Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

Taiwanese not fond of Koreans?

Posted by thuicc on July 6, 2008

Muninn reports about and speculates on reasons for “anti-Korean sentiment” that he has noticed in Taiwan. He suggests a few possible reasons why a lot of Taiwanese people he has run into say they “hate” (討厭) Koreans:

  • personality clashes (he says that he has noticed that Koreans are “sometimes more intense and aggressive” in their style of expression than Taiwanese)
  • “a kind of insecurity complex” on the part of the Taiwanese when they compare themselves to the more internationally visible South Korea.

Muninn continues,

When it comes to Taiwanese sentiments towards Korea, if my very limited exchanges are at all suggestive of anything, the Korean brand power, food culture, and drama fandom seen here are not incompatible with a degree of emotional disdain.

This is all very new to me because I never noticed any kind of anti-Korean sentiment in Taiwan before. In fact, there was a Korean student in my Freshman English class last year who seemed well-liked by his classmates, as far as I could tell.

So what do my readers (or maybe there’s only one reader anymore!) think? Do you think Taiwanese have personality conflicts with Koreans any more than they do with, say, Japanese or Chinese from the PRC (maybe they’ll have more of the latter now that we’re letting PRC tourists in!)? Let me know…

Posted in Asia, conflict, Taiwan, websites | 4 Comments »

Muninn on “Foreigner Shock Meltdown” in parts of East Asia

Posted by thuicc on November 22, 2007

(Hmmm… long title…) Muninn has a great post discussing what happens in places like Japan and Korea when a stranger (someone clearly not native to that country) comes on the scene: “a paralyzing shock [is] exhibited by natives of the country when faced with a non-Asian, especially ones who show some proficiency in the language.” He describes three kinds of reactions to the foreigner:

1) Faced with a Caucasian (or, I assume, any other not-Asian-looking individual), the Korean or Japanese person in question will have complete a meltdown, and do their utmost to complete the entire transaction (at the post office, store, restaurant, etc.) without making any eye contact or speaking a single word. In extreme cases they can completely crap-out and request help from the manager or other co-worker before even beginning the transaction or confirming that their customers does not, indeed, speak Korean/Japanese.
2) If the NALI (not Asian looking individual) is in the company of anyone who looks even remotely Asian, they will completely ignore the existence of the NALI and speak/recognize only the Asian looking person. This will continue even if a) the NALI continues to respond to questions and speak passably well in the native language of the Japanese/Korean person in question and/or b) if the Asian looking person in question in fact does not at all know how to speak Japanese/Korean.
3) Faced with a NALI, the Korean or Japanese person in question will panic and try to communicate in a non-grammatical mix of their native language, really bad English, and hand signals. This can happen even if you speak passably well in the native language of the person and have not yet shown any inability to understand their regular Korean/Japanese.

It’s an interesting read–check it out!

Posted in Asia, greetings, nonverbal communication, politeness, race, websites, whiteness | Comments Off on Muninn on “Foreigner Shock Meltdown” in parts of East Asia

My questions to Kuwaitis culture!

Posted by ashy7495 on October 29, 2006

Hello, everyone~

How you doing?I’ve read those brief introduction of Kuwaitis culture and I got really excited to ask more questions. For example, about the tea and coffee that Kuwaitis usually serve to a guest, but is there any possiable for serving juice or cola? Does the guest need to finish all the tea or meals to show their appreciation? Do the young generation use bare hands to enjoy the meal? Are there any people are vegetarians?

Since the mixed cultures of Kuwait is soo amazing, do the students still want to major in any Asian language? like Japanese or Chinese? Bedies the mass media you have in Kuwait, do you have Kuwaitis serials& dramas like we commonly have in China, Taiwan, Korea. Mind if you introduce Kuwaitis singers to me?

I’m really curious and excited to know about these. sorry about listing out a page of questions…haha:p

Posted in Asia, assignments | 14 Comments »

Intercultural pizza

Posted by thuicc on March 23, 2006

Taiwanonymous (try pronouncing that!) comments on Taiwan-style pizza, expressing the suspicion that

It seems that “western” dishes allow chefs to release all the creative energies that are suppressed when cooking Chinese cuisine. For a bowl of beef noodle soup, there just are not many options for spicing it up—the most unusual thing you can do is to add tomatoes. However, when it comes to pizzas, bread, and pastries, anything goes. A cheese pizza is a bare canvas just asking Chinese chefs to let their imaginations soar.

I have to admit it took me a while to get used to corn and peas on my pizza, but now I couldn’t live without it… Guess that’s adaptation for you…

Posted in Asia, food, Taiwan | Comments Off on Intercultural pizza

Interview with Ang Lee about Brokeback Mountain

Posted by thuicc on March 1, 2006

I came across this interview with Ang Lee today (though the interview itself is from December). It’s from In the interview, Lee has some interesting comments about what he views as similarities between cowboys and Asians:

I see the themes of repression in Brokeback Mountain as being universal regardless of culture. However, it is true that Eastern culture and the nature of cowboys share a certain indirectness, quiet nature, and use of body language to communicate that are quite similar. There are similarities in the art of the two cultures as well–they both emphasize feelings of sadness, melancholy, and expansive space through various media.The difference is that Western culture is more macho, whereas Eastern culture is–more lunar and feminine in nature. Thus, when it comes to attitudes about homosexuality, my personal theory is that Eastern culture is more relaxed than in the West. This stems from a difference in why a culture perceives homosexuality to be wrong–in Western culture, it stems from religion, and you are condemned if you are gay. Eastern culture seems more, flexible–and being gay is more of a social issue than a religious one; there is no deity to offend. The West also seems to tolerate lesbians more than gays because it’s a very macho culture; homosexuality is not okay because it threatens this culture. Of course, this is my observation in general–I am sure that there are happy gay ranch hands in Wyoming with very sensitive neighbors as well.

Interesting perspectives. What do you think?

Posted in Asia, identity, media, movies | Comments Off on Interview with Ang Lee about Brokeback Mountain

Two “fun” sites related to culture and identity

Posted by thuicc on October 24, 2005

I came across two websites recently that are sort of related to culture and identity. The first site is You can go to this site and take a “geographic personality test“. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to tell you, except that they claim to be able to tell you what geographic location (city) would best suit your personality. Well, try it, but don’t take it too seriously.

The other website is called “ALL LOOK SAME“. At the top of the page is a “quiz” to take–it shows you pictures of different East Asian people (ordinary Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese) and asks you to identify their nationality based on their picture. See if you can get a good score on this. (I only identified 7 correctly out of 18.) Of course, someone could do the same with Euro-Americans and Europeans, I imagine. I don’t think I’d be able to tell a German from an Italian just by looking at a face. So…

Posted in Asia, identity, United States, websites | 4 Comments »

Chinese-[insert ethnicity here] food

Posted by thuicc on September 29, 2005

An interesting article was published in the New York Times recently: “Craving Hyphenated Chinese” by Julia Moskin discusses the different varieties of Chinese food that are available in New York City. By “different varieties” I don’t mean just Cantonese or Sichuanese… I mean (and Moskin writes about) Chinese-Peruvian food, Chinese-Mexican food, and even Chinese-Norwegian food!

For example, Moskin describes a Chinese hot dog invented by Kevin Cohnen, the owner of a kosher Chinese restaurant. The Chinese hot dog consists of “a kosher beef frank encased in an eggroll wrapper and deep-fried. The result is crusty, incredibly juicy and excellent with hot mustard, either New York deli or Chinese style.” (There’s an image of that Chinese hot dog here.) Another example of a hybrid Chinese-[] food is a Chinese-Peruvian dish called Lomo saltado, which Moskin describes as “a savory stir-fry of beef, onions and tomatoes, seasoned with soy sauce” that “is sometimes served over French fries”.

As Moskin writes,

The roots of these hybrid Chinese cuisines around the world are the same as those of Chinese food in America. Millions of Chinese men, most of them from the province Guangdong (formerly known in English as Canton), left China in the late 19th and early 20th century. Only men were allowed to leave the country, often by becoming indentured workers to companies in need of cheap labor in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and South America.Professional cooks were usually not among the emigrants, so the earliest Chinese restaurants outside China were started by men with little knowledge of cooking and a desperate need to improvise with local ingredients. The dishes they came up with, like chop suey, have long since been dismissed as “not Chinese” by scholars of the culture.

But Chinese food has never been quite what outsiders think it is.

“The term Chinese food represents an area four times larger than Western Europe and the eating habits of more than a billion people,” Mr. Kwan said. “You could say that there is really no such thing as Chinese food.”

Eugene Anderson, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of “The Food of China,” disagrees. “Chinese food is defined by a flavor principle of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onions” and methods including stir-frying and steaming, he said. “Once you get too far away from those rules, it is no longer Chinese.”

What do you think about the arguments of Anderson and Kwan? Is there such a thing as “pure’ Chinese food?

And (since we’re studying intercultural communication) how might this discussion of Chinese cuisine relate to how we might understand our own identities? Is it possible to identify Chinese people (or American people, or…) and Chinese (or American) communication by some sort of principle similar to Anderson’s “flavor principle”?

(article found via Mixed Media Watch, an interesting blog that discusses how the media represents mixed people)

Posted in Asia, cultural classifications, food | Comments Off on Chinese-[insert ethnicity here] food

Cultural differences in the American and Chinese versions of “The Apprentice”

Posted by thuicc on August 29, 2005

There’s a TV show in the U.S. called “The Apprentice“. This is a “reality” show where people compete to get a job. They work for a business executive and he observes their performance and decides who to keep in the end. The host of the show is the famous businessman Donald Trump. Trump is famous in this show for his line, “You’re fired!”, said with gusto when he fires one of the contestants. The Chinese version, according to this source, will be different.

“Chinese people give others face. To tell somebody he’s fired in such a tone, especially when this person has literally not been hired, is not the Chinese way. “I probably will say something like, ‘You will have a better opportunity somewhere else’, in a way he will get it and find the manner acceptable,” added the man nicknamed Naughty Boy for his company’s innovative designs.

Posted in Asia, media | Comments Off on Cultural differences in the American and Chinese versions of “The Apprentice”

Stereotypes about American and Asian Cultures

Posted by thuicc on August 24, 2005

Michael Turton has a good post on his blog, responding to a Taipei Times article about differences in how Euro-Americans and Chinese “process visual data differently”. He exposes some of the dangers of jumping to conclusions about cultures based on a particular kind of study. We’ll read this in class at some point, so check it out!

Update: There’s also a discussion about this article on Savage Minds, an anthropology blog.

Posted in anthropology, Asia, cultural classifications, cultural patterns, stereotyping, websites | Comments Off on Stereotypes about American and Asian Cultures

Coke and Pepsi ads in China

Posted by thuicc on July 6, 2005

Interesting entry here about a S.H.E. Coke ad in China. The article reads (in part):

The S.H.E. ad is aparently meant to be inspirational, fitting with Coke’s slogan, “For satisfaction, look to yourself.” The group faces an unscrupulous music executive who wants them to dress more revealingly in order to sell more records. They refuse, and when the exec reacts angrily, the girls take a sip of Coke, which launches them into the World of Warcraft universe. They proceed to teach the guy a lesson while wearing the chaste costumes female video game characters are well-known for.Fantasy battles are quite common on the Chinese front of the Cola Wars. Pepsi’s campaign last year featured their entire line-up of young stars slinging magic missiles around in an immense amphitheater. The most recent Pepsi spot, which introduces new recruit Nicholas Tse (see Danwei’s previous post on the subject), is a frenzy of icy CGI wings and projectiles. Coke’s ads are red where Pepsi’s are blue, but there’s not much else to distinguish between the two.

Remind me of this article. We’ll probably do some work on intercultural and international advertising in the fall, if folks are interested.

Posted in advertising, Asia, business, media | Comments Off on Coke and Pepsi ads in China