Chūwài kào péngyǒu
Translation: “Going out, relying on friends”
Background: Y is a 21-year-old college student from Taiwan who is navigating her new life in Los Angeles, California. Having grown up in and gone to school in Taiwan, she is incredibly familiar with Taiwanese folklore and culture.
Context: This is a proverb that Y’s parents would always say to her to remind her of the importance of making friends and networking. It refers to when you are out of your parents protection and when you must rely on friends to give you a helpful hand. It emphasizes the importance and benefits of having close friends.
Analysis: This proverb highlights the importance of friendship and having a large safety net in Taiwanese culture. It highlights the transition from living with your parents to expanding your horizons in the real world amongst working adults. Contrasted with American culture, where young adults are expected to fend for themselves once leaving their parents’ protection, Taiwanese culture values building your network before the jump into adulthood. Once you step out of the familial nest, you are expected to be independent of your parents yet not entirely independent of your peers. Overall, it is a proverb highlighting the importance of community and fraternity among peers when transitioning from one stage of life to the next.