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Showing posts from July, 2013

Xinyi District in Taipei and Italian Dinner

Yesterday I went to dinner with a friend. She told me something interesting: "On your blog you always write about the dark sides of Taiwan and Asia."
I thought about what she said and I realised it's true. Indeed, I've been writing many posts about certain sides of Chinese / Taiwanese culture and life that I find different from those in the West, and that perhaps I do not like very much. 
I usually try to be as balanced and objective as possible; but it is true that there are things about Chinese culture and thinking that are not quite compatible with my own personality and values. For example, I have written so many posts about the structure of the Chinese family because it is one of the aspects of this culture that fascinates me most, and that at the same time I cannot really accept as a guidance for my own life. 
There are some Westerners who are enthusiastic about Taiwan. "I love Taiwan"; "Taiwan is a country of opportunities"; "Taiwanese pe…

Are Asian Girls Easy? - Marriage, Concubines, and Moral Values

'Are Asian girls easy?' - this question has been asked many times and it seems to be an obsession both with expat communities and Asian people themselves. From a personal point of view, I would argue that Asian girls are not - generally speaking - 'easier' than girls  anywhere else. But even if they were, I don't think anyone should blame them. We accept that men are 'easy', so why should women be blamed for the same behaviour? Whether we like it or not, it is in our common interest to respect everyone's freedom, and even the freedom to act in a way we might ourselves dislike.
However, every individual also has the right to see the world through his own eyes, applying his own moral standards. For example, I can hardly expect from a Christian to accept casual sex, because Christians have their own moral standards. Everyone has the right to their own opinion as long as they do not impose it on others by force. 

Yet I don't think that Asian girls are con…

Clean Underground, Dirty Restaurants - Thoughts About a Taiwanese Contradiction

While I was at Taipei MRT Station this evening I saw the following sign:




As you can see, there is a foreigner on the picture, who of course lacks manners and knowledge so that he eats and drinks in the MRT. A foreign barbarian disrupting the local order - a disgraceful sight. To be fair, I have seen a few foreigners do that before, mostly because we don't have such regulations in the West, so we can't even imagine that they exist. I used to eat and drink in Berlin's underground all the time and never thought there was something wrong or disgusting about it.
Certainly, Taipei's MRT is superior to most Western underground systems as far as cleanliness is concerned. However, I do not totally understand why Taiwanese are so obsessed with the cleanness of their underground, while they often disregard the cleanness of the restaurants they eat in.
The reason why I am writing this post and share with you my doubts is that two weeks ago I went to a Taiwanese restaurant where I swo…

Are Asian Girls Easy? - The Myth of the Innocent Asian (Part III)

Before I came to Taiwan I believed that Asian girls were pure and innocent and that 'evil' Western guys took advantage of Asians' nice and friendly behaviour. I think that this is the version that Asians themselves would like to believe.
But soon I realised that things are not so simple. First of all, I want to emphasize that when we talk about different cultures and societies, we should always make clear by what standards we are judging certain phenomena. In fact, things that are morally acceptable in one country might not be morally acceptable in another. I think this is an extremely important point. If we look at the history of Asia and the West, we can easily recognise that in these two civilisations marriage was based on completely different values.
Asian people tend to believe that Westerners are selfish and pleasure-seeking. Of course, Asians have the right to criticise the West as much as they want. I am not trying to defend the West and I am not suggesting that the …

Are Asian Girls Easy? Why Asians and Westerners Are Attracted to Each Other, and Why It Is All a Misunderstanding (Part II)

There are lots of forums and websites that discuss the question of whether Asian girls are attracted to Western men (and vice-versa). Nevertheless I decided to express my own view on the subject because it is related to the general topic of this series of posts. I think it is undeniable that this mutual interest exists, although it affects only a small part of the population (how small or large, of course no one can tell). Of course, there are many individuals who truly love each other and I'm not trying to belittle their genuine feelings or personal experience. What I'll be discussing in this post is rather a general trend referred to a certain part of the population.
How can we explain this phenomenon? The first and most obvious thing is mutual physical attraction. As I mentioned in my post about the cult of cuteness in East Asia, Asian girls tend to accept a social-role that leads them to act and behave in a way that emphasizes their femininity, fragility, softness and subor…

Are Asian Girls Easy? - A Few Thoughts About How Westerners (may) Perceive Asian Girls (Part I)

A couple of weeks ago some friends of mine shared on Facebook an article that soon became very popular. The article was a merciless criticism of Taiwanese girls. It accused them, among other things, of being "Hello Kitty, submissive, shallow, brain dead and a good f***" (read the full article here). The post was - I think - nothing more than a collection of passages from posts that had already been circulating online for some time. But despite not being at all new, pieces like that always stir minor controversies every time they are (re-)published.
The reaction of Taiwanese netizens to this post was a mix of anger and shame. Some people told me that they admitted that the content of the article had some truth in it, but they were angry at the offensive tone and the exaggerations of the author. 
Now, let me first say something about the style of the post. Of course, it is offensive and simplistic. However,
1) I think that this is a marketing strategy. Writing posts that oversimp…

Six Taiwanese Things that Europe Should Have

I've been quite busy and tired during the last few days. I wasn't in the right mood to continue my 'serious' posts, so I decided to simply write a post about some of the things that I find very useful and nice in Taiwan and that Europe should and could, in my opinion, learn from.

1 - Convenience Stores
If there is a title that Taiwan undoubtedly deserves, then this must be "Kingdom of Convenience Stores." With a total of 9,204 outlets, Taiwan has "the highest density of convenience stores in the world, with each store serving 2,500 people" (note). 
When I lived in Berlin, I used to say that if you walk for five or ten minutes you will find an underground station. In fact, Berlin has one of the most extensive underground networks in the world, and you can truly go anywhere by tube. In Taiwan, if you walk five minutes you may not find an underground station, but certainly you will find a convenience store. Sometimes you see two or three of them on the sa…