US election snapshot: Chinese Americans embrace their democratic rights ahead of Clinton-Trump showdown

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 8:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 8:02am

It’s a cold dark evening, with heavy rain.

With only days remaining before votes are cast to elect a new president of the United States, Trump supporters gather in New York.

Political slogans are chanted, flags plus banners waved and songs sung in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge as the rain pours down.

Though small in number, Chinese American voters gain attention in presidential election

It’s the second day Chinese Americans backing the Republican candidate have gathered in the city after a much larger rally the previous day and the handful of people taking part huddle for shelter under a stone arch with other pedestrians.

The scene has echoes of another cold, wet evening only months before.

The same kind of flags and banners were in evidence, similar chants shouted in Mandarin in support of a presidential candidate, only this time the election had been held in Taiwan.

The numbers were much greater, hundreds of thousands, as supporters gathered in Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei in January to support, and the following night celebrate, the victory of the island’s first woman president Tsai Ing-wen.

But there was the same zeal and enthusiasm to exercise their democratic rights among the Chinese Americans gathered on a gloomy evening in New York, some of whom had emigrated decades before, but previously steered clear of politics.】

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Chinese immigrants in New York probably have a lot to learn from the seasoned Taipei campaigners. Maybe a master of ceremonies was needed, or one or two speakers, even singers and dancers, to generate more of an atmosphere at their rallies.

There was also a mess up over the meeting place and time to carry out their original plan of gathering at the Statue of Liberty. A Plan B in case of bad weather would also not have gone amiss.

But coming from a traditional Chinese culture to adapting to a democracy, their learning curve is just beginning.