Monday, October 10, 2011

Daily links, Oct 10, 2011

There are quite a lot of foreigners who don't think of themselves as part of a community composed of the foreigner ethnicity. But the fact is the locals treat us that way. To wit:
The Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor Affairs yesterday promised to strengthen inspections on illegal work cases of white-collar foreign workers after a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor accused a foreign English-language teacher of moonlighting as a male stripper.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) said the teacher from England registered his workplace in Hsinchu County. However, he was also found working as a male stripper under the stage name Eric in nightclubs in Taipei City.

The teacher’s illegal work status was exposed after he was involved in a dispute with a 27-year-old Taipei resident surnamed Wu (吳) at Taipei Wanhua Sports Center on Sunday, Wu said.

According to Wu, the person shouted at front desk staff at the center who would not let him in because he failed to bring a towel. Wu tried to resolve the situation, but was “almost involved in a physical confrontation” with the foreigner, who threatened to hurt him.
The yammerhead who got in a pissing contest over a 25 NT towel (for pete's sake) may end up causing trouble for other foreigners. Foreigners need to remember: you might not think you're part of a community, but the Taiwanese will treat you that way.

Commentary light this week....



WAY COOL: Check out these immigration and emigration maps for Taiwan. Thanks to Aaron over at Red A. 

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.


Kaminoge said...

It appears that Councilor Hung, in his rush to get his name in the media, neglected to try to contact "Mr. Eric" in order to get his side of the story. Nor did Mo Yan-chih, nor anyone else on the staff of the Taipei Times, for that matter. Once again, the foreigner is presumed to be at fault, and the word of the local is taken for granted. "Mr. Eric" may, in fact, have been the Grade A jerk the article makes him out to be, but it would have been nice, not to mention professional, to have ascertained the facts before rushing off to print.

The most telling part of the article lies in the quote: "What we do not allow is any acts of disrespect toward Taiwanese". Regardless of whatever actually occurred over the case of the missing towel, Mr. Wu felt that he had lost face as a result of an encounter with a hairy barbarian, and matters like these simply cannot be tolerated.

Michael Turton said...

Kaminoge, thread at Forumosa:

the foreigner sucked. just should have forked over the 25 NT he owed and gotten on with his life.

Kaminoge said...

No argument that the guy was a jerk. However, I stand by my earlier criticisms about the lack of professionalism by the Taipei Times.

Also, that "disrespect towards Taiwanese" comment gives me the creeps. Be careful - some politician may use that line against you the next time you criticize the Ma administration. :-)

Anonymous said...

FYI - Lincoln Millstein, the author in your "dumbest thing" link is:

1) Taiwanese,

2) A director of the Hearst Newspapers.

It's far from dumb, it's dangerous yellow journalism

Mark S. said...

That emigration map has what seems to me to be a surprising destination. Thousands of people are leaving Taiwan for Pakistan? I'm having a hard time figuring that out.

Cornpone Hercules said...

Are we really surprised at this DPP nativist crap? They are angry at a foreigner stripping, but remember DPP politicians protecting Julie Cutie, the high priced New York Taiwanese hooker, who fled with her child to Taiwan after losing custody? DPP supported the hooker mom and thumbed their nose at Interpol. Idiots

Spain Traveler said...

"Foreigners need to remember: you might not think you're part of a community, but the Taiwanese will treat you that way."

But to me it seems like the exact opposite happened: the foreigner was singled out by the authorities, especially if, as Kaminoge said, there's that quote in the article about not allowing anyone to disrespect the Taiwanese. The foreigner was seen as a potentially dangerous 'other'
simply by virtue of being a foreigner, not because he did something idiotic.

Jenna said...

I kind of disagree on "why Chinese is so damn hard". Yeah, it is hard, but most of the reasons cited either are only for the writing system or are true in many other languages, as well.

Learning to WRITE Chinese is truly "so damn hard". I speak Chinese quite well but my writing is pre-intermediate at best. But speaking, honestly, is not (the tones are a challenge but not insurmountable - far harder are languages with crazy pronunciation and spelling that doesn't help, such as Polish, Mongolian, Czech and others...and others with impossible grammar such as Japanese and Korean. And let us not forget Japanese's 4 writing systems).

Basically, I just don't think speaking Chinese is that hard. Only writing is.

Instead, I think the problem of why "Chinese is so damn hard" is more of pedagogy. Methodology for teaching Chinese is pretty uniformly awful (MTC is among the worst, but they're not the only ones making a profit off of piss-poor instruction), and that's why so many foreigners just can't seem to pick it up.

Get better teachers and methodologies, and you'll get more foreign Chinese speakers.

Can't help ya with the writing, though.

Michael Turton said...

Spain traveler, now the gov't is going to carry out a crackdown on foreigners working in other jobs because of this idiot. In other words foreigners are treated as an identical class when one fucks up.

Thoth Harris said...

Michael, I'm referring to your reply to Spain Traveller.
You need to dig deeper on this issue, like Kaminoge does, in his most recent post about this today (in which he calls it Towelgate).
It is a question of double-standards: treating us as a group when seeing us on the street, or in the news. Depending on the moment, we are all English speaking dancing monkey-boys (kaminoge's singularly appropriate nomenclature), we are all bad foreigners who have too much sex and take all the women away from the hardworking native Taiwanese, or we are all-good, riches-bearing, godly, tall, majestic, and handsome (oh, and don't forget WHITE, and ENGLISH-SPEAKING, even if the individual viewed in this or that place is actually more complex, say, Jewish, French-speaking, Russian-Speaking, Hungarian-speaking, or whatever).
Then, suddenly, an incident like "Towelgate" happens, and suddenly it is that one individual who is the scapegoat (doesn't matter about his side of the story or not).
Not long after, they crack down, not only on him, but other people who are moonlighting, but aren't "disrespectful" or anything. And the trend continues. The view of foreigners by Taiwanese is always shifting between these different contradictory POV's regarding us, without actualy learning the complexities of either foreigners as individuals or foreigners as a group.
It would be nice, and it would help Taiwanese (and everyone else, to boot) if Taiwanese classrooms were filled with something else but neverending Asian history (usually focused on Chinese/Taiwanese/Japanese history, and not much else. In my 1980's lower middle-class North Vancouver upbringing, my high school taught me Canadian History, American history, but most notably, European history. The biggest focus was on the earliest twentieth-century, because that is when all the different "civilisations" clashed, so we learned about the KMT, Communists, Japanese suicide bombers, the Rape of Nanking. Not to mention, so many of our Hollywood movies continuously show the era of World War II.
Taiwanese also see these same movies. They love watching these movies, but they never seem to reflect on that fact there is some reality actually portrayed in them, and it's not merely fantasy and fun.
I never cease to be amazed by how isolated Taiwanese are, either in the blogosphere, or in the media, or even occasionally, in the classroom. It's as if half of the world doesn't even exist, unless some foreigner has to show them. It is getting better (I have seen some improvement during these past five years).

Michael Turton said...

I read Kaminoge's point, and your post. You're both saying what I am saying from a different perspective. Of course there is a double standard. No shit. And foreigners need to be aware that there is, because we are treated as a community thanks to that double standard, and will suffer as one.