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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of  Taiwan Edited by Paoi Hwang

National Taiwan University Press

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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of Taiwan Edited by Paoi Hwang © National Taiwan University Press 2012 ISBN 978-986-03-5413-3 GPN 1010103461 All rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of National Taiwan University Press.

National Taiwan University Press

No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan 106, R.O.C. email:

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I want to express my gratitude to National Taiwan University and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the university for the research awards that funded the collaborative research project “Taiwan Literature in Dialogue with World Literatures” (2006-10). I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Director of National Taiwan University Press, Professor Jieh Hsiang, for accepting the book proposal and then for waiting many years for the work to reach its completion. I am indebted to all the contributing authors for their hard work and careful revisions. I am very grateful to the advisory board members for offering their support and expertise. Thanks to Buck for his technical input and eye for details. Lastly, a huge thanks to Bennett for accompanying me on this journey from the very start and for placing his faith in me as the editor. This has been a very challenging but also a very rewarding experience. I would like to dedicate my efforts to Jaina Fay Wilmer. She never once complained on the countless nights I spent editing, and was an absolute angel when I had to write the introduction after her birth. To my husband, Daniel, thank you for the constant support and for always bringing out the best in me. Paoi Hwang

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Contents Introduction   ...........................................................................................  01 The Voyage of the Sandeq Explorer: A Taiwanese Adventure in the Austronesian World  Terence Russell  ........................................  11 Tribal Gothic: Supernatural Images of Resurrection and Insurrection in Taiwanese Aboriginal and New Zealand Maori Writing  Timothy Fox  .................................................................  35 Where Is Her(e): Métissage as Indigenous Intervention in Taiwanese Liglav A-Wu’s Who Will Wear the Beautiful Garments I Weave? and Canadian Lee Maracle’s I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism Bennett Yu-hsiang Fu  ...............................................................................  65

Risky Fiction: Betrayal and Romance in The Jing Affair  Chih-ming Wang  .......................................................................................  83

Heart of Madness: Identity Crisis and Cultural Conflicts in the Colonial World  Paoi Hwang  ....................................................  113 Alienation, Marginality, and the Re-Imagination of Cultural Identity: The Impact of Colonialism and Shi Shuqing’s Defamiliarization of Taiwan and Hong Kong  Isaac Yue  .................................................  135 Transcending Intellectual Boundaries: The Lyrical Phenomena of Fang Wenshan  Lim Lee Ching  ..................................  157 THE VANISHING SELF: A Suggestion  John Wu, Jr.  .........................  181 Elliptical Taiwan or On Beauty  Jeremy Fernando  .............................  207 Notes on Contributors   .........................................................................  225 Index   .....................................................................................................  229

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Taiwan’s status as an island relatively rich in natural resources and surrounded by more powerful nation states has forced upon it a history of permeable borders and an ever fluctuating cultural sense of itself. Originally inhabited by Austronesian tribal peoples, the island has over the centuries fallen under the political, economic, and cultural influence of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese occupiers, not to mention imperial Chinese colonization. These various nation state players have, by crossing into Taiwan’s borders in service of their own self-enrichment, imposed upon the island’s populations—its indigenous tribes and its Chinese settlers—rules of socioeconomic and political control that have both enriched and impoverished the island’s potential development of an entirely unique and satisfying culture. The final wave of imposed influence, which began with the arrival of the Nationalist regime in exile from the Communist takeover of China, was especially troubling for Taiwan as martial and political concerns encouraged what was at times a decidedly brutal regulation and regimentation of the island people’s cultural production. The 1987 lifting of martial law was the starting point for a shift toward a more democratic political structure that similarly opened up space for greater cultural and artistic expression from what had always been a multicultural population. In this atmosphere, various political activists, artists, and intellectuals worked hard to remedy Taiwan’s long-neglected and repressed cultural sphere. The essays brought together in this book reflect that spirit of revival. Like writers and activists all over the world who seek to retrieve their historical legacy while also celebrating the freedom to experiment with new ideas, this collection contains a multitude of voices that speak for Taiwan. Globalization, a trend prevailing to the future development of Taiwan, has tremendously transformed the vistas of political reforms,

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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of Taiwan

cultural productions, and ethnic re-composition on the island. The globalized landscape concurrently re-channels the visions of not only the local residents, including indigenous indwellers and foreign settlers, but also the international communities keeping an eye on the island’s route/root of development. Such gradual but radical transformation, in many ways, has encouraged the nation-state identity and identification to vacillate between insularism and globalization. In this transitional state, Taiwan can be regarded as a post-industrial, postmodern, or postcolonial cultural montage. It is noteworthy that such robust transformation has been recorded by a great number of local writers, film directors, artists, and cultural activists who continue to document the ongoing pain, confusion, and/or elation during this marching process. Since this struggle cannot be articulated simply from an “insular” perspective, Taiwan’s cultural productions and activities can be seen to be mirrored in nations across the world that have undergone or are still experiencing similar situations. The Taiwan scholar and critic, Chen Fangming, has noted that Taiwan’s literary production has been characterized by “a fundamental act of decentering. Precisely because it possessed these characteristics, Taiwan’s literature from the 1980s to the present has often been classified under the general rubric of postmodernism.” 1 Postmodernity and its influences on the literary and art scenes in Taiwan not only brings up the question of Westernization in Taiwanese cultural life but also emphasizes the decolonization that Taiwan seeks in terms of national identity. Indeed globalization and consumer culture have allowed Taiwan to compete equally with Western nations, but can Taiwan gain the recognition it desires in terms of political security and cultural identity? The process of decentering refers not only to divergent political forces, but also to the attitudes that people hold toward Taiwan as a nation. Writers and artists alike have been asking the fundamental question: What are   1  Chen Fangming, “Postmodern or Postcolonial? An Inquiry into Postwar Taiwanese Literary History,”Writing Taiwan (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2007), 26-50, 27.

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Introduction 3

the consequences of embracing new cultural identities when one is already confounded by one’s own historical ambiguity? Whether it is postmodernist discourse on gay cultures or cyber theory, ultimately the issues of location return and force the contexts of that reality upon the individual and his society. Hence Liao Hsienhao states that Taiwanese postmodernism and Taiwanese nationalism have been inseparable since the early eighties, and together they have defined the outlook of Taiwanese society up to the very present.2 This pluralistic development in Taiwan, Chen argues, leans towards postcoloniality rather than postmodernity because the ultimate goal is not to deconstruct but to reconstruct subjectivity. Under this light, it is possible to understand why the process of nation-building has been so problematic for Taiwan. According to Chen, the “introduction of Chinese nationalism into Taiwan can be seen as a fictional and even factional dissemination. In particular, the Nationalist government’s raising of the Nationalist flag constituted a welcome to only those literary works favourable to its own position. . . .This censorship testifies to the fact that the Nationalist government’s ‘nationalism’ was actually a divisive political ideal, based on considerations of what was advantageous to the ‘part,’ rather than what was actually best for the ‘whole’ national populace itself.” Hence “nationalism” in Taiwan can be seen as a form of recolonization.3 The character of postmodernism is quite similar to that of postcolonialism, and this is probably the primary reason that some Taiwanese scholars have confused the two concepts. Postmodernism is located within a discourse of deconstructing the narratives of centralized power and of Euro-American logocentrism. Postcolonialism, by contrast, is located within a discourse of dissolving imperialist and colonial dichotomies of center and margin. Both these   2  Liao Hsienhao, “Becoming Cyborgian: Postmodernism and Nationalism in Contemporary Taiwan,” eds. Arif Dirlik and Xudong Zhang, Postmodernism and China (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2000), 175-202, 175.   3  Chen, “Postmodern or Postcolonial,” 31, 32.

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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of Taiwan

systems of thought are concerned with critiquing the center as well as with advocating cultural plurality and affirming the existence and status of the other. . . .[T]he ultimate subject of postmodernism lies in the deconstruction of subjectivity, while postcolonialism aspires to the reconstruction of subjectivity.4

Chen further states that Western postmodernism follows directly from the decline of modernism, which is primarily the product of industrialism and capitalism, whereas postmodernism in Taiwan is better understood as a rejection of modernism: “the depression of Western intellectuals is the result of their facing the great machine of industrial civilization; the alienation of Taiwanese modernist authors is an effect of the colonial regime.” 5 In the case of Taiwan, “[o]ne of the ruling methods that the colonizers employ most effectively involves the use of grand narratives. The more grandiose the rhetoric, the easier it will be for the rulers’ biases to be shielded from view, while the character and speech of the colonized become increasingly limited.” 6 Hence Taiwanese authors have a tendency to embrace the postmodernist culture in resistance and rejection of the center. As Taiwanese social critic Liao Pinghui suggests, the “postmodern condition” in Taiwan is best conveyed by its “non-national nationstate” or “fifty-two-year-old ‘transitory’ government created by national disunity.” This type of disunity “forces people to endure uncertainty—the worst kind of uncertainty—about virtually all elements of the social edge, from the state-created domains to the various aspects of everyday life, since almost all identities—cultural, ethnic, national, and so on—now not only cut across each other in multiple ways and through multiple sites but are also open to threat and renegotiation.” 7 Liao Hsienhao   4  Chen, “Postmodern or Postcolonial,” 43.   5  Chen, “Postmodern or Postcolonial,” 36. According to Chen, “when the entire system of dominance was beginning to fall apart, Taiwanese authors began to use the political fissures to articulate their concern for the territory of Taiwan,” 37.   6  Chen, “Postmodern or Postcolonial,” 39.   7  Liao Pinghui, “Postmodern Literary Discourse and Contemporary Public

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agrees with Liao Pinghui in calling Taiwan postmodern, but for the opposite reason: it is “a ‘non-place’ (neither nation nor province, neither Chinese nor non-Chinese, neither island nor mainland, etc.) and a nodal point for ‘all places’ (having recently registered the hybrid nature of its culture, in which Malayo-Polynesian, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Spanish, American, and other cultural legacies have intermixed, and having found itself a focal point for communication technologies and information exchange).” 8 In other words, while the former sees the fragmentary non-nation as a decentering that encourages disunity, the latter argues that this fluidity is conducive to new identity formation. When read in the light of Chen’s argument, the type of non-nation that the latter approach advocates is not only a form of forgetting the past but also a possible overlooking of China’s political repression of Taiwan’s autonomy. Under these circumstances, a deconstruction of subjectivity prevents the formation of a center and can prove detrimental to the solidification of a national identity. Such arguments and discussions illustrate Taiwan’s constant struggle to find cultural and political stability. Postmodernity and postcoloniality are like two mirrors that reflect each other; they perpetuate the idea of identity while proclaiming the impossibility of finding one, and thus the quest never ends because the object is never found. Liao Chaoyang, a scholar in postmodernism, argues that “participatory democracy” is not possible because the “fissuring of the objective order also implies a constitutive lack in subjectivizing power, and hence the constant need to draw its subjects into renewing the process of identification. Without this need for repetition, there would not be any possibility for the same subjects to rework the ‘performativity’ of symbolic identity. . . .Without acknowledging this structure of lack of identity and identification and its embeddedness in the real, in the impossibility of symbolic pedagogy to subsume everything and totalize itself, advocacy of radical Culture in Taiwan,” eds. Arif Dirlik and Xudong Zhang, Postmodernism and China (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2000), 68-88, 71.   8  Liao, “Becoming Cyborgian,” 176.

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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of Taiwan

democracy will not lead to fruitful intervention either in postmodern culture or in the settling of political conflicts in Taiwan.” 9 According to Liao, postmodernity indisputably influences national identity, but if it is to be a positive influence, then Taiwan has to look away from the Western version and come up with its own. “Western theories of postmodernity have not been very helpful in pointing to possible ways to break such historical circularity. Most local practitioners of cultural criticism still subscribe to a postmodernism informed by the entrenched poststructuralist hostility toward identity and the autonomous subject. In recent debates about ethnicity and nationhood, it is typical for participants who assume more ‘progressive’ postures to conflate ethnic or national identity with political nationalism (usually rephrased as ‘state nationalism’), which tends to slide further toward fascism and imperialism.” 10 This collection engages with the political debates on Taiwan’s identity and nationhood while also attempting to step beyond them. The first three essays focus on aboriginal culture and literature because a major development in the preserving and revising of Taiwan’s culture has centered on aboriginal people and their rights. When the Chinese Nationalists arrived in Taiwan at the close of the Chinese Civil War, they promoted an ideology that not only sought to overturn the previous Japanese nationalism but also strove to suppress the Taiwanese native and indigenous presence. One approach toward this goal was forced name changing. Just as the Japanese colonial authorities had called upon name changing as a form of assimilation, so too the Nationalist regime made it compulsory for tribal people to adopt Chinese names. Under the leadership of Yi-chiang Pa-lu-erh, the Alliance of Taiwanese Aborigines pushed for democratization in requesting “the right to self-government, [and] determining the course of their own affairs in all matters except   9  Liao Chaoyang, “Borrowed Modernity: History and the Subject in A Borrowed Life,” eds. Arif Dirlik and Xudong Zhang, Postmodernism and China (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2000), 275-293, 289-290. 10  Liao, “Borrowed Modernity,” 289.

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foreign policy and defence.” 11 Terence Russell’s “The Voyage of the Sandeq Explorer: A Taiwanese Adventure in the Austronesian World” uses Anthony D. Smith’s argument on ethnicity to establish the Austronesians as having the earliest and most legitimate claim to Taiwan, but he also points out that allusions to such a heritage can obscure Taiwan’s push for nationhood insofar as the Austronesian identity is shared by many countries in the Pacific. Timothy Fox’s “Tribal Gothic: Supernatural Images of Resurrection and Insurrection in Taiwanese Aboriginal and New Zealand Maori Writing” further explores this Austronesian connection between aboriginal writing in Taiwan and New Zealand. By looking at supernatural elements in both cultures in relation to the Western Gothic tradition, Fox is able to demonstrate that a nation’s indigenous tribal presence is vital to the formation of its identity. Bennett Yu-hsiang Fu’s “Where Is Her(e): Métissage as Indigenous Intervention in Taiwanese Liglav A-Wu’s Who Will Wear the Beautiful Garments I Weave? and Canadian Lee Maracle’s I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism” takes the importance of indigeneity one step further. Fu argues that it is inevitable for cultures to mix and merge over time; thus, it is the métissage that allows marginalized groups like the aboriginal people of Taiwan and Canada to form a common solidarity to overturn hegemonic discourses and policies. The martial law that sought to suppress the Taiwanese spirit not only affected the aborigines but also the majority of Taiwan’s inhabitants who saw themselves as “Taiwanese.” The second set of essays provides closer analyses of colonization and its effects on Taiwan. Chih-ming Wang’s “Risky Fiction: Betrayal and Romance in The Jing Affair” is based on a novel that fictionalizes the politics in Taiwan in the 1960s. The Jing Affair is written by an American government official who fantasizes about Taiwanese revolution and the Chinese Nationalist government’s betrayal of its American ally. Paoi Hwang’s “Heart of Madness: Identity Crisis and Cultural Conflicts in the Colonial World” is a more factual 11  Gary Marvin Davison, A Short History of Taiwan: The Case for Independence (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003), 110.

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analysis of how colonization can lead to madness in both the individual and the nation. Hwang’s essay compares the works of seminal writers like Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe and Wu Zhuoliu to theorize on the damage of cultural conflicts under colonial rule and the impact it has on nation and identity formation. Isaac Yue’s “Alienation, Marginality, and the Re-Imagination of Cultural Identity: The Impact of Colonialism and Shi Shuqing’s Defamiliarization of Taiwan and Hong Kong” examines the advantages and disadvantages of cultural defamiliarization and alienation. Yue uses the works of Taiwanese author Shi Shuqing to examine the literary constitution of Hong Kong. He concludes that while colonization may adversely affect the individual, the resulting “deformity” may survive and thrive if turned to good use. The final three essays uses alternative approaches to explore Taiwan in relation to the world. Lim Lee Ching’s “Transcending Intellectual Boundaries: The Lyrical Phenomena of Fang Wenshan” examines music as an alternative cultural space. He believes the global appeal of Taiwanese pop music comes from its multifarious influences; it has a voice that speaks of various historical and cultural ties. As a true global entity, Fang’s music experiments with the unfamiliar and yet is nostalgic and not forgetful or resentful of its past. The final two articles are philosophical reflections. John Wu—an American-born Chinese whose father, John C. H. Wu (an important juristic philosopher of the 20th century), was from Shanghai—spent most of his adult life in Taiwan. His “THE VANISHING SELF: A Suggestion” draws on Eastern and Western philosophies and teachings to form an interesting view of Taiwan. Jeremy Fernando’s “Elliptical Taiwan or On Beauty” completes this collection by entreating us to ask “What’s in a name?” What does it matter if a place is called Formosa or Taiwan? Despite all the defining characteristics and images that a nation may present, it is the ellipses and the absences that allow islands like Taiwan to be open to change, and to be truly beautiful. As all the works mentioned above have shown, it is through the forging of new relationships with others, whether through travel, literature, or music, that a culture is revived and energized. Ultimately,

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the openness to new ideas may alter our perspectives, but if we celebrate our historical legacy while embracing the freedom to experiment, we will ensure that our identity remains unbroken and yet also unique.

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The Voyage of the Sandeq Explorer: A Taiwanese Adventure in the Austronesian World Terence Russell

Abstract This paper looks at the use of Austronesian culture in the construction of ethnicity and nationalism in Taiwan since 1987 when martial law was ended. Taking Anthony D. Smith’s theories regarding the use of “ethno-symbolism” as a foundation for nationalism as a departure point, we will examine how one symbol of Austronesianness, a traditional outrigger sailing canoe christened the Sandeq Explorer, was coopted, manipulated, and selectively employed by groups representing several nations, including Taiwan. In different ways and for different reasons, those groups all felt that they could legitimately claim the Sandeq Explorer as a part of their national cultural heritage. They sought to present the boat and its voyages as an expression of their national identity. This rather unique situation of having multiple claimants to a single symbol of ethnicity leads us to reexamine Smith’s thesis of how nations form their identities. We will also be afforded a glimpse of how Taiwan’s Austronesian heritage is viewed by her neighbors. Keywords Taiwan, Austronesian, indigenous peoples, ethno-symbolism, nationalism, Syaman Rapongan, sandeq, Indonesia, Japan, Nativism, ethnicity, South Pacific, DPP, KMT

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The Voyage of the Sandeq Explorer: A Taiwanese Adventure in the Austronesian World

Introduction On 1 August 2007, then President Chen Shuibian delivered a speech inaugurating the “Preparatory Office of the Austronesian Forum.” 1 The inauguration was the fulfillment of a promise made to Taiwan’s South Pacific allies the previous year in the “Palau Declaration.” 2 Signatories to the declaration included Taiwan, the Philippines, Palau, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. According to President Chen’s speech, the main objectives of the declaration and the Austronesian Forum were to “bolster cooperation in capacity building, economic development, and society and culture so as to strengthen oceanic, democratic alliances and realize comprehensive partnerships.” In other words, Chen was committing Taiwan to continued and intensified support of the nations of the South Pacific in their efforts towards economic and political development. It was only natural that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government of Taiwan would seek to strengthen its ties with its neighbors and allies in the South Pacific. Several of Taiwan’s few remaining diplomatic allies are located in the South Pacific, and the DPP had been pursuing a policy of diplomatic and economic diversification to counterbalance the predominance of an increasingly hostile People’s   1  Chen Shuibian, “President Chen’s Remarks at Inauguration of the Preparatory Office of the Austronesian Forum.” Office of the President, Republic of China, Taiwan, 1 August 2007. Web. 14 March 2012 < Default.aspx?tabid=491&itemid=18996&rmid=2355>.   2  Gu Hengshen, “Nandao minzu luntan mishuchu 8 yue 1 ri, Chen Shuibian xuanbu chengli” [August 1, Chen ShuibianDeclares Establishment of the Secretariat of the Austronesian Forum], Epoch Times 28 July 2007. Web. 14 January 2009 <>.

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Republic of China. However, that it should advance this initiative under the banner of “Austronesian” cultural connections is highly noteworthy. In fact, the main substance of President Chen’s speech is a rendition of Taiwan’s Austronesian heritage, especially the possibility that Taiwan is the cradle and original dispersal point of Austronesian culture. With important representatives of Taiwan’s Indigenous people in the audience, Chen also pointed out the many advances that have been achieved by Austronesian Indigenous people under the rule of his DPP government. Chen stressed that anthropological research, much of it done by Western academics, proves that Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples are “totally different from the Han people who later immigrated to Taiwan, and are therefore not related by blood to the people of China.” What is more, Taiwan’s Austronesian communities are “the fount from which Taiwan’s culture has sprung.” 3 With its interest in Taiwan’s Austronesian heritage, the DPP represents a large constituency of Taiwanese “Nativists” [Bentupai]. The basic project of the Nativists is to forge a unique and viable national identity for Taiwan, one that refutes the contention of the Chinese Nationalist Party [Zhongguo kuomintang or KMT] and Chinese Communist Party [Zhongguo gongchan dang or CCP] that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China (whether “China” indicates the Peoples’ Republic of China or the Republic of China is an issue for another study). One form of evidence presented by Nativists in support of their case for a distinct Taiwanese identity is the hybrid genetic inheritance of the pre-1949 Hoklo and Hakka populations of the island. Research on the DNA composition of people in these groups indicates that up to 85% have Austronesian ancestry. 4 Evidence of genetic hybridity reinforces the further contention that there exists a distinct Taiwanese ethnicity which is derived in part from cultural mixing with the island’s   3  Chen, “President Chen’s Remarks.”   4  Hu Ching-hui, “Most Hoklo, Hakka Have Aboriginal Genes, Study Finds,” Taipei Times 21 November 2007. Web. 4 April 2012 < News/front/archives/2007/11/21/2003388825>.

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Global Encounters: Cross-cultural Representations of Taiwan