Sunday, January 10, 2010

阿凸仔也民調 by Biko Lang, translated by Terry Huang, letter to Liberty Times re ADOAH

◎ Biko Lang

Dear Editor of the Liberty Times

自由廣場的讀者或許還記得筆者去年七月中旬發表有關西方人對「阿凸仔」這個稱呼的負面觀感。其實這篇文章的英文版早在去年五月份台北時報(Taipei Times)發表之後,TNS模範巿場研究公司(TNS Taiwan)就阿凸仔的問題舉辦了一次民調。從2009/5/22到2009/5/24三天期間,超過兩萬五千多位台灣人參與了是項民調。

您是否使用「阿凸仔」來通稱西方人士? 45% 說(是),55% 說(不)。
當您發現有些在台西方人士認為「阿凸仔」帶有無禮的負面感覺時,您是否會停止使用? 93% 說(會停用),7% 說(繼續使用)。



(作者本名 Biko Lang, aka, Dan Bloom,為美籍資深新聞從業人員;翻譯者黃大河)

Dear Editor, Taipei Times:
'Adoah' poll inconclusive

Dear Editor,

Some readers of the Taipei Times may remember an article that
appeared in this newspaper last summer about the use of the local
Hokklo term "adoah" for
Westerners in Taiwan ("'Adoah': A demonstration of familiarity or an
insult?", May 19, 2009, Page 4).

After the article appeared, a poll was taken by a local
marketing firm in Taipei based on the article, and the results are, if
not conclusive, nevertheless very interesting.

The online poll was conducted by "TNS Taiwan", a Taipei marketing
firm, from May 22 to May 24, 2009 with about 25,000 Taiwanese people
participating, and with several
questions being asked.

When those polled were asked "Do you use the term 'adoah' to refer to
Caucasians?" the results were as follows: 45% said
they do use the
term while 55% said they do not use the term.

When people were asked "If you learned that this term of adoah was considered
offensive by some Westerners living in Taiwan, would you
stop using it?" the results were as follows:

93% said they would no
longer use the word "adoah" while 7% said they would continue to use

In the poll, the total sample
size was 25,276 respondents, distributed in terms of age and gender
proportionately to the general population, with ages ranging from 13
to 64, according to the polling firm.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In blogs back in May of 2009, it was mentioned that the term ‘adoah’ is used, disproportionately often, by the media when reporting on Westerners behaving badly; subsequent conversations with locals have suggested to me strongly that this could very well be true. So why, then, would Taiwanese not (a) already realize ‘adoah’ is offensive, and therefore (b) stop using it? Mass-denial grounded in cultural defensiveness is most the most plausible explanation. Taiwanese eschew criticism, and denial is the quickest way to sweep potential criticism under the carpet. In Taiwan, criticism isn’t considered constructive; it’s perceived as attack, and it’s either snuffed within oneself or met with resistance. Sometimes it is met with a specious excuse or a bald-faced lie, uttered without even the saving grace of a blush.

Thinking of themselves as good people with no intentions to be derisive (no arguments from me there), most locals summarily dismiss any criticism regarding the use of the term ‘adoah’. When they say the word, they are operating under the assumption that their message will be received as communicated, even if that communication is loaded to the carry-ons with cultural assumptions. There is no assumption whatsoever that the recipient of the message might, just might, think differently. Therein lies the irony: if the recipient of your message thinks exactly as you do, then why even have a separate word for them, other than their actual name?