Acclaimed Taiwanese heavy-metal musician and Leftist politician Freddy Lim, currently a legislator after winning reelection as in 2020 as part of a coalition of young independent candidates, Democracy Frontline, was born Lim Tshiong-tso on February 1st, 1976 in Taipei.
The lead vocalist of Chthonic, a band formed in 1995 which has been called “the Black Sabbath of Asia,” Lim in 2015 was also one of the founding leaders of the pro-independence New Power Party (NPP), which he represented in parliament from 2016 until 2019.
Diagnosed in middle school with anxiety which made him ineligible for military duty, Lim chose his English name after Freddy Krueger, a fictional serial killer, and like the other members of this rather extreme music group until 2011 used corpse paint during their shows.
Since 2004 he has been married to bassist Doris Yeh (born 1977), who joined Chthonic in 1999 and is politically very active as well. Their only daughter was born in 2017.
Lim started the Taiwan Rock Alliance in 2000, and organized a concert originally named Say No to China, then Say Yes to Taiwan before it was renamed again in 2007 to Spirit of Taiwan.
Chthonic was billed to play at the 2018 On the Pulse of Music Festival in Hong Kong, but the performance had to be cancelled because the local Immigration Department refused to grant Lim a visa.
The official reason for the rejection indicated that he possessed no special skill, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the former British Crown colony, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997. Most likely the real motive was his support for the local Umbrella Movement, the democracy protests held in 2014.
After the 2016 elections, Lim was assigned to the Foreign and National Defense Committee, where he announced the formation of a Tibet caucus, with himself as the leader, causing even more animosity in China.
Chthonic became Taiwan cultural Ambassadors, drawing lyrical themes from the country’s past, not only about the years between 1949 and 1987 that were spent under martial law decreed by the Nationalist KMT, but also telling the stories of its non-Chinese indigenous peoples through their history, mythology and culture.
The title of their 2011 album makes reference to the Takasago Volunteers, soldiers recruited from the Taiwanese aboriginal tribes during World War II into the Imperial Japanese Army since 1942, when Formosa was still Nippon’s colony.
With time Chthonic got more and more involved in championing human rights causes and drawing attention to Taiwan’s ongoing exclusion from international organizations such as the United Nations (UN).
Therefore Taiwan music, movies and soft power showed different sides of the nation, helping the world to better understand its special status as an entity ruled separately from China, but claimed by the Red Mandarins as a renegade province.
From 2010 to 2014, Lim chaired Amnesty International Taiwan. After the short-lived Sunflower Student Movement, formed on the island in the spring of 2014, brought down a trade pact allowing Chinese investment in various service industries in Taiwan, Lim decided to go into politics.
An important theme for Lim was and is the importance of breaking the older generation’s domination of political office. This is understandable, as even at his age, many people see him as part of the young generation.
Claiming that the concepts of social justice and a fairer society in general are in the DNA of young people, Lim tries to convince more youngsters to push their vision of the future.
Although it’s right that they were raised in a democracy that they don’t want to sacrifice and favor formal independence, at the same time it’s dangerous to mislead them with flowery words about Western concepts that have not even worked where they were invented.
For Lim, through the sound of profound emotions and stories, rock in particular can give a voice to the oppressed by decrying various injustices, reflecting the soul of the artist.
Since June 2020 and together with media professional Emily Y Wu, Lim hosts a new podcast, Metalhead Politics. The forum about Taiwanese issues worldwide, particularly the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, also serves as a launch-pad for new material from Chthonic.
As nowadays, due to Lim’s other obligations, the group doesn’t play live too much, just once a year in Taiwan only, releasing singles instead of albums would be an option for their starving fans around the globe.
Considering that his personal creativity has clearly declined in the last five years and the negative effects that progressive ideologies have had on the West, one is inclined to say: “Cobbler, stick to you last”!