Charlotte Richter/Staff Writer
Command and General Staff Officer Course student Taiwanese Maj. Yu-Yung Chiu, Republic of China Armed Forces, presented Know Your World: Taiwan Jan. 27 in Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center. She is the third international military student to share in the 2021-2022 Know Your World series, sponsored by the International Military Student Division of the Command and General Staff College.
Know Your World presentations were established to bridge local communities and IMSD by sharing cultural information and topics of interest. According to IMSD, international military students volunteer for consideration to present KYW through select criteria, including recommendations from faculty and the frequency of past presentations. Presenting students earn an elective credit toward their CGSC studies.
Chiu said she wanted to show her beloved country during the presentation, and said she hopes her audience understood the strategic significance of Taiwan, the culture and the Taiwanese perspective of current events in Taiwan Strait.
Chiu first explained the differences between the Republic of China, known as Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China, known as China, using videos about their shared history. She said Taiwan, ROC, is represented differently depending on its relationship to nations abroad. For example, the United States and Taiwan confer through strategic ambiguity to allow outreach in diplomacy while maintaining historical precedents. Chiu said other countries consider Taiwan during international geopolitical strategy because of the perceived value of its location and economic strengths.
“I want more people to understand and know Taiwan and understand the situation we call the cross-strait relationship or the China-Taiwan relationship,” Chiu said. “Lots of people don’t understand — ‘Is Taiwan a province?’ or ‘Is Taiwan the point that can make the U.S. and China have conflict?’ I want to let more people know about us and support us.”
Chiu said many people do not understand the relationship between Taiwan and China, or the cross-straight relationship. She said despite surveys that balance public opinion on reunification with mainland China, most people in Taiwan wish to remain independent of PRC.
Chiu also shared Taiwanese cultural norms, including sharing hospitality with visitors and respect for the elderly and educators. She said stands in night markets are another cultural highlight, as Taiwanese vendors can be found later in the evening and many people go out to eat rather than cook in their homes. She also spoke about the scenery and geography in the region and encouraged the audience to visit.
Chiu said she prepared a lot before her presentation and identified language differences as a challenge. She said she wanted to find a balance between emotion and being a good storyteller for her audience.
“Writing a full script really helped — a script and rehearsing a lot of times, of course, and discussing with IMS faculty.”
The next Know Your World presentation, KYW:Ukraine, is at 3:45 p.m. Feb. 23 in Eisenhower Auditorium. The final KYW for the 2021-2022 series will feature Egypt, date and time to be determined. All presentations are open to the public.