Really beautiful MONDO TAIWAN logo
AKA "Viva la Similarité"
(Last update to this page: 2/1/2004)

In the West, it's common for people to joke that all Asians look alike. Like most stereotypes, this notion has some basis in fact. A large percentage of Asians have black hair, brown eyes, and what some call a "yellowish" skin tone. Being here in Taiwan, I've discovered that this stereotype is quite far from the truth. I sometimes don't realize when people are siblings because they look so different. In fact, I sometimes fail to recognize people because they look so different from the last time I saw them. If one person can look different each time I see them, how can two people look the same?
How monaural can you get?!
"similar" experiences
have you had
with Taiwanese products?
Brought to you by Miss Julie

What's more astonishing is that Taiwanese people seem to believe the aforementioned stereotype more than I do. How can this be?! There used to be a show called "Super Sunday" which regularly featured a segment called "Superstar Face." First, you'd see two pictures: one of a "commoner" and one of a "superstar" this person is said to resemble. The panel of celebrity judges would invariably coo, "Wa0! Hao3 xiang4 o0!" (loose translation: "Wow! What a striking resemblance!") while I'd moan out loud, "Cha4 na4 mo3 duo1!" (i.e., "Get the f*** outa here! They look nothing alike!") If the stereotype were true, this could be done with any two faces, but while there's no cigar, it ain't even close either!
It's easy to wonder if the medium is the "reflector" or the "director" of society in this case. While bearing quite strong similarities, the difference between "Stereo" and "Oreo" cookies (above) are quite obvious to me. However, in many instances, what appears to me to be a clear case of trademark infringement as well as an attempt to dupe the consumer into buying a competitor's product seems to go completely unnoticed by both Taiwanese consumers and the authorities in charge of such matters.
Below, I will give you the chance to compare and contrast. You be the judge, and tell me what you think.
Two of the most popular toothpaste brands in Taiwan:
(made by different companies)

Play that funky music, big-nosed white man! Oh the shark bites, and so do the companies that put out this crap. "Darlie" (Mandarin name: Black Man Toothpaste) used to be called "Darkie" (TRUE!). It also had a much worse caricature on the label. Here's another shot of something I saw with my own eyes. It used to be called 'Darkie'
White Men Toothpaste If you think the average Westerner in Taiwan stands out, can you imagine what it's like to be a dark-skinned foreigner here? Talk about stand out! And what about the little kids whose parents teach them to yell "Black Man Toothpaste!"? Talk about manners!

Last, but not least, some of the differences between...

Red, white, and blue
Red, red, red, and Yellow, yellow, yellow
(known by some as) Republic of China
People's Republic of China
Look ma, two "Chinas" -- one Taiwan!
A democracy
A communist regime
Not recognized by the UN
Recognized by the UN
Traditional Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese characters
Elects gangsters to political office
Puts activists and meditators in jail
Betel nut spit everywhere
Can't spit anywhere
Can pee anywhere without being noticed
May be closely examined by others while peeing
Chen Shui-bian
Hu Jintao
Infinite varieties of Pinyin
Single Pinyin adopted internationally
Instant noodles
(pao4 mian4)
Convenient noodles
(fang1 bian4 mian4)

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