I am an American born Taiwanese and I have been in Taiwan on an ARC for 4 years now. Every year I’ve been wondering about my visa status, from changing schools and such. Well, it’s the time of the year again and a recent employer suggests that I should get a Taiwanese ID.
I thought about it and called few places, and they said if I do so I would go to the military immediately since I technically overstayed as an Oversea Taiwanese. Also I came to Taiwan for a few years when I was in elementary to study Chinese, and my mom got me a hukou. The Officials said that since I had it when I was young, I would have to go to the military right away and I might get notification anytime. The employer said the hukou expires after certain years and I would be fine, since I haven’t been back to Taiwan except for a 1-week vacation from 11 till 27 years old.
I am now really confused and scared that they might just not let me leave the country. I have made Taiwan my home but yet I feel so distant at the same time. It’s not that I don’t want to do the military, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. Moreover, I have rent to cover, so if I do military, how am I suppose to pay the rent with the tiny amount they give and where I am going to put my personal belongings?
A friend asked me to come to Taiwan to do music 4 years ago, and I thought it was a good idea to change things up and see different things. I thought I could bring something new to the table and help the Taiwanese music industry. I came as an American not knowing how long I would stay and how Taiwan really is. I came thinking I can make a change, and make a difference by offering my passion and expertise. As time passed I have made some progress on music, although still not enough, and got used to the friends and living here. But now it seems that it might just get taken away any moment.
I know for the non Oversea Taiwanese, having an immediate residency/citizenship because of Taiwanese parents sounds great. But to me the disadvantages outweighs the benefits for Taiwanese American Male. I don’t get the culture fully but yet expected to, I can’t apply for a proper “APRC” because my parents are Taiwanese, I face discrimination when looking for teaching jobs, they expect me to understand “professional” meetings when I attend, and the list goes on.
At this point I have no idea and not even sure what to do. Do I have military conscription? Should I just go back home?
It seems that Taiwan has so much potential to be a great place, but the traditions and the way things run prevents itself from going any further.