1/24/2007

Racism is Imported to Taiwan

I came across this thread at Doubting the Shuo: http://toshuo.com/2006/non-racist-recruiting/ One of the respondents claims that whenever he complains that people in Taiwan are being racist, xenophobic or ethnocentric, his local friends tell him to stop being silly because these things don't exist in Taiwan. They only happen in the West.
The following is from W.A. Pickering's Pioneering in Formosa. An account of his adventures in Taiwan during the 1860s, the book was originally published in 1898. Pickering is venturing into the heartland. The way has grown perilous. It is getting dark. The path is steep and slippery. Aborigines lurk in the foliage, and they want heads. Two of Pickering's Chinese companions, Ah-san and Lo-liat, are scratching their heads and bickering with each other. They're trying to remember the exact moment they lost their minds and took up with this crazy Westerner.
"Whilst waiting there for Pu-li-sang's return the spirits of Ah-san and Lo-liat again drooped. They lamented their foolhardiness in offering to accompany me. They stated that Europeans, being so inferior, might be so unwise as not to value their lives, and indeed it was possible for the same reason that the savages might not hurt the 'barbarians', as the termed them 'kinsmen'; but Chinese, being 'men', should be more prudent, and that if they had behaved according to their superior enlightenment they would have been safely at home at Taiwanfoo [Tainan], not enduring all these risks and discomforts in the company of barbarians" (Pickering, 146).
It does sound imported, just not from the West.

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