The first lecturer is Prof. Lan, Shi-Chi from the Department of History, NCCU. He explained the migration experienced by Taiwanese people under Japanese rule until the cold war. In the last 100 years, Asia countries have been living in wartime, from violence to living under the war's shadow. War has forced the people to migrate from one place to another.
In World War I and the interwar period (1919-1941), many Japanese expanded their business in Southeast Asia. The Chinese ethnic community in Southeast Asia held economic power, to do business with the Chinese overseas the Japanese brought Taiwanese as an interpreter. Prof. Lan estimated there were thousands of Taiwanese in Southeast Asia by 1941.
During World War II (1941-1945), In December 1941, Japan’s declaration of war against the Netherlands. Then, the Dutch authorities interned all the Taiwanese together with the Japanese across the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) as “enemy aliens”. These Taiwanese had been living, doing business, working, and having family in Dutch East Indies before the war broke out. In January 1942, The Taiwanese in Dutch East Indies had been transferred from the Dutch East Indies to Australia. Estimated around 500 Taiwanese interned in Australia.
The internment of Taiwanese not only happened in Dutch East Indies. The Taiwanese in other countries such as Hong Kong and British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore) also experienced living in internment camps. Taiwanese in British Malaya transferred to British India (now India). Taiwanese were interned in several different camps across Australia and were not freed or repatriated until March 1946. During the years of living in internment camps, they experienced ranging things from death to birth. To support their living, they could choose to work by making buttons uniform for the Australian military.
After the war, the internees were repatriated. The decision to repatriate them to their destination country was taken by the local government. The Australian government decided to send all Taiwanese using the Japanese ship, Yoizuki, to Taiwan, even though it is not their home country. Many Taiwanese refused to be returned to Taiwan because most of them already live in the Dutch East Indies.
In the Cold War Period, since the 1950s many Southeast Asia Chinese community students have come to Taiwan for education. There are main reasons that made Chinese overseas students’ study in Taiwan, such as the lack of Chinese higher education in Southeast Asia because there was a stigma that Chinese is equal with communism.
The other reason is the Taiwan (ROC) government competed against the PRC or communists, so ROC tried to attract Chinese overseas students to learn in ROC instead of the PRC. The Office of Chinese Affairs under the US State Department started to support ROC’s effort in recruiting Chinese overseas to study in Taiwan. In 1954, the US provided NTD 8.6 million to build infrastructure on campus and a full scholarship to Chinese overseas students. It impacted many overseas students who stayed and worked in Taiwan.
Second, Prof. Tzu-kai Liu from the Department of Ethnology, NCCU explained storytelling in the social media era. He stated narrative is a way to organize storytelling through specific viewpoints and events. There are two main research approaches to narrative studies: narrative as individualistic and self-contained text, and narrative as situated speech act linking to social action and cultural practices.
The second approach started to use to respond to social movement contexts, especially for the American feminist movement and African American civil rights movement in the 1960s-70s. This approach also became a trend in digital narrative studies.
In the 1990s narrative analysis turned from “narrative analysis of test” to “narrative as speech act and social practices”. In digital narration, people not only tell stories to others, but people tell stories with others. The sociolinguistic approach fails to capture the collaborative aspect in the digital narrative. While the conversational narrative approach (Ochs and Capps) shifts the focus of research from the analysis of content and structure of narrative to the daily dialog process of “collaboration” or “co-participation”.
The narrative is no longer simply regarded as a private, individual reflective, and independently completed process, but a collaborative, dynamic conversation action. It is a collective action, and the meaning of the story is also produced in the action. The other approach is an interactive narrative where the participant (not everyone speaks) contributes to the context of interaction and communication and reflexive narrative where the researcher becomes co-participant in narrative action.
There are also types of weblog narrative, single narrative has characteristics embedded in a single entry and a single author. Serial/episodic narrative has characteristics dispensed across various entries, user comments, and single author. The collaborative narrative has characteristics dispersed across various entries, user comments, and multiple authors. The distributed narrative has characteristics dispersed across various weblogs and media, user comments, and multiple authors.
Every comment in digital narrative has a different tonal, such as an aggressive tone which comment that has a negative or hostile tone towards something or someone, the neutral tone which comments that are neither positive nor negative, an amicable tone which comments that have a positive or friendly tone towards something or someone, and ironic tone which comments that have a humorous, sarcastic, or mocking tone toward something or someone.
Grace Chang (2021) In her MA thesis "Turning Social Media in Trolls over Political Dispute: An Analysis of User Reaction and Tone in Online Trolling" analyzes tonal and user comments to memes. In May 2021, when COVID-19 daily cases in Taiwan reached over 100 positive domestic infections, Chinese citizens mocked Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shi-zhong and Taiwan’s poor response to the COVID-19 by using memes of “worship Chen”. In the meme that was in the posts by “Taiwan Stupid”, Chen appeared as a God with a hand surrounding his face, this picture also seems like a microscopic coronavirus.
Most of the user response to this meme is ironic (54%). Even though Taiwan poses some threats to the CCP’s stated goals for national reunification, aggressive attacks are not the weapons of choice for PRC-based trolls, when mockery and belittling will suit their goals of embarrassing and delegitimizing Taiwan’s government. Trolls in the PRC use sarcasm to undermine Taiwanese claims of success and distinction which form the basis of the desire for recognition.