Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Humanity At Stake

Earlier today I was at a local bubble tea shop (Meesum for you local readers) with some friends and we started talking about the current state of Taiwan. Obviously bringing up the lackluster TAIEX of late, and also the concessions President Ma has made in one month. Turns out that we were talking louder than we thought and a Caucasian girl overheard our conversation and stepped into the shop and asked if she could hear our views on the subject. We briefly described where we stood, one of my friends also on the DPP side, and the other leaning KMT.

The girl proceeded to describe where her curiosity stems from- that being that her girlfriend is from Taiwan and that her girlfriend's mom and dad had opposing views (DPP for mom, KMT for dad). She seemed genuinely interested in learning more about the history and complications of Taiwan and so I took the chance to recommend a book that I just recently read as well, "Humanity At Stake: China's Aggression, Taiwan's Democracy, and 23 Million Citizens' Human Rights to Self-Determination," written by Abe Young. She says she will be starting at the University of Washington in the fall, so perhaps we'll run into her again and see if she has formed her own views by then. Looking back, that situation almost closely resembled what the book, Humanity at Stake, is about- a dialogue between an American, a Taiwanese, and a Chinese. Except, in our case it was an American, a DPP, and a KMT.

My short review on the book:

It's a very short book, easily readable in less than an hour while still being able to cover, for the most part, a brief yet complete history of Taiwan. The history was mainly conveyed as footnotes and side blurbs, while the main part of this book dealt with the dialogue that occurred between Abe and two of his coworkers. Abe being a Taiwanese-American, and his two coworkers, one a Chinese Mainlander, and the other an American. It's an issue that all Taiwanese-Americans have probably dealt with at one time or another- someone asking you, "Isn't Taiwanese the same as Chinese?" Anyways, this book is a must read for any Taiwanese, Chinese, or even Americans who are interested in getting straight to the point of what the deal with Taiwan is all about. This will easily go down as my first recommendation for anyone to read if they wanted to get up to date about Taiwan in less than an hour. It takes a novel approach towards the Taiwan issue by focusing on the human rights aspect of 23 million people of Taiwan, instead of on the issue of simply "Taiwanese" identity.

I bought this book, so if you know me, I'd be more than happy to let you borrow it for a read. :) Just leave let me know via phone, e-mail, comment here, Facebook comment, MSN, etc.

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