Friday, April 17, 2009

Taiwan culture: Communication Taiwan-style

I once had a Taiwanese male room-mate. At the time I was having problems communicating with a Taiwanese girlfriend - She just stayed in every evening watching TV and wouldn't go out. I tried compromising but she wasn't having anything so I asked my room-mate what to do.

He replied: 'Just take the plug off the TV - Show her that you are serious.’

It sounded so childish, but still I tried it. We fought standing over the plug for an hour and then I gave up, let her watch the TV. I went back to the guy and said it hadn’t worked.

To which he replied, 'Then you haven't found the problem. Why is she watching the TV?’

I replied, ‘I don’t know. She won’t tell me.’

To which he replied, ‘Of course, she is too polite to tell you. You have to work it out.’

I thought about the fact that we weren't actually getting along and I was aware of it.

'I don't think she is interested in me," I said to the room-mate. 'But i mentioned to her before if she was not happy we could break up.'

He stared at me disdainfully.

I continued, 'Okay...Um...Yes, I know what you mean - the signs are there: she is being passive-aggressive...but still it means I have to unilaterally identity problems, and take action on it. What if I am wrong?'

'Welcome to Taiwan,' he replied.

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