Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Nazi Motorbike

So I passed a parked motorbike today with a Nazi flag sticker on it. Pity I didn't have my camera - I would have loved to have taken a picture.

Living in Korea and Taiwan has successfully disassociated the swastika symbol from Nazism in my mind. Here it's a symbol of Buddhism and it has no negative connotations.

That said, the sticker on that motorbike was quite definitely the Nazi tricolor. I suspect there was no evil intention on the motorbike owner. Hitler never became the great cultural villain in East Asia that he is in the West; people here know who he is, of course, but Nazism and its associated symbolism doesn't spark the same visceral reaction that it does in Europe and North America. I think the owner of the motorbike just saw the sticker (I'd love to know where he/she saw it!) and figured, "Cool. Buddhist."

I hope.


Anonymous said...

If only they were ignorant of the connotations.

There is a small fringe of Taiwanese nationalists that buy into the whole blood/soil fascist schtick and see it as a way of making Taiwan into a 'strong nation'.

Although I sympathise with Taiwan's situation, I think this is a really scary development for an otherwise laudable democracy.

For more info: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2007/03/13/2003352058

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