I took part in the Formosa Foundation Ambassador Program with all my passion for Taiwan, and I came out with even more and I suspect I am starting to obsess over Taiwan. I have been thinking about what I can do for Taiwan ever since the program ended on June 28th.
“Write about it. Writing helps me organize my thoughts.”
The program lasted for two weeks. There were Taiwanese people from Taiwan, Taiwanese people who are/were studying in the US, Taiwanese-Americans, and other Americans. There were a total of 18 of us. Most of them were bilingual in Taiwanese/Mandarin and English or even trilingual in Taiwanese, Mandarin and English. One of the guys Jeff I met in the program could even consistently speak with these three languages in a single sentence.
In the first week, we attended a lot lectures and speeches given by experts on Taiwan issues, such as Randall Schriver, Rupert Hammond, and Richard Bush. We also met a lot of big supporters of Taiwan who are working on the Hill, such as Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-FL). We typically started the lectures at 9am and ended around 6pm or 5pm. In the second week, my group members, a Taiwanese-American and another American, and I took what we had learned into the congressional offices to meet with congressional members or their staffers, sharing with them the information we knew about Taiwan’s current situation and giving them suggestions about what Taiwan needs now. We had to make appointments with all those offices ourselves actually, and I should express my thanks to my group members Rebecca and Cedric. We mostly met with the congressional staffers, but we did meet a congressman in person, Representative Mark Meadows from North Carolina.
Taiwanese people typically don’t have an international perspective on politics and cross-strait relations. If more Taiwanese people realize, for example, what US policies have affected Taiwan and how those policies come into place, they would understand what role Taiwan plays on the global stage. They will also realize that Taiwan really doesn’t stand alone in this world. Cross-strait politics don’t only involve Taiwan and China. This feeling of isolation leads Taiwanese people to think that no one really cares about them in the world and no one really knows anything about Taiwan. As a result, pessimism about Taiwan’s current situation comes into place and they themselves become those people who don’t know anything about, and don’t care about, Taiwan.
The world is watching. We should keep fighting for Taiwan.