Is Taiwan a collective society?

[Moderator’s note: This thread is split from a discussion here]

Collective? You mean they are sharing resources, wealth, work, women, etc, for the common good? Great, I can ask my wife to ask the neighbors to help us buy more furniture. Better yet, we’ll all go out and build it together. And then we’ll raise a barn. Oh and then we’ll all swap spouses.

Mucha man wrote:

Ah yes, sociology. I’d forgotten, on purpose, most of what I learned in that field.

However, after refreshing myself a little I find you are using the term “collective society” inappropriately. The term, AKAIK, refers to very primitive societies, where there is no division of labor (except by sex) and the every member is tied by a common religion, culture language and so on.

Simply considering taiwan’s modern economy (modern division of labor) you can see how inadequate your description is. Simply considering the presence of four main ethnic groups in the country (Taiwanese, Hakkanese, recent mainland descent, aboriginal) you can see how farcical your description is. Simply considering the presence of gay culture, youth culture, military culture, sports culture, foreign culture (western, Japanese, Korean), and an acrimonious political culture (which splits the population almost evenly between the green and blue camp) you can see how utterly out of touch you are with modern Taiwanese society to describe it as collective.

People do not all eat together (night markets are open till 2am or later), do not dress alike (no more than anywhere else), do not listen to the same music (there are pop classical and folk concerts, there are Chinese, Taiwanese and western opera and dance companies), they do not watch the same TV shows (some watch Sex in the City, some Jacki Wu), do not vote the same, they certainly do not share a common work culture, nor even religious life (there are Buddhists, Taoists, religious Daoists, Confucists, Christians, and many many who worship folk dieties).

In my wife’s family (not at all atypical), her brother worships his ancestors and has special affinity with a local folk god, her mother is a devout Buddhist, her sister in law is a Presbyterian, and her nephew is not being raised in any particular religion except that of independence. My wife herself is a former Christian, a choice (choice, but how is choice possible??) that annoyed her father though not her mother.

My wife listens to modern western pop music (with a special love for American folk), her mother listens to modern Buddhist pop, her brother modern Chinese pop, her nephew Japanese kids’ pop (learned from watching Japanese kids programs). While they all vote KMT my wife does so only because of intense dislike of CSB. (There are other DPP leaders she would happlily vote for if given the chance.)

How is any of this possible in a “collective society?” How is this possible in the society you describe?

Travel around the island and start talking to people. You will notice many local and family specific traditions. You will find people with very singular hobbies and interests. You will also discover in many areas a revival of traditional culture. Old buildings are being refurbished, folk arts and practises rediscovered, even traditional snack foods made available once again. Collective societies do not revive their traditions only to repackage them for urban dwellers seeking to reconnect with the past. Collective peoples live in the past; their present lives are a continuation of the past. They do not need to purchase it. :slight_smile:

Did you mean to say that the Taiwan system doesn’t really applaud individualism?

Well, you get that everywhere. Please take out your piercing before you become my receptionist.

But yes, here it is most certainly not greeted with open arms. It’s true that people copy popstars and mainstream trends everywhere, but whenever I see someone looking just a tad different from the usual…they remind me of some popstar.

Take Hsimending for example…there you can find the biggest mix of different styles, but it still comes down to styles ‘borrowed’ from another country. You have your Japanese-influenced group with their mullets and tight size 2 jeans with huge earrings and strange witch-like shoes. Then you have the hip-hop craze where everyone looks like Nelly. It was cute to see 2 or 3 guys walking around with the sidewards cap and huge black glasses…but now they walk around in packs of 12. They even walk and talk like American rappers. Then you have the cool punk shops…but it’s basically the same shirt over and over, just ripped differently, or in different colors. And don’t even think about fitting into anything!

I also don’t know where ‘bigger boned’ people shop. Usually the size 4L is the same as a large back home. You have to go to special shops to get bigger sizes.

Restaurants: There are a handful of nice restaurants sure. The nicest ones I’ve eaten at doesn’t serve Taiwanese cuisine. But the rest all have EXACTLY the same food. You have your meat,rice and veggies. Rice scooped out with an ice-cream scoop. If you walk around in any food court, you see endless models of fake food packages…and it all looks the same.

Gays…sure, there are many. But the government didn’t fund the gay pride this year, and there are strict rules within the gay community. If you have long hair, you are femme, short means youre butch. Hardly any exceptions made. A girl can straddle a huge bike and walk as if she has a flagpole up her &^ but she is still considered femme if her hair is long. Femmes cant date, or even like other femmes. People raise their eyebrows. Same with the boys…youre either top or bottom.

And why are all the shops that sell the same product next to each other? I will search all day for a stationary shop…and BOOM, there I find 5 in a row.

I’m not saying that I don’t like Taiwan. I’ve made it my home for almost 4 years now. But I’m not going to say it’s very nice.

And why keep on saying that other countries have the same problems? I don’t live there, I don’t experience it. I’m talking about my neighborhood!

Hsiadogah wrote:

In my post I was adressing you. Did you mean to say collective as in non-individualistic?

Yes, more or less. As in a group (or large group within) effort striving to maintain unity, via sameness or adherence to certain (traditional) values, perhaps via patriarchal decisions, (not that there is anything wrong with certain traditional values), in such a way which might refuse to differentiate difference or individuality by simplifying and even compromising human / individual rights or speed of evolutionary processes for the society as a whole (of course not applicable in EVERY sense in every single body, especially in modern mass societies ie: Taipei, where it becomes more difficult to control, especially given the pull of others who strive to have more freedom of outside media and influences, etc…), but I have found it to be still prevalent enough in Taipei/Taiwan thus slowing the course of desired autonomy or individualism within the society; largely rooted from within work ethics, etc…

I just found a website documenting some of the latter debates. The lower the individuality score the more collective the area is. Notice IDV:
Taiwan = 11 or 12%
Asia Average = 19 or 20%
World Average = 40%

Also, notice

As per my second last post, where I provided evidential information directly related to my arguments regarding a still pervasive Confuscian influence, greater change (battles) within younger generations vs old (decision makers), delayed evolutionary processes of change, Collective societies, LTO and IDV (and really most any of my Blog entries, factual accounts and arguments), by providing a link to the webpage; it is also interesting to have a browse through that URL and compare the tables and write-ups of other countries, particulrly China and Canada, on these scales (it is also noteworthy to have a look at both Business Etiquettes - provided as links to the countries on right hand side of the screen - as it is to take note of the Scores - provided as links to the countries on the left hand side of the screen). Once again the link to Taiwan (through which you may access China, Canada and the others; as Scores and Busines Etiquettes) is:

In here you will find such quotes; from which you could quickly and easily browse the rest of the pertinent information:
“Taiwan is often referred to as Nationalist China. Although the Taiwanese practice a variety of religions the culture is strongly influenced by Confucianism…As with other Asian countries, relationships are a primary part of the culture. Individualism is the lowest ranking. Like the Chinese, the Taiwanese are a collectivist society…Appearance: Conservative dress for men is changing rapidly to a more open style, due largely in part to the younger staff.” etc, etc…

I thought this site might be useful since what I experience (and often deduce - at times based on common knowledge, fact, or pure instinctual philosophy) might be discredited as ‘not in touch with the world’ enough (Muzha Man’s edited post), nor being official enough (and perhaps this site may be taken more seriously than my experiences and gathered common knowledge), and since; what I thought was common knowledge to the world, apparently doesn’t necessarily imply to everyone’s common knowledge database.

True, we may even debate the validity of this professor’s studies as shown on the URL, as statistics are often debated/known to be a matter of perception. In that case, enlighten oursleves, please! :smiley:


thanks for defining pluralistic for us dummies who haven’t mastered English yet.

[quote=“ziggy stardust”]postmodernfunk

thanks for defining pluralistic for us dummies who haven’t mastered English yet.[/quote]

Oh no no! HaRK You must have me confused with Muzha man!

[quote=“PoSTMoDeRNFuNK”][quote=“ziggy stardust”]postmodernfunk

thanks for defining pluralistic for us dummies who haven’t mastered English yet.[/quote]

Oh no no! HaRK You must have me confused with Muzha man![/quote]

That’s Mucha Man my deer and I most certainly have mastered English. :wink:

[quote=“Mucha (Muzha) Man”][quote=“PoSTMoDeRNFuNK”][quote=“ziggy stardust”]postmodernfunk

thanks for defining pluralistic for us dummies who haven’t mastered English yet.[/quote]

Oh no no! HaRK You must have me confused with Muzha man![/quote]

That’s Mucha (Muzha) Man my deer and I most certainly have mastered English. :wink:[/quote]

Arrrrgh! I WAS thinking about writing it MUCHA man, but thought that Forumosa would just correct it anyways, deer!

LOL… RIGHT! Now this is just silly!
…And now for something completely different!