(Specific) Taiwanese American Worries About a Trump Presidency

I want to clarify something for those people who wondering about my unending rage and fear about the election, as if it needed to be substantiated further.

Not Black, Muslim, Latino, or LGBT, why you so angry and worried Bessie? Just so upset over an authoritarian danger to our country built on hate? An unqualified sexual predator beating out the most qualified woman in history, who actually did win?

Well there is one more wrinkle, I’m Taiwanese-American.

Taiwan is a functioning vibrant democracy, an island off the coast of China, one that is in fact a few legislative sessions away from legalizing Gay Marriage and a female President. Irony.

Keep Taiwan Free protest in NYC. Image from here.

Taiwan really only exists as not subjugated by China, although China constantly threatens us, because of post WW2-era Defense Agreements with the US, they don’t take the next step. Taiwan was known as “Free China,” though its people were hardly free, and used as a staging ground in the Vietnam War by the United States.

Taiwan became something else than the People’s Republic of China, aka China, after the remnants of the Kuomingtang or Nationalist government lost the Chinese Civil War, went there and took over, and after decades of struggle against that authoritarian rule, Taiwan is a liberal democracy that in many ways resembles the Nordics. This is a long complex history here that I’m trying to shorten into a few sentences.

Taiwanese Students protesting. Taken from here.

If Trump scales down US obligations in Asia, as he’s threatened to, we could cease to exist as a people. China would come and subjugate us, and that is exactly as horrifying as it sounds.

And that is my flesh and blood, and despite all my Americanness — I was born and raised in LA and am now a proud NYC resident, blood is thick- Taiwan is my friends and family, everything I came from. So maybe there is an added wrinkle in my fear, because it’s two nations that I’m fearing and fighting for now.

So don’t quote from Hillbilly Elegy and expect me to pull empathy from my heart after what they did.

I’ve heard a lot from immigrant like like me stock mock them these “White Working Class folk” (this is a false profiling of the Trump vote by the way, which would not have been won with the support of well-off White people and that ignoring non-Working class White people did not do the same) in frustration (now you know) and anger at their racism and willingness to act on it.

“They got beaten out by people who crossed oceans and deserts, some with no money and no English, who managed to carve out their American dreams.”

And now they could threaten those we left behind in the old country too? Can you blame me for being being like, fuck that and fuck them? The only reason why I’d advocate for policies to help them is insurance to pacify them so they don’t ruin everything.

So now you know.

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On Reconciling Double Consciousness and Being an Emotional Immigrant

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From a few weeks ago after a pretty amazing but tormented first year in New York City and dealing with the weirdness that sometimes comes with life changes and upward mobility:

On Monday night, I was on my way home after a meet-upy thing I’m super excited about that I wouldn’t have even considered a few years ago bc I would have been no joke like “that shit is for white people.”

I opened my phone to figure out the best way to get home and instinctively opened Waze and chuckled. I had spent the last week and a half in LA back on freeways but mostly back in the neighborhood I grew up in, where everyone is more or less like me. I couldn’t wait to leave this time last year (when I signed the contract for the job I have now), but as always, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I switched to Google maps to check train times while walking through the cacophonous internationalism and diversity that is NYC on an extraordinarily beautiful night. I’ve always really wanted to be a global citizen despite inclinations for tribalism.

Lately, I’m always switching place to place space to space. I put on different clothes, talk with a different accent, speak in a different language, change different IDs and transit cards out of my wallet all without thinking. Feeling like an emotional immigrant, not quite real and definitely not down.

I’ve struggled in the past year to finally get that this life is both a gift and a responsibility and that is ok, even though it can feel like a burden with sense of torment, the constant mix of ecstasy and guilt immigrant Americans can feel. Of always being an outsider, but someone who moves past borders, real and invisible. My adaptability has sometimes made me wonder if I’m a plastic person.

But I can’t keep worrying about feeling like selling out or that I’m being a faker – I’ve made my choices with no regrets. Maybe I can be a bridge and accept it as both a form of duty and a stroke of luck, because let’s face it, most of the world cannot be global citizens. Choosing the best parts of life and knowing that to much is given much is expected, but I can enjoy it, appreciate it, use it, and forever be grateful for this moment in life.