Archive for October, 2012

A sobering thought

Being that I’m half the world away from home, making phat cash and living it up, I sometimes forget that I am in a country where a lot of people are poor and have to work very hard for their day to day existence.  Most of my associations are with well to do Taiwanese people or foreigners – not out of snobbishness, but because these are the types that are most likely to speak English – the only type I can currently communicate with.  Because of this, I tend to forget that some people on this island live a hard life.  The other day, my Gucci bubble was pricked by the following incident. Continue reading ‘A sobering thought’

Why NOT to buy shoes for your Taiwanese significant other

I’m useless at trying to get gifts for people.  Mostly because I never cared to put in the effort it takes to get a “great” gift.  I usually settle for a gift certificate, money or booze – all of which are usually well recieved and require no thought on my part.  They hit the bar of acceptable, but never vault into the realm of exceptional.  This was one of the things I’d resolved to work on – stop being a thoughtless bastard, and start putting effort and caring into gift selection. Continue reading ‘Why NOT to buy shoes for your Taiwanese significant other’

Implementing traffic “laws” in Taiwan

Driving a scooter in Taiwan is a hazardous undertaking – kinda like having an open wound and swimming in shark infested waters.  While there is a police presence it sometimes is a joke.  The implementation of the “laws” can be totally contradictory and make no sense.  Here’s a story of one such incident.

A friend of mine was driving home one day and made an illegal left turn.  In a lot of intersections in Taiwan scooters cannot just turn left.  They have to go straight on a green light to a little box, then turn 90 degrees and wait for the the next light to go green.  Something like this: Continue reading ‘Implementing traffic “laws” in Taiwan’

A day in the life of a Taiwanese student

Meet Wang Chi Ming.  He is a 13 year old Taiwanese boy.  His hero is Jeremy Lin.  He likes to play baseball, basketball and computer games.  His current favourite is Special Force, an online video game.  If he had his way, he would be on the computer 24/7, but is limited to mostly weekends (by his evil parents).  He is very outgoing with his friends, but gets shy and awkward around girls.  And no, he NEVER wants a girlfriend.

His schedule for a regular weekday is: Continue reading ‘A day in the life of a Taiwanese student’

Getting a scooter driving license in Taiwan

While a lot of people drive without licenses, if you are going to be staying in Taiwan for a long time (especially in the bigger cities) it’s definitely a good idea to get one.  And it’s ridiculously easy.  There are different classes of licenses (50cc scooter, 51cc-249cc, 250cc+, car…etc etc).  Most of the scooters here fall in the 51cc – 249cc category (mine is a 125cc), and if you are a foreigner looking to get a scooter, most likely it will be one of these.  So here’s how you go about getting a license for a 51cc – 249cc  scooter. Continue reading ‘Getting a scooter driving license in Taiwan’

Bringing sexy back – Taiwanese funerals

You are at a funeral.  Everyone is in mourning.  No one is smiling and the whole mood is somber.  Quiet whispers and the occasional sob is all you hear.  Condolences are being offered and recieved with quiet dignity.  The whole atmosphere is dark and dismal.

And then a garishly lit truck pulls up and the Taiwanese version of booty-shakin music commences blasting.  Sound about right? Continue reading ‘Bringing sexy back – Taiwanese funerals’

Getting a haircut

When thinking of a major life move, one always considers all the BIG stuff.  Make sure my visa is in order, have an apartment ready, find out where to do my banking etc etc.  Of course this is necessary, but it’s the little things that make life either bearable or unbearable in the new environment.  When everything is different, even the smallest inconvenience can blow up into something big.  Like getting a damn haircut. Continue reading ‘Getting a haircut’



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