National inferiority complex?


#1

I simply can’t get it. Taiwan has accomplished to much over the last decades, but the locals don’t seem to take any pride in it :cry: .

I wenton a 3-day hiking trip up a tall mountain recently together with a hiking party consisting of a bunch of NTU professors. I had the misfortune of sleeping next to one of the guys who at 11 PM diverted me with stories about how horrible it was to be Taiwanese, how bad this place was etc…

Mind you, he was part of the intellectual elite here and should be knowledgeable enough to be able to see the pros (as well as the cons) of his country.

Lots of you have run into this attitude, so I gues you know what I mean.

My question to you: Why don’t the Taiwanese take any pride in the fact that Taiwan has done so well as it has?

Any takers?


#2

Perhaps it’s China’s spluttering like an underqualified defense attorney on ice… “Objection, objection!” every time Taiwan says or does anything, or when anyone says anything positive about it? No recognition or acceptance in international bodies, isolation. Even ICRT plays this little game with ‘on Taiwan today…’ and so on.


#3

Perhaps it comes from decades of listening to so-called “foreign professionals” tell them how awful Taiwan is, how it was a hardship post, how their wives couldn’t leave Tianmu, etc. Perhaps also the international media, by not mentioning Taiwan except in a derogatory fashion, has something to do with it. The more “West Worship” goes on, the stronger the shame of being Taiwanese seems to get. That’s why I think the attitude you describe, Holger, is more prevalent among educated urban types.


#4

[quote=“Holger Nygaard”]I simply can’t get it. Taiwan has accomplished to much over the last decades, but the locals don’t seem to take any pride in it.

Lots of you have run into this attitude, so I gues you know what I mean.

My question to you: Why don’t the Taiwanese take any pride in the fact that Taiwan has done so well as it has?

Any takers?[/quote]

Some readers may take this post as an open invitation to bash Taiwan. That’s easy to do, and most people prefer to take the easy route when it comes to something so taxing as bringing equanimity and open-mindedness to the task of understanding a culture or, in this case, a national psychology.

I think you are are either mistaking modesty for insecurity, or you met someone who is an exception to the majority. Another possibility is that your “friend” was just “patting the horse’s ass” (though I have no idea for what motivation–maybe he liked your ass or something). None of my local friends have ever expressed a sense of shame about Taiwanese culture as a whole to me. Sure, they have some objectivity about Taiwan’s social, political, economic, and environmental problems, but I’ve never seen or felt this sense of shame you’re asking about. You might want to hold off on drawing a conclusion based on a small sample size of one or a few individuals. Do all of your Taiwanese friends really share this feeling?

Tomas


#5

Come on, I am an old timer here and yes, I have run into that attitide more than once - actually quite a few times over the years. I am not trying to bash Taiwan, merely getting a discussion going as to why they are so insecure regarding their national pride as they are.

I stated that Taiwan has done well. That hardly qualify as bashing in my view.


#6

Holger,
If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly were the complaints he raised?

I’m thinking if he is a professor his insights would be really valuable.


#7

[quote=“Holger Nygaard”]Come on, I am an old timer here and yes, I have run into that attitide more than once - actually quite a few times over the years. I am not trying to bash Taiwan, merely getting a discussion going as to why they are so insecure regarding their national pride as they are.

I stated that Taiwan has done well. That hardly qualify as bashing in my view.[/quote]

Holger, I took your post as an invitation to bashing because of the use of the words “the Taiwanese” and “any pride.” I should have read your post more carefully, and written: Some people will respond to this post with the knee-jerk “they have no pride because Taiwan sucks.”, or simply written nothing at all. I have an aversion to cultural elitisism that some Western visitors and residents in Taiwan espouse. My comments were out of context. My bad.

The fact remains that I have also worked and lived in Taiwan for a number of years, and I haven’t witnessed this crisis of confidence on any ocassion. On the contrary, my Taiwanese friends take pride in Taiwan’s culture and acheivements. Perhaps we just perceive things differently. Perhaps I haven’t been listening.

Tomas


#8

Exactly what the guy meant is a mystery to me. I ignored him and started to talk of Taiwans achievements.

I have, however, run into it under a couple of forms.

Young female form: They will tell you that the place has no style, people are rude etc. Any sensible foreigner might take it with more than a pinch of salt.

The western educated type: Taiwan is inferior to the west. Nothing to be proud of here. (But our engineers are good). This syndrome is also normal on the mainland.


#9

I’ve also got a feeling that the professors may a high standard. That’s something that (IMO) is admirable no matter where you are. I felt the same about the States.

So maybe they can help Taiwan improve. If I were you, I would have encouraged them.


#10

I was tired after a 12 hour hike up a tall mountain. Moreover, I suffered from mild altitude sickness.

However, I think I told him that they had a lot to be proud off, before I dozed off.


#11

Ireland had an inferiority complex for years living in the shadow of Britain. The need to emigrate played a great part in that, and to a certain extent the Irish emigres’ continual scorn of those that stayed didn’t help. The press of course has it’s part to play - Taiwan’s press paints a very negative picture of the island. Being colonized didn’t help either I’m sure.


#12

Taiwanese see things pretty realistically. They see the simple fact that many countries are better (in some respects, but by no means all) than their own.

At the same time they also feel that Taiwan is superior, in some respects, to many other countries.

Perhaps we are talking here about apathy rather than a lack of pride. They simply can’t be bothered to blow their own trumpets.

Also, the media have helped fuel a growing feeling in recent years that Taiwan is slowly going down the tubes. Even less reason therefore to feel proud of their own country.

You have to remember that lack of pride in one’s own country isn’t restricted to this Beautiful Isle. Ask your average Brit what he/she thinks about the UK and you’ll more than likely hear the words: “a pile of shite.”


#13

I’d put Taiwan about halfway between the level of countries like the U.S. or Japan, and countries like Indonesia or Mexico. Less than fifty years ago they were at the level of Indonesia or Mexico, so that’s a big improvement. But they still have a lot of faults, and face serious economic and political problems in the future. So they’re right to be worried. Of course the U.S. and Japan have their own problems, and should be worried too.


#14

[quote=“Spack”]
Also, the media have helped fuel a growing feeling in recent years that Taiwan is slowly going down the tubes.[/quote]
A lot of this has to do with the way the then-government always used to pump money into the stock market pre-election to trick everyone that only they could guarantee economic success. During the last presidential election campaign you will of course remember the dire threats of economic collapse if (the genius) Lien wasn’t elected. Well, the obliging media of course kicked in with a campaign of ‘jin qi bu jin qi’ and proceeded to scare the masses into suspending consumer spending to prove the prediction correct. Little did they know that the US was itself due for a downturn and the prediction would turn out to be true (though not for the reasons they were espousing). :unamused:

The now-opposition policy behind the spin is that if we are not at the helm (and thus the till), it’s not going to be a nice day.


#15

not sure about the rest of the world, but in the us, university professors who are ashamed of their country are a dime a dozen. i’d be shocked if you could find more than 10% of university professors who would say that they’re proud to be american.


#16

Maybe the simple fact that you’re all referring to Taiwan as a country, but Taiwan (Republic of China)
is not officially recognized as a country by the United Nations, United States, or most of the international community,
is grounds enough for an inferiority complex.
I’ve seen it too, Holger.
You should have asked how many of those professors have dual citizenship with the US.


#17

What makes it a bit hard for me to digest is the fact that they first of all have something real to be proud of. Moreover, I think the professor started out with saying that it was a misfortune to be Taiwanese or something like that.

While most Danes can find lots of faults with Denmark, most certainly would appear to harbor a certain pride of the small, stable, and peaceful country they are citizens in.