Taiwan is one of the sadly underappreciated countries of the Asia. Many people think of it as a complicated, yet more democratic version of the PRC. However, Taiwan has been an independent democracy for many years, and its government is probably the most liberal and Western in Asia, including its stance on diversity. Ovy here in this piece of Indonesia Mengglobal will share about Taiwan for its unique beauty, culture and people.
Hola guys! I am a laid-back person so you might find my writing a little bit fun or even funny. My goal is to tell you that I immerse myself into a new culture so that I can learn different value and enrich myself, which might lead me into a phase of being too “foreign” in some way because of the recent transnational trend.
I have been abroad since 17 years old and my life has changed. Even though I get used to being far away from my parents since senior high school, I will obviously feel sad when I leave them especially when I came to Taiwan for the first time. I cried all the way from Jakarta to Hong Kong, can you imagine that? Thank God, there is no longer crying for three months straight like what I did in senior high because I studied in Solo and stayed at the dorm, while my parents stayed in Bekasi.
Anyway, I absolutely enjoy my study in Taiwan because I let myself to taste something new and different. The younger version of me was not open-minded and still very much confused about what is going on with this world, but I always think like “Is this all that there is?” as my driving force to putting myself in others’ shoes. It is not always comfortable to understand what is difference from me, but the excitement during the process goes beyond my expectation. It does benefit me that I am no longer distant and ignorant about certain things but I embrace it instead. I gradually appreciate diversity and start to believe that life is beautiful with its heterogeneity. I easily make friends without early judgement and stop oversimplifying everything.
(Other interesting experience is due to my different look that I am darker than most of Taiwanese and my size is a little bigger than them, the elder people sometimes show their curiosity to me)
Some small encounters have changed me about how I see the world. For instance, I was surprised when my professors wanted me to call them by their names which might not be the case in Indonesia, or probably in most of Asian countries. They prefer to be called by “Matt, Chris”, rather than “Professor Lin”. I know that this is about personal preference of greeting customs in educational environment, which is affected by their American or British education background.
Other interesting experience is due to my different look that I am darker than most of Taiwanese and my size is a little bigger than them, the elder people sometimes show their curiosity to me.
Since I perhaps look open to others, they approach and ask me, “where are you from?” Then I will answer, “I am from Indonesia.” The second question must be “do you work here?” Well, I know that Indonesian foreign workers in Taiwan are at the top rank, but I consider this as a pure curiosity to know what someone who are different than them doing in Taiwan. I do not feel offended but just take it easy. I think this is an impact of globalisation in society that pluralism is globally growing, different people travel frequently and migrants are everywhere.
(Daria-Polish, Ovy-Indonesian, Anna-Hungarian. We are good friends and living in diversity!)
As I have met different people around the world, listened and shared stories, I begin to see the beauty of a genuine appreciation. It is a strong way to empower the others while human beings are psychologically in need of support and why not spreading kindness? Therefore, I habitually try to thank the professors at the end of the class, congratulate my friends and tell them that I am sincerely inspired by their performance, and simply treat my best friend for a coffee sometimes to celebrate the friendships. I am no longer shy to express my thankfulness because it reflects that I am happy and lucky to meet beautiful human like them. I see myself happier now because I try my best to be thankful. When I was teenager, I sometimes did not dare to tell my friends that they are talented. The reason is I was too afraid to be judged that I was not sincere and too flirty. My dear, why don’t we start to make a happier world by supporting each other?