… now I saw it! Now I know why my wife’s sister sun and her are dancing around me shouting Laiowan!
It is a comercial for some vegetable drink. A frew kids dance arount with stoneage-clothed half-apes and sing and dance “Laiowan”.
Then a chinese housewife jumps in the scene, reminds the kids they need to drink Dr. Peng’s veggie juice “if you eat at the Laiowan” - if they want to stay healthy. Then all dance happily with the half-apes and sing “Laiowan” drinking the juice. Only saw it with the corner of my eye, but this how it seems to be.
Normally, this does not relate to foreigners. But “Laiowan” is the old word for foreigner which can be interpreted as “Barbarian” right? Normally one should think the half-apes are their chinese ancestors, but no! Seeing half-apes, Taiwan people only think of foreigners (and because of the word) and this makes kids on the street sing “Laiowan” at foreigners.
I think really this is a very subtle form of racism, as it matches the old stereotype “foreigner = hairy monkey” and “only foreigners are the offspring of apes, not Chinese”.
So the commercials teach a lot about the way people think here. But I do not take it too serious, Taiwan people deal with racism and sterotypes in an almost naive childlike-happy way. So okay…
Does anyone of you Mandarin-speaking guys know what “Laiowan” really means? I am learning now, but still at the wo-ni-ta stage …