I wonder how people react when a foreigner-turned-citizen goes to a polling station to vote. I could imagine someone telling you, in broken English, "You no vote here, OK OK?"
Actually, many (if not most) Taiwanese assume that foreigners can easily obtain citizenship and ID cards after they’ve lived here for a decade or two. Countless Taiwanese – including many mid-level and senior government officials – have asked me if I have a shenfenzheng
, and often express surprise when I answer that I still haven’t. When I explain to them about the renunciation requirement, they invariably shake their heads and agree with me about the unreasonableness of the law and the need to change it. So if I do ever get that ROC ID card, I won’t expect its production to elicit remark or raising of eyebrows from any but a tiny percentage of locals who see it.
greves wrote:I do think they need to change the language & government test. Significantly. It really shouldn't be an unreasonable request to say that a citizen of a given country should be able to explain the basic workings of the government in the language spoken in that country, and for applicants to express things like why they want to become a citizen. Writing should not be required (from a linguists perspective, at least). The US test is oral, and the respondent must actually answer the questions asked, not choose an answer from a bank.
Mr He wrote:Well, there are many ways around the test. If you have studied here, you are extempt. It seems that my old Mandarin Training Centre sessions might prove useful eventually.
They prefer multiple choice here, and that's likely because it's easy to grade, and it is easy to pass if you just sit down and cram it.
The test really is absurdly easy. Anyone with a fairly decent level of proficiency in Chinese (intermediate or above) should sail through it with absolutely no difficulty. When I was going through the naturalization process, I asked the official handling my case if it was really necessary for me to take the test when my employment as a government translator, translating speeches for many government ministers, the premier and vice premier, and even the vice president, should sufficiently demonstrate that I met the required standard of Chinese proficiency. When she hummed and hawed about it, I just said okay, never mind, I’ll take the test. When I completed the test, handed in my paper, and left the test room within five minutes, the invigilator and the couple of dozen Southeast Asian women in there with me probably assumed that it was too hard for the poor Westerner. As it was, I scored 100%, and would have been quite ashamed of myself if I hadn’t.
Indeed, the test has to be kept very simple, because the vast majority of people taking it are Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian girls who are usually from poor families in small villages, have received little or no schooling, and cannot possibly be expected to achieve more than a minimal level of oral proficiency in Chinese, let alone any understanding of the workings of government, but who need to be accorded an easy path to citizenship because they’ve been purchased as brides and daughters-in-law by Taiwanese men/families, and will be required to play an important role in this society as bearers of children to families whose sons have little or no hope of finding local wives, and to provide the extra wombs that government planners recognize as desperately needed to maintain a sufficient birthrate in place of the legions of local women who have understandably decided that they do not want to accept the huge burdens, difficulties and disadvantages of becoming mothers in this overwhelmingly family-unfriendly society.