Despite all the talk about Taiwanese Independence and recent efforts to stress Taiwan’s indigenous culture, this is still something I often encounter even among educated Taiwanese.
Just came back from the pub, where I was hanging out with some locals, all with one or several university degrees. So, we were talking quite merrily, when the conversation somehow went towards “hey, what was Europe like 1000 years ago?”
So, I was telling them to the best of my knowledge that it was quite a backward place back then compared to China. Everybody is nodding their head and then go on to rant about the backwardness of Europe, how wonderful China was betrayed by the barbarians in the 19th century and so on.
Basically they were denying that Europe had any culture to speak of up until maybe 100 years ago, and Europe’s rise was based on fool’s luck and brutality; their views of the US were…well, you probably can imagine.
China on the other hand was the source of all good in the world, all the wonderful inventions, 5000 years of history blabla.
Well, most of the Chinese who came to Taiwan before WW2 were from China’s southern provinces which never really were on the forefront of civilization and culture. But whatever, “we are all Chinese anyway.”
I don’t know about you, but this cultural arrogance really pisses me off.
This “middle kingdom mentality” which looks down upon anything that doesn’t have a “5000 year history” and the simple ignorance of other cultures achievements and virtues.
But if a westerner dares to diss China all hell breaks loose.
Just had to get this off my chest, and maybe some of you can share their feelings on this one, as I think I am definitaly not the only lao wai who gets into heated arguments over this.