This is an interesting thread, and deals with some issues that I had upon first coming back here.
First a bit about personal history. I studied Chinese in my undergrad for a few years as part of my major (East Asian Studies) and then landed a scholarship after graduation for the Mandarin Training Center. Studied there for a year, and then continued my Chinese study at a bushiban sort of place called CLD. Then I returned to Canada for the first year of my MA, and spent the last six months in Mainland China (Chengdu, Sichuan prov.). I returned to Taiwan in MArch of this year, and found myself quite upset with the amount of people speaking english to me.
Now for me (as well as the fellow on the aforementioned website), it seems to be an issue of consideration and communication. I really don’t mind someone with really good English coming over and speaking with me, they want to communicate with me, have a good ability to do so in English, and we have a good chat. However, if after the first few comments I can see that their English is simply of a very low level, I have often found that they REFUSE to speak with me in Chinese, after which the frustration begins to mount. My Chinese is quite good (I am able to discuss most university level topics), and I find this behaviour indicitive of the “English Beggar” approach that is mentioned on the Japan website. Lately, I have taken to saying that I am from Russia (I have a big beard), and only speak in Chinese. If they want to talk to me, that is fine, If not, off they go…
Really, in coming to Taiwan (and China), I want to communicate with people as much as possible. I find being seen as a quick and easy english lesson somewhat insulting. If someone truly wants to talk (and communicate) with me, sure. But this is often not the case.
In closing, let me pose a scenario. Imagine a Taiwanese person goes to the UK to study and refine his/her English, but studying Chinese has become quite the fad. Everywhere she goes, people refuse to speak English with her because they want to practise their Chinese. Although initially believing it to be an attempt to accomodate her culturally, she eventually becomes quite upset in that in addition to her ability in English not improving, she learns next to nothing about British culture because everyone she tries to speak with does it in poor Chinese. Does this ring some bells?