Monday, January 12, 2009

To be or not to be

I have been undecided about my future, since day one when I returned here. With a hope to reconnect to the land and home that I was born to and escaped from, I yearned for acceptance from my own country-or my own acceptance of the country and culture. It has been difficult here, for opportunities are slim for growth, professionally and personally. The job has been a dull case with meaningless requirements that kill one's soul and body. Sometimes I hate that I am not one of them who can tolerate and suffer for things that bear no meanings at all. Last year, I was denied for my promotion after two and half years' of non-stop preparation and sacrifice of pleasure in life. I've learned that for a nobody here in Taiwan, hard work alone isn't enough for getting recognized. The development of connections is the key to it. Unfortunately, I was naive to believe that I should give it a shot no matter what. At this point, I am trying very hard to convince myself that I am of value with all these rejections. Rejections from getting grants, and rejections of being considered to enter the Taiwanese scholarly world.

But on the other hand, I do not like the narrow-mindedness of the so-called Taiwanese academia. I need to be involved in discussions, to find allies and comrades whom I can work with. And I feel so alienated here. With the number of newly increased higher ed institutions and decreased birth rate, competition is fierce in this part of the world. The severe evaluation system drives me nuts everyday. Philosophically, I do not buy in the "holding hand" policy of student advising. Seriously it is a heavy load for instructors aside from their research and teaching responsibilities. Like I said, if I can be more like the others, I can do this blindly and believe that it is my fate.

I am forced to look elsewhere-to move abroad again. It is somewhat sad and hard, to leave my family again, to fight alone in a foreign land with visa problems. But I am not sure what I should look into this time. Should I take up administration again in a system that I was familiar with; would I be inspired for growth with the familiarity, or should I take more time to look for something that could be innovative and interesting, yet at the same time tolerate the boredom and sadness that kills me everyday here in Taiwan? Should I go with the Asian principle of tolerance and numb myself to believe that something better will come along, or should I stop the torture for something else. How can I be sure that this something else is not a false alternative which can drive me further apart from my homeland? Or perhaps I can take up the role of a world citizen again, and set out to venture for something new without binding myself to certain geological premises. I do not know what to think, and I do not have peace with either direction that I choose to enter. The only thing that I look for is to leave my current job and at least have some peace of mind in being myself. I am a carefree person who believes in the goodness of humans and dislikes meaningless structures. How can I set myself free without taking a wrong step? I am not a young bud anymore who has the time to waste in life.


  1. Sorry to hear you agonizing over this decision yet again, but we have plenty of room here in America (and hopefully getting a visa would not be impossible.

    One of the big differences I noticed in my short time in Asia is the inordinate pressure upon you to conform to whatever society said you should be. A completely alien concept for an American (as I know you are well aware) but one that was interesting to try to appreciate for a while.

    For a lifetime? I'm not sure I could do it successfully without giving myself a heart attack.

    I hope you are able to figure things out and make a change that makes you happy.

  2. Thanks Jeff for visiting. What you observed was true and like youself, I don't think bearing to conform is the way to go. But my family is here and I feel that I have passed the stage of leaving them behind for selfish adventures. I just wish there is a better choice around.

  3. MW...
    Stepping out in faith is so hard! That's what God called Abraham to do! He was blessed beyond measure.
    I will pray for you!

  4. Thanks for your support MIT. Nearly five years ago, I cried for an unexpected decision to move back here, before getting on the plan to go back to the states. Five years later, I may cry again if I leave in a few months. Why isn't there a happy medium?