Bizarre rant of the day


#1

Please feel free to ignore this bizarre rant. The writer is not entirely compos mentis. I came to Taiwan just over a year ago, and have been an unemployed recluse ever since. I lead a vampirish existence, rarely venturing out of my den before sunset and then only to go to mcdonald’s, or to the convenience store, or to the gym for cathartic lifting of heavy things. Sometimes after midnight I take long, melancholy strolls alongside the local scenic drain or mope in the mountains (where I’ve often encountered packs of feral dogs but, alas, never yet been press-ganged by 狐狸精 or 女鬼 into sexual servitude).

Having arrived in Taiwan province (get over it :wink: as a whitey I was subjected to the usual daily dose (probably more than the usual dose) of hooting and hollering, of gormless grins and slack-jawed stares, of being followed and fondled, of being not-so-surreptitiously snap-shotted and recorded, and so on. Just the usual good-natured Taiwanese cretinism. One example, picked at random from hundreds:
Avuncular customs officer , looking at my arrivals card: “You write Chinese? Really??? So good! Ha ha! Taiwan girl like you! You fuck many many Taiwan girl! Ha ha!” (simultaneously insulting me and Taiwanese women in general, but also betraying a poor grasp of cross-cultural sexual dynamics… Taiwanese chick: hey there, big white boy, I couldn’t help noticing your 繁體… wanna get a room and do some calligraphy with me? nope notgonna happen)…

So you see I tend to keep interaction with unknown Taiwanese people to a minimum by pursuing a semi-reclusive and nocturnal mode of life . But even that extreme measure doesn’t ensure I avoid weird shit, and that’s what I wanted to rant about. Last night between the hours of one and two am, I went to the 7 11 downstairs to buy comfort food (spicy crisps, chocolate, and beer which to be consumed all at the same time, abject I know). Anyway, in walks this triple chin and belly followed by the ten-year old boy to which they were attached. This little fatty boomba, you know, one of those grotesque mini Kim Jong-un types you see all over the place, came in hollering and ransacking the store for sweets, his little sister and two emaciated rat-dogs in tow. I was already at the cashier when the corpulent little punk bumped me out of the way, pushed my stuff aside and plonked his pile of snacks on the counter. The cashier hesitated and looked askance at me: I nodded as if to say, dude, it’s ok, serve the obese boy first, a wise man never comes between a fat kid and his snacks. As the fat kid was paying, however, his little sister was pulling packages of chewing gum off the rack and letting them drop to the ground. Her bloated brother, noticing this and knowing that the cashier could not see him, began stomping on the packages on the sly. It was at that point I felt obliged to intervene, and so in my best faux-schoolteacher voice said 誒!小朋友,你在幹嘛?快點把口香糖撿起來!Eight beady eyes stared at me defiantly: little girl, bulbous boy, and the two rat dogs that had run up to 湊熱鬧. It was obvious I was going to have to get tough. "小朋友(deeper voice now) 如果你不聽話,我就給警察叔叔打電話,讓他來抓你!The little bastard was enraged, and, bellowed like a brontosaurus at me (no words mind you, just a bizarre enraged brontosaurean bellow - I’ve never heard a brontosaurus bellow - can they even bellow? - but anyway he bellowed the way I image a brontosaurus might bellow). He then stormed out, followed by little girl and rat dogs. I was left to pick the packages of crushed chewing gum off the ground, handing them to the visibly distressed cashier. I didn’t see any parents - seriously what kind of whacked parents let a like 10 year old and six year old run around in the wee hours with only two tiny rat dogs for protection? Oh yeah probably the same ones I see smoking beside prams or dangling their progeny precariously off the edge of their scooters…

Actually I have no idea why I felt compelled to share that story. Do other whiteys and darkies and brownies in Taiwan also feel driven to hide in the mountains or barricade their doors? Do other full grown waiguo men and woman also cower at the sight of Taiwanese kids?


What’s the best book you have read about Taiwan?
#2

Oh boy. I’m going to let someone else have a crack at most of that (if it’s still around by morning/afternoon-Sunday-morning), but just to go with the questions in the last paragraph: as a whitey, no.


#3

I’m just wondering how to parse your name. Is it “ji nyu” or “jin yu”?


#4

Poor, naïve little Milko. Every time he hears something that sounds vaguely like chicken + cow he thinks it’s the second coming. :rolling_eyes:


#5

That’s actually not how I parsed it. I guess I just have a dirty mind. :wink:


#6

Great story. I’ve kind of learned to keep my mouth shut and thoughts to myself which I still don’t always do, and it usually results in an odd encounter.

I occasionally barricade in not to hide-out, but because I’m bored as hell with nothing stimulating to draw me outside, or the weather sucks.

As for the final question, I’ve learned to just move over occasionally and keep my mouth shut, especially when kids are around.


#7

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#8

Dear jinyu,
You write beautifully. For me, the shocking part of your rant is not the spoiled brat, the rat dogs, the crude welcome to Taiwan, your being fondled, or your year-plus of unemployment.
I just can not understand why an intelligent adult, such as yourself, would waste your hard earned at a 7-11. Why?!
With a little planning, you can shop at a supermarket and save yourself 30% on most everything!


#9

Good rant, but I think you lost points on the “Taiwan province” declaration.
What whitey uses this term any more?
Did you previously live in China to use this old term (Taiwan folded up its Provincial Government years ago)?

Second loss of points was on the customs officer schpiel.
Don’t think anyone here would/could believe that ever happened.
Alas, a good first entertaining offering by you.


#10

I laughed. However I can’t help wondering what flyblown shithole village you live in. I’ve never had any of this crap happen to me ever (at least not in Taiwan). Customs officers are, at worst, taciturn and bored, and I go through customs maybe a dozen times a year.

Lesson for the day: everywhere you go, there are retarded people passing on their less-than-useful genes to fat obnoxious children.


#11

Dear Milker, it’s jin yu, as in:

Cos I like to carp. But feel free to parse it as ji nyu, ji as in 雞掰, nyu as in 牛逼:)

Dear Zender, I’m willing to pay a premium at 7-11 for the sake of the social interaction it affords. Over the months, having instant meals heated and documents scanned, I’ve developed an implicit bond with the cashier who works the graveyard shift - he reminds me of me, just not as pathetic cos he has a steady job:)

Dear CTaitung, it really happened, man! Ok admittedly not at the airport. On one of my jaunts across the pond to the mainland, just for the hell of it I decided to come back by boat via Tai Zhong or Tai Chung or however it’s romanized. The said customs officer also tried to make me buy currency from a bag he was carrying and he even followed me out to the carpark, trying to negotiate an exorbitant taxi ride for me. In most other parts of the world I would’ve made a formal complaint about his comments and behavior and the fact that, on the basis of my previous experiences and observations, I felt unable to do so as foreigner in Taiwan, speaks to the disappointing impression the country/territory/province has made on me… which brings me to your other point:

“Province of Taiwan”… well, I did describe my post as a “bizarre rant” from someone who was mentally unhinged and as such any “declarations” I made about vexed questions of Taiwanese sovereignty and nomenclature should not be taken too seriously. Believe it or not, in real life I don’t even use words like whitey. The thing is, after coming to Taiwan, my P.Q (Peevishness Quotient) has risen from low-moderate to high (being bellowed at, literally and figuratively, by butterballs big and small with no opportunities for assertive verbal self-defense will do that). Thus, calling Taiwan a province was just my way, within the framework of a rant, of being deliberately disagreeable in a way I have little opportunity to be in everyday life. ) The only time I’m tempted to refer to Taiwan as a province is when I hear Taiwanese people refer contemptuously to innocuous mainlanders in their vicinity as 死啊六 or make puking sounds when the word China is mentioned. I guess I’m sensitive to Taiwanese antipathy to mainland China as I feel that it’s sometimes not merely a reflection of legitimate concerns (which of course there are), but too often a manifestation of a particular type of self-satisfied Taiwanese parochialism and culturally-conditioned cognitive rigidity that also, but in a different way, thwarts the productive participation of foreigners like me in Taiwanese society. But then again, I’m a contrarian who bristles equally when I hear mainlanders baldly say things like 我告訴你,台灣就是我們的!I’m not without a certain sympathy to Taiwanese claims to the right to self-determination, and I of course understand their fears unification would lead to the erosion of their hard-won democratic rights and freedoms. When I’m not ranting, which is most of the time, I refer to Taiwan, in Chinese, English and other languages, simply as Taiwan. I don’t refer to it as a province or territory, nor as a country (although others are free to do so). When I used the term province in the rant, I felt I was (yes, peevishly, provocatively) merely expressing myself in accordance with the position of most governments and international organisations in the world. Many governments have communiques etc with statements like, and I paraphrase, “we acknowledge the position that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China.” And as you know, older Taiwanese number plates have 台灣省 on them and Taiwan Province is still the official term for one of the two administrative divisions of the R.O.C designated as provinces. The (yes very streamlined) Taiwan Provincial Government is still around (http://www.tpg.gov.tw/Eng/)
Even so, you’d be correct if you objected that the term “Taiwan Province” has a narrow meaning under R.O.C law and that, as a reference to regions currently under R.O.C administration, it’s not widely used in international diplomacy. Perhaps I should have written “Taiwan, China” - that would’ve been more accurate and no less peevishly provocative :slight_smile:

On a final note, when I’m not in rant mode, you might even be able to twist my arm into admitting that some Taiwanese kids - even the fatties - are rather cute… although my instinctive reaction to them is to feel like a wounded albino elephant on the Savannah that has nowhere to hide and that’s just been spotted by a pride of ravenous lions.


#12

You must be unemployed by choice. If I could write and think as coherently as you, my hands wouldn’t be the callused wrecks they have become.
Beautiful rant BTW


#13

This thread should not be in a temporary forum. Should be somewhere permanent.

It’s refreshing to hear different voices.


#14

Yea I am looking forward to future installments.


#15

Please take over K-man’s job!!


#16

@tango42 agreed! There is ample fodder for the fire to be bantered over in this thread in only a few posts! I’m a fellow ranter, but (usually) adore the people who live around me (even the surly security guard, with whom I’ve now made up with; long story short, we were both having bad days) but not all (including the local crazy lady who accused me of throwing coat hangers out of my window).

In response to Jìnǚ (寫錯嗎?) Wink @Dr_Milker about the parsing. Ahem. As follows, in random order:

  1. 4262 (四阿六阿 = f-ing Mainlander) is used most commonly in terms of rude, loud, pushy, and overall the worst of Mainland Chinese. I’ve used it before, but in context of their rude behavior, such as littering and cursing and yelling loudly in public. I’ve used it to blame line-cutting Mainlanders in North American airports as well. When heard, it’s usually justified. You need to remember that 台語 has curse words for people of most races and ethnicities, including their own.

  2. That rude and unbelievably obnoxious family. I trust you that it’s true and would possibly have acted likewise in your situation, but with the use of Taiwanese, which seems to resonate and blame at a deeper level.

  3. The story of the “dirty uncle” customs agent beggars belief. If you came by boat, it seems somewhat more likely, but I’ve been complimented on my Chinese writing by customs agents without the accompanying nudge nudge “you’ll pull birds” commentary. You’ve met one special individual and, if it’s as you’ve stated, he’s not only offended your intentions, but has also offended all Taiwanese females (please confirm that this was an agent on Taiwan’s side of the pond, and not in 廈門 or some other Mainland port of exit).

  4. I’ve met hundreds or thousands of Taiwanese children and find them overall very adorable (not simply in terms of “cute” appearance, although obesity is an increasing issue, but in terms of their open-heartedness and curious, if naïve, attitude). Some locals have mentioned a particular student is too shy to speak to them, and were surprised by my ability to have them actively asking and answering my questions within minutes. It takes an open heart, a keen eye, and true care to get to that point (and, of course, using their native language). As to those you met in the “Seven,” I can only speculate that the negative encounter was not a one-sided phenomenon.

  5. I’ve had more than one acquaintance escape to the hills and avoid social interaction as much as possible. They weren’t independently wealthy, so they still had to work (teaching mostly). I am a night owl and quasi-agrophobic. I avoid the crowds and prefer the silence and solitude of the night. In this way, we are alike. Taiwan is a beautiful country in which to lose oneself, but most of us need to work and do live in and participate in our communities. I’m pink, by the way, not really white. More beige.

  6. On a side note, it’s great that you use the gym to keep in shape (hopefully not the pear shape I work not at all to maintain). I would avoid McDonald’s and see what local night time food stalls are available. Or cook for yourself. Most major populated areas have one or two restaurants or stalls opened very late.

Cheers! I look forward to your next rant.


#17

Continuing the discussion from Bizarre rant of the day:

Thank you for your message,AhDohGah!

You touched on several things, the satisfaction of interacting with and encouraging initially shy Taiwanese kids, the Taiwanese language (shamefully limited, in my case, to a few choice words and expressions like LP and jia sai), eating in Taiwan. The Tai Chung port incident I’ll clarify in a moment. First, I’d like, if I may, to tell another anecdote, as it sort of relates to a morale implicit in your message – that ranting, externalised or interior, especially when one sees the humor in things, sometimes has a salutary function, but that it’s important to guard against 1. Confirmation bias (someone weirdly accuses you of chucking clothes hangers out a window, and that person takes it as further “confirmation” of an already established belief that all Taiwanese people dislike Westerners and want to make their lives miserable) 2. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or 因噎廢食as the Chinese say… (i.e. perhaps I shouldn’t shimmy up the nearest betel nut tree and hide every time I see a Taiwanese child, because not all Taiwanese kids, as you point out, are bellowing brontosauri). So the anecdote:

Once I was walking down the street when a rustic on a motorcycle with a grin as wide as a watermelon slowed down to keep pace with me, calling out –with impressive persistence – 哈羅!every ten metres or so. I ignored him studiously until I found a side street to go into…–Reconstructed inner monologue – (…what a bumpkin…belongs in a Breughel painting…I shoulda roundhouse kicked his arse offa that scooter… stupid Taiwanese… 哈羅isn’t even English anyway… you know what Taiwan is? A turd . And the Taiwanese are flies , stupid self-congratulatory flies… or maggots … calling them flies would be an insult to flies… etc… etc…) I had not gone far, negativistic thoughts now in full flight, getting ready to do that which Edmund Burke famously said he could not (draw up an indictment against a whole people), when suddenly a smallish orange mongrel of a dog lunged at me from a porch, straining against its chain, snapping and snarling and barking. The initial shock quickly turned to rage, and I stared the mutt down with an evil eye shooting laser beams of pent-up fury. F–k you, dog! I was a hair’s breadth away from an ignominious double spread picture in Apple Daily, me wearing a motorcycle helmet, police officers restraining me on each side by the elbow, a thicket of media microphones thrust at me, and the lurid caption underneath: More Foreigner Frenzy! Foreign White Man (Who is Foreign) Bites Dog . And they would’ve put a pic of the poor liddle doggie convalescing in the animal hospital too, the bastards.

Now even someone as pig-headed as myself had to acknowledge the comical absurdity of getting so angry at a barking dog, perceived in some sense as the furry embodiment of all Taiwanese disagreeableness and prejudice. A moment’s further reflection on my reaction to the moron on the motorcycle, which had primed me to become enraged at the dog, would show how comically excessive it was… after all, if it’d happened in, say, mainland china, where drive-by halloo-ings are just as common, I might’ve ignored him, I might have given him a condescending regal nod, I might have called out halloo to yoo tooo, Sir! but it wouldn’t have bothered me. It bothered me in this case because I felt that I’d already experienced and observed too much parochialism and prejudice embedded in the Taiwanese mentality, of which motorcycle man was just a lowly prototype. Now, certain of my claims about “the Taiwanese mentality” are I think defensible, but the story with the dog is a comical self-warning against the sorts of interpretive distortions that can easily occur, especially if you’re (even justifiably) pissed off about something.

Now to the customs incident. Yes, Tai Zhong, not Xiamen. It seems from your question that you think something like this is more likely to happen in mainland China, not Taiwan. I admit that my personal experiences and impressions – I worked in Beijing for a couple of years and have been back to China many times – don’t seem to match with those of most other people, but aside from the obvious lack of political freedom, a higher incidence of extremely obnoxious public bad behaviour of the sort for which mainlanders are (with some justification) notorious, and the pollution, I personally found China a much more congenial place to live than Taiwan, primarily because mainlanders were willing to engage with me as an individual, not as a foreigner. In this regard they seem, in my limited experience at least, must more internationally minded, much more “normal” to foreigners than Taiwan (the opposite of what would naturally be expected). In my personal experience, this is contrast is nowhere greater than in the respective attitude to languages. The fool at Tai Zhong customs, annoyed at a foreigner speaking or writing Chinese and responding in some sort of a hostile or mocking way, seems to me to be exactly indicative of the bizarre attitude to Chinese and English held by many Taiwanese that is completely absent in China (certainly not all, as my countless, perfectly uneventful interactions with Taiwanese in Chinese attest). Thinking back on the incident, however, I’m no longer sure that he was a customs officer. He wasn’t the guy receiving and stamping the passport, he was sort of out front and followed me to the counter with another official, all three of them bantering back and forth, and in this context he looked at my landing card and made the comments. I was the last one through customs, as I had been held up with a search of my baggage. Customs officers on duty presumably all have visible ID nametags, and I can presume he wasn’t wearing one (if he had been, I would’ve naturally noted his name and number). Whether or not he was actually a customs officer, he was within the secure customs area and clearly held some post at the port…

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, there’s one other factor that might have had an influence on my treatment at the port (actually not really, I genuinely believe the guy was simply miffed because I wasn’t giving him a chance to loudly show off his lousy English, but this extra factor is sort of funny)… There’s no round-about way of saying this, but when I presented at Tai Chung customs, I was proudly sporting beautiful nail art on both hands J Now it’s conceivably possible that the sight of 6 foot plus whitey with decorated nails MAN-icure might have disconcerted staff at this backwater port (now why I was poncing around with decorated nails is another story in itself J


#18

Please keep ranting! I’m really enjoying your posts! Extremely entertaining.

The nails, the pretty painted fingers nails. Gotta hear the story…

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#19

This guy writes like Brian Blessed talks.


#20

You’re audience is captive, @jinyu

That incident was confirmation of that lady being crazy, I shouldn’t assume she had racist intents, although I doubt she asked everyone in the building. Not not mention that I don’t even have a window looking out on the location of the aforementioned hangers. Sadly a lot of elders who lack family support, or face the taboo of mental illness, don’t get the help they need. We all kind of treat her with tolerance (as most Taiwanese tend to do, a tolerant people overall).

Oh, goodness! We’ve all been there, but weren’t always, and aren’t always. On my first day, I thought the 7-11 staff were saying “good morning” and was tempted to teach them that in the evening we say “good evening.” Of course, they were welcoming me in the traditional way: 歡迎光臨. I’ve had some insightful conversations and made some valuable contacts by entertaining random 哈羅s (but not too random, in the sense that I generally evaluate the tone of the 哈囉 and, sorry, the speaker’s appearance and location of the greeting). Usually ignoring the greeting works well and they give up.

That being said, ignoring the English can get dodgy. I was at an ATM withdrawing cash at 2 am (don’t judge me) and this 6’2" giant muscled dude comes up to my face and utters “You American?” I hold his stare with disdain for a full ten seconds, then turn back to my ATM business.
I spoke not a word. Assuredly another mentally challenged bloke, but it was a bit troubling. He even went to the window to watch me ride away.

To extend this to a bit of a rant… There are those in other threads who mention that whites in Taiwan often ignore each other. I usually avoid eye contact or, on ocassion give a nod. This weekend, I was on a university campus and saw a white foreigner approaching me. I was really early for a meeting, so I maintained eye contact. He first asked “你說英文嗎?” (Note here… Wouldn’t it be ONLY ANOTHER foreigner that wouldn’t first assume you were an English speaker. That made my day and restored faith in my fellow foreigners in Taiwan.) As it turned out he found a university student’s ID card and wanted to know where the security guard was. I had been to the campus a couple of times before and had a pretty good guess. I took him there (he hadn’t been in the campus before) and helped explain the situation to the guard (since he says he couldn’t speak Chinese). Turns out the ID was for a different university, but I convinced the guard to figure it out and my new friend received a 謝謝 for going out of his way. Win-win all around. I know a lot of people would never have picked up that card and tried to return it to the campus. Also, what’s the harm in making new foreign friends.

The difference here is one of mutual intelligibility in English and a communicative purpose. Random 哈囉s from locals serve a limited range of functions: 1) greeting someone you’ve already met, in which case you need to be careful in your response, 2) hoping to strike up a conversation (less likely), 3) gaining face or impressing your friends (too likely), 4) and being an arse due to a poor education or genetic flaws (sadly too common).

I’ve been close to the same reaction. My 母校 (alma mater) in Taiwan was famous for stray dogs. They once hired a crew for rounding them up, but fired the company when they find out the dogs were being sold for meat. One early morning after hours of homework, I left for home only to be confronted by a pack of mutts who were nipping at me with the intention of getting their pound of flesh. I managed to escape, but those cheap aluminium baseball bats sold at the 24 hour hardware stores flashed in my mind more than a few times. Blood returned to normal from its previously boiling point and I wrote a gentle letter to the college instead.

I guessed this only because Taiwanese are much much less likely to disparage their own female population and most often defend the honour of Taiwanese ladies. No negative connotation towards China. I would have guessed such comments would be more likely from a national of any other Asian country, but not Taiwan. I’ll take you at your word re you experience, but it has to be in the top ten oddest encounters I’ve ever heard of.

Looking forward to your writing and eloquent responses :grin: