TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An Australian high school student exploring his Taiwanese heritage captured this image of the Taiwan flag at a beach in Australia in 2018.
The 18-year-old photographer, who goes by the handle Ronnie Kao, said the photo was taken in October 2018 at the Sculpture by the Sea at Sydney's Bondi Beach. The Taiwanese flag was on display because the exhibition included works by Taiwanese artist Hsu Tang-Wei (許唐瑋), the only representative of Taiwan at the event.
Kao says that he is an Australian citizen with one-quarter Taiwanese and three-quarters Chinese ancestry. He says that he did not learn of his Taiwanese heritage until he was 15.
Kao eventually pieced together his family history and discovered that his great-grandmother was born in Taiwan during Japanese rule in 1918. At the tender age of 18 in 1936, she migrated to Dutch-ruled Indonesia, where she met his great-grandfather, whose parents were also Taiwanese.
His great-grandmother was arrested by the Indonesian government shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and was deported to Australia in 1942. Once in Australia, she, along with her husband and other family members, was held in a Japanese internment camp, where Kao's grandmother was born.
Kao said that after WWII ended, his grandmother's family was deported to Taiwan in 1946 but then returned to Indonesia in 1952. His grandmother studied in China in 1964, migrated to Hong Kong in 1973, and permanently settled in Australia in 1978.
Prior to the event in Sydney, Kao said that he had never seen the Taiwanese flag flying in public before. He stated that he took the photo because he has been on the lookout for "Taiwan-related stuff" in Australia for two years.
Kao said he mainly found "made in Taiwan" foods in various stores. He added that he has also encountered Taiwanese lino, carving tools, and parchment.
(Photo by Ronnie Kao)