Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Buying In or Selling Out?

with one comment

“Why are you leaving?”  That’s the question, logically, for those on this side of the world.

“Why aren’t you coming home?”  That’s the other one.

It never becomes easier looking friends in the face and answering.  Whatever the answer is, irrevocably, it implies our paths are parting.  Likely, for a good distance of time.  I’m forced to balance friendships with my own self-interest.  Occasionally, I feel selfish.  Or foolish.  But I have been a fool enough times in my life not to fear potential fates.

I am leaving Taiwan.   It’s a fine place, a good place.  In some places, it’s great.  Like any other place, it has its pros and cons.  It has left me wealthier, wiser, and more curious.  Still, it just isn’t good enough, for me, forever.  I mean, forever?  What is that?  Three years is forever in Tawain, to me.  After 18 months, it is a good time for me to move on and explore another opportunity to “find my place.”

I could have studied Mandarin here.  I had intended to.  I still could.  But Taiwan offers you many paths.  I chose to make a bundle of money, by working long hours and focusing on the next move.  That being formally learning Mandarin.  I justify this by the fact that learning Chinese is not a simple task.  I want to learn a functional version of the language as quickly as possible.  And, as much as my Taiwanese friends hate to say, mainland simplified Mandarin Chinese is that version.  Learning traditional Chinese would only benefit me if I intended to inhabit the only place in the world still officially using it, Taiwan.  A tiny island of 23 million people compared to 1.4 billion people?  Which one is more functional?

Saying this is selling-out Taiwan.  I struggle with this.  Taiwan is in such a shitty position.  There aren’t many other words for it.  Taiwan continues to do everything the Western world could ask for:  elections, strong trade, stability.  And yet, the West locks Taiwan in a closet like an orphan child hidden at a family dinner.  It has become evident the world no longer has the collective interest to challenge China.  China continues to claim Taiwan, with no legal justification.  It threatenstotal destruction based on some ancient hyperbole.  Here I am leaving a country fighting for its existence as a free nation to live in its sworn enemy, because I feel the latter represents the future.  Ouch.

I’m not coming home, either.  I have lost that loving feeling with the States.  I cannot help feeling America is on a wayward course.  Each day it’s respectability wanes.  Its word is carries less and less weight.  Uncle Sam is drunk and wobbly.  It disgusts me to see Americans live on in Lala-land.  Education enables one to evaluate.  The more I evaluate myself and the country I represent, the more I feel those two conclusions do not equate.

I am not sitting here waiting for America to change itself, get all hunkydorey and I’ll roll back.  Hell no.  I am trying to anticipate how I will be able to make an impact at the proper time in my life.  And even this sounds like bullshit.  Why not act now?  I have to say that I think I am acting now.  I need a few years to tune-up my skillset.  Moving to China is not choosing the alternative.  I am not forsaking my citizenship.  I cherish it.  But I am not ready to return to the established mechanisms of young adult life in America.  I am not a young “professional.”

I am not sure that what I want to become will carry the title of professional in its American sense; in the sense that I work for a decent company to build a resume towards continuing my own corporate course.  Professionalism is the way in which an individual conducts himself.  I want to see different rewards for my actions.  At present, a house in the suburbs with a shot of stability to drown the duldrums isn’t sufficient.

Am I buying in or selling out?  I don’t even know.

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Written by Miles

June 21, 2007 at 12:35 pm

One Response

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  1. about to be in lala land

    Hey Miles,

    Doesn’t seem to matter where you are, it’s how you play the game. Or maybe what game you decide to play. One could make a case that America has been on a wayward course for a while, or even, America has always been on a wayward course. We been invading and conquering since day 1, took us till 1890’s to get across America then we took our show on the road. Our so called democratic principles are merely a license to exploit, a cover for personal and corporate greed. We take our countries ideals seriously but no one else does. Maybe the American progressives are fooling themselves, perhaps we are just another cog in the wheels of the empire. My generation takes credit for stopping the Vietnam war with their protest, yet the reality was we got our butts kicked.

    Maybe the Chinese with their non-political business first world agenda are more ingenuous, no better or worse. I’m tired of watching democratic ideals wrapped in bullshit rhetoric, co-opted by all the right wing fundamentalist fools who want to tell us all what to do.

    It’s the same everywhere, doesn’t matter in some ways where you are. I just try to keep my sunny disposition.

    Jon, can you comment on Taiwan as the world math power (as certified by the Third International Study of Math and Science) What are they doing right? Is it right?

    uncle Tim

    June 30, 2007 at 8:42 pm


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