2016-05-21

Taiwan jaiyou!

In Taiwan the expression Táiwān jiāyóu! (臺灣加油) is analogous to Vive le France! in another country. It is a rousing cheer, an exhortation to dig deep and step up, and a summons to victory.

Newly elected Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) first greeted the Twitterverse with 'Taiwan jiayou!' And it's a cheer that regularly greets Taiwan's athletes when they enter the arena of world competition.

The word jiayou is probably best left untranslated. It gathers all the meanings we convey in English exhortations like 'onward', 'forward', 'go', 'good luck', 'fight', 'win', 'hail', 'long live', and 'forever'. Jiaoyou is viva and vive and a bit of über alles. It does all this work for individuals and teams as well as countries. And, like 'rah', it's an easy word to get your voice behind.

We've been hearing this greeting often in the past week as this country marks another peaceful transfer of power in celebration of its first twenty years of democracy.

Taiwan jiayou!

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