Any foreigner who has been in Taiwan any length of time has surely noticed Taiwan’s insanity-inducing mix of systems for romanizing Chinese. In response to this mess, the government decided to spend ten years inventing yet another romanization system, tongyong pinyin, even though there are a number of extant systems that are perfectly acceptable. Again, as everyone knows, the tongyong pinyin system met with widespread derision from long-term expats, most of whom would prefer that the government adopt hanyu pinyin, the system used in China, which is more or less the international standard.

Well, over at Taiwan Journal, Mark Caltonhill has arrived to set us all straight: we tongyong haters are a bunch of colonialist shits:

HP supporters, through, often argue that using tongyong pinyin would be no more useful an expression of national identity than requiring people to wear their underwear on the outside of their clothing. Difference for its own sake makes Taiwan look petty and ridiculous. Taiwan does not benefit from looking ridiculous.

It is hard to see this concern for Taiwan as genuine. More likely it belongs in the same category as the we-know-what’s-best-for-you mentality of Christian missionaries proselytizing their religion, and “English teachers” qualified with nothing more than a white face telling Taiwanese they need native-speaker pronunciation.

This kind of thing is just shake-your-head stupid. I don’t think there is any need on my part to comment further. Wiki actually has an entry on this fellow, who is apparently a long-time resident of the island and has written a large number of articles in local magazines and newspapers.

(hat tip to Jason at Wandering to Tamshui, currently on vacation)