-Rant 2nd part
Refer to "Make up is magic"
Well, the anti korean sentiments are not that ungrounded apparently.. I suppose these come from envy and unhealthy competitive jealousy. As we all know Taiwan and South Korea are two of the four asian tigers together with Hong Kong and Singapore. And somehow I always got the impression that the taiwanese always wanted to be classified together with Korea and Japan as the three big north east asian power countries, leaving China behind. As we know, the taiwanese doesn't want to be associated with China because of those political reasons. So, having this image in mind, they think of South Korea as their biggest competitor, since both have some similarities.. Both have been influenced by Mainland China, have been colonized by the Japanese for decades, both export electronics goods, etc. And since Japan served as the 'mother land' and is much more developed than Taiwan, the Taiwanese curiously do not turn against the Japanese, in fact they even idolize the japanese culture and try to identify themselves with the japanese, maybe in attempt to further dissociate themselves from the Mainland chinese.
In my opinion, they have some serious identity crisis. They actually speak and write chinese, embracing chinese culture proudly, seeing theirselves more pure than their mainland counterparts, because they have traditional writing characters, whereas the mainland chinese has simplified characters dubbed by some 'puritants' as ugly, corrupted and used only by the uneducated. But in the same time they do not want to be associated as chinese, thus looking up at the Japanese, being proud of the history that they used to be colonized by the japanese, even identifying themselves with the Japanese. And the fact that the mainland chinese government keeps oppressing them by every mean, like putting pressure on Taiwan on international level (sport or political events, even the latest Japan film festival where they tried to force the japanese commitee to change the name TAIWAN to China Taiwan or China Taipei, even threatening to boycott the festival if the Japanese wouldn't budge), constantly threatening other countries to severe diplomatic ties with Taiwan doesn't help either. (My heart goes out to the Taiwanese on this matter, since I don't like the chinese aggresive foreign policy either).
I recall a funny anecdote.. I was tete a tete-ing with a Taiwanese and he was telling me proudly that they have more historical artefacts in their Taipei national museum than in Beijing forbidden city and how the mainland chinese desecrated many historical monuments, paintings, etc during the Mao Tze Tung's regime. He was also telling me about the history lessons he learned in school, the legend of the three kingdoms and the chinese dynasties.. The thing is, he said (and I quote),"WE have ... dynasties, etc etc."
And being a meanie, I asked him,"You guys speak and write chinese, learn the chinese history as your own, have all the chinese cultures, so it means you're a chinese, right?
*I know how sensitive they are on this matter, I was just trying to annoy him in purpose :p
Wow, did he get annoyed. "Of course not! If you say so, it means that the Singaporeans are chinese as well."
At this point I was confused. I do admit some Singaporeans are of chinese descent, but they have their own language, which is Singlish (Singaporean-english, please don't get me started on this.. hehe), and they learned the Singaporean/Melayu history in school and they would never say "WE had the legend of the three kingdoms etc".
To be honest, a part of me can relate to this identity confusion thing, though not as strongly as theirs. Only by having chinese blood, though living in Indonesia for generations, speaking Indonesian as my mother tounge, thinking as Indonesians, learning indonesian history, still throws me off the track sometimes.. So, I guess I can imagine how hard it's for them to embrace and distance themselves from the chinese culture at the same time.
Back to the rivalry with the Koreans. As I said, because they can't compete with Japan, they try to compete with Koreans as their closest neighbour of the North east countries.. But unfortunately, in the past decade Taiwan lagged behind S.Korea in the economic growth, sport, brand names, pop culture. South Korea has gone from a per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) just 77 percent of Taiwan's to pull even and ultimately surpass Taiwan's per-capita GDP by 26 percent. Samsung and LG (compared to taiwanese Acer or Asus) rule the world, if I may exaggerate a bit.. And let's not start on the K-wave, K-drama, etc.. I myself am not a fan of korean nor taiwanese pop culture, but how many girls out there go crazy over those Koreans? Speaking as an Indonesian who knows what she's talking about, I can say the indo. girls love the Koreans (more than the Taiwanese, if I may add again).
The funny thing is, while the Taiwanese tried so hard to beat the Koreans, the Koreans didn't even know where Taiwan is (Well, they do now after those anti K sentiments, flag burning, etc). They see only Japan (and China?) as their competitors. CMIW.
I once booked a flight from Seoul to Taipei on Korean air's website.. I tried to find Taipei under the category "North East Asia", but couldn't find it.. I found only Japan and China under this category. I was not sure if Korean Air does fly to Taipei. So I tried the category "South East Asia" to check on Jakarta, my hometown.. And guess what, Taipei is listed there. Again, under South East Asia. To make it clear, south east asian nations have the reputation of being poor, whereas the north east asians are the richer ones. Though it's not entirely true.. We still have Singapore! :D Well, as a South East Asian, I don't care about these labels. I know my home country is poor, so what? haha. But it's sad for the Taiwanese, isn't it? Esp. that they think that they are one of the rich North East Asian countries, but their neighbours don't even acknowledge them..
So now, I can only smile ironically if defeat plus inner inferiority complex make them play dirty like throwing eggs at korean school, putting up 'no Korean accepted' signs in some stores and restaurants, which reminds me so much of the Jews and Nazi, smashing Korean electronic and beauty products just because of a stupid taekwondo game in which the referee was a Filipino (of korean descent), the judges were from China, Kuwait, and Tajikistan, the opponent represented Vietnam, and the game took place in China.. Well, let them vend out their frustration.. There's a saying: Jealousy is the sign of incapability. Go figure!
*If you're reading this, please take it with a pinch of salt as I'm just a foreigner with my own subjective opinion with no relation whatsoever to Taiwan, Korea nor China.