Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Taichung City: Sambo Says Don't Smoke


My friend Paul Batt found this sign from the Taichung City Health Department that depicts smokers as savages -- presumably in need of civilization in the form of not smoking. The sign reads:

New Century Look out Ideology [Modernism]
New Human Beings Don't Smoke
Smoking not only harms your health but that of others as well

The presentation of smokers as savages in need of a civilizing influence...says volumes. It used to be that smoking was a sign of modernity, now it is not.
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21 comments:

A-Hao said...

Wow.

Btw, The characters for 'zhuyi' in the first line are those for 'doctrine', 'ideology' or, most often, '-ism' (e.g. shehui zhuyi 社會主義 = socialism). ('Look out' is 注意 rather than 主義.) Easy mistake - sorry to nag.

If anything this makes the image-text pairing even more damning: the most retrograde racism dressed up as 'new era' thinking. Taiwan can do so much better than this.

Anonymous said...

I think your translation is too literal. The meaning might be closer to the modernity of the ROC. MODERN People... as opposed to the backward people. This dichotomy is very much a part of Chinese nationalist ideology, which positions Han as modern and local/indigenous as backward and lacking... in need of a civilizing project...

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, but I wanted to keep the New/New parallelism in the first two lines.

Interesting how difficult it is to translate that. Even if you don't fuck up the first two characters *sigh*

blobOfNeurons said...

New Century, as in the ROC's new century?

The image paring is in bad taste; it's obvious they thought they were being funny.

Marc said...

No matter what the translation is, this is offensive.

Anonymous said...

We are talking about the place with "Negro-Toothpaste" for gods sake!

Anonymous said...

It's not offensive at all. These people do not look like blacks or Aborigines as you crocodile tear shedding white liberals are implying.

"which positions Han as modern and local/indigenous as backward and lacking..."

As opposed to DPPism which puts Japanese and Americans on top, their "native" Hokklo worshippers directly below, and the Aborigines and Southeast Asian migrants somewhere between the cockroaches and mosquitoes.

The fact that you are associating modernity with your misguided notions of "Han China" is a projection of your own bias against minority cultures.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:22

You should read your Sun Yat-sen. Sanmin Zhuyi is all about the ideas of modernism and racism. He incorporates ideas of blood, and race into his nationalism.

How about the great Kang Youwei's views of Africans?

"with their iron faces, silver teeth, slanting jaws like a pig, front view like an ox, full breast and long hair, their hands and feet are dark black, stupid like sheep or swine, should be whitened by intermarriage" Frank Dikotter: The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan (p.2)

Kang suggested giving any woman who married a black or brown person a medal as "improver of the race".

You should catch up on the writings of Zhang Binglin as well. Zhang was instrumental in shaping Sunism and incorporated racialism and socialdarwinism into Chinese nationalist thought.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what your diatribe has to do with anything. I'm tired of hearing Kang Youwei, one man who died almost 100 years ago, being feted as proof that every single "Han" to live is/was a big bad racist. The irony is that practically every single white person that was his contemporary was practically a Nazi.

Michael Turton said...

D'oh, anon, and when we discuss racism in western white society we point to its longstanding roots. Apparently doing so in the Chinese cultural sphere is out of bounds. Double standard, anyone?

Andrew Kerslake said...

Michael is correct.

Moreover, Chinese nationalism is built upon racialist identities in which concepts of Han and Modern hae been conflated into ideas of "Chinese and the Chinese Nation".

To address and remove this structural hegemony creates an immediate threat to the nation.

Marc said...

I'm not sure what your diatribe has to do with anything.

Obviously Anon 7:51 has no friends among the truly native Taiwanese (aka Aboriginals), or he wouldn't respond in such a doltish and racist manner.

blobOfNeurons said...

I wonder where electronic cigarettes fit into all this.

Anonymous said...

Michael
"Apparently doing so in the Chinese cultural sphere is out of bounds. Double standard, anyone?"

Except China doesn't have "long standing roots" of racism. It might have "a 'short' standing root" (singular). The mild ethnocentrism occasionally shown by the "Chinese world" is nothing compared to the murderous bigotry of Islamic, Western or even Hindu chauvinism. In fact nearly every other single ethnic group is more condescending, violent and close-minded in their ethnocentrism, from the Maori to East Coast Italian Americans.

Marc
"Obviously Anon 7:51 has no friends among the truly native Taiwanese (aka Aboriginals), or he wouldn't respond in such a doltish and racist manner."

Obviously you do not or you would know that they despise the DPP, who are by far the most prejudiced among all DPP. Whenever I'm walking around with DPP voters they always point and laugh at Southeast Asians like they're uncaged monkeys. It's like every 50 miles South is traveling 10 years into the past.

I love it when white liberals tell me, someone with aboriginal ancestry, how I'm supposed to feel about the "big bad evil Han". Go "end racism" in your own country first, please.

Andrew
"Moreover, Chinese nationalism is built upon racialist identities in which concepts of Han and Modern hae been conflated into ideas of "Chinese and the Chinese Nation"."

Except Han isn't a race, it's a multiracial cultural/political bloc.

Michael Turton said...

""The mild ethnocentrism occasionally shown by the "Chinese world" is nothing compared to the murderous bigotry of Islamic, Western or even Hindu chauvinism.""

ROFL. Thanks man.

Andrew Kerslake said...

Yes Anon... Han could be called Confucian Culturalism... but that didn't stop Sun Yat-sen from turning it into a Race and delineating it as the "Master Race" of Asia.

I shared this with some indigenous rights activists and they were pretty pissed.

Your DPP straw man is no good. Yes, there are Hoklo chauvinists in the DPP...that doesn't make this depiction of indigenous people as "backward" any less disgusting. Those DPPers are also the products of the ROC education system which promotes a Han chauvinistic outlook.

Keep writing and you will do everyone a big favor.

Anonymous said...

a little dose of truth for crazy people sometimes is funny, yes.

in before laughably false claims of genocide in Tibet

Anonymous said...

"that didn't stop Sun Yat-sen from turning it into a Race and delineating it as the "Master Race" of Asia."

Your point? Sun Yat-sen had a place in the Republic for every ethnic group, showed undue respect to Imperial Japanese, was a Christian. Your hatred of Han Chinese is palpable and obvious if you're going to try to smear the man and the Republic based on anti-Qing rhetoric (which was necessary to overturn their rule).

Typical. The independence of China from Qing rule is just a footnote in your personal "struggle" against "big bad Han chauvinism"

"I shared this with some indigenous rights activists and they were pretty pissed. "

Typical. Trying to foment division in a land you are foreign to, in order to make yourself appear more "glamorous" and "compassionate". Want a real challenge? Get Hollywood and other American institutions to stop being hardcore anti-Asian racists and bigots. Of course you won't.

"Those DPPers are also the products of the ROC education system which promotes a Han chauvinistic outlook."

The ROC education system does not promote "Han chauvinism" (lol). Take your liberal BS back to the US and solve some real racism.

Marc said...

Big "Palin" style bravado and pissing into a fire don't make you right, Anonymous. Have the balls to reveal your name like the rest of us do, or go back to reading your Ayn Rand and S the F up.

Taiwan Tracker said...

"Mild ethnocentrism" ROFL.

How do you measure the damage done by racism by degrees? Racism + Anonymous - Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right.

Anonymous said...

“Considering the law of survival of ancient and modern races, if we want to save China and to preserve the Chinese race, we must certainly promote Nationalism. To make this principle luminous for China's salvation, we must first understand it clearly. The Chinese race totals four hundred million people; of mingled races there are only a few hundred million Mongols, a million or so Manchus, a few million Tibetans, and over a million Mohammedan Turks. These alien races do not number more than 10 million, so that, for the most part, the Chinese people are of the Han or Chinese race with common blood, common religion, and common customs-a single, pure race.”
Sun Yat-sen in San Min Zhu Yi (1927)

Sun Yat-sen had a place for some ethnic groups and by conflating Han and Modernism into Chinese the other ethnicities were relegated to subordinates of the Chinese race. The ROC and CCP governments used ideas of Chinese Nationalist modernity to transform non-Han groups into Han or to be more Han-like... and Han=modern/refined.

In Taiwan this civilizing project has been articulated through a policy which positions indigenous people's authenticity in their ability to satisfy the Chinese nationalist state's prerequisite for being traditional. To be officially recognized, indigenous people in Taiwan must link their identity to a Han-centric concept of traditionalism or how the indigenous peoples are imagined to have been at first contact--language, customs, material culture, and 19th century ideas of blood descent.

Under the ROC state structure, to be an "Aborigine" you must satisfy the burden of being traditional... yet the ROC rewards modernity.

Of course there's no problem.