Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Hate crimes hit home

Disturbed and Distressed

What other words can I use to describe what I'm feeling after the turn of events in the last 24 hours? Heavy hearted, incredulous, enraged, disillusioned, and the biggest of them all- indignant.

Last night I met up with some friends- new and old- at my friends C & S's lounge bar.

When most were calling it an evening, I found myself obliging some of the "out-of-towners," three to be exact-- Kaohsiung Boy- who is from Kaohsiung but now lives in the states, American in Kimen- my American friend who teaches English in Kimen, and Mystery Military Man- who lives in Taipei and does top secret military work in Taiwan. Hardcore Party Girl- a 20-something-year-old Taiwanese college girl wanted to dance the night away. So the five of us ended up going to a local dance club, located behind the Sogo and Mitusoki Department Stores in downtown Kaohsiung. I haven't been there in about six months because I'd heard about a number of incidents involving Caucasian foreigners being beat up or hit over the head with a beer bottle for simply talking to, or dancing with a local Taiwanese woman. I felt some hesitation and asked Hardcore Party Girl if she thought the place was ok and how it would be on a Thursday night. She said she went there regularly and that it would be a good time.

I had my misgivings, but brushed them aside thinking that perhaps what I'd heard was an isolated incident. Once we arrived, we settled into a booth/table and started drinking watered down whiskey and vodka shots, and the occasional orange juice/whiskey drink. It wasn't yet midnight; the dance floor was still completely deserted. As I'd predicted it started hopping just before 1 am. Kaohsiung Boy and I hit the dance floor a few times and chatted with my friend the American in Kimen and Mystery Military Man- who had both remained comfortably beated at our booth the entire night in deep conversation. About an hour later, Kaohsiung Boy and I decided that was time to get going. The American in Kimen wanted to hit the dance floor with me, so we started to "get down" on the dance floor and ended up dancing on one of the platforms. Admitedly, I know how to shake this booty and was just having some fun- the way a girl can when she's in the hands of someone she knows and trusts. Trust me, I can shake it and grind it- but not like that with complete strangers. After dancing with the American in Kimen, I resumed dancing with Kaohsiung Boy and finally we decided to make our exit. Kaohsiung Boy went to look for Hardcore Party Girl and say goodbye.

On the way out, I realized that there had been several rounds of drinks going around, so I looked around for the American in Kimen, wanting to give him some cash for my share of drinks. He was no where to be found, so I returned to our booth where I found Mystery Military Man. I asked if he'd seen the American and if I could give him something for all the rounds of drinks that had gone around. "No, no," he said. He told me not to worry about it that that it would all be taken care of.

Kaohsiung Boy, Hardcore Party Girl and I walked out of the club to Kaohsiung Boy's car. We said our goodbyes. Hardcore Party Girl went back into the club and Kaohsiung Boy drove me home.

Thursday was a long night of harmless, good fun... It's somewhat cathartic "getting it all out" on the dance floor and fortunately I don't have to teach on Fridays. I can take a "backseat" since I'm in the role of a student only having to go to my Mandarin Chinese class on Friday mornings.

Today (Friday) afternoon, at home after class, the phone rang and it was the American from Kimen. He began cautiously by asking me if I'd noticed anything strange or out of the ordinary last night at the club. "No," I said. "What are you talking about?"

Then he began to tell me that shortly after we'd danced, some men told him that he had to go i.e. leave the club. Some men took him outside and before he knew it there were three men beating him up with a baseball bat and baton. They hit him in the face, on his back, stomach, legs and knees. They told the American that a woman he'd danced with in the club was pressing charges of sexual harrassment; that she had gone crying to security claiming that he'd grabbed her breast. (*Not that, that could justify roughing someone up!) It was all mostly blur for him. At some point the police picked the American up and he made it to a police station where he reported the incident and made a statement with the help of a Taiwanese friend who translated for him. He also had to go to a hospital for treatment of his injuries. He was in pretty bad shape, his glasses were broken, face messed up, body bruised, head and body aching.

My friend the American from Kimen asked me if he had done anything at all inappropriate last night and if I had felt uncomfortable or upset with him. I was the only woman that he'd danced with all night and he couldn't imagine what he could have done to offend me or that I'd press charges against him.

I assured him that everything that had happened last night was in friendly, good fun and that I had no reason to press any charges against him. Apparently this whole ordeal had done a number on him, making him second guess what had happened and now he wondered what exacly had happened and why.

I met the American nearly a year ago and know him to be a very gentle, kind person. This couldn't have happened to a less deserving person.

I asked him what I could do if anything and he said he only wished that this wouldn't happen to anyone else and that others know the truth of what happened. We agreed that the club should also be closed down. (Whether or not that can be done is another story)

I offered to go to the police station to state for the record that he had not harassed me. Kaohsiung Boy had been with the American and I the whole time. Actually Kaohsiung Boy was standing nearby when I was dancing with the American. Kaohsiung Boy agreed to go the police station with me this evening.

When we got to the station this evening the police only had a report with the American's account of what happened. There was no record of the accusations of sexual harassment made against him. Kaohsiung Boy and I tried to explain the situation, that we were all friends who went to the club together, that I was the only woman that the American had danced with, and that there was no woman pressing charges against the American. No official statements were taken from me or Kaohsiung Boy because there was no record of any accusations filed against the American.

Someone I know with connections had arranged for a city councilor (*who is responsible for the district in which the club is located) to accompany us to the police station. The city councilor demanded to see other statements and/or documents that may have been written up or filed last night. Perhaps the police on patrol at the site had taken statements from the witnesses or perpetrators at the scene.

It was all rather disappointing. I mean, you could kill a person with a baseball bat! I shudder to think what could have happened if things went too far and people were even more out of control.

Well, at least we were able to establish that nothing incriminating about the American had been documented in the police report filed at the police station.

The more I thought about the whole situation and pondered throughout the day, the more I began to suspect and question the actions and character of all the people involved. I'd only met Hardcore Party Girl and Mystery Military Man for the first time Thursday night, so all of their actions through out the night and after the incident were now under scrutiny.

Before going to the police station, I had spoken to the American twice about the incident, getting the details of his account clear. And I thought about how trying it must be for witnesses, defendants and plaintiffs to be grilled repeatedly over certain details. I was impressed that my American friend was able to recall what he did after having gone through the ordeal he'd been through!

I haven't been able to reach him since coming back from the police station and I'm leaving for Korea on a short vacation tomorrow. This couldn't have happened at a worse time. I don't know what else there is I can do.

20 Comments:

  • At 4/15/2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said…

    Damn, Feli! This is HORRIBLE! Thanks for telling this story.

    Michael

     
  • At 4/15/2006 11:38 PM, Blogger Feli said…

    Thanks Michael!

    Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident at this club, there have been a series of violent acts directed at caucasian male foreigners. I believe that these types of hate crimes are also becoming more prevalent throughout Taiwan. My hope is that others read this and know that this is happening, do something about it, and/or stay away from Dre@m$.

    Thomas is trying to build his case, but so far it hasn't been easy...

     
  • At 4/18/2006 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I know this club. I was about to go in there about a year and a half ago with my friend and a few friendly local guys told us we would be better off somewhere else ...so we left and went to one of those expat places.

     
  • At 4/30/2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous taiwantiger said…

    I've heard rumors--completely unsubstantiated ones, mind you--of things like this happening at Dreams.

    What's strange and not entirely unexpected is that the records have somehow disappeared for the incident, leaving the foreigner without any legal resources at this point. Not surprising. Kaohisung needs to get its act together in terms of the law, or simply give up and embrace he fact that we are the Tombstone, Arizona of Taiwan.

     
  • At 5/08/2006 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shite! Feli, call the Taipei Times and ask them or the China Post to investigate this story. It is horrible. It really sounds like a gangster club gone wild and what is next: the death of a foreigner? as you said, that baseball bat could have killed him. American Boy should go public with his story in the English newspapers here and tell the world: Taiwan is becoming KKK country.

    Kaohsiung really? I live here and never saw this kind of stuff before. now i will not go to Dreams ever.

     
  • At 5/08/2006 3:47 AM, Blogger Feli said…

    Just ask around and the stories will come out.

    Another friend of mine, a Canadian guy was at the club talking to a Taiwanese woman when he got hit over head with a beer bottle.

    Yet another guy was kissing his Taiwanese girlfriend _outside_ of the club, not even in the actual club, when someone came up and hit him over the head with a scooter lock! The guy had to get stiches in his head.

    Yes I've talked to Thomas about publicizing this but he's not sure what exactly he's at liberty to say since charges have been pressed. Wouldn't want anything that he said to go on record and come back and bite him in the #%@$!

    It's definitely open season on white foreigners in Dre@m$!

     
  • At 5/08/2006 3:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    is it xenohobic hatred of white 4inners, or is it just wild gangsters high on speed?

     
  • At 5/08/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger Bradtastic said…

    I posted on this post:

    http://bradtastic.blogspot.com/2006/05/hate-crime-in-taiwan-not-so-bad.html

    /brad

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for sharing. I will try to draw some attention to this on my website as well www.therealtaiwan.com . Sometimes foreigners may deserve to get lumped up for behaving like asses at pubs and disrespecting woman, but to be beaten for no reason is just scary.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Bradtastic said…

    Yeah, we foreigners all get lumped together sometimes for objectifying Taiwanese women.

    http://www.therealtaiwan.com/?page_id=87
    http://www.therealtaiwan.com/?page_id=107

    Not sure how that happens!

    -Brad

     
  • At 5/09/2006 2:57 PM, Blogger Bradtastic said…

    Hey, you changed one of your objectifying women pages, TheRealTaiwan!

    That's ok, I got a screenshot of it:
    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/5161/2760/1600/therealtaiwan.jpg

    Anyways, I've still yet to see anyone comment on the difference in context between "hate crimes" against oppressed minorities and, um, you guys. There is a difference.

    -Brad

     
  • At 5/10/2006 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A white friend told me that this post is getting discussed vehmently now at formosa.com.tw, some blogging site for some Westernese to chat with each others about why they hates Taiwan... but we cant find that link now. I think they took it down....

     
  • At 5/10/2006 1:39 AM, Blogger Feli said…

    This post is currently being discussed at www.forumosa.com under the "Discussion" section as an "Open Forum", with the topic named "Kaohsiung man beaten to pulp at pub." While I'm at it, I'd like to point out that the topic has been misnamed. It shoud be named "American man beaten to a pulp at a dance club in Kaohsiung."

     
  • At 5/31/2006 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After coming back from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam recently and observing the insane level of female expolitation there (and most everywhere) by my fellow caucaisian males, I can say that some anti-foreigner bashing does not seem so horrible. However, it's always sad to hear about violence directed against innocent people.

     
  • At 9/29/2006 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well I can give some insight on this as I am a mix chinese and have been in the U.B. for over 5 years. First: did Party-girl have any ex-boyfriends in the club that night? I myself have started fights with guys who have pawed or even tried to talk to my ex in a club.
    Second.: did american happen to have been looking at any other male in the club when he was dancing with Party-girl? This can be taken to mean a flaunt to other guys i.e. "I am dancing with this hot chick and you are off drinking alone" etc. American is lucky it was a bat. Usuall my underlings will carry swords or the ocasional gun. Since we have a good relation with the specific club's boss, we can usualy take out anyone we want. So basicly the best thing to do when out is to just be low key. Don't go out with the mindset of "I'm gonna get me some booty tonight" cause that WILL get you killed. We usually won't mess with just any random person. There is alway a reason. There was an instance where a caucasian male was dumping beer from the second floor onto the people dancing below. When we asked him to apologise, he just kept laughing so....... you can guess what happened.

     
  • At 12/13/2006 4:59 PM, Anonymous Dan. said…

    To be honest, although i was born in Taiwan, being raised in Canada has left me with no recollection of anything about my birthplace.

    Thank you for telling that story, although i don't look like a foreigner i'm too used to being trusting of my neighbours and stuff, and judging from your entry and from what horror stories other people have told, it'd be a bad idea for a guy who barely remembers chinese and doesn't know anything about Taiwan to be running around.

    Taiwan seems to be a haven for corruption and racism. No wonder my parents just sigh every time i ask about Taiwan's government structure and such.

    God bless
    Once again, thank you for your post, and i hope your friend gets well soon.

     
  • At 10/24/2007 1:11 AM, Blogger Seth Patinkin said…

    Dear Oprah,

    I am writing to you about discrimination which has been expressed by the selective enforcement of city ordinances against me with respect to my rental business in Southern Indiana once city officials discovered that I am a Jewish person.

    More about me: I was named to the "30 under 30" list by my alma mater and did my PhD work at Princeton Univ. under John Nash. I am a applied mathematician/ entrepreneur in my day job.

    In the years since I completed my undergraduate work at IU in 1998, I proceeded to buy a small number of rental properties in Bloomington, Indiana, which I have successfully run as a side business for a number of years.

    However, about 2-3 years ago, the normal flow of my side rental business ran into some serious roadblocks.

    It started when two housing inspectors made a number of explicit anti-semitic statements to me and to a Jewish tenant at one of my rentals.

    Soon thereafter, four (4) groups of my otherwise law-abiding and happy tenants were threatened with $10,000 + fine (assessed PER tenant) for alleged ordinance violations.

    Long story short, I was soon stuck with numerous vacancies and left paying the mortgage payments on these properties which were subsequently burglarized and vandalized. At the same time, the Housing Department caused complaint inspections to take place at these properties, identifying dozens and dozens of "defects" in the properties not otherwise noted in previous move-in inspections and causing me to incur thousands of dollars of needless "improvements".

    And then the Legal Department went to work on me, filing at least five (5) lawsuits against me for alleged ordinance violations, and at the same time, the Legal Department Chief's wife, over at Student Legal Services, encouraged my erstwhile tenants to sue me for recovery of their security deposits, in spite of their breaches. I was soon dealing with about ten lawsuits at once.

    So in April 2007, I filed a lawsuit against the City of Bloomington for violating my right to equal protection of the law, and a number of other civil rights violations. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have become of the despotism of city government in small town Indiana. My attorneys have recently discovered that my case is not unique. Another Jewish landlord also has a case pending in federal court against the City, regarding the improper withholding of a building permit based upon the impermissible consideration that the prospective buyer of the commercial property in question was a Jewish investor from New York.

    My life has been turned upside down by the systematic abuse of ordinances and
    judicial proceedings. I find it outrageous that such a negative spirit still thrives in modern America. I would love the opportunity to talk about my story on your show, as I think it is in the public interest.

    Seth Patinkin

    ~~ NEVER STOP LEARNING ~~

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  • At 4/21/2008 1:21 AM, Blogger peter said…

    Hi nice Blog. I stayed almost all restaurants but i didnt feel such a different restaurant any were, now i like to spend all my life in Big Bear hotel ,

     
  • At 8/13/2009 3:20 AM, Anonymous A grown-up said…

    Is this 'anonymous' kid for real? What a dick. I can't tell if he's just some schoolkid who's talking garbage because he thinks it makes him look tough, or a real hood who's ... talking garbage because he thinks it makes him look tough. Whichever one it is, Anonymous, dump the guns (be careful when you do, since I suspect you don't know which end is which) and get a life. Also, you can have surgery to correct that very very small thing you have between your legs, although there's only so much they can do with so little material to work with.

     
  • At 9/06/2011 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Open your eye's, you are not at home anymore, and should avoid going on the "pull" in clubs/bars,don't be such a bunch of western morons....

     

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