chapter  1
22 Pages

Since There Is No East and There Is No West, How Could Either Be the Best?

Between 1964 and 1966, when I was a finishing graduate student living in a dormitory at Taiwan University in the city of Taipei, I learned a lesson about democracy. Chatting in the dorm room one day about nothing in particular with one of my three roommates, the sound of a hand on the outside doorknob reached us. My roommate froze into rigid silence. Realizing I had seen his fright, he was embarrassed. In the pervasive police atmosphere of Taiwan under martial law, people learned not to speak in the presence of third parties. Behaviour premised on internalized fear was a matter of survival.