In Taiwan basically we have two kinds of workers: white collar workers and blue collar workers – blue collar of course referring to manual laborers.
In the Chinese language, wai4 ji2 lao2 gung1 is understood to be those foreigners who are brought into Taiwan to work in factories, on construction projects, as maids, or doing any related types of manual labor, and there is the implication that such a person gets both hands and clothes dirty/dusty as a normal part of daily work. Unfortunately, this Chinese term is generally translated into English as “foreign workers,” which carries none of the original Chinese connotations.
Hence, someone may ask a US citizen who is doing English language editing here
No Richard, blue collar workers are not manual laborers. They are skilled or semi-skilled workers who have no reason to interact with office people. A machine-shop supervisor is a blue-collar worker, but hardly a laborer. Same for truck drivers, mailmen etc.
Factually, it seems to me that there are more than two relevant types of foreigners. The type of foreigner who teaches English, is different from the expat type who gets sent here by some company (maybe against his will), and gets a lot more money. Even though we’re both big-noses, and not construction workers or filipinas.
I guess if you want to you can make hundreds of different classifications, but to keep things simple two will do - how about “Foreign Professional” as suggested by Omniloquacious. Else why not just “Expatriate”?
Understood. Please note that wai4 ji2 lao2 gung1 in Chinese is understood to be those foreigners who are brought into Taiwan to work in factories, on construction projects, as maids, or doing any related types of manual labor, and there is the implication that such a person gets both hands and clothes dirty/dusty as a normal part of daily work. Unfortunately, this Chinese term is generally translated into English as “foreign workers,” which carries none of the original Chinese connotations.
In English, it would appear that a foreigner who teaches English, or who works in a newspaper, or who deals in the import/export trade, etc. is a “foreign worker,” but in Taiwan he/she is not.
It is reasonable to ask: “Well then, when speaking English, what is the correct terminology for these people?” Unfortunately, I do not know. The CLA has done little to try to rectify this misunderstanding over the years. The CLA has not promulgated the use of any appropriate English terminology to use in such situations. More regrettably, some people are not fully aware of the distinction between manual workers and non manual workers either.
I think that the term “foreign professional” or “foreign expert” ( = wai4 ji2 zhuan1 jia1) is probably too easily confused with “foreign specialist” which appears to have a special meaning in the Taiwanese Labor statutes.
The terminology “white-collar foreign worker” (bailing waiji laogong -or- bailing wailao) might be suitable, if everyone can agree on what constitutes white collar. Some people assume that if you do typing on a word processor all day, then you are a manual worker. That is not true however – typists are considered white collar (regardless of the color of the clothes they are wearing, or whether those clothes do in fact have a collar.)
The opposite side of the coin would of course be “blue-collar foreign worker.”
However, the essential question would remain: "What is the meaning of the basic term “foreign worker”? Are we to understand this simple nomenclature as defaulting to “blue-collar foreign worker”? -or- does this term include both blue-collar and white-collar foreign workers?
The word “worker” implies to me a labourer, i.e. someone working in a factory and perhaps of other Asian origin.
However technically I am also a “foreign worker”, yet I see myself more as a “foreign professional / expert”.
BTW: What does “foreign specialist” actually mean here?
Do I misunderstand the problem - is it really about people who are given different sorts of VISAs - “asian labour workers” - as I understand it get a very different sort of VISA - no right to marry here for one thing that I heard.
So why not use the VISA type to define the various groups??
I guess the problem is that they already have regulations, using the words in Chinese that you talk about - and do not want regulations that are not transparent in translation. Is this a new difficulty - they never seem to care what they say in English ??- But I guess this is what you are working on!
OH MY GOD, Pogao! Must you always PICK on Mr. Hartzell? Why do you HATE him SO much. My GOD, you just HAVE to come into every thread Mr. Hartzell starts and just MOCK him, don’t you. You mock him, I say! You’re a dirty mocker! For shame!!!1!!!1
I for one appreciate Mr. Hartzell’s contributions to foreigner worker society in Taiwan. If you really want to understand the genius that is Richard W. Hartzell, then I suggest you BUY a copy of his BOOK and READ IT.