Janet Hsieh Exposed - A Critical Review of Taiwan's Fakest Celebrity
Note: For Chinese translation through Google Translate, click here. However it is imperfect with many errors.
Revised June, 2011
Janet Hsieh 謝怡芬, whom her shallow airheadish fans rave is "oh so wonderful", is the host of "Fun Taiwan" on the Travel Channel and The Learning Channel. On her show, she goes around Taiwan exploring mediocre sites and places that pale in comparison with her pretty face, while hyping them up with contrived enthusiasm. In doing so, she actually gives Taiwan a bad image, because the uneventful ordinary places she goes to on her show would NOT be fun if she wasn't there, which might discourage people from going there.
Though she is nothing special, she has become a media darling and her airheadish fans treat her like some Goddess above criticism. Amazingly, she is one of the few celebrities without critical review, at least that I'm able to find. So let me be the first to write a critical review of her. (since I happen to have a history of being the first to do things)
First, sure she has good looks, has modeled before, and possesses an outgoing enthusiastic personality. I guess that's enough to win over simple drooling guys and the executive producers of the Travel Channel.
But that's pretty much all she has. There is nothing unique or special about her. She has not done anything to deserve any fame or "Goddess treatment". There are many Asian American girls like her who could fill her shoes. And her accomplishments (qualifying for medical school, playing violin, etc.) are typical for Chinese Americans. (My Taiwanese cousins and family friends have the same accomplishments)
The chief problems with Janet Hsieh are: Her personality is bland. Her jokes are corny and her antics are cheesy. For example, when she puts on a dress, she says the corniest things that make you roll your eyes. And when she's bathing under a waterfall, she raves, "Ohhh this is sooooo wonderful!" which anyone can do. Her cheesy lines, combined with how loud she is, makes her annoying to those with distinguishing ears. She does not give any deep meaningful insights on her show. Instead, she says the most simple things that anyone can say.
Plus she is not a good actor and seems to feign her emotions. There is no depth to her. Just look at her eyes (since they say that the eyes are the window to the soul). Notice how vacant and self-absorbed they are. They do not show one who is rich and soulful on the inside. Instead, they show an empty airhead on the inside. Look carefully at them when she's on TV and you will see what I mean.
Thus, she is way overrated and over-treated, hyped up by the media without any substantive reasons, similar to how Britney Spears was hyped up even though she didn't have much talent or charisma. Janet has no special accomplishments. She is not a good or talented actress. She does not make you feel emotions. She has no charm or charisma. She has not done anything special. She has not stood up to evil with any courage. She has done nothing but rave like an airhead on her show.
Thus, it is no surprise that her fans tend to be airheads themselves, since like attracts like. Just look at the comments on her facebook fan page that she gets everyday, and you'll see how airheadish they are. None of the comments have any substance.
It's no wonder she's so popular. Deep intelligent aware people do not tend to be popular with the dumbed-down mainstream population (which is prevalent in Taiwan and America). That's why popular people tend to be fake, dumbed-down (or at least act like it), plastic and inauthentic, rather than truthful and genuine. After all, as great thinkers have said:
"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken
"Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion." - Thornton Wilder
"Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong." — Oscar Wilde
Furthermore, the places that Janet Hsieh goes to in her Fun Taiwan series are very mediocre, the kind that old retired Taiwanese, who don't have the guts to go overseas, go. They are not places that young people would really enjoy. Or she goes hiking up mountains and waterfalls in naturesque areas, which are nothing special and exist all over the world.
There is nothing really "fun" about these places on her show, except for her "fun personality", which is more fake than authentic, because she makes a big deal about nothing and overcompliments everything around her. Now, there's nothing wrong with having enthusiasm and child-like wonder, but when you're PAID to do these things, it calls into question how much of your emotions on TV are real and how much is merely acting to make the show positive and pleasant.
You might think I'm being pessimistic and overly critical. But I am just calling it like I see it. I've seen many things in this world, and met thousands of people. I'm very insightful and have distinguishing taste in separating substance from hype. That being said, to me Janet Hsieh's acting and enthusiasm on her show seems fake and contrived.
Plus she is not an independent thinker. She got good grades in school, played violin, and wanted to become a doctor, etc. which is very typical for a Taiwanese American. I've known many ABC's who fit the same bill.
Sure, Janet has looks, popularity, money, and a fun life. She may be a great girl by conventional standards. But her assets and qualities are ordinary and shallow. She is not original in any way at all. She does not revolutionize anything or have great vision to change things, society and people's lives. She does not help end suffering in the world, or fight evil or injustice, or debunk lies, propaganda and illusion. She does not even think “outside the box”, nor has she shown that she can. She is a conformist, like most females are.
She's just an attractive entertainer that nerdy ABC sheep drool over. That's nice yeah, but it's only surface level, and nothing that will stand out in history.
Now I'm not saying that Janet is bad or anything. I'm sure she's a fine person. I'm just saying that she's nothing special or unique. I know many ABC girls that are just like her, who became doctors, got good grades, are pretty, etc. Her interests are typical and conventional. She is not extraordinary, original, unique or one-of-a-kind. She does not get compliments and comments like these, for example. Instead, she acts fake, artificial and annoying.
Look at the writing in her blog for example. There are no great profound truths or insights in it. Nothing intellectual or deep. Compare it to Winston Wu's articles, which says speak for themselves. There is no comparison. Look at Winston's masterpiece essay Debunking the Myth of Freedom and Democracy in America for example. Everything in it is 100 percent "outside the box". Can Janet ever write anything like that? No way. Of course not. Janet is a typical conformist, not a truth seeker, and as such does not think like that.
Plus Janet's personality seems fake and programmed, not authentic. Her updates on her Facebook Page, as well as the praises she receives there, are very airheadish and superficial. Notice her eyes as she speaks or walks, and you will see a plastic vacant look, as if she's spaced out. There is nothing deep, intellectual or profound about her. She exudes plastic optimism, which is reflective of the fake US culture she grew up in, which does not allow you to express how you really feel, but only allows you to show a plastic face to everyone everyday. She is not known for anything unique which sets her apart from any other fun-loving extrovert. There is NOTHING original about her at all, compared to the one-of-a-kind Winston Wu, as evidenced by these quotes.
Now compare her with fellow Taiwanese American Winston Wu - Writer, Traveler, Freethinker, Passive Income Enterpreneur, and Founder of the Happier Abroad and SCEPCOP movements. Very well traveled folks have called Winston Wu the "most atypical and unique Asian male" as well as the "most freethinking Asian". See here for examples and see this Chart of Winston Wu's character traits and attitudes that truly set him apart from other Asians. Also see this list of quotes from fans who call Winston Wu a "Hero, Inspiration, and Legend", words which very few people in the world get called. Winston Wu's work has even been praised by Nobel Prize Winners and reputable published authors. See here for their praises and compliments.
Janet Hsieh, on the other hand, has NOTHING like that which sets her apart from the rest. And she has not done anything that no one else has, or been the first to do something, like Winston Wu has. See here for his list of 10 Uncommon and Outstanding Accomplishments. No Nobel Prize Winners or intellectual authors praise Janet's work. No one calls her a "Hero or Legend." She has not overcome any insurmountable odds, has not stood up against overwhelming forces, nor fought for truth, nor had the courage to stand alone for what's right. And she has no real intellectual achievements that are praiseworthy. There is nothing original or unique about her. All she did was study hard and use her looks to get into modeling and then onto television. There isn't much substance to her. She simply got hyped up by the media, which has a history of hyping up people with looks but no substance, talent or charisma - such as Britney Spears.
Janet Hsieh claims to have toured 36 countries, however, anyone can backpack through a lot of countries in a short period of time. Darting through multiple countries on a backpacking tour does not make you cultured. What makes you cultured is how many countries you have resided in LONG-TERM. My Cultural and Expat Advisor, for example, has been to 30+ countries, speaks 10 languages, and has resided LONG-TERM in 9 countries. If you look at the depth of his blog and cultural comparisons, you will see what a real well-traveled cultured expat is like. NONE of Janet's writings are anywhere near as deep and useful as his. Have a look at his Expat blog and see for yourself. In it are direct and mostly accurate comparisons between cultures and their ways, without political correctness. On the other hand, all that Janet can say about any culture is: "This culture is so wonderful. The food was so good. The people were so friendly. I had a great time! Wooo hooo!" which in fact, every host of the Travel Channel says. So what's new?
Anyhow, with experience in other cultures, she should easily see that Taiwan is one of the dullest and coldest (socially) cultures in the world, with no social energy, vibe or excitement. (but of course she's paid to say the opposite) It's pretty much a dead land of robotic slaves without imagination, creativity or passion. Any well traveled observant person can see that from their perspective.
But since she's a PAID host, actor and promoter of Taiwan tourism, she has to do whatever the producers want, including raving with enthusiasm about the most dull mediocre things. And when she does, it raises a critical eye from astute observers as to how sincere and natural she is.
I would bet that if she were not paid to host a TV show, she would not spend so much of her own time, years it seems, traveling around Taiwan with so much excitement. You can only see so much in Taiwan, since it's a small country. Yet she's spent years going to sites in Taiwan on her show.
What's annoying is her rabid ranting that Taiwan is so wonderful and friendly which stands in stark contrast to the truth and cold hard reality of Taiwanese life. The way she rails about Taiwan is so fake too.
In reality Taiwanese women are very closed, stiff, inhibited, introverted, conservative, stone faced and not open to strangers. In Taiwan there is no eye contact or smiling to others in public. No one talks to you if they don't know you. To them, that's normal. But in the rest of the world it is not.
I know I'm going to take heat for this one, but it's one of those things like "The Emperor's New Clothes" where no one wants to admit something obvious for fear of condemnation and ostracization.
Taiwanese are not just shy and introverted, they are EXTREMELY shy and introverted, to the point where if you are outgoing, you will feel awkward and out of place, like you should not be outgoing when everyone else is not. Thus that part of you will feel "suppressed".
The only types that talk to strangers in Taiwan are the elderly/senior citizens. Not young adults and especially not young adult females. No way. Hell no. The girls in Taiwan are super conservative, and not very approachable or easy to chat up without a proper introduction, unlike in Europe where females are far more open and relaxed with strangers. That makes Taiwan an ice cold place. And it tells you that since the older generation is more friendly, it must have been friendlier in the past.
However, I'm sure if you look like Janet Hsieh, then Taiwanese people will be a lot warmer and more approachable to you. Or if you are a white guy, then Taiwanese girls will be more receptive to approaches. But not if you're an Asian guy. No way. If you are an Asian male, Taiwanese females will put on their super conservative mask to you. Not a single serious down-to-earth mature Taiwanese person I know denies that. It's simply too obvious.
In fact, I do not sense any social energy at all in Taiwan, even though I am very sensitive and attuned to energy in my surroundings. Zilch. Nada. If you've never left Taiwan, you might not understand what that means. But if you've lived in high social energy places like Latin America, Russia, parts of Europe, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, etc. you will know exactly what I mean. Taiwan is a frigid place for the true extrovert. And it is nowhere as friendly in real life as Janet Hsieh portrays it. No way.
In fact, the name of her show "Fun Taiwan" is an oxymoron in terms. In reality, typical Taiwanese life is anything but fun. It is totally devoid of passion, interests, and freedoms. Instead, it is a cold bleak soulless robotic existence to corporate slavery (or slavery to your own shop) 6 or 7 days a week, giving away 80 to 90 percent of one's priceless life to bondage, rather than enjoying any kind of truly RICH LIFE. Work and money are the Gods of Taiwanese people. It's a horrible existence. I pity them.
What passes for fun in Taiwan is usually lame, gay, and a weak attempt behind an aura and culture of inhibition. People don't truly live to the max or with full richness of heart and passion in Taiwan, the way that people do in Latin America for instance.
Mainstream Taiwanese do not deny any of the above. They admit to it and say that it is their culture, and that they are not like foreign countries. They even consider America, one of the loneliest and most isolating countries in the world, to be open and friendly. What does that tell you?!
The only people who deny the above are certain groups of expats who somehow claim to be unusually lucky in Taiwan's social and dating scene, hippies and backpackers who always say that people are friendly in every culture no matter what, politically correct folks, and of course Travel Channel hosts like Janet Hsieh, who are PAID to say how wonderful, exciting and friendly Taiwan is.
But those who are unbrainwashed and who sees things as they are will find the above to be obvious. Few people will admit and see things as they are. Many only see what they WANT to see.
This is a sick world of illusion, propaganda and lies. And I'm glad to be one of the few who are free and liberated of that.
For my complete observations about Taiwan, click here
In fact, a Taiwanese girl I emailed, who told me that Taiwan was friendly because it was the popular cool thing to say, was sent my observations about Taiwan above. Upon reading it, she admitted that I WAS RIGHT! See what she had to say below. It's quite revealing coming from a mainstream Taiwanese girl.
what a long letter! haha
actually, i admit i feel a little offended when i read ur mail first time...(sorry)
but then, i thought u r right. :D
if we compare taiwan with other countries, i know, our people r colder and more shy. it is truth. i think it is because of our culture and tradition. we r not so welcome to strangers, just most people want to protect themselves first.
i totally agree u that people affect each other. so when your surrounding is a close space(people just chat or talk with their friends),u will be a member of them, no doubt.
but i still notice sth different between our sentences,
i think why u feel so disappointed about taiwanese,maybe one reason is just cuz of u r a male. people r usually more friendly to female than to male. :)
another reason is maybe u go to wrong place, for example,if on the road,maybe most people don't want to talk to u because they r busy or they are teached don't talk to strangers. but if u go to social places, like pubs,concerts,night markets,restaurants,shopping streets, etc. u might find sth a little different.
and i said that people in chiayi r kind and friendly,
i mean people who live in southern part of taiwan r more friendly than northern part of taiwan. :D (every taiwanese knows this.)
of course we can't compare with USA,europe and other western countries i know... but heyhey i am very sure that we r better than china! :D
so how is ur trip in taiwan? maybe u can try other couchsurfers!
According to this news article, Janet's show is now suffering from low ratings. Well the solution is simple. Go somewhere interesting Janet! Go to Japan or China and show places there, rather than always staying in the boring uneventful Taiwan.
Now, I know it may be unpopular to criticize someone as popular as Janet Hsieh, but as these great quotes exemplify:
“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” - Gandhi
"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friederich Nietzsche
Thank you for reading my critique.
See comments to this article or post one of your own.
See more critical reviews of Janet Hsieh.
Janet Hsieh vs.
Winston Wu: Airhead Celebrity vs. Intellectual Freethinker
Anti Janet Hsieh blogs:
Happier Abroad Home Article Index