3/26/2007

Taiwan's Women Not Getting Enough

According to recent reports, Taiwan's women are not sexually satisfied. This might account, at least partially, for Taiwan's low birthrate, which is anywhere from 2nd lowest to 5th lowest in the world, depending on whose stats you're looking at. As it is, Tawian's birthrate is at around 1.2 if you count transnational marriages; these marriages account for around 20% of all the babies being born in the country today. It's much lower than that if you want to disregard the "foreign" effort, some say even .91. To sustain a healthy rate of population growth, it needs to be around 2.1.

Here's a taste of what some of the foreign papers are saying about Taiwan:

a.) Chicago Tribune (April 19, 2006): "Survey of 29 nations shows male-centered cultures least satisfied, finds that the most sexually-satisfied are 1. Austria, 2 Spain, 3. Canada, 4. Belgium, 5. U.S.A. and the LEAST SEXUALLY SATISFIED are: 1. Japan, 2. Taiwan, 3. Indonesia, 4. China, 5. Thailand."

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/citations/06/060419.sex-ct.html

The study quoted here is further detailed in the April 2006 of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior:

"In relationships based on equality, couples tend to develop sexual habits that are more in keeping with both partners’ interests. Male-centered cultures where sexual behavior is more oriented toward procreation tend to discount the importance of sexual pleasure for women.

The study, which was intended to draw out people’s subjective evaluation of the role of sex in their relationships with partners, included questions about how physically or emotionally satisfying their relationships are and how important sex is to them. They also were asked about their overall happiness; physical and mental health circumstances, including sexual dysfunction; their attitudes toward sex; and their attitudes toward various social and demographic factors, including age, education, income and religious affiliation.

This is the first large-scale international study to include large numbers of respondents from diverse religious traditions, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and other Asian religions, and atheists. A particular focus is on the impact of aging, health conditions and socio-cultural context on sexual well-being.

At the beginning of the interview, respondents were asked if they were happy with their lives as a whole. The study found that subjective feelings of sexual well-being are strongly correlated with overall happiness for both men and women across all of the countries studied. Other findings of the study include:

Across all of the countries studied, there are large gender differences in sexual well-being. On average, men reported at least 10 percentage points to their sexual health and well-being above the percentages that women reported.

In Western nations, two-thirds of men and women reported their sexual relationships were satisfying, and 80 percent said they were satisfied with their ability to have sex. About half of the men and one third of the women said sex was extremely or very important in their lives.
In Middle Eastern nations, 50 percent of men and 38 percent of women found their sex lives satisfying. About 70 percent said they were satisfied with their ability to have sex. Sixty percent of men and 37 percent of women said sex is an important part of their overall lives.
In East Asian countries, only about one quarter of men and women reported physical and emotional pleasure with sex, while two thirds of the men and half of the women reported satisfaction with their ability to have sex. Among men, 28 percent said sex was important to them, while only 12 percent of the women did."

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/060419.sex.shtml

b.) At National Public Radio (April 21, 2006): "Global Sex Survey: Satisfied in the West," reports that "Israeli women placed the highest value on the importance of sex - the lowest score came from women in Taiwan. Among men, Brazil scored the highest and Thailand the lowest" and "overall, people in Austria are most satisfied with their sex lives, and Japanese are least satisfied."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5355494


In Taiwan's media, one does not have to look long to find a story on foreign men "running amuck in Taiwan with 'its women'." Usually, the take is that we are immoral, oversexed, lacking in family values, disloyal, hairy barbarians. Articles that take into account what is laid down by NPR or the Archives are rare.

3/15/2007

Racism: Xenophobia and Ethnocentricism Suddenly Out of Control in Taiwan?

Reuters, AP and the Jeruselem Post have all reported on the Taiwanese Nazi Party today, which seems to be based out of National Chengchi University (my university) in Taipei. The mandate of this party is to expel the mongrel children of foreigners and Taiwanese, as they pose a threat to the supposed purity of the Han bloodline in Taiwan. I mentioned this to a professor tonight and he said: "Well at least we're on the map. Go Chengchi." Why some Taiwanese would sympathize with Nazis mystifies me. At the same time, it doesn't surprise me in the least. I'm going to spend the next week on this topic.

Along the same lines, the 449th edition of Pots (Mar. 2 - Mar. 9) published a great article in Chinese called: "Foreign Brides: You are Taiwanese too: Taiwan's Future Moms." The article, which is only in Chinese, makes the following points:

1. Many Taiwanese believe that children of transnational marriages have smaller brains.
2. Many Taiwanese elementary teachers believe No. 1.
3. Many Taiwanese teachers believe these kids are a pain in the ass.
4. "Foreigners" in general are constantly harrassed by government officials (Pots cites the visa hoops we must jump through).
5. There are many stereotypes about "foreigners". They are repeatedly played up in the local media. They include notions that we "stink, have STDs, are over-sexed, are disloyal and know nothing of family values."
6. The article introduces the term "xenophobia", explains what it means and suggests that it is deeply embedded in Taiwanese culture.

The story of the Taiwanese Nazi Party was picked up by all the major Western media outlets today, and it exploded across blogland. But the story was noticeably missing from the local media. It will be interesting to see what's going to happen in the next few days. I wonder if the local media will take this tone: "Look at those crazy 'foreigners' talking about this 'foreign concept called racism here in Taiwan'. Let's interview a couple of them and find out what it's all about! It'll be fun!"

I was talking to a classmate tonight in National Chengchi University. He seemed to think that racism just suddenly appeared on the scene in Taiwan. I think this is not the case. People are just starting to complain about it, finally, and to write about it.

3/10/2007

So Much For Freedom of Speech in Taiwan

"He who fights with crocodiles soon becomes one." - Friedrich Nietzsche

For 38 years, Taiwan was under martial law. Many claim that this period is the longest stretch of martial law recorded in modern history. There is really no need to go into it: people were jailed and shot for having views that contrasted with the ruling party, a party that was never elected in Taiwan or, arguably, in China and therefore one that represented no one. This is one of the major reasons the KMT was thrown out on its ear in 2000 in Taiwan's second democratic election for a president and why it lost a further 11% of its stake four years later in Taiwan's third presidential election (democratic).

Yesterday, a group of DPP lawmakers -- this is the party that wrested power from the KMT, constantly reminding us of the KMT's authoritarian heritage, human rights record and general disregard for democratic principles -- called for a reporter from CNN to be expelled from Taiwan because he had had the nerve to quote the Chinese government's appraisal of Vice President Annette Lu. He did this after she made her intentions to run in the upcoming party primary clear. The reporter, Lee Ming, ran with this quote: "Scum of the Nation runs for President" as a headline. His article also said that Chinese officials had referred to the VP as "insane". I am not sure what he was referring to in particular. In Taiwan, women's groups and democracy advocates look up to Lu as she is articulate, bold and humorous. She has also kicked a lot of funds their way.

Nevertheless, it stuns me that the DPP would move to curtail this man's rights to freedom of expression, and then link it to Lu. The woman, after all, did jail-time in the eighties for her political views and for being part of the Kaohsiung Eight, the supposed ringleaders of the 1979 democracy movement down south.

As usual, President Chen is in the middle of things: "Taiwan and the People's Republic of China are two sovereign independent countries."

Wow! Good.

"Taiwan is Taiwan and China is China. Don't make malicious comments about Taiwanese affairs using China's perspective."

Why on earth not? Taiwan is a free country. The people here enjoy freedom of the press and speech. Or, does he mean that these rights are not extended to "foreigners"? (If so, he should look at the Constitution because they are.)

Actually Lee Ming can say whatever he wants. That reminds me. So can I. Every time I write about the V.P., regardless of the context, I feel obligated to mention that people in Taiwan still remember the Annette Lu's unusual comment about Aborigines, when she said that they could go (back, I think) to Central America, because it would be better for them there. Taiwan, China, the world and the press should not let her off the hook so easily.

Taiwan's constitution includes the following:

Chapter II. Rights and Duties of the People
Article 11: The people shall have freedom of speech, teaching, writing and publication.

Just in case anyone doesn't think that Article 11 should extend to "foreigners", check this out:

Chapter I: General Provisions
Article 5 There shall be equality among the various racial groups IN the Republic of China [Taiwan].


Boy, the DPP really stinks on this call.

American Indian Food, Taiwan-Style



I found this little restaurant in Yung Ho, a suburb of Taipei. I've never seen anything like it. It's a waffle, mayonnaise and lettuce. The Chinese reads that it's "American Indian Waffles". I wonder which Indian tribe/nation it could possibly come from?

This is just plain weird. I fancy myself serving spaghetti and meatballs in the States and then calling it Chinese food.

I wonder if anyone would buy, I mean believe, it?

3/04/2007

Sun is Setting on Chiang

I decided to watch the local news today (SET News, Channel 54). After the breaking news, 17-year-old boy sleeps with 31-year-old woman and receives red envelope, family wants to sue but boy says it was consentual, the coverage moved on to the latest developments in President Chen's proposed renaming of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
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Here is the latest: Chen wants to rename it Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (a mouthful in either Mandarin or English). He figures the country has had enough of celebrating, in his own words, a "murderer" and "the main culprit behind the 2-28 Massacre" of Formosans (Taiwanese) and mainlanders alike. As expected, the anti-Chen anti-Taiwan Democracy Hall pro-China camp (another mouthful) in Taiwan has a different account of things (some academics have gone so far as to blame the phantom Japanese for this) and does not like the idea. Today, the plot thickened. Besides renaming the complex, the President is also proposing tearing down the surrounding walls, to give the place a more open and less menacing look. This has actually been a recent architectural trend in Taipei and is not confined to CKS er..., TD Memorial Hall. Planners claim it gives the city a less cramped feeling.
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As SET TV news points out, this is still pissing a lot of people off. Opponents claim that the walls represent the Emperor. Their destruction is an affront to Chinese history and therefore all peoples in Taiwan. This argument begs the question: "Which emperor are they referring to?"
In Peng Ming-Min's (彭明敏) A Taste of Freedom, I think this question is more than adequately answered. Peng describes a meeting with the Generalissimo:
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"On reaching the great building I was taken quickly to an ante-chamber in which I was briefed at length on visiting protocol, when and where to bow and how many times. I was told to sit if invited to do so, and to be sharply aware of the moment the Generalissimo desired to end the audience. He would make this clear by a gesture, and upon withdrawing from presence, I was to bow, and at the door turn and bow again and then promptly depart. It was the protocol for a royal audience" (Peng, 1972, p. 118).
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The anti-Chen anti-Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall pro-China camp has made its point. These walls do not jive with the idea of a democracy, which Taiwan is, or the new name of the hall. They must come down.

3/02/2007

Kenneth Eng: Why I Hate Blacks

Asian Week, a San Francisco magazine with an estimated readership of 50,000, has included an article by Chinese-American Kenneth Eng entitled: "Why I hate Blacks". Eng gives three reasons for his hatred of African-Americans:
1. "Blacks hate us. Every Asian who has ever come across them knows that they take almost every opportunity to hurl racist remarks at us."
2. "Contrary to media depictions, I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years."
3. "Blacks are easy to coerce. This is proven by the fact that so many of them, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, tend to be Christians."
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Under pressure from S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsome as well as Speaker-of-the-House Nancy Pelosi, Asian Week has recanted. But the publication previously carried another article by the same author who describes himself as an "Asian Supremecist" (we usually just say "Han Chinese" in Taiwan) called "Why Whites Inherently Hate Us". The article argues the following points:
1. How many American films feature Asian heroes who are not stereotyped?
2. If someone makes a negative comment about a black person, all of the whites get hopping mad. Make a negative comment about the Asian race and nobody cares.
3. Most Asians know that everywhere we go, white/black/Hispanic people hurl racist remarks at us. I have already received about 10 racist remarks in the past three months and I have only been out of my home a handful of times.
4. In 1982, Vincent Chin was killed by two white people, Michael Nitz and Ronald Ebens. Both murderers went free, as the judge claimed that they were not the type of people who deserved to be in prison.
5. Chai Vang righteously killed six white people after they approached him with guns first. Unlike the "men" who murdered Vincent Chin, brave Mr. Vang was sentenced to life.
Asian civil rights activities receive virtually no media attention. Yet Rosa Parks was pretty much honored as a hero just because she refused to give up her seat. This is curious because Vincent Chin died to defend his race. Why hasn't he been given an award? It is quite naïve to think that all of this can be explained by claiming that whites are not "enlightened" or that whites lack awareness of our issues. It is even more immature to think that things will get better if only we continue to protest peacefully through lame marches and letters to the producers of (insert any American TV show here). Animals, through evolution, are intrinsically developed to detest organisms that are different; the obvious reason being that conformity to a certain level increases the chances of a species' survival. Since humans are part of the animal kingdom, it should be no surprise that whites have evolved to hate Asians, who have a strikingly different appearance than them.
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Obviously Asian Week stands by this article. It was published five months ago, and yet instead of backing down, it continued to run the works of Kenneth Eng.
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National Public Radio in the U.S. has done a great job of covering the item in "Op-Ed Piece Highlights Black-Asian Tensions": http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7662442

Mum's the Word when We Can Benefit from Not Being in International Organizations

According to Carl Sustein of The Washington Post, for the "United States, the cost of the Iraq war will soon exceed the anticipated cost of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement designed to control greenhouse gases. For both, the cost is somewhere in excess of $300 billion."

Taiwan, which constantly complains about being excluded from international organizations, is heaving a big sigh of relief on this one. This is the line of the current DPP government:

"Adopting Kyoto Protocol would not be beneficial to the nation. If we comply with the Kyoto Protocol's emissions reduction goal, we will suffer a big loss of GDP. The adoption will have a large impact on the economy." - Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆)

Here are some statistics on Taiwan:

1. Taiwan's overall greenhouse emissions rose 70% from 1990-2000.

2. Only 21 other countries in the world produce more carbon dioxide than Taiwan.