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This is disgusting

racist employment ad in the Taipei Times

The classified ad shown above appeared in the Taipei Times today. Bad spelling aside, it provides an example of how Taiwanese employers blatantly and unashamedly engage in all kinds of discrimination. This ad very specifically details the nationality, race, age and gender of the person that the employer requires. Discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity is probably the worst one. However, in Taiwan it is considered quite normal to specifically state the age, gender and even marital status in an employment ad.

I also dislike the way most Taiwanese people will never admit to the fact that racism is a problem in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese only conceive of racism as something that happens to "Chinese" people in other countries. Blatant discrimination against migrant workers from Southeast Asia (as previously discussed on this blog) and the difficulties black people face in getting jobs teaching English are two of the most obvious ways in which racism in Taiwan manifests.

As an Australian I am not afraid to acknowledge that racism is a problem in Australia. At least a significant percentage of the population in Australia also acknowledges this and the problem is discussed openly. This is not the case in Taiwan.

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Comment from Mark
Time 24 June 2006 at 2:45 pm

David, I agree with you about pretty much every point you made. Well said!

Comment from Taiwan Echo
Time 30 June 2006 at 12:39 am

Yes, David, I agree with everything you said too.

For the discrimination part:

Usually it is difficult for people who are discriminating others to recognize the fact that there is discrimination. This is even more true in Taiwan, as in the past (KMT era) Taiwan has been closed to outside world for decades.

For this sort of discrimination to be eliminated, more interactions between Taiwanese and foreigners are needed. Taiwan needs more people like you guys in order to expose the mindset of discrimination.

Comment from Taiwan Echo
Time 30 June 2006 at 5:47 am

This report, based on a poll,

says that Taiwanese “world view” is equivilant to their “USA-Japan view” — in the eyes of Taiwanese what they know about “world” is not much more than “USA+Japan”:


Comment from crystalannie
Time 6 July 2006 at 11:44 am

Hi,I was an English teacher in Taiwan before I left for AU for 1 year of study. The part you mentioned about discrimination indeed exist in Taiwan. Only few Taiwanese recognizes it. This is a nation has long being excluded from decision making for a long time, and still do. We need Americans to be our friends for political reason, and sadly, some people has adopted the idea whole heartedly without any critical thinking. However, Taiwan has started to grow up these years. And I wish you’ll get to see its progress. :-)

Comment from Anonymous
Time 13 July 2006 at 9:32 am

Funny, Northeast Asian are more open about their racism than other countries.

Take Canada, for example, which blatantly discriminated against white males for the last 20 years in hiring practices for certain jobs. Many police forces like the RCMP were telling white males not to even apply in the early 1990s. They wanted: women, aboriginals, chinese, lesbians, gays, etc.

The Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, etc are honest and open about their racism it seems. Whereas in Canada, for example, a job advert in the newspaper wouldn’t be so explicit about age, race, and gender but they would still have their agenda or ‘hiring quota’ for hiring females, gays, aboriginals, etc.

Personally, I think people should be hired on merit and not their skin colour or sexual orientation.

Comment from Anonymous
Time 16 July 2006 at 2:50 am

On the other hand…by divulging his or her true preferences, the Personal Advertiser is saving the rest of us the time and patronization of a bogus interview. You know what I refer to if you’ve ever applied and interviewed when there was already a pre-identified candidate in the politically correct universe.

Still, teaching jobs in Taiwan are competitive in their own way (reputation and established relationships have an “unfair” value too) but there are reasons for preferences, and political correctness should not limit the Personal Advertiser from narrowing the field to their preferences up front.

Discrimination is, of course, unfair and all your points are absolutely right. I’m just adding two cents here.

Unlike more institutionalized forms of discrimination, this seems to me more like a Personal Ad, and as such, is created out of the desire for unique, personal preferences, and is no more a discrimination than is my preference for italian wines over french wines–and I have my reasons. The fact that I want to drink my wine between certain hours on Saturday afternoons is my business too, but I didn’t see any uproar over the work hours….

Maybe you should send in a ringer and help identify the real crime here (Let’s not speculate as to why they want or don’t want particular types of individuals).

It might just be one of those flags that says, “You wouldn’t want to work here, anyway”.

I don’t condone institutional discrimination and I find 99% of corporate and company culture deplorable, but I’ll play the advocate for this one case of personal preference for reasons unlisted.


Comment from amy
Time 16 September 2006 at 10:00 pm

indeed, i don’t think most taiwanese ppl recognize this problem.
I mean, most of them are nice ppl, but they tend to have prejudice/stereotypical image abt ppl from southeast asia… It is worrying, coz immagrants from these areas are becoming a significant part of the population on the island and the racial tension is increasing..