Cultural Competency

This phrase has been thrown around too damn much! Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for cultural competency when it comes to community/international exchange, but tonight involved too much stupid for me to take. My Taiwan partner has the misfortune of drinking a little bit too much at our goodbye/karaoke party. Anyone who knows a little bit about science understand that “Asian glow” is more than just a catch phrase but has a genetic disorder attached to it, whereby alcohol isn’t processed effectively in some people of Chinese and Japanese descent.

The point is, my partner drank a bit too much, got red in the face, fell asleep at karaoke, and he and my classmate’s partner ended up cabbing it back to the hotel instead of them driving us on their scooters. I happen to have an extra bed in my room because I was placed in a double at the start of the week instead of sharing a room. Now I know that not all cultures find it acceptable for opposite genders to share a room, but given how out of it my partner was, and how much I felt the need to return the hospitality that he’s done nothing but show me since I arrived in Taiwan, I figured people could get over it and let it slide.

But of course, someone, somehow, had to catch wind of the fact that my partner was sleeping off his drunk in my room, and my classmate’s partner was sleeping off his respective drunk in her room, and had to throw a damn hissyfit about it.

Let me paint this picture for you, because while my partner was passed out ASLEEP in my EXTRA bed in my hotel room, whereby, neither one of us had any physical contact (not that either of us really wanted that), there was a ring of prostitution going on in the same hallway we were staying in. So while the TA of my class and the TA of the participating Taiwan universities were having a “BF” about there being cultural issues with his staying in my room and were pounding on my door/ringing my doorbell, the men next door (one of which, who was walking around with his shirt half up) were ALSO pounding on my door/ringing my doorbell as a solicitation for sex.

Get the hell outta here!

You’re gonna sit there with a straight face and lecture me about how culturally inappropriate it is for my partner to sleep in my room while there is clearly solicitation and sex workers in the hallway? I’m sorry if I seem confused, but can you blame me? AND WHY ISN’T MY TA ADDRESSING THE FACT THAT I WAS BEING SOLICITED FOR SEX FOR A GOOD HALF HOUR?!

Anyway, if you want talk about cultural insensitivity, lord knows that NO black woman wants to be standing in any public place (in this case, the hotel lobby) in her pajamas and a head scarf, barefoot, looking angry as hell–granted for good reason.

I tried to be respectful, but tonight took the award on stupid. And if you really want to talk about it, safety should’ve been the trump card. My partner and my classmate’s partner were clearly drunker than they’re accustomed to being, and for all intents and purposes, the two of them would be better off separated in a room with me or my classmate (used to the situation at hand) in the room to keep an eye on them, than the two of them behind a locked door by themselves. I’m sure they’ll be fine, but I would’ve felt better if I could’ve kept an eye/ear on him.

But once again, uptight *@&^$ tends to win.

*SIGH* tomorrow I return to Taipei on a bus and depart from my hanging out with my partner. It’s pretty sad, I’ve really enjoyed his company and getting to know him. I think the language barrier has finally become a non-issue.