What does it mean to be Taiwanese, Part 2

[Moderator’s note: [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/what-does-it-mean-to-be-taiwanese/15531/15 One can be found here[/url]]

Zeugmite, I stongly disagree with your contention that “not being Chinese” is a viable part of Taiwanese identity. Form your previous posts, you seem to have two main reasons for thingking this: Firstly, that Taiwanese culture is inextricably connected to Chinese culture. Secondly, that the diversity within China is greater than (or at least equal to) the diversity between Taiwan and China.

I actually agree with both of these points, but think that they in no way prevent a Taiwanes person from quite reasonably declaring “I am not Chinese, I am Taiwanese” (and let me make it clear that I am talking about culture here, not passports). Let’s compare:

“I am not European, I am a New Zealander”. This statement is true and I don’t think anybody would disagree with it. Yes, my New Zealand cuture is inextricably derived form and connected to European culture. The vast majority of our population is made up of immigrants from Europe and their descendants. We share an enormous amount of culture, religion, language, holidays etc. Also, the diversity inside Europe is greater than, (or at least equal to) the differences bewteen New Zealand and Europe.

But if anyone said “no, you are European” to me, they’d be laughed at.

It’s absolutely exactly the same with being Taiwanese.

Brian

The reason is very clear. “European” has been a very weak identity. Europe was never a unified civilization-state after Rome. Therefore, NZ’s points of reference are to each of its constituent identities individually, (England? German? Dutch? etc. etc.), not to Europe as a whole, and your analysis breaks down then.

In contrast, China is very much still a civilization-state, with Chinese culture only dominating in mainland China, Taiwan, and possibly Singapore. If it had spread further and developed more dominant variations around the world, “Chinese” as an overarching identity may not have made much sense. But that is not the case. With this kind of inextricable overlapping tie that remains between polity (still arguing over this, ain’t it the case?), homeland, civilization, and culture, it makes perfect sense to me that “Chinese” still means what it means.

Tell you what, if it were the case that China has so many far flung colonies and that Chinese were the dominant form of culture in all corners of the world, each separately developing for a long time, then naturally people would feel, hey, this “Chinese” thing is too generic, not too descriptive any more – let’s forget it. Or another case, China breaks into multiple states, each developing separately, then “Chinese” ceases to be an identity altogether just like “Soviet.” In those two cases, perhaps then Chinese could mean something else.

[eom]

[quote=“Yellow Cartman”]What is so ironic in this discussion is that FA fanatically argues that some of us should recognize the “Taiwanese” to self-identify themselves any way they like, even so far as to say they’re not Chinese. Fine. But by the same token, he argues strenously against those who argue for their “Chinese-ness” identity is XYZ and that it could (or should) also include those from Taiwan. ?

(…)

FA will never understand this. Why should a non-Asian care about this anyways to argue this point against those who are of Chinese descent? Freaking amazing that a non-Asian wants to argue with a Chinese person what is Chinese. [/quote]

Wow, you’ve managed to include: out of context examples, different meanings that what I’ve said, wholesale write-offs of diverging views, appeals to authority, blunt insults, and implied stupidity based on race, in ONE post.

Congratulations! You need help!

Very weak and arguable points, but if Europe is deemed unsuitable, then how about substitute UK in.

On another note, lets start in on this mess from that huge other post:

Umm yah. “Water” is easily definable, there are many different ways to define it, but easily definable (H20, etc) nonetheless, whereas “String Theory” is not.

Oh, your right, you didn’t say it was easy. I apologize for taking the huge leap from “no fuss about what it means”. And as for your definition:

Is so broad I could drive a truck thought it. Encompasses what it wants when it wants. Which is exactly the first point I was making. I’m not asking for someone to say Chinese is X, X, and X, but one could claim half the world with the above. Broad enough to include wanted parts (Taiwan) and yet subjectively narrow enough to not include other parts (Korea). Which leads to if Korea is now considered non-chinese, and it once was, it had to have some point “converted” which means Taiwan can/has too and is not an “inseperable part of the Motherland.”

Look at my direction and blame me revealing your fallacial arguments all you want. Just calling it like it is.

Oooh outstanding. Don’t worry, I have big shoulders. Will you let me call you stupid in advance as well? I do believe the misinterpreting is all on your side. My point has never been get Forumosa to write out a definition of Chinese to be passed out in pamphlet form to the masses, but to get you to think about the ambiguity/problems with using the term, such as some immediately saying “No! Taiwanese is Chinese”. And as such, how saying what Taiwanese is does not necessarily have to include Chinese is possible. Now do I have to repeat myself and again say it’s possible, not that it has to be. Taiwanese living here can say it however they want, be they LC, CSB, or Satelite TV, each is equally valid, while it is the consensus that matters.

As I mentioned in USA societies Asian are not allowed to fully assimilate. 4th Generation Japanese in the USA that speak fluent English and have no connection to Japan, still look very asian and live with the various social stigma USA society places on them.

That is really up to you. After WWII it was very unpopular to be identified as German. So there was real pressure in the oversea German community to lose their identity in the USA and go through assimilation in the USA.

This is more of an example of society not allowing for full assimilation of that individual due to phenotype, as I was describing for Asians in the USA. Thus even if these individuals are in Japan and wanted claim to be Japanese, the Japanese on the whole would not reciprocate that identity to those individuals.

Even Nisei (First Generation Japanese born abroad) have difficulty assimilating into Japanese society as documented when many fled the USA concentration camps in WWII.

Once again the restriction of identity is about society reciprocating that identity to the individual. Since your son has phenotype characteristic outside the range of what most Taiwanese consider Native. It would be difficult for him to “convince” people otherwise.

Just like Taiwan/HK society will not reciprocate Daiwanlang or Cantonese identity to me, once individuals discover various details about my background. But then again my personal background does not effect my phenotype, so I can easily tell “white lies” in this area to manipulate people’s perception of me and take on Chinese sub-identities to suit my needs. So even I have take up the American identity in Chinese society sometimes, even when it is to my disadvantage.

You are correct personal choices in this area of “subjective identity” are up to an individual to make. However, one need to check these identities with society to ensure one qualifies. If one does not, then one could be consider crazy.

It is a common Hollywood joke to make fun of this issue. “The Jerk” is a movie that comes to mind and the skit of a Blind Black man becoming a Leader of White Supremist group KKK comes to mind. We find it funny a retarded White man is convinced he is black and it funny that a Blind Black man is racist against Blacks.

I just had to point out that this is utterly factually incorrect. The most common identifier used by white New Zealanders - even on the national census - is “New Zealand European”. So no, it’s not to component parts of Europe, it is to Europe as a whole. Has been for decades. Works fine for that, why can’t it work fine for Chinese? And even Chinese works fine for Australian-Chinese, British-Chinese, American-Chinese, Canadian-Chinese, so why can’t it work for Taiwanese-Chinese. Plus, there are groups of Taiwanese who aren’t Chinese. How about the likes of Poagao and Satellite TV? How about all the foreign brides from South-east Asia? How about the Aborigines? Are none of these people allowed to call themselves Taiwanese simply because they’re not Chinese?

This goes back to the Korean people living in like Japan, Korea(s), Russia and China.

Only in Russia would I see the need the Korean individual forcing on the Russian society that she was indeed Russian.

In Japan she would face discrimination based on surname.

In China, because of the history of trying to end ethnic strife, it would be considered odd that she is been so acculturated by Sina culture, but yet she doesn’t accept the “Chinese” identity.

Exactly, these are social scars left as a legacy of China been invaded by so many foriegners. There are so many intellectual work about “What it means to be Chinese,” and “How to modernize and remain Chinese” makes me wonder what people were thinking in China prior to being invaded and dominated by foriegners.

So if your friend was not quick or fluent enough to explain her background quickly enough, she will touch upon the sensitive topic of “What?! Chinese culture not good enough for ya.”

You might as well start with the intellectual writing of the 1911 period. I always like the HK movie “Once Upon China” interpretation of the issue, and it was directed by a Maylasian born Chinese Hark Tsui. “Hero” by Zhang Yi Mou also address the issue from the mainland perspective. “Pushing Hand” address the issue from an Chinese American perspective, by Ang Lee.

Tetsuo,

It does work as you demostrated.

Because that is not how the The Taiwanese Identity work. The Taiwanese identity originally absorded the Hakka on Taiwan, but rejected the aboriginal. When the WSR it arrived in 1940’s, the only people that were allowed to be absorbed into the group were the Minnan speaking immigrant for Fujian. However, for political reasons even these recent Minnan immgrants are considered outside the Taiwanese group.

Only recently has Taiwanese become a catch phrase for the pan-Greens to identify ROC citizens that support TI aggenda.

If you have a PRC bride from Fujian who speaks Minnan married to an BSR Hoklo ROC citizen, is she Taiwanese?

She can pass herself off as Taiwanese. However, once people around her realize that she has no citizenship in Taiwan and was born on the mainland, she will be excluded from the Taiwanese grouping.

Now you’re trying to expand the definition of Taiwanese to mean ROC citizen. Which is currently not how Taiwanese is used.

That may be so, but I’m not talking about some magical national identity, only personal identity.

Screw what they think. All that matters is what each individual thinks.

Now you’re trying to expand the definition of Taiwanese to mean ROC citizen. Which is currently not how Taiwanese is used.[/quote]
Maybe in Taiwanese or Mandarin, but sure as hell not in English, except if you’re hanging out solely with people only familiar with it in the aforementioned context.

But basically I’m not arguing your point anyway - which is that the term “Taiwanese” has to a large extent been hijacked for political points-scoring. What I’m arguing is zeugmite’s constant commenting that Taiwanese is a fictional identity because they’re Chinese. Which is imbecilic.

Well all identities are the result of imagined communities. It just happens to be that the Taiwan identity is more recent and is predicated on the abandonment of a former one due to politics.

OK, wait a sec, you and Bu Lai En seem to be disagreeing on whether NZ is European or not. That aside, to answer you, there is no cognitive dissonance to say one is Taiwanese. It does work like that just like AC answered you. But, there is cognitive dissonance to say one is not Chinese (for most people in Taiwan). Bu Lai En differs from you in that he maintains the “not Chinese” position which I disagree with.

As for the NZ issue, I have no idea who is right here, you or Bu Lai En. Please work it out. Bu Lai En says you consider yourselves “not European.”

If I am not mistaken zeugmite feels the Taiwanese identity is along the same line of the Dongbei identity, or any other subcategory of Chinese group identity.

The Taiwanese identity which zeugmite is attacking is mostly the Taidu identity that propogated by Hoklo and converted Hakka into Hoklo on Taiwan. If you want, we can call it the Taidu Taiwanese Identity which claims they are not Chinese, and is part of the political argument to why there should be Taidu.

Their rationale is taken even one step further in requesting the dissolving of ROC and replacing it with ROT, which make perfect sense in their view of Taiwan since there are no “legitimate” Chinese on Taiwan; only “legitimate” Taiwanese.

Personally I believe the English term “from Taiwan” is good. Since ethnic groups ending in -ese can be viewed as demeaning in English.

I never argued Taiwanese is a fictional identity. Please, for the last time. I have no objection to Taiwanese identifying as Taiwanese. All I disagree with is the “not Chinese” addendum; it is not a proper descriptive given what “Chinese” currently means.

And with this one moronic comment, AC Dropout singlehandedly proves that urban legends take priority over reality in his arguments.

And with this one moronic comment, AC Dropout singlehandedly proves that urban legends take priority over reality in his arguments.[/quote]

Just because you dismiss the issue that some linguist brought up about formal naming standard and the diminution of those nationality ending in -ESE, doesn’t make the issue moronic.

I believe the proper vocabulary is esoteric.

If you’re going to be constructive in English on a topic based on the Chinese language, your use of language will need to be precise in order for the rest of us to understand.

From a Taidu perspective the point is to ensure people from Taiwan are not confused with the people from China. However, Chinese and Taiwanese in the English language are diminutive formal names. It invokes the sound children make by ending multi-syllables words with the long

And with this one moronic comment, AC Dropout singlehandedly proves that urban legends take priority over reality in his arguments.[/quote]

Just because you dismiss the issue that some linguist brought up about formal naming standard and the diminution of those nationality ending in -ESE, doesn’t make the issue moronic.

I believe the proper vocabulary is esoteric.

If you’re going to be constructive in English on a topic based on the Chinese language, your use of language will need to be precise in order for the rest of us to understand.

From a Taidu perspective the point is to ensure people from Taiwan are not confused with the people from China. However, Chinese and Taiwanese in the English language are diminutive formal names. It invokes the sound children make by ending multi-syllables words with the long

Being a translator is not entitlement to having a broad academic knowledge and understanding of how to use language to manipulate perception. That unfortunately these skills developed though hard work and perhaps some human skills.

I’m surprise I’m getting resistance on this matter, since the thread has come to a conclusion that there is a “New Taiwanese Identity” currently being established for political purposes.

Wouldn’t a new branding of this identity be ideal at the moment? Since there is confusion in the market, so to speak. To the vast majority of the English speaking world that has little contact with Asia, every Asian face is “Chinese,” due to the fact that is the largest Asian immigrant group overseas. The Taiwanese are simply drowned out with simple fact that there is no real distinction Chinese and Taiwanese.

Within the English-speaking world there is even no incentive to make the distinction. Since all Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants live in the same ethnic enclave, speak the same language, and pursue the same stereotypical professions abroad. So the logical marketing conclusion is that we must make the distinction for them. To make the emotional bond through images and branding.

Words like Dawanian are must more distinctive and carry more substance to the English listener than Taiwanese.

To address your final issue, those other nationality aren’t facing the problem people from Taiwan are facing.

AC honestly I think that the negative connotation associated with these ese suffixed country, nationality names comes from people like you with a chip on their shoulders and a bit of an over active imagination. I am a native speaker of English. That qualifies me to an opinion on the subject of whether or not there is anything diminuitive about ese endings. Add up a whole lot of native speakers opinions on the issue and that is it. If we don’t think it is diminuitive it isn’t diminuitive. When I first heard about this notion of ese being somehow derogatory my reaction was basically WTF? It hasn’t changed over the years and I have never heard of a native speaker saying anything other than WTF (or words to that affect) about it.

That’s because it’s bullshit made up by some radical little twat on a message board. The only places this nonsense has any currency are on Chinese-community messageboards. And you’re right AC, it’s got nothing to do with my job, but everything to do with the fact that you’re talking out you’re rectum again and we can all smell it.