Favorite concepts that defy translation represent one of the most frustrating aspects for the serious student of a foreign language. For students of Chinese whose native language is English, the concept of irony is a case in point. The island was adopted as an integral part of China relatively recently, much the same way family members come forward to claim a long-lost relative whose newfound wealth or importance prompts their discovery. Taiwan’s much-acclaimed miracle is more than simply economic. It has an important socio-political dimension. Investment in agricultural research stations, large-scale irrigation projects, a series of hydroelectric and thermal power plants, railways, harbors, banks and credit cooperatives, schools and other facilities was regarded as the cost of making Taiwan pay off as a source of agricultural produce. The cornerstone of the reforms implemented by the Nationalists on Taiwan after 1949 involved the redistribution of land.