On a more personal level, a friend wrote me about his personal experience in Taiwan trying to volunteer. Although he speaks excellent Chinese and has international training--his skin color seemed to get in the way.
I realize that there are probably reasons for keeping things Taiwanese only, but how he was rejected as a 'non-Chinese' made quite an impression of how Taiwan deals with its expats. The recent terseness of an important volunteer update on the DPP website makes it clear that "foreign volunteers" should not expect "English language assistance" when trying to help out and that "local relief efforts will run much more smoothly if local governments take the lead."
My friend is not a native English speaker and I have made changes in [editor's brackets] to protect his identity and correct some grammatical errors. Seems that another recent article by a fellow Taiwan blogger hit the point: international studies and political correctness are a North American invention fed by white guilt, but ignorance about the outside world is quite plentiful enough no matter where you are.
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:33:24 PM
Subject: Re: Mr. Ma and TYphoon MorakotThanks for the concern!I've very mixed feelings about it. I was[...] in Taichung [Saturday] and went from there to Nant[ou], but local authorities just asked me to go back.Back in Taipei city[,] all international organizations collect money, but reject non [Chinese] helper[s]. I showed them my Maltese cross first aid medic ID license , but they simply said that they got government order[s]...[L]ooking back from [the] 921 experience, there's a huge lack of co-operation between international teams and Taiwanese.[...] And the green camp?Well, there was a [post] on facebook by a former DPP legislator. After calling her on [the] phone she just said :"We Taiwanese can help ourselves...you can donate money if you want...thanks for calling..."I know about oversea[s] Chinese, even PRC [personnel] who assisted the ROC forces, but it seems so long as you don't have a Chinese face you are not [welcome], but your money is [...].That's my experience here in Taiwan[...] and by the way[,] I donated a few thousand NT$, but I had to ask my Taiwanese girlfriend to do it for me, an [Alien Resident Certificate (Permanent Resident Status)] isn't enough to donate directly to the people inside Taiwan. From outside Taiwan of course a credit card is enough.[Signed]