Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Western stereotypes: Once a liberal always a liberal I

Remember the liberal has to execute with his bare hands in order to convince everyone he is not soft on crime? Well, there are plenty of situations where the analogy plays out in Taiwan on both sides: we are supposed to be dirty horn dogs who are afraid of commitment, obsessed with our space, right to decide, confrontational and too direct; they are supposed to be hiding their feelings, lacking independence, and not able to give a straight answer.

It leads to many misunderstandings:

The classic situation was the restaurant and complaining. I would very politely suggest that i had ordered steak not pork and would it be possible to change the food, and the girlfriend or date would say: "You foreigners like to argue, don't you?"

Once you were here a little while it became more annoying as you realized Taiwan was hardly a garden of peace: at work you listened open mouthed as the boss bollocked his staff for half an hour - and last night on the news a legislator called another ‘a fucking thick bitch’ in the legislature because she didn’t understand Taiwanese - then there were the usual four or five killings because someone beeped their horn at the wrong person or gave someone a strange look in a pool hall; however, we foreigners like to argue.

“Sorry, for offending the karma of peace and tranquillity you Taiwanese all have," I would reply.

All this just to get laid with a hot girl - which kind of, in a stroke, immediately eliminates any superiority i might have been feeling.

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