Respect of one's opponents vital aspect of competition
The China Post news staffThe country has been overjoyed to see the Chinese Taipei team arrive in Tokyo in the leadup to the team's first-ever match in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. Indeed, all Taiwanese now look forward to seeing their team perform in the coming days. At this juncture, however, the nation has reason to reflect on the unsightly spectacle some fans displayed on Tuesday night at Taichung's Intercontinental Stadium.
March 10, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
The fact that the evening ended in a turnaround loss of 2-3 should not be the cause of disappointment. Instead, some extremely ugly words painted on boards by fans should be pointed out as a source of shame for Taiwan.
As the camera swerved over the spectators' galleys, packed at 23,431 people, two billboards stood out among the cheerful faces of neatly seated, boisterously voiced and trumpet-blowing fans who otherwise heated up the night with their enthusiasm. The first read “National Vengeance and Familial Hatred: Kill Koreans.” (國仇家恨: 殺韓仔) Another sign read: “Tonight, there is no sin for killing Korean dogs” (今晚殺韓狗無罪). Shame on those fans for displaying such hostile messages toward our baseball guests.
Set aside, for a moment, the question of what Koreans would think if the messages were picked up by that nation's media. Set aside the question of what arguments could be made that it was not really incitement to murder. The most confounding question must be answered: what could have possibly caused such venomous hate to spew forth, its vicious sinews flexed as delighting pastime?
The answer, unfortunately, seems to be that societal discourse has tolerated a virulent, self-blinding form of hate-mongering that mixes racism with self-pity and that seeks to channel energy against an imagined “enemy.” Hatred against Korea has become a lingo of the disenchanted, of those whose business is to rant against a neighbor whom it has become acceptable to verbally disfigure at leisure, as if they had committed some unforgivable crime and as if they are members of a lesser race.
The hatred is purely an exercise in distorted imagination, because the grounds for invoking such contempt and anger simply do not exist. Happily, the Republic of China and the Republic of Korea have been at peace since their founding. As the Asian tigers roared into economic prosperity in the last century, pecuniary competition has become a matter of fact in the relations between the two countries, but so has interpersonal exchange in the form of tourism and education.
The fans, if confronted by legal authorities, would likely defend themselves saying the billboards were simply a “joke.” But Taiwan's discourse on Korea needs fundamental change. It is neither cool nor funny to twist a close pronunciation in Mandarin and say “Korean dogs” instead of “Koreans.”