hello from ilha formosa

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ilha formosa
hello from ilha formosa

greetings babblers,

I am brand new to this board, though I've been looking at it for a little while. I'm a Canadian currently living in Taiwan, and would like to post here (very) occasionally about issues related to Taiwan, particularly environmental issues. The political ones will no doubt pop up too...

best to all

oldgoat

Hello ilha, and welcome.  Always nice to have people from different parts of the planet here on babble.

ilha formosa

My background is not in greater China regional affairs, but if anyone has questions, I'll try to give my perspective from the ground here in Taiwan.

One increasingly common irritant, often seen on internet-form drop-down menus to choose "country," is the reference to

"Taiwan, Province of China."

 

ilha formosa

Thank you oldgoat and hello. I guess you can call me ilha for short. Now to be pedantic: without looking it up, who knows what "ilha formosa" means?

oldgoat

I'm gonna say Island of Formosa.  Don't know in what language though. 

ilha formosa

I guess I really meant it when I said I'd post here "very" occasionally. Ilha Formosa is literally "island beautiful" in Portuguese, the speakers of which, along with the Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Qing Dynasty, pirates, and indigenous groups, during the colonial era (ca. 16th-19th centuries) vied for control of various parts of what is now generally known as Taiwan.

N.B. Taiwan is not to be confused with Thailand!

N.B.B.  Taiwan's official name is "Republic of China" (ROC) NOT to be confused with the People's Republic of China (PRC)

But it seems the majority of people on this board would not make those all-too-common errors.

KenS

I'm the kind of geography and culture trivia nut that knows where 'ilha formosa' means.

If you were ro have your handle shortened to one word, would you rather it be formosa? Smile

Continuing on the theme of Taiwan's cutural history... years ago I had a friend from Taiwan who was proud to say that she is from the people who were there before the mainlanders came in 1949. But I never asked the background of those folks. Aside from the constant trickle there would have been from the mainland, is there an older dominant 'ethnic stream' from somehwere in particular?

Maybe aboriginal peoples... but not necessarily that, since they may be long gone.

Unionist

ilha formosa wrote:

One increasingly common irritant, often seen on internet-form drop-down menus to choose "country," is the reference to

"Taiwan, Province of China."

 

Welcome to babble, ilha.

Are you saying the reference should read simply: "China"?

 

Lachine Scot

KenS wrote:

Maybe aboriginal peoples... but not necessarily that, since they may be long gone.

There are indigenous people in Taiwan who are closer related to austronesians such as Filipinos, Malaysians and Indonesians rather than Chinese.

According to Wikipedia, there are 500,000 of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_people#History_of_the_major_socio...

I read once in a history of the Indonesian language that all Austronesian languages are thought to have originated in Taiwan before spreading far and wide to the south.  I don't know if this features anywhere in nationalist mythology on any side, though, it may be more just of a speculation by the person writing the book ..

Lachine Scot

ilha formosa wrote:

 Now to be pedantic: without looking it up, who knows what "ilha formosa" means?

By the way, how do Taiwanese generally react to this name for their island?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The history of Taiwan I have read told me that the Portuguese sailors named many islands Formosa.  Its like being called Duck Lake, descriptive but not very unique.  

The Taiwanese community is strong and vibrant in Burnaby and many of them are active in politics.  They don't seem to use the old Portuguese name ever. The Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society is  good example of how they self identify.

http://www.tccs.ca/english/main.html

Here are some links to sites with short but good histories.  

http://www.taiwandc.org/hst-1624.htm

http://www.historyofnations.net/asia/taiwan.html

KenS

One reason Taiwanese would not use the name is that I beleive it was the name used by the Japanese during the colonial occupation that pre-dated the full scale imperialist attack on China beginning in the 1930s.

ilha formosa

KenS wrote:

If you were ro have your handle shortened to one word, would you rather it be formosa? Continuing on the theme of Taiwan's cutural history... years ago I had a friend from Taiwan who was proud to say that she is from the people who were there before the mainlanders came in 1949. But I never asked the background of those folks. Aside from the constant trickle there would have been from the mainland, is there an older dominant 'ethnic stream' from somehwere in particular?Maybe aboriginal peoples... but not necessarily that, since they may be long gone.

Hello KenS,

Thanks for asking, I think Ilha is fine for a short handle, as it means Island. Although I agree no one is an island, so there's a twist of what, irony?, in ilha as a handle. Formosa is used in a lot of other contexts, including as one of the proposed names for an independent Taiwan, which isn't going to happen soon without triggering off a war, with a lot more possible contrails off the coast of N. America, which would be crappy.

About 2% of the population here is aboriginal ie, either  melanesian, micronesian, polynesian, I'd have to look up which exactly...in any case, of the same ethnicity of the people in Oceania, stretching to Hawai'i, Easter Island. Madagascar and down to the Maori in New Zealand, if I recall correctly. There is some evidence suggesting the peoples of Oceania originated in Taiwan. About 14 aboriginal groups are officially recognized by the government here. A lot of people have aboriginal blood in them, though.

The earliest visitors from mainland China were probably pirates, but there wasn't much settlement from the mainland until the Ching Dynasty (the last one). Unsurprisingly, the biggest pre-'49 Chinese group comes from Fujian province across the strait, and the Hakka are also well-represented.

ilha formosa

Unionist wrote:

ilha formosa wrote:

One increasingly common irritant, often seen on internet-form drop-down menus to choose "country," is the reference to

"Taiwan, Province of China."

 

Welcome to babble, ilha.

Are you saying the reference should read simply: "China"?

 

No, people who think like that are in their eighties and nineties, the generals who dreamed of re-taking the mainland. Simply "Taiwan" would be nice.

Not "Taiwan, Republic of China." (even though this stands as the official name, celebrating its centenary in 2011)

Not "Taiwan, Province of China."

Not "Taiwan, China."

I'm not from here so I don't want to argue whether Taiwan should be independent or not. I also understand China's claims on Taiwan from a security point of view.

I prefer peace, and the reference to be simply "Taiwan."

ilha formosa

Lachine Scot wrote:

There are indigenous people in Taiwan who are closer related to austronesians such as Filipinos, Malaysians and Indonesians rather than Chinese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_people#History_of_the_major_socio...

 

thanks Lachine, I should have read your post first!

People here generally are fine with calling the country Taiwan and their nationality Taiwanese.

jrose

Welcome to the board, ilha!

ilha formosa

Lachine Scot wrote:

ilha formosa wrote:

 Now to be pedantic: without looking it up, who knows what "ilha formosa" means?

By the way, how do Taiwanese generally react to this name for their island?

Thanks, jrose!

Lachine, if by "this name" you mean "Formosa," I think the pro-independence people here would love it as a name for an independent Taiwan (on what that would take, see post above). But there is significant anti-independence (which doesn't necessarily mean pro-unification) support also.