Taiwan, China, Taipei Taiwan discussed on Rough Translation
So when these APO is all of a sudden throwing his family connections his connection to his homeland his entire childhood really wear his cultural roots are to the side. I can't help but think to myself. Am I being played like? Is this guy. Just really calm in a situation other people would be freaking out in. Or is he really? I feel bad saying this is. He really aspires face to face meeting and some answers when rough translation returns. We're back with rough translation in our story about the student Lee Bow. Emily was not at all sure where to land on this guy when we talked last summer but the months passed and she kept following the story until a few things happened. I actually got to Taiwan to meet him. You'll have here Yeah Though has been when I met him. He was way shorter than I expected even more durable than expected he definitely seemed younger than I thought. His apartment is in this quiet part of Taipei Taiwan's capital city. He lives on the ground floor with two other roommates. And the first thing you notice when you walk in is the clutter but none of the stuff is his being through. He showed me his bedroom. It is very small so small that he's barely fit a mattress in their. Wh What Is Yours. And what is what was already here. only bought this pillow reading lamp in the months that he's been in Taiwan he's living in close to poverty and he's all alone in this society that hasn't yet accepted him. You know life as always along as far as I can tell He hasn't made close friendships. And in Taiwan and so. I asked him. Aren't you homesick? And he said No. Homesickness is for people who cannot assimilate. It's only when you don't feel like you fit in that you start to miss the things that are familiar. Does he feel like you fitter He he feels like he can fit into Taiwanese society. But he's not optimistic anymore that Taiwan will accept him. This brings us to the second thing that changed in Lee's life. Taiwan was having a presidential election. That election was the reason that emily was in Taiwan. Like every time when he's election feels like Life or death to the time when he's but this year they said it was particularly existential was all taking place as the protests in Hong Kong. We're getting one more intense. Hong Kong wants to sign this bill that can send suspected criminals back to mainland China. Hong people don't agree with that and they start protesting and the same issues that are happening in the Hong Kong protests are not playing out in Taiwan's presidential elections and the question of whether to accept asylum seekers had become a major campaign issue so I asked him. How does the Election Affect Your visa? Shinsei team qualm. That gets me on. What's your situation now with the visa? A similar scene hunter so that he was not very optimistic. He said it really depends on on who wins and the political direction I want to but he keeps saying. I don't have control over the matter. There's nothing I can do about wait and see necessarily when Chin which Dow we've seen Polish on. I keep prodding him because I don't quite believe that he's as calm as he says he. I certainly wouldn't be. What does he think about the fact that a lot of people in Taiwan or calling him a spy and asking you youth highway people are saying really mean things about you maybe even untrue and he responds by saying were in a democratic society? People can say what they want. Y'All in fact I for a lot of people piled onto him he said I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to mislead you about which university I was broadcasting from. And what did he say about his accent? The fact that he does not at all talk like someone from northern China. I asked him about his accent. He said I watch a lot of Tony's movies Korean movies and I picked up these accents from all these different things that I watch C. You can hear 'em you says ridiculous ridiculous that people expect a person to speak with shadow accent. Why why can't they have an accent from a different place which serve Beleza basic understanding of accents are right? I mean you don't usually acquire a different accent from watching foreign movies on TV. Unless I guess if you really don't WanNa live where you are you want. Imagine yourself somewhere else. Yes so I was like when he was growing up and he said that he would always be asking why into Allen reasonable. Why things were the way they were and the thing that he still resents to this day is instead of nurturing as curiosity his parents would always say. Why was he asking so many questions? They were really impatient with him and so I asked him if he was close to his parents and he said a Hindu to those spent a lot of conflict in our relationship. His Dad would always tell him. Why can't you be like everyone else? And then he says well. When I got older I started to think. Why do I have to be like everyone else? Wish American and that's when he says he opened the door to this new world that eventually led him to Taiwan uses. You get made me see his flight to Taiwan in a different light so at first I was using the framework of this is a young Chinese dissident. He wants freedom he feels suppressed in mainland China. So he comes to Taiwan but then I realized he is a young college student who probably has. Parental issues feels constrained by them has big dreams and emissions and in some ways his flight to Taiwan is part of this normal almost universal adolescent Journey to finding oneself to fully come into one's potential and this is the moment when he starts to make more sense to you. Yeah actually growing up. My parents would tell me all the time. Thank God that we emigrated because you would not succeed in China. I mean. Ironically I am in China right now but not under the circumstances of of having gone to school here and working for a Chinese company. Why because you asked Just too many questions he. I don't I mean it's not that I'm disrespectful of authority but it takes a lot of sucking up to do well in China trying to think of examples like there are very liberal independent thinking people I know who will still bowed to social pressure. And they'll make it work in their favor but they still. They still conform so for example. I have at least one gay friend who has gotten a fake marriage with someone of the opposite gender so they can say parents have gotten married when in fact the sham marriage it's a friend of theirs but it's totally platonic defense. They're totally against the political system that governs China. They're against the social values that make people act the way they act. They still feel a connection to Chinese society. Their friends their family. The people that care most about are there and they want to be part of those people's lives. There's a strong cultural association with being trainees. Even if there are parts of that society or that political system that they don't like and the double really struck me as a person who not only disliked the political system but also didn't feel that culturally close to being Chinese like ethnically culturally Chinese and was okay leaving all that behind. Was there any policy? That toilet from fishing hole asked him. You feel like you ran away from you. Abandon them in China policy. Tom And he says no I. I don't think I abandoned them all their own. He said they have their own lives. And from now on I have my own. I mean he is. He is kind of very quintessentially American and like a great gatsby way. He thinks he's a blank slate like he can make himself and to whoever he wants to be and my understanding was that his accent is also part of his project of finding himself that it should be somehow a product of his choice. Not where he grew up but to many Chinese people he would be siennas turning his back on a very intrinsic part of who he is which is that. He's Chinese it. I remember in our first interview last year. You were talking about Chinese millennials. And how silent they are on the subject of politics or as activists and you're wondering whether lease story might signify that. There's a lot more resentment among those people than you knew about What you're describing in lease story is such a special case. Not Maybe in his politics but his psychology. What makes him so different? Might be not how he feels about the president but how he feels about his parents or about his country so knowing that how do you feel now about whether there are millions of more people like him willing to do what he did? I think I think he's pretty unique. I don't think there are a lot of people who do it he did. He was able to let go really easily with very few qualms cheese. We were talking about the impossible traces. He faced either. He was made opportunist trying to create a political opportunity in what she could get asylum in a better country or he was a Chinese spy your to ruined democracy in Taiwan or the. Us Seems Kinda choosen. Its Own goal choosers repeal. Say he was like this is an original sin. It's like a stain on who he wants to be like. He wants the choice of being able to say. I am Chinese or I'm not Chinese. Unfortunately everyone's already decided for him that he is trainees at the end of the day. Some part of him is a little bit Chinese than you realize that. He can't just leave.