Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 8 News List


Taiwan not foreigner-friendly

When reading about an English carnival designed to make foreigners "feel at home" in Taiwan ("English carnival celebrates `foreigner-friendly Taiwan,'" Dec. 21, page 2), I felt quite amused.

How can you celebrate a foreigner-friendly environment in a country where taxi drivers cannot even recognize the most famous international hotel's English name? How can foreigners feel at home in a place where it is virtually impossible to have a local wife or girlfriend without the partner being ostracized by large parts of society? Nor is it very foreigner-friendly to teach a useless, local dialect called "Taiwanese" in schools. Not to mention the new pension law, which simply excludes foreigners altogether.

In fact, Taiwan is an almost hopeless provincial nest, and efforts to promote English do not really make much difference.

In Taiwan, especially among pan-green supporters, there is a kind of "Taiwan supremacist" attitude. They look down on Chinese, they despise Vietnamese and Thai nationals, and they also feel deeply suspicious about white foreigners.

Why do so many foreigners live in Singapore and love it over there? Because no girl's parents mind their daughter dating "foreigners" and expat children are taught proper Chinese (Mandarin) and English at public schools -- not to mention the friendliness and high standards of service in Singapore.

The government -- and the Democratic Progressive Party in particular -- should open their hearts and minds to people born outside of Taiwan and be more tolerant to all foreigners -- not only the white, English-speaking ones like me -- rather than holding a ridiculous "English carnival." The pan-green camp should study the Singaporean model rather than promote "Taiwanization" -- a scheme clearly opposed not only to Mainlanders, but also to foreigners.

Of course, foreigners who want to stay in Taiwan should learn Chinese and adapt to Chinese thinking and way of life. However, I am worried that such foreigners are not really attracted to Taiwan by the sometimes bizarre moves to promote the Taiwanese language.

And by the way, most foreigners in Taiwan are not native English speakers.

Richard Zuercher


Exposing KMT and PFP lies

Your article ("KMT to scrutinize any new arms plan," Dec. 19, page 3) says that the opposition in the legislature stated that the Patriot missile batteries "stand no chance" of obtaining their approval because they were "vetoed" during the first national referendum held in tandem with last year's presidential election.

It is a bare-faced lie to argue that the arms are not wanted, because the referendum didn't achieve the 50 percent total of voters required to be valid. The question posed in the referendum about "more money for weapons" would have been genuinely vetoed by Taiwanese citizens if the majority had answered "no." However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party played dirty by instructing their supporters not to vote in the referendum, rather than voting "no."

In the same manner, they lie when they talk about the 1992 "one China" consensus. What consensus? Saying that there is "one China" while agreeing to disagree on the meaning is plain ridiculous. Even a child can tell us that the product of a positive and a negative is a negative.

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