I'm offline for four or five days this week...
There are many strains of Chinese thinking about Being Chinese. For every ten or twenty blusters about the awesomeness of Chinese culture, there's one person adhering to the Bo Yang strain. Like Ko Wen-je, the new mayor of Taipei, who observed in an interview with Foreign Policy:
For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior.This analysis may sound strange but its actually quite conventional, I have heard it all before. Many Taiwanese look with disdain on the Chinese. His views of the US are also quite conventional among Taiwanese, where the US is often held up as a model. That version of the US, however, is an orientalizing fantasy, in which the Other is held up as a Positive Opposite that We should follow.
His comments on annexing Taiwan to China are also good:
We have to convince Mainland China that a free and democratic Taiwan is more in China’s interest than reunification.Bingo.
Speaking of orientalizing, a comically awful article on Taiwan's trash production made the rounds this week to say here is better than there. It claims:
Thanks to policies implemented in 1988, the government has been able to decouple GDP growth and production of household waste over a period of about one generation. As the nation’s wealth has risen—approaching $40,000 per capita—the Taiwanese somehow managed to waste less and defy the notion put forth by economists Michael McDonough and Carl Riccadonna that economic growth leads to more consumption and, therefore, more waste. Today, the average Taiwanese citizen produces less than a kilogram of trash per day, according to the Taiwanese Institute for Sustainable Energy. By comparison, the average American produces roughly two kilos (or about four and a half pounds).The writer apparently simply sucked up the government line and did not attempt any research. Anyone who lives in Taiwan could point out some of the many issues: the widespread and uncounted illegal dumping and burial of waste and trash, especially from factories and construction sites, widespread trash burning, and the cultural and legal differences. For example, name me a Taiwanese city that has a policy on waste collection and recycling of lawn trimmings. They don't exist here, but many American cities count them as waste. Critical thinking, please.
- Speaking of politicians interviewed, Wang Jin-pyng is interviewed in Commonwealth.
- Taiwanese employers can't pay enough to keep talent at home
- Chu takes heat for not providing terminated KMTers with a living?
- 7-11 launches Yuan currency exchange services for Chinese visitors to Taiwan
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