Tag Archives: negative

New Taboo Observations About Taiwan – Warning: Offensive

22 Nov

The following is an intellectual take on a non-intellectual culture.

Taiwan has a very politically correct social culture that is superficial, practical, conformist, insular, cliquish, repressed and non-intellectual. There is an unspoken but obvious social rule that around others, you are always expected to act positive and cheerful, and only talk about superficial things. Anything to the contrary will weird people out, especially young adults, and may ostracize you from social groups. So you can’t be negative (no matter how justified) or talk about deep things in Taiwan without looking like a misfit.

What this means is that if you are unhappy or don’t like something in Taiwan (and there is a lot to dislike in Taiwan, that’s for sure) then no one wants to hear about it, unless you have a close and understanding friend. For example, even though it’s obvious that Taiwanese are generally closed, repressed and narrow, you are not allowed to SAY that they are. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome. In that sense, you are not allowed to tell the truth in Taiwan.

This means that you often can’t be yourself in Taiwan. You see, in truth, no one can be positive all the time, human nature doesn’t work that way since everything is made up of a union of opposites, as the Chinese Ying Yang symbol signifies. What this means is that at least half the time, you will not be able to be yourself in Taiwan around other people – who expect you to only say positive and superficial things. What this also means is that if you are an honest truthful intellectual in Taiwan, you may find a few friends, but you will not fit into social groups or cliques, because they are strict about these social rules and political correctness.

However, I do not agree with this social rule mandating political correctness in Taiwan. You see, I don’t believe that just because something is negative, that it should be denied simply because it is politically incorrect. You must understand that political correctness is about control, NOT truth. And control = loss of freedom to say and think what you want. So, since I’m a “freedom junkie” I do not believe in such control and censorship, especially when it conflicts with reality. But sadly, most people are the opposite. They prefer political correctness, control and censorship over the truth.

Even blogs and website about Taiwan follow this social rule. They only say superficial positive things about Taiwan, and give some tourist information, but nothing deeper. I would venture to guess that it’s because either the authors of these blogs/sites are on a superficial wavelength themselves, or they’ve been to Taiwan and know the social rule there, and follow it even online for some reason. Or, of course, they genuinely like Taiwan and want to say only positive things about it. (But I honestly can’t see why, since I see more negatives than positives about Taiwan)

Now you may be asking, “But isn’t it like that everywhere?” The answer is a resounding NO! And if you are asking this, then you’ve probably never spent much time outside of Taiwan, Japan or North America. The world outside of these areas is very different. In most of Europe, young adults are intellectual, open minded and passionate, and so is the culture (in comparison to Taiwan and America at least). In Russia for example, young adults commonly speak 3 or 4 languages (German and English are usually among them) and enjoy history as a hobby, not just as a school subject. (I know because I’ve spent a lot of time there)

And in Italy, Greece and Spain, art and history are part of the culture and passion of the people. It is not something that they “have to study in school”, rather it is something they love naturally. Love of philosophy and intellectual subjects is common even in young adults (in total contrast to Taiwan), so it is not something that only “misfits and weirdos” like (as it is in Taiwan). People are also more open and relaxed, even toward strangers, as opposed to the repressed, uptight, insular nature of the Taiwanese and its extremely shy youth.

In contrast, in Taiwan the culture and people revolve around basic practicality – such as food, making money and raising a family – and conversation revolves around light superficial topics. People are also more repressed, uptight and insular. And young adults and teens are overly shy to the extreme. Obviously, what this means is that if you are an intellectual and/or passionate type, then European countries are a much better fit for you than Taiwan. (Keep in mind though, that being a misfit somewhere will gradually decrease your level of happiness and well-being if you stay there long term)

If you are on a deep wavelength, like writers and intellectuals are, you won’t find many people in Taiwan who you can talk to on your level, since everyone acts like they are on a superficial wavelength. (Even if they aren’t, they will still act like it in order to fit in) Some people may be open minded enough to listen to you, but they will not be able to contribute anything back. Taiwan is not a place to find deep intellectual conversation, that’s for sure. Not to brag, but as far as I know, I seem to be the only Taiwanese freethinker. I honestly don’t know any others. I guess that makes me really unique, but uniqueness comes with loneliness too.

This might be personal and subjective, but Taiwan seems to have some kind of negative energy vortex. I sense a vibe of misery and repression everywhere I go in Taiwan, which is draining and undermines my self-confidence and self-esteem. I do not like it at all. It’s feels horrible and draining, like some kind of toxic radiation. It’s like there are hungry ghosts sucking your soul or something (in addition to the sterile environment). I feel like something is trying to choke me in Taiwan. Perhaps it’s because I don’t fit in or share the narrow repressiveness of the Taiwan vibe, so it has this effect on me? I guess if you are narrow and repressed yourself, then you won’t notice anything it, but if you aren’t, you will?

Taiwanese personalities commonly come in two weird extremes: 1) grumpy, constipated, stern, strict facial expression (common among older generation), and 2) fake innocent cheesy corny “hello kitty” facial expression (common among young adults and teens). Ewww! Both of these suck and are abnormal and unnatural. How do you vibe with such unnatural personalities? I have no idea. Why can’t Taiwanese just be normal and natural? I often feel like I’m the only one that’s “normal” in Taiwan. It’s like a Twilight Zone environment where normal is abnormal, and abnormal is normal. Really weird.

To be honest, Taiwan is the most UNINTERESTING country I’ve ever been to. And its people are the WEIRDEST I’ve ever met – totally closed, cold, strict, repressed, almost inhuman. I don’t understand why they are like that. How the hell am I supposed to “act” around such people? I’m confused and I don’t get it. I’m nothing like them, thank goodness. This might sound bad, but in Taiwan, I feel like i’m the only one that’s “normal”. I know that sounds terrible, but I don’t know how else to put it.

Publicly, everyone says that “Taiwanese are very friendly”. But they NEVER differentiate or specify what they mean, not even in blogs or websites. The term “friendly” is loosely used, even by people who don’t mean it, just to appear nice. But in reality, the fact is, people do not generally smile or make eye contact with strangers in Taiwan. The only people that do are elderly or older folks, and customer service people (who are paid to be friendly and helpful). But definitely not young adults, especially females (since females are more guarded toward strangers than males are of course), who are more closed and excessively shy. If they don’t know you, they will not acknowledge your existence or talk to you, unless you are introduced to them by a mutual friend.

This pattern is virtually 100 percent consistent throughout Taiwan. It’s an obvious and consistent pattern that anyone can see, but no one talks about – probably because by bringing it up, you will appear to be saying that “Taiwanese are cold and unfriendly” which is negative and taboo/forbidden. This is true of multi-cultural social groups consisting of foreigners in Taiwan as well.

Yet I seem to be the only one who verbally differentiates and specifies such patterns and differences. No one else does, at least not publicly. So it’s like telling the truth in Taiwan makes me a misfit. Weird. I guess most people are programmed to never say anything taboo or politically correct. They desperately want to fit in and be accepted by others, which is more important to them than telling the truth or being honest and aware. But as an intellectual and introvert, I am more apt to remain true to my “inner self/inner life” and tell the truth honestly and accurately, rather than be fake to follow the norm, which I see as inauthentic.

I guess that makes me different from others. But then again, if being honest and authentic makes me different from the crowd, and if telling the truth makes me a misfit, then that speaks volumes about what a dysfunctional society and social culture this is. And I am not afraid to say that. Where I come from, being brave, confident and courageous enough to follow your heart and tell the truth is encouraged and valued, and if that makes me a misfit in a repressed insular culture like Taiwan, then so be it.

Many of the greatest writers, intellectuals and freethinkers throughout world history agree with me on this. To understand what I mean, see their quotes here: http://www.happierabroad.com/Quotes_Insanity.htm

Thanks for reading these taboo but truthful observations.

More Taboo Articles about Taiwan:

The Four Biggest Problems With Taiwan

Taiwanese people are empty shells with no soul or emotions

10 Reasons Why Taiwan is not good for social life, fun, happiness or romance

The Dark Side of Taiwan

The Pros and Cons of Taiwan

Taboo Observations and Truths About Taiwan

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Critical Comments about Janet Hsieh from Readers 謝怡芬

10 Jun

It looks like I’m not the only one who finds Janet Hsieh 謝怡芬 fake, corny, cheesy and annoying. Some others do too, as I suspected. Here are their comments that they posted in my blog (some are anonymous and some are not). They are funny but fairly accurate.

http://janet-hsieh-sucks.blogspot.com/2011/05/critique-of-janet-hsieh-host-of-taiwan.html#comments

Anonymous said…
I actually agree with you. I don’t watch her shows anymore, they are boring, she is trying to make Taiwan look like Wonderland. For someone who claimed to be MIT student, going to doctor school, learning martial arts, blah, blah, blah, she is here posting her pictures in men magazine, cheap tabloids magazines, and polluting buses and boards with her pictures, ads, etc, she is another narcissist Taiwanese here to tell them that she has done more than others. But with all her activities here in Taiwan and traveling to lots of places, doing interviews, her “medical career”is also another fake item that she is going to put in her pedigree. This is what I see in her, comes a Spanish degree MIT nobody to Taiwan and try to make a career here because in the States she is a nobody.
Kristine said…
I think Janet is a hypocrite. She overreacts and pretends to be hyperactive coz it’s needed for her show. But I think when she’s alone, she’s like, duh! What the hell was that?
James said…
With so many talented people in Taiwan why did they choose this feather brain gal? There are lots of girls that are prettier and actually have real brain, not a lot of cheap talk and fake big smile. And for those who are trying to point out her MIT degree, it is SPANISH, and last that I heard, she can’t ever utter enough Spanish words to her Spanish speaking friends. There is a reason she is here doing this silly show, she can’t do better in her country.
Anonymous said…
I’m also from Texas and been traveling around Asia. In my honest opinion Taiwan is very polluted, not really interesting compared to Japan or Bali but it is more livable than Cambodia or Thailand. About Janet, well she is paid to spread the good word (or better saying lies)about Taiwan. Who is going to spit on the hand that is paying for her popularity here, bags, dresses, make-up and food? And she always travels overseas for her vacations despite all her talking about Taiwan being so fun.
Sally Kao said…
Such a wonderful article! I’ve finally found someone like me. I just don’t get it y people always ignore the facts just to stay “happy”… it’s really funny and pathetic actually. i agree w/ u that she is not that extraordinary. so many people are popular only because they have been promoted, which is a fact for sure, but nobody can see it or even if someone sees it, they’ll never admit it. Keep posting!
Amy Prosper said…
I kinda agree, Everytime I watched her show, and tried to like it, I became so tired with all the smiles and her crazy eyes. Maybe I’m not into an over-happy people. She looked fine in personality, and very fine in physical appearance, but I just can’t stand her shouting excitement and all those crazy eyes looks, which for me, had reached to annoying level for a tv show. I couldn’t focus on the places, My eyes were exhausted following her jumpy and too much happiness-style. Her shows are my least favorite TLC shows.
Chips said…
My 2 cents: I agree with the blogger – Janet needs to work harder. However, there is no need for personal attacks since you may not know her personally. The show is very generic, and average. Kudos to the crew and cast for trying to spice up a small island which has little to offer in the way of packaged tourism. Taiwan has lost its soul (I am born, and bred here, but I have also lived abroad in Europe, Africa, mainland China for 20yrs) during the economic boom and modernization of the 70s-80s. The concept of tourism is very superficial and there is little unique to offer in the way of cultural diversity. Personally, if you prefer pure ethnic travel thrills, places like Vietnam and Thailand may offer more interest. Taiwan is stuck in a cultural limbo between quasi Japanese-South island-Han chinese culture. With mainland China opening up, Taiwan has even lost its lime-light as a “Chinese” experience. Janet nad her crew have very little to work with besides, well, the food. Taiwanese cuisine is great. No doubts about that. As for the people, well – western extroverts will have a hard time in Taiwan. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with Taiwanese in general. During the booming 80s, this place was as vibrant and outgoing as Japane. Unfortunately, the vibe has dulled along with the economic slow-down. People here are indeed geared (automoton is a little harsh, but almost spot on!) towards achieving wealth and status, rather than living. This will change with time as people settle down from the giddy material-chasing lifestyle and mentality of the past. It will take a while though. But nothing will change the Confucian conservatism of the ladies and our dating etiquette. Its unfair to label us “deadbeat” just because we do not go wild like college kids in the US. Different cultures, different ways. In my opinion, the mainland Chinese are more energetic and daring right now because their nation is in a state of flux, just like Japan and Taiwan was 20 years ago. But once the become an established economy and the growth rate slows, people will settle down once again. The euphoria of a roaring economy does affect people and how they behave. Taiwan and Japan are on a pessimistic edge right now. As a final comment on the show – its time to stop flogging a dead horse (Taiwan), and move on. I love Taiwan, but I admit, there is very little to offer foreigners looking for travel thrills, adventure, or even relaxation in Taiwan. A good and dare I say, brave job well done! Now move onto something with more workable material. It should test Janet’s mettle a little more.
Update: Forumosa thread with critical comments about Janet Hsieh
Check out this big thread in Forumosa.com about Janet Hsieh which contains many funny critical comments about her.

http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=70037

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