Tuesday, October 16, 2018

IELTS takes a political position (and my ongoing battle to fight The Man)

Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 9.58.45 PM
Jerks.


As my husband noted in his nail-on-the-head post on the same topic, pretty much every IELTS teacher and examiner we know is horrified by the change on IELTS's website of "Taiwan" to "Taiwan, China" (Notably, Hong Kong and Macau bear no such designation. If I didn't already know this was all about politics, I'd say that's odd).

Many of us have written to IELTS to protest the change, including me. I'd include a screenshot, except that e-mail contains references to the nature of my employment which I cannot divulge, but which when blacked out render the letter incoherent. Suffice it to say, it was an angry but basically formal letter of protest and complaint.

We all got the same completely irrelevant form letters in reply, which didn't actually address the issue we wrote about:




Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 11.33.22 PM
"Thank you for your enquiry and comments. The IELTS Partnership is updating IELTS websites and materials in order to ensure that IELTS remains available to test takers in Taiwan. The IELTS Partnership will continue to deliver IELTS tests in Taiwan, ensuring that the widest number of Taiwanese students and professionals can benefit from the work and study opportunities that the test provides."



You can write to them too, by the way, their email is globalielts@ielts.org. See if you get the same bogus form letter! It'll be a fun international discourse comparison!

Of course, I wrote back to point out that their form letter reply was irrelevant to the protest lodged and got a snottier, though I suppose more relevant, reply:



Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 11.34.28 PM
"Thank you for your feedback. Please be aware that your position has been noted. Our priority continues to be to ensure that the widest number of Taiwanese students and professionals can benefit from the work and study opportunities that the IELTS test provides."


This is where I got a little testy. I'd say "I have a short temper", but several days on I decided to send this anyway. It won't make a difference, so please enjoy it as a retort created for your entertainment:





Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 10.03.48 PM
"If you consider them 'Taiwanese students', why do you list their country as being 'China'?"


Here's the thing. I know perfectly well that we're probably not going to win this, because The Man doesn't care about our tinny complaints. It pretends to be apolitical while taking a political, pro-Beijing position. And that is what you're doing when you list Taiwan as "Taiwan, China": you are taking a political position. You are saying Taiwan is a part of China, a position most Taiwanese do not agree with.

It's hard to fight the power, which as a friend pointed out, is the entire point of having power - so it's harder for people to fight you. IELTS pretends to be a dispassionate language proficiency test, but it's also a source of power: are you a non-native speaker who wants to study in the UK (or other countries) or get certain kinds of visas? You have to take it. It's tied to the government through British Council and the UKVI service. That's power. It's not just a test.

It wants to think it's not The Man, but it absolutely is. And as The Man almost always is, IELTS is wrong.

For me, this is the point at which "Taiwan, China" stops being an abstraction: it's not just an unfair, stupid thing that terrible companies do for money. It affects me personally: I'm associated with the brand. Some of my income comes from them. If I refuse to accept this, there is a real impact on my life, moreso than boycotting airlines or slagging off TOEFL. I don't earn money from those companies. I don't know how I can take dirty money now, so for the first time in a very long time, I'm faced with a choice between a chunk of my income, and my principles.

As China expands its forcefulness, more people like me will start facing that choice. I have to hope enough of them will choose principles, as I'm headed towards doing, but I know that many won't.

This isn't a small issue relegated to Taiwan and China. It affects people like me. It affects international workers and foreign residents.

And, as Brendan pointed out in his excellent post (which you should absolutely read), IELTS is essentially helping China accomplish its political goals, which serve as precursors to its military goals:



The government of the PRC would like nothing more than to take over Taiwan and incorporate it into their territory....This is not the ranting of a conspiracy monger -- China isn’t even trying to hide its intentions. 

 Whether China takes Taiwan by force or by “peaceful” coercion, it doesn’t want the rest of the world to see it as a larger country taking over a smaller, less powerful country. That would look very bad. Instead, China wants the rest of the world to see Taiwan as a recalcitrant part of China that needs to be brought to heel. That’s why (among many things) it’s got people pushing to change “Taiwan” on those drop-down menus to things like “Taiwan, China” or “Taiwan, Province of China”. It’s all about changing the world’s perception of Taiwan so that if Invasion Day comes, the rest of the world doesn’t see Xi Jinping as another Hitler invading Poland. 

And every airline that lists Taiwan as China and every educational institution that forces students to declare their country as “Taiwan, China” is complicit in this. With Beijing -- not politically neutral.


I don't know how to fight that. I don't know how to tell you to fight that. I'm still weighing my options, although I know that not acting is not an option. I don't know what to tell my students, except not to take IELTS.

I know some Taiwan-based examiners read this blog. I know a lot of Taiwanese do, too. I don't know what to tell you.

I considered suggesting a strike, and still think that might be a possibility. I worry, however, that it will hurt local centers like IDP Taipei, who are not our enemies (I suspect a lot of the local employees of IELTS centers are on our side, in fact) without really hurting IELTS as a global organization. It might be our best shot, however, at getting this story to stay in the news and embarrass IELTS as much as possible.

I considered a petition, but TOEFL ignored the one directed at them, and IELTS will too. That's what The Man does - he ignores petitions, because he has power.

I considered saying you should change your scripts and say explicitly that Taiwan is NOT CHINA, but that could hurt candidates' performance and that's not fair. It's not their fault (even with the Chinese candidates, it's not their fault at all that their government sucks).

Of course I will continue to encourage Taiwanese students not to take the test.

Something more should be done, but the result has to hurt IELTS Global. What should that something be? I don't know yet. But I have no intention of going away and I have no intention of quietly choosing money over principles.

All I can say is that I encourage you to organize (and feel free to get in touch with me, by the way. I'm easy to find). Be creative, and don't back down. The Man usually wins, but that doesn't mean you have to sit down and obey meekly.

I wish I had better advice, though. I'm not sure what the next move will be, but I can assure you we're not done here. 


Monday, October 15, 2018

Go see "Nude" in Kaohsiung - and Taiwan, promote your events better!

0-2
Go see Nude!

Last weekend, I had the good fortune to go to Kaohsiung for a few days to take part in a tourism-related conference. That part was interesting, but not something I feel the need to blog about.

Being down there, however, gave me the chance to see one of my oldest and closest friends in Taiwan. Helping to run the family business mean she doesn't have a lot of time to come to Taipei, so we often see each other when I'm able to head down south. For those of you who think I'm a public transit snob who won't grace an old-school Taiwanese scooter with her precious princess bum, I actually had a blast riding around Kaohsiung county (technically 'city' but that was a stupid change and I won't dignify it) and downtown on the back of her scooter. I just won't drive one myself, because I value my life.


43178746_10156779845406202_5088345689415483392_o 


Anyway, we decided to check out the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art, which is currently hosting "Nude", an exhibit of works on loan from the Tate Modern in London.

The theme of the exhibit is nudity in modern art, and it discusses (with well-planned wall panels in English and Chinese) the evolution of nudity in art through the late 19th century to the modern era. It includes some stunning - and some head-scratching - cutting-edge modern work along side classics by Matisse, Rodin, Renoir and Picasso.

To be frank, it was just an amazing exhibit. It was fine art of a high calibre which is a real treat in Taiwan, with a smattering of well-known masters but not necessarily focusing only on the big names. It featured Rodin's Kiss, which is one of the great works of Western sculpture. The evening we went, a concert was being planned around it featuring modern works of classical music.

Photographs were not allowed, so you'll have to make do with a shot of the brochure and some postcards I purchased.



0-3
A Matisse and a Nevinson



The exhibit runs through October 28 and costs NT$280 (with concessions including a student discount), so you still have time. Go see it!

I mean, I was just in London. I went to the Tate Modern. I didn't get to see stuff this great there!

Here's what keeps nagging me: I had heard that this was taking place through the local grapevine, though it wasn't promoted in any way that made a huge impact on me. I had forgotten that it was still running, and in fact though I wouldn't get to see it as I was away for most of the summer. My local friend had to remind me that it was still an option.

When I got back to my hotel, I searched a bit to see where news of the exhibit could be found by tourists (plenty if information is available in Chinese, and the exhibit seemed to be locally popular, with the museum staying open until 8:30pm that Friday). A few articles from over the summer mentioned it, including the Focus Taiwan one linked above. After that, nothing.

A visitor searching for events in Kaohsiung in September or October (perhaps even August) would have trouble finding out that this exhibit existed, especially if they were a foreign tourist searching in English. The information is there, but it's hard to find for travelers. About to attend a conference on tourism promotion in Taiwan, this struck me as especially strange.

As a traveler in Kaohsiung - although a domestic one, as Taipei is my home - I was keen to see the exhibit, and yet would likely not have thought to go if not for my friend. And I actually had known about it! Imagine a foreign tourist here who hadn't seen any of the local news items featuring it when it opened. They'd have no idea.

Here's an example of what I mean. If you search for events in Kaohsiung, you might come across this website by the Kaohsiung City Government. It's actually a pretty good website in a variety of languages, which is already exceptional for Taiwan (where websites in English are often so terribly-designed, unclear and devoid of real information that they are essentially unusable and, I have to assume, only exist for decorative purposes or so that someone could give their nominally-English-speaking nephew a website development contract).

But if you actually search for events, say, this weekend, this is what you get:



Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 2.49.06 PM
Same thing for no keyword, "art", "museum" and "nude"


Nothing.

Put in some keywords (I tried "museum", "art", "nude" and "tate") - still nothing. A tourist using this site would never have found the sublime exhibit I was lucky to see.

It really seems as though events in Taiwan are either heavily publicized but terrible, or great but not promoted well or consistently.


So, hey, Taiwan. You can do better. You have interesting events that travelers will want to know about. Make sure they do!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Talk on Gui Minhai by Swedish journalist to be held on 10/17

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 3.11.41 PM


Time:
October 17 (this Wednesday), 7:30pm-9pm
Location: Enspyre; 12th Floor #181 Fuxing N. Road, Songshan Dist. Taipei (section not given but it's basically near/on the Fuxing-Changchun intersection)
台北市松山區復興北路181號12樓


Top-notch Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson will be hosting a talk on the disappearance and continued detainment of Swedish citizen Gui Minhai this Wednesday.

Olsson has been holding Sweden's feet to the fire over the government's silence on Chinese government crimes against Swedish citizens for some time, and is deeply knowledgeable about these issues. He is well worth listening to and I strongly recommend attending.

Gui's disappearance affects us all. First, it shows that the Chinese government is deeply racist: it is far more likely to go after dissidents of Chinese ancestral heritage, showing that it considers all people with ancestral ties to China to essentially be "Chinese" regardless of where they actually come from, live, or are citizens. China seems to have wagered that the rest of the world doesn't care as long as the victims look Asian. I fear that they have wagered correctly.

It also shows that China's actions are not just impacting their own citizens (although prominent Chinese citizens are disappearing as well, including ones who head prominent international organizations and do not reside in China, such as disappeared Interpol chief Meng Hongwei). Gui Minhai is a Swedish citizen; this issue also calls to mind Li Mingche, the Taiwanese citizen also 'disappeared' by China. Li, too, is not Chinese: he is Taiwanese, and his actions in Taiwan were entirely legal.

Even scarier is that Gui's disappearance did not happen in China - he was in Bangkok. Essentially, this means that the Chinese government does not stop at its own citizens or borders, and is certainly willing to abduct foreign nationals from other countries. It is possible - likely, even - that they attempted to do the same thing to Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong when he arrived in Bangkok, but had to release him as he was able to get word of his detainment out on social media.

This is what we're up against. This shows that, as evil as you think Western countries can be (and they certainly can be), the CCP is several orders of magnitude worse: they are crueler, more evil, and more terrifying.

Knowing more about these issues, especially if you reside in Taiwan, is absolutely worth your time. Also, you'll be supporting one of the foreign journalists whose mission it is to expose Chinese government atrocities to Western audiences and who is committed to Taiwan. We need more of those, and to support the ones we already have.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Don't Take IELTS (請拒考雅思)

43648095_2581750065199816_3146112094630313984_n
Calling Taiwan "China" makes about as much sense as calling a horse a dog.
Shame on you, IELTS.

I'm still deeply upset as someone who has taught IELTS preparatory classes that the IELTS organization changed "Taiwan" to "Taiwan, China". I have quite a lot more to say about this, which I'll publish across two posts.

Right now, what I really want to say is that, as an IELTS teacher, I'm embarrassed to be associated with the brand. As a teacher who has advised her learners about proficiency tests in the past, I just can't with good conscience advise now that my learners take any test (TOEFL does the same thing, but I'm not a TOEFL teacher so I have less personally invested. They're slimy cowards for kowtowing to China too, though). My students deserve not to be humiliated just by registering.

To Taiwanese students, I say, don't take IELTS. Just...don't. I wish I had a better alternative, but I don't.

I considered writing this up for publication outside of my blog, but ultimately decided it was best published here, as it expresses a very personal opinion. That said, I do hope it reaches a wider audience, even though I feel as though this is a hopeless battle.

It took me a long time to get this together in Chinese, but here you go (English below):



拒絕雅思

每星期似乎都有新的公司或組織,在中華人民共和國的壓力下開始稱呼「台灣」(Taiwan)為「中國台灣」(Taiwan, China)。直到不久之前,這些矮化他人的組織中最過分的是航空公司,而且讓人覺得台灣人民或他們的盟友好像沒有什麽辦法可以抗議。現在,中國這種壓迫國際組織改變對台稱呼的霸凌行為,也伸向了英語能力檢定考試機構:目前雅思(IELTS)和托福(TOEFL)考試中心的國籍欄位都將台灣稱為「中國台灣」。

身為在台教學14年的認證英語教師以及正在攻讀教育學碩士的研究生,我相信,儘管語言課程討論的主題因為反映了現實世界而可能具有爭議性,或有時泛政治化,但整個語言學習的「世界」──學校、課堂和考試中心──不應該牽涉到政治。沒有學生該因為他們的國家被視為不存在,而覺得矮人一等。我在台灣有永久居留權,我也熱愛台灣這個國家,如今台灣因為中國這個日益蠻橫的擴張主義者的霸凌而慘遭除名,我實在不能眼睜睜看著我的學生因為自己國家遭除名而難堪。


我本身是雅思課程授課教師,也協助學生選擇適合的英語能力檢定考試,我曾自豪地說,雅思是所有能力檢定測驗較有效力、研究較有深度的測驗之一。沒有測驗是完美的,但以標準化的考試而言,雅思已盡善盡美。然而,現在我自己因為和雅思這個招牌有關而覺得丟臉,我再也無法向學生推薦雅思或托福了。學生受這種侮辱實在不值得。台灣整體值得受到國際組織更好的待遇。


我很多學生都想出國,常常想在短期內實現這項目標。然而在出國準備計畫方面,我能給學生的唯一良心建議就是暫停所有報考語言能力測驗的計畫,並透過考試系統官方網站上的聯絡資訊和社群媒體平台,寫信給考試委員會,要求把國籍名稱改回「台灣」,但同時將整份國家清單改稱為「國家╱地區」(Country/Region)清單,這樣重擔就會變成落在讀者身上,組織本身則不必表明政治立場。我建議學生也寫信給英國在台協會和澳洲國際文教中心,要求他們向雅思機構負責人正式提出投訴。


我自己也是從美國搬來台灣,我能體會延後出國計畫有多麼困難。然而,這些組織越快感受到經濟壓力,就會越快做出改變,公平對待台灣。

英語能力測驗公司不像航空公司一樣習慣應付憤怒的顧客,因此他們更容易因為報考人數驟減和抱怨增加而擔憂。他們和中國之間也不像航空公司和中國一樣彼此需要,儘管中國是雅思和托福的大市場,中國實際上不能像禁止外國航空公司一樣禁止他們,就好像中國終究沒有因為劍橋大學出版社拒絕將特定文章在中國下架而禁止他們。與你和航空公司打交道的經驗不同,你的聲音可能真的會被聽見。

在你的聲音被聽見之前,這名深愛台灣且曾教過雅思的英語教師只有一項建議:請拒考雅思。



That's for my students and Taiwanese readers.

In English:

Every week, it seems as though a new company or organization begins referring to “Taiwan” as “Taiwan, China” under pressure from the People’s Republic of China. Until recently, the most egregious offenders were airlines, and it felt as though there was little that Taiwanese people or their allies could do in protest. Now, China’s bullying of international organizations about Taiwan’s name has reached the English proficiency exam industry, with both IELTS and TOEFL designating test centers in Taiwan as “Taiwan, China”. 



As a certified English teacher of 14 years in Taiwan who is currently working toward a Master’s in Education, I believe that while topics of discussion in language classes may be controversial or occasionally political as this reflects the real world, that the ‘world’ of language learning - the schools, classes and test centers - should be apolitical. No learner should be made to feel denigrated because their country has been designated as non-existent. As a permanent resident of Taiwan who loves this country, I can not accept that any of my Taiwanese learners might feel embarrassed that their nation has been erased due to the bullying of an increasingly expansionist China. 



As a teacher who has conducted IELTS preparatory classes for proficiency exams and given advice on which exam to take, I was once proud to say that IELTS is one of the more valid, reliable and well-researched proficiency exams available. No test is perfect, but as standardized exams go, IELTS was as good as it could be. However, I am now personally embarrassed at being associated with the IELTS brand, and I can no longer recommend it, or TOEFL, to my learners. They deserve better than to be insulted in this way. Taiwan as a whole deserves better treatment from international organizations. 



Many of my learners hope to go abroad, often within a short timeframe. However, the only course of action I can recommend with a clear conscience is to put plans to sit for a proficiency exam on hold, and write to the exam boards instead to complain about this wording, both through their websites where contact information is available, and on social media. Ask them to change the designation back to Taiwan, but name the list “Country/Territory”, so that the burden will be on readers, rather than the organizations themselves taking a political stance. Write to British Council Taiwan and IDP Taiwan as well, asking them to lodge formal complaints with the head IELTS office. 



Having moved from the US to Taiwan myself, I sympathize with how difficult it may be to postpone one’s plans to move to another country. However, the more swiftly these organizations feel economic pressure to treat Taiwan fairly, the more quickly the change can be made. 

Unlike airlines, who are used to dealing with angry customers, English proficiency testing companies are more likely to be concerned by a sudden drop in registrations and uptick in complaints. 

Unlike airlines, China needs them as much as they need China: while it is true that China is a huge market for IELTS and TOEFL, China cannot realistically ban them from the country as they might with a foreign airline, just as they ultimately did not ban Cambridge University Press for refusing to make certain articles unavailable in China. Unlike with airlines, your voice may actually be heard. 



Until it is, this English teacher who used to teach IELTS classes and who loves Taiwan can only give one piece of advice: don’t take IELTS.


To the other IELTS teachers out there, I say: stop recommending IELTS. Tell your students exactly what you think of them and their bending over for China. Show them that foreign residents of Taiwan care, too.

IELTS, too, should be worried that the very people - the professionals, the teachers, and yes, the foreign faces  - who are the 'face' of IELTS in Taiwan hate it so very much. It's not just me: I don't know even one examiner right now (and I am acquainted with more than a few) who has a good opinion of IELTS and I doubt I know even one teacher. I'm already telling Taiwanese students what I think now, when I would previously recommend them. Is that what they want for their brand image in Taiwan? If they cared, that is? 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Gods Rush In Again: My Latest for Taiwan Scene

You might remember that I had a short non-fiction story published in an anthology of stories by expat women in Asia, all the way back in 2014.

Well, with the King Boat Festival coming once again - it kicks off on October 28 this year and ends one week later - Taiwan Scene has excerpted my original story and published it here:

Gods Rush In at the King Boat Festival

Although a few sections are lost - an exploration of the cultural issues surrounding being a female spirit medium, a longer discussion of my own (continued) atheism despite the peculiar and perhaps somewhat chimerical events I experienced on the beach that day in 2012, the fact that my own wishing plaque on the King Boat was for Taiwanese independence - I'm excited that the story might now reach a wider audience.

Until now, it was impossible to read unless you bought the whole anthology (which you can still absolutely do, and which I recommend, but may be difficult for someone without a Kindle device or app in Taiwan), so having a section of it available to all Taiwanese readers is great news!

If you think Taiwanese have no sense of humor, perhaps that's because you don't get it.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 2.06.18 AM


I hear it a lot: some expat dude (it's usually, though not always, a dude) who decides to hold forth and grace us with his deep knowledge of and wisdom about Taiwan, and proffers what he feels is a gem of intercultural knowledge: that Taiwanese have no sense of humor. 


There's even a blog post out there mentioning this, but I'll do the author a favor and not link to it. Obviously, I don't agree

This is often accompanied by the oft-repeated nugget (what kind of nugget I'm not sure) that Taiwanese don't understand sarcasm. 

It seems to be a common double standard - that it's okay for us to stumble around like idiots in the local language (and it is okay, by the way, as long as you try), but if someone isn't William freakin' Shakespeare in English, it must be some issue in "their culture" or their DNA which makes them "incapable" of sarcasm, jokes, being engaging, making a clear point, saying no, or whatever. Hmm, so you don't think that maybe it's just that they, like you, aren't perfectly fluent in the foreign language they are using and so they struggle with some higher-order language competencies which they are quite capable of in their native tongue? We don't think we "lack a sense of humor" if we can't properly crack jokes in Mandarin or Hoklo, so why do we apply this standard to Taiwanese learning English?

Personally, I find some of my Taiwanese friends, acquaintances and students deeply hilarious, some darkly funny, some basically normal (not particularly funny but able to enjoy a good joke) and some cold and humorless - just like I do any other people.


With that in mind, please enjoy this unintentionally hilarious "rap" from campaign staffers for Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-jung (丁守中). I'm sure they'll get all the Kool Youngsterz to vote for them with this jammin' tune!


43286559_1843043162398253_7734620957699997696_o
台北的未來在他手中??



This isn't even the first time a KMT candidate has come out with a completely ridiculous song to try to appeal to the Cool'n'Hip Kidz, although it's more polished and overall less wholly inexplicable than this total head-scratcher from KMT chair Wu Dun-yih.

And, from a friend, there's this...um, song? From former Taichung mayor Jason Hu (胡自強).

Ting - or rather, his staffers, as I don't think Ting himself could loosen up enough even to sing this zipped-up family-friendly extended jingle - are basically singing "Taipei's future is in your hands, Taipei's future is in my hands, Taipei's future is with Ting Shou-jung! He's keeping watch for you, he's defending your dreams, Taipei's future is with Ting Shou-jung!"


Wow, inspiring.

Now, to get the taste out of your mouth, check out the wonderfully sarcastic parody rap from EyeCTV, which is well-known for its sarcastic mockery of old ROC diehards and has come out with some trenchant Daily Show-like political satire in the past. 

They're taking the original catchy, dorky, deeply annoying tune, stealing some of the language choices, and turning it into what sounds like another stupid rap, but actually hides a pro-ROC, pro-unification, Chinese chauvinist old-school KMT style propaganda message. Most notably, it replaces "Taipei" with "China", with an old ROC map of China in the background.

It has all the old lingo, including "counter-offensive" (反攻)which is associated with old Nationalist slogans, includes the phrase "unification is not a dream" (another common propaganda message) and then goes on to say that it - that is, unification - is the "bright, sunny dream" (青天白日夢) of all "Chinese sons and daughters" (中華兒女). "Chinese sons and daughters" is propagandistic term which calls to mind the New China Youth (a wing of creepy, New Party-affiliated/China-supported-and-paid-for astroturfing unificationists) and the words for "bright and sunny" alluding strongly to the "white sun on a blue field" of the KMT party symbol (which is also on that blasted ROC flag).

Making this sort of joke even more culturally-specific is the wordplay at the end. Remove the "bright" (青天) part of "bright, sunny dream" and you get "白日夢", another way to say a daydream. A fantasy, an illusion. Which is exactly what "unification" is to these guys, no matter how much they try to dress it up in a dweeby hip-hop song pretending to be 'fresh'. 


Of course this isn't pro-unificationist ROC claptrap, it's sarcasm - satire, after a fashion - that thing so many foreigners in Taiwan think Taiwanese lack. It mocks the "trying to be hip" and "overly earnest" vibe of the original (something no late-middle-age uptight political candidate should attempt), while laying bare the KMT's actual beliefs as per its own symbols and past rhetoric: that Taiwan is ultimately Chinese, and that their actual goal is unification with China on their terms, not an independent future for Taiwan. No catchy tune can erase that.

The Facebook post even says that the ROC map pin he's wearing was sent by fans for the "rap" and can not be bought, with a ton of "crying" emojis.

I highly doubt any of those people reacting with the "crying" face actually wanted to seriously, unironically, own that pin.

This also shows how culture-specific some humor can be. Sure, Chad, I know you think you're so hilarious that it translates across cultures, but in fact, the reason your Taiwanese students don't laugh at your jokes isn't because they don't have a sense of humor, it's because your jokes just aren't that funny in Taiwan. Similarly, you might not find this video particularly funny. That's not because it isn't (I laughed a few times), but to really get it, you have to have be familiar enough with a culture that was just starting to shake off the enforced adherence to Chinese-style propaganda that has always sounded quietly ridiculous to Taiwanese whose ancestors have been here for hundreds or thousands of years, and who never had any intention of or desire to "take back the Mainland". 


So yeah, I'd say that Taiwanese understand sarcasm just fine, and their sense of humor is doing A-OK. If you don't see that, maybe you're the one who doesn't get it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Great Britain is an inseparable part of India because of Sanskrit and chicken tikka masala

Mahatma_Gandhi_at_Parliament_Square,_London
Indo-British hero Mahatma Gandhi in London, from Wikimedia Commons


I know t
hat some splittists who don't understand 5,000 years of Indo-European culture insist that Great Britain is an independent nation with its own history and culture, but let me explain to you why they are wrong.

In fact, Britain is a renegade province of India, which will eventually be reunified with the motherland by force. However, India is a peaceful power and it is Britain Province that is causing tensions because it does not agree that it is part of India.


It is a well-known fact that "Britain" and "India" actually share the same history. Both places speak Indo-European languages. Both English and Sanskrit (the ancient root of most modern Indian languages) come from the same roots! Ignorant racists who want to say they are different languages clearly have not thought through the "Indo-" part of Indo-European, and that's why they stupidly assume the languages are different. In fact, they share many of the same features, and people from the India area and the Britain area are typically able to communicate.

Furthermore, historically the India area and the Britain area of Indo-Britain have been united rather than divided. They had the same Queen since antiquity, and only have separate governments now because xenophobic ethno-nationalist splittists in Britain Province force the people to be governed separately against their will. In fact, it is the will of all Indo-British on both sides of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean to be united as it has been through history, and this is undeniable fact that cannot be denied by anyone, as it is known to all people in the world. During this time, everyone agreed that the Queen was the sovereign ruler of all of Indo-Britain and nobody disagreed. Therefore, their histories are exactly the same.

There is also the irrefutable DNA evidence, which shows that all Indo-British people are Aryan and therefore share the same ancestors, which makes them the same. This is an undebatable fact.
 

This is still the case even though some running dog splittists from Britain province want to cause tensions and destroy the world with their hatefulness by saying they are not the same as people from the India area, even though it is undeniable that they are and everyone agrees. 


Furthermore, just as many Indo-British compatriots from the Britain area moved to the India area in the 19th century, many of their compatriots from the India area have also moved to the Britain area. Clearly, Indo-British culture constitutes an unbreakable bond that separates brothers and sisters across the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Indo-Britains from "Britain" in India built several very nice schools and cute railroads which are also useful, and Indians in "Britain", through running thriving businesses and historically providing the raw goods such as indigo, built the modern British economy we know today. All of this infrastructure and these businesses, as well as several million people, would immediately perish in great anguish if anyone were to deny that Indo-Britain is one united, un-dividable country.

This bond extends to culture in very obvious ways that nobody disagrees with. Indo-British people in both areas traditionally eat dishes such as "chicken tikka masala" and "curry sauce on chips". In both areas, it is quite common to sate ones appetite with a kebab from a local vendor and a cup of hot tea.

Some people say that modern "British" culture is too different from "Indian" culture because they have drifted too far apart to unite now. This is not true. In fact, the India area is a very heterogenous society, with many related cultures all agreeing that they are "Indian" and speaking the same "Indian" language. How can such racists say that "Britain" province cannot fit under this umbrella as well? These people clearly do not understand that Indo-British "ethnic minorities" are not only celebrated in Greater India, but they even get preferential treatment.

Those evil splittists who say "India" and "Britain" are different countries simply cannot explain why there is a statue of Indo-British hero Mahatma Gandhi outside Parliament in Great Britain, nor why there is a statue of Indo-British Queen Victoria in Bangalore, India. In fact, there are many "Indian" places of worship in "Britain, as well as many "British" places of worship and other "British"-style architectural sites and monuments in India.

Some splittists may try to convince you that there are other "historical" reasons for these similarities, but do not be brainwashed by their propaganda which hurts the feelings of all Indo-British people and denies the true fact of 5,000 years of Indo-British history. To say otherwise is a deeply offensive slap in the face of all Indo-British people, which is our culture because of the ancient teachings of Indo-British philosopher Winston Churchill, who is a cultural icon in all parts of Greater Indo-Britain. If you do not agree, you are a racist who can never understand the ancient traditional culture of all Indo-British people.