I’m very proud of my Taiwanese passport. I hate the picture of me in it, but I love the passport and what it means to me. It says to me that I am a citizen of a pretty awesome island nation, that has not only natural beauty, but also beautiful people. Every time I go back I’m awed by how truly wonderful it is… but you already know that.
In recent months, across social media, I’ve seen this ‘passport sticker’ craze, and the rather upset fellow Taiwanese citizens being stopped at airport passport controls all around the world. My first reaction was ‘HELL YES I WANT ONE’ but then on second thought…
For me, the Taiwanese passport itself, regardless of what it has emblazoned on the cover, symbolizes to me already how far we’ve come. Taiwan has proved in the last couple of years, time and time again, that we are a society that is highly dependent on its people- we are what makes Taiwan. We show that through the way we vote, through our protests, and by living our every day lives as ‘Made in Taiwan’ as possible (‘Made in China’ is now almost taboo!).
I don’t want to cheapen that struggle, that fighting spirit, with a sticker- it feels almost like a plaster. A plaster isn’t going to make our past disappear. A plaster isn’t going to make the (arguably wrong) name disappear from everywhere else that matters– international events of ALL kinds… sports, beauty pageants, cultural exchanges… I mean, the list goes on.
Rather than a sticker, I want to be proud of my country and what we have done so far, and I will stick with her as long as we are still doing the best that we can, under the given circumstances. I do that by telling everyone I meet, ‘I’m Taiwanese, this is my story, this is my country.’ Do we have a long way to go? Hell yes. Do we have mistakes we will (and are) make(ing) along the way? Hell yes.
But for me, the end goal isn’t having the ‘correct name’ on the passport. It’s how we get there. And if we can do that through demonstrating our democratic prowess (which, I daresay, might surpass Western Europe one day in the near-ish future), THEN we will have won.