How come those historic figures offspring always get so much easy attention in Taiwan?

周璟馨/周景欣, Lu Xun’s 4th  generation female descendent. Born in Taipei, grew up in Taipei, age 26 (1985-). Occupation: artist
孟慶而 (Monmon), Mencius’ 73th generation female descendent. Born in London (UK), grew up in Taoyuan, age 25 (1986-). Occupation: singer.
蔣友柏 (Demos), Chiang Kai-shek‘s 4th generation male  descendent. Born in Taipei, grew up in Taipei and Canada, age 35 (1976-). Occupation: designer/CEO
孔令奇 (Jeffery), Confucius‘ 75th generation male  descendent. Born in Taipei, grew up in LA (USA), age 30 (1981-). Occupation: singer.

One of the specific cultural phenomena among the third generation Taiwanese is that we celebrate traditions with with an innovated, atavistic appearance.

Even though we no longer want to read 孔子(Confucius), 孟子(Mencius), or 魯迅(Lu xun), and we don’t consider the commemoration of 蔣介石(Chiang Kai-shek) political correct any more, our historical imagination never fade.

In a consumerist culture where everything appears pragmatic and present-oriented, we still fantasize about our past, the traditional values which the May fourth movement and the cultural revolution in China cannot erase. Unlike the post-Enlightenment west, blood lineage plays an extremely important role in uniting our society.

That is why Taiwanese people love to chase after those famous historical figure’s [alleged] descendents in our generation. We don’t want to see them using their historical legacy as a leverage and wedge into current political matters.

But we’d love to have them as our cultural symbols, with which we could reaffirm our narrative identity. We want to see them shining and doing well, and hear them saying that they have never forgotten who their ancestors were, but instead they are proceeding with the rest of their generation in contributing to a dynamic and vibrant Taiwanese culture, that is, a unique blend of ancient China and modern R.O.C.


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