The extremely positive image that Taiwanese have of Europe surprises me again and again. It might nowadays even be better than the one they had of the United States when I first came to Taiwan in 1988.
Over the last 30 years many locals have travelled, many more than once, to the Old Continent, often to admire its countless examples of beautiful architecture, accumulated over many centuries.
Prague, with its skeletons in the closet, and Paris, where only a few years ago it took me 20 minutes to find a clean toilet at one of the airports, are very popular tourist destinations among Taiwanese.
In part it’s understandable, as in Chinese culture there isn’t such a strong attachment to old buildings as in the West, which resulted in many being lost forever, like the former headquarters of the Japanese Red Cross in Taiwan, torn down in 1994.
Cities like Changhua, Chiayi and Keelung, for example, have almost no historical charm and this has been confirmed to me by its residents, both locals and foreigners.
On the contrary, even after World War II, which ravaged Germany in particular, and the architectonical crimes committed during reconstruction and even in untouched places like Sweden, there’s a lot left to see.
Besides that, after the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, some European countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, and more recently Lithuania have developed close ties with good old Formosa.
Taiwan offers many scholarships for young people from these nations, not only to learn Mandarin on the island, but also to pursue higher education in English if desired.
At the same time, despite all the European Union´s unanimous solidarity with Ukraine, Taiwanese seem to be unaware of the new rift that has opened in the heart of Europe, almost a reminder of the Cold War.
While the Eastern part is eager to protect its cultural heritage, its Western counterpart seems to basically have given up on that purpose, which is evident to anybody who has recently walked through Berlin, London and the abovementioned capital of France.
Many Taiwanese continuously praise the European welfare states, seeing it as a model for their own society, though aren’t aware of the enormous price tag it comes with.
Astronomic tax burdens and outrageously high prices for electricity, gas and water, an inefficient bureaucracy as well as the total discouragement of any personal incentives to make a living are extremely heavy burdens.
Although the promotion of utterly useless, if not outright harmful ideas like gender ideology and, hand in hand, the sexual indoctrination of children, is also a problem in Taiwan, it’s far more advanced in the West.
A growing army of parasites living on the cost of others, including those alien invaders attracted by such an environment like bees to honey, is actually something almost unconceivable for most Asians.
As I mentioned to ecstatic residents from the former Communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) after the Berlin Wall finally came down in November 1989, you can’t travel to Singapore and pay a rent of just 25 US dollars per month at the same time. That’s called cherry-picking!
Therefore, Taiwanese should take a closer look at the continent that I left twice. Europe’s multiple problems are very evident to all those who want to see them and no stunning view of a medieval castle can change that.