May 4th, 2009
So a couple of weeks back I did a little DVD shopping in a nearby market. I watched most of the films pretty quickly, but somehow 《海角7号》/Cape No. 1 sat there alone, neglected, unwatched. Until last night, when I decided to watch it. It’s a pretty fun film, and I enjoyed it, but….
First, Tomoko, the Japanese translator, reminded me of a hell of a lot of expats I’ve met, with the exception that even after learning the local language (well, Guoyu, at least) to the point of conversational/business fluency, she was still constantly angry and frustrated with the hopeless bloody locals who can’t get anything right. In my experience, expats in China with a similar level of fluency tend to be better adjusted than that.
Imagine a film set in a small, coastal town in New Zealand, a town that would soon be hosting a music festival on the beach and that was trying to cobble together a local rock band for the opening act. The festival organisers work for an English company and are constantly telling the locals, “Oh, you have no talent here”, “Y’know, the big English rock star will be arriving soon, and you’d better be ready,” “You know, England isn’t happy with the way things are going,” and so on in that vein.
Now, for New Zealand substitute Taiwan, and in place of English and England, put Japanese and Japan.
Yeah, that whole subtext of the film just creeped me out.
Is it really possible for the colonised to keep themseles colonised long after the coloniser has left and given up all colonial authority?