A Race To Prove Exactly Nothing
News has come to me that Taiwan will soon become the 43rd member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S). Noteworthy was the way this was framed in the email sent to me:
TFDA chief Dr Kang Jaw-Jou announced earlier today that Taiwan will become the 43th member of PIC/S on 1st Jan 2013, ahead of Japan and Korea.
What strikes me is that the bolded text above could have been replaced with any number of other pieces of information (e.g. a note about what this could mean for the Taiwanese pharmaceutical sector) but instead it was given over to a rather petty triumphalism that highlights the way many Taiwanese still measure their own development and success, not by an independent standard but specifically in relation to what Japan, Korea, Singapore or China have achieved. ”Look!”, it shouts, “we beat the Japanese and the Koreans! How great we are!” And in presenting themselves in this way, Taiwanese reveal their inferiority complex - ‘Why won’t the world recognise us the same way they regard the Koreans and the Japanese? We are as good as them.”
The harsh truth is that it is when Taiwanese stop comparing themselves to other nations and stop presupposing that the world looks down on them as ‘lesser’, they will free themselves to carve their own path in the world - for which they will get more notice and plaudits. The first obstacle, as it often is, lies in their heads.