Taiwan Hosts Film "Formosa Betrayed" and Historical Musical, "Days of Bananas"

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Sunday June 13, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

This past week in Taiwan had a combined sense of dßjà vu as art, history, and reality all came to bear. On Monday there was a private showing of Will Tiao's film "Formosa Betrayed" which portrayed how the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as late as the 1980s, tried to suppress democracy and human rights movements on the island; in the process it sanctioned several high profile murders. Then on Friday, Tafen Musical Theatre's new historical musical, "Days of Bananas" opened; this drama portrayed the struggles and ups and downs of Taiwan farmers in the turbulent 1960s where the KMT and its carpet bagger middlemen profited off of the work of Taiwanese farmers. A banana tycoon Wu was further caught between the later power struggle of Madame Soong and Chiang Ching-kuo for control of the autocratic KMT as the doddering Chiang Kai-shek lived out his last autocratic days. Wu would eventually be destroyed by that link to the corruption of the times.

As if in parallel form, in the real world, Taiwan also witnessed the promotion of ECFA which perhaps threatens the farming industry most in Taiwan as again new carpet bagger KMT stalwarts jockeyed for position to profit most from the non-transparent deals with China. The number of those with business ties in China certainly needs to be examined if transparency can be forced out of these deals. Also at the end of the week, the nation witnessed the continued double standard and seeming mockery of justice by the KMT dominated courts as Chen Shui-bian's sentence was upheld. A farcical court room session in the musical seemed like it was taken out of current historical record as Taiwanese wonder why KMT who ripped the country off go free and Chen is the only one in jail.

Both the film and the musical should be seen by all who want to know the real corruption of the real past and why Taiwan was kept under martial law for some forty years. The film will open in August, and the musical will be shown again in September and October.