Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTERS: Stereotyping the Chinese

As an Australian who is living in Taiwan and who has previously lived in China for three years, I wish to reply to Hayley Swinamer's letter entitled "A Beautiful Country" (Letters, Jan. 18, page 8).

I do not contest her portrayal of Taiwan as a wonderful place to live, full of friendly people, beautiful scenery and interesting experiences for foreign visitors. I have lived in England, Australia and Germany and could happily spend the rest of my life in Taiwan.

I do wish to contest her portrayal of China as an awful place, however, based on her own limited, negative experience. By her own admission, Hayley only spent "several weeks" in China. She probably had a bad encounter at a poorly run English language school. But how can one judge a whole nation, especially one as large and complex, based on one bad experience?

I also had a bad initial experience in China, but I stayed on and made many good friends, discovered fascinating places and had life-changing experiences. Sure, life there can be hard and the people are poorer, but that doesn't make them bad or make China an "ugly" country. Chinese always distinguish between government officials (guanyuan) and common people (laobaixing). Maybe Hayley could show them the same kindness.

Michael Lickorish

Hsinchu City

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