To be a Taiwanese

2019 - video

As a Taiwanese, the scariest question people could ask me is: "Where do you come from?" It doesn't mean that I'm not proud of where I come from or I have any doubt. It is just the fear to be offended or to offend others. However, this is usually the following question after: "What's your name?"

My parents run a bubble tea shop in Taiwan. It's an extremely large shop that can separate into three areas: the front desk to order and serve, the area of making the beverages and the cooking area for the drink components. My dad has a strong political opinion. He always speaks about it. Yet, the volume of his voice can also separate into three levels. He doesn't talk that much around the front desk because he doesn't know whether any customer has a different political opinion and we don't want to cause any fights or lose any customers. At the beverage making area, he feels free to talk louder since it is a little bit more private than the front desk. In between the beverage making and the cooking area, there is a door. When passing that door, he speaks without hesitation.

The video is scripted and inspired by my observations about my dad and I. I always have this paradoxical moment as a Taiwanese that when I met nice Chinese people, I feel guilty and struggle to have these strong opinions of independence and most of the time I don't want to fight or offend anyone. Every sentence I say would become with "I'm sorry, but......". However, when the news show that China keeps bashing on Taiwan's survival in the International Communities, those opinions of independence become stronger. I struggle with balancing neutrality and assertiveness when it comes to this sensitive topic. The back and forth process tears up my emotions.

In the end, "Where do you come from?" is not a hard question to answer. The hard is being a Taiwanese.