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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Support Taiwan

Taiwan is the center of my life and it is for all those who are living in this country. We are connected through an imagined community of experience and it is that experience of interacting within the frameworks of this society that gives us our sense of communion. Taiwan's culture(s) are and have always been in a state of dynamic change; adapting and transforming to conform to new realities and motivations. There is a social structure in Taiwan that is unique and each of us must come into contact with that structure in a different way, but it creates the structure of our lives and we learn how to negotiate it like a mouse learns to negotiate a maze. That is where our culture comes from.

Cycling in Taiwan is another way in which we can interact with our environment in Taiwan. Whether we are a Taiwanese, Foreigner or Alien, we are engaging and interacting with our environment. We are in contact with others. We make friends, chat with neighbors, visit the store, use the post office, cycle through rice fields and swear at passing cars. Everything that is going on within this structure is adding to the shared community. As an ethnic foreigner on Taiwan (yes, ethnic foreigner), I am often regarded as a hermetically sealed entity that can have no meaningful experience or impact on my community... or opinion for that matter. This is a false exclusion. I am part of the Taiwan experience and Taiwan is part of my experience. The way I interact with the structure of Taiwan is as a foreigner, which is different than a non-foreigner, but still an experience unique to Taiwan. Cycling simply allows me to engage in one more conversation with the land and people.

Through my experiences on the bike I add to my experience and my emotions attach to more parts of my world. I am a part of this space and I am not shy about standing up to protect MY HOME. I am proud of who we are on Taiwan and of the people we have become. I love my home and therefore I would like to pass along the following message:

On May 9th, FAPA-YPG would like to encourage all of you to change your Facebook Avatar to the image above.

+++++++ THE CRISIS +++++++

China claims that Taiwan is a "renegade province" that must be "reunified" at any cost. While threatening the people of Taiwan via 1400+ missiles aimed in their direction and refusing to renounce the use of military force, China has also isolated Taiwan internationally, blocking its membership in organizations such as the United Nations and World Health Organization. As a result of China's belligerence, many nations, including the United States, do not formally recognize Taiwan, instead adhering to a "One China" policy that fails to acknowledge the reality of "One China *and* One Taiwan."

+++++++ THE TRUTH +++++++

Taiwan is an independent, democratic, sovereign nation with its own government, its own territory, its own military, and its own people. China's campaign of "reunification" and "anti-secession" is nothing more than a propaganda effort to annex its democratic and prosperous neighbor.

===> Taiwan has been a part of China since...never. <=== Taiwan has been occupied by multiple powers (including the French and the Dutch) in the last four centuries. However, it has *never* been occupied by the People's Republic of China, a communist dictatorship whose rampant and systematic abuse of human rights are well-documented. ===> A casualty of World War II: Who asked the Taiwanese? <=== Prior to World War II, Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese for half a century. Upon Japan's surrender, Taiwan was occupied by the KMT (Kuomingtang), who had lost the Chinese Civil War *in China* to the Communists and fled to nearby Taiwan. The Allies appointed the KMT as temporary administrators over the island; however, the KMT promptly established martial law and ruled Taiwan with an iron first for the next 50 years. ===> The evolution of Taiwan's democracy: The Taiwanese people demand freedom. <=== Through the efforts of the Taiwanese people—many of whom sacrified their lives for the dream of democracy—martial law was finally lifted in 1987, which paved the way to a direct presidential election in 1996 and a peaceful transfer of power from the KMT to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2000. In 2008, the KMT was re-elected into power. Through all this, Taiwan has never been part of the People's Republic of China. ====================== ++++ WHAT YOU CAN DO +++++======================

On SUNDAY, MAY 9th, 2010, which marks the beginning of Taiwanese-American Heritage Week, join the campaign: (1) Change your profile picture to the "Taiwan is Not Part of China" logo, the picture for this Facebook event. (2) Post the following message as your status and attach a link to this Facebook event: ++++++++++++++++++++++ ----------------------------

Taiwan is a free, independent and democratic country. Taiwan is NOT part of China. Help us tell the world by reposting this message as your status.

Giro Time: Giro d'Italia Saturday, May 8

The late Marco Pantani was a climber's climber and a thrilling rider to watch. In 1998 he won both the Giro and the Tour. That year he also won the Giro's Mountain Classification as well.

The Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) is already here. Three weeks of some superior cycling and daily rigors. The race has been won by Coppi, Merckx and Hinault, among other greats, and it serves as the preview for the Tour de France.

These grand tours are interesting to watch for the tactical aspect as teams rally around their star rider and try to safely escort him through the peloton while chasing down breaks and capping attacks. The pacing is much different than the Spring Classics and the variety of climbs, distance and Time Trials makes for great racing day after grueling day.

The leader wears the distinctive Maglia Rosa or "Pink Jersey" as opposed to the Malliot Jaune "Yellow Jersey" from the Tour de France...

Here are some links if you want to catch some of the action.

Happy Giro!!!