In the greater Los Angeles area, for example, the town of Monterey Park has been called "Little Taipei", because of its large Taiwanese population. Other suburban Southern California communities with a high Taiwanese population can be found throughout the San Gabriel valley. Of the 10, Taiwanese immigrants in , nearly half, 4,, settled in California, with upwards of 3, in the Los Angeles-Orange Country area alone. San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland accounted for another 1, immigrants.
In the east, large communities can be found in the Flushing-Queens area of New York, while in Texas, Houston draws Taiwanese immigrants. The flow of capital from Taiwan follows these immigrants, and as a result they have been able to revitalize some failing communities and culturally influence others. The Taiwanese presence is evident in the cities where they settle. Instead of the Chinatowns of old, Taiwanese immigrants create islands of Taiwanese culture amid suburbia, with all-Chinese shopping malls and strip malls offering everything from Chinese food shops to bookshops and pharmacies.
All signs are in Chinese characters mixed with English in a kind of international linguistic melange; entering these malls is like being instantly transported to Taiwan itself. This is especially true for communities such as those in California at Monterey Park and San Jose, where the Taiwanese community has its own clubs, churches, newspapers, and churches.
This is also the case in larger urban areas, such as Flushing in Queens, New York, where the Taiwanese are just one part of a larger multicultural blend including Pakistanis, Indians, Koreans, and Thais. Like many other immigrants from Asia, the Taiwanese tend to settle in areas with large numbers of their fellow countrymen. Families and networks of mutual aid are set in place in the United States just as they were in Taiwan.
Thus the Taiwanese American community tends to remain cohesive, preserving its values, language, and cultural traditions amid the bustle of contemporary American life, but they are no longer segregated into the Chinatowns of old. As Hsiang-shui Chen pointed out in Chinatown No More, a study of Taiwanese immigrants in Queens, "the new Chinese immigrants do not live in isolated Chinese communities.
Like the old Chinese immigrants, they have developed a complex organizational life, but it does not include all immigrants, and the new Chinese community in Queens has no hierarchical structure. Thus the new Taiwanese immigrant community is looser than earlier Chinese ones, while preserving much of the mutual aid that characterized those communities.
Taiwanese traditions are a unique blend of the groups that have occupied the island state. There are instances of Fujian culture, of traditions from Guangdong, and of customs from Japan as a result of the fifty-year occupation by that country. These traditions have also been heavily influenced by Western trends, as Taiwan itself is a modern economic power.
Thus, immigrants coming to the United States have generally found a middle ground between East and West for their belief systems. Concepts relating to nature, time, and space are a joining of two worlds: Ancient belief systems revolved around the Dao, or the Way, the manner in which humans live in harmony with the natural world. The traditional belief in qi, or life force, leads to a view of a world divided into polar opposites, yin and yang, as represented in such dichotomies as male-female, cold-hot, dry-wet, light-dark.
Additionally, the world is seen as comprised of five elements: Seasons and relationships are determined by the ebb and flow of opposites and of the five elements. Taiwanese Americans showed up in force to demonstrate in New York's Times Square against Chinese injustices to the people in their homeland. The tradition of fengshui, wind and water, is an ancient Chinese science that seeks harmony in interior and exterior design and architecture by balancing yin-yang and allowing for proper flow of qi. This tradition has gained popularity outside of the Taiwanese and Chinese community, resulting in a popularization of fengshui principles in much of the Western world as well.
A unique perception of time also informs Taiwanese life, in which both the lunar calendar and Western Gregorian calendar is used. The latter solar calendar is employed in business, school, and public life, while for determining festivals and religious observances, the lunar calendar is used.
Based on the phases of the moon, the lunar calendar has 12 months, with 24 solar divisions, and is 11 days shorter than the Western calendar year. The lunar calendar and almanacs are also used to determine auspicious and inauspicious days for doing various endeavors, from starting a business, to getting married.
Some Taiwanese believe that certain days are unlucky: The first and fifteenth of each lunar month are not good days to wash one's hair. Such old beliefs, however, are dying out among the younger generation of Taiwanese. Another widespread belief among Chinese and Taiwanese is the taboo of number four, which sounds very much like the word for death. Buildings often exclude a fourth and even a fourteenth or twenty-fourth floor to avoid possible bad luck, a custom similar to that regarding the number thirteen in Western societies.
Many other beliefs revolve around the play of homonyms. It is bad luck to share a pear, li, because that word sounds like the Chinese word "to separate. Similarly, at Chinese New Year, the character for luck or happiness will be taped to windows upside down: Gift giving is fraught with peril, for some presents are to be avoided; umbrellas, as the Chinese word for them sounds too close to the word for separation or departure, and clocks, which sound like the expression for attending a funeral.
When I came to this country, I heard about all the divorces and I was kind of scared. I wanted to save money in case my husband kicks me out, so I can go somewhere. Taiwanese culture is rich in proverbs, many of them appearing in pairs and presenting opposite views of the same advice.
Thus, to "give somebody wood on a snowy day," is to provide timely aid, while to "add flowers to a large bouquet" means to do something unnecessary. Similarly, advice about just desserts is served up in the following pair: Wait, it will come. Taiwanese cuisine is largely influenced by Fujian cooking, an Eastern style adapted to a lighter cuisine which employs more seafood.
Japanese influences in this style of cooking include the substitution of vegetable oil for traditional Fujian lard to create more delicate dishes. Other popular methods of cooking include barbecuing and the use of hot-pots, in addition to pan frying, boiling, and stir-frying. Taiwanese cooking employs a wide assortment of foodstuffs, from meats such as beef and pork, to poultry and all sorts of seafood.
Noodle dishes and soups are popular, as are boiled dumplings, shuijao, prepared with crabmeat in addition to the usual pork and leek stuffing. Seafood is used in such delicacies as oysters in black bean sauce, prawns wrapped in seaweed, cucumber crab rolls, and clam and winter melon soup. Taiwan, with is tropical and subtropical climate, grows fruits and vegetables in abundance.
Most popular fruits include papaya, mango, pineapple, melons, and citrus, while vegetables are asparagus, eggplant, pea pods, Chinese cabbage and mushrooms, bok choy, and leafy greens of the spinach family. Bean curd in various guises is also used. Buns, cakes, and bread are also more numerous in Taiwanese cuisine than in other parts of China, a result of Western influence in Shanghai.
Beverages such as beer and rice wine, sake, are typical, as is Western style soda, but tea continues to be an omnipresent beverage among Taiwanese. Some food is sold only at certain times of the day or year. For example, steamed buns and the clay-oven rolls called shaobing are sold only in the morning; some bread and tofu are sold in the afternoon and evening.
The best time to find spring rolls is in April; moon cakes are available during the Mid-Autumn Festival; and the Dragon Boat Festival heralds delicious rice dumplings, zongzi. Other foods, such as snake and tiger, are now rare, used primarily for medicinal purposes. The Taiwanese use chopsticks. It is a skill most children learn by the time they are five.
Deep, curved Chinese spoons in plastic or porcelain are also used instead of Western cutlery. Knives are usually unnecessary at table as meat is diced or sliced in preparation. It is customary for the eater to hold the rice bowl close to the mouth, scooping the rice in with chopsticks, which are placed on the table or the rim of the rice bowl, and never pointing down into the bowl a sign of bad luck. Music provides a ceremonial and entertainment function in Taiwanese society, both in the United States and in Taiwan.
Music the dead to their burial, heralds marriages and birthdays, and also provides the framework for Chinese opera and puppet plays. An ancient musical system, Chinese music uses a scale of seven notes, but focuses on five core tones with two changing tones. These five tones are in turn tied to the Chinese concept of the five basic elements. The Taiwanese musical tradition follows that of the classical Chinese model, and in addition has its own folk traditions.
Popular instruments include the zither with 25 strings and movable bridges, se, and the chin, another stringed instrument. Three different types of musical ensembles are employed at festive or ritual occasions, each tracing its development back to bands that would accompany high officers in imperial times. Drums are an integral part of traditional Taiwanese music, and for special occasions, a drum pavilion or guting is played, comprising several sorts of gongs, cymbals, and drums, as well as the double-reeded pipe called suona.
Bayin ensembles, employing eight sounds, are used for weddings and funerals with a guting following. A third type of amateur folk ensemble plays beiguan music at temples for a god's or goddess's birthday. Taiwanese produce stars on the Mandarin and Taiwanese pop music scenes. Teresa Teng was one such popular singer, known all over East Asia and beloved by immigrant communities in the United States. Folk songs and ballads have become more popular, inspired by both aboriginal music and Japanese musical styles. Taiwanese also listen to Western music in all its forms.
The chi pao is the traditional wear for women, a long, high-collared dress with a side slit. The chi pao is generally made of silk, brocaded with designs or plain, as is desired. Such dresses are for formal occasions, though a shortened version is also used for less formal wear. The chan sang is similar; it literally means "long clothes," but is loose-waisted in comparison to the chi pao, and was formerly worn by men as well. Taiwanese traditional dance is ritualistic, emphasizing formal, stiff body movements with the feet kept close to the ground.
Such dances are seen in folk celebrations and rituals, and in opera, where each movement is highly symbolic, telling of emotions, or time and space changes. In traditional drama, there is often a chaotic, swirling, acrobatic blend of fight and dance: This latter form of dance is closely related to Taiwan's martial art, guoshu, of which there are many varieties. Folk dance traditions are strong among Taiwanese, the lion dance and the dragon dance being the most typical. In ancient times, such dances, employing drums, masks, and animated movements, were performed to bring rain or avoid plagues.
Modern performances of the lion and dragon dance are intended to bring good luck or liven up festive occasions. The dragon mask and costume in particular are works of folk art in themselves, the entire body of the dancer covered in colorful fabric. Contemporary choreographers have attempted to blend some of this folk tradition with the elements of modern dance, creating a uniquely Taiwanese form of ballet. Taiwanese Americans observe all the formal holidays of the United States: In addition, they have several festivals that are peculiar to the lunar calendar and have a seasonal significance.
The most important festival, for all Chinese Americans, is the celebration of the Lunar New Year, which is tied to the coming of spring and thus also known as chunjie or "spring festival. Red is the dominant color: New Year's Day is a time for family to come together, to give gifts and to visit close friends.
Special foods are prepared, and much of these are determined again by similarity in sound to words representing good luck or wealth. For example, fish, yu, is a popular dish because it sounds the same as the word for "abundance. The Lantern Festival, dengjie, takes place on the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year and traditionally marks the end of New Year celebrations. In the United States this festival marks the beginning of spring banquets given by many Taiwanese organizations. A summer festival, the Dragon Boat Festival honors the death of a popular poet and minister of the Zhou dynasty of China B.
Legend has it that villagers attempted to recover his body with a flotilla of boats; modern-day boat races in Taiwan honor the day. The same legend tells that the people threw rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish, thus keeping them from eating the corpse of the poet. Today, Taiwanese Americans often eat zongzi at this festival, a sort of glutinous rice pudding or dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves and stuffed with pork, beans, and other ingredients.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, zhongchiu jie, is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, when the full moon is supposed to represent family harmony; the abundance of autumn harvest is often displayed as an offering to the moon goddess. Paste-filled moon cakes are baked at this time, made from lotus or melon seeds, or various beans.
There are no health issues peculiar to the Taiwanese population. A healthy diet is a part of the culture, owing to the five-element way of thinking and of the yin-yang dichotomy. Categories such as wet and dry, hot and cool, go into preparing a menu. The balance of such opposites is thought to be vital to good health. There is a heavy reliance on non-Western forms of medical therapy such as acupuncture. Taiwanese Americans speak a variety of languages, but Mandarin Chinese is generally their first language, known as kuo yu, or "national dialect.
Taiwanese Americans - History, Modern era, The first taiwanese in america
The various ethnic groups comprising the Taiwanese community have their own dialects. The native Taiwanese dialect is spoken by the Fujian and Hakka, and is based on the Minnan dialect of southern Fujian province. Some Hakka also speak their own dialect. But generally speaking, Taiwanese all speak the four-tone Mandarin dialect. Romanization of Chinese characters is still done in the Wade-Giles system, though Taiwan is beginning to change such romanization to the pinyin system in use on the mainland.
Thus Peking, the capital of communist China, is Beijing. Taipei, Taiwan's capital in the Wade-Giles system, is Taibei in pinyin. Taiwanese Americans often mix English with Chinese, especially in written language. Thus, shop signs will often combine intricate characters with English words. In larger urban areas, Chinese language radio and television stations provide listeners and viewers with programming in Mandarin or Cantonese dialects.
Common greetings and other expressions include: Confucian values place a premium on family values and family cohesion. Clans and lineages both played significant roles in Chinese history, and in the Taiwanese American community such bonds continue to so. Whereas the extended family of three generations under one roof was once the norm in Taiwanese society, the emphasis in recent years in both Taiwan and the United States has been on the nuclear family. No longer are many children needed as they were in rural, agricultural times.
Now the emphasis is on smaller families with fewer children. Often Taiwanese Americans have left family members behind; mothers and fathers remain in Taiwan while sons and increasingly daughters come to the United States to build a new life. Relations are continued via telephone, the Internet, and by periodic visits. It is common for members of an extended family to live together, however, such as in cases of a young man or woman living with relatives while attending college. Within the family, Chinese kinship terms are observed.
Grandparents are zufumu if they are the parents of the father, waizufumu if they are mother's parents. An older brother is gege, a younger one didi. Jiejie is an older sister while meimei is a younger one. Such nomenclature also extends to uncles and aunts to determine which side he or she is on mother's or father's and their rank of seniority in the family.
Such strict labeling eventually breaks down among Taiwanese families living in America. Among blue-collar workers, though they are likely to have a double-household, the male-female roles are more traditional and the husband will be the more dominant partner. Several distinguished academics, including Nobel Prize winners, are Taiwanese Americans.
Among Taiwanese Americans, medicine is regarded as particularly high status for historical reasons. During Japanese rule , Taiwanese were barred from politics and administration but were encouraged to become doctors and teachers, leading to this profession being regarded as a high status means of social advancement. Taiwanese Americans from all social backgrounds have achieved significant advances in their educational levels, income, life expectancy and other social indicators as the financial and socioeconomic opportunities offered by the United States have lift many Taiwanese Americans out of poverty joining the ranks of the America's educated and upper middle class.
Estimates indicate that a disproportionate percentage of Taiwanese students attend elite universities despite constituting less than 0. Taiwanese Americans have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing any other ethnic group in the country, according to U. S Census Bureau data released in According to the Labor Statistics from U. Many Taiwanese Americans work as white collar professionals, many of whom are highly educated, salaried professionals whose work is largely self-directed in management, professional, and related occupations such as engineering, medicine, investment banking, law, and academia.
They also hold some of the lowest unemployment rates in nation with a figure of 4. They have one of the lowest poverty rates in nation with a figure of 9. Many Taiwanese immigrants have not settled in the old Chinatowns because they do not speak Cantonese. Instead, they have generally immigrated directly to American suburbia and in effect, they started new Taiwanese communities.
For example, beginning in the late s and early s at the height of Taiwanese immigration, the Taiwanese emigrants were instrumental in the development of Monterey Park, California in Los Angeles - thus causing it to earn the moniker of "Little Taipei" and derisively as "Mandarin Park" - and vicinity and in Flushing, New York , which generally reflected new investments and capital flowing from Taiwan into newer Taiwanese enclaves instead of the well-established and mostly dilapidated Chinatowns.
While Monterey Park is no longer the major Taiwanese community in Los Angeles today, Flushing remains the main vibrant Taiwanese cultural, commercial, and political center in New York City, despite an increasingly diverse mix of immigrants from other East Asian backgrounds. As an attempt to duplicate the Taiwanese success of Monterey Park in Houston, Texas, Taiwanese immigrant entrepreneurs pioneered in the mid s what is now widely considered as Houston's new Chinatown on Bellaire Boulevard although many Vietnamese-born Chinese immigrants have increasingly settled and set up shop in the area as well.
A number of Taiwanese American businesses and organizations still operate and flourish in this part of Houston. The prestige and performance of particular school districts, as well as access to careers in high-tech firms, have in general played significant parts in influencing the settlement patterns of Taiwanese Americans.
Additionally, the northeastern suburbs of the Atlanta, Georgia area has also received a significant influx of Taiwanese immigrant residents. The Taiwanese population was formerly dominant in Monterey Park, California. The San Gabriel Valley has a larger population of "mainland Chinese" from Taiwan, essentially outnumbering native Taiwanese. Similarly, for the past 10 years, Taiwanese have been immigrating to upscale neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Orange County such as Cerritos and Irvine respectively. The city of Irvine has a very large Taiwanese population, though now more and more Mainland Chinese immigrants have flocked to the city.
These immigrants belong to branches from some of the most politically and economically powerful Taiwanese families with the surnames Chiang, Chen, Cheng, Kung, Tsai, and Wu. Convenient Taiwanese-oriented strip malls and shopping complexes are typically complete with supermarkets and restaurants, thus Taiwanese American suburbanites have very little need to visit the older Chinatowns. In addition, shops offering imported Taiwanese goods allow for young Taiwanese expatriates in the United States to keep up with the current trends and popular culture of Taiwan.
Taiwanese Americans have also brought with them Taiwanese cuisine to the communities they have settled, which, possibly excluding bubble tea , is not generally well known or served outside these aforementioned Taiwanese immigrant enclaves. The list of metropolitan area with at least the total Taiwanese American population of 4,, as of the U.
Taiwanese Americans have also gradually increased their political engagement in the public sphere of the U. First generation immigrants from Taiwan usually share a common language, Mandarin , although many also speak Taiwanese Hokkien and to a lesser extent, the Hakka language , depending on heritage and whether the individuals are exposed to Mandarin through Mandarin Chinese schools.
Many first generation immigrants educated before speak Japanese as their second native language. As with most immigrants to the United States, linguistic fluency in the heritage language quickly disappears in the second generation. Many second generation Taiwanese Americans are exposed to Taiwanese, but their level of proficiency varies.
Many second generation immigrants speak Taiwanese as their heritage language and know little Mandarin, while others, especially whose families are from the Taipei Metropolitan Area, speak Mandarin as their heritage language and know little Taiwanese. Second generation Taiwanese of Hakka descent tend to speak better Mandarin as their heritage language. There are many first generation Taiwanese of full Hakka heritage who may speak all three languages. Taiwanese Americans of mixed Hoklo and Hakka Heritage may speak only Mandarin as their heritage language.
In addition, most cities with concentrations of Taiwanese Americans have a Taiwan association or Taiwan Center. However, these influential and highly circulated newspapers are not geared solely to the Taiwanese, but also serve a broader Chinese-speaking immigrant readership. Pacific Journal is a weekly Taiwanese-run newspaper that is geared more exclusively toward Taiwanese readers.
On the other end of the education continuum, only 4. Taiwanese immigrant men were less likely to participate in the civilian labor force than foreign-born men overall. In , Taiwanese-born men age 16 and older were less likely to participate in the civilian labor force More than half of employed Taiwanese-born men reported working in management, business, and finance; information technology; and sciences and engineering.
Among the , Taiwanese-born male workers age 16 and older in the civilian labor force in , Over one-quarter of employed Taiwanese-born women reported working in management, business, and finance. Among the , Taiwanese-born female workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in , Taiwanese women were also concentrated in administrative support Taiwanese immigrants were less likely to live in poverty than both natives and the foreign born overall.
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Poverty is defined as individuals residing in families with total annual income of less than percent of the federal poverty line. Whether an individual falls below the official "poverty line" depends not only on total family income, but also on the size of the family, the number of children, and the age of the householder. The ACS reports total income over the 12 months preceding the interview date.
Taiwanese immigrants were more likely to own their own home than both the native born and other immigrants. In , three-quarters The homeownership rate among Taiwanese immigrants was slightly higher than the homeownership rate among the native born Taiwanese immigrants age 18 and older One in nine Taiwanese immigrants did not have health insurance in About one in nine Taiwanese immigrants About , children under age 18 resided in a household with a Taiwanese immigrant parent. In , about , children under age 18 resided in a household with an immigrant parent born in Taiwan.
Most of these children Includes only children who resided with at least one parent and households where either the household head or spouse was an immigrant from Taiwan. About 93, Taiwanese gained lawful permanent residence in the United States between and Between and , the number of Taiwanese immigrants receiving lawful permanent residence LPR status 92, was lower compared to to , and to , The Taiwanese born accounted for 0.
Two-thirds of all Taiwanese immigrants receiving lawful permanent residence in were admitted as family-based immigrants. About a third 2, or Between and , 86, Taiwanese immigrants naturalized. According to OIS, 86, Taiwanese immigrants naturalized between and , accounting for 1. Taiwan ranked ninth among all countries of origin for foreign student admissions in the United States in The 42, international students and exchange visitor admissions from Taiwan made up 3.
Taiwan ranked ninth among all origin countries for students and exchange visitor admissions; China, South Korea, and India were the top three.