Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Know You're Taiwanese...

I'm sure many of you have seen the lists where it gives you a bunch of reasons why you know you're [enter ethnicity here]. If you haven't, here are a couple examples:
You know you're Taiwanese when... (taken from Occasional Ramblings),
Some highlights from this one:
51.You beat eggs with chopsticks.
55.If you are male, you clap at something funny and if you are female, you giggle whilst placing a hand over your mouth. (
although I didn't know this was a Taiwanese thing)
77.Even if you're totally full, if someone says they're going to throw away the leftovers on the table, you'll finish them. (
but I've come to drop this habit, most of the time)
Also this variation which I find much more interesting:
You know you've been in Taiwan too long if...
A few highlights which I found more true for myself:
24. The shortest distance between two points involves going through an alley.
46. You're always the first on the elevator to hit the "door close" button.
and my favorite...
90. You don't feel comfortable using a urinal unless there's a woman mopping the floor behind you.
Anyways, here's one to add concerning to 2010 Census:

You know You're Taiwanese when... your dad is the first to open the 2010 Census form and goes straight to Question 9 and writes in "Taiwanese," skipping the first 8 questions.

Lastly, sent to people in the Facebook group for the Taiwanese Census 2010:

March 17, 2010 Leona Chu

The missteps and causes of recurring undercount of Asian Americans in the U.S. Census

Within the Asian American community, there are genuine concerns that minorities will not participate in the Census. Some of those reasons include unawareness of inclusion, language barriers, and fear of the government. Individuals whose race(s) are not listed as check-boxes, such as Indonesian, Sri Lankan, and Taiwanese would not automatically assume the option of writing in an unlisted response. "I didn't know there was a choice, I just marked off the next best option by default," said actor Adam Wang from the feature film, Formosa Betrayed.

Although the Census form will be offered in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese has been dropped from the in-language forms mailed to households. This neglects a number of Asians who do not read Simplified Chinese; for example individuals from Taiwan and older overseas Chinese schooled in Traditional Chinese, such as community members from Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Singapore.

In another effort to reach out to underrepresented minority groups, Census 2010 ran in-language public service announcements on TV, online and the radio. Unfortunately, the PSA targeted to the Taiwanese community did not use a native speaker, making the ad largely incomprehensible to those it was targeting.

Non-profit organizations such as, Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL), an official Census partner since 1990, were not contacted for the official Census 2010 “Taiwanese” PSA. TACL in conjunction with, Slideshow Pictures and several second generation Taiwanese American organizations have come together to create its own PSA on YouTube. Since the launch in early March, the "Write In Taiwanese" PSA has gone viral and generated over 150,000 hits. In addition, t-shirt orders for the TACL "Check Other Asian" t-shirt have spiked. Orders from across the country, even overseas countries such as Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, and United Kingdom, have been pouring in.

Despite the popularity of the Write in Taiwanese PSA on YouTube, some regard the campaign as being controversial. Heated discussions on the YouTube message board have sprung up with debates on the validity of a Taiwanese identity being the main argument. However, this is a moot point, since the choice to check a race box, or check "Other Asian," will come down to the individual. Census Day is April 1, 2010.

Data obtained from the Census Form’s race question are necessary for (1) evaluating racial disparities, (2) assessing the characteristics and needs of particular communities, (3) implementing laws and programs that promote equal opportunity, and (4) allocating funds and other resources.

TACL is a non-profit organization of education, public affairs and human rights representing Americans of Taiwanese ancestry. The mission of TACL is to enhance the well being of Taiwanese Americans and to promote Taiwanese American's participation in American democracy.

For more information please find us online at:
TACL Census 2010:
TACL Census PSA:

If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Leona Chu, please call: (626)551-0227, or email

Physical press-kits are available upon request.

So there you have it. Write in Taiwanese if you consider yourself Taiwanese. I can attest to the nastiness that is going on in that YouTube video comments. There's a lot of Chinese and even a few Taiwanese telling others to not write in Taiwanese, but to just write mark Chinese. Of course there's the usual "it's all the same" and "you are all from Han Chinese" and the "how are you Taiwanese if you are American" idiocy.

Anyways, the point comes down to this. Taiwanese are born into a life of struggle. We struggle for our identity because of others that force the label "Chinese" onto us. So what is our fight? The fight for self-determination. As such, I don't care if other "Taiwanese" that are from Taiwan write in Chinese, all I care is that I can write what I want - Taiwanese. So please, go ahead and write "Chinese" if you are Chinese, "Iranian" if you are Iranian, "Thai" if you are Thai, and yes, "Chinese" if you feel like you are Chinese even though you are from Taiwan.

See the difference now between Chinese and Taiwanese? One side wants to tell you what you are, the other side just wants to speak for themselves. They may say the PSA is divisive, but the whole point is to inform the public that they can write whatever they want, and not be limited to the races listed next to the check boxes.

No comments: