Sunset background

Taiwanese Cultural Society

Thank you for joining us on our new core member rollouts this morning! As a reminder, core meetings are weekly on Thursdays at 9 PM in the A3C Couchroom. We hope to see you there!
Past Announcements
Core applications: Interested in joining us in planning amazing events such as Stanford Night Market and meeting amazing people while enjoying delicious food? Apply for core by Monday 7 October!
Activities Fair on Friday, 27 September: Welcome back to a new school year! And say hello to our refreshed website! (and hope that it doesn't break...). We have lots of things planned for the 2013-2014 school year, so join in on the fun! Sign up for our mailing list to keep updated on events, and we will be sending out core member applications soon. We hope to hear from you!
Meet the Core Boba Social on Monday, 30 September: Held in the A3C Couchroom at 6:30 - 7:30 PM! Come meet the current members and learn more about what we do while enjoying free milk tea from Tea Era! We hope to see you there!
SVSA Lunar New Year on Friday, 4 October: Held in the A3C Ballroom at 6:45 - 9:00 PM! The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival celebrates a time of harvest and family bonding. Family and friends gift mooncakes, make paper lanterns, and retell famous folktales. Come join SVSA, TCS, HKSA, and UCAA for an evening of food and fun performances! RSVP on Facebook
2013 Event Calendar
27 September 2013: Activities' Fair @ White Plaza
30 September 2013: Meet the Core Boba Social @ A3C Couchroom
4 October 2013: Mid-Autumn Festival @ A3C Ballroom in conjunction with SVSA
19 October 2013: JTASA Panel with UC Berkeley TASA
26 October 2013: ITASA Northern California Mixer with UC Berkeley TASA, UC Davis TAO
Fall 2013: Stanford Night Market - Winter in conjunction with various student groups
Fall 2013: Taiwanese Teatime
18 January 2014: Listen to the Silence
Winter 2013: Taste of Taiwan
Winter 2013: Lunar New Year in conjunction with SVSA
Winter 2013: Taiwanese Teatime
Spring 2013: Stanford Night Market - Spring in conjunction with various student groups
Spring 2013: Taiwanese Teatime
The Stanford Night Market
The Stanford Night Market is a tradition hosted by the Taiwanese Cultural Society at Stanford University for many, many years. Working with various other clubs on campus such as Stanford Wushu, the Stanford Vietnamese Student Association (SVSA), Sanskriti, Undergraduate Chinese American Association (UCAA), Asian American Student Association (AASA), and more, Stanford Night Market brings people together for an evening of excitement and fun! Every year, we aim to reach out to a larger audience, and we have hit more than a thousand visitors for the first time in May 2013.
Check out event details here at!
Joining the Taiwanese Cultural Society
Core membership applications
Interested in getting even more involved? Want to be part of planning and hosting exciting events such as Night Market? Enjoy bubble tea? Apply to be part of the core today! Note that you will need to log in with your Stanford SUNet ID.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Just want to know when and where our events are? Join the TCS members mail list for updates on what we are up to! (We promise to limit the number of e-mails sent through this list - generally there should not be more than 2 - 3 per month)
You can subscibe through the Stanford mailing list manager
2013 Officers
Alex Wang, co-chair, webmaster
Alex Wang is a junior double majoring in computer science and music. As co-chair and webmaster, Alex helps coordinate events on campus such as Stanford Night Market, Taste of Taiwan, and others both on campus and online. He also enjoys bicycling, eating Taiwanese food with friends, photography, and reading!
Fang Yi Lin, co-chair
Fang Yi Lin is a junior pursuing a double degree in Symbolic Systems (HCI) and Music, Science & Technology. She was born in Taiwan and her favorite place in Taiwan is Lukang where she spent her childhood summers. She hopes everyone can learn more and about Taiwan and come to love it as she does. On top of daydreaming, she enjoys sleeping, learning languages and doing strange, crazy things.
Pearle Lun, financial officer
Pearle Lun is a senior majoring in History and Anthropology. Her hobbies include eating delicious food, Doraemon, How I Met Your Mother, and hanging out with friends.
Christine Yeh, Stanford University ITASA Representative
Christine Yeh is a sophomore and loves tea, cats, The Doctor, and good conversations. She works on integrating TCS into the greater Taiwanese American Community.
2013 Core Members
Michael Chen · Stephanie Doong · Eric Liaw · Shannon Schweitzer · Katheryn Shi
Chi Ling Chan · Andrew Huo
Andrew Lee · Ethan Li · Kateline Lin · Raymond Lin · Vincent Su · Henry Tran
New Members
Evelyn Chang (c/o 2015) · Susan Chang (c/o 2015) · Justin Doong (c/o 2017) · Tim Hsieh (c/o 2017) · Aloysius Makalinao (c/o 2016) · Catherine Lee (c/o 2016) · Alex Wang (c/o 2016) · Victoria Wang (c/o 2017) · Tim Wu (c/o 2017)
Society - 人文
Ethnic Groups
The ROC's population was estimated in 2005 at 22.9 million, most of whom are on Taiwan. About 98% of the population is of Han Chinese ethnicity 漢族. Of these, 86% are descendants of early Han immigrants known as native Taiwanese 本省人. This group contains two subgroups: the Southern Fujianese 福建 (70% of the total population), who migrated from the coastal Southern Fujian region in the southeast of Mainland China; and the Hakka 福建 (15% of the total population), who originally migrated south to Guangdong 廣東, its surrounding areas and Taiwan, intermarrying extensively with Taiwanese aborigines. The remaining 12% of Han Chinese are known as Mainlanders 外省人 and are composed of and descend from immigrants who arrived after the Second World War. This group also includes those who fled mainland China in 1949 following the Nationalist 中國國民黨 defeat in the Chinese Civil War 國共内戰. The other 2% of Taiwan's population, numbering about 440,000, are listed as the Taiwanese aborigines 原住民, divided into 12 major groups: Ami 阿美, Atayal 泰雅, Paiwan 排灣, Bunun 布農, Puyuma 卑南族, Rukai 魯凱族, Tsou, Saisiyat 賽夏, Yami 達悟族, Thao 邵族, Kavalan 噶瑪蘭族 and Taroko 太魯閣族
About 80% of the people in Taiwan belong to the Holo 河洛 or Hoklo 福佬 ethnic group and speak both Mandarin and Taiwanese. Mandarin is the primary language of instruction in schools; however, most spoken media is split between Mandarin and Taiwanese. The Hakka 客家, about 10% of the population, have a distinct Hakka language. Aboriginal minority groups still speak their native languages, although most also speak Mandarin. English is a common second language. Although Mandarin is still the language of instruction in schools and dominates television and radio, non-Mandarin languages have undergone a revival in public life in Taiwan. A large fraction of the populace speaks Taiwanese 台語, a variant of Min-nan 閩南語, and a majority understand it. Many also speak Hakka. Between 1900 and 1945, Japanese was the medium of instruction, so older people educated during that period speak it. Some in the older generations only speak the Japanese they learned at school and the Taiwanese they spoke at home and are unable to communicate with many in the modern generations who only speak Mandarin. The national phonetic system of the ROC is still used on Taiwan. That is Zhuyin Fuhao 注音符號 or known as Bopomofo ㄅㄆㄇㄈ after the first four letters of this Chinese phonemic alphabet (bo po mo fo). It is used for teaching the Chinese languages, especially Standard Mandarin, to people learning to read, write, and speak Mandarin. The romanization of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan is inconsistent. Although the national government officially adopted Tongyong Pinyin 通用拼音 in 2002, it allowed local governments to make their own choices. Taipei 台北, Taiwan's largest city, has adopted Hanyu Pinyin 漢語拼音, replacing earlier signage, most of which had been in a bastardized version of Wade-Giles 威妥碼拼音. Kaohsiung 高雄, Taiwan's second-largest city, has adopted Tongyong. Elsewhere in Taiwan, signs tend to be in a mixture of systems, with the most common overall being MPS2 國語注音符號第二式, which was official before the adoption of Tongyong Pinyin. Because romanization is not taught in Taiwan schools and there has been little political will to ensure that it is implemented correctly, romanization errors are common throughout Taiwan; at present the area with the fewest errors on official signage is Taipei. As the Pan-Blue bloc has largely aligned itself behind Hanyu Pinyin and the Pan-Green bloc has largely backed Tongyong Pinyin, Pan-Blue victories in the 2005 county elections are likely to result in an expansion of the use of Hanyu Pinyin, especially in northern and central Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan have their names romanized using a modified version of Wade-Giles. This, however, is generally not out of personal preference but rather a tendency to use the system that most reference materials in Taiwan have employed to date.
A wide diversity of religions can be found on Taiwan, due to its multicultural history, and religious freedom written in the constitution. 93% of Taiwanese are adherents of a combination of Buddhism 佛學, Confucianism 儒學, and Taoism 道教; 4.5% identify themselves as Christians, including Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and other non-denominational Christian groups; and 2.5% are adherents of other religions, such as Islam and Judaism. Confucianism is a philosophy that deals with secular moral ethics, and serves as the foundation of both Chinese and Taiwanese culture. The majority of Taiwanese usually combine the secular teachings of Confucianism with whatever religions they are affiliated with.
Geography - 地理
Location and Topography
The island of Taiwan lies some 200 kilometers off the southeastern coast of China, across the Taiwan Strait, and has an area of 35,801 square kilometers (13,823 square miles), with the East China Sea to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait directly to the south and the South China Sea to the southwest. The island is characterized by the contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the flat to gently rolling plains in the west that are also home to most of Taiwan's population.
Taiwan's climate is marine tropical. The northern part of the island has a rainy season that lasts from January to late March during the southwest monsoon, and also experiences meiyu 梅雨 in May. The entire island succumbs to hot humid weather from June until September, while October to December are arguably the most pleasant times of year. The middle and southern parts of the island do not have an extended monsoon season during the winter months, but can experience several weeks of rain, especially during and after Lunar New Year. Natural hazards such as typhoons and earthquakes are common in the region.
History - 歷史
Pre-History to Early Settlement
Evidence of human settlement in Taiwan dates back 30,000 years, although the first inhabitants of Taiwan may have been genetically distinct from any groups currently on the island. About 4,000 years ago, ancestors of current Taiwanese aborigines settled Taiwan. These aborigines are genetically related to Malay and Polynesians, and linguists classify their language as Austronesian. In 1544, a Portuguese ship sighted the main island of Taiwan and dubbed it "Ilha Formosa", which means "Beautiful Island." The Portuguese made no attempt to colonize Taiwan. Japan had sought to claim sovereignty over Taiwan (known as Takayama Koku) since 1592, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi undertook a policy of overseas expansion and extending Japanese influence southward. Korea, to the west, was invaded and an attempt to invade Taiwan and subsequent invasion attempts were to be unsuccessful due mainly to disease and attacks by aborigines on the island. In 1609, the Tokugawa Shogunate sent Haruno Arima on an exploratory mission of the island. In 1616, Murayama Toan led an unsuccessful invasion of the island.
The Dutch
In 1624, the Dutch established a commercial base on Taiwan and began to import workers from Fujian 福建 and the Pescadores as laborers, many of whom settled. The Dutch made Taiwan a colony with its colonial capital at Tayoan City (present day Anping 安平, Tainan 台南). The name Taiwan derives from Tayoan, meaning "I" in Sirayan, one of the Formosan languages.
Koxinga and Qing Rule
Ming 明 naval and troop forces defeated the Dutch in 1662, subsequently expelling the Dutch government and military from the island. They were led by Lord Koxinga 鄭成功, a pirate turned Ming navy commander. Following the fall of the Ming dynasty, Koxinga retreated to Taiwan as a self-styled Ming loyalist, and established the Kingdom of Tungning (1662–1683). Koxinga established his capital at Tainan and he and his heirs, Zheng Jing 鄭經 who ruled from 1662-1682 and his son Zheng Keshuang 鄭克塽, who served less than a year, continued to launch raids on the east coast of mainland China well into the Qing 清 dynasty in an attempt to recover the mainland. In 1683, the Qing dynasty defeated the Zheng holdout, and formally annexed Taiwan, placing it under the jurisdiction of Fujian province. Zheng's followers were expatriated to the farthest reaches of the Qing Empire, leaving approximately 7,000 Han on Taiwan. The Qing government wrestled with its Taiwan policy to reduce piracy and vagrancy in the area, which led to a series of edicts to manage immigration and respect aboriginal land rights. Illegal immigrants from Fujian continued to enter Taiwan as renters of the large plots of aboriginal lands under contracts that usually involved marriage, while the border between taxpaying lands and "savage" lands migrated east, with some aborigines 'Sinicizing' while others retreated into the mountains. The bulk of Taiwan's population today claim descent from these immigrants. During this time, there were a number of conflicts involving Han Chinese from different regions of China, and between Han Chinese and aborigines. In 1887, the Qing government upgraded Taiwan's status from that of being a prefecture of Fujian to one of province itself, the 20th in the country, with its capital at Taipei 台北. The move was accompanied by a modernization drive that included the building of the first railroad and the beginning of a postal service in Taiwan.
Japanese Rule
Following its defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), by signing the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Qing China ceded Taiwan and the Pescadores to Japan in perpetuity, on terms dictated by the latter. On May 25, 1895, the Republic of Formosa was formed with a dynastic name of "Forever Qing" and with capital at Tainan, to resist impending Japanese rule. Japanese forces entered the capital and quelled this resistance on October 21, 1895. Unlike elsewhere in Asia, most notably Korea, Japan never tried to fully assimilate Taiwan culturally. According to Japanese public relations, the Japanese attempted to use Taiwan as a model colony and were instrumental in the industrialization of the island. The Japanese extended the railroads and other transportation networks that had just sprung up during late Qing rule, built an extensive sanitation system and revised the public school system, among other things. The Japanese motivation for these new infrastructures on Taiwan were primarily to tap the natural resources of the island. Still, the ethnic Chinese and Taiwanese aborigines were classified as second- and third-class citizens. The signing of the Instrument of Surrender on August 15, 1945, signaled that Taiwan was to be returned to China, one of the Allied objectives from the wartime declarations. On October 25, 1945, ROC troops, representing the Allied Command, accepted the formal surrender of Japanese military forces in Taihoku (today, Taipei). However, due to the Chinese Civil War 國共内戰 between the Kuomintang (KMT) 中國國民黨 and the Chinese Communists, the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty between Japan and the Allies stipulated the United States as the main occupying power of Taiwan while not naming the recipient of Taiwan's sovereignty, which Chiang Kai-Shek 蔣中正, President of the ROC, refused to accept. The PRC was not invited to the treaty because of the Korean War. Supporters of Taiwanese independence claim that technically, documents and treaties left the legal sovereignty of Taiwan ambiguous, and the ruling KMT government of the ROC only exercised de facto control over the island. However, the validity of this stewardship is disputed by the ROC, as well as by the PRC.
Authoritarian Rule Under the Kuomintang
The ROC administration, led by Chiang Kai-shek, announced October 25, 1945, as "Taiwan Retrocession Day" "臺灣光復節". At first, they were greeted as liberators by the people of Taiwan. However, the ROC military administration on Taiwan under Chen Yi 陳儀 was generally unstable and corrupt. These problems, compounded with hyperinflation, unrest due to the Chinese Civil War, and distrust due to political, cultural and linguistic differences between the Taiwanese and the Mainland Chinese, quickly led to the loss of popular support for the new administration. This culminated in a series of severe clashes between the ROC administration and Taiwanese, in turn leading to the bloody 228 incident and the reign of White Terror. In 1949, upon losing the Chinese Civil War to the CPC, the KMT retreated from Mainland China and moved the ROC government to Taipei, Taiwan's largest city, while continuing to claim sovereignty over all of China and Greater Mongolia. On the mainland, the Communists established the PRC, claiming to be the sole representative of China including Taiwan and portraying the ROC government on Taiwan as an illegitimate entity. Some 1.3 million refugees from Mainland China, consisting primarily of soldiers, KMT party members, and wealthy mainlanders, arrived in Taiwan around that time. From this period on, Taiwan was governed by a party-state dictatorship, with the KMT as the ruling party. Military rule continued and little to no distinction was made between the government and the party, with public property, government property, and party property being interchangeable. Government workers and party members were indistinguishable, with government workers, such as teachers, required to become KMT members, and party workers paid salaries and promised retirement benefits along the lines of government employees. In addition all other parties were outlawed, and political opponents were persecuted, incarcerated, and executed. Initially, the United States abandoned the KMT and expected that Taiwan would fall to the Communists. However, in 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, and in the context of the Cold War, US President Harry S. Truman intervened again and dispatched the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Straits to "neutralize" the Straits. In the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which came into force on April 28, 1952, and the Treaty of Taipei, concluded hours before that date, Japan formally renounced all right, claim and title to Formosa (Taiwan) and the Pescadores (Peng-hu), and renounced all treaties signed with China before 1942. Both treaties remained silent about who would take control of the island, in part to avoid taking sides in the Chinese Civil War. Advocates of Taiwan independence have used this omission to call into question any legal claims on Taiwan, arguing that the future of Taiwan should be decided by self-determination. During the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwan began to develop into a prosperous and dynamic economy, becoming one of the East Asian Tigers while maintaining the authoritarian, single-party government. Because of the Cold War, most Western nations and the United Nations regarded the ROC as the sole legitimate government of China until the 1970s, when most nations began switching recognition to the PRC.
Democratic Transition
After Chiang Kai-shek's death in 1975, Vice President Yen Chia-kan 嚴家淦 briefly took over from 1975 to 1978 according to the Constitution, but actual power was in the hands of the Premier of the Executive Yuan 行政院, Chiang Ching-kuo 蔣經國, who was KMT chairman and a son of Chiang Kai-shek. During the presidency of Chiang Ching-kuo from 1978 to 1988, Taiwan's political system began to undergo gradual liberalization. Martial law, which had been in effect since 1948, was lifted in 1987, and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party 民主進步黨 was formed and allowed to participate overtly in politics. After Chiang Ching-kuo died in 1988, Vice President Lee Teng-hui 李登輝 succeeded him as the first Taiwan-born president of the ROC and chairman of the KMT. Lee became the first ROC president elected by popular vote in 1996. In 2000, Chen Shui-bian 陳水扁 of the Democratic Progressive Party won the Presidential election, marking the first ever peaceful democratic transition of power to an opposition party in Chinese history. On 30 September 2007, the ruling DPP approved a resolution asserting a separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a "normal country". It also called for general use of "Taiwan" as the country's name, without abolishing its formal name, the Republic of China. The KMT increased its majority in the Legislative Yuan in the January 2008 legislative elections, while its nominee Ma Ying-jeou went on to win the presidency in March of the same year.
For more information
Check out the following links:
Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Taiwanese Cultural Society
The Taiwanese Cultural Society at Stanford University is Stanford University's Taiwanese American students association (surprise!). We are proud of the diversity of our members: some of us were born in and grew up in Taiwan, some of us are American-born Taiwanese, some of us come from or have families that come from mainland China, and still others of us have no ethnic ties to Taiwan or China. However, we are all united by our love for and interest in Taiwan and its culture. In a world whose state can only be characterized as one of flux-political, economic, social-we seek to make ourselves and others aware of Taiwanese culture. Only by understanding it can we appreciate its history and marvel at its evolution. Though we are predominantly a cultural society, we are also interested in the numerous other unique issues that pertain to the island. We aim to parse our knowledge of our cultural identity into terms to which second-generation Taiwanese Americans (such as many of us in the organization)-and more broadly, second-generation Asian Americans-can relate.
It gives us tremendous pride to be one of the most active cultural organizations on campus. Over the years, the variety of-and participation in-our events has only grown. Our events include Night Market, Taste of Taiwan, boba night, movie screenings, shaved ice night, and much more.
Core meetings are held weekly in the A3C Couchroom on Thursday evenings at 9 PM. Meetings are used to plan and discuss upcoming events - if you are interested in joining, please apply to be part of the core today!
Related organizations
Find us elsewhere