Skip to main content

Paris vs Taipei: The "Importance of Appearances" Experiment

A few days ago norniTube released a video that shows how people react when a man falls down in a street in Paris, pretending to be sick. In the first part of the video, the man is dressed like a homeless person. People get by but no one helps him. In the second part of the video, the man is dressed in a suit, and immediately some people go to him and ask him if he's all right (note).




The incident is supposed to show that people often ignore each other's suffering, and that the way someone looks determines how helpful and friendly others will be. 

The same experiment was tried by Apple Chen in Taipei, in the wealthy Eastern District, near Sogo department store. However, the experiment was not about the different reaction of passers-by to a homeless and a rich-looking man. 

A normally dressed man begins to cough and then falls down. After just a few seconds some people go to him and ask if he's all right. He says that he has pills in his pocket, and they help him take them.



The video is supposed to show that Taiwanese people are not as cold as Parisians, and that they are willing to help out when someone is in need. In this case, it seems to me like a self-celebration of an alleged Taiwanese kindness, which has become a distinctive trait of Taiwanese self-image and in the way they define themselves to the outside world.

I am always quite sceptical when I hear such generalisations. In this case, the experiment has been tried only once, and the man was actually quite handsome and didn't look like a homeless. Moreover, I think in Europe there are a lot of social problems, especially in big cities. Honestly, in some Western cities there are so many drug-addicts and strange people going around, that I think I might not help somebody, either. 

I remember that once in Berlin an old man asked me if I could give him some money. He looked really shabby and a little bit sick, so I gave him four euros. The man smiled and then said: "Fine, I will drink a toast in your honour".  
"A toast?" I said. "What are you going to buy with this money?" 
He took a bottle of vodka out of his bag and replied: "I've almost finished this."
He looked very happy, but I just thought I'd wasted my money.

What are your thoughts about it? Do you think people in Taiwan are more helpful to each other than in other countries? What are your experiences in everyday life?


Sogo Department Store, in Zhongxiao Fuxing.
One of the first places I visited in Taipei.
(source)

Comments

  1. I think sense of security plays a major role here. If people don't feel safe, they will not simply help a stranger. So, i don't think above videos can accurately prove the kindness of its citizen. Try to have the above act carried out in rural mainland China. Result may be a lot more depressing.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Taipei Walking Tours - A Guide To Taipei In 6 Days

Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia. With about 10.74 million tourists in 2017, it lags behind Asian neighbours like Thailand (35 million), Hong Kong (58 million), Japan (28.7 million), or Indonesia (14 million).
Nevertheless, Taiwan is a great place to visit due to its amazing food, fascinating history, traditional Chinese culture, friendly atmosphere, safety, and natural attractions. Moreover, Taiwan has a very convenient visa policy. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and most European Union members, can travel to Taiwan without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. You can literally buy a plane ticket and go to Taiwan without doing any paperwork.    
If you travel to Taiwan, your first destination will probably be the capital and largest city: Taipei.




Taipei is the political and economic centre of the island, with lots of attractions ranging from modern skyscrapers and shopping centres to night markets, colonial Japanese architect…

Rumours About Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing's Arrest Spread Online

Rumours about the arrest of Chinese model and actress Fan Bingbing on charges of tax evasion have spread on Chinese media.
As Apple Daily reports, celebrity Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng have allegedly been detained for taking part in a tax evasion scheme alongside her manager, Mu Xiaoguang.
Mu has also allegedly been charged with destroying incriminating evidence.

On May 28 TV anchor Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a contract that showed Fan Bingbing being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on director Feng Xiaogang's film “Cell Phone 2.” 

Later Cui released another contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He alleged that Fan had declared to tax authorities only the first contract, thus avoiding to pay taxes on the second, larger amount. 

Double-contracts for the purpose of tax evasion are known in China as "yin-yang contracts". 

Although the Chinese government censored Cui's posts, in early June China's t…

Majority Of Germans Are Afraid Of Donald Trump - Survey

More than two-thirds of Germans think that Donald Trump's foreign policy is making the world more dangerous, according to a recent survey.

The survey shows that 69 percent of respondents worry that Trump's policy is making the world more dangerous, topping this year's list. 

63 percent of respondents said they are worried about asylum seekers, 63% fear "tensions due to the arrival of foreigners", 61 percent worry about politicians' inability to tackle problems. 59 percent are worried about terrorism - 12 percent less than a year ago.

58 percent are worried about the cost of the EU debt crisis to German taxpayers, while 57 percent fear political extremism.

"The Fears of the Germans" (Die Ängste der Deutschen) is a survey conducted every year by R+V-Infocenter since 1992. 2,400 people above 14 years are asked about their biggest worries. This year the survey was conducted between June 8 to July 18.