Saturday, June 26, 2010

Taiwan - No social, cultural or intellectual stimulation

In Taiwan, I am basically bored to death, suffocated and depressed. The culture and environment there makes me feel repressed, as if it wants to suppress who I am. Basically, I don't get any social, cultural or intellectual stimulation there. Let me explain simply.

No social stimulation

I don't get any social stimulation in Taiwan because people there do not talk to strangers, and are cold, repressed, inhibited, stuck up and closed. Their body movements are stiff, and they ignore strangers unless it's for business. It's like they are almost inhuman.

This is especially true with young people, who in family gatherings (like my own) sit there like statues with no expression, not talking or having any opinion on anything, while their parents chat away with each other about trivial things.

Whenever I go out, I don't meet anyone, even in a crowded city. People are standoffish, closed, introverted, shy, and prefer to ignore you completely if they don't know you. Taiwan is like a Twilight Zone in that I often feel like I'm the only normal human there, while everyone else has been artificially altered to become zombies, like in a bad sci fi movie.

Basically, if they don't know you, you don't exist to them.

Worst of all, when you see a beautiful girl, you can't say hi to her or "excuse me" or anything that will get her to stop and talk to you (like you can in most of the rest of the world). She will usually ignore you and walk through you like you don't exist. Terrible.

It's one of the worst places to be if you're an extrovert, like me. How can I not suffocate in Taiwan? I'm outgoing and like fun, excitement and meeting people. But Taiwan is one of the worst cultures for that. Everyone only works and talks to people in their cliques. Nothing else. There is no social energy at all. None. I am VERY sensitive to vibes and energy, so I know what I'm talking about. Plus I am known to possess deep insight about people.

Sometimes in Taiwan, I go so crazy of boredom and lack of social stimulation that I want to yell out into a crowd, "Taiwan is so antisocial!" just to get attention and feel like I exist. That's how terrible it gets. Taiwan simply brings out the worst in me. It tries to put me into a mechanical box that is lifeless, for it falsely assumes that I am shy, introverted, antisocial, and workaholic, like its own people are, since I am ethnically Taiwanese (though not in mind and soul).

If anyone claims that I am wrong, let them prove it and demonstrate that what I say above does not apply to the vast majority of Taiwanese (one or two exceptions does NOT count, if 99 percent of the population fit what I describe above!). If they can, I'll give them $500. Otherwise, they are all talk and BS. The fact that no one can prove me wrong, even for $500, says a lot about the truth of these observations.

No cultural stimulation

As for culture, I do not find much culture in Taiwan, other than the variety of Chinese food there.

Basically, the culture is one of a staunch workaholic attitude. Most people's only interest is in food and making money. There is no love of knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, adventure, or intellectualism.

The buildings have no culture in them at all. They are basically concrete slabs stacked together with commercial signs in Chinese at the bottom. There is no beauty in them at all. Every street pretty much looks the same. I would not call that culture.

Sure there are a few temples and shrines here and there, but that's it. There is nothing in Taiwan that you can't find anywhere else, either natural or artificial.

The only thing that Taiwan has a big variety of is food. There are so many variations of food in Taiwan that even locals have not tried everything there is to try there. New variations of cuisine and snacks pop up all the time. But this is because Taiwanese view food as their primary interest in life, besides making money that is.

And of course, if you want to count Chinese language as "culture" be my guest. But my standards are far higher than yours.

No intellectual stimulation

You will not get much intellectual stimulation in Taiwan, not from their TV programs and not from most people, who are not well read or learned in a variety of topics.

Most Taiwanese people are simple and understand only simple practical things. They do not think about abstract topics or converse about intellingent deep meaningful things. As I mentioned, there is no love of knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, adventure, or intellectualism.

If you could listen in on their conversations in Chinese or Taiwanese, and understand them, you'd see that they are basically talking about boring trivial shit. The conversations are about practical things and shallow in nature. Not deep, sophisticated, or intelligent.

Occasionally, the elderly and middle aged in Taiwan may give you intelligent meaningful conversation. But not the young crowd. No way. They are as unopinionated and expressionless as you can get. I don't mean to be mean, but that's what I always see in them.

As for me, the only intellectual stimulation I get in Taiwan is from my work and interactions on the internet, or from foreign expats there. But from the locals (especially young locals) forget it.

Now I would like to add "no sexual stimulation" to this list, but I shouldn't because it would make me look like a horny bastard or pervert. So I'll leave that out of this for now.

Conclusion:

Other than a variety of good Chinese food, hot looking Chinese barbie dolls that are "look (briefly) but don't touch", and jobs for English teachers, Taiwan really has nothing to offer, and nothing you can't get anywhere else.

What's odd about all this is that no one else on the internet admits to it. They all claim Taiwan is wonderful, friendly and interesting. Some say the girls are loose and easy too! On the big Forumosa Forum, comprised of expats in Taiwan, some do admit to Taiwanese girls being antisocial to strangers, but only occasionally. The rest deny it or are afraid to talk about it and get defensive if you do. Very bizarre. How can something as obvious as the blue sky or 2+2=4 be denied?

Now, I did go to an expat party in Taiwan once, full of English teachers. Most of them described Taiwan as "weird and stuck up" and wished they were somewhere else. So I have heard negative comments about Taiwan in real life from foreigners. Yet for some reason you won't find them online much. I'm surprised about that and can't fully explain it.

Put yourself in my shoes though. If you saw that the sky was blue, yet no one wanted to admit it or they denied it, what would you do? Speak the truth, or lie to avoid looking like a freak to others?

See also: Observations about Taiwan that are taboo