Two things happened this week that exemplify my increasingly mixed attitude toward this complex little island called Taiwan.
I finally had the nerve to submit a piece to Chinasmack’s Diaspora section earlier this month and it was published yesterday. The main part was about my background which I’ve never even felt comfortable enough to describe it here, but I also highlighted a criticism towards the attitude of some people here. It might be controversial but it’s what I truly feel. After years of living in Taiwan, I feel more strongly than ever about China and its people, and about what I find is the hollowness of the superiority complex that many locals hold against China which contrasts with their valuing of their Chinese heritage (not to mention their economic dependence).
Then, earlier this week, I had another taste of how maturity and common sense sometimes seems to be in short supply among some people. It was just a casual incident, but it seems little things can make some people get so out of sorts. What happened is I was walking out of my office building for lunch when I paused and partially bent down to adjust one of my pant’s legs so that it would cover my shoe more fully. Two female colleagues (I didn’t know them but they were wearing my company’s IDs) were passing by and immediately one of them said, “he’s so weird (他很奇怪).” I got up, shook my head, and walked off, pondering how adults could be so fantastically childish. This wasn’t the first such experience I’ve had and it sometimes feels like this is a society full of gossipy, spineless and weak-minded adults. There are many Westerners and overseas Chinese-Taiwanese who gush over how great Taiwan is and how lovely its people are, but I am not one of them and I feel that this is something that should be talked about more.
There was a time when I was sympathetic to Taiwan and their anti-China feelings, and even to the DPP. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a supporter of the DPP or the pro-independence leanings of some of their supporters, but I sympathized with the notion that Taiwan should be wary about China and try to maintain some distance. I actually defended Taiwan in exchanges with family and acquaintances, in person and over Facebook. I’ll probably describe them in detail more in a later post but for now, let’s just say those sentiments aren’t and won’t ever be uttered by me again. There are still things to like about Taiwan and the people, quite a few things actually, but it’s hard not to view here in a much less favorable light than before.