Interview: Peng Sheau-Tyng

Sheau-Tyng Peng was a member of NewseForum and currently works in the Executive Yuan under “digital minister” Audrey Tang. The following interview was conducted on October 15th, 2017.


Brian Hioe:  How did you start reporting on social movements? Did you participate in social movements before that?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  I thought about this question for awhile after you sent me the file with the questions you wanted to ask. I think first you have to define what “participate” means. I’m guessing you mean participating in the way of social movement activists. But I never was an “activist” in my concern about social issues. In 2012, I entered the Graduate Institute of Journalism at National Taiwan University (NTU) for graduate school. That year was when many social movements began to break out. What had to do more with news was the anti-media monopoly movement.

That was when there were many movements. The year I went in, from looking at how our professors related to this, they were also concerned with such issues. So I felt that we would still pretty passionate about it, that we should care about this, because news is tied up with society.

My participation and some of the other people you interviewed and how they participated may be different. I would go to a protest to listen and concern myself with it, but whether in the middle of a movement, I would view myself as an observer/reporter, someone documenting the movement.

In the beginning, I would feel a bit confused. Everyone was very passionate about it, but what about me? After that year, I found our own position, that we were observers who made reports. Without those first two years, we wouldn’t be able to figure out our own position beforehand. Because that was a situation ins which it was very easy to get swept up by the mood. But in those two years, the accumulated experience from those social movements, let me experience where we should stand.

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC

Regarding, as to why I would participate, I think that was less to participate, but to be closer to how society currently looks at these issues and to see what was going on and why people would come out there. Because it’s important to go on-site for news, otherwise people would not know what people are thinking or feeling or what they want to do. So I think, individually, when reporting on social movements, that’s what I felt.

Brian Hioe:  What kind of issues did you report on?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  The anti-nuclear movement, Dapu, etc. As for what we reported on, because we were students, teachers asked us what we had seen and we would discuss this in class. This was a social event. So you couldn’t ignore it. News was dependent on an event. NTU’s Journalism Department emphasizes real-world news, so we have a lot of opportunities to do interviews. When you are writing, we could less take the point of view of analysis, we would have to go on-site to conduct interviews and the like. This is what “participation” meant for me.

Brian Hioe:  What were you doing before 318? How did NewseForum begin?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  Many people asked us how we founded. But I think “founding” is also quite tricky as a verb. Because we studied news, we would read reports on the CSSTA. Much more than the average citizen.

What we saw was that in discussing the CSSTA, different media outlets had done a lot of in-depth reporting on the issue. Different aspects had all been discussed.

But I would wonder, why is it that we seemed like we were still discussing the issue as though we had no handle on it? I remember that in a class, I asked a speaker who had been invited there by the professor, who was also a journalist, “How do you look at the CSSTA?”

And they said, “The CSSTA is no longer an economic issue. It’s a political issue.” People had already seen the issue as being at an impasse. That was the semester before 318. The end of 2013.

Brian Hioe:  The Black Island Youth was already demonstrating the issue then.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  Yes. But there were a lot of protests then, I’m not too sure of the timeframe. So I had that impression and there were many events which we had to learn about, the CSSTA was something we knew people were arguing about, but there were so many events in Taiwan, that sometimes when people argue about an issue continuously, nobody knows what to do.

The day before 318 was the Chang Ching-Chung thirty second incident. I think that because we all live on the Internet, we saw all the outrage on the Internet, wondering how people could do this. But as for myself, I wondered, “What had taken place? How could it be like this?” I remember quite clearly that I also felt quite conflicted then. Secondly, I noticed that this thirty second incident had led to strong responses from everybody. And I felt, “Wow.” Because I felt shocked too.

318 was on a Tuesday. That morning we had a class called, “News Topics” (當前新聞議題講座). Something like that. I forget exactly what the title was. Maybe it was, “Contemporary News Topics.” It’s a requisite for first year and second year students. I remembered that class was set for Tuesday every week and every week, they would invite a speaker to come discuss different topics with us.

I remember our speaker that day was Luo Wenjia, who talked about their book. They opened it up for Q-and-A after. I remember that I asked how they looked at the thirty second incident, with regards to the CSSTA. And their reaction was, like the speaker I mentioned earlier, was to say that this was a political incident. That they also didn’t know how to look at it. It was an unclear answer like that.

Our class divided into discussion groups of three, and the two friends of mine in the group were Jolynn Lee and TingYi Lim, one of our homework assignments was to do “social observation.” We had to pick a social movement scene and write a report on it. A week before 318 was 311, the anti-nuclear protest. We had some classmates that went to report on this and other events. It was already in the middle of the semester and this report had to be 3,000 characters.

Brian Hioe:  That’s quite long.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  And so we were like, “Now what?” The day or two before, we knew that there was going a rally at night against the CSSTA in front of the Legislative Yuan. So we left from class early and arranged to go together to there. After getting out of class, we ate dinner, then went on-site. On-site, we were wondering what to write, because it seemed like every aspect of the movement had been written about. We wondered what to do.

NewseForum logo. Photo credit: NewseForum

So we thought that, because there were a lot of people on-site, we could ask people why they participated in the rally and what their views were. So we did this, interviewing grandmothers, white collar workers, and etc. But after finishing, we found that everyone had different views, but we were wondering whether this was sufficient.

We interviewed from 6 o’clock to 8 o’clock. So we were getting ready to about head back and then our friend Jolynn said, “Look! Look!”. And we found everyone had charged into the building on Jinan Road. And we were like, “What had happened?” People had really gone in. We were just there taking pictures and this happened. I was quite shocked. So we were pushed to the side and we wondered what to do. There was a garage door that had been pulled open and so we wondered, “Should we go in?”

But before, I saw that my two friends had already gone in. We wondered if we should go in and whether we would be arrested. But we had to write our homework? So we thought, “Okay, sure,” and we went in. We walked in. That was in the Legislative Yuan, but we hadn’t gotten into the building. We went along with the people.

Later on, when we saw the images of the broken glass on television, we were also there on the screen. But it was too chaotic then and the Internet was cut off, so we couldn’t post this online. After we got to the Legislative Yuan building, between the first and second floor, for some reason, we went to the second floor’s journalists’ room. We thought there might be outlets for our cell phones since our cell phones were out of power. It was quite funny, we had keep looking. It later became a sort of symbol. [Laughs] That our first reaction was to go to the place where journalists should be. But it wasn’t like that. We were just looking for power outlets.

Brian Hioe:  I remember that the documentary film directors who were involved also went to the second floor right away.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  I had no idea. I just saw someone filming with an iPad and sandals in front of me. So as we were charging our phones we looked down and thought, “Wow, so many people.” This is something I’m still unable to explain. My reaction was to open my computer and start posting updates on the live situation on Facebook using text, since Facebook wasn’t able to lifestream then. So I kept posting this in Chinese. And I gradually noticed that friends of mine who weren’t sure what had happened all seemed to be looking at my Facebook.

The Internet connection wasn’t very stable and things were happening too fast, so sometimes I didn’t type fast enough. People would worry when I didn’t post something after a while, wondering if I had been arrested or something.

So later on, our classmate, Jolynn, who had studied in Canada and had better English, said that we could consider doing a television report. We did a Chinese one and many people shared this on Facebook. And we were like, “Oh, it seems like a lot of people are watching this.” But people kept posting it and it seemed like my computer was about to explode, since a lot of notifications kept popping up.

A classmate outside suggested we also do English, so we filmed Jolynn using Photo Booth on MacBook, since there was no live streaming then. We wondered where to post this, so we decided to post this on CNN iReports. Jolynn opened an account and posted it. CNN’s reaction was quite fast. We got a green check quite quickly, sort of the like the blue check on Facebook. It’s a form of certification. And a producer confirmed with Jolynn to see whether this was real and what had happened.

Afterwards, it was on CNN. They broadcast this. And we didn’t think too much about it, that this would allow international society know that this was an important event. But that day was like that. We stayed there overnight and the next day, we were just too tired, so around 7 or 8 we went home, feeling like zombies. After going home, we slept the next day, but we still felt quite agitated. I woke up and found that Jolynn was on the news. You know, Taiwanese news likes to report on CNN reporting on something. But it felt that if you report on something, people will notice.

On 320, we went there again. I went there with Jolynn, the two of us, and we went inside. It seemed like all of the media there wanted to find Jolynn, to interview her as to why she would do this. Inside, we went inside, and felt that we should continue. During the night of 319, while I was still passed, Mao Yimei, my junior, everyone started a Line group of everyone in the Journalism department, both the first and second years. We were all inside, so we could keep safety if we went to the occupation. Mao Yimei said that we should start reporting.

Photo credit: NewseForum

But I didn’t know this, since I was sleeping. Jolynn and I went inside on 320 not knowing about this, but the other people gradually borrowed cameras and video cameras, and they started conducting interviews and reporting outside, while we were on the inside. We had to figure out where to put the interviews we conducted and since we were all students of the journalism department at NTU.

NeweForum was a website of ours and a Facebook fanpage. It was a platform that we knew we could use. We thought we could ask the administrator to help us open up the administrative privileges so we could publish. So this was opened up and we started posting articles one after the other. This was the process of our “formation.” But I began from the beginning, because I think in the beginning, Jolynn, TingYi, and I reporting was still meaningful. I think it was like opening a route.

After we finished reporting, it was just like that, but afterwards, everywhere very passionately wanted to go on-site to report. I think it was that we felt that all knew we should do something and we were willing to do something. I still remember that on 320, Jolynn and Tingyi and I stayed until night. It was still quite cold then, in the spring, and it had rained. I had a deep impression of heading out and seeing everyone on the side of the road—we didn’t have that tent then—and everyone was transcribing their interviews after having finished them on their computers, or posting photos and video clips.

As I watched this on the side, I felt like I wanted to cry, I felt very moved. Because nobody told us to do this. But we were all there, wearing raincoats. That image is something I remember even now. Actually reporting on something is like that. This told me that this is what journalists such as us should do. No matter what the circumstances are, that’s what we should do.

Brian Hioe:  Wasn’t the slogan of NewseForum, “Learning by doing”?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  Learning by doing was originally the slogan of the Journalism Department at NTU. [Laughs] We later discovered that we seemed to be putting this into practice. I did feel that way afterwards. Although you can see that it wasn’t too fancy, because we were students, we did it very much from attempting to realize what we thought journalism should be.

Brian Hioe:  How did you expand to beyond just NTU?

This jumps until after the end of the movement. In the middle of the movement, there was some discussion of this. In the beginning, it was NTU students conducting interviews, but because we accomplished something that many people could see, people from schools such as National Chung Cheng University or National Cheng Chi University came to ask if they could join as well.

We also heard that other schools felt that it was their report, but putting it under NTU NewseForum felt strange. I could understand their views. But we didn’t know how to take care of this in the heat of the movement. So later after the end of the movement, we confirmed that what we wanted to do didn’t have anything to do with our school, and that our members weren’t just NTU students. So we thought about taking off the words “NTU” from our Facebook page, not to distinguish this from NTU particularly, but that our aims had changed, seeing as our original Facebook page was somewhere to post student homework or exchange opinions.

And it was no longer just NTU students doing this, so we hoped to have this definition. But in the process, our professors supported us using this Facebook page, not thinking too much about asking for permission. We should be quite thankful to our professors for encouraging us and letting us to do this. Because if there limitations then, we probably would have difficulty doing all this. It didn’t have anything to do with NTU, we also wanted to avoid this affecting our department or the school. I sort of forget, but we had to confirm that this wasn’t a school activity, that the school hadn’t ordered us to do this.

Brian Hioe:  Can you talk about key events in your coverage? Such as 324. Or when you covered 330, with a lot of teams spread across different places in the occupation site.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  As for myself, I think 324 was a key event. Because in Taiwanese social movements, many people are still quite hurt after that incident. For us, I think it’s something I can’t forget. I should say, I was at the editor’s desk then. So I didn’t see people being hit by police on-site or dragged away or fired upon by water cannons. Seeing the images at the editor’s desk, I was quite shocked. I’m sure it was the same for our reporters on-site.

But in the middle of our shock, we still tried to keep to what we thought news should be. What stands out in my memory the most is that we heard news that someone had been sent to NTU Hospital and had died. So we thought that this would be very severe. If someone actually died, this would be an extremely severe incident. I was at the the editor’s desk, so we were taking care of the information that was being sent over on our computers. And so I asked, “Who can help confirm this?” Behind me was standing someone and they said they would call and ask. They called and said that NTU Hospital said that nobody had died. I asked who said this. They said, the security guard at the emergency room.

And because there was so much pressure then, I said, “Can we believe the security guard?” I didn’t mean that we shouldn’t believe this security guard, but I was asking how reliable this was as a source of information. I said, “You should ask a doctor or nurse or someone like that.” And they had to keep thinking of ways to ask. Because the hospital was also very chaotic then, later on, we found two journalists and sent them directly to the hospital to ask. In the middle of this, there were many rumors, with people posting this on Facebook.

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC

But we said that we couldn’t send this without confirmation. These were basics that we had learned, that we needed a source, and very clearly who, not just reporting on rumors on Facebook. That would be irresponsible. This is a key event which sticks out in my mind, regarding that we had to preserve this even in a chaotic situation with a lot of rumors circulating.

The other is regarding reports of tear gas. In the tent, somebody commented on the strange odor. And a photojournalist ran over to the Executive Yuan and said that there was mist and a strange odor. And many people said this. We checked out Line group and people said there was tear gas. People said that tear gas had been released on Zhongxiao East Road or somewhere. But after posting this, our editor next to me said, after a few minutes. “This isn’t right. This is strange.” Because none of us had smelled tear gas before.

It was a logical error. We thought this probably wasn’t right. And because this is quite severe, we wrote a retraction and apologized for the error, saying that we hadn’t been able to confirm this. And I remember quite clearly, fearing that we would yelled at. Because a lot of people were reading what we were writing.

We thought that people would criticize us and I thought that this wasn’t right either, so we posted this. Later on, what I saw was that people thanked us. I think that this left a deep impression. If you’re wrong, you just apologize, that’s all. That’s just common sense. Admitting fault. And I think the other sense of responsibility is that we didn’t just post this and have no updates afterwards, we told everyone how it was, whether it was real or false, we had to tell everyone.

So 324 was a key event to me. Because before that, it was still chaotic, and we didn’t know what to do. But after 324, I feel that we confirmed many things. We developed SOPs and principles how to take care of incidents. The form of our reports also became confirmed. I think that was key.

Brian Hioe:  What about 330 or large-scale events like that?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  I think a strength of NewseForum was that we had many people. We had 90 or more people, although those active may have been 30 or 40. In such a large event, I think that not many media outlets would be willing to spend so much manpower on this one event. So we were able to divide people between different areas.

I don’t think that this can be compared to other media. Because Taiwanese media was unable to deploy all these people. We were students and we didn’t have any pay, but we were willing to do this. So this was the power of collaboration. The Sunflower Movement was like that as a whole, and in this kind of big event, everyone’s teamwork could pay off.

Brian Hioe:  What kind of relation do you think that NewseForum has to the Internet? Because your workflow was very different from traditional media, which is hierarchical, it was a lot of people collaborating horizontally using tools on the Internet.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  We might feel that it’s normal afterwards, because a lot of online media emphasizes this kind of teamwork now. But I think that on some level, we were pioneers. Nobody had done this like us before. We didn’t think beforehand that was an ideal way of doings, so we decided to do that it.

It happened contingently. But I think that’s because we didn’t have any hierarchy regarding who is the boss or staff. We were all classmates. Some people were upperclassmen and underclassmen, maybe. I believe that this working culture naturally emerged from how we related to each other.

However, we also spent a lot of energy adjusting this kind of working culture. Because everyone worked together, but there still needed to be a process for confirming whether pieces were ready to publish and etc. I’m not very clear about other online media, but I believe that the way we did things was very rare and that it worked quite well.

I believe that this was rare because most online media are real companies, with deadlines and responsibilities. So our division of labor is quite rare. At that time, at that place, we had that kind of event. And we only had to report on the Sunflower Movement. We didn’t report on anything else.

But online media reports on many things, reporting on all news events that take place. So I don’t think one can directly compare, because that’s not fair, but I still believe that, for us to do things then was quite advanced. A lot of traditional media interviewed us then and when I explained how we did things to them, some experienced journalists or editors told me, “This is very different, this is quite new. We don’t do things this way in traditional media.”

I wrote about this in my MA thesis. I interviewed Hong Kong independent media and found that they were like this during the Umbrella Movement as well. Many things were similar. Both the Umbrella Movement and the Sunflower Movement were very large movements. I wouldn’t say that they are the same. But they happened to be very large and for there to be similar media outlets in both is very interesting.

Brian Hioe:  How did you relate to the central decision making body in the Legislative Yuan? For example, there were issues of access. You interviewed Lin Fei-Fan, for example.

Photo credit: Abby Chen/Flickr/CC

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  I and other members knew people such as Lin Fei-Fan or Chen Wei-Ting or members of the Black Island Youth Front or people on the inside. But with Lin Fei-Fan, he just happened to pass by, so we asked him. He may not remember himself.

Every one of our members had different views on the movement. Including having some members who might not have agreed with or identified with the movement. However, we all believed that this was something that should be documented, so we confronted this realistically. We didn’t believe that we should judge the movement, we should just report on what happens for readers to read, and our own views are just our own views.

It’s not that we weren’t acquainted with members of the core decision making body. But if people asked us if we could help report on something, releasing a statement, or some of the large number of organizations wanting us to report on something, we would all say no. We wouldn’t help them spread word, we would use it as a source from one of many organizations, and how they said things.

We had to write this as news, we weren’t a propaganda organ for the movement. We were media. So I think there was a sense of distance. We weren’t as close as many people thought we were. Many of our members knew them and were very friendly, they were friends, but I don’t feel that they would find us to spread word. I’m not sure if they really read us or knew what was going on with us either.

Brian Hioe:  How did you decide what topics to write about?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  It was everyone writing from their perspectives. I think this is teamwork. Everyone sees different aspects they think are important, which they bring inside. What you see regarding many topics, it was like that. Everyone pays attention to different perspectives. For example, some people paid close attention to discussion about the medical lane, and other people were concerned with indigenous issues, and we also wrote about the kitchen.

Nobody said, “Oh, you write about that.” Everyone thought, “I think this is interesting, I want to write about it.” Other people would help them look at it and fix it. I think this was a strong point of ours.

Brian Hioe:  It seems very spontaneous.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  It wouldn’t be ordering people around. We discussed together. Someone wanted to interview DPP legislators. So since they were all at the door, we went just went over. And someone would raise, “Shouldn’t we also interview the KMT legislators and other parties?”

There was this kind of awareness. Although we had different domains that we were concerned with, or different aspects, we still had blind spots, we could remind each other of our blind spots to allow NewseForum to improve and be more complete. 

Brian Hioe:  What are your views on the emergence of new media outlets after the end of the movement? Do you think that you had some influence on this?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  It becomes sort of like saying, “Because of the Sunflower Movement, these new media outlets emerged.” But I don’t think you can talk about it this way.

Personally, I don’t like to use the word “awakening.” I think that it led to growth in many aspects of Taiwanese society. I don’t believe that this was actually “awakening” in that sense. But people stood up.

This had some positives for media. Because the Sunflower Movement reflected a key incident in which you can see things changed. But how did things change? Maybe this is different for everybody. Media reflects society, so I think that what gets thought of might have existed before, but people only realize that it was this afterwards. There was a lot of discussion about the Internet and how it was used during the Sunflower Movement.

Brian Hioe:  I saw that a lot of people wrote their MA theses on that.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  Yes. But for us, this is something that we always use in our lives, but why is it that after the Sunflower Movement it has somehow become discussed as though this were a new world? But for me, I always felt very conflicted. Because I remember seeing an older man in front of me with sandals and an iPad.

Brian Hioe:  Probably it was Chang Longsan. 

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  You interviewed him? I just felt then, “That’s so cool, he’s using sandals to film.” I wasn’t too surprised about him livestreaming. But people would be like, “Wow! He’s live streaming and using it to send images of what’s inside to the outside world!”

I would be confused that, should this technology really be so surprising? But in the past ten years, changes in Taiwanese society have been blocked. So 318 was an explosion that caused people to wake up and feel that they needed to do some things.

As for the media, I feel a bit similarly. I’m optimistic about these changes, since for these changes to occur is better than for them not to occur. I hope that people are loud and noisy, not that there’s silence. That silence is quite frightening. For new media to appear, that may mean that we have new voices that will appear.

It’ll be four years next year. Are there still some structural problems? I think they probably still exist and they may be quite large. But this might not just be in media, this may be in different social fields and industries, just that change takes a long time. It can’t just be one movement or the appearance of one media that changes everything. It requires a long time. I even wonder if it’ll be even that we won’t live to see these changes. And if we don’t try, then there won’t be change.

Brian Hioe:  Can you discuss the discussion about whether to continue or not after the withdrawal from the Legislative Yuan?

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  Yes. Because the withdrawal was quite sudden. But the day after, we spent an entire morning or afternoon, thirty or forty people, wondering what we should do next. Because this was a contingent set of circumstances. It seemed like there were some positives from this contingent circumstances, so how do we go forward?

At the time, everyone was equal, so nobody could make decisions for this “organization.” So we were stuck. But our consensus was that we could continue doing something, such as considering whether to crowd fund or seek donations. It was a slow process. We felt so tired then and our discussion didn’t have a clear result.

Because nobody felt that they could make a decision for everybody or come up with a result, although on the surface, I might have a title or something. I still feel that I can’t represent this organization. I still feel this way, like I said, that a lot of people have to discuss this together. I’d feel it’s like that. But later on, looking back, I realized I had some unsuitable titles such as editor-in-chief and etc. when I had to take care of some things.

I believed in this group of people and worked together with them and we were all together. So at that time, after withdrawing, then starting to crowdfund for our book, it was two months. But we were very confused during that period about what should come next. And we knew that we should go back and work on our thesis, but our hearts didn’t seem to be in it. Looking back on many things, we may have been burned out. My own feeling is that this is like participants, confronting 324, directly physically or emotionally being hurt.

But we were quite young and hadn’t worked in news before, and looking back on it, we didn’t prepare ourselves emotionally. I later learned that on 324, many of our journalists were shocked after seeing water cannons firing on the crowd or police beating people and were responding to messages while crying. I was later quite shocked that we hadn’t prepared ourselves emotionally Everyone would say things like, “You’re all so great!” and “You’re all so amazing!”

This is something that we didn’t take care of, saying what your expectations towards the group was, or that it was fine if you didn’t have any expectations. Because saying that you didn’t want to continue, you would feel a sense of pressure from the group.

So in June, we felt that we should do something.  Because events still took place after the Sunflower Movement, such as Dr. Tsay getting hit by the scooter or the anti-nuclear movement, such as Lin Yi-Hsiung’s hunger strike. Many things hadn’t been resolved. We felt that there were still things we could do.

There were other people we worked with, you may have seen the images we put out. We put together images with g0v’s Kerpee. That was something we felt we should do and that year was elections, we could maybe maintain some energy continuing to do this. We felt that this movement was very important and that we should do some documentation, so that’s why we produced that book. Those were what we felt we could do.

But after doing this, and even doing this, we were very tired. Although it didn’t seem like we had to do a lot, it felt like a lot, and there was pressure. With crowdfunding, there was pressure from everyone’s expectations, and we felt that the readers were watching, so we gave ourselves a lot of pressure. That we should do things well. That pressure was hard to resolve. After doing this, what to do then? We felt conflicted about what to do next, because we didn’t want to forcibly continue.

So I think people may have reached a breaking point. At least I myself did. And some things happened, so I was unable to communicate with some people. I felt very tired. I think I didn’t take care of it very well, as something that had accumulated over time. I think I dropped a lot of things. Although we were all doing this, this was something that wasn’t properly discussed from after the withdrawal. So it led to a lot of emotional weight. We thought about starting a business, but afterwards, there was no way.

Later on, I felt—not to blame anyone, because I myself was like this—I don’t think we were daring enough then, or confident enough. Because I later found that in starting a business, you can’t be afraid, you just have to do things. But I think we would consider too many things and weren’t daring enough. We didn’t dare to confront the possibility that we would succeed or fail. However, looking back, I believe that a lot of the special issues or images we did, were very advanced. I believe that we did many things and that at the time, much of what you see now, only we were doing. Or that it wasn’t just us, but that we were doing it the best.

So I feel that it was like that. I don’t know social movement participants all that well, hut I would guess that there are many similar circumstances among Sunflower Movement participants. I imagine it’s not exactly the same. But either way, I think that we really believed in each other, and wanted to find a way to do something advanced. I don’t know if a lot of social movement activists may have similar feelings.

Photo credit: Abby Chen/Flickr/CC

Brian Hioe:  Lastly, is there anything you would want to say?

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  I think that, if looking at an oral history, you can’t just look at what I have to say. I hope that you can interview more people from NewseForum.

Brian Hioe:  I hope to.

Sheau-Tyng Peng:  The more people, the better. Because what people confront is different and I think this movement is like that. Everyone sees a different aspect. Going back to 320, when people were organizing how they were going to go and do interviews on Line, the discussion at that point, I later saw that people wanted to interview the people participating in this movement. People always say it’s a student movement, but it very clearly wasn’t, it was all sorts of people. So we wanted to interview 100 people on-site. Why would you come to the Sunflower Movement to pay attention to this movement?

I feel that this was what was good about us. We wouldn’t pay attention to what jacket Lin Fei-Fan was wearing or what bear Chen Wei-Ting was hugging as he slept. A lot of media reported on events that way.

But we would all pay attention to what was going on around us, the people, the events, and what had taken place. It was all important. We could see different things for this. So I believe that to discuss NewseForum, you also have to ask others.

I don’t know how people will look at this movement in the future. Because afterwards, I thought we are still too close in time to the movement. On Facebook, we keep seeing “Memories” pop up, on this day, of what happened and what we posted several years ago. It’s pretty scary every March.

We need some ways to think carefully about how this period of time influenced us, and I’m very happy and thankful to have this opportunity to reflect and see how everyone was looking at things back then. I think this is very important, so I will be very looking forward to what you have to write.