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by Shu-Chin Yu, student writer

 

Walking down Fort Street Mall, you can see many Asian students, but can you tell where they are from?

More and more Taiwanese students are joining the HPU ‘ohana; over 200 students, and the number is growing. The Taiwanese Student Association (TSA) has become a big help to these students.

“ TSA helps new students with registration, opening a bank account, finding a place to live, applying for a cellular phone, and other living problems,” said Howard Chen, head of TSA.

Besides helping students with their everyday lives, TSA holds activities such as picnics, BBQ parties, and special events. This semester, TSA held a Double Ten celebration and a Moon Festival BBQ party.

Double Ten Day is a national holiday in Taiwan that commemorates the anniversary of the Oct. 10, 1911, revolution. The uprising took down the Ching Dynasty and founded the Republic of China.
In Taiwan, there is an annual celebration in front of Taipei’s presidential building that includes parades, folk dances, and dragon and lion dances. Taiwanese immigrants around the world also celebrate Double Ten in various ways.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu held a dinner party on Oct. 9. They invited some Taiwanese immigrants as well as TSA members from HPU to attend the celebration.
“ The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu sometimes invites the members of TSA to have a gathering in their office, and TSA would have them up when there are big events like the National Day, and visitors from Taiwan,” Chen said.

Moon Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month which fell on Oct. 6 this year. The full moon that day is the biggest and brightest of the year. In Taiwan, it is an important day for families to gather together. Since the Taiwanese students are not able to be with their families, TSA held the BBQ party for them.

The party was held at Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park and nearly 50 people attended. HPU students, along with 10 people from TSA of the University of Hawai‘i and an officer of The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office attended.

Promoting national spirit and culture is another mission of TSA. Members dressed up in indigenous clothing on Intercultural Day last semester to show their pride and introduce the culture to other students.

“TSA won third place in the parade this year,” said Jeff Hsu, the TSA activities manager. “We were very pleased that our efforts were being noticed.”

This year TSA invited the University of Hawai‘i and Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i TSAs to have a get together before Thanksgiving.

“ TSA welcomes everyone to participate in any events, and one does not have to be a member to join it,” Chen said.

Although TSA can help the Taiwanese students in many ways, life can still be difficult for some of them. The most frequent complaint is about housing. Honolulu rents are sky high. Sometimes, even if students can afford the rental fees, landlords or agents are not willing to accept international students because they lack credit histories or cannot prove they have an income.

“ It took me two months to rent an apartment last summer. It really drove me crazy,” said Frank Huang.

Nevertheless, studying abroad is a valuable life experience for Taiwanese students and TSA will help smooth the way for them.

“ TSA members are always there to help. We all understand how it feels when someone gives you a hand when you are in need,” Hsu said.

 

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