I already wrote a little about the different behaviour of the Taiwanese in the office, but I was lucky enough last night to be invited out for dinner once again by some of the China operation’s directors last night for a meal. The restaurant was in the west of the city where there are extensive communities of HongKongese, Japanese, Korean and Japanese. The whole thing was shiny and neon’d, interspersed with Japanese titty bars, Karaoke and stores full of overpriced food. And all the time, there were ramshackle houses built next to the fountains, full of tiny rooms. Who for? The maids? Workers?
Once into conversation, It felt like I was looking at myself amongst my foreigner friends in Taiwan bitching about the taxis, social protocol, level of professionality, work environment, food and a million other things. This is what we do too, semingly as some sort of natural reaction to a new environment. I hate doing it – it feels like I am talking behind my friends’ backs – but somehow this is the release valve that we need to vent steam.
So there I was last night, listening to the Taiwanese Ex-Pats talk about life in China – their body language once again more confident as they watched the girls bring in food and leaned back on their chairs. Half of me felt horribly superior, as I imagined all the locations that the British have settlements. The other felt some kind of minor pride for Taiwan – this is their little empire right inside China. Of course, there are other major Taiwanese communities, and I guess most of them are in the USA. I wonder if they talk about the US in the same way. Probably.