I am focusing on TAIWAN for this week’s post, because I am currently here on a 2 week vacation. Before embarking on my trip here I had a few questions about how it will be – for example:
1. How real is the “white worshipping” issue in TAIWAN;
2. Whether TAIWAN’s calls to be independent from CHINA are valid;
3. Is “TAIWANESE” its own culture or is it just “Chinese” culture;
Having been here for close to a week, my questions have been answered. Also Taiwanese people across generations are very open and were happy to tell me stories and give me their points of views in terms of the future of their “country” ( and I use this term intentionally – will explain later in this post). Anyways, here are some of my thoughts on the questions I had prior to entering TAIWAN. I will keep them brief as I will base my first podcast next week on expanding the points presented in this post.
SHOULD TAIWAN REMAIN AS THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA OR SHOULD IT BE INDEPENDENT?
Despite the fact that it is called the “Republic of China”, Taiwanese people are their own people, and are very different from the Mainland Chinese. Culturally they are different. What I mean by this is that due to the history between China and Taiwan, a lot of the traditional rites and cultural values were taken to Taiwan. In addition TAIWAN is home to a number of indigenous communities, who are in no shape or form “Chinese”. In saying all this, why can’t TAIWAN be independent, and work alongside China, rather than China usurping a nation which clearly is looking to be its own. Also even though it is formally known as the “Republic of China”, Taiwanese people have their own passports which is Taiwanese, not Chinese, and without the help of China, the people of TAIWAN elected their new President in the most progressive fashion – you know being an Asian female, progressive and one which earned TAIWAN the title of now legalising same sex marriage. I will leave it here and expand more on my upcoming podcast!
HOW REAL IS THE WHITE WORSHIPPING IN TAIWAN?
This is the unfortunately a topic I hate writing about because it’s so ugh… but yes it is TRUE and REAL. The white worshipping is a major issue. But we all know that this is rampant across Asia (specifically East and Southeast Asia). This is due to the mainstream media brainwashing as well as how colonisation has messed up the Asian region. To further explain my case on this I will cite some examples of observations and a personal experience of the white worship.
Watch any commercial/advertisement on TV or a reality variety show and you will always see featured some white person. Most of the times, their role is pointless (this is true in particular for the advertisements/commercials), but the product/service sells because a “white person” says so… yep it is that simple. In addition, I was recently at a store in Taipei, where the store workers/staff have little English. I was standing second in line waiting to pay for my products, behind me there was a white American guy who looked impatient. Anyways, the store person looks past me and ignores me and asks in her limited English to the white American dude:
CAN HELP YOU?
I interjected and said in Mandarin I was first in line. The store person apologised to me and said the man looks like he is in a rush and she will help him quickly then get to me, she also asked a favour for me to translate. I couldn’t say no, and translated for the white American guy who was making an exchange. I looked at the guy and reminded him to watch his privilege, which he ignored and walked out. I then turned to the store person and told her to never treat white people like they are more important than anyone else…
Do I need to expand further on this? I think you got the gist…
Taiwanese people are extremely polite and approachable. The metro/subway system is so efficient and the trains itself is very clean. The Taiwanese people also take the “priority seats” in trains very seriously. Even in crowded trains, if the person is able and not elderly or pregnant, they won’t sit in the “priority seats”, and it will be left empty. I was so impressed, because I know from my own experience in Oz and the US that I have seen, people able and young will sit in priority seats when there is no one who needs it in the train. This was the opposite in TAIWAN.
Lastly, the native language in TAIWAN is Taiwanese, which is very similar to Hokkien. There is (through history of Chinese migration) a very “Fujian” influence in TAIWAN, and this is reflected in the language. As my own mother comes from a Hokkien background, I was able to communicate with some of the old aunties and uncles and they were extremely appreciative and mentioned to me that spoken Taiwanese is dying out as the young generations speak Mandarin.
This is all I will say for now. I will expand on this in my upcoming podcast, so stay tuned!