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Taiwanese berate 'stingy' bosses after American resigns with Kanye West dance video

Viral "interpretive dance" video has brought Taiwan's work culture under global spotlight

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 October, 2013, 1:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 October, 2013, 12:25pm

“Welcome to Taiwan,” was how Taiwanese bloggers, with a note of sympathy, hailed a 25-year-old American woman who quit a job at her former Taiwanese employer - Next Media Animation- in a viral “interpretive dance” video that has brought Taiwan’s work culture under the global spotlight.

In a video clip entitled An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West's Gone, which has gathered more than three million views since its release over the weekend, Marina Shifrin, 25, dances around her office at 4.30am on Saturday morning and describes why she decides to quit.

"For almost two years I've sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job," she explains in the video. "And my boss only cares about quantity and how many views each video gets. So I figured I'd make one video of my own."

Video: Next Media Animation employee resigns with Kanye West dance video

As well as the reasons she listed in the clip for quitting her job, Shifrin told The Huffington Post that she would get no lunch break and that her boss would constantly change her schedule and responsibilities.

“Now  the whole world knows how stingy Taiwanese employers are - shame on them,” Taiwanese bloggers wrote after the story was picked up by local media.

“At least you can return to the US, but we have nowhere to go,” another frustrated worker commented on a news website.

It was later revealed that Shifrin worked for Next Media Animation (NMA), a Taiwan-based subsidiary of Next Media, a Hong Kong media conglomerate. NMA primarily produces animation clips of local events for the company's Apple Daily newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

While impressed by her creativity and courage, Taiwanese viewers seemed reluctant to emulate her stunt.

“Only foreigners have the guts to pull this off,” a blogger said, “We Taiwanese just suck it up so we can get our meagre salary.”

"Taiwanese bosses are not only stingy, but also dumb," reader "Alex Chen" wrote, referring to Shifrin's criticism of her former boss's focus on page views. "How can one successfully manage a company based only on numbers?"

Comments made by Western readers, however, seemed less sympathetic.

"I'd like to know where she think she's going to find a job whose demands don't require sacrificing personal relationships," blogger "Nevergreen" commented on Gawker. "Seriously, someone let me know if there is such a thing anymore."

NMA could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Update

In response to Shifrin’s dance video, NMA posted a clip on Youtube titled “An Interpretive Dance From Next Media Animation Set To Kanye West's Gone. 

Mark Simon, a commercial director and spokesperson at the Taiwanese organisation, commented on Shifrin’s resignation on Gawker. 

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reubenm
I worked in Taiwan from '87-'93 and found the exact complaints voiced by Schifrin and by the Taiwanese bloggers. Business IS about numbers, but high numbers don't come from concentrating on high numbers: they come from offering a good product and being responsive to customers and to the demands of the market. As for "Nevergreen," the name tells all one needs to know about this blogger. (Hint: Yes, such jobs exist, but you're unlikely to land one with that attitude!)
newgalileo
Yes companies need "results" but treating staff in a fair and humane manner is part of good management. 4:30 am? Tells it all.
caractacus
Gutsy girl. Good for her.

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