Backtalk: What Do You Want From Us?
May 18, 2008
This advertisement for soap uses the theme of the White Man's Burden, encouraging white people to teach cleanliness to members of other races
Almost on cue, almost as if to prove the very point made in the widely circulated article, "What Do You Want From Us?" a number of Bearers of the White Man's Burden have condescended to set the poor, benighted Chinese people straight on the World As It Really Is.
One of them posted a long-winded "rebuttal" to my article here:
The Only Redhead in Taiwan [sic!] yet another predictable "China is bad" blog by yet another expat Taiwan independence fellow traveler
You read that right. He really did name his blog "The Only Redhead in Taiwan."
Try not to laugh too hard. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself.
But I really can't blame you. These 21st century versions of pith helmeted 19th century Bearers of the White Man's Burden really are full of themselves, aren't they?
Note how he chose to define himself in relation to the public on Taiwan? Remember, he chose to define himself in this manner, not me.
He seems utterly oblivious of his own colossal presumption. He actually believes his narcissistic view of himself as some sort of sharp-eyed, worldly wise, infinitely patient observer of the human folly swirling around him.
For these Bearers of the White Man's Burden, everything is about them. They are the leading men in the human drama unfolding on this planet. They are the Masters of the Universe. They are the final arbiters of Eternal Verity.
The "little brown brothers" are quaint extras, local colour, to be lifted up out of backwardness by these White Knights in Shining Armor.
I considered taking some time out to rebut his "rebuttal" line by line, point by point. As readers of the China Desk know, I've done that with Taipei Times editorials often in the past. But that would have been a few hours taken away from learning a new aria or show tune.
Would it be worthwhile?
Besides, readers are smart enough to make up their own minds, not on debating skill, but on objective merits.
Read "What Do You Want From Us?" Watch the video versions of "What Do You Want from Us?" posted at YouTube.
Then read the "rebuttal" by the aforementioned Bearer of the White Man's Burden, whereby he magnanimously removes the blinders from our eyes.
Ask yourself if he didn't unwittingly demonstrate precisely the point he was attempting to deny, that he and his ilk are determined to "make China wrong" and that he and his ilk "just don't get it?"
Upton Sinclair once quipped that "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Permit me to paraphrase Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his self-image depends upon his not understanding it."