Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 Ways Taiwan Has Gotten Worse - Socially, Spiritually and Culturally

Some new observations about how Taiwan has gotten worse socially, spiritually and culturally, and how it's turning into an Asian version of America:

1. Relatives in Taiwan aren't as close as they used to be. Back in the 1980's, our relatives would visit us more often and would have longer more extensive conversations with us until late at night. Talking to them felt more natural and close. But nowadays they only pay brief visits or have dinner with us, for only an hour, and then part ways before 8pm so that everyone can return to their "privacy and space". Same as when we visit them. Nowadays, the need for privacy in Taiwan seems to outweigh the need for social contact. Same as in America. It's as if people in Taiwan are trying to MINIMIZE social contact and keep it to a minimal, becoming more isolated. It's as if a "private wall" has been erected between people in Taiwan now so that people PREFER privacy over social contact. It's very sad. In addition, the contact that we do have with our relatives is very SUPERFICIAL now, like a polite formality with no real connection or closeness.

I brought this up to my relatives, most of whom were around in the 1980's, so they must know what I mean. However, they didn't seem to care. They believe that one should change with the times, even if it means being less social with others. Even though they know I'm right, they don't want to say that something is wrong with current times, or admit that it's a change for the worse. In their minds, one must always adapt to modern trends in order to survive in this world (as in Darwinian Evolution) rather than go against them. In their view, fighting what society has become is futile, so it's better not to condemn it. Current trends must be accepted, in their view. The majority and authority must be conformed to for one's own good. This is the Taiwanese/Chinese view and mentality. (However, history never remembers those who simply conform and accept things the way they are. History only remembers those who changed things and went against the norm. I've explained this to them. But the average Taiwanese or Chinese isn't interested in being remembered by history.)

2. Most friendships are very superficial in Taiwan. In big cities of Taiwan such as Taipei and Taichung, you can find friendly people so it is easy to make a few friends and acquaintances. However, 99 percent of these friendships will be SUPERFICIAL, more like acquaintances. But down south in older backward cities like Chiayi, people are so closed and unsocial that it's hard to make even superficial friendships. There is a strong negative antisocial vibe in those areas, much like Seattle, WA and Bellingham, WA. People want to isolate themselves and minimize social contact and mind their own business. There's no enthusiasm about meeting others or getting to know others. Another reason for this is below. Unfortunately, most people equate politeness with friendliness, hence the mainstream view that Taiwanese are "very friendly".

3. Taiwan does not attract deep souls. Trying to find a deep soul in Taiwan is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The people and social culture in Taiwan are very reserved, repressed and superficial. Even most foreigners in Taiwan are like that too, because that's the type of people that Taiwan attracts. (In contrast, the foreigners you meet in Russia tend to be open-minded, freethinking and into alternative things, because the wild open social Russian culture attracts those type of visitors. And plus, Russia is considered an unconventional tourist destination, so those who go there tend to be unconventional.) Also, in Taiwan, people don't laugh much. They have a serious face and it's hard to make them to laugh. When I try to, I'm often met with silence, which is awkward. I have a much easier time making Filipinos and Russians laugh.

The bad news about this is that if you are a deep soul, you will feel ALIENATED and out of place in Taiwan, like you don't belong. People will think you're weird if they get to know you. If you aren't repressed, reserved and superficial like Taiwanese are, they will dislike you and feel uncomfortable around you and avoid you. This is especially the case if you look Asian, because you are expected to be reserved and repressed too. A deep authentic soul in Taiwan who is open minded, freethinking and loves truth, will feel like a "germ" entering an organism's body that is going to be attacked by the "white blood cells" of the organism's immune system because he/she doesn't belong.

4. Taiwan is not a pure Chinese culture and has been contaminated by bad aspects of American and Japanese culture. That's one reason Taiwanese are so reserved and repressed to the extreme, much more so than mainland Chinese. Taiwan culture is a blend of Chinese, Japanese and American culture. Taiwanese have many Japanese traits, such as looking grim and solemn, not making eye contact with strangers, being indirect, not talking to strangers, being cliquish, only talking to new people who are properly introduced by mutual friends, etc. This is because Japan occupied Taiwan for 50 years and improved it, which left the Taiwanese with an admiration for Japanese culture and ways. The problem with Taiwanese adopting Japanese traits is that nothing in any extreme is good, including being too reserved and repressed. If Taiwanese would open up and be 20 percent more open, wild, easygoing and carefree, it would be a much more fun place. As of now it is way too uptight. You can see this on people and feel it in their vibe too.

The American influence on Taiwanese culture comes from the long-standing protection that the US government has given Taiwan from China to maintain a Western stronghold there. With US protection comes Western influence of course, since America takes every opportunity that it can to control and influence every country it can get its hands on for it's own advantage, as we all know. This is why the young Taiwanese generation has now adopted bad traits from American culture, such as being narcissistic, disrespecting parents, not wanting to get married, and getting tattoos, which they now see as "cool" -- these are traits that Taiwanese did not have before.

Mainland China, on the other hand, has kept out such negative degenerate aspects of American culture, and that's why tattoos are still considered ugly and distasteful there, as they should be. China still has a normal sense of good and bad, whereas America has inverted them and is trying to get the rest of the world to do the same. Throughout history, moralistic virtuous societies, such as Victorian England, have deemed tattoos as a desecration of one's body. But as we all know, concepts such as "morality and virtue" are outdated and have no value in modern liberal America.

5. Young adults in Taiwan are politically correct and do not like hearing anything negative, no matter how true. Everything must be positive, polite, superficial and lighthearted. Political correctness is more important than truth in Taiwan, as it is in America. In Taiwan, a positive lie is better than a negative truth, same as in America. Deep heavy truths are out of place. So Taiwan is a philosopher's nightmare. Modern Taiwanese do not love truth. They are not philosophers. They are politically correct conformists who desire the superficial over the meaningful. This is primarily the case with Taiwanese in their 20's and 30's. But those past middle age tend to be more down to earth and open to hearing sincere deep truths like the above.

What this means is that the above truths will be met with awkwardness in Taiwan, because they make Taiwan look unnatural, shallow and repressed. You are only expected to say positive things about Taiwan, such as "People are so friendly! Taiwan is wonderful and good!" etc. Only older folks and elderly folks will tolerate the truths above and accept them as self-evident. Yet ironically, there is this stereotype that older people are more rigid, old fashioned and narrow minded, while young people are more open minded, liberal and progressive. But I find the truth to be the reverse, because mainstream young people are too obsessed with being "cool", popular and accepted by their peers to care about the truth. To them, what's popular is more important than what's true. One of the most ironic things in life is that truth is often the OPPOSITE of what popular stereotypes propagate. Such is the Twilight Zone like nature of the modern world.


  1. reads like sour grapes. Cheer up if you find Taiwan to be a miserable place it's possibly because you are miserable...

  2. I'm Taiwanese and I strongly disagree with what you say. Taiwanese are super friendly and hospitable, which you can hear from a lot of foreign tourists on YouTube. We are super democratic and free and we are the first country adopted democracy in Asia.
    We are open to all kinds of opinion, but we stand up for ourself against shallow and deliberately mean comments like you.. I live in America and I found a lot of cultural differences all around the world, but I never judge a country viciously and unfairly. I m guessing some Taiwanese girl dumped you.. Shame on you to have such a subjective and awful mind...

    1. I happen to think this blog is accurate. The comments are not "shallow and deliberately mean" if they are true to some people, even if just a few. Your comments sound defensive and therefore prove the point of the blog about Taiwanese people being close minded and always needing to be politically correct.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I completely agree with you! Oh how wonderful to read a piece of sanity. Every Taiwanese person I have met has raved on and on about Taiwan, and yet after three weeks here I don't think I can leave soon enough. The weather is horrid, the food is all greasy and makes me want to vomit, and the people are nasty. They do worship white people though - it's like they are obsessed with being white and have no pride in themselves. Probably due to the American influence you so accurately observed. The physical environment is dumpy and full of decay.. There is no redemption from the daily nausea of the heat and humidity. And yes, I am leaving soon - so thankful. Will never, ever, ever again return to this so called 'friendly,' 'democratic' place with no real soul of its own.