first off ABC can be substituted for CBC or even BBC…I just happen to be ABC so I gonna use that term
I’ve been in taiwan (xin dian area) for about 4-5 months now and wanted to share some thoughts. I was born in New York to Chinese parents and grew up learning Mandarin Chinese in Canada from my parents as well, meanwhile living a pretty western lifestyle. I hardly, if ever used Mandarin outside of home but I’m actually quite happy I know how to speak the language (unfortunately not reconize characters).
I met a few friends and decided a vacation to Taiwan this summer would be a great idea, soak in Chinese culture and refine my speaking skills and perhaps learn to reconize characters. Although some people may argue China would have been a better spot, I don’t think China would be as tourist friendly as Taiwan.
It was quite interesting that many people refered to me going to Taiwan as a return as opposed to a vacation or trip. Although I haven’t set foot on an Asian country before.
It all began when I met a few native Taiwanese people who found it curious that I couldn’t reconize Chinese characters, I had to explain that I’ve never written and barely tried reading the language. Almost everyone that I have come into contact with has let me know that it should be normal for an Asian blooded individual to reconize characters and speak Chinese. I doubt this would not be expected from other ethnicities coming to Taiwan.
I later realized that there are a large number of Taiwanese students going to America/Canada for a period of time to learn English and then return to Taiwan. The interesting part is that even if their english is relatively poor or hasn’t even improved (no one seems to notice), they’re considered ABCs. Some music stars seem to cash in on this trend as being hip.
I had a discussion with my aunt who also knew of this situation where a Taiwanese student would litereally come on a plane, touch North American soil and head right back home to be declared an ABC, western educated, internationalized…etc
I could be wrong about this idea but it just gets rather annoying when people start thinking your just plain stupid if you can’t read Chinese when someone who’s as foreign to Taiwan as Joe Smith learned Mandarin off of listening. I think maybe I look too ‘native’ and people don’t look at me like a foreigner.
I think Taiwanese people hold ABC’s as Taiwanese kids growing up in Taiwan, then going to another country to learn english/whatever for a few years then returning, complete with perfect english skills, dancing abilities, and a different attitude, all the while knowing perfect Mandarin and perhaps even Taiwanese.
I’ve had people even say that I don’t look like an ABC (how are asians born in america to chinese parents suppose to have american facial features??), or go so far to say that I’m probably from the mainland…
ahhh, just my rant, all in all Taiwan is a blast with it’s great food, great computer merchandize, and beautiful women. Just can’t get used to the hot weather (EVERYONE seems to be sweating but me!!!), mosquito bites and urban sprawl/density.