Differences between Taiwanese Culture and Chinese Culture

I think it could predate 1895; Taiwan was always noted for a rough frontier culture famed for rebelliousness.
Personal note: after living for a couple of years in China in the mid-1980s, and then living in Hong Kong, my first impression of Taiwan was “Holy shit! Chinese people can smile!”


Imagine calling Australian people British.

Imagine @MikeN1 arriving in Taiwan at a historical moment in which the British controlled Australia and would jail anyone who said they were Australian. :slightly_smiling_face:



Oh you are right! :sweat_smile:

Probably because I like eating them. Although I find the simplified ones have much thinner skins than the traditional ones.

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This really hit home. Taiwanese and Japanese banking are cut from the same cloth.

One major difference is how Taiwanese, Chinese and Hong Kongers view finance and business.

The CCP has a huge incentive to digitise everything in their quest to watch over and keep tabs on EVERYONE. That has the side effect of very very convenient use of superapps and phone banking. Taiwan is all cash and is used to cash with some phone payments being accepted at some places. But…if you’re in the system, it’s REALLY easy in China.
From my view, I don’t think many people in Taiwan are all that motivated by money. Extra sales don’t usually convince customer service personnel to go above and beyond and sometimes even asking to pay more won’t convince them if they have another thought in their head. Obviously there is the issue of being a liability, like subscriptions, phones and debt, making people jittery about dealing with a foreigner even when they’d make money.

I know in China, as long as I wave enough money, I’ll get any product or service I request, although some might try to rip me off. I think Hong Kong certainly has that commonwealth-style of customer service and banking mentality.


Another one.
The CCP is vaccinating kids from ages 3 and up. Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
Taiwan is vaccinating kids from ages 6 months and up.

Yeah risk adversion is really a thing here.

But frankly dealing with some of the sketchier locals would be a bigger flight risk than dealing with me. :slightly_smiling_face:


If banking being slow and a nightmare is the cost of not going cashless, I am all for it. the cash society is what is going to keep this place running, no nation should ever lose this for obvious reasons. China hasn’t come close to finishing their goals on their iron grip. scary times in any place where the government starts talking replacing cash with digital.

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They celebrate big western holidays as well.

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I don’t know much about these kinds of things, but I’m going to make a few wild guesses:

(1) Taiwan’s past history as an unruly frontier society1, 2

(2) the influence of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples

(3) the experience of having been a Japanese colony for fifty years

(4) the mixing of the above three cultures with the Hoklo and Hakka cultures

(5) the experience of the clash and eventual accommodation (or at least partial accommodation) of the two groups that are sometimes referred to as 本省人 (běnshěngren) and 外省人 (wàishěngren).

(6) prosperity, including the particular processes by which the Taiwanese attained it:

(7) the acquiring and developing of a regime of self-government and basic rights5

(8) maybe, to some extent, the protection and influence of the US, which may have opened the door to other outside influences

Taken individually, the above elements may not seem unique, but I think that the way they’ve been adopted and combined by the Taiwanese is unique.


Edit: Taiwanese music is unique. Best way to experience is by listening to folk songs. If you listen to enough of them, you will find the undertone is aboriginal. Beyond the folk songs, two major 20th -century composers are Then Yu-Hien and Tyzen Hsiao. You can get a fairly good idea what is the quintessential Taiwanese music - ( by that I mean tunes and the qualities that most Taiwanese people instinctively, subconsciously feel familiar and comforting) . Aboriginal music is unique but again it resonates naturally and instinctively with Taiwanese ears even to non-aborigines. Due to Sinic influence unfortunately music is not a big aspect of Taiwanese culture therefore often under-looked. I omit pop music for brevity.

The base-layer of Taiwanese culture is religiosity, mythology, spirituality. The religious aspect of life and society takes precedence and usually not challenged.

On the secular side of things, we have the physicians being revered the most (due to modernity) , followed by the teachers, instructors, professors category (due to Confuciusim)

Ethnic clothing is almost completely abolished and NOT a big deal by consensus ( due to Americanization) And this largely contributes to the impression by many foreigners that Taiwanese culture is not unique.

Cuisines are unique. Taiwanese like seafood (due to obvious geography). Lots of cold drinks (due to climate), lots of fruits (due to nature), lots of sweets and confections.

Recreation- Baseball is the national sports. Big on hiking (due to landscape)

Taiwan’s languages and literature are unique. Actually the best way to know a culture is to read the literature they produce.

Political system and political culture is unique.

Also Taiwanese are pro-West (due to Taiwan’s genesis being inherently a place of maritime-trade) Absolutely apathy and indifference towards Russo-Sino “continental worldview and grievances.

As you can see a lot of the things I brought up are almost “hard-wired” and immutable. But if you look at the map then there is no surprise.


Please note the date: 1989. Most people at that time considered themselves either Chinese (most waishengren) or both Chinese and Taiwanese; only a very tiny minority would consider themselves Taiwanese. Those were the days when a KMT legislator would ask if a DPP legislator considered himself “Chinese” - and the DPP member would um and haw. Note also by “Chinese” I meant “ethnic Chinese”, having lived in HK as well, which was not considered part of the People’s Republic of China at the time.
If, a hundred years ago, you said “Australians are British” most Australians would agree with you.


Well … the British ones would. The Australians had their own names for themselves. Similar awkward situation in Taiwan.

That girl is a fucking idiot and part of the deep blue super rich. She doesn’t represent shit. She works for her uncle who is a politician in the New Party(pro reunification)

Oh you are being too nuanced. Taiwanization and taiwanese identity was a gradual process. As you said , Taiwan was very much a Chinese identifying society in the 80’s

It all gets too confusing in English when the words Taiwanese and Chinese are used for both national identity and cultural identity. It also gets increasingly confusing when the word Chinese actually can mean multiple cultural identities, and Taiwanese Holo and Hakka cultural identities aren’t always the first images that word brings to mind.

Both the KMT’s definition of Chinese national and cultural identities were imposed by force prior to the 90s. I would say those are identities my grandparents never actually personally identified with, and were only forced to do so in public in fear of persecution.

For a lot of that generation, they perhaps never fully identified with the Japanese national and cultural identities as well. They may try to prove they are as good as any other Japanese by trying to serve in the army or navy, much like African Americans would during WW2, but all the casual ridiculous of some Japanese people would always remind them they are not really Japanese.

The same probably goes for generations earlier, when most Taiwanese Indigenous ancestors were forced to pretend they are Han Chinese.


Well when I studied anthropology here, the everything was focused on Taiwanese identity, as is most of social science and humanities here. What I was taught was that taiwanization was a process.

It probably would be for those in their 70s to 40s, as in people born in the 1950s to the 1980s. In fear of their children repeating what they say about the government at home out in the public, most parents during the Chiang dictatorships would try to stay as politically correct at home as possible. Only whispers their real thought to one another when they think the children are asleep.

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Sure but how much of this is a solidified Taiwanese identity, rather than a hatred of the regime of a feeling of being different from them?

Outside of academia or the intelligentsia? There are not records to say otherwise

Mainstream Taiwanese identity realization happened in the 90s. Well this is what was taught anyway