Focus on Taiwan

Wide Open World, Sunday, August 24

Series: Wide Open World

by Terri Taylor August 24, 2014

Each week this summer in WOW (Wide Open World), Tenth kids are focusing on a different country where one of our global partners works. Students are sent home with a sheet profiling our partner and his work and another sheet helping them connect to that country’s culture. We encourage families to pray specifically for the partner family of the week and to help their children further explore. This week we will highlight Taiwan. Children ages 4 through grade 6 are invited to join us in the Catacombs at 6:30 PM every Sunday throughout the summer as we explore what God is doing around the world.

Focus on Taiwan

A hundred miles off the coast of China lies an island bigger than Maryland called Taiwan. It has the tallest mountains in Asia, and because it is so lush and full of tropical fruit, for a long time it was called “Formosa” which is Portuguese for “Beautiful Island.” Since it is so close to China, most of the people who live there have grandfathers or great-great-grandfathers who came from “Mainland China.”

They brought with them a whole mix of religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. In Taiwan they are all jumbled up together with the worship of local gods and dead ancestors. And even though Taiwan is very modern, there is a strong belief in magic and ghosts; people go to mediums to get advice from spirits. When a god has a birthday, the people carry his statue out of the temple and parade it down the street, stopping at tables where people have left food for the god. If you took a hundred people from China and a hundred people from Taiwan, which group do you think would have fewer Christians? The Taiwanese.

What's it like to live in Taiwan?

People in Taiwan always think of themselves as part of something bigger. How they fit in that group is very important. Having a good reputation or “face” is key, so people are very careful not to do anything that will bring shame, and are very conscientious about meeting obligations. One way to gain status is to give gifts or do things for other people. If someone does something for you, you look for the chance to return the favor.

In the family the most important person is the father. What he says is not to be questioned and how you treat your parents is more important than how you treat your wife or husband or even your children. Traditionally parents arranged marriages for their children, and even today families use matchmakers. Once married, the wife goes to live with her husband, his parents and often the families of his brothers—all in one house. In rural areas, families add wings to the house as sons marry; the houses become U-shaped, but those living in the city often expand the house upwards, adding additional stories as the family grows.

Food in Taiwan

Since Taiwan is surrounded by sea, its people love fish and because there is little land to raise cattle, milk and beef are very expensive.  It’s often cheaper to buy a meal from a street vendor than to make it at home. A typical breakfast from a street vendor might be a breakfast rice roll stuffed with radish, fried egg, and shredded pork. Teahouses are common and Taiwan is famous for its Oolong tea. Below is a recipe for stewed eggs which are both tasty and fun to look at because the eggs take on a spider web pattern. You can find more recipes here.

Cha Ye Dan (Tea eggs)

1 dozen eggs    1 T soy sauce
3 tea bags  2 teaspoons salt
1 star anise (or 3 t five spice powder)  

First make traditional hard boiled eggs: Put the eggs in water, bring to a boil and let them cook 5 minutes. Remove them from heat and then once cooled, gently tap them so the shell cracks all the way around. Don’t remove the shell; instead place the eggs in a pan with just enough water to cover them. Add anise, soy sauce and salt and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Let them soak overnight or simmer them for an additional two hours. Once the water starts to cook down, be sure to turn the eggs every once in a while. You want every part of the egg to soak in the tea bath!

Craft

Just as the Japanese are known for paper folding, the Taiwanese are known for decorative knot tying. The knots originally came from China. You can find instructions at this site or this one.

Webquest

Read this page on Taiwan to find answers to these questions:

1.    What is the official language of Taiwan?
2.    Taiwan has the world’s highest percentage of what item?
3.    What is a barrier to Taiwanese people becoming Christians?