Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A few links

Taichung city from atop Dongyang Rd outside of Fengyuan. Weather has been just brilliant this week, but cold front to hit Thursday night.....

No time to blog today. Enjoy a few links...

ELECTION:
BLOGS:
  • Ding, Ding Kim Jong-il is dead. In case you can't remember, the same histrionics took place when The Peanut finally died. People cried in the streets, and the government made everyone spend a month in mourning. 
  • Giant bikes promotes bike touring even though it has no touring bike in its line of bikes, says Drew.
MEDIA:

You'd think at the National Immigration Office (website) they'd have somebody who could handle the English, or perhaps they'd know a foreigner or three....

ONLINE RESOURCES:
_______________________
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

A gangster almost hit me on my motorcycle once. I pulled up beside his car door on the left side and kicked the door as hard as I could. He rolled down his window with his mouth agape totally in disbelief.

I'm realizing now that I was probably lucky I didn't end up dead in the love river.

That said, mixed feelings about the guy getting ganked in front of his family. Definitely bad luck. On the other hand, there's something obnoxious about the white guy that comes here and tells everyone how they should act guy. My guess is he came off like that.

Anonymous said...

deserving of a brick to the head?

Michael Turton said...

Nobody said he deserved a brick to the head. But things like this are quite common in such situations.

Michael

Thoth Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...

Umm, not sure how you got from understanding why someone gets their ass kicked in to Taiwan to "jackboots"...

Thoth Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Readin said...

Just yesterday I was reading some of old entries of a blog frequently linked to from this site and I saw a similar dynamic. Foreigner sticks nose into other people's business and/or humiliates person in front of their friends/family, foreigner gets indignant when people react hostily and things aren't handled exactly the way they would in the West.

When you go to live in a foreign country, the expectation is that you do so because it is a good place to live - presumably you like it better than the place you came from. So then why try to change it to make it just like the place you came from? When people move to the US from semi-socialist failed economies south of here, and then start voting to make the US a socialist state too - I get upset.

But the guy in the times did even worse. He humiliated a father in front of his too children by criticizing the guy's parenting decisions. Even a non-foreigner doing that would be an a-hole. Even if you were doing it in a culture less focussed on shame and "face" you would be an a-hole.

If you want to change the culture of people putting ten kids on a motor scooter then write letters to your paper, write letters to your legislators, speak at school events, etc. Don't humiliate people in front of their kids.

Thoth Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...

I'm not being disingenuous. I'm just curious how you can make that leap from "if you act arrogantly and publicly humiliate random strangers in Taiwan, you're likely to get your ass kicked" to "jackboots."

Thoth Harris said...

Saying that you're curious at all is disingenuous. You're not curious about anything I have to say. You just want to shove your views down my damn throat.

Michael Turton said...

I didn't realize you'd deleted me until after I wrote my comment about this post both on your blog and on Kaminoge's blog.

What post of yours did I delete?

And yes, I am curious about this strange leap of yours from understanding the behavior of others to "jackboots." It's really quite weird.

Michael Turton said...

If you want to change the culture of people putting ten kids on a motor scooter then write letters to your paper, write letters to your legislators, speak at school events, etc. Don't humiliate people in front of their kids.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Foreigners get into trouble all the time for this kind of thing. Another aspect of it is never make trouble for yourself in the neighborhood where you live.

Michael

Thoth Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...

Thoth, I removed you from my friends on FB. I didn't 'delete' you; only FB management can do that. This is why I didn't understand what you meant by "delete" which I have never heard used in that context (most people use "unfriend").

This is not a free speech issue. I support your right to make public announcements of your comprehensive inability to understand the political issues and political and social immaturity; I just see no reason why I have to listen. Choosing not to listen to idiocy is also a free speech right. You can still post to Facebook and I can still ignore you, that's what freedom means. Isn't that wonderful? You are not impaired one whit when I ignore you.

Because you don't like the letter writer and his darn balls he actually has to speak out,

Actually, I have no feelings one way or the other about the letter writer. It's that I get a steady flow of private mail from people who do this sort of thing and then want my help somehow. But basically they dig their own holes, because it's important to understand that masculinity in this culture is collectively expressed; friends seek to prove their friendship by engaging in group violence of this nature. That is why it is dangerously stupid to offend and humiliate Taiwanese males in public, they are likely to dial up 50 of their friends to beat the crap out of you.

This doesn't mean that I approve of beatings, it just means I understand why they happen, which is the first step in avoiding them in the future.

In our culture people are supposed to take public insults in stride, they way I am handling your intemperate display at the moment. Chinese culture behaves in a different way, with different results. Much more violent results, sadly.

Michael

Thoth Harris said...

"your comprehensive inability to understand the political issues and political and social immaturity."

Coming from you, that's a compliment. Good riddance.

Thoth Harris said...

And to those others out there: You too can get off the Michael Turton train, or bandwagon. It is not difficult. It will actually help you to have independent thought, without being endorsed by his Highness.

Thoth Harris said...

I've posted almost nothing on FB about politics in the past month. So where are you getting this idea that out of the blue I am more socially/politically/etc. immature than ever before. This further shows me how disingenuous you are with your answers. I will try to delete a lot of my comments on your blog in the past few years. You are to be persona non grata. I was thinking of deleting you anyway after you ridiculous comment about the Taipei Times letter writer.
I don't expect your to support him. I do however expect a good individual to refrain from any implications that he had it coming.

Michael Turton said...

I've posted almost nothing on FB about politics in the past month.

Thoth, I removed you from my friends seven or eight months ago. See how much you missed me? That would be.... zero. You didn't even notice for half a year.

Good luck!

Michael

anonymous female said...

Living as a foreigner in Taiwan, almost by definition means having complete strangers offering me advice on almost a daily basis (as well as asking odd personal questions about me to my friends, such as 'What does she eat?') Living as a foreigner in Taiwan also gives me quite a bit of leeway for cultural mix-ups and for offering my own advice and unsolicited help. I'd say this foreigner just had the bad luck to run into one of the few stinkers that Taiwan, like any other country, has. Of course, some of the leeway I get could be because, as a female, I'm a little less threatening...

Readin said...

And to those others out there: You too can get off the Michael Turton train, or bandwagon. It is not difficult. It will actually help you to have independent thought, without being endorsed by his Highness.

I don't read this blog because I agree with everything Turton says. In fact I probably disagree more than I agree. But if I only read people I agree with I'll only get one side of the story and won't be capable of independently weighing those different views.

Readin said...

Of course, some of the leeway I get could be because, as a female, I'm a little less threatening...

I'm sure that's part of it. When I'm in Taiwan I keep in mind people's perception of me since my race is readily perceived by all. I expect that as a white guy, men are likely to feel a bit threatened by me because:
In recent history white men have won all the wars.
Until very recently white men controlled most of the money in the world.
There are a lot more white male-oriental female couples than oriental female-white male couples.
English is more of a prestige language than Chinese or Taiwanese, so despite the fact that I'm monolingual and the people I talk with are bilingual, they're still intimidated by the language.
Westerners have a reputation for being pushy know-it-alls.

So I figure most of the time the Taiwanese men I'm meeting with feel slightly on the defensive and I try to meet people with slightly humble disarming smiles. I find it works nearly all the time.

I also know I'm in a culture where I'm largely ignorant of how and why things are done, so I try to listen a lot more than talk.

When I need to make a change in a group (such as in a Taiwanese church) I don't try to set myself up as the boss from the start, I first spend time in one-on-one discussions with multiple Taiwanese men (the women can be effective leaders, but I don't want to disrespect the men by going to the women first). I ask about the situation, try to understand what's going on and why. I explain my concerns. Generally I find that I'm encouraged to take a lead role. I don't take it until two conditions have been met. First, there is clearly support and people genuinely want me to do it. And second, there isn't leadership coming from the Taiwanese (In my experience leadership skills are rare amoung Taiwanese). I find that when I do finally take action I'm more successful for having secured the support of the people I talked to one-on-one.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, some people are just a bit too self-conscious racially:

I dare say that it's hardly a common occurance anywhere in the world that a guy of 30 to 40 years of age (with two kids, that's a good guess) lectures another guy in a passing encounter on the street about wearing helmet and parenting responsibility.

I can imagine an old lady waving her handbag doing that. But, a guy? No, it'd be very rare indeed as an occurance anywhere in the world.

This guy could have met the same fate anywhere in the world; Rom, New York, Paris, Rio, Moscow, Toronto or even Tokyo. It has nothing to do with Taiwan per se or his being white.

One always offers advices when there is explicitly or implicitly a receptive party. This is common sense. Sometimes, one even gets shouted back by one's own kid if one offers one's advices under a wrong circumstance; for instance, one's kid may be in a bad mood; by the same token, the Taiwanese guy (in the letter) may have had lost his job the day before or just had a fight with his wife, etc.

While the treatment he received was by all means wrong, the letter writer should have had more common sense when offering his advices freely wherever he goes.

Michael Turton said...

Exactly, you're in a foul mood and spoiling for trouble....

anonymous female said...

Actually, the most immediate issue for most Taiwanese has to be the fact that most white (and black) people are physically bigger than most East Asians. Over the years in Taiwan, though, I've seen myself go from being above average height on the trains to average height as the diet in Taiwan has improved and as kids have grown up.

Another explanation for why the white guy even tried talking to the Taiwanese guy about his kids not having helmets has to be culture shock. In other words, they both could have been spoiling for a fight. That case last year (?) where a white guy ended up in court and fined for telling a Taiwanese 'F-you', also had to have its roots in culture shock.