It was kind of the most impactful when I was in elementary school. You know how you have the kids dreaming, “I want to be Superman, I want to be this, I want to be that,” they tell you, I’m pretty sure my teacher literally told me this, “You’re not going to be anything if you’re not good at school.” I think he crumbled up my essay after that. I wrote, “I want to be successful and have a big house.” And he said, “You’re not going to be anything if you don’t do well.” So he crumbled up my paper and threw it in the trashcan. It’s basically like most Asian teachers you see in movies: those really dramatic, evil teachers. But the only thing that’s different is that we’re more accepting of that.

Literally, every time a teacher would hit me, I would have to bow and say, “Thank you.” Because if they hit me, that means that they actually do care enough to waste their time on us, a student like me. So I have to say thank you. “Thank you for wasting your time.” Even after they humiliate me in front of the entire class I say, “Thank you, and sorry for taking up your time.” So that’s very impactful, and the argument is that’s how society works when you graduate. So I mean it’s very impactful and changed my view of life most likely. I feel like it’s kind of helped me in a way because I mean, seeing people in the U.S., they’re very disrespectful toward authority. And then, they say, “Oh, I’m just expressing my idea!”

Sonia, Szu Chun Lin (Vincent's grandmother) and Cindy Shou (Vincent's aunt)

Sonia, Szu Chun Lin (Vincent’s grandmother) and Cindy Shou (Vincent’s aunt)

I’m thinking, “If you’re in a real company working right now, If you did that to your boss, here’s a pink slip.” Go

away, they can find another person. I remember someone asked me this question during an interview: “If your company makes you do something really unethical, will you do it, or go against your belief?” I was in the same line with like five different American students, and all of them said no. I said yes. I mean, I want a job, I want to make money, I’m going to say yes to everything my boss because I don’t want to get fired. So yeah, that’s probably the most impactful. They just taught me to really respect authority from a really young age so that’s probably the most impactful thing of my life.

My aunt, she works in for the Washington government. She got a raise, and she just got promoted recently because she can, unlike American workers, she can take four or five projects at the same time. Because we were taught to do that. You know like American teachers say, “Oh, you guys have a test tomorrow? I’m going to move mine.” No. We put all five tests in one day. That’s legitimate, because they all talk to each other and put all five in one day. So basically they teach you how to really work. You want to be a team player.

In America, if you work in teams, they say, “Oh, I want to make myself shine out in the team.” In Taiwan, no. If people shine out it’s usually the smart ones.

If you’re dumb, you’re basically there for fertilizer

for the smart people as a flower to grow.

Which, in America they teach– I’m sure they would disagree with this a lot because for Western knowledge they teach that everyone is special in their own way. So that’s basically the difference between individualism and unity.


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