Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Expat Culture in Taiwan: Canadian English Teachers Show II

On this particular episode of the Canadian English teachers show one of the ‘stars’ is talking about how he plans to get out of teaching and set up a business. He has some outlandish idea of something he thinks is lacking from the market – and buoyed up by his superiority complex, too many years without being challenged by his peers, he is determined to get an investor for his idea.
It is hard to not go through this stage - Remember the locals think we foreigners are all creative and so we begin to believe in our stereotype. You forget that an idea is worth shit without a plan to make it work, but, depending on how deeply you have fallen, it takes a while to remember.
Next the star of the show was on the phone to one of his student’s fathers pitching him his business idea; he didn’t have a business plan, a power point, or an intention to invest any money himself, just a reasonably well thought through idea about something that might work.
He then announces to the camera that he is pretty psyched because the father has invited him to lunch on Sunday to discuss things - Also secretly happy because he avoided having to take the guy to an expensive dinner to talk about the idea.
“What an asshole,” shouted Josh. “He makes me ashamed to be a Canadian.”
“What’s up?” said Pierre. “Seems like a good way.”
“Are you going to tell him, man? He listens to you,” said Josh to John.
John spoke: “Pierre you know I don’t like to call you a daft cunt, but…”
We all knew instinctively that you have to invite the other person if you want to be taken seriously. Don’t beg. Go with an agenda. If, after twenty minutes, you are talking about the differences between France and Taiwan and where to go on vacation in France, get up and walk out. We had all been through that stupidity when we started teaching: we didn’t know what we were doing so we talked to students for hours hoping they would sign up. This was no different: in business, if all you have is an idea, and not the belief to make it work, then you spend a lot of time clutching at straws.
Pierre still hadn’t given up. “Guys, you have been here a few years but you still don’t understand the Taiwanese.  It is good for him to go to his house. Do you know why? Because he will be more relaxed, he will play with his kids and show him he can trust him, he can’t say ‘no’ to him in front of his wife, kids and probably his grandmother. He will lose face…I would do it that way.”
Twenty minutes later and the show was playing out a rather awkward scene at the house. Unfortunately, the guy’s plan of inviting our Canadian star back saying ‘No’ in front of his family, hopefully so he wouldn’t get too angry was backfiring.
“The lying bastard…wasting my time,” says our Canadian star giving his opinion to the camera.
Then it was the narrator’s turn to say about the perils of trying to set up a business in Taiwan. Pity he didn’t say about the real perils: letting your commonsense go out the window when your ego is massaged by well meaning foreigners.

1 comment:

andy said...

I caught a couple of episodes of this show when I was back in Canada for a visit and I remember thinking that the producers must have deliberately chosen the thickest people they could find in order to make living in Taiwan look difficult. I have seen people from eastern Europe thrive as English teachers and these people could barely pay their rent.