Sexual Harrasment 10-second rule

Well many of us remember the days of childhood where a valued piece of candy or food was dropped on the floor. Even though we knew that the food/candy was dirty, somehow in our minds we convince ourselves that minimal impact with the ground for less than X amount of seconds is an acceptable time for the retrieval of said food. Well, now as adults it seems we have another reason to hang on to our pretense that everything is okay. After a court ruling (that in English conveniently does not mention this 10 second rule) which basically states that short periods of unwanted touching that is on the waist and shoulders is legally acceptable. Just keep your unwanted touching sessions to less than 10 seconds. Reading this article also seems to indicate that mitigating circumstances include a personal apology email after charges are filed.

Updated Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:07 am TWN, The China Post news staff

Waist, shoulders not ‘private parts’: court
TAIPEI, Taiwan — An appeals court yesterday acquitted a man of sexual harassment on the grounds that waists and shoulders do not constitute “private parts.”

Chang Guo-hua, a 36-year-old IT company manager, was found guilty and sentenced to 40-day detention by the Hsinchu District local court for wrapping his hand around the waist and shoulder of a female subordinate several times in an after work co-worker gathering in Feb. 2008.

According to the verdict by the district court, Chang had made several advances toward the subordinate, who is in her twenties, via instant messenger chats as early as 2007 but was rejected. The female employee told the district court that she felt offended when Chang touched her. She tried to dodge him by moving her body but he kept holding on to her with his hand. At the end, she stood up and left the party.

Chang apologized to her via email only after she complained to her superior and decided to push for charges.

The district court convicted Chang based on his apology email and the fact that his action against the plaintiff’s will had offended her.

However, the High Court, which heard the appeal case, ruled that Chang only expressed in the email that he was “sorry for all impolite action verbally and physically” but did not specifically admit touching the plaintiff’s shoulder and waist.

The High Court also judged that since the waist and shoulder of a woman are not different from those of a man and that women often wear clothing that reveals the waist and shoulder in summer, these two body parts cannot be regarded as private. Therefore, even if Chang had touched the plaintiff on her shoulder and waist, his action does not constitute sexual harassment as described by the current Sexual Harassment Prevention Act, which stated that the crime involves the touching of “buttocks, breasts or other private body parts.”

The Modern Women’s Foundation’s Executive Director Yao Shu-wen decried the High Court’s acquittal of Chang, criticizing the judges for being “detached from the plaintiff’s feelings” and for failing to understand the different perceptions of a”private part” by men and women, according to the newspaper Apple Daily.

Tseng Chao-yuan (曾昭媛), the secretary-general of the Awakening Foundation, also called for the amendment of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act to be amended by substituting the restrictive list of “buttocks, breasts or other private body parts” with more general terms like “the invading and harassing of one’s body” so a better standard for judgment can be formed by the court through field work.

In every legal system there is a difficulty for judges in separating the intent against the letter of the law, and many people question the validity of these decisions. However, a closer examination of situations like this that set precedent or provide clarifications to the interpretation of the law should be evaluated much more carefully. Furthermore, a disciplinary panel or public morality panel should consider the decisions of sitting judges since it appears that independent rulings from a panel of judges is not adequate. While this is not a complete or realistic solution, something needs to be done in the interim since the creation of law in Taiwan and a more mature evaluation of law in this ‘child democracy’ (as the judicial excuses from Taiwan keep pointing out).


The Social Holocaust of Taiwan

“What do you think of the declining growth of Taiwan?” is the question I asked a select group of people. Beyond having no major concern, I hear comments like “A declining population rate is the norm in advanced societies.” and “Why would people want to have a child in todays society?”. What if I told you that, at the current rate Taiwan would slip from over 23 million people to just barely 21 million in the next 10 years? What if I told investors that in 20 years there would be an unavoidable GDP loss of NT$1603244606976 (US$50,101,393,968) for no other reason than a reduction in the workforce (Assuming the annual average GDP US$16,392 per capita in Taiwan as listed by the 2009 International Monetary Fund)? What if I told contractors that they should stop expanding the housing market, but rather only rebuild 2 in 3 decrepit houses? What if I told you that the only reason that the birthrates are this high is because 1 in 8 babies in Taiwan are born to a non-Taiwanese mother? What if I told you that in 40-50 years, it will be impossible for Taiwan to cover the cost of their older generation? But this question is about much more than money.

Where does this problem stem from? Unfortunately with the resources that I have at hand I can only make assumptions based on educated guesses. But at the root of any growth rate problem is an issue with relationships and decisions to have children. So lets take a quick look at some of the reasons why there would be less children based on existing relationships today. Well, tolerance and acceptance for same gender relationships would be an immediate response. Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Iceland all accept same sex marriages (I am not saying Taiwan accepts this, but I am saying it is becoming more tolerant). Well all of these countries have lower birthrates, but no severe shifts after accepting same sex marriages, so that probably isn’t a major reason. There is an interesting article written by Time Magazine that very superficially covers this issue. They go on to suggest that selfishness is one of the core reasons. They have an interesting survey (of only 100 people) in Taiwan between the ages of 20 and 40 about their family plans. One-third didn’t plan to have any children for fear of losing two precious things: money and freedom. I do not think its that simple, and even if selfishness were the core reason what are the drivers for this selfishness?

Here are some of the obstacles I see in relationships in Taiwan. Lets take a quick look at what I call the ‘da jia’ mentality. There is a concept foreign to western cultures that all people are part of a big family. The saying in Chinese ‘da jia ni how’ is equivalent to Hello Everyone, but the literal meaning is big family you how. Any foreigner who lives in a Taiwanese family will be able to verify that there is no sense of privacy, nothing is sacred or private. I like to think of this as a holdover from a more socially tolerant society where members of a village shared food, shelter clothing etc. in order to survive in times of poverty. If you look at Taiwanese and Chinese times of poverty, and there are a lot of examples, you will find this generally true. Even further, today I like to visit small isolated villages in southern Taiwan. Where this mentality is still partially visible. In reality, the open and friendly ‘da jia’ mentality is all but dead in anything other than its reference to social politeness and historical understanding of the term. Lets evaluate the dating scene in Taiwan. An unofficial uncounted poll of mine has lead me to believe that the primary ways men and women meet up are by; work or school acquaintances, the internet or friends of friends. Meeting someone at the bookstore, or in the MRT are very rare examples. But in general it is socially unacceptable to try to meet people on the move (i.e. while commuting, while at a store, while with family and while with friends). Severely limiting the places and ways that it is acceptable to meet people. Now, lets take a quick look at the parent approval process in Taiwan. Taiwanese in many cases live with their parents for a good portion of their life. It is typical to live with their parents until they are well into their 30’s, and many will care for their parents when they get older. Things like sex are taboo (to the parents) without marriage, and the introduction between a partner and the parents typically does not occur until marriage is proposed. Forcing most relationships into the closet. Many Taiwanese, unless they can financially afford to move out of their parents house and have some financial stability, put off the decision to have a baby until their 30 something marriage. So having a baby at 32, does not leave much time for the decision to have another.

In summary, I would suggest that the loss of an extroverted nature in practice and in culture makes meeting the right person very challenging. Coupled with the facts that romantic relationships are heavily strained by the family and financial burdens for housing are high typically place generally acceptable ages for children into the twilight of child bearing years. This places an additional burden on society considering that this late birthing entry brings heightened chances for genetic defects. Ultimately these generally accepted facts bring about what I call the Social Holocaust of Taiwan. Unless a major shift in this philosophy occurs, a financial devastation of profound magnitude will occur in my lifetime. However, it must be noted that bringing Taiwan back to such levels of poverty may increase the birthrates once again.

Another Sad Day for Gender Equality in Taiwan

I have learned many lessons from assuming that news reported in Taiwan was true. However, this story points out a fundamental logic flaw in the way people respond to situations. The only reason I bring it up is gender equality in Taiwan is so massively unbalanced already.

Source: Taipei Times

Train cars set aside for females

PROJECT EAGLE EYE: The railway police bureau has launched a project to establish a database on sex offenders with a record of sexual violence on TRA trains and stations

By Shelley Shan
Saturday, May 29, 2010, Page 2

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday said it would launch a female-designated passenger car service after a high school student was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male passenger on Wednesday morning.

TRA deputy director-general Chang Ying-huei (翴錭靟) said an investigation showed that the student boarded the Fuhsing-class train in Pingtung at 5:17am, adding that the train was headed to 〝Fangliao (蛦翋) and supposed to stop at every station along the way.

The student sat in the fourth car, said Chang. The train conductor also reported that he saw two passengers in the car.

※She indicated in her deposition to the police that the male passenger sexually assaulted her when the train passed through Jiadong (呏婘) at 6:26am,§ Chang said.

※The train arrived in Fangliao at 6:37am. The incident occurred during those 11 minutes,§ he said.

In response to a spate of recent incidents, Chang said the TRA plans to launch a female-〝designated passenger car service on 256 commuter trains that depart before 7am and after 9:30pm. He said the first car of the trains with this service would be designated for the use of women and girls.

The TRA also undertook to ensure that all stations are equipped with off-peak waiting areas for female passengers, Chang said.

※The on-board broadcast system will inform women passengers that they can sit in the first car if they are concerned about safety,§ Chang said.

He said passengers would hear the new broadcast for the first time tomorrow.

While the TRA will encourage women passengers to use the first car, Chang said it would not be possible to ban male passengers from using the first car if they chose to do so.

※We are trying to address safety issues that may arise when a woman passenger is alone … As a public transportation system, we serve both male and female customers,§ Chang said. ※We are not calling it a women-only passenger car to avoid discriminating against men.§

The Railway Police Bureau currently has 623 police officers with about 30 responsible for security on long-distance trains.

Short-distance trains are policed by officers stationed in the bureau*s branches nationwide, Railway Police Bureau (RPB) Deputy Director Fang Chien-fei (蛦坳獂) said.

At present, 188 officers police the high-speed rail system, while the remainder are assigned to TRA trains, he said.

Fang also said the bureau plans to deploy more personnel to enhance passenger safety.

Meanwhile, the RPB launched ※Project Eagle Eye§ to establish a database on individuals with records of sexual harassment or assault on TRA trains and stations.

Initially it all sounds great. A crime was committed, and not only did they catch the person who did it, but the railway is going to do something to help stop this from happening in the future.

Lets forget the insanity about a department to track sex offenders in the railway. If you want excuses why this is a complete failure just do a search for ‘US sex offender tracking’ in Google to see the biggest failure since the US declaration of the war against drugs.

Lets spend a minute and talk about sensitization. A great example of sensitization is nudity, because it has some relation to this story. Many cultures do not allow nudity in advertising whatsoever. In talking with foreigners who have just arrived in Taiwan, I find it very common that they are surprised, shocked and even sexually aroused to all of the nudity in advertising here. While in the last 10 years this has reduced (especially in the last 5 years), it is still a lot more liberal than many people are accustomed. However, after seeing these images day after day people become desensitized (meaning that it no longer surprises, shocks and/or sexually arouses them). You sensitize people by keeping them away from things and desensitize them by exposing them to things. That’s the very basic concept without covering psychology 101. Another example of sensitization could be Rosa Parks. A famous person commonly referred to as a civil rights activist, who refused to sit in the back of a bus (like she was supposed to). If you don’t understand the reference, you can read all about it in Wikipedia.

What we are talking about is the suggestion that making a car specifically for women will help protect them. This is just one more sensitization to the issue of women being afraid of attack. Now lets face it, there are real dangers out there, and i am not saying that people should not protect themselves. Lets focus on education in the ways that they can protect themselves. Lets not create a fear based environment for people to live in.

Re-evaluating Prostitution in Taiwan

Well lets face it. Prostitution is once again rearing its head as an issue in Taiwan. Sometimes I am a realist, and sometimes I am an idealist. When it comes to prostitution I am a realist. The fact remains that nowhere in the world has any government successfully eradicated prostitution. Some countries have even instituted the death penalty and dismemberment. It is a fact of life, and no matter how you feel about it you aren’t going to stop it. In last years November 7th session in Taiwan one of the discussion points was prostitution. Currently in Taiwan it is illegal to be a prostitute, but it is okay to search for prostitution. This law was deemed inequitable and a choice was given to legislation, either change the law to punish both the ‘John’ and the prostitute, or eliminate this law altogether.

Past Prostitution in Taiwan

Previously in Taiwan prostitution was legal. Prostitutes had to register with the government. This registration process stopped in 1974, and in fact there are still some existing prostitutes today who are registered from many years past (scary huh?). There are three major complaints about prostitution that I have heard from the opinions of local Taiwanese on this issue. Complaint 1, aboriginal and young girls were forced into prostitution against their will. Complaint 2, there was no zoning separation between regular residential areas and red light districts, I happen to know a person who currently lives in one of these districts and they really are not happy about it. Complaint 3, too many girls are lured in by materialistic wants (i.e. they want a new LV purse and cant afford it so they go into prostitution).

Current Prostitution in Taiwan

Current prostitution in Taiwan is an interesting gang relationship with the police. Basically there are 4 major areas of prostitution and KTVs all over the place that have ‘alternative services’. The police are paid off to ignore these areas, and typically the places where the police raids occur are independent operators that haven’t paid up recently. Prostitution in Taiwan is riddled with ‘older operators’ many of whom are old enough to have been registered prior to 1974 . There are many independent ‘college girls’ online who ‘need school money’, and a few paper based call in services. There is no protection for independent operators from rape and theft, and as anywhere there is protection by gangs but at the price of giving services to the gang, or being forced to service clients of their choice. Honestly gangs are not great protection, but they keep you from being arrested. From an outsiders opinion, this is not a safe occupation and its better to go with the ‘dating service for a fee’ services. Ultimately there are no health exams and many dangerous situations.

As of the Nov 7th session result, a legislative decision mandating that the current prostitution laws are inequitable and effective 6 months from that date, the law is dissolved. Further stipulations are in place stating that zoning needs to be resolved and 2 years hence a final solution needs to be in place. This means that all final decisions will be made in this years November 7th legislative session, in order for the laws to take place the following year. Broken down even further, what this means is that as of this moment (this is not legal advice, but an assumption based on past information) there are currently no laws against prostitution as of early June 2010 (now). I believe that there are still laws against solicitation and there is no legal venue (designated place) for prostitution.

Future Prostitution in Taiwan

This is where everything has become hush hush. But my sources lead me to believe that Kaohsiung County,  Taichung County, Tainan County, Penghu County, Hsinchu City, Taichung City and Pingtung County have agreed to set up special zoning for prostitution and Taipei City has rejected outright, however Taipei County (now Xin Bei City) has agreed. I don’t know if this agreement will still be effective if Tsai Ein-Wen is elected, but there is currently approval.

My wish list for prostitution in Taiwan

The whole reason that I am excited for legal prostitution in Taiwan is safety and protection. I want to see the following mandates, 1) Regular, but unannounced official spot checks on the working conditions and age of workers 2) Approval of personal licenses (even though they say that individual licensing wont occur) that are only valid if regular health checks are performed for STD’s 3) All burdens of healthcare, health checks, and any other company requirements of sex workers are those of the employer and are not considered a debt of the employee (too many people force prostitutes by saying that they owe them money for paying for health checks or company required beauty treatments or dress) 4) Locations of services are to be at the primary place of business within the supervision of the premises security/staff, or gps emergency responders are to be provided to each worker and it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure safe transport to and from any location outside of the primary place of business. 5) Employees of sex services are entitled to all rights and privileges of the Taiwan Labor Law. 6) Any person under the age of 18 is not allowed within an area zoned for sex work for any reason at the liability of the principle business owner and no transactions or solicitation of services are to be performed outside of; the primary place of business, a private residence or within public view. 7) No area zoned for sex work will be visible or within 500 meters of a school, business whose primary services target children under the age of 18, or within 500 meters of a zoned residential area.

I truly hope this endeavor improves the life of those involved, rather than the shortsighted view that prostitution is wrong. Saying prostitution is wrong does not stop it, has not stopped it and will not stop it. While I have great respect for the Garden of Hope and the services they provide, just like the failure of communism; it was a great idea but planning on perfection in humanity will inevitably fail.

A foreign womans perspective to dating in Taiwan

I was a little bit shocked to see an article that recapped many things I think about dating in Taiwan, but blogged by a female. You can see and respond to the original post here The original artical has been defiled by my musings, but I was nice enough to do a color seperation.

Dating in Taiwan: A Foreign Woman’s Perspective

Somewhere in the fictional version of New York City, Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw are shedding tears for me. After 9 months of living in Taipei, I’ve just about given up on men in Asia. I have years and years of sadness piled up before you… but I’m sure Carry and Samantha do not endear as warmly to the male endeavor.
I’m not converting to lesbianism by any means, but I suppose I’ve abandoned the idea that I will meet anyone worthwhile during my stint in Asia.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, foreign women get the short end of the dating stick over here. We are hands down, the least sexually satisfied demographic in Asia.
I did an unscientific poll and asked female foreigners living in Taipei, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul what their dating and sex life is like and almost all of them gave me the same answer- it’s non-existent. They all agree that celibacy and singledom is a begrudgingly accepted part of life.
I won’t bother getting into how easy it is for any male ex-pat to find a girlfriend and/or f&ck buddy. We’re all aware of this fact and have certainly seen mismatched couples consisting of bombshell local chicks with ‘bottom of the barrel-esque’ foreign guys. Now speaking as the local troll, I have seen the mismatched expat with the bombshell and wondered…. Whats a guy gotta do? Guys may be a little more flexible on accepting that fu ck buddy, but I will tell you the non-drinking strictly ballroom dance kind of guy does not seem to have a chance here? I refuse to play the ‘my benz is bigger than yours’ game, and that don’t leave a person with much here.
If I sound bitter, I’m not. I am 🙂
I’ve had more than my fair share of mock-relationships with both locals and foreigners. Hell, I even had a short-term fling with a Taiwanese celebrity. Trust me, I’ve seen the broad spectrum of men Taipei has to offer.
But, if you want to know why female ex-pat’s have a tough time finding a boyfriend or decent fling the answer is simple: we are the unwanted demographic.
I don’t have a bloated sense of entitlement nor do I have unrealistic expectations when it comes to men. If I could find a Don Draper + Daniel Henney + Johnny Depp mix of a man I’d probably spontaneously combust from the endorphins alone but, I know that’s never going to happen. And in Taipei? Hell. F&cking. No.
The simple fact remains that both locals and foreign guys have no interest in dating us. Now this is the interesting part, I know many locals that want to date you, but its more the ‘I want to have sex with a westerner’ experimentation than really wanting a relationship.
Let’s start with locals:
‘Unwanted-ness’ is a two-way street especially with this group. Here’s my justification for that statement:
1) Physical attraction to locals for me- dwindles at a very, very low percentage. Puffy hair, shiny marshmallow jackets, skinny jeans and flip flops in the winter don’t exactly get my panties soaking. Maybe local men are an acquired taste, like betelnut? I find both revolting but, that’s just me… And thats what keeps me straight.
2) The language barrier is a huge strike, because in case you didn’t already know- women love talking. Decent communication can be shirked initially, however the minimal scope of topics can get old, real quick. Interestingly enough, speaking excellent Chinese does not resolve this problem for men, and Taiwanese girls are frequently the “I wanna do what you wanna do” nightmare right out the movie “Coming to America”.
3) Local guys are very shy compared to foreigners. You can’t come on too strong nor can you wait around for them to make the first move. Rock and a hard place, anyone? Being shy was cute in high school. It isn’t anymore. I think you should read my in depth experiments on attempting to get eye contact, let alone a conversation with a local.
4) How many local guys do you know who would be open-minded about dating a foreigner? I wouldn’t imagine very many and if they exist, they must be hiding under a bridge somewhere.
Suffice to say, a foreign woman dating a local man probably won’t end up working out. Unfortunately I have to agree, the chances are rare… If you looking for a buddy, you do have a few Taiwanese trolls under the bridge i promise… but its a conquest fu.k and nothing else.
So now, let’s move onto the foreign men:
We aren’t considered desirable because for most guys it’s a ‘been there, done that’ type of attitude. Actually if you want to know the truth, for myself there is the over domineering self entitled girls from home that lost their appeal to me. I don’t like to drink and club and that’s the bottom line. Not to say I am not attracted, but whenever I get to the nod hello point with a western girl i normally get the… i want the skinny gay jap pop guy with fake glasses behind you look.
1) Male ex-pats come to Asia to experience the culture and more importantly to become acquainted with the local chicks. For many of them this is their first taste of Asian women. Why would they bother with a native speaker? They can go back home in a year or two and find plenty of girls like us over there. Hmmm, what some of us wouldn’t give to have an in depth conversation fully of corny humor and sexual innuendo and all of the things that make conversation good an wholesome. Some of us aren’t going back home in a year or two.
2) The language barrier works in their favor. Most foreigners know they don’t have to ‘really’ be serious about this girl because it can’t go anywhere. It’s a fling and breaking up with a girl because of communication issues is one of the best and most legitimate excuses a guy can have in Asia. Really? Really Really? Us guys up here have a saying. Be careful of the toothbrush. Once a Taiwanese girl gets her toothbrush in your house, its all over. There is no getting rid of her because the next day the hair dryer will be there. And Taiwanese woman typically don’t go postal and yell and incite a fight, there is no way to get rid of them, even if you think its not working out. A foreign guy will want us is if he’s been in Asia for a while and MISSES having a decent, witty and smart conversation. Lool you hit the nail on the head.
3) Local women will let foreign guys treat them like crap without consequence and stick around. Many foreign guys I’ve spoken to admit that they know they can get away with murder when it comes to locals. As much as the guys crave the ‘Asian’ experience in Taiwan, these women crave the ‘Western’ experience and will put up with Johnny American being a jerkoff, just because his blonde hair and blue eyes are just so darn cute. Foreign women have a lower tolerance when it comes to bullshit and guys are well aware of this. Sticking to the local demographic bodes well for the Western player. Can you introduce me to some of these ‘guys’ cause homeslice needs some lessons. I so completely disagree with this, I am not saying it doesn’t happen. But the couples that I do know, the foreign guy is normally 10times as patient its very rare I see the Johnny American, unless they are on the goober “i cant get any other job in the US but teaching in Taiwan so lets park the trailer go fck the Asian” package. (Unfortunately I have met a few of those and they really need beat because they help propagate anti-foreigner sentiment).
4) A lot of male expats come to Asia because they can’t score with chicks back home. Physically inferior and socially inept in the West can equate to Brad Pitt-likeness in the eyes of a local. If we didn’t want you back home, we won’t want you over here. Nuh uhh you did not just go there girl?!? If your looking for the greek god, go back to Cali and do a 1 in 5 tummy tuck guy with the almond tan and great ass and get a divorce in a year when he finds the next tootsie roll girl, I mean go on… live that American dream.
As you can see, the odds are simply not in our favor. We have more things working against us than for us. Yes, I knew coming to Asia would mean a significant downturn in my dating life. I’m simply making generalizations related to the difficulties most foreign women face while living here.
If all I wanted were just a bang, it wouldn’t be very hard. But, it’s not about sex or a lack thereof. I just want someone whose company I can enjoy during my time here.
If it goes somewhere, great.
If it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

You might not agree with the points I made, but unless you’re a female in my situation then you really wouldn’t understand. I’m always hoping that I’ll meet a guy who will break the stereotypes I listed above. I refuse to remain jaded and cynical. I want to enjoy my time here in Taipei and share it with someone.
Maybe I just need to morph into a local. Do I slap on some fake lashes, rock a pair of shiny tights and carry a purse with sequins in order for a decent guy to want to take me out on a date?
Say it ain’t so cause, I really hate neon clothing. I know you think its just a girl thing. If I want to go to lava and dance to Taiwanese gangsta rappers, or get drunk at the KTVs sure it will happen. But don’t let yourself go down there its just as bad as the California scenario above.

Anyway, I really appreciated this article because it indicates to me that its not only a guys problem, but a expat problem in general. Some interesting facts, the average Taiwanese couple have sex about one time a month. Taiwan’s population is decreasing steadily and the gay and lesbian communities are thriving. Prostitution in Taiwan is among the most expensive countries in the world and they are talking about making it legal again. All of these things paint a poor long term portrait for the sustainability of Taiwan. Sometimes I wonder, if procreation continues at this rate, is it really necessary for people like me to spend so much time working on the foreigner image?