I agree entirely about the male - female relationship problems. The Taiwanese just study too hard throughout their youth that they never ever get to know about the opposite sex and developing mature relationships. Holding hands and adolescent fumbling sex is about as romantic as it gets...according to......
In simple terms, the women feel that many men are inept as lovers, as companions and husbands. The men....well I think they are really looking for a mother, someone to feed them, clothe them and care for their basic needs. After all, Taiwanese mothers seem to pander to every son's whim to almost a sickening extreme, even when they are adults.
Bruce Malina has written extensively on honor-shame cultures in the Mediterranean context. In The Social World of Jesus and the Gospels Malina describes how in such cultures, child raising is carried on mainly by the women. Above all, males are raised by women., their mothers. Fathers remain distant.
Because fathers are distant, there is no one to teach the boy what it means to be a man, and how to treat women. The result is males who are essentially deeply insecure about their own sexuality, and who to compensate develop a hypermasculinity that manifests itself in two ways, as chivalry on one hand, and contempt and control on the other.
In Taiwan the local men grow up in homes where the father is likely cheating on the mother and where marital relationships are controlling, distrustful, and distant by our standards. One thing I have seen in Taiwanese marriages is the struggle for control that goes on constantly. Because neither party really trusts the other, they maintain separate bank accounts and separate properties...separate lives. I think it is sad. Marriage can be a joy-filled oneness, done right, a fortress of mutual support, a universe of love built for two. And few Taiwanese ever seem to know that.
My reading of Taiwanese males is that their behavior reflects are role that has solved its problem of the threat of female power by positing male control as the answer: the constant flow of controlling behavior, controlling remarks, and controlling situations, especially criticism, one of the major artifices of control. Another is to reduce women's power in whatever form it might take. Many of us in Taiwan have remarked on how local men dislike females with muscles and brains. My college females come dressed in pink constantly, and the the males in my classes have said that they prefer girls dressed in pink to girls dressed in black. Of course, any femme who wears pink in my class gets an earful. LOL! The final riposte to the rise of women is to not marry them; local males have an advantage not found in our culture -- it was culturally acceptable for them to marry women from other countries rather than upgrade their attitudes. Men in the US did not have that option, and so were forced to change if they wanted mates.
Things are slowly changing here, though. I have great hopes for the future, a couple of generations from now. But for now......there is a whole galaxy of attractive, single, intelligent, employed females in the 25-35 range who are looking for partners. Foreign men, are you listening?
UPDATE: (10/18/05) The Peking Duck recently blogged on this topic. Lots of good comments there.