Friday, 27 August 2010

The Supposition Of An Equivalence Between Light & Darkness

"...I must say I'd be uncomfortable stating that one culture is superior to another."
The principle achievement of the Dutch East India Company in Formosa was the unprecedented scale of the strategic integration and profitability of their operations. The period between the mid 1840s (following the conclusion to the First Opium War) and the betrayal of British-Formosan interests by the FCO in London during the last months of 1894, was a period of growth in industry and technology in Formosa - including, for example, the production of camphor for use as celluloid in photographic film. During the Japanese colonial period between 1895 and 1945, the modernization of industry, civil infrastructure, architecture and agriculture proceeded at some pace. During the early years of KMT rule over "Taiwan", the island was protected from Chinese invasion by U.S. military might and political will. The gradual re-opening of Formosa to further trade with the outside world and foreign direct investment led to general and rapid improvements in living standards. The democratic reforms of Lee Teng-hui in the 1990s were also something of a step forward.

However, my question of any street-pusher of cultural equivalencies should be this: in what sense can the period of Formosan history between 1662 and the mid 1840s, that near 200 year period of Chinese rule, be judged as equivalent to the Dutch, British, Japanese and modern periods?

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