutai with Japan, and finally the court in Japan made the decision, that the ownership belong to Taiwan.

Really? Because I’ve heard that, Taiwan have 11 or 12 conferences about the ownership, but there’s no decision. But I heard that in mid 70s, for some reason the us supported Japan to have Diauyutai. And at that time, some college students protest against this kind of thing. They didn’t protest the US, but they went to the Japan embassy, which still existed at that time, but since the KMT needed the US at that time, and the US hinted that it was Japan’s, probably there were some practical reasons, and the KMT didn’t want to go against the US gvt, so they just abandoned, abandoned?

(Laughter)

Anyways, they dropped the issue. And so what? Ma Yingjieu is 37 years too late.

Wait, what did he do?

They sent military ships to claim the Diauyutais. It was the executive branch, and they sent the coast guard there. And basically, only the executive yuan could do it. Of course, there were legislators on there, so it looks like a legislative action, but the legislative Yuan can’t control the coast guard, so it was the executive branch.

But basically all they did was sail around for awhile.

Yeah, and the Japanese hung around the edges, but there was no incident.

So basically, Taiwan is a checker.

Checker?

Like the game.

So we are a tool/toy.

So what do you want, do you want to be the 52nd state, or part of Japan? Or china?

Personally I’d choose Japan at this point...

We played a game with our classmates, asking this question, and they all chose Japan, I don’t know why?

We’ve all been influenced by Japan.

But my Japanese is bad!

(Laughter)

But some people want to be part of the US. And other groups, Japan.

Well, does anyone want to be mainland Chinese?

I think so, now, not before.

But people I meet that have been to mainland china, they’re really against them.

But there’s so many mainland Chinese on the subway these days!

My professor, she hates mainland chinese.

Why?

Because they always, just take WHO for example, they don’t treat us like their people. They also hate us.

I don’t think so, this is biased, from my point of view, I didn’t pre-assume the thing that will happen when I meet a mainland chinese. The WHO thing is terrible, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the individuals I meet. I don’t want to mix up politics with real things. But they do have some bad habits, and there’s a culture gap between mainland chinese and Taiwanese. In my experience, they’re very easy to get along with. But probably because I don’t brink up sensitive topics.

But they always bring up sensitive topics to year. Take my classmate for example. She always go to the top liver-fibrosis lab. And she says, Taiwan is our province, and you’re just choosing one province of ours. And my other classmates get angry, but we have no words to protect ourselves, but the classmates are shy, so they don’t say anything, but they keep attacking with this topic.

Also in the US, there’s so many mainland Chinese, and so we can’t do anything about this.

I agree.

Sure, but I never had this experience of machines brining up topics like this.

You are lucky. I met a guy, he’s 10 years younger than me, he said, why you don’t unite with us, actually, you should belong to us. Actually, I don’t want to fight with him on this, don’t want to talk about it, and he goes on, how they have bomb and weapon and ways to attack us, and I was so shocked, I just met him!

But they are trained by their gvt to be like that.

Well, we used to be trained like this by our gvt.

Yes, but we have access to information from all over the world, so we can figure things out. But they don’t have that kind of access.

Well, when we were small, we were taught that Chinese could only have banana peels, that’s all they had to eat.

Sure, but we have to distinguish. I hate US gvt, but don’t hate us people, and hate Japanese gvt, but not japanese people. In a country or race, they both have good guys or bad guys. Even in Taiwan, people just want to make them die.

Who?

In your life, you just want to make someone who look down on you and don’t treat you well. But if I’m hurt, I will defend myself.

I think I agree with fanny that, when I talk to machines about this issue, he said he doesn’t really care about the Taiwan issue. So in Taiwan, there’s people e who don’t care about this, so in china, some people don’t care about it, but he said some of his classmates really would care about it.

But then there’s that mainland china’s population is so huge, so as they travel around the world, they mention and proclaim that Taiwan is a part of china, and so that’s a big part of the problem.

Actually, my political scale is 0, so I’m not very concerned about this, it’s all okay, but we should, if everyone’s has good life and we could live well, I think everything is okay, but stop! Um…

You mean, stop mention…

No, please, let us enter WHO, please. I think some world organization, we should be allowed in. so it’s okay, but we also have right to participate in the world organization, that’s my point.

But unfortunately, in the world, or in politics, there are no true friends, so no one even big country like US or Japan, no one support us.

They don’t support us, because we’re so tiny.

Teeeeeny.

Well, think about Singapore, they’re very small, but they have a lot of power. We, we don’t have identity. If we say were from Taiwan, some people think it’s Thailand. So we have to promote our country, really.

So let me ask a question, because I’m just a person, I’m human. I wonder, if all of us want to gain our identity, even if it is necessary to have a war? I think about this?

I think most people don’t want to have a war. But Taiwan is in a very weird position, you know? Otherwise you could just unite with china, and become a special administrative area.

But the return of HK was written into a treaty.

Yes, the Ching dynasty.

They just rented the island for 99 years. It’s the same as Macao.

So sometimes I think we’re quite poor. When I was in Switzerland, they let us enter without a visa, but you must have a return ticket. And the custom guy, because I stick Taiwan stickers on my passport, and he said, Taiwan, no, I don’t know, and so I said to him, there is the visa policy, and I think, he just wanted to give me hard time.

I saw this in 1992, too, on the train, only the Taiwanese were bothered, these two sweet girls. My American passport, they smiled at me, but they gave them so much trouble.

Us too, when we arrived at customs of Swiss border, and these soldiers only checked the Taiwanese passport, only these 17 people.

Yes, and I think, hey, we spend money in your country, why you treat us like this. So why you announce we don’t need visa in your country, if you’re going to treat us like this?

And they don’t choose people randomly. They only check the Taiwanese.

Also, when we went from Germany to Czeck republic. They didn’t check the Malaysians, only Taiwanese. So we don’t have identity. We spend money, but are treated like second-class citizens. So we have to establish our identity. So do we have to choose one of the three to get our identity? China US or Japan?

Taiwan doesn’t have a powerful backup,. If we had someone support us, it would be different. But Taiwan’s been out of the picture since 1970, and those big countries don’t have profit conflict in this area. If we were in the middle east or eastern Europe, or the old soviet satellite, so there they have some people picking sides.

Well, that’s not true, you have the US.

Well, but they don’t support us that well.

Well, I think the support the US gives eastern Europe is just as shaky, I think they want to keep you on your toes.

But they also have western Europe helping them. and they give them much better weapons support. Like France doesn’t care about protest from china, and they’ll just give you, whatever you paid for. But the US, they’ll say, you have to pay first class price for second class weapons, because china protests. So I’m not so sure, maybe we should make some trouble, so that people will pay attention and give us help.

I don’t think we really want that kind of insecurity. It’s a high price.

Because Taiwanese people right now, there’ really secure,

Yeah, there’s an interesting balance point just now. Basically no one wants to push Taiwan to either side right now.

So that’s why no one shows us support, it will break the balance.

So this kind of thing is just ended abruptly from my point of view. We won’t see it, but when it happens, it’ll go really fast.

Just like the falling of the wall. It happened so suddenly, and no one knew what happened.

But the balance will tip in favor of china. The reality is we rely on them quite a lot nowadays. It’s quite sad, actually. I think lots of Taiwanese back to Taiwan to do the invest again. But the point is, we have lost a lot of advantage in the trading or production area. And it’s hard to compete in the globalization. I mention that I’m the sales for fabric. To be honest, it’s really hard to compete with china. Because maybe their quality is not excellent, but our quality is not as good as before. So I don’t know who will pay much more price to buy Taiwan’s product.

Why?

I think labor costs. Also, Taiwanese become lazy, we’re not diligent like we were in 1950. Also, they duplicate your items, quickly,, and perfectly. So it’s become very competitive in price and production time. So hard, really, we got a really tough time.

This is serious.

Yes it is, and you definitely will face that problem.

Because my job is to translate some economic article, and we found that mainland chinese are so huge and they always can finish the translation very quickly than us, because they have so many people.

And the point is, their salary is much lower than you.

So now, we can read the Chinese version of wall street journal and financial time, and whatever English journal and article, you can also find the Chinese version. To be honest, I feel their ability, to…but I think our enemy not only mainland china.

India!

Exactly.

Enemy?

Competitor.

The population of middle class, in India, is the most in the world. Much larger than mainland china.

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