Experiences and Lessons learned
From the airplane, then on my first day in Taiwan, alone, without anyone I know, the experience was liberating. From the moment of arrival, meeting Ms. Yu Shan and being oriented initially with details such as Amnesty International Taiwan’s history, her personal interests about the fight for humanity’s freedom rooting from/inspired by China-Taiwan historical conflict, is dumbfounding—left me to wonder, that common individuals like me pay less effort which contributes to start the pressure working, for greater causes—international.
I had one unforgettable experience, funny ironies— in Taipei, there are no security guards almost in every convenient store, restaurant and hotel, and so I feel very safe. In Manila,Philippines, there are guards, sometimes two guards in almost every store and every establishment, yet I don’t feel safe.
Second day up to my third day, I inevitably felt at ease with everything and felt eager to savor everything as a tourist. Take lots and lots of pictures; wander around the area near my hotel and near Amnesty International Taiwan office—guided by Ms Yu Shan and new friends (Yu-ting and Justin ).
Afternoon of June 15, 2011, Wednesday (which is my 3rd day); I realized the weight of the efforts in creatively promoting freedom. I was educated further about functions of non government organizations. Moreover, reminded me of the saying “One can provide public service without a public office”—implying that one doesn’t have to practice authority by having an official position in the government to truly help people, to be goal-directed.
Same day, I learned that, local Amnesty International shows full support system to international human rights issues, while other countries (AI) show concern and support to Taiwan’s. That way, people would comprehend the value and power of international community in promoting human rights globally not only locally, also while Amnesty International Taiwan gradually works on/shows concerns in its own country’s human rights issues. Because I was informed, that Taiwanese people believe they have achieved absolute freedom, but Amnesty International Taiwan evaluated the opposite. There are laws such as regarding immigrants or marriage immigrants which aren’t fair (As explained by TASAT “TransAsia Sisters Association Taiwan”). There is the death penalty, which doesn’t deserve to be implemented due to inconsistencies in the justice system—like accused innocent people “Taiwan Alliance to End Death Penalty” (NGO partner of Amnesty International Taiwan) are fighting for. International issues are different matter though, huge ones, which AI Taiwan is creatively fighting for.
The system here is a kind of blurry, like, I inevitably lost interest in determining the truth already. I trust the media, but different parties say different things and sometimes present convincing evidences and stuff. One thing is clear though, majority cannot moderate their greed—and it’s a never ending trend.
As I have shared to Ms. Yu Shan , Mr. Freddy and Taipei Times news writer Ms. Hsieh, Wen-Hua—the Filipino people are aggressive in fighting for human rights.
Like, when they don’t like something, they gather and rally. Like the recent rallies lead by the youth, against tuition hikes, rallies (or strikes) by Public Utility Vehicle drivers because of no increase in fare fee; laborers rally due to no increase in minimum wages and all other matters. Rallies are everywhere, anytime. Sometimes, a rally turns into riot, where people get hurt, bleed; a riot between the people who rally, cops with the firemen (firing water to the people who rally with their hose). So some youth, like me, confidently participate in simple ways such as petition signing, prayer vigil, peaceful gatherings, because we know there are those who commit themselves in aggressive mobilization. (Well, I’m not allowed by my Parents to go to riots, sometimes rallies which may turn into riots)
I believe they got this aggressiveness from the “People power revolution” which dethroned the late President Ferdinand Marcos. (That period is a great example of superb pressure to the government)
Moreover, I see Taiwan like the young Philippines before, at its “post martial law” years and realize the international human rights issues as ghosts of our Martial Law years. (Which I only witnessed through documentaries) Actually, human rights violation is still a trend in the Philippines, media men killings (but not brutal massacre) and all other forms. That’s why I also shared to Ms. Hsieh, Wen-Hua, one inspiration to my winning song “A whisper”, the event of a brutal massacre of media men which clearly conveys, this nation isn’t free from fear. That there’s no absolute freedom of speech—as my song’s line says “When that evil stalks every corner…I have known to be free.”
But with the effort of the international community, just like in my song’s line “And in time, with the might, of the good, evil dies…”