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Showing posts from April, 2014

The Blogging Therapy

For over a year blogging has been part of my daily life. Before going to Taiwan I had never thought about blogging. When I was still in Berlin and planning my first trip to Taipei, a Chinese friend of mine told me that I should start a blog so I could keep my friends in Germany and Italy updated about my new adventure. But I had no idea how to write a blog, and at that time I had no interest in it, either. 
Perhaps I should have started to write a blog in those days of euphoria, when Taiwan was an entirely new and exotic place to me, when I had so many emotions and felt so much enthusiasm. I used to update my private Facebook page, instead. I had never used Facebook so much before, and I turned my life in Taiwan into a sort of show. In hindsight, I think that show was a technique of self-persuasion. 
While at the beginning I felt as if Taiwan would be my new home and I was passionate about it, after a few months I became much more sober and disenchanted. I began to see many aspects of T…

Taiwan, Europe and the Problem of Nationalism

Recently I have been criticised by some people because I used the term "Taiwanese nationalism", which to some apparently sounds too negative. 
In this post, I will briefly explain what I mean by nationalism and why I am in principle sceptical about it. I am not arguing that nationalism is not a legitimate ideal. But I view nationalism as very problematic; first, because it presupposes a collective identity and the subordination of the individual to the community; second, because the "nation" itself can hardly be defined rationally and objectively.
I won't be using any academic material as reference this time; since I want to respond to recent critical comments, I didn't have time to write down any quotations. This post will just be a blueprint, perhaps to use in the future for a more detailed analysis. 
The Problem of the Nation
On April 2, 2014, the Italian police arrested a group of Venetian separatists who allegedly were plotting to commit terrorist acts (no…

The Sunflower Movement, the Media, and Showbusiness

Popular protests in the digital age are made half on the streets and half online. Whether a political movement is successful or not, whether it is supported by a large number of people or not, depends on how the media depict it, and on how skillfully the protesters use the most formidable peaceful weapon of our time, the internet. 
While I was following the events around Taiwan's Sunflower Movement, I felt like a man who goes out to take a nice walk in th park, but ends up in the middle of an unbearably noisy and smoggy highway full of cars. There's just too much information around, there are too many different interpretations, and, above all, too many people shouting and screaming, arguing that they - and they alone - are right, and those who disagree are the absolute evil and do not represent anybody. 
The protesters claim that they represent Taiwan, that they love Taiwan, and that they want to save Taiwan. Therefore, whoever agrees with the trade pact, or whoever disagrees wi…