American Taiwanese citizens travel more than 12,000 kilometers to vote for a free and democratic Taiwan

A couple who lived in Taiwan for 39 years before retiring to the USA in 2018, arrived in Taiwan this week so they could vote in the upcoming Presidential election, Saturday, January 11.

David Alexander, already a veteran of the Vietnam War, and Charlene Bos, first met in Taiwan when they were both working in English language programs for the Presbyterian Church in 1976.

As David wrote on his blog Aboksu: “At that time Taiwan was listed as one of the “not free” nations of the world … One of the joys of living in Taiwan until I retired was seeing it become one of the freest nations on earth today.”

David and Charlene Alexander in Kaohsiung in 1982. Picture: Tainan Theological Seminary via

According to research by Taiwan English News, David and Charlene returned to America in 1979 to pursue further studies, and married in 1980.

In 1982, David and Charlene Alexander, armed with post-graduate degrees in theology and education, and studying the Chinese and Taiwanese languages, returned to Taiwan to take up full-time residence.

Between 1982 and 2018, the Alexanders worked as members of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, raised a family, and experienced first hand, Taiwan’s transformation from a dictatorship ruled under martial law, to the thriving democracy it is today.

The Alexander family lived in Kaohsiung, where their two children were born, Katherine in 1985, and Grant, in 1991. In 2007 they moved to Tainan where they lived until David and Charlene’s retirement in 2018.

David Alexander was recipient of Taiwan Ministry of Interior (MOI) recognition for long-term service to the nation in 2007, and in 2015 was awarded the Presidential Office, Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon.

David and Charlene spoke in fluent Taiwanese when they were awarded citizenship at a ceremony in Tainan City, shortly before their retirement in 2018.

David and Charlene Alexander were awarded citizenship in 2018 for their long-term, outstanding contributions to the nation. Picture from Liberty Times Network.

According to an interview with Taiwan English News, after experiencing the last decade of Taiwan’s 38-year-long period of rule under martial law and the dictatorship of a one-party state, and witnessing recent events in Hong Kong, the Alexander’s were not about to take their rights as citizens of Taiwan for granted.

“We watched the end of KMT dictatorial rule through the 1980s and 90s, were thrilled to be here for the election in 1996, (though disappointed by the  result) and even more thrilled in 2000 (when we liked the result).   The kerfluffle in 2004 resulting in a recount made us feel that Taiwan truly knew how to hold a fair election.” David told Taiwan English News.

“The years between 2008 and 2016 were scary, but the results in 2016 encouraged us.  Even so, we could not vote.”

“We never imagined we’d be able to, but changes that began in 2017 resulted in us being included in the category of “Taiwan Citizens” just before our planned departure and retirement.”

“So now we’ve come home to vote in the election.”

Having experienced, since 2018, an America for which we didn’t vote, we don’t want something similar to go down here should the KMT win. We feel it to be very important that we help President Tsai to continue in office for another term.”

“Having watched the terrible things being done in Hong Kong in the name of “stability and order” in the past several months, we’ve more to fear from China than ever. “

An interview on TVBS June 25, 2018
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3 thoughts on “American Taiwanese citizens travel more than 12,000 kilometers to vote for a free and democratic Taiwan

  • January 10, 2020 at 2:04 am

    What a waste of time as the government ignores any votes it doesnt agree with anyway.

  • January 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Alexander. We appreciate your efforts. May God be with you from now and ever more. Enjoy your stay in your second home land.

    • January 23, 2020 at 12:33 am

      We thoroughly enjoyed voting, visiting, and “eating and breathing” Taiwan again. Thank you for the encouragement.


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