Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Only in Taiwan part 37

I know I've mentioned Taiwan's obsession with white skin before. It's one of those weird things- they seem to accept black westerners but there's for sure sometimes (for some people) some prejudice at work against Asians with dark(er) skin (ie aboriginal Taiwanese and guest workers from other Asian countries).

The thing that makes it trickier is that the words black and white in Chinese encompass a lot more than they do in English- they kind of mean darkness and lightness, so that you can say "White days are getting shorter" when you mean the daylight is less, and when I start to get a little tan people exclaim about how black (hei-heide) I'm getting. It's not so much being born black or white, as wasting your naturally white skin, that they don't like.

So today I was grading homework where the kids had to make a sentence with one of their new words, skin. There was plenty of randomness ("He has no skin, so he is dead") but a few gems like these:

"My sister is beautiful because her skin is very white."

"My mom says to my dad, 'Your skin is black! It's too bad!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this happens everywhere, people just like things that is rare or harder to get, like in western culture people like to be tanned and think that's nice.
it's just the same thing. and you can see people like lighter skin in most Asian countries.