Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tainan and Anping Fight Back

Tainan and Anping Fight Back

Tainan Train Station
     The Taiwan Railroad brought us back from a three-day vacation in Tainan. It takes two hours to get from Taichung to Tainan, Taiwan's most picturesque city. The High Speed Rail would be faster but it leaves you at a station more than five kilometers from downtown.
     I sit in the Hotel Rich dining room on the first morning of our trip to Tainan. I didn't necessarily want to visit Tainan, even though I like the city, but it was as good as going anywhere and much better than going nowhere during summer vacation. My wife decided we would go there and made all the

Kangyo (Land) Bank
 There was a typhoon predicted to be going towards Tainan with major rainfall possible the next few days. We were prepared to cancel our second night there if the weather deteriorated, but by the end of the first night on the comfortable hotel bed, I was inclined to stay. The only drawback to our room is there was no window to see when it was dawn or if it was raining yet.      The day we arrived, we walked from the 1936 Japanese built train station in the North District a few blocks and checked into the hotel at 114 Chenggong  Road. Our luggage stowed, we left to walk the streets of old town Tainan while the weather was still dry. 
Hayashi (Lin) Department Store
     Initially, downtown seemed like any other downtown area in Taiwan - a Family Mart, a jewelry store, a pharmacy, a scooter repair shop - but then we started to notice some differences along Zhongyi Road. 
     Among the many temples along Zhongyi Road is the shrine to Koxinga, the 17th century Chinese military leader who drove the Dutch out of Taiwan, the Dutch and the seven foreign European "companies,"  the enslavement and massacring of indigenous and Chinese.

A Dutchman surrendering to Koxinga
     As I left the shrine, I felt a thump on my chest. I experienced an itching sensation. When I scratched it, I got a burning sensation as if from Szchuan chili pepper under my nails; my wife said my chest  looked reddened. 
     As the feeling dissipated, we joked that Koxinga's spirit may have thought I was another red-haired foreign invader and dealt  me a warning. This is the undercurrent of our Tainan-Anping visit is the violence and exploitation introduced to Taiwan by Caucasian enemies. The story of Koxinga must be told. It doesn't make you proud.

Declassified  U.S. bombing missions 
Map of declassified U.S. bombing missions
    When we reached Jhongjheng Road, we saw the Land Bank, originally Kangyo Bank built in 1928, its Neoclassical architecture, the rows of grand columns shielding the enclosed sidewalks from the Taiwan sun and rain. Catty-corner to it is the refurbished Old Lin's Department Store, another Japanese structure damaged by American bombing raids in WW II, though "American" was deleted from the English translation to not offend anyone who couldn't read Mandarin. The five story structure, with original elevator and rooftop shrine, are a must to visit for a feel of 1930's pre-war Japanese Taiwan progress, the kind the Chinese invading troops admired, but destroyed, in awe. 
     The American bombing of Tainan is written all over the Hayashi (Lin) Dept. Store with each inch of cement that was replaced. A number of buildings have been preserved in Tainan. Taiwanese commemorate the bombing of Taipei by American planes; the thousands killed and injured, the hundreds of historic buildings flattened; it happened in Tainan, too. 
Five of the seven European "trading posts" still stand
      It is not the Taiwanese fault that Japan did more for Taiwan in fifty years of rule than the KMT/DPP with America did for seventy years since. If the threat of Western imperialism and colonization didn't force Japan into a "Hail Mary" in World War II, Taiwan would be a happier annexation to Japan, an Asian democracy with socialist undertones. Instead, the Taiwanese live deep in the bowels of the beast and, like us in this hotel room without windows, have no idea how the skies look in the real world. 
As it was, the Dutch post in Anping
     People here know the deep oppression that would slaughter them again if they flinched towards true independence, from America or China. It is the biggest insult in Taiwanese history. They don't want another "White Horror."
Sailing the German flag into Anping.
     The Dutch, along with Angelo-Saxons and other European marauders, ruined indigenous world history for five hundred years. It will be coming to an end, soon. When capitalism crashes and self-management (anarcho-syndicalism) returns profit to the workers who earn it, we, the people, can get back on track. The ruling class partners in stolen lands won't give up their power easily; the killing will continue, but we must try. 
     You can see what the Dutch West Indian Company did in Tainan by visiting Anping; the history preserved so well. Koxinga caught the Dutch off guard, but was just another Taiwan oppressor. 

The Taiwanese girlfriend waiting for her red-haired lover to return 
     The preservation of the history of imperialism and colonization in Taiwan is imperative to give inquisitive youth an understanding of the current phony two-party neo-liberalism, despite the attempts of revisionist history the KMT Chinese want to revert to.
      Would China protect Taiwan from further abuse or has Western propaganda done damage so deeply to Taiwanese culture that the people would go against
their cultural identity and language cohorts to fraternalize with the enemy? 

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