Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Canada-based Taiwanese angered by ‘biased’ article

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Several Montreal-based Taiwanese recently launched a protest campaign against the Gazette, an English-language daily newspaper published in Montreal, Canada, for its publication of an article on Taiwan, which they said was biased.

The newspaper carried an article about Taiwan under the title “Teaching English: Cultural Shock” in its Feb. 26 publication, in which Lindsey Craig, a Canadian who said she used to teach English in Taiwan, described her seven-month stay in the country in 2005 as “the most difficult experience of my life.”

It angered many Taiwanese living in the city who thought the paper should not have used the three-page article to introduce Taiwan solely based on one person’s subjective view.

However, in the subtitle, the article said: “Like thousands of -Canadians every year, Lindsey Craig moved overseas to teach English in Taiwan — but she’s the one who got some hard life-lessons.”

In Taichung, where Craig said she lived, she said that she couldn’t identify anything during the first week because “the signs on the streets were all written in Chinese” and that navigating the streets was daunting because “some signs were written with letters from the English alphabet, but they were often spelled differently than they were spelled on a map.”

She said she found that “few people spoke English, and often when they could, they refused because they were too embarrassed to make a mistake and ‘lose face.’”

Craig said there were unsettling moments at work, citing the example of the parents of one of her students who thought that the best way to take care of their son’s disruptive behavior was to beat him.

In her article, Craig said that her days in Taiwan “were marked by frustration, shock and disbelief.”

Toward the end, she said that “I now know I was not ready for Taiwan. I did not research the culture adequately enough, and I should have gone only if I’d had a genuine interest in learning the language.”

Montreal-based Taiwanese created a group called “226 protest of media bias Gazette in Montreal” on Facebook, with Su Yu-chun (蘇玉純) calling on foreign nationals living in Taiwan teaching foreign languages to contact the group to lodge a protest against the newspaper.

David Tsao (曹耕臺) posted a letter addressed to the country’s representative to Canada, David Lee (李大維), on Facebook, urging Lee and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada to lodge a formal protest against the Gazette.

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