These two words are the real reason Taiwan is handling the pandemic so well. Over the past century alone, this little island (about the size of Vancouver Island) has endured major regime changes: the Japanese, known for their brutality and ruthlessness, their pillaging of the land… although they did leave behind some solid engineering.
The Kuomingtang nationalist party, fleeing Mainland China during the Communist takeover. This period of martial law was known as the White Terror movement, and the people of Taiwan suffered again.
And STILL, they endured. The indigenous tribal chiefs were among the first to point out they have never been ruled by Communist China. This little island stands strong and independent.
The people make do. Although the island is mostly impenetrable jungle, and covered in mountain ranges with more than 100 peaks towering above 3000m, still, the people make do.
They farm, they fish, they grow. Wherever they can, whatever they can.
They adapt, they change.
Fruits and squash grow alongside train tracks, or on steep slopes. Rice farms are planted wherever they can fit. Even my neighbours tend to the unruly bamboo to harvest its shoots in the rainy season, and harvest the bamboo itself for poles and furniture.
No matter the regime changes, no matter the global climate, no matter the word “pandemic” seeps through and across TV channels and cellphone screens.
They adapt. They stand strong.
Of course not everyone is perfect, and that is part of our human experience. But the rest of the world, in our franticness and busy-ness, in our impatience to “return to normal” could learn a thing or two from the people of Taiwan.
Learn to be with the land. Learn to live life day by day. Plant seeds now [these don’t have to be literal seeds]. Maybe typhoons will wipe out the crops come summer, or cut off roads. Again.
Still, we adapt, we reach out, we rebuild, we start fresh.
Things will not be the way they were before. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t have control over the typhoons, the regimes, the pandemics. But we DO have control over our response, and our next step.
What can you do TODAY that will make your tomorrow a little brighter?