Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ni how ma?

In 1971 on the Bay View- Greenville bus Carolyn Vacca taught us all how to say how are you in Chinese. 36 years later it came in handy. We spent the past two weeks eating everything Taiwan had to cook. Well, we skipped the snake. Here is our tour guide, Danny Mak's, version of recent Taiwan history.
From the mid 19th century until 1945 Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese, then two things happened almost at once, we bombed Japan and Mao defeated Chiang Kai Shek in China. The Taiwanese optimism at the prospect of being given to the US was short lived when we let Chiang take over, in 1945 he established martial law that lasted until his death in the late 1970's. He didn't act like someone who had just lost a war, he believed himself to be the leader of China and fully expected to return in glory. On his way out he managed to take quite a lot of art and historical items with him. So many that the massive exhibit at the Taiwan National Museum changes every three months so most of the objects can be seen. This was a good thing because so much of China's history and art was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.
With Chiang, one million Chinese came to Taiwan to join the 21 million that had been there for 4 or 5 generations and the aboriginal people. From that diaspora many later moved to the US, it was with their children and grandchildren we took our tour. Jimmy Kao on our tour with his family called it the "Chinese Roots" tour. Mike and I were the only westerners.
To be continued............


Calli said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Heather and I love our ear rings, but what do they mean? Taiwan is much more my style of food than Japanese food, at least from what you've shown me. Hope you guys get home safely.

Jan said...

Bay View, C. Vacca and Taiwan all in one post--WOW!! Love your history lessons.