Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stereotypes: Taiwanese men on Taiwanese girls who like foreigners

What Taiwanese men thought of their women who dated foreigners was a subject it was best to not get onto for obvious reasons: they knew that for whatever idiotic reason we had the physical edge, we didn’t want to be seen as bragging, and we didn’t want to hear any negative reasons for why they thought this was the case.

Still it sits there below the surface and has to come out occasionally. On this particular occasion I was sat at lunch time with my colleagues eating our bowls of beef noodle soup and listening to the TV. It was another anti-foreigner week in the media as on Monday some guy was arrested for cheating a bunch of girls out of money so now the media was trotting out a story a day of predator foreigners shagging as many poor, innocent Taiwanese girls as possible and then leaving. Once you have been there in Taiwan a while you know there is nothing to worry about: everyone knows not to trust the media just treat it as entertainment, it isn’t going to get violent, and at the end of week the news will go back to stories of politicians shagging their secretaries. In short, Taiwanese know the world is complicated and naughty and they don’t bear a grudge.

As the TV screamed 'foreigner' there was an edgy silence in the room as I was the only foreign dude. I decided to break the ice: “I don’t understand these girls either – Giving up their culture and family just for some stupid stereotype of the white man. But seriously – I kind of understand now after all these years that we are different cultures and it is extremely tough having a relationship. What are these girls thinking?” I said.

Bryant was young and proud so the first to bite. “I don’t know,” he said. “You see them in the park…It is a particular Taiwanese girl who like the foreigner…”

“I know,” I said. “But what kind of girl? – I have dated many and I don’t know why they want us either?”

“They feel no Taiwanese guy wants them,” he continued. “Usually it is the big ones – they think you foreigners don’t mind the big girl.”

“The too individualistic type,” said Jay Chan, the new product marketing guy.

“They are unhappy,” said Eric Chu, a guy from power engineering who had joined us for lunch.

I feigned offence so Eric jumped in: “but not your girlfriend of course, she is beautiful” and they all nodded together.

“Sure,” I said. “There are exceptions to every rule. Didn’t you tell me your sister married a foreigner Jay?”

Once they had told me my girlfriend was beautiful they felt they could continue. “You know, a little strange,” said Jack Liu another power engineer.

“No, it is just have no confidence ones,” said Stephen Liao, a guy in his forties who is head of product management.

At this point we had already finished, paid and were walking back to the office. “I don’t know,” I said. “They say the more outgoing ones, stronger and more independent personalities go for foreigners - The ones who want equality.”

At this they all burst out laughing and started slapping me on the back.

“Don’t you just love these foreigners,” said Stephen Liao. “They are so honest…My point exactly the weird ones…the ones we don’t want.”

Stephen, Jack and Eric walked off at this point to take the lift up to the eighth floor. As they walked off they continued to double over laughing to themselves about those self-deprecating foreigners.

“…We would have a face problem,” said Eric as they lift doors shut.

3 comments:

Virginia said...

So I was wondering, is your wife a stronger, more out-going, wanting equality type of woman? Or did you conform to being the macho, needing face and compliments Taiwanese man with the little woman (xiao nu ren)?

Dan Chapman said...

Unfortunately, I ended up with the stereotype...

Anonymous said...

Personal experience here, but seriously me as being a taiwanese man who has been abroad for about 18 years and have come back to live, I can downright tell you that I have never seen so many girly guys in my life. Taiwanese men can bitch about anything, they cannot do things by themselves and require groupies to carry out their tasks. (Unification is power, true, but if you cannot go to the 7-11 by yourself without your cliks...) In relation to this article? The majority of my chances with members of the opposite sex, have always been with the girls with steady boyfriends, or even married women, why is that? Sad truth is, taiwanese men are all very "safe" and they cannot function without others, too bloody needy and dependant. And the criticism that comes out of mouths of especially taiwanese men, amazingly horrendous. Don't go blaming taiwanese girls for being too easy, but blame yourselves for being too wussy, get the facts right.