10/10 – the Rehearsals

 

Taiwan has an odd National Day holiday; one quite different from the rest of the world I think. First of all, it celebrates something that most certainly did not happen on the island of Taiwan and one which had no impact on the island when it happened. October 10th (10/10) celebrates the beginning of an uprising in China that led to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, the last of dynastic China and which led to the creation of the Republic of China (ROC). At the time though, Taiwan was under Japanese Imperial rule and in no way could you really count October 10th as being any sort of “birthday” for the Island the Chinese Nationalists came to control. Nonetheless, 10/10 is the de facto National Day in Taiwan and it is not at all uncommon to hear some variant of “Happy Birthday Taiwan” being spoken that day.

Taiwan’s National Day celebrations are also different than what is served up on most other democracies as far as I can tell. The actual celebrations happen in front of the Presidential Building on Ketagalen Boulevard in Taipei. That seems normal enough, but what seems very odd to me is that the public is mostly locked out of the main stage celebrations. Attendance is by ticket and invite; barbed wire and military guards surround the area for the celebrations, making sure that the great unwashed don’t find themselves too close. Not a very inclusive celebration IMO.

Also, the festivities are very heavily pro-militaristic. Maybe that is normal enough, but with all the precision marching and shined uniforms, it reminds me more of North Korea that a free and open democracy (which is what Taiwan has) should

Of course, those soldiers and all the spit-shine make for some attractive photos. Two days before the official celebrations, there are always rehearsals. I think this is the third year in a row where my wife got tickets to attend in the grandstand/VIP area. I might not agree with everything about the event, but it still is pretty fun to get in and take some photos of the pomp and circumstance. Here are some of the photos, though unfortunately we had to leave before all was said and done.

2 years ago

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