TAIWANfest Letterhead - Bookstore
TAIWANfest Letterhead - Bookstore



What Hong Kong Has Lost Might Be Found in Taiwan

Riding on the MRT in Taipei, getting off at the Zhongshan Station,
right in front of the entrance of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store,
you take a stroll through the lively Zhongshan commercial district,
and make a turn entering into an apartment building. Then, take an elevator to the tenth floor.

There you can find a place with a space the size of a bachelor suite.
And right there,
on a small square corner, stands a Lennon Wall.
On the wall, written with Mandarin calligraphy, it says “Democracy” and “Freedom”.

Here, you can find cases of cases of books,
and you can also hear customers chatting with the owner gently at a low volume.
Behind the door of the bookstore, you can not only shut away the traffic sounds of Taipei,
but you can also sink into the past, the present, and the unknown future of Hong Kong.

What’s Your Definition of Freedom?

Mr. Wing Kee Lam
represents the image of Hong Kongers.
To the Hong Kongers, it used to be, and perhaps it’s also continuing to be that,
Freedom is the only thing that matters, more than being a citizen of any nation.

Not Kneeling At My Study

My soul is always longing for liberty.
But it’s been devastated and restrained
since Hong Kong lost the battle to keep freedom.
To live free or die, that is the question.

What Might Happen to the Two Michaels from Canada?

Canada’s Two Michaels’
Hong Kongers Can Relate
What really happened to Mr. Lam
When you “disappeared”
What happened to those two Michaels’ from Canada?

Is There Any Hidden Crisis In A Democratic Society?
What Is the Inconvenient Truth That Makes Taiwan Sorrowful?

Taiwan has been deeply influenced by traditional conservative culture,
on every aspect about religion, customs, moral values, etc.

Most youngsters still hold a monotonous perspective when articulating their cultural identity.
Their ability to debate their national sovereignty to the outsiders is still quite limited.
This is Taiwan from the eyes of Hong Kongers who have lost their freedom..

From Cultural Recognition to Identity Recognition

Before recognizing our own traditional culture, 
we have to first understand what our traditional culture means.

If we just carry on the same way as before, 
There will be a huge problem awaiting for the future of a society or country.
For example,
the hierarchical concept rooted in the Confucian thinking is
essentially in contrast to 
the concept of the West’s natural human rights.

When you try to see heritage, identity, patriotism
as equal,
you must have doubts.
This is what those souls who lost their life for freedom had realized.

Independent Thinking and Cultural Diversity

The majority of Hong Kongers don’t read too much.
We live in a commercial city,
so it is hard to slow down to have deep thoughts. 

Bookstores, on the other hand, offer people today
the training of critical thinking,
provide opportunities to cultivate diverse cultural expressions,
and nurture our discourse to articulate visions.

Without them,
How can Taiwanese people
convince the world that
you are an independent, holistic and liberal autonomous entity?
This is the heartfelt message from the once-Hong-Konger bookstore owner.

The Strong Belief that the Bookstore Owner Has Towards Books

No one can choose where one is born.
The belief that people are born with human rights should be a universal value. 
We can always choose the life we want.

Life without human rights,
what is the value of your life?
Entertaining the thought is already a struggle.
Embracing happiness and sorrow is what the so-called intellectuals must do?  

Causeway Bay Books

Taiwan has opened a door
for all souls looking for freedom.

No books had ever been banned in Hong Kong before.
However, Taiwan had been there, the urges to own those banned books. 
What Hong Kong lost is found in Taiwan.

In Taiwan, no books can be banned.

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Taiwan’s Bookstore – The Survived
Global Chapter: To Survive, To Migrate

Walking through the lively shopping district of Zhongshan, we turned into a building and entered a space the size of a suite. The first thing that caught our eye was  “democracy” and “freedom” written in Chinese calligraphy, as well as a section of the Lennon Wall. Further inside were shelves of books of all sorts, manifesting ideas in words as if they were whispering with the bookstore owner and buyers.

After the bookstore closed, Lam Wing Kee brewed himself a pot of tea and, with narrowed eyes, explained to us the Hong Kong he once lived in, the Taiwan he now lives in, and the entangled relationship between China and those places. In the past, there was no such thing as book censorship in Hong Kong. The value of a bookstore was that it provided the public with training in independent thinking and an opportunity to develop cultural diversity, as well as the ability to speak about it.

“How do the Taiwanese convince the world that Taiwan is independent, integrated and free?” Lam questioned with concerns. To him, most young people are feeble in discussing the sovereignty of their country, and the confusion between cultural identity and self-identity is an underlying issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty consciousness.

Leaving the bookstore, we quietly shut the iron door and peered through the railing, seeing Lam organizing and tidying up the bookshelves as usual. The dim light surrounded him, and in a few hours it would be another ordinary business day. Yet, he was probably wondering when the dawn would return to Hong Kong. 

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