A Minute Poem by Eva, 11/12/96
Eva at Harvard, 3/9/08
Recipe for Formosa (named by the Portuguese for its beauty)
Step 1. Find a little island shaped like a yam. Dip it in the Pacific Ocean, tumble it with typhoons, shake it with earthquakes, and rinse it with the Plum Rains. When completely clean, the island should only be green and blue: bamboo groves, rivers and creeks, a Jade mountain, a lake that cradles the Sun and the Moon.
Step 2. Into the myriad aborigine flavors of Austronesian origin, mix in a liberal amount of Han Chinese. Add a dash of Dutch, a jolt of Japanese. Mix in another batch of Han. (Note: The two Hans will remain separated for awhile. The former is weary from oppression, the latter weary from war.) Sprinkle spices from the South (Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia preferred).
Step 3. Marinate the island in humidity, and let it sit. See it sputter with poverty; swell with blossoming prosperity; rise above colonization, civil struggles, and martial law; and finally, release a shivering sigh of steam – first whispering, then shouting, "Democracy, democracy, DEMOCRACY!"
Step 4. After 97 minutes (years, really), take it out. Inspect it closely, and admit it didn't turn out quite as expected: the island is grimy with industrial pollution, pungent with squabbling political factions, and quivering with inadequate international support.
It is far from perfect. And yet, it was made with much love, so cut yourself a slice of Formosa, the little blue-and-green island shaped like a yam, and take a generous bite.
I promise you – it will taste of home