Taiwan - NeoPopRealism JournalThe birth of Taiwan, an island in the West Pacific, was closely connected to the ocean, and the people of this island have long engaged in marine pursuits. Not only are its industries based on sea-bound trade, the lives and customs of its people are also bound up with the sea and an oceanic climate. Taiwan's geographic position, geographic factors, the rise and fall of the tides, seaports, business and trade, and the immigration of peoples from across the ocean are all intimately tied to the sea and are some of the characteristics of Taiwan's culture.
All people of Taiwan have some experience with the sea. Some peoples, including the pingpu (plains) peoples, understood how to benefit from oceanic currents and trade winds when they set sail for faraway places. The Puyuma people of Eastern Taiwan worship a sea deity, while the Yami people on Orchid Island are known for their seafaring skills.
When Taiwan lay within the sphere of influence of the Manchu Ching Empire, Han people from Fujian and Guangdong ventured across the sea to Taiwan. The adventurous and hearty spirit they exhibited while battling natural forces was the wellspring out of which sprouted the vitality and tenacity of modern Taiwan.
Additionally, the million or so people who followed the KMT government upon its move to Taiwan in 1949 further diversified the island's population. Having already lived in Taiwan for two to three hundred years, the Ching era immigrants were thriving, while the new immigrants have now borne their third generation and become increasingly localized. Moreover, although these two groups of immigrants came at different times, from different places, and with different backgrounds, that they all crossed the same salty sea has created in them a collective memory. "Children of the Sea," is an apt description of Taiwan's people.
Despite its limited natural resources, Taiwan created an economic miracle the envy of the entire world built upon an export-oriented strategy. The prosperity of fisheries both littoral and oceanic has added to Taiwan's oceanic character. The people of Taiwan would do well to take to heart their cultural heritage and view their history through ocean-colored lenses.


More pages