TAIWANfest 2021 Unsung Heroes preview image
Sorry Youth X TAIWANfest

AN ERA OF UNSUNG HEROES

These missing memories of Taiwan’s post-war democracy, were not only erased from the history textbooks of Taiwan, they were barely even recorded or mentioned at all. At 2021 TAIWANfest, we’ve chosen to create a short animated film to tell the story of these unsung heroes, to record those unseen moments of incredible courage, to remember those actions of unsurmountable perseverance, to capture and reveal to the world the sincere hope and truth they cannot hide even now, in their age-worn and weary bodies.

URM - Not A Secret
For 32 years, Professor Albert Lin (2nd from left in the first row) helped facilitate over 1500 Taiwanese being trained by Urban Rural Mission in Canada. More than 11 of the trainees were later elected as Taiwanese legislators, including Ms. Chin-chu Wong (4th person from the left in the last row) in this photograph of URM trainees taken in 1985.
For 32 years, Professor Albert Lin (2nd from left in the first row) helped facilitate over 1500 Taiwanese being trained by Urban Rural Mission in Canada. More than 11 of the trainees were later elected as Taiwanese legislators, including Ms. Chin-chu Wong (4th person from the left in the last row) in this photograph of URM trainees taken in 1985.
For 32 years, Professor Albert Lin (2nd from left in the first row) helped facilitate over 1500 Taiwanese being trained by Urban Rural Mission in Canada. More than 11 of the trainees were later elected as Taiwanese legislators, including Ms. Chin-chu Wong (4th person from the left in the last row) in this photograph of URM trainees taken in 1985.
News in Taiwan was circulated overseas by answering machines to keep it anonymous. Cards printed with the phone number were covertly passed among trusted associates. This answering machine was called “Voice of Taiwan.” Voice of Taiwan was really popular and was especially busy during the weekly update; it was very hard to dial through.
News in Taiwan was circulated overseas by answering machines to keep it anonymous. Cards printed with the phone number were covertly passed among trusted associates. This answering machine was called “Voice of Taiwan.” Voice of Taiwan was really popular and was especially busy during the weekly update; it was very hard to dial through.
In 2000, Calvin Yao, a senior advisor to the president of Taiwan, attended the Liberal International Convention in Ottawa and was greatly intrigued by the sight of the Canadian flags. He was inspired to create a flag to represent Taiwan internationally. After the convention, he stayed in the residence of his fellow Taiwanese Canadian friend Mrs. Loretta Chen and began discussions on the design with Dr. Chen in the basement. The discussion continued via faxes afterwards, and the design was finalized on November 8th, 2000. Today, the flag can be seen in many events around the world where Taiwanese gather.
Taiwanese athletes were denied participation at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal when the Chiang Kai Shek government insisted upon the name “Republic of China”. Most of the Western media, however, regarded Chiang’s administration as “Taiwanese”. John Lee sent a letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun with the title “Taiwan belongs to Taiwanese.”
Many Taiwanese abroad were blacklisted and couldn’t return for advocacy of democracy in Taiwan. Under the pressure from the KMT authorities, their approved visas were already cancelled by the time they received their passports.
Many Taiwanese abroad were blacklisted and couldn’t return for advocacy of democracy in Taiwan. Under the pressure from the KMT authorities, their approved visas were already cancelled by the time they received their passports.
One of the statements in the last page of the Canadian passport clearly stated that citizens with dual nationalities, through birth, descent, marriage or naturalization, may be subject to all its laws and obligations, including military service, while in the country of their other nationality. For people who were blacklisted, having Canadian passports should not be construed as protection.
An assault on the residence of Lim Gi-hiong took place on Feb 28, 1980 after the Kaohsiung Incident, which resulted in the death of his mother and two of his daughters. The case remains unsolved to this day. The Taiwan Foundation of Vancouver fundraised to support the family to overcome the difficult time after the incident. Shown is an appreciation letter sent to the foundation in Canada from the Lim family.
The Taiwan Foundation of Vancouver was established by a group of Taiwanese people concerned with events in Taiwan. Their goal was to raise awareness of the domestic issues in the West and to support the activists for democracy in Taiwan and their activities.
After the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979, many Taiwanese Canadians went to Taiwan’s office in Seattle to protest and made headlines in Seattle’s English media.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) fired missiles into Taiwanese waters before the Taiwanese presidential election in 1996. Demonstrations were planned among Taiwanese communities overseas.
Members of the foundation took turns hosting meetings to discuss political issues in Taiwan. They supported Taiwanese democratic movement in a variety of ways. Picture: Minutes from the meeting.
The night before the protest trip to Seattle, members of the foundation gathered to organize the protest and assigned responsibilities.   Despite the fact that they are overseas, the cloud of the authoritarian regime forced them to put on paper masks to protest to avoid being recognized by the student informants.
In 1965, Phênn Bîng-bín was arrested by the KMT. Overseas students in Toronto went to the consulate to protest hoping to apply pressure on KMT through the reporting of media in the West.
During the period of no freedom of expression, and before the Formosa Magazine in the 70s, there were many publications not permitted by the “party” but well supported by overseas Taiwanese in subscriptions or in writings, even some handwritten ones, advocating freedom of speech and human rights in Taiwan.
During the period of no freedom of expression, and before the Formosa Magazine in the 70s, there were many publications not permitted by the “party” but well supported by overseas Taiwanese in subscriptions or in writings, even some handwritten ones, advocating freedom of speech and human rights in Taiwan.
“Democratic process allows peaceful formation of consensus in a society where the government designs policies based on the will of the majority.” In the 70s, advocating democracy was prohibited and contents in the Formosa Magazine was banned and members of the publication were called insurgents.
In 1989, many Taiwanese Canadians gathered in John Lee’s Burnaby residence and met with Lim Gi-hiong, one of the major activists of the Taiwanese democracy movement, and his wife.
Many advocates of democracy were found dead mysteriously in Taiwan during the White Terror period. Renowned overseas democratic activist Dr. Chen Wen-chen, found dead in the campus of Taiwan University was one of the examples.
THE FORMOSANS IN CANADA
Our gratitude to these 27 Taiwanese-Canadians and many others…
TAIWANfest 2021 Unsung Heroes preview image
Pang Liang Chang
Sheng Yung Chang
Sumi Chang
Thomas Chang
Mei-chin Chen
James Chou
Masa Fan
Arbeit Horng
Harry Hsiao
Chian-Li Hsu
Kwan H. Kao
Shumin Kao
Fou Shaou Lai
John Lee
Columbus Leo
Max Lin
Albert Lin
Hsiu-Mei Lin
Tsung-Yi Lin
Carol Pan
Leigh Pan
Kuo Chi Rae
Shya-Fen Tsai
Michael Tsai
Gerrit Van der Wees
Charles Yang
Andrew Yeh
* Names appeared in the alphabetical order of the last name
THE FORMOSANS IN CANADA (2016)

SHORT VERSION

FULL VERSION

BEHIND THE WORK

The first year of our Dialogue with Asia series, 2016, TAIWANfest opened dialogue with Hong Kong. At that time, both Taiwan and Hong Kong were still fresh from the echoes of recent ground-shaking democratic movements: the Sunflower Student Movement and the Umbrella Revolution, where the younger generation marched towards an ideal world with unparalleled determination. They formed their own political parties and found victory in the elections. That year, in downtown Vancouver, TAIWANfest created an exhibition called “The Face Cultures.” The idea of saving face is prevalent throughout Asia, but this exhibition strives to unmask the people’s unrest at the governments’ injustice. That exhibition is the first time these seniors’ stories were spoken about…

In the era of the White Terror, the youth on the island were organizing and operating in secret, fearless in the face of oppressive power. In Canada at the same time, there was also a group of Taiwanese people sprinting forwards for this silenced island.

Shya-Fen Tsai returned from America with an answering machine dubbed “Voice of Taiwan,” allowing the Taiwanese students studying abroad in Canada at the time to finally hear the situation within the island through the hotline; in Toronto, Albert Lin held a “Taiwanese URM Training Camp,” training many Taiwanese youth in non-violent methods of protest, prompting many social movement leaders to fly to Canada for this camp (the Destruction of Wu Feng Statue was a movement by some of the URM students); the Taiwan Foundation of Vancouver worked hard to fundraise in solidarity with Lim Gi-hiong and other democratic movement leaders within the island;

This group of people travelled often to Seattle’s Taiwan office to protest, garnering the attention of western countries to exert pressure on Chiang Kai Shek, only to be registered on The Blacklist, unable to return home…

These stories, not only were they erased from the history textbooks of Taiwan, they were barely even recorded or mentioned at all.

In 2019, indie band Sorry Youth was invited to perform at TAIWANfest, where they encountered these seniors’ stories. These missing memories of Taiwan’s post-war democracy, trapped overseas and unspoken, left a searing impression on the band’s members. With their recent years of learning and participating in several social movements, Sorry Youth put their feelings about their encounter in Canada into a song, “Justice in Time,” included in their latest album, Bad Times, Good Times.

At 2021 TAIWANfest, we’ve chosen to create a short animated film to tell the stories of these unsung heroes, to record those unseen moments of incredible courage, to remember those actions of unsurmountable perseverance, to capture and reveal to the world the sincere hope and truth they cannot hide even now, in their age-worn and weary bodies.

These stories do not end -- even in this democratic age, countless Taiwanese-Canadians continue to fight for their island home; across the ocean, they raise their voices for Taiwan, encouraging the next generation to move ever further forwards.These stories do not end -- even in this democratic age, countless Taiwanese-Canadians continue to fight for their island home; across the ocean, they raise their voices for Taiwan, encouraging the next generation to move ever further forwards.

Now -- it is our turn to carry the torch!

Today we support each other,
Tomorrow new companions will join us,
This era will look after us, those who are united!

Sorry Youth Image
Special Thanks

Pang-Liang Chang / Sheng Yung Chang

Sumi Chang / Thomas Chang

Mei-chin Chen / Hsing-Hsu Chen

James Chou / Masa Fan

Arbeit Horng / Harry Hsiao

Chian-Li Hsu / Robert Huang

Kwan H. Kao / Shumin Kao

Fou Shaou Lai / John Lee

Columbus Leo / Max Lin

Albert Lin / Hsiu-Mei Lin

Ruei-Siang Lin / Tsung-Yi Lin

Carol Pan / Leigh Pan

Yoshi Rae / Kuo Chi Rae

Joseph Sheu / Shan Ching Sung

Shya-Fen Tsai / Michael Tsai

Gerrit Van der Wees / John Wu

Charles Yang / Andrew Yeh

* Names appeared in the alphabetical order of the last name

Published by
Asian-Canadian Special Events Association

Music is courtesy of
Sorry Youth (Taiwanese band)

Special Thanks
Chian-Li Hsu
Pang-Liang Chang
Sumi Chang
Andrew Yeh
Shya-Fen Tsai
Sam Lin
Director

Jessica Sung

Producer

Jessica Sung / Toy Su

Illustrator

Mina Lu / Ting Lin / Jim Wang

Video Editor

Toy Su

Writers

Matt Yang / Ann Cheng

Translators

Becky Tu / Sebastian Chen

Coordination

ThreeD Marketing (Taiwan)