Friday, September 4, 2009

Expat culture in Taiwan: Paranoid forum rambling

There were numerous forums set up to help people in Taiwan. These sites, set up by people who generously gave up their time to contribute back; were unfortunately, hijacked by moaning stupid foreigners.
A quick look through showed page after page filled with comments about how there was actually no need to follow this tradition. That it could be done another way because it was in Hong Kong.
Ironically, it was always the same monikers in these forums and not so close inspection would reveal their rants the previous week about how they hated Hong Kong because it was an uncultured hellish modernity.
It proved to them that the Taiwanese didn’t care as much their about fellow man and the environment as we did back home, that it told us something was inherently bad about the Taiwanese character, and if only they let foreigners run the government…but they don’t because they are racists…and that was another story…And don’t get them started on that because they didn’t want to waste anymore time on the subject after having to give their advice on it yesterday in the discussion thread entitled, ‘What is your favourite Taiwanese food?’
Eric was strange – he was either giving you detailed information on the history of Taiwan that suggested he would be the first to the battlefield or complaining about the place. He liked to trawl these forums for support for his ideas.
“I am not the only one who is prepared to say some things are wrong here. Look!” said Eric.
Eric had printed out one of forums about burning paper money and how it is bad for the environment, like he had found the smoking gun.
Eric continued, “It is so clear man, back home we wouldn’t allow some tradition to go on if it wrecked the environment.”
“What about Christmas dumb ass. We chop down enough trees to crowd a couple of small minorities and a bunch of endangered species out of their share of the oxygen supply; then we string lights everywhere burning electricity and causing safety hazards…” said Pierre.
“The wrapping paper as well…trees and incineration,” said John.
“Yes. American, looks like you fucked up again!” For the 14,314 time he promised not to open his big mouth. He was serious this time.
We wondered how it was both possible to be so interested in, love and know so much about a country; and complain about it all the time. But that was the answer – He felt done enough to be accepted as a Taiwanese and he couldn’t accept they wouldn’t call him thus.

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