Friday, August 7, 2015

My Opinion: Taiwan Curriculum History From Inside Noah's Ark (Pt. 1)

Wearing a T-shirt with the IWW message: “An injury to one is an injury to all,”
 Chu said the words reflected the attitude of the protesters,
adding that he wore the shirt to express his rage.
     The last few months in Taiwan has seen a roiling controversy about changes the Ministry of Education has made to the high school curriculum, particularly to history, literature, and geography of Taiwan's Republic of China. 
      In an editorial of July 25, "Twilight of China-centric Primacy" in the Taipei Times, not once did Noah Buchan mention the influence of the United States in Taiwan"This place," he says, "that today is called Taiwan has been ruled at various points and at various places by Aborigines, Spanish and Dutch explorers, Chinese settlers, Japanese imperialists and a Chinese military." He forgot to mention the U.S. has been influencing Taiwan history since 1945. 
        I would like to report that high school student activists, added by the media to the "Sunflower" movement of college student activists last year, used  a popular Wobbly "silent agitator" sticker saying: "An Injury to One is an Injury to All," as their slogan; documentary maker Kevin Lee (李惠仁) introduced  a T-shirt which he wore with the anti-curriculum-changes slogan on it.   
     Mr. Buchan says the Taiwanese are " ...members of a nation that does not include China, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Japan, the U.S. or any other place."  Noah Buchan is in a serious flood of denial.
     For the record, the United States handed Taiwan to the KMT Chinese in 1945, ignored the 228 massacre, kept over 60,000 troops here for thirty two years of the thirty-eight year martial law, set up an English radio station and other adult entertainment, put English on street signs and in public schools, exploited Taiwan's proximity to eavesdrop on China, then used Taiwan to outsource sweatshops for American industrialists here and throughout Asia.
      To Noah Buchan, there was no American imperialism happening in Taiwan and there is still no American influence. Noah marches his denials in, two by two, on the Taiwan ark. He is obviously out of touch with the ocean around him so he can criticize the KMT whose Department of Education recently modified  Taiwanese-Chinese history in high school textbooks.
     KMT Political Socialization in Taiwan is nothing new, but it has backfired into the newest "Sunflower" cause celeb, thanks to some dumb conservative advice and a little push from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with nods of approval from U.S. think-tankers. 
     Students around the world have been misled by their government's take on history. Why should Taiwanese students be any different? There are thousands of facts in American history  that are  kept out of textbooks or glossed over. For example, in American history textbooks, Asian (which is referred to as the "Far East") and Middle World (they still call "Middle East") history gets all of one or two pages to the bulk of Euro-centric Christian history. 
     Also, in American textbooks, in the Asian history section, there is no mention of the US military having prior knowledge of an upcoming bombing of Pearl Harbor; they needed a pretense for declaring war on Japan. There is no mention in American textbooks that the war was won before needlessly dropping two atom bombs on Japanese civilians. In the Chinese history section, the KMT was America's 'friend' during World War II, helping defeat Japan when, in fact, they spent most of the money the U.S. senate gave them fighting the communists or pocketing the change. 
The CCP likes it when the KMT criticizes Japan, while the DPP and America curry Japan’s support in containing China. It all boils down to the United States government wanting to contain Chinese power to continue economic and military dominance of Asia and the world. Taiwanese people cannot deny  that Taiwan culture is influenced by Chinese any less than American culture is English. be continued.

1 comment:

  1. I essentially agree with you that the purging of China's story from Taiwanese history is Hokkien chauvinism. But the problem is deeper and you allude to it earlier. Nation states are historically novel and any effort to project national narratives backward will exclude important stories.

    I am a little troubled at looking at Taiwanese history as a series of imperialisms. It seems hard to avoid and I do not know an alternative. In the same way, I cannot say Howard Zinn is wrong at any but a few placed, but the overall story that is painted is of failed resistance. I just do not know enough about Taiwanese history to know any of the alternatives, but I guess I would start with mobility and migration. I guess adding yet another story of empire (American) would not be wrong, but would leave me uninspired. However, if I wanted a population of good workers who will not resist capitalism, I think I would find it a useful story.