Perceptions (Him, Them, and Us)
Americans are arrogant. Arrogant and disrespectful. I learned that in the U.S. but also before then too. One thing that happened in high school in Thailand was that people were split into groups like the American high school you see in the movies. That’s the one thing I learned immediately when I got to school. I thought, “Wow the whole Western education thing is not that great huh?” Because back in school we had a tutoring system where the high school kids and middle school kids tutor the elementary school. I was like, “Those kids are very disrespectful.”
Back when I was in elementary school, if I said some of the things the kids I knew in high school were saying to my teacher, they would slap me in the face. They’re rich kids, so their parents overprotect them and with the Western education. They’re building individualism so they don’t value the unity thing. It’s more like split into different groups, like the standard jocks or people who watch the same TV shows and stuff. Which I found really, kind of annoying. I mean school is hard already, now you have to work the whole social system.
Back home, there was no social system in school because everyone was in the same boat. So you’re not going to push up at any time because we’re united together. But now it’s, “Oh! We’re all very different. Oh, I’m not going to work with you, I’m going to find someone I like.” So that really gets annoying. I saw this in the U.S. too when I was in Drake. People are really arrogant and overconfident and a little bit disrespectful to their professor. For example, I was in finance class and there there was a guy that said, “professor you can’t do that!” I though, “Holy crap.” If you said that to your teacher in Taiwan… There was a girl in my class back home that just got an “F.’ Teachers there say, “I can do whatever I want, this is my class,” because like, they are the authority figure. I was like, “Holy crap,” I wish I was in the U.S. all my school life. It would have been much easier. But, my middle school was pretty normal. It was Western education, there was the no kid left behind program and stuff, so they knew to just keep pushing us to the next class, but there were still some Eastern aspects.
In Thailand, Teachers were not yelling at me for once in school. I took my middle school classes in Thailand. My school was kind of weird school. We talked about the international school I was in; it’s a Thai/Chinese international school (育才國小). It’s a school all the way from, like, kindergarten to high school. So you can get your twelve year education done in one place, and I was in there for my middle school. It’s very different. Almost all teachers are from America and Canada so they don’t beat on kids. They just don’t do that. So they’re more like Western education. Which personally, don’t get me wrong, I like Western education, it makes children’s lives much better, but it did create something I see very common: Arrogance.
There’s a system going on, I’m sure America has it, if you’re a foreign kid, if you’re born in the United States but you spend your entire life in our country and then come back, in order to subsidize, in order to help you come back, just to make it more attractive to come back, schools have a special system or standard for you. It’s easier to get into a good school basically for a Taiwanese student from Taiwan. So a lot of people went back, but it was a total slaughter because with the Western education you’re just not smart enough for Eastern education. Almost everyone I knew failed math. College first year math, everyone failed, because they’re not ready for the stuff they do back home.
Most students, most of my friends have a sore resentment towards me now because they see me as throwing away my, basically it’s standard, you throw away your culture and embrace the Western thing. You sell out yourself and stuff.
So they call me banana: yellow on the outside white on the inside.
I speak fluent English, I can watch U.S. television like normal people, but they say, “Oh, you just sell yourself. You disrespect every tradition that you have.” But, I don’t really care. They just call me banana so it’s really funny. They have all Asian nations around the world have this similar term. Like in India they have coconut: brown on the outside and white on the inside. So apparently everyone has some kind of term for that kind of thing.
I’m worried because, I don’t know people might, a lot of people, like, a lot of people who are use to the system will say that I’m totally wrong. That the whole big system is perfect, there’s nothing wrong with it, the only reason I’m saying it’s wrong is because I didn’t survive it. I don’t have the mental power and the physical power to survive it. It’s basically saying, “Oh, you’re just complaining because you lost.”
One reason I don’t want to live in Taiwan is because of the politics right now the resentment started because other province people are generally richer than the standard Taiwanese people, because they brought money from China. So it was a conflict thing. It’s quite stupid. That’s what I don’t like about Asia.
That’s why I came to the U.S., because everywhere I go, people ask me, “Do you believe Taiwan should be independent?” Which, generally, I don’t care. Actually, if I, if we were to become independent, we would be destroyed. If we’re not, we’re still going to be destroyed so… I like the U.S. because people don’t even know where Taiwan is. So I could literally just say a random country and they would trust me on that. So I’m really happy that no one has yet to ask me, “Oh, do you believe Taiwan needs to be independent?”
People do ask me if I’m Taiwanese or Chinese a lot. I mean, there’s no difference, it’s like saying, what’s the difference between British and American? You guys are from the same country. British and Australia, the U.K. and Australia, they’re the same thing. Just because your nationality is different doesn’t mean you ethically different. The only difference is that you speak a different dialect.
People in Taiwan don’t associate me as Taiwanese. You know, there’s a dialogue in Taiwan so people can talk to people in Taiwanese, like, language wise. You know how it China Mandarin is it’s main tongue? But each province has it’s own language so Taiwan is also provinces and we have all our own language. I don’t speak that, none of my family speaks that, because we’re not– we’re from China. None of our parents taught us that. They generally don’t see us as Taiwanese, they see us as, we have a special term for it, but there’s no English word for it. They’re basically Chinese decent. Like, ethically Chinese, nationally Taiwanese. Hwa cho. Hwa means ‘Chinese,’ Cho means ‘transferred,’ like immigrants. They just call us ‘other province people.’