When Taiwan was at its difficult time, Bi-khim decided to abandon her citizenship of the United States and to be a Taiwanese, without any reason but her love for Taiwan; same logic applies when it comes to her commitment for Hualien（花蓮） county, the natural beauty of Hualien as well as the kindness and tolerance of the people there are satisfying enough for Bi Khim.
Bi Khim- A Person who Likes Jogging, Baseball and Cats.
Bi-khim was born in Japan, grew up in Taiwan and went to school in the United States. Her mom is an american but surprisingly can speak Taiwanese better than a lot of people who grew up in Taiwan; her dad had taught in Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary. Bi-khim has been acting as a translator for both of her grandmas ever since when she was a little kid, she speaks Taiwanese, Mandarin, English, Japanese and a little bit of Spanish. She believes that a person can change the world; she thinks that everyone should have a clear conscience and always stand with the weak.
She very often spends her nights if not days on airplanes just to increase the visibility of Taiwan in the world. She decided to abandon her citizenship of the United States when Taiwan was at its difficult time. She took part in the women’s movement and got involved in politics when she was an undergraduate student at Oberlin College; she was the youngest director in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) when she served as a chief of the department of international affairs of the DPP, but she has been known as one of the most talented politicians in the area of diplomacy; she served as a legislator (member of the parliament in Taiwan) for three terms and was rated as a top legislator for many years; She had been elected, by the representatives of more than a total of eighty political parties in the world, as a vice president for an international organization called Liberal International for three terms. Now, she comes back to Hualien（花蓮), a place where she established her first service office eight years ago, to improve a wide range of public polices that would better help the people of Hualien. The hard and beautiful Rose Stone that could only be found in Hualien symbolizes the life of Bi-khim not only as a politician but also as an ordinary person who will always persevere in the wishes of the Taiwanese people.
The Taiwanese-speaking Pastor’s Wife
Bi-khim’s mother is an American who was born in a small town in North Carolina. Growing up, Taiwan was just another distant country to her, far off on the other side of the world. Little did she know that one day she would marry a Taiwanese pastor and sail across the ocean to settle in Tainan (台南), a county in southern Taiwan. Arriving as a foreigner who couldn’t to speak a word of Taiwanese, she became fluent enough to buy groceries, barter down prices, and even make friends at the local market. At the time, people who saw this blond-haired, green-eyed pastor’s wife, riding her bike along the streets and alleys of Tainan, were surprised to hear her speak such natural Taiwanese. Even now, the legendary story of the Taiwanese-speaking pastor’s wife is still told with great fondness by the people of Tainan. Bi-khim’s mother lived in Taiwan for eighteen years and came to identify herself as Taiwanese. Certainly, hearing her speak Taiwanese, it is a fact that no one can deny.
Pastor Hsiao of the Seminary
Many people don’t know that Bi-khim’s surname is not originally Hsiao, but Lin. Bi-khim’s father was born in Tainan with the family name Lin, but due to hard economic times and the loss of his mother, his father was unable to raise him. Bi-khim’s father was then adopted by the Hsiao family in Chang Hua (彰化) County, and ended up taking their surname to be his own. Therefore, Bi-khim “Lin” grew up to be Bi-khim Hsiao.
Through years of self-discipline, scholarship aid, and exceptional hard work, Bi-khim’s father completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Princeton University. Afterwards, he returned to Taiwan and devoted his life to theological education. He first taught as a professor at Tainan Theological College before becoming the dean of the school. In later years, he moved to Hualien to teach at Yu-Shan Theological Seminary College, and became known to all as Pastor Hsiao.
Her Grandmothers’ Translator
Bi-khim’s American grandmother had never been to Taiwan until her daughter married Bi-khim’s father, so of course she couldn’t speak any Taiwanese. Bi-khim’s Amah (Taiwanese grandmother) had never been to the United States either, and since she was also illiterate in Chinese, she was even less likely to understand a foreign language.
Whenever Bi-khim was at her Amah’s house she would use Taiwanese, and whenever she visited her grandmother’s house she would use English. So at times when the two grandmothers were together, young Bi-khim would become the perfect interpreter. Speaking Taiwanese on one side and English on the other, she demonstrated early the composure of a diplomat and her prowess as a translator.
A Multicultural Baptism
Before she was a full year old, Bi-khim left her birth place in Japan and traveled around the globe–from Taiwan she flew to Thailand, then Switzerland to Belgium, before going to the United States to meet her grandmother for the first time. When she was five years old, her family moved to England so that her father could continue his higher education. Her childhood friends came from all around the world so she learned to speak a wide range of languages, including English, Taiwanese, Japanese, and even a little Spanish.
Bi-khim was given a truly multicultural baptism; edified in an environment of diversity, she is more tolerant and acceptant of the complexities of different cultures. She doesn’t believe the world has only one voice, or one color, or one faith. In a reality where everyone is tied to ethnic or partisan inclinations, it is up to those open to intercultural experiences to cross these bounds and limitations. In Hualien County, where people from different provinces live together with Minnan, Hakka, and aboriginal peoples, no one is better suited than “Multicultural” Bi-khim to listen to their different voices and be the bridge that connects them.
Let the World See Hualien
Bi-khim is not only distinguished in Taiwan, she’s also well-known internationally. For most of her career Bi-khim has been engaged in diplomatic work, actively promoting Taiwan on the world stage and striving for its interests at international meetings and conferences. Many influential politicians around the world—including some prime ministers—consider Bi-khim to be a longtime friend. In 2005, Bi-khim was elected by party representatives from over eighty countries to be a Vice President of Liberal International. She continues to hold the position to this day.
Tourism is one of Hualien’s most important assets and, compared to other popular tourist destinations, it’s just as appealing if not more. With her reputation and international renown, Bi-khim is the best advocate of sightseeing and tourism in Hualien. In the past, Hualien County has been described as “backcountry” behind the mountains of Taiwan. This name is sure to fade as Bi-khim helps to open wide its welcoming gates. Let the world see Hualien!
Bi-khim is very assertive; when she makes a decision, she always stands by it. When Taiwan was at a critical time, she made the decision to relinquish her United States passport and come back to Taiwan. As a legislator, she upheld her decision to stand by the weak. While many politicians were seeking reelection and the media lime light, she was leading the movement for “Immigration Law”, seeking rights for victims of human trafficking and spouses with foreign nationalities.