Saturday, August 22, 2009

A bit more on racism in Taiwan

I was reading Michael Turton's post about the recent story Apple Daily ran regarding AIT employee David Lyon and his alleged sexual exploits with a NCCU student. Not surprisingly, this story blossomed into a warning for all (poor, young, innocent) Taiwanese 'girls' to beware the evil foreigners walking their streets. They are only out to hurt you, take advantage of you and get you into bed, say Apple Daily's experts. Michael's article is excellent but I feel I need to rant on a few more things that strike me as inherently racist and in bad taste about this article:

First, is the use of his name and his linkage to the American Institute in Taiwan. (AIT, for those of you who don't know is the US 'underground' embassy in Taiwan as they cannot have official diplomatic ties.) It's interesting that in other more 'local' stories about this kind of thing, Chinese names are always shielded using titles such as Ms. Wang or Mr. Chen. Poor Mr. Lyon's was not. There were about 5-6 more stories generated from the initial story featuring photos of him having an elevator ride with the woman (gasp!) to quotes from his security guard who told several details about his private life ("he brought home tonnes of girls"). I'm not a lawyer, but the fact that he was not charged with any criminal activity and his name, job and other personal details was blabbed all over the press makes me wonder just how huge a violation of his person rights this all is. Of course, the local woman's rights were protected by a legal notice given to Mr. Lyon preventing him from exposing any racy photos or other details he encountered during the relationship.

Next in annoyances, is expansion of this situation to all foreigners made possible by the recruitment of local experts on foreigners who have done extensive research on the subject. By research of course, we mean girls like "Kelly" who has had relationships with at least 20 foreign guys and has somehow discovered a mathematical formula to derive that 90% of all foreigners in Taiwan are losers. (You'd think she would have gotten sick of foreigners after having 'relationships' with the first dozen.) Of course, this is backed up by another 'expert' Jiang Yingyao who says that 'foreigners see themselves as superior to all women' and warns (poor, defenseless, innocent) Taiwanese girls to beware. I'm looking forward to their next 'joint' paper on "ethnic psychoanalysis through dating".

Finally, the huge lack of logic in the whole thing makes it beyond annoying to me. If you read the chat log posted in the article, this woman is asking for true love after she meets him on (which is pretty much a pickup site, anyway) and goes on camera to chat with him (presumably revealing most of herself in the process). Later she is 'forced' to again have cybersex with him when he logs in from Japan. Poor thing, her legs all up on the table like that. Somehow naked pictures were taken during their trysts, etc. and now she is just horribly violated by this foreigner. Now at what point, I ask you, do you really start thinking 'this guy isn't Prince Charming'. I mean you are a student at Taiwan's #2 university. If 90% of them are all losers, how did this all happen?

This reminds me of a similar story from Canada back in the day. In 1979, a TV show called W-FIVE ran a story called "Campus Giveaway" that cited statistics showing Chinese were taking away opportunities from local Canadians at universities. Chinese Canadians were outraged by this attack and organized (what later became the Chinese Canadian National Council) in order to fight this kind of media discrimination. This resulted in an apology from the network and punitive measures taken against the producers and others involved in the story. No longer could you paint all Chinese with one brush in Canada. They even went on to repeal Canada's head tax and get a huge payout from the Canadian government in reparations.

Of course, in Taiwan, any foreigner involved in activities that concern the organization of alien residents to express an opinion would not only be recognized but in some aspects (such as political or social) be considered illegal and result in deportation. Until such time as Taiwan accepts such bizarre foreign 'international notions' of ethnic equality, gender equity and media ethics, I guess we'll just have to keep those poor, defenseless Taiwanese girls away from the evil foreigners for their own good.

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