I haven’t got a transcript, but basically what happened was that Jeff-u came into the studio and took a mike (without so much as a by-your-leave, mind you) and started in about how Forumosa was pretty much populated by people whining and complaining about Taiwan, and how that was bad for or unfair to Taiwanese. I’m probably not quoting what he said on the air exactly as there was QUITE a lot of off-mike exchange going on (well, as Jeff-u has the enormously irritating habit of interrupting, more of the off-mike exchange was coming from him than from us, as we were listening to wait for an appropriate moment to comment, having been in most cases cut off in our previous turn.) (Sorry, Jeff-u, I can see that you are basically a nice guy, but please take my word and work on this one point, and I think you will see much more effect from what you try to tell people.)
I just commented that while Jeff-u had brought up some valid points, Forumosa is not aimed at a Chinese audience, and even if Chinese use the site (which is not discouraged in any way!) people have to realize that in Western culture, expressing negative feelings is acceptable behavior. Plus, Forumosa functions by helping people find solutions to problems after they have vented their frustrations.
My problem with all this was that a) I did not feel it appropriate that a DJ who had nothing to do with the interview should suddenly insert himself into it, particularly at the end of the segment when there was little time for Forumosa to respond; b) I feel that it was very disrespectful of us as guests at the station to “grill” us in this way – the object was IMHO to present both Forumosa and ICRT in a positive light, to attract people to use the resources of both as they might find desirable; and c) IMHO the choice of topic was motivated basically by “Jeff-u”'s own experiences in having been discussed recently, i.e., he was not merely asking questions as would have been appropriate, but making his own, rather lengthy exposition of what he felt to be the facts on the site. Rick Monday is a very gracious person, very enjoyable and pleasant to chat with, and I imagine that he did not take control of the situation probably for reasons of courtesy – but had it been my show, I might well have done so, in a polite but firm manner.
Interestingly there was considerable discussion off-mike about how Jeff-u did NOT like the comments about him on the site (mostly because he feels that people did not read his books before giving their opinions). IMHO he seems to have a desire to have it both ways – wants to be a public figure/media star and also have his “privacy” (i.e., people aren’t supposed to comment about him on public fora), which ain’t gonna happen. I tried to comfort him by suggesting that similar things had undoubtedly happened to Elvis, but he didn’t seem to appreciate the concept.
The root of the “Forumosa should not criticize Taiwan/Taiwanese customs” thing with Jeff-u seems to be that he believes himself (indeed, he stated himself to be) the only Westerner sufficiently prominent in Taiwan to be able to and to have the duty to serve as a bridge between the cultures. Now, since I have never seen the Hand of God descending to confer this mantle upon him (although, as this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jeff-u, I may have missed this event in the past) I tend to doubt this. It’s true that he has exposure, but I do not feel that Forumosa, for example, should be constrained in its content because Jeff-u feels that he has an unfair burden placed on him to “explain” why Westerners would post that they do not like being stared at, or whatever. I suggested that he check out a number of Chinese-language sites, where bitching and whining about astonishingly similar subjects may be found. It may be that Jeff-u does not know enough foreigners who speak Chinese or who have considerable time in Taiwan to realize that there are others equally or not more qualified to “bridge” the cultures. Exposure he may have, but DJ, prophet, elected official, fortune teller and commentator are separate occupational categories last time I looked. I think Jeff-u can do a lot of good and is undoubtedly spreading good, correct information (safe sex, etc.) but may want to consider toning it down a bit on the mission part.
Just my NT$0.66, Jeff-u will probably have an entirely contradictory version, as is his privilege. Really, only the transcript (if such a thing exists) will clear up this particular question.