If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
It may sound like a philosophical question but as I reflect upon the rally at Time Square for Keep Taiwan Free (KTF), I realize how real that question is in all our lives. In this world full of voices and noises, does anyone hear the cry of a small nation that’s suffocating?
It was an honor to be part of the team that organized the rally. Through the process, I learned a lot, but the most important lesson for me was that my passion for Taiwan was not alone. Each and every person on the team and those who were present do deeply care for Taiwan and its future. In college, I was part of Taiwanese American Student Association, TASA for short. Being a student organization, it’s more focused on retaining members and increasing recognition. It was hard for me to find others who also wanted to focus on how to spread awareness about Taiwan beyond its food and hospitality. However, after graduating, I asked to join some TASA alums since they were involved in Outreach For Taiwan. It helped me see that I can be out there educating others about Taiwan and help increase awareness.
The series of events began for me on Thursday night with a fundraising cocktail called “23 Million Voices” at Toshi’s Living Room. That night, the performers shared their stories and why they supported this movement. Their anecdotes of how Taiwan touched their hearts were so contagious that the audience was asking questions about Taiwan and sincerely wanted to learn more.
On Saturday morning, as people wake up and tourists crowded Time Square, you could see a bunch of people with cars and boxes setting up tents at the corner of 42nd and 8th. The corner was sectioned off with fences and NYPD. By noon, a stage was visible, tents popped up, musical instruments on display, more people gathered, and banners were hung. “Keep Taiwan Free” were in white against the black background. The banners were visible to everyone because we are proud of what we represent.
Half an hour later, everything was setup and the first band was in place. The corner is no longer a deserted section on a world renowned intersection, instead it’s a VIP area for the people in the front lines of Taiwan’s democracy and recognition.
The Lintet band began the rally with traditional Taiwanese tunes in a jazz remix, the music pumped up youngsters to dance, strangers gathered by the fences, and oldsters proudly waved their mini flags. Volunteers passed out stickers by the fence and interacted with by passers. Journalists came and tried to interview whatever staff they can catch before they run off trying to get change for the T-shirt sales. Our MC led people in chants like “Keep Taiwan Free” and “UN for Taiwan” to remind people of our purposes there. We even had a live stream from Time Square back to Taiwan so our friends and families know that people in the US care too.
It really warmed my heart to see people like Michael Tsai and others from TAIUNA, flying all the way across the globe just to be at the rally. The past generations have done and continue to do more than we, young people, can imagine to try and show how far Taiwan has really come. I saw how hard they tried to translate their hopes and dreams into words and sang songs that represent the voices of 23 million people.
This rally opened my eyes to see that yes, if Taiwan makes a move, it does make a sound. This also goes for Hong Kong as well. They are currently fighting the battle for democracy in China against the communist party. This fight for recognition and freedom is a fight for many nations, not just one. None of us are alone in this…therefore, let’s be loud and proud!!