Taiwanese in Bay Area return to island for closely fought presidential election

Sandy Yen

On Saturday, Taiwan holds it’s presidential election. The presidential race is pretty close, as “China Tensions [with Tibet] Sway Taiwan Election.” The San Jose Mercury News this morning on their front page reports that “Taiwanese in Bay Area return to island for closely fought presidential election“:

“TAIPEI – Thousands of Taiwanese from the Bay Area are landing around the clock on this island to join in a pitched presidential election Saturday that could have major consequences for both Taiwan and the United States. “I just have time for short sleep, no dreams,” said Atherton resident Sandy Yen, who operates a Sunnyvale semiconductor materials company with her husband. The petite Yen, who gave up her U.S. citizenship several years ago to become a legislator for the Democratic Progressive Party, is now working seven days a week with only three or four hours of sleep a night to campaign for her party’s presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh.”

After reading the article, I realize that I know Sandy Yen’s daughter, Sophia. Sophia is the most politically active person I know (Asian American or otherwise) – which is great, since most Asian Americans I know are pretty apathetic about politics. I had the voter turn our rate in Taiwan in 2004 was around 85% – which is pretty amazing when you consider in the United States, it hovers usually around 50%. That’s a real nice contrast to see a thriving democracy right across the Taiwan Straits from Communist China.

I’m glad that a local paper reported on this phenomenon, where there are a lot of Taiwanese-Americans living. My mother is one of the Bay Area residents who has returned to Taiwan to vote and visit her family.

The paper also has two other articles on Taiwan – “Why Taiwan’s election matters in Silicon Valley.” As you probably know, mainland China (People’s Republic of China) considers Taiwan (Republic of China) a “renegade” province. If China ever attacked Taiwan, not only would thousands (if not millions) if innocent lives would be lost on this democratic nation, the IT industry globally would be pretty screwed. The events of the past week in Tibet only heighten the fears of the Taiwanese of what might happen if Taiwan ever “reunified” with China.

Locally, the San Francisco Chronicle reported this morning that San Francisco’s “Chinese Consulate targeted in attack” – apparently someone threw an incendiary device at one of the buildings, no doubt to protest China’s recent crackdown in Tibet.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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