Part 1- Shamed Heart

第一部分-恥辱的心

Part 1 – Shamed Heart

Name: Eric Ma

Nationality: American

Vision: To realize his dream of pursuing his career as a landscape architect in Taiwan. Eric later turned to the world of education, believing his ability to speak Mandarin would be an asset in finding a suitable teaching position. However, he was not prepared for what arose out of the situation.  Is one ever prepared to become a victim of discrimination?  He felt completely disheartened, but eventually feelings of shame gave way to anger, and ignited within him the fire to fight for equality. Here is part 1 of his tale. Stay tuned for part 2.

 

名字: Eric Ma

國籍:美籍華人

憧憬:他原來要到台灣實現他當景觀設計師的夢想。後來,因為相信講國語的能力會幫助他找到教英文的好工作,而轉入教育界。不過,他對那個情況的結果無法做好心裡準備。有人可以做好變成歧視受害者的心裡準備嗎?他感到很灰心,但後來她的情感從恥辱感變成怒火,在他心裡燃起要爭取平等激情。下面有他故事的第一半,近期會有第二半。

 

我決定了要搬到臺灣住之前,我在美國有一份讓我非常滿意的景觀設計工作,那時我認為幾年後我會後悔這個搬家的決定。那時候是2009年。人們常說事後聰明,可是連現在這個決定還是很難做的。現在這個決定還是很難做的是因為我跟其他的有亞洲人的臉的英文母語者比起來,我是個例外。因為我是一個很幸運的人,所以我是一個例外。我現在了解連我的又認真又努力的態度,而且我也有毅力,可是我的優點還是不夠幫我找到我目前在臺灣的有穩定性與滿足我的需要的工作。

I had a satisfying job as a landscape architect in the US when I decided to move to Taiwan, a decision I felt I would regret later in life.  That was 2009.  People say hindsight is 20/20, but looking back, this decision would still be a difficult one to make.  The reason why it would still be a tough decision today is because I know that I am an exception from the masses of Asian faced native English speakers.  I am an exception because luck was on my side.  I know that my hard work and perseverance would not have been enough to get me to my current position which offers me stability and gratification here in Taiwan.

我2009年底到臺灣,那時我下定決心要找到一份關於景觀設計的工作,再加上那家公司是臺灣的,我也知道我至少會住臺灣五年。那時我想找一家設計工作室會覺得我的以前跟世界級公司合作過的經驗與我的英文能力都是資產,而且因為我願意做一份壓力很大的工作,所以他們也會接受我的收入要求。以後我沒有找到那家設計工作室。放棄我的景觀設計生涯是一個很難接受的決定。如果我用我的想像力的話,放棄我愛上的與我做了十年工作的痛苦是好像跟一位超級名模女朋友分手。

When I arrived in Taiwan in late 2009, I was set on getting a job with a landscape architecture firm here in Taiwan.  I knew that Taiwan would be my home for at least five years.  I searched for a design studio that would view my experience working in world-class firms as an asset, a firm that saw my English ability as something of value, a firm that could meet my compensation expectations for doing a high stress job.  I never found this design studio.  Realizing that my career as a landscape architect must come to a halt was a dose of reality.  Leaving a career I loved and had so purposefully pursued for almost 10 years was like breaking up with your supermodel girlfriend (I can only imagine. . .).

因為我沒有找到景觀設計的工作,所以我陷入臺灣英文教育界。我認為因為我是雙語者,我能幫學生不少忙,再加上我的教書能力比一位不會中文的白人好。我非常努力地找收入65000NT以上的英文教師工作。過程的開始是我花一個星期寄一堆有個性化的電子郵件到不少不同tealit.com上的很普通電子郵件地址。我每天很焦急地看我的電子郵件收件匣,可是回信都是沒有內容或一點興趣都沒有。我的感覺好像釣魚,可是用錯魚餌,每次收線魚餌不見,而且只能看一個生鏽的鉤子。我收到從一位男生叫Robert的電子郵件的時候,我就發現了我太幼稚。我們彼此寄給對方幾個關於約面試的電子郵件。一個Robert的電子郵件說,

This is how I fell into the English-language teaching world here in Taiwan.  I believed that being bilingual was of huge benefit to learners of English and that I had more to offer than a Caucasian who couldn’t speak Mandarin.  All my energy was redirected to finding a teaching position which would pay the advertised NT$65,000+.  The process began with a weeklong barrage of personalized emails to generic looking addresses on tealit.  Anxiously checking my inbox each day, the responses were either non-existent or full of disinterest.  It felt like fishing with the wrong bait.  You always reeled in to find the bait gone and only a rusty old hook left behind.  I soon realized how naïve I was when I received a final email from a gentleman named Robert, whom I had corresponded with in a handful of emails to try to set up an interview.  It read:

Eric,

很抱歉。我得告訴你因我們要避免家長有懷疑或疑問,於是我們比較喜歡白人當教師。

敬上,

Robert

Eric,

I am sorry to tell you that we would prefer Caucasians in order to prevent doubts or questions from parents.
Sincerely,

Robert

—-

懷疑?為什麼任何人會懷疑我的能力?念高中時,我是一位上AP課與在我的高中年級我的成績比100之95的學生好的尖子學生,我也上過一所世紀級大學。我可以確定我不會輸給臺北的白人。我的努力態度跟任何認真的白人是一樣的,而且我能玩得比白人瘋狂。因為我的個性很堅持,我一定不會接受我的能力不如任何的白人。我回覆Robert的回信是在下面。

Doubts?  Why would anyone doubt me?  I was an honor student in AP classes all throughout high school who graduated in the top 5% of my class.  Having attended a world class University, I felt knew I was certainly not less than the Caucasians walking around the streets of Taipei.  I studied just as hard and partied harder than any Caucasian.  In no aspect would I accept being viewed as inferior to any Caucasian because my personality would not allow me to.  My response to Robert reads:

Hi Robert,

因為我是臺裔,我得告訴你,發現臺灣是一個有落後思考的國家是很丟臉的。任何的工作位子應該只根據資格和經驗。雖然我的資格比大部分我的同輩好,可是在我的家人住過的國家因為我有亞洲人的臉我會受到處罰。這種的歧視是非常丟臉。臺灣的英文教育界需要像你這樣的顧主改變這種的落後思考。如果我們可以改善臺灣的英文教育,為什麼你們要退步或停滯?

敬上,

Eric

Hi Robert,

Being of Taiwanese decent, I must say that I am ashamed that Taiwan is still so backwards in thinking.  Any job position should be based upon qualifications and experience.  Although my qualifications can be said to be better than most of my peers, I am penalized in my own country of decent for having an Asian face.  This form of discrimination is really a shame.  It’s really up to employers like you to change this backwards way of thinking.  Why move backwards or remain stagnant when we know we can move in the right direction?

Sincerely,

Eric

—-

然後Robert沒有回覆,而且我不覺得驚訝,其實那時我想了因為我覺得這個情況很丟臉,他也覺得很丟臉嗎?我從來沒有忘記這種的感受。我從來沒有感受到這樣的感覺,我也沒有預期這個情況會發生。這個情況是灰心喪氣的。這件事破壞我的想要找到教師位子的意志。如果他們錄取我,這會救我的事後非常難過的日子,我的感覺好像是一種自由降落。這件事打擊我的個人價值和幻滅我,也讓我憤怒。在我的身體裡有火,不過那時候一個小火苗終於有足夠的燃料,可以讓火苗發揮真正的潛力。這個火不會毀壞。這個火會供應無數也受到歧視的人溫暖和安全。這個人生的章節是苦甘的日子,可是新的章節等一下就開始了。

I never heard back from Robert after this email.  I was not surprised.  I did, however, wonder if he felt shame because I felt shamed.  I never forgot this feeling.  It was a different kind of feeling which I have never experienced before.  Something I never would have expected.  It was disheartening.  It sapped me of all my will to find that teaching position which would have saved me from my freefall.  It attacked my sense of worth and value in society and disillusioned me.  It angered me.  I felt a fire from within.  A pilot light that was finally given the fuel needed to show the true potential of fire.  This fire was not to cause destruction.  This fire would provide warmth and safety to the countless others who have also been shamed, sapped, disheartened.  This chapter of my life was bittersweet, but a new chapter was about to begin.

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