Part of that is because I’m in Taiwan, where I was born and raised, while my dad is in New Zealand, where my family moved in the 1990s. There’s nothing I can do about university travel restrictions. Translation prevented me from going to him.
But I also went to the cemetery feeling like a member of a dying breed.
If war broke out, Taiwanese wondered, would they be as brave as the Ukrainians were? Will they fight for their homeland tenaciously?
Families like mine also think about our forefathers’ service legacy that made us who we are. My grandparents’ choice to volunteer during World War II resulted in them siding with the Kuomintang or Kuomintang (KMT) government against the Communists in the ensuing Chinese Civil War. The victory of the Communists and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on mainland China in 1949 led to their emigration, essentially refugees, to Taiwan under the auspices of the Communists. KMT government is currently living in exile.
But waishengren’s identity is on the verge of fading. The death of my father, like that of my grandparents a few years earlier, has brought us much closer to extinction.
On the contrary, my father once said to me: “Son, don’t forget we are Chinese.” For true believers like him, the Republic of China should be the legitimate government of all of China, and we are its rightful heirs. Tragically for him the Republican dream died in 1949. Too late in history, there was no realistic chance of reviving it.
And, little by little, the DPP government is building a Taiwanese identity that is distinct from the Chinese.
I really want the Taiwanese government to reverse the denuclearization process, but I’m not holding my breath. Over time, with younger generations increasingly being educated by new morons, the kind of waishengren that insist on their Chinese cultural identity will cease to exist. Kind of waishengren like my family.
The waishengren pride themselves on the bravery and patriotism of their parents and grandparents, as the Americans call the name “The Greatest Generation” has stormed the beaches of Normandy, as the British say a proud of their grandparents, who served in the Battle of Britain, as today’s Ukrainians are proud of their brave defenders.
There was once a dream called the Republic of China. It was a dream my grandparents prepared for their ultimate devotion.
It remains to be seen whether, when jostled, the builders of today’s fledgling Taiwan are prepared to make sacrifices for their cause. It remains to be seen whether the Taiwanese will stick together in the event of war, as some of them may still love the lost Republic while others strive to create a New Republic.
My father always remembers the legacy left by my grandparents. I, too, will always keep that in mind – even if our memories don’t live on in the end. We will fight the death of light.