Tag Archives: Taiwanese history

Calculated Madness: Confessions from the Writer’s Studio

Writers sure look crazy

Photo by Drew Coffman, couresy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Sorry for the absences, dear blog readers– I have some good news and bad news. The bad (but not really that bad) news: I have been inundated with historical research, some in English, much in Chinese, and a little in Japanese. It’s been a bit overwhelming. As a result, blogging has taken a backseat to working, and to living– Taipei’s winter was surprisingly cold (without central heat) and surprisingly grim (without much sunshine). However, the good news is this: the project has grown considerably, there are MANY ANSWERS to my many questions about the Liao family and the evolution of Taiwan’s controversial past.

Also, for me, most importantly, I’ve been WRITING.

Not blog posts, obviously. But the book. The WORK, as it were, is chugging along at a new pace, with a new tone, revised structure, fresh scenes, and a new perspective on what its starting and ending points are!  The book is moving!!!!!  (going off to have a little dance party now)

Wonka's chocolate river

Click here to see Willy Wonka (aka Gene Wilder) sing about "Pure Imagination."

The trouble with all of this, is the danger that all of you writers out there understand and share, when the work is plentiful and the inspiration flows like some kind of wonka-land chocolate river. HOW TO STOP IT FROM STOPPING?

And now I come to the point of this post. Trying to write when you’re in the zone (and for me, WRITING the major component of my project), and doing anything else at the same time, is a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your belly, standing on one leg. Completely drunk. Maybe in the rain. Or with a bird pecking at one shoulder. Continue reading

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Hong Kong in Photos: Now and Then

I recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong for a Fulbright-related conference, which allowed me the opportunity to do some family history research. I knew that my father’s family had fled the KMT government in 1947 or 1948 to seek safe haven in Hong Kong, and they lived there together until 1951. My grandfather Thomas Liao (廖文毅) had been in Shanghai during the 228 Incident in 1947, and couldn’t return to Taiwan at risk of death. So the family reunited in Hong Kong, and my Aunt Jeanne remembers those years as some of the happiest the family ever spent together, before my grandparents were separated by the Taiwanese Independence movement, for which work Thomas moved to Tokyo.

Also, my father was born in Hong Kong in 1949. When I was a kid, and we would see “Made in China” or “Made in Hong Kong” stickers on the bottom of items, my dad would stick them on himself and say, “I was made in Hong Kong!” Continue reading

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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Culture Shocked

 

“What causes culture shock?  It is basically an accumulation of stress caused by a lack of the familiar….  Culture shock can hit the young, the old, the experienced, the naive.  It might be a fleeting moment of melancholy, or a brief loneliness, but it can also be a profound and deep depression.” — Culture Shock!  Taiwan

So the honeymoon is over.  Over.  It’s been a fantastic introduction to Taiwan, but as I bid good bye to my heady first few weeks here, I realize with a shock that I am living in Taiwan, not visiting, vacationing, or galavanting.  So if I haven’t been in touch, don’t worry, I’m just culture shocked. Continue reading

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Why Formosa?

I heart Taiwan

photo by beggs, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Formosa = Taiwan.  Taiwan = Formosa.  So why not just use the term Taiwan, or better yet, ROC (Republic of China), as the Nationalists dubbed their stronghold of Taiwan in 1947, when they lost control of mainland China to Mao Zedong’s Communist Party, who renamed China as “The People’s Republic of China”?

Both China and Taiwan have been known by so many terms over the last 100 years, it can be hard to keep track!  (Especially if you are American, and received as comprehensive a world history education as I did– i.e. not comprehensive at all.)

So, I have decided to call this blog Girl Meets Formosa, not Girl Meets Taiwan, because the term Formosa had an important connotation for my grandfather Thomas Liao (廖文毅).  Formosa is the Taiwanese cultural name for Taiwan. Continue reading

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Welcome to Girl Meets Formosa!

Lanterns in Taipei

photo by eazy traveler, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Greetings, Readers!

Welcome to the blog Girl Meets Formosa, which will recount my travel adventures as a young American writer spending one year in Taiwan (Formosa) to learn about how my grandfather Thomas Liao (Liao Wen-Yi) changed the face of Taiwanese history.  This blog will detail my unfolding search for information and identity, as I reconstruct the story of my family–from Taiwan to New York and back again–in the book I’m working on called The Lost Family.

In the blog, I’ll be posting regular updates on the research, fun pictures, and show you what it’s like to live in Taipei as an American writer with Taiwanese roots. Perhaps I’ll post excerpts from the book!  Also look out for discussions of some of my favorite topics– food, fashion, travel, writing, book reviews and what makes this author tick!  I invite you to check out the rest of GirlMeetsFormosa.com for info about the book, the blog, the history of Formosa (Taiwan), and an introduction to my writing and publications.

Here’s a brief taste of what brings me to Taiwan:

Continue reading

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