August 18, 2006

Local Foreign Celebrities II – The Survey

In the previous post, I tried to guess who the most famous foreigner in Taiwan is. For my definition of "famous," I was using a combination of notoriety and importance. If it was merely a question of who is most well known, I have no doubt that the answer would be Margarita, a Russian model and entertainer. In the comments of the last post, Michael Turton suggested that Richard Hartzell should be the winner. Michael is the Taiwan expert on things that are important, so he is clearly emphasizing importance over superficial notoriety. However, superficial notoriety is easier to measure, and it’s also what I happen to know best, so I took a pole of my coworkers to measure just that.

I wrote down the Chinese names of eight foreigners, mostly in the entertainment and news industry. To make things interesting, I first predicted the results:

Here are the predictions, from most well known to least well known:

Name (Nationality. Field)
1. Margarita (Russian. Entertainment)
2. Aisha (Japanese. Entertainment)
3. Jeff Locker (American. English, News)
4. Mai (Japanese. Entertainment)
5. Father Josef Eugster (Swiss, Health)
6. Jeffrey Mindich (American. News)
7. Richard Hartzell (American. News, Opinion)
8. Dan Bloom (American. News, Opinion)

And the results, from a poll of seven people:

1. Margarita (Russian. Entertainment) (7/7)
1. Aisha (Japanese. Entertainment (7/7)
1. Mai (Japanese. Entertainment) (7/7)
4. Jeff Locker (American. English, News) (6/7)
5. Father Josef Eugster (Swiss, Health) (2/7)
6. Jeffrey Mindich (American. News) (1/7)
8. Richard Hartzell (American. News, Opinion) (0/7)
8. Dan Bloom (American. News, Opinion) (0/7)

They all knew Margarita, Aisha, and Mai, while none had heard of Richard Hartzell or Dan Bloom. The results aren't surprising when you consider that the people surveyed are all under 30 years old, and most young people only read the entertainment and sports sections of the newspaper, if anything. In hindsight, the accuracy of the predictions would have been more convincing if the predictions were written in a separate, earlier post.

The survey results show that if you want to be a famous foreigner in Taiwan, it helps to be an American male fluent in Chinese, but it's even more helpful to be an attractive female of any nationality who is not overly concerned about her dignity.

Edit: Another person I could have included in the survey is Christopher Downs (夏克立). I think at least a couple of people would have known who he is.


Post a Comment

<< Home