The two extremes
Taipei is an open and cosmopolitan city with nothing to hide. However, even for someone like me who has travelled to many places in the world, I still can't get over the fact that so many people wear face masks in Taipei, especially women.
But on the one hand, they wear oversize masks covering most of their face; on the other hand, they wear tops that reveal their cleavage.
The women wearing face masks don't strike me as Muslims, who, according to traditions, are most likely to cover their faces in today's world.
So how come they wish to cover their faces but not their cleavage? If they are wearing face masks because they have a cough or a cold, aren't they afraid of their condition deteriorating because of exposure, or of causing traffic accidents for being too distracting?
Meanwhile, young people in Taiwan are known for usually being very courteous, gently bending forwards when speaking to you in a soft voice. Occasionally, they are so nice it makes you feel uneasily flattered. This seems inappropriate.
But during the Sunflower Movement, some youths behaved in such an insolent way that they were quite the opposite of the graceful selves whom we are acquainted with. Their facial expressions changed as quickly as the wind.
And there are still others, who behaved so arrogantly and despotically when they achieved their ambition, pocketing big money, and then shedding shameless tears in such a dramatic way when they were caught doing wrong.
I got a chance to ask some young people: "Please let us know which side of you is the true self so that we can be prepared." "Both sides are true," some replied. The difference strikes me as a bit too much if that is so!
My guess is, while some super courteous youths might be well be sincere and kind, others behave in such a way not because they want to but simply out of necessity. Among the youths who were so wild and adrenaline-fueled during the Sunflower Movement, I believe there were some real fighters who believed in the "right to rebel". On the other hand, there were also others who didn't really know what was going on but who participated any way just to be part of the crowd.
Whether it is wearing face masks while revealing cleavage or speaking softly and behaving gently at one time and at other times thumping chests and stamping feet defiantly, such behaviour, I am afraid to say, is going to extremes.
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (3 October, 2014).
10 November, 2014