Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Economist gives Fair-Haired Boy Ma 40 lashes with a Wet Noodle

The Economist ran a surprising article this week that's been the talk of Taiwan: Ma the Bumbler. Although there has been much glee on the pan-Green side (more on their moronic response in a moment), showing once again how in Taiwan, Foreigners Validate, this piece is actually a pile of tepid dreck that totally misses on saying what it should have said, no doubt due to The Economist's commitment to ideological purity and its longtime support of Ma Ying-jeou. Although it also appears that the writers didn't do their research. Let's have a look....
Ordinary people do not find their livelihoods improving. Salaries have stagnated for a decade. The most visible impact of more open ties with China, which include a free-trade agreement, has been property speculation in anticipation of a flood of mainland money.
The first two sentences are largely correct. The last one is largely wrong. Property speculation in Taipei is largely due to the fact that, as this blog has ceaselessly observed (whatever on earth do people think I write for?), expensive Taipei apartments are now tax shelters. The China Cargo Cult is just the excuse for building all those tax shelters. Moreover, the most visible impact of open ties with China isn't the Taipei property bubble -- the writers with that claim have merely revealed their Taipei-centric thinking -- but the hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy Chinese tourists creating ever more ill will between locals and those who anticipate being their overlords, as Chinese tourists constantly remind us. Thank you, Beijing and Ma Ying-jeou for send us this golden shower of tourists, so many of us knew the joy it would bring.
Yet Mr Ma’s leadership is also to blame. He has failed to paint a more hopeful future, with sometimes hard measures needed now. Worse, he frequently tweaks policies in response to opposition or media criticism. It suggests indecisiveness.
Ma has failed to paint a more hopeful future? Well, except for 6-3-3. "The Golden Decade." The claims that ECFA would result in many new Free Trade Agreements. The tourism bonanza claims. The ECFA bonanza claims. Readers will no doubt be able to add their own. Ma has not in fact failed to paint a more hopeful future; the problem is that the hopeful futures he paints are rank nonsense to any intelligent listener. Even stranger is that the best criticism The Economist can come up with is "indecisiveness?" Don't they read the local papers? Remember when you searched Google in Chinese and the first suggested term for Ma Ying-jeou was "incompetent"? Remember all the criticisms from all quarters that Ma is aloof, out of touch? Ma's problems date all the way back to typhoon Morakot and have been extensively documented in the local and foreign media (Asia Sentinel, Apr 2010, post Morakot, Aug 2009). "Indecisive?" The only indecisiveness here is The Economist's criticism....
Public anger first arose in June, when Mr Ma raised the price of government-subsidised electricity....
Public anger with Ma long predates the electricity price rises. It goes back to Morakot years ago, as I just noted, when his handlers let him out of their control and he said all sorts of silly things while giving the appearance that he didn't give a damn about what happened and overseeing a dilatory and incompetent government response. The claim about June is wrong on its face; the electricity price rises date from [use Google to find out, the Economist writers didn't]. Here, let me cite an article about it...
Following the announcement of hugely unpopular rises in the price of government-subsidised electricity, Mr Ma said on May 1st that the rises would be implemented in stages.
I got that from some rag from the UK, let me think, oh yeah.... The Economist, May, 2012. Taipower applied for the electricity price rises in... April (my post). Public anger about the electricity prices dates from April, not June.

And public anger? Where's the beef? Remember how peeved the public was over the beef issue? No mention of that here either, yet that UK rag I was just talking about had a piece on public discontent on it in March. Do we not read our own magazine?

But let's go ahead and list all those things not appearing in here that different segments of the population are upset about. Income inequality. The bogus capital gains tax. Taiwan's low ratio of wages to productivity, among the lowest in Asia. The utter failure of ECFA, which has provided no identifiable benefits for the population. Note that all these ignored political issues are part and parcel of the neoliberal looting of Taiwan's economy that The Economist has always been a cheerleader for. Not part of our ideological structure! Better ignore them! Moving Taiwan much closer to China, something that has angered people all across the political spectrum, also vanishes from this piece.

The Economist writers end by making the rookie mistake of imagining that the bickering among the KMT signals something new...
Cracks are starting to grow in the KMT façade. Recently Sean Lien, a prominent politician,...
...especially strange when the first paragraph of the piece refers to KMT "infighting." The Economist team first fails to properly contextualize this claim. Sean Lien is the son of Lien Chan, the powerful KMT politician and failed former KMT Presidential candidate, one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the KMT. The context is important because as correctly contextualized pieces have noted, Party elites, including Lien Chan, have long disliked Ma Ying-jeou. No cracks are appearing; rather, these fault lines are always there and show up regularly as senior party members bicker amongst themselves. The interpretation offered here is completely incorrect. Nothing new is going on.

Finally, the orgy of pan-Green delight at The Economist apparently turning on its longtime fair-haired boy is disgraceful. As one of the sharpest observers of Taiwan politics I know observed privately, the translation used on the political talk shows, 無能的笨蛋, incompetent idiot, is wildly overblown. But the Liberty Times also ran with a very similar claim that is also much too strong. As my friend observed, associated with the Liberty Times is the Taipei Times and a corps of very fine translators. Apparently LT was so interested in taking a shot at Ma that they decided to ignore this resource. Never mind that criticizing Ma as incompetent is pointless; the public had no faith in his ability but re-elected him anyway. The "bumbler" label is a sideshow of a sideshow.

Sadly, in its glee the pan-Green media missed the point. The ultimate failure of The Economist's piece isn't its errors of fact, key omissions, and tepid criticism of its long-fawned over golden boy. It's their highly ideological selection of bumbler to describe Ma. A bumbler is one who acts clumsily, but with positive intention. But did Ma have a positive intention on ECFA? Or was his purpose merely to draw Taiwan closer to China irrespective of the obvious negatives? Did Ma merely bumble to failure on the capital gains tax? Did the upward revision of the property tax assessment, unchanged since 1987, disappear from the political discourse due to Ma's bumbling? Have we failed to obtain F-16s because Ma is a bumbler, or because he doesn't want them? One could go on all day with such questions, but I know your eyes are glazing over and your morning coffee is almost finished. By using the term bumbler to adumbrate the many such issues surrounding Ma's presidency, The Economist actually hides the severe problems with Ma while making a pretense of criticizing him.

UPDATE: Some excellent comments below. SY points out that UDN reports that Ma wants the Taiwan rep in the UK to lodge a protest with The Economist (link).
"....that Ma Ying-Jeou has requested the MOFA to have the Taiwan representative to the UK find a way to lodge "a proper protest" with The Economist ("要求外交部透過駐英代表處對「經濟學人」適度提出抗議") and to take a stand ("表達我政府的立場".)"
... "to express his government's point of view" to The Economist. No doubt there will be a letter. David from Formosa thinks it may represent a watershed moment:
Compare the use of "Ma the bumbler" with the "Havard educated Ma", "Ma the peacemaker" and "Ma the popular, charismatic leader" memes that have dominated the international media for so long. The Economist may have broken the spell that has let Ma avoid a lot of much needed scrutiny for the last four and a half years.
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47 comments:

MKL said...

hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy Chinese tourists creating ever more ill will between locals and those who anticipate being their overlords

Not sure, if this is what is happening in Taichung, but in Taipei I don't really see these things, so I would have to disagree with such general statement.

Nevertheless, a good article.

Mike Fagan said...

Good criticisms, but it is worth bearing in mind the many, many journalistic crimes of the Economist magazine. These are the people who regularly take the piss out of their own readership by doing such things as insisting that they are pro free market, and then supporting the TARP bail-outs; by labelling President Obama a "Zionist"; by pretending to call for opposition to the current administration after having supported the President's stimulus, financial and healthcare reform bills.

So I really think it is unfair to describe the Economist magazine as ideological at all, never mind "neo-liberal". They are "bumblers", or in less polite language... upper-class snobs who can't tell their arse from their elbow or the tooth fairy from a turd-burgler. The chap who wrote the article was very likely drunk as a skunk when he wrote it.

STOP Ma said...

.
.
.
I left a link to your posting in the comment section at the Economist, Michael.

Hopefully, some readers will be enlightened.
.
.
.

Anonymous said...

Sadly a lot of Taiwan's media is openly politicaly biased and unless you wear green or blue glasses you should check the publications bias first.

I'm sure someone is Taiwan would make a great president but given the choice of the last election, Ma was the preferred candidate. (Personally I think Taiwan chose right at the last election green (dpp) seems to be a US interest proxy party.)

Michael Turton said...

Not sure, if this is what is happening in Taichung, but in Taipei I don't really see these things, so I would have to disagree with such general statement.

Lots of people I know report such clashes in Taipei all the time. They are even more common if you are in tourist areas or on tour routes carrying busloads of Chinese tourists. They seldom direct their arrogance at or around foreigners so we have little direct experience of it. Stuff like this experience of a friend gets posted all the time...

I was washing my hands in the restroom of Taipei 101 this afternoon when I over heard the nice, friendly cleaning lady said to a Chinese tourist, "Hi, how are you? Welcome to Taiwan (你好, 歡迎到台灣來啊!)".

The Chinese tourist shot her a condescending look and replied, "You know, we are your money gods! You see, I even acknowledged you by saying hi back (我們是你們的財神耶, 你知道嗎? 你看, 我還跟你打招呼呢!)".


Michael

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

The issue of mainland Chinese tourists is not only happening in Taiwan. Ask those live in Hong Kong, Singapore and other countries . This is all about money. As long as they spend well, they are welcome. One needs to manage the mess associated with it. Like drilling oil wells, you have to manage environmental issues.

SY said...

Get this, the pro-China United Daily reports today (Nov 18, 2012) that Ma Ying-Jeou has requested the MOFA to have the Taiwan representative to the UK find a way to lodge "a proper protest" with The Economist ("要求外交部透過駐英代表處對「經濟學人」適度提出抗議") and to take a stand ("表達我政府的立場".)

Amazing! The bumbler keeps bumbling.

-----
News Link (in Chinese):

http://udn.com/NEWS/NATIONAL/NATS1/7506483.shtml

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know WHO wrote the bumbling BUMBLER piece? Rumor has it the that Econo writer is based in Beijing, not even in Taiwan. As readers might know, a longtime Britsh expat Laurence Eyton, the very able and sharp and erudite editor of the old Taipei Times, before he left for greener pastires, used to moonlight at the Taipei correspondent for the Econimist magazine, beginning in 1995, in fact, until some time in middle of the first decade of this century, 2008, or so, according to a post on this very Dr Turton's blog earlier, as someone wrote here in 2009: ''The Economist's coverage of Taiwan lost a lot of depth after the sharp-eyed Mr Eyton was given the boot by the magazine's editors in 2009 or so and the UK magazine settled for its Taiwan coverage from Beijing! Imagine that, the magazine relies on its Taiwan coverage by a correspondent based in communist China -- Beijing."

David said...

Michael, your analysis is of course very good, but I think you miss a key point in analysing the reaction of people in Taiwan to the article. Very few people in Taiwan will ever read the article in English or in translation. But everyone will be aware of the headline "Ma the bumbler". Bumbler might have been poorly translated into Chinese but there is no doubt that it is a negative term.

Compare the use of "Ma the bumbler" with the "Havard educated Ma", "Ma the peacemaker" and "Ma the popular, charismatic leader" memes that have dominated the international media for so long. The Economist may have broken the spell that has let Ma avoid a lot of much needed scrutiny for the last four and a half years.

Anonymous said...

Who wrote the bumbling piece?

Takes your pick: either James Miles or Gady Epstein.

No doubt the "famous mouths" of both the KMT and DPP want to hang Gady in effigy in a public square in Taipei as soon as they find out who wrote the piece.

''Gady Epstein joined The Economist as China correspondent in July of 2011. Previously, he served as Beijing bureau chief for Forbes for four years, opening the ...''

Media directory

''James Miles has been China Correspondent for The Economist, based in Beijing , since 2001.''

CATHERINE SAMPSON James Miles wife writes: "....James is the Beijing correspondent of The Economist. We have one son and two daughters who think China is normal and Britain is exotic.''

Michael Turton said...

Compare the use of "Ma the bumbler" with the "Havard educated Ma", "Ma the peacemaker" and "Ma the popular, charismatic leader" memes that have dominated the international media for so long. The Economist may have broken the spell that has let Ma avoid a lot of much needed scrutiny for the last four and a half years.

Yes, I thought that was great. But that spell I had thought broken in Aug of 2009 when Morakot blew through Ma's reputation. It was then that the international media stopped writing that Ma was an able technocrat and started moving closer to what locals perceive. They aren't there yet.

Michael

MKL said...

Well, I asked some of my Taiwanese friends for their opinion and they would say that it has generally improved over the last years. Of course there are arrogant individuals among these tourists, but to use words like hordes of nasty spitting... is for me overboard. I saw hordes on Alishan (I wrote about that issue here), but it's very different in Taipei these days. Anyway, this is about semantics and impressions, which is a very subjective thing, so I don't think we will come to an agreement.
Nevertheless, a good discussion on this thread.

Michael Turton said...

"Of course there are arrogant individuals among these tourists, but to use words like hordes of nasty spitting... is for me overboard"

I understand. It WAS overboard, on purpose, because for the Taiwanese who encounter these people, it isn't the average "quiet" ones -- who though they may or may not realize it, are also victims of the CCP/KMT agreement to use tourists to deliver money to targeted communities and who, it should be noted, share largely the same political opinions -- but the arrogant ones who shape Taiwanese opinion. And there is not a small number of them.

Michael

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, to anonymous above, it the ECONO reporter was not the Beijing embedded guy from USa named Gady Epstein nor the Briton named James Miles, then the author could have been Jane Rickards who works as a reporter in Taiwan for many years and ID's herself at AIT press conferences as ''a correspondent for the Economist''.. [MIST as in MIST] - and whoever wrote it, Gady or James or Jane, it was evidently heavily REwritten by the eds in London and the headline itself came from the UK, it was NOT the writer's headline. In fact, does BUMBLER even appear in the text? I think not.

Anonymous said...

re the headline of this blog post re Ma as a "fair-haired" man. One: his hair is black. It is in fact quickly going gray like any man of his age, but he dyes it every week as everyone knows. Just like the leaders of China and Japan, they all dye their gray hair BLACK in order to look younger and DECEIVE the public. But everyone knows Li in Beijing is gray, as is Noda in Japan and Ma in Taiwan. Only Obama shows his gray and doesn't care. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Nice work Michael. Thanks.

Mike Fagan said...

From the article:

"Yet Mr Ma’s leadership is also to blame. He has failed to paint a more hopeful future, with sometimes hard measures needed now."

So Ma is to blame and should take "hard measures" - presumably, policy shifts such as raising pension premiums, raising electricity prices further earlier and so on (all things mentioned in the article). And yet...

"Nothing suggests Mr Ma’s main policies will change (or that they should), but his credibility is draining by the day."

Note the paranthetical; "nothing suggests" Ma's policies should change. So Ma is to blame, but also not to blame. But whatever, Ma is a "bumbler".

This is an example of what I meant by taking the piss out of their readers, or not being able to tell their arse from their elbow. This is also why I stopped reading the Economist ten years ago - they are trading on nothing but the presumption of short-term memory loss, conceptual disintegration and other forms of mental incapacity on the part of their readers.

Tim Maddog said...

November 18, 2012 1:13 PM Anonymous wrote:
- - -
In fact, does BUMBLER even appear in the text? I think not.
- - -

Check out paragraph two of the article:
- - -
The country appears to agree on one thing: Mr Ma is an ineffectual bumbler.
- - -

An earlier commenter might want to check out my YouTube playlist "Chinese Tourists Gone Wild" and this amazing display someone posted just two days ago. If there are still any doubts, I've collected quite a few more examples.

(BTW, Blogger just asked me to type "Chinari" to "prove [I'm] not a robot." LOL!)

Tim Maddog

Michael Turton said...

"Yet Mr Ma’s leadership is also to blame. He has failed to paint a more hopeful future, with sometimes hard measures needed now."

So Ma is to blame and should take "hard measures" - presumably, policy shifts such as raising pension premiums, raising electricity prices further earlier and so on (all things mentioned in the article). And yet...

"Nothing suggests Mr Ma’s main policies will change (or that they should), but his credibility is draining by the day."

Note the paranthetical; "nothing suggests" Ma's policies should change. So Ma is to blame, but also not to blame. But whatever, Ma is a "bumbler".


Good spot! Lol. The whole thing is a construction designed to protect Ma while giving the appearance of criticizing him. Blaming "communication problems" is a classic.

Anonymous said...

hmmmm, isn't "ineffectual bumbler" an oxymoron or whatever they call them things? i mean a bumbler by definition is an ineffectual person, no? So while the text did call Ma an effete ineffectual bumbler, the headline writer by using just ''BUMBLER'' caused a viral sensation....MA will never live this word down...

Anonymous said...

David, above, re "the Harvard educated Ma..." PLEASE: Ma was never educated at Harvard, this term is how Taiwanese like to pick themselves up and boast of any VIP or privileged connections. In English, the be "Harvard educated" means only one thing: you took the difficult college entrance SAT tests and you scored so high that you got in to Harvard COLLEGE as an undergraduate and you attened the rigiorus class scheudle for 4 years and graduated. this applies ONLY for Harvard undergrads, because to gain admission is really dificutlk, only the best ande the brughtest and the richest and most well-connected get in.....and even Jeremy LIN was not really Harvard educafed as the papers in Taiwan like to boast because he was accepted as a athletic admission, meaning his test scores were not important, he got it for his b ball skills and his class scedule was easy compared to the students who really had to study. LIN never had to study, he got a pass as an atheletic admission student. So calling Jeremy Lin a Harvrad educafged man is plain wrong. And anyone can get into Harvard gradute schools, the admission bar is so low even Ma or Lu Sho-lien the former VP can gvet in and they always say they are Harvard educated. this is BS,,,,,,Harvard educagted means only oner thing: you were admitted to Harvard undergrad for 4 years.....grad school admissiohs to NOt count...you can just say "Ma went to Harvard business school or Lu went to Havard gvot school or LIn was admitted as an athletic admission..but please do not call these people "Harvard educated." see the difference now?

MKL said...

@Tim Maddog: Roughly 185.000 Mainland Chinese visited Taiwan only in September 2012, that's 33% of all tourists coming here in that month. What you are listing are single incidents and as appalling they are, they don't indicate anything but what they are: Single incidents. You can list hundreds of them, compared to 185.000 it's still a very small number.

Chinese tourists are not a major issue for Taiwanese and I bet, that the majority wouldn't go back to the times before they were allowed to come. Times have changed and people have accepted some changes. That's why I couldn't resist to comment on Michael's choice of words, which I believe were not appropriate. I wish there was a more balanced discourse on Ma and Mainland Chinese. It always starts with the choice of words.

Michael Turton said...

Chinese tourists are not a major issue for Taiwanese and I bet, that the majority wouldn't go back to the times before they were allowed to come.

MKL, that is totally unrelated to the point I was making about the Taipei-centric nature of the Economist's presentation, which contained a double error -- the tax shelter aspect of real estate is driving the housing bubble, and outside of Taipei, the Taipei bubble doesn't exist -- the most common way people in Taiwan interact with the new pro-China order is Chinese tourists. People who live in Taipei and make occasional forays into Taiwan live in a little bubble that resembles Taiwan in the way that Beverly Hills resembles the United States. Sometimes they forget that.

I too am sure that few want to go back to the pre-Chinese tourist period. I am delighted to see them here; I knew, as did many others, that interacting with them would be a powerful stimulus to local identity, as interaction with the colonialist always is, and that some at least might go home with a better understanding of Taiwan, which works its magic on everyone just as it did on us, MKL. Like this woman from Beijing...from WaPo

“I really want more mainland people to come and see Taiwan, and then they will understand. . . it’s not like what they see on the TV,” Guan said. “This impression will gradually let mainland people, especially my generation, think: ‘Oh, Taiwan is so good, why do we want to conquer them? It’s not necessary. We should learn from them, and it’s good to keep [the] status quo.’ ”

What you are listing are single incidents and as appalling they are, they don't indicate anything but what they are: Single incidents.

Yes, and there are many many such incidents, MKL. Why do you think so many hotels in Taiwan separate them from other tourists to the extent possible, right down to having separate dining rooms and floors for them? Consider the implications of this marketing piece:

However, customers’ behaviors and cultural differences distinctly mark this segment. Boisterous Chinese travelers might disturb other foreign tourists, such as Japanese visitors, as well as the Taiwanese customers, who are more reserved in public and enjoy a quiet tourist experience. Marketers should weigh the benefits of satisfying the new customers against the possibility of losing other patrons when deciding how to serve the new market segment without damaging the brand image.
I would recommend that the marketers devise plans of launching customized services or products especially for this distinct segment. As the article suggests, restaurants could separate seats in different dining rooms for those Chinese customers and others. Hotels might designate rooms for different customer groups by floor.....


Mind you, that's a positive piece with a positive slant. Nor is Taiwan the only nation to complain of these problems, they are merely more acute here because of the added element of China's desire to annex Taiwan and the feeling of arrogance it imparts to some Chinese visitors.

Of course many of these issues are the result of the fact that Chinese are new to the international scene and that Chinese tours in Taiwan are physical nightmares in which Chinese are basically treated as "money trees" to be plucked of cash at every turn. That does not bring out the nice in people....

But I suggest you do what I have done for the last four years: travel around Taiwan summer staying week after week in hotels where Chinese tourists stay. That might give you a broader perspective on things. I should note that I've had nothing but positive interactions with Chinese tourists as individuals. Thankfully, they never discuss politics with me. But the locals have different stories to tell.

Michael

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

I'd like to make two other points. The tourists who come to Taiwan are not a random group. They are selected in two important ways. First, they are vetted by the government before they come over. Second, they are from that class of people who have money to travel here, and that class is closely tied to the State and identifies with its interests. What kind of politics do you think they have?

The other point is about "balanced talk about Chinese tourists". The reason we can't have that isn't language. It's because usually one party in the conversation is arguing in bad faith, hoping to paint the other as some kind of racist and show their own lofty fairness. That is really why this topic isn't discussed. Because one party in the conversation is nearly always arguing in bad faith, anyone who discusses Chinese tourists is taking big risks.

Michael

Anonymous said...

I have to say I was really disappointed to see the words you used to describe these mainland Chinese tourists. You yourself admit that individually they're good people. Even when you say that you've been in hotels with them each summer, you didn't say what makes them to be so appalling. There's a lot of namecalling and prejudice from the people here towards mainlanders; please don't be caught up in this nor try to paint such a onesided picture.

CP

Anonymous said...

The vitriolic, sardonic tone of this piece as well as the reductivist depiction of Chinese diminshes what are otherwise very essential and important criticisms. Certainly not the first time. Outstanding critique but tone is off putting.

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

I have to say I was really disappointed to see the words you used to describe these mainland Chinese tourists. You yourself admit that individually they're good people. Even when you say that you've been in hotels with them each summer, you didn't say what makes them to be so appalling. There's a lot of namecalling and prejudice from the people here towards mainlanders; please don't be caught up in this nor try to paint such a onesided picture.

LOL. See the problem? You can't even discuss this subject rationally because words like "prejudice" pop. You must be prejudiced if you speak of a problem universally recognized in the tourism business: that Chinese tourists are different from other tourists, that many people experience this difference as negative, and that if they arrive in large numbers at your hotel other country's tourists will start leaving. In Taiwan this difference is exacerbated by China's desire to annex Taiwan and snuff out its democracy and independent cultural development.

In too many of these conversations one side is there simply to validate their own lofty superiority, the way MKL was in responding to Maddog. If recognizing that Chinese are "boisterous" is prejudiced, then virtually all primers on marketing to Chinese are prejudiced.

Even when you say that you've been in hotels with them each summer, you didn't say what makes them to be so appalling.

No point in it. The 'there-to-validate' types will simply say it is an anecdote or accuse me of racism, etc. I prefer to refer you and others to the marketing literature on marketing to Chinese tourists. You can easily find it on the internet. BTW here's a piece from that highly prejudiced and racist China-hating rag China Daily.

Michael

Ed Greshko said...

Just a couple of comments.....

We live near the Living Mall and are familiar with bus loads of tourists from China. They do tend to be more pushy and aggressive with the sales staff. And they do seem to litter more. What I don't know is if their behavior at home is any different. Privileged assholes tend to privileged assholes no matter where they are.

The idea of Ma requesting the MOFA to have the Taiwan representative to the UK lodge a complaint or discuss the article with The Economist seem rather non-Presidential to me. Certainly the President Obama of the US is a bigger target. But you you imagine how thin skinned he would appear and how much time he would waste disputing these sort of articles?

Michael Turton said...

Having MOFA complain is very non-presidential. I hope they drop the matter.

Michael Turton said...

Lost your comment in the spam hole but did want to note, anon, that there was a reason I was delighted to find the US was number 1 in that poll. Hypocritical? Think it through....

Anonymous said...

hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy American tourists..
hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy blacks tourists...
hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy Mexican tourists..
hordes of nasty, spitting, pushing, arrogant, tetchy white tourists ......

Turton, see where I'm getting at?
Your language describing those Chinese tourists, who you admit you've usually had good interactions with, is quite foolish and prejudiced.

I must say I'm disappointed to see your reactions in our recent interactions. I thought you were a better person than that.

CP

Anonymous said...

Turton, the reason I mentioned the hypocrisy was because you brought up that link to stress how bad Chinese tourists are. I thought it was ironic that the Chinese were considered 2nd worst, but your own people were the worst. You are American, I believe, or are you Canadian?

CP

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

Turton, the reason I mentioned the hypocrisy was because you brought up that link to stress how bad Chinese tourists are.

Wrong. I brought it up because it represents third party confirmation. A subtle but important distinction. It also has another function, which you put your finger on but couldn't reach.

I am American. Irony is not hypocrisy, CP. In fact, although you skate right up to the major issue here in your highly ironic post above, you utterly fail to reach it.

In any case, perhaps your image of me is wrong, or perhaps you've fallen victim to your own desire for self-validation with me as your hapless whetstone. Good luck, eh?

BTw, you should send a letter to the China Daily explaining how they've disappointed you with their prejudiced view and language.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Turton, you seem to be confused about and are stretching yourself - desire for self-validation using you as a hapless whetstone? Please do expand on your thoughts.

True, I know irony is not hypocrisy. Excuse me for the momentary mixup.

My point about the hypocrisy was that you used that article to show the negative perception of Chinese tourists, yet didn't say anything about the fact that exact survey showed that Americans were the worst.

By the way, you left out one of my commments, which you said was lost in the spam. So don't get caught up if there's any slight mixup with my posts here.

I've been very direct about my main objection regarding your flawed language and you still haven't addressed it.

I don't doubt that Chinese tourists can be boisterous, I was never questioning that. What I do question is your describing them as nasty, arrogant and tetching.

It's great that the China Daily wrote about this. It's good to see that paper speak out on things mainlanders can improve on.

CP

Michael Turton said...

My point about the hypocrisy was that you used that article to show the negative perception of Chinese tourists, yet didn't say anything about the fact that exact survey showed that Americans were the worst.


Probably because I knew (1) people can read it had nothing to do with the topic under discussion -- I didn't say what number 3 was either -- and (2) that one of you types out to validate yourself would out yourself by hysterically leaping for that instead of thinking about what it meant. D'oh.

Thanks for your comments objecting to my language.

I'm through wasting my time on this crap. Find someone else to feel morally superior to.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turton I am an avid reader of your site and it is vital to my understanding of Taiwan and it's politics.

One of the things that makes your analyses of Taiwan so prescient is that you reason from data to narrative, not vice versa. Your approach is highly empirical and you substantiate your claims with evidence rather than relying on cheap anecdotal gimmicks and/or cherry picking out the data that will support your preconceived notions.

I do believe that your critics here have re: your assessment of Chinese tourists are making some valid points about your handling of this topic. For whatever reason, when it comes to the topic of the Chinese, you tend to reason from narrative (The Chinese are all evil scum sucking vermin) to data rather than the other way around.

If someone wrote a piece describing the nature/character of Chinese with the same broad strokes in which you depict the 'nasty spitting hordes' of Chinese tourists, you'd be all over it. You'd rip them as ignorant and/or fundamentally irrational, deride their essentialist thinking, and so on.

Bottom line is you can't have it both ways. If you're gonna paint with broad strokes in your depiction of the Chinese, you're gonna hear it from your readers in the same way you let crappy writers about Taiwan hear it when they lean on narratives they can't substantiate. And isn't that the way you want it?

Michael Turton said...

I'll let that last comment stand.

1stCMalaysia said...

I have been googling for a few days now, and the story of "The Economist responded to Taiwan with 'mistranslation' of the word bumbler" can only be found in Taiwanese newspapers websites, or blogs from Taiwan. I did not see anything from The Economist, or any other news agency that is not run by Taiwanese. So is the 'mistranslation' story a fabrication of Taiwanese? In actual fact, The Economist never said anything about translation at all?

1stCMalaysia said...

I have been googling for a few days now, and the story of "The Economist responded to Taiwan with 'mistranslation' of the word bumbler" can only be found in Taiwanese newspapers websites, or blogs from Taiwan. I did not see anything from The Economist, or any other news agency that is not run by Taiwanese. So is the 'mistranslation' story a fabrication of Taiwanese? In actual fact, The Economist never said anything about translation at all?

Michael Turton said...

1stC, it was in an email to a local media inquiry. Economist didn't run a story about the mistranslation.

1stCMalaysia said...

Can we see the email for real? Like ask the Economist to show it? And just how does Economist want the word 'bumbler' to be translated? In thesaurus I have, I got 'fool' in the list. That's the same as idiot, right?
And sorry about the repeating comments, as my internet connection is slow and buggy, I thought my comment did not go through.

1stCMalaysia said...

I emailed The Economist, asking the magazine did the author of 'Ma The Blumber' was mistranslated in Taiwan; and the magazine replied to ask for my location, I gave them my location, and until this moment I still do not receive any answer on the mistranslation issue from The Economist.

I guess The Economist actually never said anything about translation in Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

The comments from the Economist were sent in an email to a newspaper.

Michael

1stCMalaysia said...

The piece of information that The Economist said 'bumbler' is mistranslated in Taiwan came from Taiwan, I have no way to verify if the email from The Economist to a Taiwanese newspaper explaining how 'bumbler' should be translated ever existed; for all I know, The Economist just do not reply to enquiries made by someone like me.