Interview: Brian Hioe
Brian Hioe, who is Taiwanese-American, was one of the founding editors of New Bloom Magazine after the Sunflower Movement and is the compiler and writer of the Daybreak Project. Seeing as he was himself a participant in the Sunflower Movement, he conducted an interview with himself by text, responding to the same questions that he asked participants in the Sunflower Movement in the course of compiling the Daybreak Project.
Brian Hioe: Can you introduce yourself a bit for those that don’t know you?
Brian Hioe: I grew up in New York, but am Taiwanese-American. More precisely, although I usually state that I am Taiwanese-American, my father is Indonesian overseas Chinese, and my mother is Taiwanese, but my father went to college in Taiwan and many of my dad’s family members live in Taiwan. Most of my life has been spent in New York, although I visited Taiwan every summer since childhood onwards to see family members living in Taipei.
During the 2014 Sunflower Movement, I happened to be working on my Mandarin at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), since I grew up speaking Mandarin at home and with family members, but wasn’t really able to read or write very well. A few months before the Sunflower Movement, I had gotten to know a group of student activists mostly based out of an activist student group at National Yang Ming University, the Yang-Ming Meaningful Club, and so when the movement happened, I ended up being sucked into the movement. That took place the year after I graduated college, so I was 22 then.
This came following a history of student activism not too dissimilar to Taiwanese student activists, since I had been politically active in some form since I was fifteen. I was the president of a student activist group in high school for my junior and senior years, and I organized or helped organize events such as several benefit concerts, various fundraisers, and a rally in support of gay marriage.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
I was also a participant in Occupy Wall Street in college, seeing as I attended New York University. I was there from the first day until the eviction from Zuccotti Park, and some of the subsequent attempts to retake Zuccotti Park. In college, I also studied in Japan at Sophia University for a semester, which took place during the height of the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movement in 2012, which I also participated. So, before the Sunflower Movement, I was quite used to participating in large-scale social movements, although this still did not prepare me for the size and scale of the Sunflower Movement.
During the Sunflower Movement, I was there on the first night of the charge into the Legislative Yuan, as one of the people that climbed over the gate into the courtyard behind the Legislative Yuan in one of the subsequent charges after the initial charge into the Legislative Yuan. I was also one of the people that charged the Executive Yuan on the night of 323, as part of the back door team, which I later wrote about in an essay under a pseudonym because I feared legal reprisals at that point in time.
After the end of the movement and the withdrawal of the Legislative Yuan, I was one of the founders of New Bloom Magazine, an online publication about contemporary Taiwanese politics and youth culture. A number of my student activist friends, who I also interviewed for this project, were looking for ways to connect to the international world. I had also gotten to know Taiwanese overseas students, among the organizers of the different solidarity rallies for the Sunflower Movement abroad, who seemed to be looking for ways to link back to Taiwan, and an American journalist friend and I were thinking of starting a blog to jointly write about Taiwan after I wrote a piece on Medium summarizing the movement entitled “Taiwan’s Democratic Crisis”, one of the earlier attempts to summarize the movement as a whole.
So, somehow, this became the idea of starting a publication about Taiwan. A lot of the initial inspiration came from creating something similar to the left-wing publications which had rose to prominence among young people after Occupy Wall Street, such as Jacobin or the New Inquiry. I didn’t originally intend to write too much, actually, I originally anticipated myself as mostly editing or translating writings by our Taiwanese writers. Somehow I ended up being forced into the role of a writer out of necessity.
It’s been three years since then, during which I also went back to New York to complete a MA at Columbia University. I also happened to be here during some of the other large social movement outbreaks in Taiwan, such as the weeklong occupation of the Ministry of Education in 2015, or during 2016 elections. In late 2016, after finishing my MA, I moved back to Taiwan.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
Brian Hioe: What did you do during the Sunflower Movement?
Brian Hioe: Apart from participating in some of the charges as just another body, such as during 318 itself and during the 324 Executive Yuan incident, I was mainly focused on being an observer during the movement. I was there pretty much every day, just wandering around the occupation site, taking photos, or doing any school work I had there, although I also skipped a lot of class then.
While I was no stranger to participating in social movements, or even situations involving clashes with police or lengthy standoffs with the police and the like, I had never seen a movement on the scale of the Sunflower Movement, and I was particularly struck by the sophisticated organizing abilities of Taiwanese student groups. Certainly, the organizing ability of Taiwanese student groups and supportive NGOs was beyond anything I had seen in my years in New York City, including in Occupy Wall Street.
And so I was focused on observing because I primarily wanted to learn from Taiwanese student activists, that I could learn something that I could take back to the United States for my organizing work there. At that point, I still imagined that my battles in the future, so to speak, would primarily take place in the United States, and so I did not seek further participation beyond observing as much of the movement as I could.
Likewise, in retrospect, I think that a large part of why I had actually left America after graduating college was burnout after Occupy Wall Street, what might be called “movement injuries” in Taiwanese activist parlance, seeing as I was disillusioned by the large amount of sectarian infighting between various political groups or small intellectual cliques after the eventual implosion of the movement. When the Sunflower Movement took place, that was two years after Occupy Wall Street had taken place, but it still felt like a very recent event at that point in time. I still felt highly dejected in some sense. I thought I could try to solve problems of infighting in an American context through learning something from the greater degree of cooperation between groups that might actually still disagree from each other in the Sunflower Movement.
And so I didn’t have too many views on even the divisive issues of the Sunflower Movement, I mainly just went with the flow, although I was sometimes shocked at how Taiwanese society reacted differently than I expected. Perhaps being accustomed to high levels of police violence in the United States and public outrage in response, I was shocked that immediate reactions after 324 sometimes took the side of police and not demonstrators, for example.
But generally speaking, it was only later that I came to feel differently and decided to take on a more proactive role, in seeking to make interventions into Taiwanese politics, or to try and communicate developments in Taiwanese politics to the international world.
Brian Hioe: Did Taiwanese identity have anything to do with your participation in the Sunflower Movement? What about with regards to others?
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
The ironic thing is that I did not actually know that much about Taiwan when the Sunflower Movement took place, relatively speaking, although I was not entirely ignorant. Firstly, my father’s family, which is Hakka, ended up in Taiwan because of political loyalty to the ROC after having fled to Indonesia after the Chinese Civil War. My mother’s family is half-benshengren and half-waishengren, but is deep Blue in political orientation, seeing as my grandfather was a high-ranking banking official in the KMT with close ties to the KMT financial and political elite.
Actually, from a fairly early age, I did not buy the claims of my parents, particularly my mother’s family, with regards to the claim Taiwan was the true and proper China, or their rosy-tinted view of Chiang Kai-Shek. This was mostly arrived at simply through independent thinking. For example, I read Chiang Kai-Shek’s book, China’s Destiny, in college on my own and decided that Chiang was a right-wing authoritarian nationalist, maybe even a fascist.
Yet before my experiences in the Sunflower Movement, I did not think that much about Taiwanese identity and I focused much more on China than Taiwan. Firstly, I identified politically as a Marxist, and so I was skeptical of claims about the permanence of national identity, seeing as national identity is always a historical construct. While I recognized Taiwanese identity as something that had come to develop, I was not too sure of how “real” it was, and I felt that it might be something which could fade away if there were historical shifts. As a Marxist, I was also wary of any form of ethno-nationalism which could be exclusionary in nature, such as Taiwanese identity founded upon excluding Chinese or excluding waishengren. But seeing as my parents largely identified with a notion of China, I probably did also amorphously think of myself as Chinese and not Taiwanese at that point, too.
And unlike a lot of Asian-Americans, at that point, I was also disinterested in identity issues or some pursuit of cultural heritage. I generally thought that many Asian-Americans seemed to cling to such notions of a sense of insecurity about being a minority in America, but at the same time, I observed that their knowledge of Asia was sometimes lacking, could also be a product of cultural projection, or sometimes internalized American stereotypes of Asia more than anything else. This took place despite that one of my three majors in college was East Asian Studies, seeing as I had come find East Asian history and literature to be highly interesting.
So I don’t think I was totally lacking in knowledge about Taiwan and I actually knew the broad outlines of Taiwanese history quite well. But much more the history and much less regarding contemporary politics and society. I decided in my senior year of college that I would probably pursue a Ph. D in the Asia studies, although I was decided as to focus on China or Japan seeing as I was interested in both, and I was undecided whether to focus on history or literature. My interest in Japan was what led me to study in Japan and my interest in China was, again, probably a product of a vague sense of identification with China that persisted from my parents, even if I had been skeptical of their idealized view of Chiang Kai-Shek and the KMT.
As a result, I remember that during the Sunflower Movement, I actually spent a lot of time educating myself about contemporary Taiwanese politics and society. I took books out of the library at NTNU about contemporary Taiwan and would bring them to the occupation site and sit there until nightfall reading, if there wasn’t anything else going on. I’m actually a bit surprised in retrospect that I managed to educate myself enough to begin writing about Taiwan credibly not too long after. Or maybe that’s something I would pat myself on the back for, let’s say.
Nevertheless, my views did shift during the movement. I saw that Taiwanese identity was something which had substance and did not seem likely it was going to fade away anytime soon. I also saw from the participation of benshengren and waishengren, as well, Chinese speakers and participants in the movement that Taiwanese identity, in its present configuration, was not ethno-nationalist. I still am wary of any form of nationalism, seeing as relatively harmless forms of civic nationalism can still unpredictably shift into ethno-nationalism, but that changed my views greatly.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
But that probably led to shifts in how I saw my own identity, as well. For example, I don’t really see myself or my parents as Chinese anymore, because I don’t accept my parents’ claims to be Chinese without any form of mediation. Much of what my family claims about China, for example, now strikes me as much more of embracing a fictional version of China based on an idealized view of history than any familiarity with China as it exists today. Although my family sometimes simply dismisses my views as the views of a different generation, as produced by different historical teaching, I also take the view that I may have greater familiarity than they, in fact.
It strikes me as paradoxical that I have Chinese friends, for example, and interact with a large number of Chinese people regularly whereas my family interacts with few Chinese and demonstrates little knowledge of contemporary Chinese culture. I also generally find myself astounded by the ideological bubble world they sometimes live in, for example, with no real grasp of contemporary Taiwanese or Chinese politics.
In general, though, I also do think it’s important to point to the distinctions between Taiwanese-Americans and Taiwanese. Again, I think a lot of issues I have with a lot of Taiwanese-Americans is that they imagine they can speak for Taiwanese without any sense of mediation or distance, that they fail to realize or be self-conscious about the differences in their own views from Taiwanese people. I don’t want to fall into that trap either. I still don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself.
As for the Sunflower Movement writ large, as was stated by the majority of my interviewees, identity did generally seem to have a role in why individuals participated in the movement, but individuals differed with regards to how they saw that identity as influencing them. The movement served not only to strengthen identity by way of action, but also led to the development feelings of identity which some did not have beforehand. I myself may fit into that pattern, broadly, despite being Taiwanese-American.
In terms of the shift of how I have come to relate to Taiwan after the Sunflower Movement, with regards to New Bloom or other efforts I’m involved in, I’m still not sure that this is me embracing Taiwanese identity though. I view myself as an internationalist Marxist, actually. I would be involved in the local social movements wherever I lived, much as I did in America, or when I was studying in Japan.
However, in terms of the fact that I just so happen to be Taiwanese-American, and occupy a fairly limited niche in terms of my skill set in Taiwan, I feel that this has become the lever upon which I can influence the world. Like Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.” If I still lived in America, I’d still be involved in American social movements. Yet my own feelings are that there are many people with my skill set in America and less here in Taiwan. And so I am more able to influence the world if I were to be here and not elsewhere, which is why I ultimately decided to move here.
Brian Hioe: What are your views on the left-leaning political slant of contemporary Taiwanese young people?
Brian Hioe: This is a question I have long been interested in learning more about, which is why this was one of the research questions of this project. I have arrived at no satisfactory answers, given the vast amount of different answers I got from those I interviewed. Yet there are probably a number of structural issues. For one, Taiwan’s main political cleavage is between independence and unification and not left and right, but left and right still exist as part of the political spectrum, as mapped onto the two poles of independence and unification.
And young people generally tend to be more left-wing than their predecessors, in calling for greater political change. In this way, the Sunflower Movement can be mapped onto left-wing political movements of young people in recent years, including Occupy Wall Street. Young people confront oppressive social conditions across the world, after all, and this has led to increased interest in left-wing political ideas among young people.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
What did surprise me initially, however, was that when I first began to participate in Taiwanese social movements, I expected that social stigma against leftism would still persist from KMT times. This was not the case, with young people being quite interested in openly discussing left-wing political ideas. In part, this may reflect that international interest in left-wing political ideas has also encouraged young people to be interested in left-wing political ideas, that Taiwan in fact still had a strong tradition of leftism despite political suppression from the KMT, or that the past stigmatization of left-wing ideas by the KMT actually has left a blank space in which young people can be interested in such ideas.
Brian Hioe: The funny thing is, I don’t think I can judge as to the views of the majority of participants. One of the limitations of my project is likely the fact that the people I interviewed were more knowledgeable about issues than regular participants in the Sunflower Movement, so I don’t think they can tell me that either. Moreover, the line between participants and observers is hard to draw when it comes to a large-scale movement such as the Sunflower Movement.
I do think most people were motivated by a mixture of opposition to the black box, to the KMT, and to the KMT’s pro-China actions, although I’m not sure I would pin it down specifically to only opposition to the black box. Free trade was opposed by a minority of left-wing participants, but such views were also not uncommon among the “leadership” of the Sunflower Movement, who did not express such views but were sympathetic to them.
This is also true regarding the issue of Taiwanese independence. The “leadership” of the Sunflower Movement is generally in favor of independence, but tactically chose to not express these views. However, as the movement dragged on, participants in the movement more readily expressed the views they were thinking, probably because as the movement went on and support from the public continued, participants were less afraid of losing the support of the public.
Regarding the “anti-Chinese” aspect of the Sunflower Movement, I would add, too, as evidenced in the participation of Chinese students and expressions of support for Chinese democracy, that any opposition to China during the movement was opposition to the Chinese government and not the Chinese people. In this respect, alongside the fact that benshengren/waishengren divisions were not a major divide within the movement, I think that characterizing the movement as hewing to civic nationalism is a fair assessment.
Brian Hioe: What do you think the effects of the Sunflower Movement have been, three years later?
Brian Hioe: First and foremost, one can readily point to the success of the Tsai Ing-Wen in 2016 presidential elections, the election victory of Ko Wen-Je in 2014 Taipei mayoral elections, and the emergence of the New Power Party and other Third Force parties.
One cannot attribute all of this to the DPP, the NPP, independent or third party political actors riding the tide of Taiwanese identity. A lot of this was also a product of the internal crisis of the KMT, which weakened any political rivals to these forces. This crisis was already present in the form of infighting between the “Mainlander” and “Taiwanese” factions of the KMT, as we saw in tension between Ma Ying-Jeou and Wang Jinpyng in the course of the movement.
Nevertheless, this crisis was severely accentuated by the Sunflower Movement, after which point the party realized that it had lost an entire generation of Taiwanese young people and conflict began to break out inside the party regarding the question of whether the party should seek to reform in response or whether it should to and return to traditional values. The party chose wrongly in 2016 presidential and legislative elections in deciding to choose the latter and expelling young people who could have potentially reformed the party rather than embrace them as fresh faces for the party.
Yet I also think it is correct to be skeptical as to whether this would have happened anyway, even without the Sunflower Movement, and wonder whether we are overstating the impact of the movement. That may be a funny thing to state seeing as I just spent an entire year of my life researching the Sunflower Movement, something predicated on a sense that this was, in fact important. But of course, we have no way of truly knowing how things would have gone differently, since that’s how history works. Imagining how history might have gone otherwise is always a speculative effort, at best.
Brian Hioe: How do you think China looks at the Sunflower Movement?
Brian Hioe: When I asked interview subjects this question, the interesting thing is that many of my interview subjects did not actually really know.
Taiwanese sometimes know surprisingly little about China, although they realize it is a threat, and this is something which surprises westerners a lot. But is this really so surprising? Although China may loom over Taiwan economically and politically at all times, Taiwan is not the same country as China and Taiwanese often do not have direct day-to-day contact with China in any form. Individuals in bordering countries generally do not always think about the other country on a day-to-day basis.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
And even if China presents a military threat to Taiwan, this has long become a part of everyday life. One can observe a similar phenomenon in South Korea, in which the North Korean missile threat is not something that South Koreans think of as a constant, ever-pressing thought in their minds. Western observers have difficulty grasping that quite often, but that’s how it is. It takes a lot to break through the everyday, no matter what context.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that unlike many Taiwanese, I’ve been to China and, although this is not very visible in my output in the past few years, actually focus on China more than Taiwan in terms of academic research, I’m not completely sure either.
No doubt some aspects of China’s information-gathering apparatus registered the Sunflower Movement, but despite efforts by China to get Tsai Ing-Wen to comply to the 1992 Consensus, this would have occurred in the case of any DPP president, whether the Sunflower Movement had occurred beforehand or not.
Certainly, China may realize that it has lost Taiwanese young people, and it may redouble efforts in order to try and win over Taiwanese young people. But it was already doing this in the form of attempting to attract Taiwanese young people to work in China, particularly young entrepreneurs and the like, and attempting to extol the benefits that Taiwan could have if it joins with China. I am unsure whether there will be any fundamental shift in its strategy, apart from strengthening these existing efforts.
In particular, China seems to have switched strategies in Hong Kong, which sometimes provides a precedent for Taiwan, in shifting from attempting to win over young people to trying and intimidate them into submission. We can see this in the detention of Umbrella Movement activists, the disqualification of victorious post-Umbrella Movement legislators in the Legislative Council, the kidnapping of workers at Causeway Books, the use of mob violence on critics of the government, and other incidents.
This is less possible in Taiwan, seeing as China does not control Taiwan, as it does Hong Kong. But there have also been physical attacks from pro-China groups with ties to the mob such as the Chinese Unification Promotion Party. And the kidnapping of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-Che in China could be a precedent, since it is possible to initiate reprisals against Taiwanese visiting China. I think it’s too early tell at present, but I believe this will become quite clear fairly soon.
Brian Hioe: Do you think that there could be another movement like the Sunflower Movement in the future?
Brian Hioe: I also don’t know. Generally, my interviewees divided between those who thought that such protests were unlikely to take place under the DPP—since anger against the KMT was something which had accumulated over past decades—and those who felt that the movement occurring once meant that it could happen again.
I think it’s unlikely that a future movement would be as large as the Sunflower Movement, or completely shake-up the perception of young people in society. The view of the current generation of young people as a soft “strawberry generation” is now permanently broken, for example. Yet a large-scale protest movement could happen nonetheless.
Taiwan’s political system to date, in its twenty five or so years of democracy, demonstrates the structural pattern of that every democratically elected president seems to experience significant protest near the end of their tenure. I don’t think this is impossible based on the actions of the Tsai administration to date. For example, labor policy has been an issue on which the Tsai administration has kicked the hornet’s nest on recently, despite that this was very clearly an issue which would affect all of Taiwanese society. The Tsai administration has also attempted to force through many measures which have been criticized as circumventing review measures in undemocratic “black box” means lacking in transparency.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
In general, I am surprised at how fast the Tsai administration has lost its luster when it rode into power with such a strong message of hope and change, and how quick it has been to compromise or reverse on many easy issues on which it could have easily scored points with the public. I don’t think one can underestimate the capacity of the DPP to do something stupid and vastly angering of the public through a reversal of course.
But we shall have to see. It may be that the much of the energy of Taiwanese youth activism from before is spent. It may take awhile for activism to kick off in any form, like before, even if the Tsai administration does in fact do this.
Brian Hioe: What are Taiwanese activists doing three years later? Yourself?
Brian Hioe: Well, speaking personally, I have helped to keep up New Bloom for three years, for one, although similar to other activist groups, there were ups and downs in terms of our membership. It has become more difficult to sustain a group three years after the Sunflower Movement, as observed in how post-Sunflower Movement activist groups are generally greatly reduced in size or ceased to exist altogether. This, too, is true of New Bloom, in which not everyone is as active as before, and content has become disproportionately produced by me.
I managed to do that even through completing my MA and working on this project, somehow. In particular, it was strange living a double life between completing my MA in New York and working on New Bloom from afar, sometimes. I did my thesis on the problem of resolving abstract knowledge and concrete, sensuous experience in the early work of Chinese Republican era writer Lu Xun. Which, you know, has very little to do with contemporary Taiwanese politics.
With regards to what participants in the Sunflower are doing now, it’s just generally people get busy and move on with their lives. Nobody can stay in a movement forever. People have to find some means to survive and move on with their lives That’s bound to happen. I think that’s quite natural.
That’s true of the majority of participants in the Sunflower Movement. It’s not actually the case that everyone entered a political party, such as the DPP or a Third Force party. On that point, I think it is interesting to note that not everyone actually joined a Third Force party, either. Some people just wanted political experience, in order to get a sense of what the inside of government institutions were like. The Third Force, being a new political force, wouldn’t have provided a sense of that.
I moved back to Taiwan in summer 2016 and began the Daybreak Project at the start of 2017. Sometimes I wonder if the fact that I’m still preoccupied with the Sunflower Movement three years later—and, in fact, let documenting it consume an entire year of my life—means that I’m haunted by this experience in a way other people have been able to move on from, though. Maybe undertaking this project was a way of exorcising that.
Or maybe it has to do with getting older, that I’m trying to cling to to my youthful idealism still. Now I’m 26. I was 22 during the movement. I sometimes wonder, can I just continue to take all these risks in movements as I’m getting a bit older? I can’t do this for all of my life, after all, or can I?
But even during the movement, I was hanging out with a lot of college students, having just graduated college myself the year beforehand, and so I felt older than many of the participants. I remember quite vividly seeing that Chen Wei-Ting was the same age as me during that time as well and thinking, “This guy is the same age as me. What have I been doing with my life?!” It was funny later becoming friends with him.
I think I have some regrets about the movement in some way. If I had arrived at the view that I could intervene in the movement and into Taiwanese politics writ large, rather than being an observer who could, at best, take some things from the movement back to America, I probably would have conducted myself in a very different way during the movement. But everyone has regrets about the movement, I’m sure.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
Brian Hioe: Lastly, do you think the Sunflower Movement can have an impact on international social movements?
Brian Hioe: I wonder about that. As we all know, Taiwan generally tends to be quite internationally obscure. I agree with a lot of my interview subjects, who stated that Taiwan may be able to influence Hong Kong, but might have more limited experience on other places, even in the Asia Pacific. That’s how it is. For international social movements to genuinely influence each other at a deep and fundamental level is quite hard, apart from providing a limited source of inspiration.
But I do think that social movements worldwide can learn something from the Sunflower Movement. I myself was no stranger to social movements by the time of the Sunflower Movement, but it was like no other movement I had experienced.
This was probably the motivation as to why I decided to undertake the Daybreak Project. Firstly, much of the world is not aware of the movement to begin with, or may fail to realize the scale of the movement. Even in America, there seem to be some so-called experts on Taiwan who think that the movement was only fifty people storming the Legislative Yuan or something like that. Well, I interviewed more than fifty people for the project, which was to disprove this kind of view.
As such, by interviewing a large number of participants, I hoped to provide a “thick description” for the movement, to prove that it was a large and expansive phenomenon with large social implications for Taiwan. And through collecting all this data, I thought that this would help to capture a picture of the movement, from which others could draw further conclusions.
Of course, this was a bit of a Sisyphean task. It’s simply impossible to document all of a historical phenomenon. No matter how you try, no amount of words can capture everything about a movement. Much will inevitably be lost to history, no matter how much you try and strive against this. I probably felt that I had a duty to do this, seeing as not much has been written on this in English so far.
One of my interview subjects made the comment that the Sunflower Movement is probably mostly just a story for people outside of Taiwan, much like how hearing about other social movements outside of Taiwan is just hearing a story for Taiwanese people. Yet I do hope that if it can provide some lessons, even just as a story, that the Sunflower Movement could, in fact, have international influence.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
The eventual length of the project is probably a product of this kind of compulsion to document everything about the movement seeing as there was little on it in English. I generally tend to be a bit overly OCD and maximalist with regards to projects I’m involved in.
However, I actually wonder if anyone will actually read all this! Seeing as so few people care about Taiwan-related issues, I generally suspect not. That has me a bit worried, actually, but whatever. I think it was worth it in its own right. It can be a message in a bottle for the future, if nothing else.