Poll: Would you call someone a foreigner, back home?

I call the Taiwanese “locals”, so I guess it would be a bit hypocritical for me to get annoyed about being called a foreigner. Obviously I wouldn’t call someone a “foreigner” back home (even if I knew they were foreign) and I very much doubt that anybody on here would do, but as Ironlady has pointed out the cultural rules are different.

[quote=“superking”] However, in Taiwan, if you are white it’s 100% nailed on you aren’t Taiwanese.

[/quote]

not so fast there, would want to have to change your username to semiking for speaking in absolutes now would we? lets not tarnish the halo.

[quote=“Deuce Dropper”][quote=“superking”] However, in Taiwan, if you are white it’s 100% nailed on you aren’t Taiwanese.

[/quote]

not so fast there, would want to have to change your username to semiking for speaking in absolutes now would we? lets not tarnish the halo.[/quote]
Sorry, Im not a log on. Even in my own cinder blocks.

Ok, you could be a mongolian or rocking a fancy new citizen card or a possible albino. Mebber. So they say.

Aren’t you being culturally insensitive if the normal way Taiwanese speak bothers you? i mean it IS Taiwan, after all.

More than that, shouldn’t this guy have a passport by now? 23 years
It’s just like giving a pet an extra chewy bone for his birthday.

[quote=“superking”][quote=“Deuce Dropper”][quote=“superking”] However, in Taiwan, if you are white it’s 100% nailed on you aren’t Taiwanese.

[/quote]

not so fast there, would want to have to change your username to semiking for speaking in absolutes now would we? lets not tarnish the halo.[/quote]
Sorry, Im not a log on. Even in my own cinder blocks.

Ok, you could be a mongolian or rocking a fancy new citizen card or a possible albino. Mebber. So they say.[/quote]

My card ain’t quite as fancy or new after nearly two decades. But as to the topic, of course I get called a foreigner at times. I sometimes call other people foreigners. I also step in puddles now and then. It’s all very trivial.

Yeah, but you’re Taiwanese. Obviously you don’t understand the depth of a foreigner’s angst.

I’d never call someone a foreigner back home (Berkeley). You’d be branded as a hick, or even worse…a patriot. Don’t get called a foreigner much here, but I do get 哇,你比台灣人還更台灣人﹗ Now if I could just take it as a compliment…

Once a foreigner, always a foreigner?

Where I’m from we don’t have much of a foreigner/local dichotomy. People are just people… and while country of origin is a fair thing to ask (since most people are from somewhere else) it isn’t polite to ask about status or citizenship. Of course, coming from one of the most multi-cultural places on the planet has a way of breaking down the barriers between “us” and “them”…

I went to a Chinese supermarket here in Barcelona and the guy on the meat counter remarked how surprised he was that a Laowai (or something similar to that, couldn’t make out the exact word he said) could speak Chinese. I wasn’t offended at all, accepting that this is just the way that Chinese refer to non-Chinese. The ignorant bugger did say something afterwards that really wound me up, but that’s a different story …

When Taiwanese people or kids look at me and I see them mouth “foreigner”…I assume they mean…white person. Surely they don’t use “foreigner” when talking about a Japanese person they see.

Sometimes when someone is just pointing and saying “Laowai” or “guaiguoren”, I feel tempted to turn around and shout: “真的嗎?在哪裡?”

It’s also VERY unpolite when they go abroad and they’re calling the locals from that place “foreigners” (and they do that all the time).

So you’re now in Barcelona? Cool! If you ever need something there, let me know, it’s my hometown, after all, and even if I’m not there, I may be able to help :stuck_out_tongue:

nope, why call someone a foreigner when you can call him an alien?

The difference is that at least in the US, “foreigner,” meaning “foreign national,” is a legal distinction that has to do with what passport you hold, while in Taiwan it’s a racial thing. It’s very chauvinistic to assume that Asians are Taiwanren and any other ethnicity are Waiguoren; ethnic Taiwanese are still considered Taiwanren even if they don’t have citizenship, and naturalized citizens from Vietnam, for example, are still almost universally referred to as 越南籍, even though they have actually already given up that citizenship so that they could become Taiwanren. It’s an outdated, racist way of thinking about the world, but sadly nothing seems to indicate that things are changing.

I’ve translated a few borderline racist documents for the Immigration Agency, which sort of stunned me. The worst was a sentence that read something like:

[quote]The children of Taiwan’s ‘new immigrants’ will grow up bilingual, so when they finish school and
go back to their home countries
, they will have an advantage in business.[/quote]

From the immigration agency of all places.

If it wasn’t so ignorant that would be hilarious. Yeah, it’s bad that they expect these kids will eventually grow up and fuck off back where they “came from”, as opposed to remaining in the country of their birth and shaming everyone with their half-caste presence. But it amuses me that they also assume these kids will become import-export agents for Chinese (or Taiwanese) companies, rather than - say - schoolteachers or computer programmers or shopkeepers. I mean, it’s not like Vietnam has a domestic economy at all, does it? :unamused:

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]The difference is that at least in the US, “foreigner,” meaning “foreign national,” is a legal distinction that has to do with what passport you hold, while in Taiwan it’s a racial thing. It’s very chauvinistic to assume that Asians are Taiwanren and any other ethnicity are Waiguoren; ethnic Taiwanese are still considered Taiwanren even if they don’t have citizenship, and naturalized citizens from Vietnam, for example, are still almost universally referred to as 越南籍, even though they have actually already given up that citizenship so that they could become Taiwanren. It’s an outdated, racist way of thinking about the world, but sadly nothing seems to indicate that things are changing.

I’ve translated a few borderline racist documents for the Immigration Agency, which sort of stunned me. The worst was a sentence that read something like:

[quote]The children of Taiwan’s ‘new immigrants’ will grow up bilingual, so when they finish school and
go back to their home countries
, they will have an advantage in business.[/quote]

From the immigration agency of all places.[/quote]

naturalized citizens from Vietnam should be referred to 越南裔, which would be no different from calling someone a Vietnamese American, but since the KMT and ROC government that it setup is incompetent and racist at core, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit of the official forms forces people to write 越南籍.

Though it’s interesting that one hardly ever hears the term “English American” or " Anglo-American" unless it’s in some kind of academic studies, or unless it’s referring to some one like Angela Lansbury or [strike]Madona[/strike].

This one can’t be pinned on the KMT. If anything, it’s the provincial mentality of people who haven’t spent enough time in other countries and don’t understand how the world outside of Taiwan works. They figure once a foreigner, always a foreigner.

The most recent example I saw of this was at 民氏, btw. I was translating a report on Taiwan’s first SEA immigrant to become a civil servant, and the report actually had the audacity to say “越南籍公務員” or something like that. No, she gave up that citizenship to immigrate. That’s like calling Jeremy Lin 台灣籍球員. Or like calling Lien Chan 中國籍政客. :wink:

Exactly. And usually it gets worse the more rural (or South) you go. But then again I also noticed this kind of behaviour among Taiwanese who themselves spent year abroad and became citizens of other countries and should actually know better - especially as they would rage against any notion that they could be foreigners in these countries.

Jeremy Lin … Jeremy Lin … well kudos to him for making money off naive people who actually believe he is Taiwanese.

Careful, Lien Chan’s parents were resistance fighters against the Japanese in Taiwan and left the island to support the Mainland war effort. His grandfather was a well-known Taiwanese author. Lien Chan, unlike Jeremy Lin, is 100% Taiwanese.

My mistake. Hau Pei-tsun would have been a much better target. Or the Chiangs, but I didn’t want to be quite so mainstream. :slight_smile:

Thanks to everyone who has voted and commented so far. Seems about 70% (it’s at 75% at the moment) would not use the word back home. I’ve been showing the China Post article quoted in the OP to my students as a discussion topic and trying to explain why I wouldn’t use the term back in Australia. I don’t think it is especially offensive and I’m not passing judgement on Taiwanese who use the term in Taiwan. I would prefer to be called an Australian though, especially by people who know my nationality.