Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Triumph of Reality Over Illusion? Thought About El Salvador, Starbucks And Name

Two recent events prompt me to think about..."What is in a name?"

(Because we are discussing name here, I will pretend Taiwan does not have a name, and use Island X to refer to Taiwan...because saying something like "Bob refers to Taiwan as Taiwan" simply doesn't make my point clear).

Event one is the Starbucks' correction on its website after web users in Island X took initiative to email Starbucks complaining about it. Actually I checked the Starbucks' site and in most places it uses only Taiwan to refer to Island X. Only in one of the search page it shows "Taiwan, Province of China." After the complains, Starbucks correct it rather quickly...within 24 hrs.

The other event is that El Salvador's foreign minister used the term "Republic of Taiwan" to refer to Island X. These might have another "wow" effect on most Island X citizens perhaps, similar to when former US President Bush said "Republic of Taiwan." Bush was known for frequent slip of tongue though so you wonder if he said that by mistakes. But El Salvador's foreign minister is a diplomat, which should mean that his words are mostly carefully chosen.

If we think about it though, isn't this the natural flow of things? CCP uses the name ROC in the UN, and would get angry anytime a foreigner use ROC to refer to Island X, because the name violates its "One China" G Spot. KMT only uses ROC when it is inside Island X. When it is in China, it cannot even refer to Island X as a country, and can only say ROC when it is talking about history, not current event. When it is in other places I wonder if it can actually use ROC anymore because most people around the world don't make a distinction and think ROC == PRC. DPP just doesn't like the name ROC at all. In global private sector, most companies refer to Island X as Taiwan, not ROC.

So basically, no one likes the name ROC and no one is using the name ROC. That name is basically fading away, because it simply does not reflect the reality. El Salvador has diplomatic tie with Island X, which means Island X must in reality be a nation. But the name ROC is simply confusing and does not reflect the reality. And for many years, most people refer to Island X as Taiwan, and even people on Island X prefer the name Taiwan. So why don't we just use the name "Republic of Taiwan" to refer to Island X? And thus the name in born, in the mind of El Salvador's foreign minister and many others around the world.

Of course, CCP and KMT both do not like the name Taiwan or Republic of Taiwan because they don't like the reality that Island X is an independent nation. But someone like El Salvador and Starbucks who have to do business with Island X and deal with Island X as an independent nation would ask..." one in Island X like "Taiwan, Province of China" or "Chinese Taipei, " and those terms simply do not reflect the reality. So, what exactly should we call Island X then? Banana Republic?" Perhaps, perhaps. But once again Banana Republic does not describe Island X well and it is actually a trade mark used by a clothes company.

For all practical purpose, Republic of Taiwan is the best name for Island X, because it is the most concise, most clear and best reflection of the reality. That is the reason why former US president Bush and El Salvador foreign minister both refer Island X as Republic of Taiwan, whether it is by mistakes or not. That is also one reason why Starbucks can change the name back to Taiwan on the English website so quickly, because "Taiwan, Province of China" simply does not reflect the reality.

PS. I hope some of those people in DPP also stop using "ROC == Taiwan" and "Taiwan == ROC" because seriously no one cares and if even El Salvador already used the concept Republic of Taiwan as a name, why shouldn't DPP?

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