The People of Taiwan, Way of Life
aboriginal clothing, Confucian ethics, traditional Chinese foods, social conformity, rural society
Most people in Taiwan have traditional values based on Confucian ethics, which include the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. Confucianism, however, developed in a largely rural society and people now confront the challenge of maintaining these values in Taiwan’s modern, industrialized society. Still, some traditional values are strong, including piety toward parents, ancestor worship, a strong emphasis on education and work, and the importance of “face,” or maintaining one’s dignity in public. Other values are changing, especially in urban areas. Since industrialization, women enjoy greater freedom and a higher social status, individual creativity is regarded as equally important as social conformity, and acquiring material goods and fame is increasingly important.
Housing is mostly urban, with the majority of people living in modern apartment buildings. People in Taiwan wear Western clothing. Traditional Chinese or aboriginal clothing is now worn only for certain festivals. Food choices vary greatly, with restaurants offering everything from American fast food and European cuisine to regional Chinese specialties. In their homes, most people serve traditional Chinese foods. Popular pastimes include singing with family or friends, watching television, mountain climbing, and world travel. In the mornings, many city residents perform t’ai chi ch’uan or other exercises in the parks. At night, young urbanites enjoy going to discos, bars, and restaurants.
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