The Taiwan I know -- Andy Chang

            Taiwan is not a strange place to me because that is where I was born. I went through a typical public Taiwanese education system that included routine 12 hours of school daily with plenty of homework and study. I used to fell into sleep on the bus with 100 people on board. I remembered the teacher beat my palms with a stick due to a point missed on the test. I remembered Taipei looked smoggy, full of traffic, disorganized, and populated. I remembered watching politicians hitting each other with microphones on the television. I also recalled tasting some of the best foods at Taiwan. And I remembered those friendly faces of my friend and family.

                It has being 13 years since I came to the states. However, the trip that I took this past Christmas was one of the most memorable trips. I decided, before the trip, that the eastern portion of Taiwan would be the prime my emphasis since I did not have a vivid memory of that part of the country. Sakinu, a native tribal leader at Tai Doung, was generous enough to allow me to tag along on a four-day trip at his tribe. Upon arrival, I was treated with friendly smiles and respect. We spent nights and days singing and dancing local tribal songs. I tasted fresh grilled bore meat and drank home made sweet rice wine. However, I was most amazed by the trueness and the happiness of the natives. Unlike those of us from the states or Taipei, the natives would communicate to me with their heart without hiding feelings or making circles. They looked happy, in a way of no stress and pressure.

            Tai Doung was really a beautiful place. The house I stay at was facing the ocean and backed by a mountain. I remembered the fresh air in the morning along with singing of the cock. I remembered miles of beautiful undeveloped mountains and beaches. The unstepped sand on the beach with gold like color. The breezing wind as we cruise along the mountain roads. It was much different then I remembered. After the four-day trip I joined the Chilin foundation tour which allowed me to understand the extensive government effort in preserving the native culture and history of Taiwan. I am very glad that the Chilin foundation and the Taiwan government supported the trip which brings the Taiwanese Americans closer to understanding and finding our roots.