Guys, this is a good one:
An old friend and mentor of mine still likes to say that I quit a journalism degree 20 years ago because I didn't like talking to people on the phone. Like the work of our mutual hero, Ryszard Kapuściński, this claim lurks in an anteroom between reality and fiction: I never minded talking to people – I just didn't like calling them.
And even that's not completely true. There was a certain type that I never had any hesitation in calling: the rent-a-quote, a purveyor of made-to-order sound bites. This, you understand, was an innocent age of red-top tabloid sensationalism, where click-bait sounded like a fishing innovation and social-media-level dissemination of fake news was nary a glint in Rupert Murdoch's beady eye.
As we chat over our bowls of stinky tofu soup, Matt is doing a good impression of one of these cliché generators. “My heart is bleeding,” he says. “It's like Taiwan is cheating on me with the first guy off the boat.”
We're discussing the announcement that foreigners will no longer have to renounce citizenship from their country of origin to gain Taiwanese nationality. This should have been a cause for celebration. For years, expats have been railing against the double standard that allows Taiwanese to hold two passports. Now, at last, it seemed the government had taken heed and acted.
..“This is worse than if they just left the old rules in place,” says Matt, echoing JC's point. “Before it was the same for everyone. It was just Taiwan-born and foreigners. Now they have split the foreigners into groups, saying some aren't good enough. Even if I did qualify, I would still be mad, because it's completely unfair.” This last observation chimes with points made by Taiwan blogger Jenna Cody.
You won't find anyone more integrated than me,” Matt says. “Everything I buy is made in Taiwan. Look at these shoes, this phone,” – he holds up his HTC – “trust me, you won't find many people like me here.” He shakes his head as he spoons boiled cabbage into his bowl. “And now, basically some guy who just comes to do some research – some guy who doesn't > actually give a shit about Taiwan – he can get citizenship just like that.”