Taiwan is an island located about 100 miles from China. It
was originally part of China. But in 1949, the communists
seized Mainland China forcing the nationalists to retreat to
Taiwan. From then on, Taiwan is also known as Free
China. The leaders of Republic of China, (Free China)
hoped someday that the communists will be driven out of
China. Therefore, they start to build Taiwan as a military
base for such purpose. However, their dreams were never
accomplished, instead, their efforts turned Taiwan into a
economic powerful country. This is also known as the
Taiwan Miracle. There is another interesting information
about Taiwan’s name. Despite Free China, Taiwan also has
two other names, “Taiwan” (the one we call it) and
“Formosa”. Let’s talk about “Taiwan” first. “Taiwan” means
“terraced bay” to the mountain tribal people who originally
lives in Taiwan. When the immigrants from China migrated
to this island 3 hundreds years ago, they kept hearing the
tribal people calling (the place where the Chinese landed)
“Taiwan”. Therefore, they assumed that the island is
“Taiwan”. Formosa, on the other hand, was called by the
Portuguese sailors in the 1600s. It means “beautiful island”.

Therefore, there are still people referring Taiwan as
Formosa when they try to beautify Taiwan today. Taiwan is
a sub-tropical country that that is warm most of the year.

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The Tropic of Cancer passes through Taiwan in the
southern part. Therefore, snow is unusual to most the
Taiwanese here. But there are some places up in the high
mountains that do get cold enough to snow. Because the
land is hot and humid, it is the best for growing rice and
other farm products. The farmers in north can grow two
crops of rice a year in the north and three crops a year in
the south. There are mostly mountains in the north part of
Taiwan while plate farmland in the south. The government
of the Republic of China has some similarities to the
government of the United States. The government is based
on a Constitution and there is a President and Vice
President. ROC has a National Assembly instead of a
Congress and there are five branches of the government,
legislative, executive, judicial, examination, and control.

There are three major political parties and some other
lesser known ones. The best party that control many
resources of the country is the KMT, (Kuomintang), also
known as the Nationalists. The second best party is DPP,
(Democratic Progressive Party). And New Party. Well,
from here I have to tell you that I am a partisan of New
Party and I will interprete the three parties in MY WAY.

Alright, let me give you detailed descriptions of the three
parties. KMT is the oldest party in Chinese history.

However, over the past 80 years, the whole party has turn
from energetic and benevolent to decandent. However,
such corruption was not the sole problem of KMT. The
biggest trouble this party is facing is the infiltration of the
independence idea. Because of President Lee, who is a
total hypocratical Japanese renegade, he tries to lead KMT
into an authoritarian that secretly seek the independence of
Taiwan. Therefore please note President Lee’s decieteful
actions and not to be fooled by the media that support him.

Beside KMT, the second most important political party is
the DPP. DPP is a party that is known for seeking of the
independence of Taiwan. They think that only with the total
separation with China would benefit Taiwan. They are the
ideal radical leftists. However, because they are too
idealistic, these partisans often use extreme and violent
ways to accomplish they goals or to express their feelings.

As a result, they are also known for their anti-government
and belligerent behaviors. The last party which is also the
party that I personally support, is the New Party. New
Party is a pretty “new” party. it was formed, I believe, only
5 years ago by only 7 members of the KMT legislators.

The reason that they form such party is because their ideals
to reform the Taiwan government. 5 years ago, ROC
government was controled by weak and corrputive KMT
officials (so is now) that the anarchist DPP members
disturb the domestic tranquility. They thought there is a
need to restore the proper social order and long lost
Chinese culture. Unlike the KMT and DPP, New Party do
not think that “Money” has to go with “Power” and anything
has to go the “hard way”, so they are peaceful fighters
against the corruption and the violence in society. At that
time, all the political critics believed that this party will not
survive under the domination of KMT and DPP. However,
over 5 years their support has raised from 5 percents to
now 20 percent and is still steadyly growing. As people like
me (well educated middle class) support this party, I
believe Taiwan will be a better country. Taiwan is a
crowded island. Imagin 21 million people living on an island
that’s only 36,000 square km, including all the mountains
and unlivable areas. If you do some serious calculations,
you would find out that in some big cities like Taipei, the
density of population averages over 1500 persons per
square km! Therefore, if you travel on Taiwan, you will
usually see people. Sometimes, even if you climb a
mountain or hike far into the woods, you will still find a little
farm village hidden in the jungle, or students on a picnic, or
soldiers on maneuvers. There are three major groups that
live on the island of Taiwan. The first group is the Chinese
that migrated to Taiwan 400 years ago to avoid the chaos
and war in China. These people have their own dialect
(Taiwanese) and customs. However, although they
consider themselves as Taiwanese, they are still Chinese.

The second largest group living in Taiwan is the
Mainlanders that came over 40 years ago when the
Nationalists fought the Communists. Because these people
are often well educated and sometimes wealthy (despite the
soldiers that came along), they efforts helped to shape the
present country. The last group is the aborigines who have
been living in Taiwan for more than thunsands of years.

These people are like the Indians in American who face
considerable problems. These three groups were living in
harmony few decades ago. However, the DPP has been
trying to emphasize that the Mainlanders are not truely
Taiwanese but Chinese Pigs. You see, they believe
Taiwanese are NOT Chinese (this most frustrates me!) .

They declare that once Taiwan is independent they will
kick all the Chinese Pigs out. The problem is that there are
people like me who is half Taiwanese and half Chinese
Pig… Taiwanese are friendly and nice people. Most people
who do not know about Taiwanese may think that they are
just like those poor third world country people who have
low education rate, and abuse the natural environment.

Well, I am here to prove that Taiwanese are very kind and
considerate. If you ever come to Taiwan, you will find that
Taiwanese provides the foreigners with extra help and care.

If you go to a grocery store without knowing even a
Chinese word, you will find that the Chinese in the store,
even the other customers will all be your aid to find the
things you want to buy. Sometimes you will even get a
discount. That’s why there are more westerners coming to
Taiwan for jobs now, or for vacation. Also, there are far
less mental illness, alcoholism, social disturbances, and
violent crimes in Taiwan compare to elsewhere. Religions in
Taiwan Most Chinese on Taiwan are Buddhists. Buddhist
temples, shrines, and statues are found all over Taiwan; in
Changhua, there is a 72-foot high statue of Buddha, and in
Taichung there is an even taller statue of Milwofwo, the
Happy Buddha. The oldest and best-known BUddhist
temple in Taipei is Lungshan Temple, which is about 250
years old. “Lung-Shan” means Dragon Hill; the temple is
always busy with worshippers and toursists. Chinese
usually do not go to a group service, but rather go to the
temple individually when they have a desire to do so. In
Chinese temples, you will see statues and statuettes of
other gods, goddesses and saints, and you will be
impressed bye the elaborate roof carvings of animals and
human figures. You will see incense being burned and
paper money and food offerings being made for the gods.

In addition to Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are
also important philosophies of Taiwan. Chinese are very
tolerant about religion, and they see no difficulty in
considering themselves to be Buddhist, Confucianist,
Taoist, and even Christian, all at the same time! Other
Chinese don’t concern themselves too much with any
religion. Generally, it is important for Chinese to pay
respect to older people. Children must respect parents;
wives must respect husbands; brothers and sisters must
respect each other. This practice is called filial piety, and is
part of the philosophy of Confucius, plus a blend of
Buddhism, Taoism, and five thousand years of Chinese
thought. Weddings Weddings in Taiwan are increasingly
similar to those in western countries. Chinese brides now
wear the same kind of wedding gown as the Americans,
but the traditional color of red is still very apparent at
Chinese weddings. Many Chinese wait until they are almost
30 years old before getting married. The man often will
postpone marriage until they have completed their
schooling, their military service, and are more sure of
having a secure job. Funerals Funerals in Taiwan may seem
odd to the westerners. For on thing, white, not black, is the
color that is often seen at funerals. Also, some Taiwanese
perfere to invite a lot of people to come to the funeral, so
the family might sometimes pay people to attend even
though they do not know the man who died. Fortunately,
these cases occur less than before. Part of the funeral
ceremony includes the burning of paper money and
otherpaper objects, in the belief that the smoke will carry
the real object up to heaven for the dead person to use.

Families usually burn huge paper house, paper mercedes,
paper servants, paper appliances for their loved ones.