Has anyone been listening to the "oral histories" that Rick Monday has been featuring this week on ICRT? Evidently he's been interviewing American expats who have lived in Taiwan for a long time. I only caught one--today--as I was driving to work this morning. (I know, it's embarrassing to admit that I listen to ICRT, but it was either that or Rum, Sodomy & the Lash for about the 5,000th time.)
Today, Rick was interviewing Doris Brougham (of Studio Classroom fame) and a gentleman whose name I didn't catch. They were having a grand old time praising the virtues of the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Now I respect the fact that they have been in Taiwan a lot longer than I have, but some of their comments didn't reflect very well on them, in my view.
Particularly odd was a comment that I believe Dr. Brougham made when they were discussing the dismantling of Chiang statues. Her statement was to the effect that people in the South (by which she meant the southern U.S.) didn't take down statues of Lincoln just because the South lost the Civil War. Besides the very strange equation of Chiang and Lincoln, her comment made me wonder how many Lincoln statues there are in the South that could have been torn down. According to this article, the first statue of Lincoln in one of the former Confederate states was unveiled in 2003. So it's not like carpet-baggers put up dozens of statues of Lincoln after the Civil War that are available for tearing down.
I think a more comparable controversy concerning tradition (they used the word "traditional" to defend the Chiang statues), public memory, and remembering vs. honoring would be the statues of Lenin in Russia. Would Dr. Brougham defend keeping Lenin's statues up because it's "tradition"?
That said, I wish I could have heard more of the oral histories they have been conducting. Wonder if ICRT will release a CD or have them available on their website?