I mean, I generally don't like these and I am not sure I have ever done one. But I feel like doing one for 2016 because the general consensus seems to be that it was a shit year and we're thankful it's over. And on a societal level, that's true.
However, there's something I really can't deny - in fact, on a personal level, I had a pretty good 2016. I did! My shit year was Dec 2014-Dec 2015, for reasons you know if you know me.
So, this isn't to gloat, it's to point out that a bad year on a sociocultural level doesn't necessarily equate to a bad year in total. I am sure good and bad things happened to us all despite the fact that the world is in a political shambles and we're probably all going to die.
A look back:
1.) Taiwan elected its first female president and, for the first time in its history, is not controlled by the (awful) KMT (not that I particularly love the DPP) - I know this isn't personal but it's worth mentioning. A few of these are not personal, but I think good enough to include
2.) My cousin spent several months in Taiwan
3.) I published my first ever journal article
4.) I passed the final module for, and received the full diploma for, the Cambridge Delta
5.) I was accepted into grad school
6.) I visited the US twice
7.) American women had the chance to vote for the first ever female presidential candidate (no, she was not a perfect candidate, and yeah, that turned out kinda bad, but I refuse to give up on that milestone in political history)
8.) I accomplished what I feel is my greatest achievement to date
9.) The Taiwanese legislature got the wheels rolling on marriage equality
10.) Hong Kong elected a slate of pro-democracy, pro-localization candidates (that, again, didn't turn out well thanks to Stupid China, but it still meant something)
11.) I made a fair number of interesting new friends
12.) I went to the Grand Pasta'ai
13.) I went to Vietnam for the first time (post forthcoming) and Indonesia for the second
14.) I traveled a fair bit around Taiwan, visiting Tainan three times, Kaohsiung, Yunlin, Xinpu (again, post forthcoming), and probably more that I can't recall exactly as I try to leave Taipei frequently to keep in touch with the rest of the country
15.) My closest and oldest friend in Taiwan got married
16.) I went to Hong Kong for the first time in five years (again, post forthcoming)
17.) Taiwan actually made the international news (kind of a mixed blessing though)
18.) I was invited to observe a session of the Legislative Yuan - watch my video here!
I would call that a pretty good 2016, wouldn't you? At least, it offers a chance to see the good parts, or find a few gems among the burnt rubble of the political and social sphere. Don't get me wrong, things were bad. The whole world with the possible exception of Taiwan is trending towards reactionary politics and fascism. The climate is, well, getting worse and it will probably be a massive problem very soon. A horrific mass murder and total destruction of a once-great city took place very close to my ancestral home, and the West did nothing. We elected quite literally the worst person in the world to be the leader of the "free world", a thing (I don't mean the event, I mean the "person") I can never accept as my president. As a result, I no longer consider myself American in anything but name and have no loyalty whatsoever to the USA. There is no forgiveness for this.
So yeah, things are bad globally. But personally, I have a few gems.