Thursday, October 14, 2010

you really can't please taiwanese

okay, damn it, for the disclaimer: not all taiwanese, but enough to talk about.

you really can't please (a lot of) taiwanese.and the reason for this is they have a very narrow scope for what they want. if this were specific and thought out, that would be a good thing. but many times, they don't know what they want and will keep changing their demands.and also they carry a lot of baggage.
i remember one case i did. the boss's wife had written the lyrics to an english learning song. the lines to the song were not in symmetry. for example:

"johnny is boy
sally is a girl
johnny likes to play baseball and soccer in the evening
sally likes to play with dolls and make pretend tea with her friends"

These lines are fucking UNUSABLE without major revision. the reason is that melody also has METER and meter is better done when the lyrics actually have meter as well.
i told the boss lady politely that the lyrics would have to be revised a bit because they lacked meter.i said i would do it, then start on the melody. i saw the look on her face, which immediately told me that SHE had written these stupid lyrics.
it ended up that they really wanted the lyrics the way they were because they had already printed the goddamn books that way! as a result, they were looking for someone to write and record the songs within that narrow scope. in other words, write a bad song to bad lyrics.
and herein lies the difficulty in "pleasing taiwanese"- they don't really want good, they just want what they want.
that for me is very difficult, because i was raised to always do my best. whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart. give them your best.
but your best is not required in taiwan. just give us what we want, no matter how messed up it is. and above all, don't REALLY try to help us. we can help ourselves.
but let's say you do give them what they want. from my experience, once`they've gotten that, they will feel they can get anything. they will ask you to change it again and again.
so i teach english. but even there, you find a big problem caused by the way taiwanese think.
you'd be shocked to know that one really doesn't have to be a good english teacher to be a "good english teacher" here. as long as students "feel" they are learning, then perception is everything. what students want is a chance to practice their english, but there also needs to be some structure to a class, objectives in the practice and so on,otherwise they'll never improve.
i also find that taiwanese people have no patience to learn things the right way. that's one reason i basically stopped teaching music- they want to skip many steps and the end result, if you give them that, will be that they are still dissatisfied, and most importantly I will be dissatisfied, because i have standards that i don't drop for anybody.
you walk in my studio, you are going to learn the right way (read music). it's just as simple as that. you will learn all your chords correctly. you will do worksheets. and sorry, i don't teach pop songs like in those popular "6 line" books. i teach ETUDES, which are time tested! i teach for real, not fucking around.
but real is a relative term, and the reason is because for taiwanese,what i feel is real.

that's it in a nutshell. my advice to foriegners in taiwan:
don't try too hard. don't take yourself too seriously. if you want to play the "use them at their own game" game, your decision. i don't blame anyone for playing along.
me,i just get by as best as i can, and try not to lower my standards.
poorer? yeah! struggling. but i only know how to do my best, not second best.