8/27/2009

Sports Illustrated Confused over Geography?

This amuses me so much that I'll post it up here. It's from an article by Sports Illustrated's columnist Lee Jenkins entitled: "For Underrated Angels Outfielder Abreu, Patience Has Always Paid Off". Jenkins writes in the first sentence: "Bobby Abreu spends part of every offseason in Asia, hop-scotching from China to Japan, Hong Kong to Vietnam, Taiwan to Taipei."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/lee_jenkins/08/25/angels.abreu/index.html

The article covers how Abreu turned down a piddly two-year offer from the Tampa Bay Rays for US$16,000,000. Then, when the credit-crunch set in, he stopped receiving offers altogether. Two months later, there was only one offer on the table, from the LA Angels for an insulting US$5,000,000 a year, which he had to take. This year, Abreu is hitting over 300 and has 80 RBIs. Man has he shown us, especially the cheapskate MLB owners!

22 comments:

Thoth Harris said...

What a joke. The writer is probably making twenty times as much as I am making, and much more than I will ever make. And it gets worse with every year and every generation. But this is a not a generational thing. Mediocrity is respected. Illiteracy is respected. Literacy is not respected. Curiosity is not respected. Sycophancy is respected higher than anything else. I have often dreamed of being a professional writer, but that is a dream that is likely to elude me for the rest of my life, unless I have some remarkable stroke of luck.
Why are mediocre writers the ones who make it?

Anonymous said...

Knowledge has nothing to do with income; yet knowledge is worth more than money.
How many foreigners can tell that Taiwan and China are different country?
Even the President Ma is confused with this issue, most of the time. How can you blame a reporter, eh?
Cho-San

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Knowledge has nothing to do with income; yet knowledge is worth more than money." Yes, I agree.

I think it's interesting to hear someone born in Danshui, living in the United States, talk about "foreigners". What/Who do you mean?

I remember a conversation I had with my Grandpa's American carpet cleaner in Bakersfield. He asked me about Taiwan. After I told him something, he said he had "always wanted to go", that seeing Bangkok was a dream of his. An Amish man in Ashland, Ohio asked me if Taiwan was further away than California.

In Taiwan, it's unusual to meet people who have a firm grasp of geography. Many people don't even know where neighbors such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines are on a map.

I was wondering if the writer was just ignorant or if the Taiwan name game was confusing people - Chunghua, ROC, Chinese Taipei, Taiwan, etc. It's not a bad article; too bad the first sentence is mucking it up.

Anonymous said...

Knowing Mr ChoSan, I think he meant Gaijin - one who does not know the inside.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Gaijin, that's cute. I'm on the inside though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Mr. anonymous who defends me or I will not be allowed to use the word "foreigner" since I am not living inside the island, though Patrick is using it freely in his blog.
Gaijin san is Japanese word for the respectful Mr. Foreigner. The definition of foreigner is somebody who comes from a country other than your own or somebody who does not feel, or is not deemed to be, part of the group. From the look, a California born Patrick is certainly a foreigner to most of the people in the island. Once you get to know him by reading his blog, you would surprise to realize that he has a heart that is more of a Taiwanese than average guys on the street.
Cho-San

Patrick Cowsill said...

Chosan, I seem to be changing into a Formosan. Thanks.

"I was wondering if the writer was just ignorant or if the Taiwan name game was confusing people - Chunghua, ROC, Chinese Taipei, Taiwan, etc." Here I mean the Sports Illustrated writer - the one with the big grin on his face, not you.

Kaminoge said...

Actually, Cho-san, there are a lot of foreigners in Japan who don't consider "gaijin" 外人 to be very respectful at all (it's more like "Mr. Outsider", and is often used in a pejorative sense). Isn't the more respectful term "gaikokujin" 外国人 (which is what the government was trying to get everyone to say a few years ago)? At least both are better than 異人 ("different person) or the old 南蛮人 ("Southern barbarian)!

Anonymous said...

Cho-san's interpretation of 外人 is right. A Japanese may speak of 外人 while thinking of うときひと. But that's for you to guess.

Kaminoge said...

And I have to disagree again, Anon. I've spent many years in Japan, and I've heard 外人 used in so many different ways, running the gamut from the matter of fact observation that there is a "foreigner" in one's midst to "OMG! It's ET!". It doesn't take much to guess what the intended meaning is, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Kaminoge san,

The "gamut" is exactly right. Some of us use this term precisely as what Cho-san has defined. Some, you have to guess or second-guess. The "ET" variety has been around for the longest time, even the immigration counters at the airports in Japan displayed "Aliens this way (or something similar)" signs until recently. Somewhat I know you'd disagree again; however, all the above are not necessarily discriminatory or even malicious. A Gaijin is simply different. A son-in-law can be a Gaijin too - as far as the bride's father is concerned. In your case, possibly a double Gaijin. And I'll bet that you have regarded this as a term of endearment for quite some time - permeated through your interesting blog.

Kaminoge said...

Thank you. Actually, I've learned to live with the word, though I know a lot of Westerners who still get upset by it. And Japan is much more "gaijin-friendly" these days compared to my first visit there back in 1989. Thanks to the JET program, many kids don't think twice about seeing a foreigner on the street now, even in rural areas. It's been a long time since I've felt like ET!

On the other hand, there is that Taiwanese word "adoah"...

Anonymous said...

Just like 洋人 (short for 西洋人, the westerners), the anatomically correct 阿督仔 in Taiwanese is also for ID purposes with no racial over- or under-tones. In fact, there are still 阿督仔, descendants of the Dutch living in Tainan area - 100% Taiwanese, no one thinks otherwise.

Patrick Cowsill said...

My daughter was born in Taiwan. Often when she speaks Chinese, people are shocked. They say: "Wow! She can speak Chinese!" Why wouldn't she be able to speak the language of her country? She's not stupid. It says on her ID that she is a local, but there seems to be some doubt.

I remember when my family moved to Canada. I dated a third-generation Canadian. Her family came to Vancouver from China via South Africa, and they were of Hakka descent. We'd go up north in Canada, and people would ask: "Where are you from"? I'd answer Vancouver, which always satisfied them, even though I was born in California. My girlfriend would then answer Vancouver, but the question back to her would be "but where are your parents from". She was actually from Vancouver. I was not. But they were trying to figure out if she was Japanese or Chinese; they probably didn't see her as a Canadian.

I don't really mind people pointing at me in Taiwan so much. It's not that. I don't like the hypocrisy of complaining to the world "you don't recognize Taiwan, my nation's rights, that we are Taiwanese, let us in the UN, etc." and then turning around and disrespecting the nationalities of French, American, Canadian, German, etc. individuals by lumping them all together under the term foreigner.

Kaminoge said...

Anatomically correct? You mean every single Westerner has a "prominent nose"? To paraphrase a dear, departed friend of mine, "All Taiwanese generalize" (The Taipei Times weighed in on adoah a while back: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/05/19/2003443960/print)

My daughter gets that kind of reaction from locals too when she speaks Mandarin. I'm worried what kind of effect this is going to have on her as she gets older. She's already told me she wishes her hair could be black, which makes me wonder if someone has said something to her.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Taiwan was kicked out of the UN. The ensuing international isolation has contributed to the provincialism of the Taiwanese. There is a chicken or egg first situation here.

And in case you have not noticed, elevating the nose bridge is a very popular cosmetic surgery in the East. 阿督仔, again, is not a derogatory term and it is applied to the Caucasian or at least when I was growing up. Everything is bell-shaped. Generalization refers to the mean. This is not an exclusively Taiwanese trait. At the lower end of the bell, there are the bad apples.

Having said the above, I see where the raw nerve is. Man, you guys are having it rough when it comes to the kids. Public education is the key. Both you gentlemen write exceptionally well, why not get organized. The Taiwanese learn fast and well.

Patrick Cowsill said...

I am organized about this topic on my blog, and I have been taking it on regularly. And I have a lot to get through.

Are you sure that Taiwan was "kicked out" of the UN? A lot of people read this as another case of "Pride goeth before the fall" on the part of Chiangs. What are your sources?

Anonymous said...

Here, for example ("expulsion" of Taiwan):
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50A12F8395C1A7493C1A91783D85F458785F9

Of course, you can argue the Chinags did the kicking themselves.

Education through the media is far more effective than blogging, I believe.

Thoth Harris said...

"Education through the media is far more effective than blogging, I believe." - Anonymous

Huh?

Where have you been living for the past 10 years, Anonymous? Blogging is "the Media," as you call it. Perhaps you don't wish it to be so, but it is so. The so-called "Media" with a big M, to which you refer (evidently things like Taipei Times, CNN, BBC, San Francisco Chronicale, etc.), is nothing more than a marginalized form of entertainment. These outlets have been marginalized because faith in them has been eroded. It doesn't help that respected outlets, like the NY Times had their Jayson Blairs. It also doesn't help that so many people (including some bloggers) seem to take things like Fox News seriously.
For better or worse, blogging, while delivering a message via this medium to the mainstream civil
society is difficult, if not nearly impossible, is here to stay as The Media par excellence.

Anonymous said...

For now, the reality is a TV program reaches millions whereas a blog, what, a handful a day?

Patrick Cowsill said...

"or now, the reality is a TV program reaches millions whereas a blog, what, a handful a day?"

That is a sad fact, certainly something we should relish. The media Thoth is talking about exists first to make money; I believe they will most probably censor any person or comment that gets in the way of that. Look at what is going on with GQ right now in Russia.

Just because reality shows reach millions does not mean they have any meaning. Or, they just show us how many silly people we have amongst us.

Patrick Cowsill said...

We should NOT relish...