A chat with long-term Chinese residents in Spain

Journalist Susana Ye, born in the Mediterranean port city of Alicante

Yesterday I went to deliver some of the many oranges that I had picked on Sunday at a friend’s little orchard just outside of Valencia to a Chinese shop nearby.

It’s one of those businesses that sells all kinds of items at very reasonable prices and sometimes I have joked that if you can’t find a certain product in one these, it’s probably not available in Spain.

The very likeable owners, who did me a little favor in the past and are always friendly and helpful, were quite happy about my little healthy gift, especially as most Chinese who can afford it pay a lot of attention to a balanced diet.

Therefore, no wedding banquet in Taiwan would be complete without a well-presented platter with all kinds of seasonal fruits, perfectly cut for everybody’s convenience.

As always, we started chatting in Mandarin and of course we mentioned the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped most of the world and affected Spain very severely, in particular its economy.

He said that the reason was a lack of discipline in Western countries and I totally agree with him. The prevalent extreme individualism has backfired and exposed the weakness of many societies which think that they are morally superior.

Then he stated that China has basically conquered the disease due to the very strict measures that were taken after the government realized the sheer magnitude of the problem.

I need to emphasize that both of them have been living in Spain for about 20 years and that they like Valencia, considering it their second home and adopting to Spanish culture to a considerable extent.

According to my experience, the couple isn’t really representative. There are no constant complains about the laziness, unreliability and dishonesty of most Spaniards, like those that I have heard from other immigrants like them.

If I’m not wrong, their only son even attends the German School here, the very same one where I received my primary and secondary education from 1973 to 1985.

The boss, who is aware of my strong connection with Taiwan and my plans to return to Asia in April, even recommended that I stay here a little longer because of the current tense relations between the old Formosa and the Red Mandarins that rule the People’s Republic.

Being quite outspoken, he warned of a possible war between both sides if the current Taiwanese government continues to pursue independence for the island, which is something that I don’t consider very likely myself.

He then mentioned Catalonia, which he and his wife consider to be an inalienable part of his adopted homeland, just like for them Taiwan is an inalienable part of his country of birth.

Although I don’t agree at all with that comparison, which I have also heard from Taiwanese Independentists, it put me in a thoughtful frame of mind.

Anyway, I hope to be back in Taipei soon. In case that the situation goes really wrong, I should be were my old friends are, both local and foreign, and share their fate.


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