Monday, June 13, 2005

Today's serving of Hatemail Says:

I also get hatemail from time to time. Today's I found this in my mailbox:

You've got to be the stupidest person I have ever known. Not only that. You hate Taiwan. What a hate site. This is all so UNtrue. I have read every comment in here and I am appalled. Get the fuck out of Taiwan and go live in Colombia or go live in the burbs of New York City, Mexico City, Pnom Penn or Johannesburg. Get a real life and stop spreading malicious rumours about life in Taiwan. Like all places, there are some things that occur, but this is all so blown out of proportion. Luckily, I am already collaborating with a friend on a project to counterclaim all the stupidity on this site. You shoudl be reported to the FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICE and be barred from this nation. DROP DEAD!

A follow-up email reported:


In the past few years there have been several incidents of violence committed by taxi drivers against solitary female passengers. In several parts of Taiwan, incidents of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported.
Note: ...several incidents in the past few years. Do they know that in Los Angeles alone there are 9 murders per day? Or that Miami Dade County has 180 rape victims per day. Or that Johannesburg had 22,000 murders last year?
In several parts of Taiwan, incident of purse snatching... wow! I am truly scared. I better put bullet-proof windows on my property in Taipei City.

*sigh* Can't wait to see the countersite. If it is good I'll link to it.

UPDATE: then found this today

I think u are a good men, cause u don't afrid people been racial to u specialiy in our country. and you find ur own way to live in Taiwan, Peace u.
The public just can't seem to make up its mind.....


Anonymous said...

He's got a point - Taiwan is indeed a pretty safe place compared to many countries, but you wouldn't think so from reading your site.
It would be interesting to dig up some stats to back up your claim that crime levels are higher in Taiwan than in many Western countries.
Also, it might help to talk about types of crime, rather than crime in general. Credit card fraud and corruption in the government are rife, true, but what about other types of crime such as murders and shootings? People get mugged in the street all the time in England, but in Taiwan it's pretty rare.

Mickey said...

Hmmm....usually people in low crime-rate areas do not install bars on every accessible window of their homes and businesses.

I'd rather be warned than be stupid.:)

Michael Turton said...

He does not have a point and I get a little tired of the ignorant attacking me for my crime page, which is quite clear on what kind of threats are here. Crime is cultural. I note on my website that muggings of foreigners are rare, but as you said, other types of crime and corruption are commonplace. As I say too....

For example, there was just a fraud case involving the use of expired starch in food products, happens all the time. At least three times since I've been here, dairy products have been busted for using expired milk powder meant for use as animal feed. There's all kind of crime, illegal dumping, illegal disposal of waste, factories discharging at night, illegal burning of trash, bleaching of fruit sold in night markets, etc, all that stuff that really doesn't register but nevertheless affects your health and safety. Taiwan includes its attempted murder and murder stats together, so getting a handle on murder rates is not easy, but it is worth noting that there was a big flap a couple of years ago when Taiwan rang up the number 2 spot for murders worldwide. Here's an old report:

We're Number Two!

A second problem is that unreported crime is common here. I've been "assaulted" twice by gangsters. One crime was a setup in which I was forced to pay money for a staged accident (hence does not show up in crime rates) the other a genuine assault which I did not report, period. The crime stats here are bogus -- according to the local MoI Taiwan is almost three times as efficient in solving reported crime as the US. ROFL! Google answers did turn up this:

Low Crime

Stats on cons are rarely kept. But when was the last time in the US you got a call from a fake kidnapper? kidnapping for ransom is a crime that has basically vanished from the US, thanks to the FBI. In Taiwan it continues to flourish, so a whole subset of cons has developed around it. So has carnapping, a non-existent crime in the US. Tax refund cons do not exist in the US. Etc. I'd rather be mugged for pocket change than lose my life savings in a tax refund con....

Anyway, no matter what I write on my site, it appears that people will simply read into whatever they want, but it is worth noting that my parting line says:

"The vast majority of foreigners return home convinced (erroneously) that Taiwan is a haven of safety, and there is no reason you shouldn't either."

Compared to many countries -- kenya, or Russia, sure. You're more likely to get mugged in the US. But more likely to get conned here, and more likely to be poisoned by illegal food and illegal waste disposal, etc. Not to mention bad drivers, get ripped off by gangsters, etc. I've never encountered a staged accident in the US, and when they occur, they usually involve insurance scams and physical threats to the driver are rare. Road rage is common in both countries. The major difference in the US is of course the ominpresence of personal guns, a very stupid policy, and the idiotic drug laws that make drugs so lucrative, driving up crime rates.

The crime page is such a nuisance I think I will just take it down. For some reason you can say anything about Taiwan that you like, but discusing the pervasive crime and general lower levels of health and safety here just provokes tons of hatemail....


rmdazwdv said...

Part of the problem IMHO is that non-native English speakers don't get it when you are tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic. They read your comments straight out at face value. Surely you understand this from teacthing English? As such some of your pages may come off wrong to a Taiwanese. Actually it would be nice to get some dialogue with the locals on these issues. Don't take the crime page down, just open up another site and move it off to the side and put some anonymous email address on it. This site has interesting stats:

Anonymous said...

The real problem with this person and others in Taiwan is an inability to digest different view points! From first grade being drilled that every question has ONE and only ONE answer (even if it is random) and what that one answer is depends on the authority who says what it is, well . . . read 1984 to get the idea. Our government will take care of you and you should drop dead. Connection there maybe? Is this person proving Mihcael's point maybe more than he is refuting it? Just a thought.

Just like every single student here getting totally defensive and yelling their heads off bloody murder when told Taiwan is dirty . . . they then proceed to dump their ice drink plastic cups and fight with sales people over getting one more plastic bag that should be given out for free (against the law). What is wrong with a little reality check? Come now people, this is a country where no one seems to have a problem with women being bought from poor countries, yet a woman who marries a younger man gets to headline the TV news. Where gangsters get red carpet treatment from political and media figures, yet people who observe reality are "reported." Let's not even mention the mental issues people face in a culture where hating everyone just for the fun of it is a national pastime!

I say more power to you Michael! Taiwan is free and you should do more, not less, reality observation.

Tim Maddog said...

Michael, what your "fan" seems to be saying is this:

"How dare you speak from your own experiences and combine them with what you know to form opinions or -- worse, grrrr -- state facts to support them, especially while living here! I'll have you know that Taiwan has fewer daily car bombings than Baghdad alone, and furthermore, I'M GONNA TYPE IN ALL CAPS IN CASE YOU CAN'T HEAR MY E-MAIL, YOU, YOU... HATER! YOU HATE TAIWAN, DID YOU KNOW THAT?!"

Humans tend to complain about their surroundings whether they're still in the same town where they grew up or they're living as expats in a location on the opposite side of the globe. Some people complain about crime, while others -- much more sensitive -- complain about the complainers.

See how it works? It's about priorities. The "crime" isn't the problem. It's all that complaining that's hurting people. All us complainers should just go live in outer space where the people who complain that we complain too much can't hear us complaining because in your "fan's" homeland -- at least in his dreams -- they can "bar" you for having non-parallel opinions. (Perhaps he thinks this is the PRC.)

Don't take the crime page down, Michael. Lots of people need such a "nuisance" to wake 'em up. BTW, let's help your "fan" think of a good name for the "counterclaim" site.... How about something like...






Anonymous said...

Your Crime page is great, please leave it.
When my bud and I first discovered your site, we were amazed at your stories, since, in more than a decade in Taipei, we've never experienced anything close to this.
But we believed you, for crying out loud.
Re: Crime statistics in Taiwan; I had a student I was helping get into graduate chemistry in the States, he had done two summers working with the Department of Health as an undergrad.
He told me that, surprisingly, the leading causes of death in Taiwan are pretty much the same as North America, despite the apparent hazards of the environment.
One exception, and he swore this was true.
That Wu Lai has a murder rate per capita something like 4 times the national average.
You know where this is going?
Because whenever Taipei city or county wiseguys whack somebody, the dumping ground of choice is Wu Lai.
I got yer stats, right here...

phatbatt said...

Dude should get out more. I mean, you might be stupid, I don't know, but the stupidest person he knows? C'mon, this is TAIWAN! I'm betting you're not really even in the Top Ten.

Anonymous said...

Scott Sommers wrote,
I once got some hate mail because of a post explaining that the tax rate for non-residents is substantially higher than for residents.

Tim Maddog said...

Look! Michael isn't even that good at "hating Taiwan." The locals do it so much better:
- - -
Survey finds Taipei, Taichung Counties least happy on crime

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2005,Page 2

A survey on public security and social order conducted by the Ministry of the Interior found that residents in Taichung City, Taichung County and Taipei County were the most disgruntled in the nation.

Less than 40 percent of people residing in Taichung City expressed approval of the city's performance in maintaining order.

- - -

Why do so many Taiwanese "hate Taiwan"? Could it be because of those pesky KMT mayors?

Anonymous said...

Please leave the crime page!

As a visitor to Taiwan who goes every year for the past six years, I am amazed by the difference in the reality shown to me by my business partners and that of my friends who are open to me about how things are there. Taiwan certainly seems initially idyllic to the visiing Westerner!

Your site is exactly what I was looking for: a complete cultural piece on Taiwan which manages to go behind the politeness of the Chinese culture.

I've been following your blog for several months. Keep it up!


Le Gourmande said...

I've no idea why people say that you hate Taiwan. On the contrary, I consider you a fellow Formosan and feel heartened by your constructive views on Taiwan.

Btw, I've been dying to attract some hate-mail from the Chinese. But I guess the CCP keeps them on a pretty short leash.