Over the past 4 months, I was taking the Chinese Language Teaching course in my alma mater, Providence University, since its program is by far the most well-known in the middle Taiwan.
Frankly speaking, I would say, the course wasn't as rich as I expected! The course syllabus wasn't so organized! The most useful skill I learned from the course was the Pinyin System, the phonetic system that helps to teach Chinese. But to the grammatical part, it was quite blur and unclear.
The other ONLY benefit I got, was the teaching experience from the teacher who shared most of her teaching experience for over 30 years regarding the cultural parts.----"The techniques of dealing with the foreigners!" She told a bunch of stories regarding her pesonal experience on getting along with foreigners or the in-class management on how to manage the attitude of the foreign students. (To this aspect, I would totally stand by my teacher side, and nod my head hard!!)
Last night, she told us an example and led us to think about the values differences, also a word " Ethnocentrism!"
I've mentioned before on this blog that how friendly Taiwanese are to foreigners!
And to foreigner, I only refer to those who have white skin!
To this fact, it relates to the story she told!!!!
Her story was, an ABC (American born Chinese) came to Taiwan to study his mother tongue and told our teacher, how happy he was to be here that he didn't have to please people around and was able to be more like himself! The thing was, his traditional Chinese mother always taught him to be nice and kind to people and never being impolite or rude. (That's Taiwanese or Chinese' typical moral lesson!)
So, in a place where ethonocentrism and individulaism are highly appreciated and practiced, he was often time, finding himself pleased others when he didn't know how to tackle with the attitudes of the people around him! However, studying here in Taiwan, with the same race around him and who also share the same moral domestic lesson. He felt much more comfortable to be himself because his politeness and kindness are rewarded with the kindly response! So, he liked people here better.
Back to the top, I am NOT trying to criticize anything! All I am trying to is, to pinpoint the Value Differences and the idea of Ethonocentrism among cultures.
We, Taiwaneses always believe, Kindness will bring us good rewards and nice reponses! So, it is some kind of motto that always contains in either the ethic study from schools or the moral lesson parents teach their kids with.
Before, there were not so many scam events or criminal schemes, parents always told children to tolerate the unfairness or the social, interpersonal awkwarness.
Now, people are more aware of their rights and become more self-consicous and so, when they run into something that deprives their rights or jurisdictions, they know how to fight back or speak up!
But, I think, somewhere, somepart, the traditional ethic values still roots in everyone of us, that when we are handling something infamiliar, such as the foreign affairs, we tend to turn inward to the old ways. This subliminal consciousness is inherited in every generation and passes on for ages, even the emigrants from Taiwan can't escape from its influence.
On the other hand, Westerners, due to their histories and cultures, they incline to be more self-centered, and the family values and stuctures are much different from us, too.
Somehow, they don't feel that much an obligation to put up with something that agaist her/is will or idea.
Therefore, when two cultures clap, the differences in between, may, and frankly speaking, often cause lots of misunderstandings and cultural misconceptions.
According to the developmental modes above, the often-heard pattern of the relationship between the two cultures would be---Westerners being self-centered and maintain the ways they want with people, while Taiwanese are following the doctrine of the tradition to treat people with kindness when it comes to the infamiliar situations. So, this kind of interaction in the eye of the Third Party might seem to be that we are buttering up the White skin and please them for nothing but coldness.
This pattern leads to explain the result of the story our teacher told us. It, then, wouldn't be hard to figure why the ABC said, he could be more like himself here than America!
Compare to other Taiwanese, I am more like a third party person in this "dealing-with-foreign-affar" thing!
I grew up receiving the traditional values and doctrines! I was on the same path as others when it came to the foreign issue!
Fortunately, unlike the others, I am surrounded with foreign affairs and have more chances for the closer contacts; to which, it inspires and arouses the awareness of my identity and dignity of being who I am to prevent myself from losing in the misconception on buttering someone up and whose value is to cherish more of himself/ herself!
Here is another question just occured to me, if we are deeply affected by the education and values that given to us! (Even the emigrants who already move to other places, can't escape the influence of it) Then how about those places where people have been colonized?????
When a place is taken and occupied, the colonizer's first step is to destroy the language and the culture of its origin. That is how every colony has been through! First the language, then the religion power to input the different moality sense, then the system strucuture to take over the education and politics.
If one place is ruled by some other for a long time, will people might unconsicously think and act the way like its colonizer without realizing it?????? Even though, they have learned to be more aware of their identities and origins due to the self-oriented education the colonizer provides???Mm........