Both sides of the fence

by on 週五, 16 九月 2011 評論

An interview with Matheus Da Silva from Brazil and his "host brother" Ben Huang

Like many others SayTaiwan partipants, Brazilian guest, Matheus Da Silva, and his Taiwanese host, Ben Huang, are sharing Matheus' first day in Taiwan, and their first day together. As they get better acquainted, Matheus and Ben share the little lightbulb moments that their SayTaiwan experience has brought so far.

Matheus, who has lived in Shanghai before, explains the intrigue that put his pen to application paper. "...Perspective of the Taiwanese people. After living in China for a year, and after living in Hong Kong and Macau...that's what I really wanted to get...what is the main difference between the Taiwanese and the rest?"

As student in the Department of Political Science (at National Taiwan University) Matheus' host, Ben's curiosity comes from the otherside of the fence. "I wanted an opportunity to practice my English, and this has also encouraged me in my plans to study abroad in the future."

"Actually, I was surprised that he (Matheus) can speak a little Chinese...", Ben says.

"...yi dian dian!" (a little!), Matheus clarifies - This not least of the things that has taken Huang by surprise thus far.

Ben continues, "Before the event, I went to a seminar to listen to a diplomat discussing international etiquette. He said that, for people in Central or South America, it is not unusual to be half an hour late for an event. In fact, being one hour to half an hour late is customary!" At this, the student from Taiwan (a country renowened for efficiency) widens his eyes, perplexed. "And it's true! In the last three or four cases, we have been delayed by half an hour. So now we have to prepare in advance of the actual time. It's because they (South Americans) are used to taking a bath before they leave, even if they have already washed that day."

Ben adds, with a mischievous smile, "And because he is Brazilian, I expected him to be a good dancer and a football player - but in fact he can't do either!"

Matheus, however, is pleased to have his optimistic expectations met. "I was expecting them to be kind, which they are, one hundred percent, because all of the Taiwanese people I've met, they were all really easy to get along with. That's what it was coming here." Despite having survived thirty-four hours of flight time alone, Matheus' impression so far is definitely glass-half full. "Friendly people, beautiful island, beautiful place... Well, the Portuguese called it Illa Formosa, which in my mother language, means beautiful island."


Know more about Matheus' experience in Taiwan: read his blog on Homestay website

Hallie Haller

Hallie is a filmmaker/writer/multimedia-maker who hails from South Africa. She comes from a background in commercials production, blogging and viral video, and works freelance in Taipei.

海莉是一位來自南非的電影工作者/作家/多媒體製作人. 她的專業背景為廣告製作 經營部落格和上傳個人影片 目前身為在台北的自由工作者.

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