TC Locke renounced his American nationality in 1994 and took Taiwanese citizenship. His recently-released memoir in English recounts the two years he spent as a conscript in the Taiwanese army
Date: Aug 27, 2015
By: Bradley Winterton / Contributing reporter
A barbarian at the gate was a foreigner or other outsider at an ancient walled city’s
gates, threatening to enter. Attila outside Rome comes to mind, but the phrase has become proverbial and can refer to any imminent threat. The ancient Chinese saw all foreigners as barbarians, and TC Locke, a left-handed man born on Christmas Day in the US, has said he sees himself in the phrase. Most unusually, in 1994 he renounced his American nationality and took Taiwanese citizenship. Subsequently he had to do military service, at that time two years, and this book is an account of that experience. Whether he was a threat to anyone, however, is a matter of opinion, making the book’s title, Barbarian at the Gate, for the most part ironic.
The book was originally published in Chinese in 2003, but this English version, seemingly not a literal translation, dates from last year. Locke opted for the then new Camphor Press after feeling his Chinese book hadn’t been promoted very energetically by its big-time publisher. [FULL STORY]