Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Taiwan, Orwell, and the Notion of Escape

This article was originally published in the July Issue of 24/7 Magazine.

All through history people have been escaping, though it’s often called migration in the drier text books. It amounts to the same thing; escaping starvation, giant sloths, glaciers, or men with sticks and stones. Taiwan has been tied to this notion of escape since the Stone Age. Taiwan has long been a land of refuge.

18 000 years ago during the last ice age ocean levels were low enough that Taiwan would have been reachable on foot but probably way too cold to live in. People would have run here to escape only to freeze to death. A pattern will emerge here in a second.

About 10 000 years ago, Taiwan was probably being settled by Austronesians, who would go on to become Formosan Aboriginal People. They came from all over the Southern Pacific, escaping angry volcanoes and weather gods, hungry sharks, and starvation, only to end up bullied, harassed and slaughtered by the Chinese, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and then the Chinese again. This wasn’t the only place that it happened, ..happens.

The Chinese first came in real numbers in the 16th century as the Ming Dynasty crumbled. The last remnants of the Ming came to Taiwan, Penghu, and Kinmen with Cheng Chen Kung and sought a place to regroup and rebuild. The Ming continued on Taiwan for nearly 20 years after it had been exterminated on the mainland. The Ching Dynasty hit Taiwan in 1683 and lots of previously escaped folks died. Everybody else got ponytails.

Then the Ching held Taiwan for over two hundred years. Then they gave it to Japan in exchange for Japanese gains in Manchuria, where the Manchu Ching came from. Again the people of this island were bullied, harassed and slaughtered. Some of the folks created Republic of Formosa, the first in Asia, in 1895. It lasted 2 weeks and then it was crushed by the Imperial Japanese Forces.

In 1947 when the tide started to turn in the Chinese Civil War the KMT began to send more troops to this most western outpost of the empire. This lovely time was the beginning of the White Terror, which most people forget about on 2/28, every year.

Then two years later, Chiang Kai Shek himself came here with nearly two million refugees, mostly soldiers, ending the ambiguity. Four roughly six hundred years, or ten thousand, depending on who you believe, the Chinese had been escaping to Taiwan and finally China came here. And many more of the previously escaped perished horribly.

George Orwell talked about the need for escape too, you know, in Animal Farm and in 1984. In Animal Farm the animals escape the farmer into a worse hell of their own creation. In 1984 the Winston and Julia think of escape,

Often they gave themselves up to daydreams of escape. It was all nonsense, as they both knew. In reality there was no escape.

But he wasn’t all gloom and despair; he did reveal one way for individuals to escape,

But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.
If he was right we may have escaped in the wrong direction. Here we are for now, the New Taiwanese; simply the latest wave of escape artists to find this island, escaping political oppression, and correctness, high taxes, cold weather, or poverty. We should be safe until the next wave of change sweeps through here. Resistance is futile.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Opportunity to Receive Quality Traffic. Directed To Your Website From HotelTravel.com

Dear Mr. Sean Reilly

My name is Sivaluk I work at HotelTravel.com and I’m writing to offer you an opportunity to have quality, targeted traffic directed to your website. HotelTravel.com is one of the leading Hotel Reservations websites on the internet, and we have more than 3,000,000 unique visitors to our websites pages every month. Our alexa.com ranking is shown as http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=www.hoteltravel.com&url=hoteltravel.com

As you’ll already know, receiving links from quality content pages is the best way to increase your link popularity and helps to boost your websites position in search engines like Google. The days of linking from link directories are finished, links from web pages with many outbound links on them are not giving you a lot of linking power. These pages are actually very easy for search engines to filter out of their algorithms. You need to gain links from content related websites that are within your websites theme. Web pages that only have a few outbound links leaving them and those links should all be to related content. We are limiting the amount of out-bound’s on our content pages to a maximum of 10; this means that you will receive a minimum of 10% of the page value when your link is added to the page.

HotelTravel.com has a huge resource of travel guides that we publish online only for value to our customer base.
When we searched the internet using [Turtle Island in Taiwan], we came across your website. And after I have reviewed your website I found the great information that we think really useful for our customers. HotelTravel.com has content relevant to this search term on this http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/guides/sightseeing.htm page.
This travel guide page receives hundreds of page views every single day, and we would like to place a link to your website in the section that is relevant to your site like this:
Turtle Island This small, solitary island located about 10km off the coast of Toucheng in Yilan County has volcanic terrain that, from certain angles, looks like a turtle floating in the sea. Among the features of the island are high cliffs, steaming fumaroles, welling underwater hot springs, mountain peaks, sea-eroded caves, a lake, and unique cliff vegetation, as well as rich marine ecological resources. It is a perfect place to study volcanic terrain and the natural ecology. Check out this website for further information about Turtle Island.

Our travel guides provide our customers with valuable information on many popular worldwide destinations. We would like to send our customers to other quality websites that give them more detailed information on the destinations that they are interested in. We believe that your site would be an ideal resource for our 100,000+ daily visitors.

This http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/guides/sightseeing.htm page has been given a Page Rank of [4] on Google’s toolbar. If you search for “Taiwan Sightseeing”, you will see that it appears at the following position:
3 of about 2,060,000 for Taiwan Sightseeing. (results in Google.)

We are offering the top five websites that have the best information for our customers the chance to have a link from this paragraph of the page. Please note that we will limit the amount of advertising that will be placed on this page to ten. In return for adding a permanent advertisement for your website from our travel guide page, we request a link to be added to your http://thegentlerant.blogspot.com/2005/07/taiwan-orwell-and-notion-of-escape.html page.

Please place any one of the html codes below on your http://thegentlerant.blogspot.com/2005/07/taiwan-orwell-and-notion-of-escape.html Or if you prefer, link to us from a single word (Taiwan, Hotel, Accommodation, Reservations) that is relevant to the http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/hotels.htm page.

Taiwan Hotels
Title: Taiwan Hotels
URL: http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/hotels.htm
It should look like this: Taiwan Hotels

Taiwan Accommodation
Title: Taiwan Accommodation
URL: http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/hotels.htm
It should look like this: Taiwan Accommodation

Hotel reservations in Taiwan
Title: Hotel reservations in Taiwan
URL: http://www.hoteltravel.com/taiwan/hotels.htm
It should look like this: Hotel reservations in Taiwan

As I mentioned, we are approaching other websites with the offer to advertise from this paragraph of our guide page. So I’m afraid these links will be added to the pages on a first reply, first placement basis.
Please reply to this email address with the confirmation of the details above being added to your page and the exact location (URL) you have placed them.

If you require any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

We look forward to hearing positive reply from you in near future.

Best regards,
Sivaluk Suk-Iam
Links coordinator
Business Development
Email: Sivaluk.s@hoteltravel.com
HotelTravel.com
http://www.HotelTravel.com
Tel: 76-282-808
Fax: 76-282-809
USA:
Fax: 212-202-4055 (New York)
Fax: 415-276-4511 (San Francisco)
Europe:
Fax: 20-7900-1534 (London)
Australia:
Fax: 2-9475-0991 (Sydney)
Email Contact:
reservation@HotelTravel.com
contact@HotelTravel.com
credit@HotelTravel.com
Policies:
http://www.HotelTravel.com/network/policy.htm
*****************************************************************
HotelTravel.com is a leading Internet provider of discounted hotel rooms,
offering 3 to 5-star hotels at savings of up to 75% off the regular rates.

sivaluk_htn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dghnfgj said...

EVEN by wow gold the standards gold in wow of the worst financial buy wow gold crisis for at least wow gold cheap a generation, the events of Sunday September 14th and the day before were extraordinary. The weekend began with hopes that a deal could be struck,maplestory mesos with or without government backing, to save Lehman Brothers, America''s fourth-largest investment bank.sell wow gold Early Monday buy maplestory mesos morning Lehman maplestory money filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It has more than maplestory power leveling $613 billion of debt.Other vulnerable financial giants scrambled maple money to sell themselves or raise enough capital to stave off a similar fate. billig wow gold Merrill Lynch, the third-biggest investment bank, sold itself to Bank of America (BofA), an erstwhile Lehman suitor,wow power leveling in a $50 billion all-stock deal.wow power leveling American International Group (AIG) brought forward a potentially life-saving overhaul and went maple story powerleveling cap-in-hand to the Federal Reserve. But its shares also slumped on Monday.