There’s a Lot of Bad Blood in This Strait

“He’ll choke you until you submit.”

Recently, the United States announced it would deliver an arms package to Taiwan. Simple, right? Not really;  there are layers, and we all know how dangerous those can be.


America leaned back against the polished wooden chair and drummed his fingers against his knees. “This is weird. We’ve never done this before, have we?”

“Why would we? You only hold secret meetings with other countries, isn’t that right?” Taiwan’s voice was like coffee with just cream; you didn’t realize that it was bitter until you thought about it enough.

Continue reading “There’s a Lot of Bad Blood in This Strait”

One China two China Red China blue China

In light of recent events, here’s a quick revisit to the story I wrote that briefly explores the China-Taiwan issue.

Prejudice & Politics

Header image for One China Two China Red China Blue ChinaSmoke filtered through the gaps in the beaded curtain that hid their booth. Between both of their cigarettes, the air around them matched a Beijing skyline.

Long nails clicked against porcelain as Taiwan fixed her tea. China smoked quietly and every so often resisted the urge to check his buzzing cellphone. Should have silenced it.

“Have you been well?” She asked after a long lull of silence. It was a safe question.

China kept his eyes off of her. “Yes, I think so.”

Taiwan leaned down and breathed in.”What a nice scent.  You said this was chun mee, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe I could make us tung-ting next time.”

“I don’t like oolong.”

Taiwan’s lips pursed. “You are being impossible.”

He sat up suddenly. “Excuse me? Green tea is healthy. You ought to drink it more. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. You could benefit–”

“Oh, shut up. I’ll drink your tea.”

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One China two China Red China blue China

Smoke filtered through the gaps in the beaded curtain that hid their booth. Between both of their cigarettes, the air around them matched the Beijing skyline.

Long, red nails clicked against porcelain as Taiwan fixed her tea. China smoked quietly and, every so often, resisted the urge to check his buzzing cellphone. Should have silenced it.

Header image for One China Two China Red China Blue China

Smoke filtered through the gaps in the beaded curtain that hid their booth. Between both of their cigarettes, the air around them matched a Beijing skyline.

Long nails clicked against porcelain as Taiwan fixed her tea. China smoked quietly and every so often resisted the urge to check his buzzing cellphone. Should have silenced it.

“Have you been well?” She asked after a long lull of silence. It was a safe question.

China kept his eyes off of her. “Yes, I think so.”

Taiwan leaned down and breathed in.”What a nice scent.  You said this was chun mee, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe I could make us tung-ting next time.”

“I don’t like oolong.”

Taiwan’s lips pursed. “You are being impossible.”

He sat up suddenly. “Excuse me? Green tea is healthy. You ought to drink it more. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. You could benefit–”

“Oh, shut up. I’ll drink your tea.”

Continue reading “One China two China Red China blue China”

East Asia family road trip

Granny van road trip
Photo by Ryan McGuire

Imagine sharing a ride to Disneyland in a granny van with the Koreas, Japan, and China. Now, imagine wanting to shoot yourself. Those are basically the same two experiences.

Japan sat in the back, content with blocking out the world via sound-canceling earbuds and techno-pop. North Korea and South Korea shared the middle row of seats. (“I’m not sitting by him.” “Well, do you want to sit by Japan?” “Ugh.”). China was in the passenger seat because he’d been drinking in preparation for this. Taiwan manned the wheel, because she was the only sane one. According to her.

It wasn’t too long before the Koreas started fighting. North Korea’s cell battery drained faster than he’d expected, leaving him without anything to distract from his general displeasure with the world and everyone in it.

He asked, “Who wants to hear a joke?”

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Bilateral: Survive

Taiwan didn’t know Japan could box. Japan promised to teach her.

When they sparred, Japan felt the brunt of Taiwan’s punches much harder than usual. There was a force behind the other’s strides–something beyond mere muscle power. When a fist crashed into Japan’s jaw she staggered backward to catch her breath.

“Sorry,” Taiwan apologized quickly after she must have realized the blow was far too harsh for a simple spar.

“You need to take control of your emotions,” Japan told her as her tongue caught the taste of blood.

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Folie à deux

Kim_Il-sung
Photo by yeowatzup (CC BY 2.0)

If there was one convenient thing about waiting outside of North Korea’s office, it was that there were a lot of paintings to stare at to pass the time. Sitting in a long corridor, its walls lined with grand, gold-framed portraits, Taiwan was learning more about Kim Il-sung’s facial structure than she ever wanted to.

She turned when she heard a door open and nice shoes click against the smooth tile. With a phone in his hand and something like distraught on his face, North Korea assured her he’d be with her in no more than five minutes.

By the second minute, she felt incredibly tired out of absolutely nowhere. By the third, she took out her phone and tried to fight it off. By the fourth, the world went black.

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