February 16, 2012

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Linsanity in Taiwan: Pride and reason

Reaction in Taiwan

ROC flag and pride revival caused by Jeremy Lin (Sources: Here, here and here).

Looks like everybody is "Linsane" these days and I've never imagined in my wildest dreams, that the craze around this American basketball player with Taiwanese roots will become so huge! I was probably the first Taiwan blogger, who wrote an article about his identity (American-Taiwanese-Chinese), because I knew it will be of interest to many people, who don't know Taiwan well. I didn't want to offer any conclusions, as Jeremy's identity is his own personal thing, but I wanted to explain the complexity of the Taiwanese identity and my article garnered very high traffic and most with help from Google. In four days my blog post has received almost 6000 page views, which is amazing. After four years of extensive blogging, I pretty much know how to catch the trend and when I heard for the first time that this talented young man is "Taiwanese", I started to draft my post. People are very curious about whether he's of Chinese or Taiwanese origin, especially visitors from America. I'm non-stop getting comments on that post, but sadly mostly from the extreme Pro-China camp, that's launching very vicious attacks on Taiwan and its people (btw, I'm fine, if you're pro-China, but please write comments respectfully). I decided to moderate the thread, because it was out of control and didn't add any value to the discussion - to the contrary: It was killing it.

Screen cap from my blogger dashboard: Linsane numbers and changing non-stop.

I think after a week my post will hit 10.000 page views, because with every winning game Jeremy Lin captivates more people and the thirst for information about him seems to be never ending. In Taiwan the craze is big, but not as big as in USA. Taiwan's ESPN is showing him nonstop and some TV news are reporting a lot, there is a sense of pride, that his family roots are from Changhua, but there is no exaggeration, no "linsane" stuff as we see from America. He's first and foremost an American phenomenon and that's good, because America has a lot of issues with race relations, that need to be openly discussed. So do Taiwan and China and if Linsanity is causing such a heated debates about these things, that's only good. Maybe there are some people, who will suddenly realize that Taiwan and China are de facto two separate countries and subsequently learn more about the so often disregarded beautiful island in the Far East.

Jeremy's winning 3-pointer caused this spike on my blog today - 87 visitors at once!

It's also great, that the relatively small Taiwanese-American community gets more attention through Jeremy Lin's incredible winning streak. Please check the website www.taiwaneseamerican.org to learn more about the community of Americans, who share Jeremy Lin's roots. Many other talented Taiwanese-Americans are featured there - it's a great resource to discover a young and vibrant community!

Jeremy Lin with Ma Ying-jeou, the president of ROC a.k.a. Taiwan at a meeting in 2010. Keep in mind, that both are Harvard graduates, which is quite interesting.

The video above was shown in some Chinese media, but according to reports some of them blurred out the ROC flag (commonly known as the flag of Taiwan). Are they afraid, that the truth about Taiwan being a separate country comes out? I have no idea, but it's certainly interesting to see a big powerful country resort to such things.

The video above was made by a Taiwanese rapper, telling Lin's life story.

Jeremy Lin revived the Taiwanese identity and pride after the recent presidential election result, that disappointed many people on the progressive side. He's commonly referred as "台灣之光" by several Taiwanese fans, who uploaded videos on YouTube. A lot of young Taiwanese have adopted him as one of their own, they look up to him, he inspires them, even though they admit, that he's more American than Taiwanese. Most people are very realistic about the chances he'd have, had he been grown up in Taiwan. I'm happy for my Taiwanese fellows to be inspired and proud, but I'm also impressed, that with few exceptions, most people are pretty reasonable about all this - predominant overboard nationalism driven by this story? You won't find it in Taiwan. And that's a good thing, because it shows, that the society has matured.


  1. I stumbled upon your blog a while back. I enjoy reading your blog, time permitting and thank you for portraying Taiwan from various angles. I am also quite touched by your professed love for your wife.

    I am a Taiwanese expat residing in the good ole U.S. of A. I have been married to an absolute American sweetheart and now have been residing in America longer than in Taiwan.

    That being said, I am absolutely thrilled about the Linsanity fever here in America. His unexpected rise to NBA super stardom is really a breath of fresh air. Most of all, his Lin-derella story plus his faith and the take-home-message-of-the-day - "Believe in your dreams, even if no one does." really tuck at people's heartstrings.

    Not so much an NBA fan as an NFL fan, ever since Linsanity, my interest in NBA games is significantly piqued. His official FB page has, in my last visit, 973,908 likes. I would encourage everyone to show his or her support on his “official” FB page at http://www.facebook.com/jeremylin7.

    Jeremy Lin has put Taiwan on the map for a change. For the longest time, people keep on confusing Taiwan with Thailand. And that is my biggest pet peeve.

    In addition to further honing his skills, Jeremy Lin still has a mountain to climb amid today’s racial bias and stereotype, particularly in regard to the word of ‘athlete’ being associated with Asians. Of course, in general, the exception is applied when martial arts come to mind with masters like Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan that automatically pop into people's minds here.

    Thanks for blogging the Linsanity fever in Taiwan. Having not visited Taiwan for more than 10 years, my curiosity of Taiwan’s recent development is satisfied via your blog.

    The media and the public never tire of coming up with Jeremy Lin monkiers. My absolute all-time favorite one is Super Lin-tendo. Go Jeremy!


  2. Correction -

    I think Jeremy Lin's FB page link I wrote in my previous comment may be a spoof. Please don't publish that link in my previous comment on this blog entry.



  3. ETA -

    I think Jeremy Lin's new FB Page is http://www.facebook.com/jeremylin17.

    Honestly, deep down I think of Jeremy Lin as a superb human being that brings grace and humility to the NBA arena. Debating his ancenstry is a moot point, really. What is at issue here is he cracks open a door to Asian stereotyping. He's got both brains and brawn.

    Tonight's game against Miami Heat will be a litmus test for Jeremy and the Knicks. Go Jeremy!!!!!

  4. Two seperate nations but not two different ethnicity . Many taiwanese have been using the british-american civil war as an example by saying we do not call americans british , buts that nationality . Fact is they are still white . As much as we are still chinese in ethnicity . My parents are from taiwan , but I still consider myself an overseas chinese .

  5. I'm thinking of doing a comedy blog post about how the Chinese are even stealing basketball jobs from Americans! LOL!

    @ Anonymous #3. Unfortunately, J-Lin didn't do so well against the Miami Heat.

    @ Anonymous #4. We are all, white, black, Asian, Australian, Native American, part of the same human family. We are all brothers and sisters.


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