Sunday, May 27, 2007

So Long, President Chiang

Someone had told me that most of the CKS display (including the two limos) at the CKS Memorial Hall (sorry, Democracy Memorial Hall) remained after last weekend's unveiling of the new name. So I was surprised to discover yesterday that an exhibit has been hastily arranged and the Caddies removed. It's entitled "再見 蔣總統 - 反共.民主.台灣路" [Bye President Chiang - Fight Communism ... Democracy ... Taiwan Road].

I went in and was looking at one of the first exhibits [a reading primer opened to the page that describes CKS as a child observing fish swim upstream; the exhibit uses this as evidence of brainwashing of Taiwanese students] when I was approached by one of the docents. She was very aggressively trying to impress me with the truth of Chiang's evilness. I'm not sure whether this approach is going to be very effective with most laowai (can I use this mildly pejorative word about myself and others of my ilk in the same way African-Americans use the N-word?). It felt like she was on a tirade. And, hey, why not speak out against Peanut-Head? Still, I think it might be better to have English signage in the display and for docents/volunteers to first ask visitors if they'd like to hear the rant before launching into it.

The display is on until June 17 if you'd care to check it out. It moves on to Pingtung, Kaohsiung, and Yunlin for a few weeks in each venue through the summer.

I also stopped in at the souvenir shop, where they're still selling CKS memorabilia. I asked if they had any democracy memorabilia and they shook their heads. Maybe next time.

Update: It turns out my fellow Memorial visitor was not snapping pictures, but I see that SINA.com has lots of photos from the exhibition. There are lots of examples of gongwen (official documents) with suggested prison sentences for gongfei (Communist bandits) that CKS marked up with "make it an execution."

2 comments:

Feiren said...

Sure you can use laowai this way. Just make sure the quotation marks are obvious as you do here. I object only when laowai describe themselves this way unthinkingly.

Feiren said...

And where are your pictures?!! The 228 Museum used to be like this too. They've backed off a lot since.