I won't get out of joint if the mods delete this, but don't fault me for trying. This is something that's nagged at me for literally years. An episode during my recent visit to Taipei has brough it to the fore.
My belief, based on several encounters, is this: when Chinese have family problems, they absolutely cannot confide in other Chinese. In the US, they spill their guts to someone like me. In Taiwan... what?
In my six days in northern Taiwan, I had two encounters with down-and-outers. One was the standard impertinent beggar. Give him your pocket change and he goes away. The other didn't ask for money; he just wanted to talk to somebody. He singled me out because I was obviously foreign. His English was very limited, and my Mandarin was very limited, and he was drunk. All I could make out was he felt his father had let him down somehow.
Is this common? Was it just a fluke? Taiwan seems to me a very modern, prosperous and westernized country. Chinatown in Boston is more alien than Taipei. But, less than a week and I run into a Chinese guy who's gone completely to pieces due to family problems, and is afraid to talk to other Chinese about it.
I need a basis of comparison.