Name: Annie Chen
Nationality: Taiwanese-born American
Vision: Annie wanted to return to her Motherland to teach English，with the hope of rediscovering her roots in the process. However, Taiwan－the home of her birth, a land she believed to be brimming with opportunity－let her down. She could sit back and let it slide or she could fight; fight for equality and in doing so, offer support and advice to other victims of discrimination. She chose the latter, and thus began her long, hard battle with discrimination and the creation of TADIT. Below is her story. Please read on to get more of an understanding at just how brave and inspirational Annie is. She will not give up, and neither should we. To live in an equal society is an ideal worth fighting for.
名字： Annie Chen
憧憬：Annie 原來想回到她祖國教英文，也希望同時可以發掘她自己的背景。不過， 她的故鄉、她以為充滿好機會的台灣，後來就讓她失望。Annie有了兩個選擇：她可以放棄，或者她可以爭取種族平等，也這樣一來可以向其它被種族歧視的受害者提出忠告和支持。她選擇爭取平等，因此起動了她跟種族歧視的苦戰，還有TADIT的創作. 下面有她的故事。請多看一下，更了解Annie是那麼勇敢與鼓舞人心的一個人。她一輩子不會放棄, 我們也不可以放棄。住在公平的社會是一個值得爭取的理想。
When I first arrived in Taiwan, I was full of love for my mother country and excitement to make a difference in the lives of the students here. I had always been interested in teaching, and had also always loved children, so moving to Taiwan to teach English seemed like a perfectly good decision to make. Little did I know that the battle I was about to face would change me, and the way I view Taiwan, forever.
Luckily, I wouldn’t have to deal with that for another year. I got my first job without any problems at a small foreign owned school. While management was atrocious, forcing me to move on after a short period, working at the school gave me solid experience and the confidence to search for a more professional environment.
During the search for my second job, I got a glimpse of what was to come in the future. The interview went well, and ended with my (future) manager asking me if I’d be okay with parents sitting in on my class for the first week or two. He told me that he had no issues with “ABC” types, but some of the parents would. He was confident that all their concerns would dissolve quickly. I was taken aback but impressed with his positive attitude. I would successfully ease the concerns of those parents and go on to work at that school for another year before making the decision, due to internal politics which I won’t go into detail about, to search for something more suitable for me.
Feeling confident about my teaching abilities and professionalism (I had been promoted to manager of foreign teachers at the last school), I set out on a very long job search. The search that would, in the end, fill me with so much heartache, it would discourage me from ever applying for an ESL teaching job in a school again.
The first incident that occurred was a phone interview with a school that has since closed down. The school was referred to me by a friend who had only given them my first name, so they didn’t know about my very Taiwanese last name, “Chen”. The phone interview was successful, and I was asked to go for an in-person interview. Just before the call ended, the interviewer asked me a very pointed question. “Your accent sounds American. Where were you born?”. I happily answered that I was born in Taiwan but had spent most of my life in the US, and that I was a duel citizen. The response I received was a frantic, “Oh sorry! Foreigners only!”, immediately followed by the interviewer hanging up the phone. My response was to dial back the number, but she did not dare to pick up the phone again. I was beyond shocked. That shock would soon be replaced with sadness, then anger. It would be the first of MANY incidents of discrimination I would face in Taiwan.
I had not prepared myself for this rejection. I had not believed that I could be rejected in Taiwan, my mother country, for not having white skin. I had believed that I could teach English, and at the same time re-discover my roots. I had hoped that I could find that part of me I always felt was missing, as an Asian American growing up in the USA. I felt lost, helpless, and very alone. Nothing could have prepared me for this feeling, or all that was to come next.