Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'Formosa Betrayed' in Theatres Feb 26

'Formosa Betrayed' is a movie that I have been looking forward to seeing.  It sheds light on a little known chapter in Taiwan's recent history, when Taiwan was still under martial law and the people's struggle for democracy.  Just found out that the movie will be in Theatres in the South Bay (AMC Cupertino Square 16) on Feb 26th. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dutch Landing

In the early 17th Century, there was a rush to establish trade with China, much like today.  The Spanish were ahead of the game with a trading colony in Macao and the Philippines.  Not to be outdone, the Dutch attacked Macao in 1622.  Failing to overtake Macao, the Dutch tried to establish a trading post in the Pescadores Islands (澎湖). However, the Chinese forced the Dutch to leave the Pescadores Islands and take the Taiwan instead.  At the time, Taiwan was considered by the Chinese as a backward and savage land inhabited by headhunters. When the Dutch came to Taiwan, Tainan was the landing site.

There used to be a bay at Tainan called 台江內海. The Dutch established Fort Zeelandia (安平古堡) on an small narrow island across the bay from Tainan. Over the years, silting has caused the bay to become more and more shallow. Silting and planned landfills eventually turned most of the bay into land. The photograph of a Dutch era drawing of Fort Zeelandia and the Dutch town of Tayouan (大員). Tayouan is the Taiwanese aboriginal name for this area. The Chinese name for the island, Taiwan, was derived from Tayouan.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A visit to Fort Provintia

Fort Provintia was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1653.  In 1945, it was renamed "Red-topped Tower" (赤崁樓), pronouced "Chi-kan" Tower which sounds like the Taiwanese aboriginal name for this area, "Saccam."  Forts built by the Dutch were essential for the colonization of the island.  Under Dutch colonial law and protection from aboriginal attacks, the Chinese immigrants flourished in farming the fertile land.  The Dutch in turn taxed the Chinese immigrants to make Taiwan one of their most profitable colonies.  Note the sign below called the Dutch occupiers but not the Chinese, which is a Chinese-centric revision of history.  Both are occupiers.

Fort Provintia was not well-kept over the centuries.  The current buildings have been rebuilt with Chinese-styled building during the late 19th Century.  The model above shows the original Dutch design.

The Beginning

The first well in Taiwan, established by the Dutch. This well is located in the historical city of Tainan. Taiwan was first colonized by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century as a trading post. Before the Dutch came, Taiwan was inhabited by a culturally diverse group of Austronesian people. Because of the diversity of the different Austronesian languages found in Taiwan, scholars believe that the ancestors of Polynesians and Melanesians originally migrated from Taiwan thousands of years ago to inhabit the islands of the South Pacific. Today, Taiwanese Aborigines account for about 2% of the Taiwanese population.