Local selfpity and selfrighteousness

I have lived in Taiwan for a few years now and I think I’ve had it up to here with a certain issue.
I got used to many problems like the careless driving, the lack of sidewalks, the haphazard way how things are done and so on but the one grating problem is the amazing amount of self-righteousness and self-pitying about politics and social issues.
By this, I mean the way how many Taiwanese love to go after other countries like China or Korea or even US; and how frequent it is to hear locals say how friendly, kind and helpful they are, not that it’s never true, but how many don’t find it annoying to talk to people patting themselves on the back all the time? And this attitude isn’t helped when it is continually fueled by foreigners who endlessly praise Taiwan and then get all redfaced and offended when other people offer criticisms of good ol’ Taiwan. 'Course I am heartened to come here and find folks who have more reasonable and balanced critiques of Taiwan.

For starters take the widely held view of big, bad China,its wicked government and fearsome hordes, this last word being lifted from a popular expat blog.
I mean I understand how it came about through the decades of cross-strait tensions and overbearing diplomatic games. But this is not the 1950s and 1960s when Mao really wanted to invade Taiwan. When you have a ton of your people and companies both big and small running across to the mainland to work, live, sell products or set up businesses; it becomes tiresome to hear about how bad China is, how uncultured it is, and what a terrible bully it is. It also sounds hypocritical and worse is the nasty things some folks say about mainlanders that veer very close to racism, that is if it possible to be racist toward your own ethnicity.

Then there’s also the “rivalry” with Korea, which next to China is enemy number two. I wonder how true a rivalry it is because do many Koreans think about Taiwan like how many Taiwanese obsess about them? I have heard many people say they don’t like Korea because Koreans are too proud, too arrogant, too rough, competitive, you name it. when I asked, I got biased decisions by sport referees in past events- taikwondo perhaps, as the main reason which I find ridiculous. It’s led me to wonder is it more a matter of sour grapes or jealousy at another East Asian small nation surpassing it? I also heard one reason given for the constant comparison and animosity over Korea is that both used to be colonies of Japan. This strikes me as weird since Korea suffered much more, so if one had cause for sour grapes towards the other based on history, would it not be Korea? I have friends who sound reasonable enough in saying they don’t like Korea but even they don’t seem to have good reasons.
And don’t forget the America beef issue. though I’ve typed enough and am too lazy to type more but I think most people know about it.

I am not sure if it’s due to insecurity or arrogance or total ignorance that created this attitude, whateva the case it is annoying like hell. The constant description of themselves as friendly, nice people is another thing that irks me a lot. Indeed a lot of locals are polite and friendly enough, often in superficial encounters, yet I have encountered a very good bit of rude behavior especially in public from complete strangers that belie this friendly polite Taiwan image. Ironicly I have become more aware of this ever since my Chinese improved. Add to this the inconsiderate driving habits of a lot of folks and the subtle rudeness on display like walking in public, and there are a lot of ways Taiwan people can improve on.

I think summing it up, it is the oh-so-innocent attitude, more than the actual actions and behavior, that annoys me so much with people here. In any case, aside from my own feeling, I don’t think this bodes well for Taiwan in the future. It’s a small island with a weak international image, outside of I.T., and nothing good will come from insulting and complaining about other places all the time and not facing up to your own problems and shotcomings.

Now, what do people think? are there other forumnites who feel this way too, or am I just hallucinating?

Culture shock Part 2 lol.
Been there done that, wait for Part 3 and Part 4 and …

Koreans don’t care much for Taiwan or the Taiwanese…at least the ones I have met don’t. They think of Taiwan as a poor, backwards country where the people have bad manners and the women have no fashion sense. Whenever I have mentioned to a Korean that I used to live in Taiwan, they kinda twist their face up in disgust. :laughing:

Countries have rivalries which each other. It’s silly but are you really from somewhere this is not the case?

As for China, it throws fits over Taiwan’s admission to postal organizations right up to UN observer status. “Chinese Taipei” is a constant humiliation the Taiwanese must bear.

The bullying is real and only the naive and uninformed think closer economic ties means China is dropping its goal of annexation.

[quote=“Indiana”][quote=“nenki”]
Then there’s also the “rivalry” with Korea, which next to China is enemy number two. I wonder how true a rivalry it is because do many Koreans think about Taiwan like how many Taiwanese obsess about them?
[/quote]

Koreans don’t care much for Taiwan or the Taiwanese…at least the ones I have met don’t. They think of Taiwan as a poor, backwards country where the people have bad manners and the women have no fashion sense. Whenever I have mentioned to a Korean that I used to live in Taiwan, they kinda twist their face up in disgust. :laughing:[/quote]

And I’ll bet you enjoyed hearing that every time it was said. Fits your worldview quite nicely, judging from the way you constantly rag on Taiwan and everything about it. Like attracts like, every time.

Yeah bit of a broken record at this stage.

Maybe there should be a section of Forumosa entitled “Venting about Taiwan.”

[quote=“Indiana”][quote=“nenki”]
Then there’s also the “rivalry” with Korea, which next to China is enemy number two. I wonder how true a rivalry it is because do many Koreans think about Taiwan like how many Taiwanese obsess about them?
[/quote]

Koreans don’t care much for Taiwan or the Taiwanese…at least the ones I have met don’t. They think of Taiwan as a poor, backwards country where the people have bad manners and the women have no fashion sense. Whenever I have mentioned to a Korean that I used to live in Taiwan, they kinda twist their face up in disgust. :laughing:[/quote]

True though.

:discodance:

My favourite part!
Indeed! How dare you infidels actually praise Taiwan!
Especially those foreigners that are married, been here too long, or even worse actually hold ROC citizenship!
Those blighters must cease and desist saying anything good about Taiwan.
Well, they are biased, you see…
Bias, now there’s a red onion!
:bow:

[quote=“nenki”]
Now, what do people think? are there other forumnites who feel this way too, or am I just hallucinating?[/quote]

Yes.

[quote=“headhonchoII”]Culture shock Part 2 lol.
Been there done that, wait for Part 3 and Part 4 and …[/quote]

During CNY and shortly before, I always take a trip from phase 4 back to the bland hatred of phase 2. Kind of refreshing. :discodance:

[phase model: 1: You love it/tourist view, 2: hatred, 3: acceptance/avoiding what you do not like; 4: you like Taiwan or your brain is now an empty sheet of beetlenut-stained paper]

[quote=“Mucha Man”]Countries have rivalries which each other. It’s silly but are you really from somewhere this is not the case?

As for China, it throws fits over Taiwan’s admission to postal organizations right up to UN observer status. “Chinese Taipei” is a constant humiliation the Taiwanese must bear.

The bullying is real and only the naive and uninformed think closer economic ties means China is dropping its goal of annexation.[/quote]

Sure there are rivalries all over the world. Where I’m from, we got rivalries with neighboring countries in sports, but for the most part, it’s a lot of banter that might admittedly sometimes go a little overboard but is mostly about who has the better music, food, or women. Absolutely nowhere does it approach the common Taiwanese obsession with Korea where every sign of progress made by Korea is met by insecurity, jealousy, and spite. We might contend whose food tastes better, or whose football team is stronger,but there is a sense of camraderie with neighboring countries and pride when any country does well.

Yeah China does hinder Taiwan on the international stage. But this “humiliation” doesn’t prevent millions of Taiwan people and companies from heading into the mainland and benefitting big time. Take 85 C, the other day I read a piece on them opening a branch in America. That same piece mentioned that they have 350 in China alone- can’t remember specific number, but it’s more than all their other branches combined in Taiwan and worldwide!
Whatever “bullying” done to Taiwan is done by the government, not regular Chinese who have positive perceptions of Taiwan. Many Taiwanese don’t bother to differentiate between the mainland government or the people.

[quote=“bob_honest”]
During CNY and shortly before, I always take a trip from phase 4 back to the bland hatred of phase 2. Kind of refreshing. :discodance:

[phase model: 1: You love it/tourist view, 2: hatred, 3: acceptance/avoiding what you do not like; 4: you like Taiwan or your brain is now an empty sheet of beetlenut-stained paper] [/quote]

Hm, I think I am screwed because I am caught between stages 2, 3 and 4. I hate some things, I accept some as well, and I feel sometimes my mind is blank.
I find that the longer I’ve been here, the more some things bug me. I thought more time might cause me to be more accepting but more often then not, not really. One thing I cannot seem to avoid is that idyllic view of Taiwan as a place that can do no wrong. From articles about how great Taiwan’s democracy is to the commonly expressed opinion of people being so nice and friendly I think there could be more realistic and balanced views about Taiwan.

Fear not, TheGingerman. I aint’ that extreme.

Agreed, Charlie Phillips I am hallucinating but some people agree with me on what I wrote.

I take issue with most of what the OP wrote. The only thing I agree on is yes, the rivalry with Korea is pretty ridiculous, especially since Koreans (it is my understanding) don’t even consider Taiwan a contender.

I take the most issue with the comment that Taiwanese people are rude. You say rude, I say different. Probing and invasive personal questions are, in a way, a sign of caring and concern. The driving is a non-issue – take any country, make the roads two lanes too small, and then put more scooters on them than you can count, and see how they drive. But I do get what you’re saying about “being more aware” once you have better Chinese. What it means is that you’re beginning to pierce the superficial bubble that anyone experiences in a foreign country when they can’t interact with the locals. I think people who have better English skills and more international backgrounds are inherently inclined to be even more respectful toward foreigners (some would call it respect, I call it self-debasement, and there is a fantastic chengyu to describe just this behavior: 崇洋媚外).

I think that most of what you complained of holds true for just about any country. Lots of people are under-educated on social issues and have provincial mindsets. I’m from LA and it’s not much better there.

Now, I do have one complaint of my own, and that’s the assumptions people make about foreigners “going home” and “getting used to Taiwan,” etc. I hate the question of whether I’m here to “work or study” (I’m here to live, thanks), I hate the question of how long I’ve been studying Chinese (as long as I’ve lived here, thanks), and I hate the question of when I’m planning to move home (I’m already here, thanks). It bothers me an awful lot that people regard me at first glance as a 外國人 when I just want to be a regular ol’ 人. Most of all, I’m bored of everyone asking the same questions. I live here, just accept it please, and let’s move on to the much more interest conversations about which political party is more corrupt and how expensive fruits and vegetables are these days, thanks. But I guess skin color still reigns supreme, so no hard feelings on my part, just a few eye twitches here and there.

Yes it mainly makes for very boring conversations and a lot of ‘us’ and ‘them’. People can be quite dull.

That’s the term! I couldn’t think of it just now. I absolutely hate “us” vs. “them” rhetoric. Why can’t we all just be people? Let me search around for my rose-tinted hippie glasses now…

As much as I for the sentiment that people are usually just people everywhere, I am also keenly aware that people are actually inferior, at certain times, and oft seek to blame the Uitlander for any old, often imaginary, complaint.

I avoid a lot of everyday stuff. I like my job, my crew at the office, my family and my weekend and social crew and that is all I need. I treat Taipei as a small town with big city facilities.

Taipei is a great place to live, especially on the fringes, I am not really interested in diving into local shit, I am not really concerned what anyone local (or foreigner for that matter) thinks, nor do I care. I do like good shit though, and there is lots of that in Taipei, and good people too, but the day to day pedestrian BS, and the average ‘hey you can use chopsticks’ TaiKe clown…NOT interested. I am completely done passing off the ignorant and idiotic as cute and endearing. I am told this is a global city, so I hold it to that standard. Not worth getting mad, best to get on that Kenny Rogers shit: ‘just walk away from trouble (or annoyance) if you can.’

keeps me sane, keeps me happy.

Now that that’s all out there, the other part of the OP’s comments that rubbed me the wrong way is his (her?) views on Taiwan’s attitudes toward China. Young people in particular, who have grown up knowing their borders as a few small islands, is that China’s ties to Taiwan are historic – not political – and Beijing’s “anti-secession” policies are unfair and override the idea of a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. If you think that living in China’s shadow has not had an impact on how the world views Taiwan, you need to do some reading.

If you want concrete examples, I’ll give you three, but there are many more. One: Taiwan has a hell of a time procuring the weapons it should be entitled to for self defense. This is 100% (directly or indirectly) because of pressure from China. Two: The ROC government claims the Diaoyutai/Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and has no less basis for that claim than the PRC, yet people paint the dispute as a bilateral (China-Japan) one because nobody cares what a non-country has to say. Three: Signing any kind of trade or economic agreement with a foreign government requires at least China’s tacit consent for the other side to be willing to go ahead.

China is not inherently bad, and neither is unification if that’s what Taiwanese people ultimately choose. But the fact that this country makes every foreign and domestic policy decision with Beijing in mind – and the same goes for Taiwan policies of other sovereign states – and the reality that discussion of independence is to this day something of a taboo, prove that Taiwan remains firmly under China’s thumb.

I’d also like to add to the comment about “Chinese Taipei.” It’s a humiliation, sure, but it’s not China’s fault. The ROC government was granted an opportunity long, long ago to compete under “Taiwan” and refused because it felt that made Taiwan, a “free” province, subservient to China, a country run by communist insurgents. The utterly baffling “compromise” settled on by authorities in Taipei was Chinese Taipei, so if anything, it’s a self-inflicted humiliation.

Erm, isn’t that called… Forumosa?

It could be worse. You could be a Thai laborer in Taiwan. Then you’d hear loud, vapid criticisms about your country as they deny you rights that other foreigners get for no other reason than not being from Thailand.