The Pursuit of Ideas: What You Can Find In Taiwan is the Clash of Civilization or Hope of Civilization in Taiwan

Joshua Wang – Editor of Gusa Publishing


As an immigrant from an empire whose historical glory was denied growing up in a country whose identity as a state is denied, Joshua has always had trouble in answering the question of “Who am I?” either to foreigners or even to my fellow citizens, some of whom tend to see his family, who moved to Taiwan from the mainland in 1949 as waishengren, pathetic refugees, or oppressive colonizers, as enjoying a lot of political and cultural privilege. However, while some Taiwanese view the complexity of their identity and history as a tragedy, he likes to take it as an opportunity.  For the past 30 years, Taiwan has evolved to a vibrant democracy and a strong economy, which allows it the freedom to critically explore the problems that lie in the past, the obstacles it is currently facing, and the opportunities it needs to grasp. The special political situation of Taiwan deprives the country of a dominant political power and instead allows it to navigate between two huge civilizational and geopolitical spaces. “What we lack and what we long for is exactly what empowers us.” However, to fully realize Taiwan’s potential, it still needs to be more optimistic and assertive. In this Hope Talk, Joshua will use his personal story to explain this bizarre journey.

Object 1: Shandong steamed bun

Family is from Shandong, can not speak the Taiwanese dialect, is not familiar with Taiwanese religion and customs, yet has relative cultural capital. Joshua does not like this steamed bun, which represents a transformation of recognition from other waishengren.

Object 2: 《Lao Zi》& 《Four Books》

The two books that symbolize Chinese culture. Can Chinese culture have modernity? Can China integrate freedom and democracy? This discussion is ongoing……

Object 3: University of Utah Sports Uniform

The most interesting thing about America to Joshua is that it is a conflict-filled nation; it was once a moral compass, but it is now a declining force.

Object 4: Computer

The success of the Taiwanese model is reflected in the development of its electronics industry: combining American and Western technology with the massive labour force in China. In the midst of the trade war between China and America, does Taiwan plan to decouple from China?

Object 5: Steel coffee mugs/hiking supplies

Not only is hiking a way to appreciate Taiwan’s natural environment, it is also self-challenging, stress-relieving exercise. Most importantly, to go far, you must have a companion!


In Partnership with 2022 TAIWANfest

Venue / Time


Sep 5th / 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm
Granville 700, Downtown Vancouver

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