September 24, 2004
From refugees to technological giants

About 50 years ago, when communism was sweeping the world like a red tide, a group of Chinese nationals who were then in political office on the mainland of China decided that they were not going to give in to the new form of government.
Those people who made up the administration of mainland China at the time realized that the ruthless march of communism would crush and enslave them. They made the choice, instead, to be free. {{more}}
The result: they had to leave mainland China. So they headed out across the strait that separated the little island to the east from the mainland, then called Formosa.
All they brought with them was their organizational skills as members of the then civil service.
As refugees, they were determined and defiant but hungry. All they had at their disposal was the fertile soil of Formosa. The choices they had were down to two. Either abandon their quest for freedom and suffer the consequences of returning to the mainland where they might pay with their lives, or dig in and make a new life for themselves.
They chose the latter.
Today, those people who lived on the edge have become world leaders in technology – a skill they developed on their own. In 50 years, they have achieved more than their counterparts on the mainland who had all the resources under their control. A deep jealousy ensued, and to this day the animosity exists.
It is this ability to take just the resources of the land, a good work ethic and organizational skills, and transform them into what Taiwan is today, that should make Taiwan very attractive to the average Vincentian.
Imagine if the same transformation were to take place on this 150-square mile island. There is no reason why it can’t if we are determined to make a difference.
Because it was just 50 years ago, the architects of the system that transformed Taiwan are still around.
Many are now retired and are still looking for ways to contribute to society and they have given this commitment to assist us.
But this is not just an individual commitment; it is the stated policy of the Taiwanese government to help other developing countries along the path to economic transformation.