As you can see, I’m in the middle of blogging about my Taiwan trip that happened last year. I think I still have about 4 or 5 entries to go before I wrap this series up. Normally, I’d encourage people to travel to the places that I’ve blogged about here. In fact, if you had asked me a month or two ago, I would have told you that Taiwan is a very nice place with really kind and friendly people.
However, today things are different. A couple of weeks ago, a Taiwanese fisherman who was illegally fishing well within Philippine waters was shot dead by a Philippine Coast Guard vessel because the former had tried to ram the latter when a lawful attempt at apprehension was being made. The Taiwanese President has used this incident as a distraction for his own low approval ratings and has angrily made a combination of reasonable and impossible demands on the Philippines for his own political convenience.
News of the incident has since turned public sentiment in Taiwan against Filipinos living in the island and there are verified reports of Filipino shops being stoned, Taiwanese employers mistreating their Filipino employees, business establishments refusing to admit Filipinos and even reports of physical assault on individual Filipinos.) For obvious reasons, many Filipinos (especially those who do not look Chinese) are staying indoors in fear for their own safety.
This is well beyond reasonable outrage for the death of 1 Taiwanese fisherman, and I myself am having difficulty reconciling all of this with my own observation of how kind and gentle the Taiwanese were during my stay there last year.
Because I am convinced that the Taiwanese government at this time is not doing anything to protect Filipinos living in Taiwan (and is even indirectly encouraging acts against them), I’m afraid I must encourage every Filipino I know to take the safer option of indefinitely postponing all travel plans to Taiwan until this incident has been sorted out, passions have died down and reason has prevailed.