16 Things About Taiwan That Drive Me Crazy

Sometimes, Taiwan just drives me nuts.

Despite being here for over 4 years to date, there are still things that I can’t understand about this country.

Therefore, ignoring the risk that you’ll be pummeling me with rotten eggs and tomatoes in exchange for my right to free speech, here goes:

1) The attack of the convenient store

Taiwan embodies convenience and ease. And what better way to do this than to have an onslaught of convenient store in almost any corner?

I have one less than a minute away from my place.

It’s THAT convenient.

Not that am complaining, but don’t you think that one in every 10 corners should be sufficient?

Talk about saturation.

Regardless, at least big names like 7-11 can keep their market share instead of losing your money to competition by not having one shop next door.

2) The Essentials of Owning a car

At least NT$40 an hour for parking, if you can even find one.

Taxis, buses and MRT available ubiquitously make traveling ultra-convenient.

Narrow roads.

Steep gasoline prices.

Hey, I know you’ll need a car to travel away from Taipei during weekends but renting may prove to be cheaper.

Unless it’s company-sponsored or you have a family, driving a car in Taipei especially when you’re single is simply impractical.

But not everybody shares the same viewpoint. Actually, correct that, not a lot of people think the same way.

My friend tells of an acquaintance that worships his car and even goes Dutch with his girlfriend because he can’t afford to take her out since he spends most of his paycheck on his automobile. Even more, during a recent trip, he was so occupied about his car that he insisted that they drive to Ilan to have it repaired after having scratched it.

What’s even laughable is that he’s driving a freaking Toyota Altis!

We can easily forgive him if it was a Porsche, Benz or BMW, but a Toyota Altis?

But who can blame him?

From what I heard, women here place a lot of emphasis on prospective boyfriends owning a unit.

Their mindset?

No way am going to a date on the back of a scooter.

Hence, when I ask my girl-friends what type of guy they want, “having a car” is one of the key factors to a guy’s date-ability.

No wonder guys are scrambling to the showrooms to buy one!

3) Dating married men

One common theme that I’ve noticed is that women here have fewer qualms in dating a married man.

Affairs don’t seem as taboo in Taiwan, as tons of girls I know have dated one at one point in their life.

At first, I was like, “How do you feel being a mistress?” but have finally gotten used to it after hearing the same stories over and over.

Ironically, most women don’t really aim to tear him away from his legally binding wife.

Their requests are surprisingly simple:

Love me.
Pay attention to me.
Treat me well.
Your wife I can handle. Your other girlfriends, I cannot.

Interestingly, there are still guys who fail on the 4th request.

One guy admitted to failing at monogamy and not being able to limit himself to one mistress.

In a sardonic twist of fate, his wife divorced him afterwards, and hooked up with another guy!

But this does show how much crap women tend to accept from their men nowadays.

4) Jump-packed New Year Eve celebrations

Ever been out at the Taipei 101 area 2 hours before the New Years?

It’s crazy.

As if the entire population has sardined itself in this small tract of life just to see the fireworks — that last a measly 188 seconds.

That’s 3 minutes.

Only.

So miss the Philippines where fireworks would last for hours.

Even better, in the U.K., heard that fireworks would go off for over 20 minutes that you leave because you’re bored.

This year, it took me an hour to journey 3 blocks, after being cursed on, punched on the side of my face by a careless man, stepping and falling down amongst throngs of people and pushed/carried by the crowds that lead to nowhere.

Ordinarily, this would’ve taken 10 minutes.

15 minutes tops.

What’s even crazier, half an hour after the stroke of midnight, half the crowd disappears.

Don’t even know where they go, but finally, you discover that you can finally breathe.

What the heck?

5) They love falling in line

The Taiwanese love fads and falling in line!

When Mister Donut in Tienmu opened, lines were three blocks long!

Same goes when a new club, restaurant or hip spot open.

Some peeps even part-timed standing in line for a fee.

Their logic, if there’s a line, it should be good.

Makes sense?

6) Silly drinking games

You’re over 30 and you’re still playing games that people play when they’re 12.

Paper, rocks and scissors hardly count to any increase in productivity or intelligence, but people here still play them anyway.

Blame it on the alcohol but truly, what gives?

I feel dumber by the minute.

7) The obsession with anything “cute”

A lot of women here like pink.

It’s kawaii (cute in Japanese).

They see Hello Kitty, a cat that has no mouth, and they yell, “Oooooh, that’s soooo cute!”

One guy-friend even swears that his girlfriend would watch cartoons after they did the deed.

Seriously.

Blame it on the Japanese/Korean influence, but a lot of Taiwanese take cuteness to the next level.

Maybe it’s because they’re trying hard to look Japanese and Korean, but only appear as copycats.

It’s too unnatural.

Forced.

That’s why in general, people claim that given the same age, the maturity level is still higher in the States than in Taiwan.

And why leggings, ribbons, lace and things that separately look nice but when put together look horrendous are so popular nowadays.

Why?

Cause they’re cute.

Nevertheless, if you sell anything cute, most likely, it’ll take off.

That’s why one convenient store found its sales booming after giving away Doraemon, Little Twin Stars and Hello Kitty freebies.

Trust me, people who collected the goods were mostly over the legal drinking age.

Here, it’s cool to be “cute” and it’s acceptable to act 12 even if you’re 25.

Actually, it’s even encouraged.

Shoot me now.

8) Bony-thin Taiwanese women

This I can’t comprehend — after huge servings of cake, pastries, sweets and midnight snacks, in addition to NOT working out regularly, Taiwanese women are still as thin as toothpicks.

One girl boasted she’s never been over 50 kg.

Another claimed that she’s never even been over 40 kg.!

What’s more, even after giving birth to 2 children, they’ve miraculously still managed to keep their lean figures.

What gives?

Great “thin” genes?

Miracle appetite-reducing drugs?

Bulimia?

Absolutely no clue.

But they sure are thin, especially compared to their voluptuous Filipino counterparts.

In fact, they make me look fat.

Obese, even.

It’s indeed a losing battle.

9) Obsession with fair skin and beauty

In general, women here pride themselves for their fair, pale skin.

As a result, they carry an umbrella even when stepping out on a cloudy day, because “the streets can still reflect UV rays to your skin.”

This I kid you not.

Some women claim to not have learned how to swim because going outdoors make them dark.

They should get their priorities straight — What’s the use of having pale skin when you’re shipwrecked and drowning?

No wonder women would rush to the stores during a Sogo sale to purchase the latest beautifying product.

And they have no qualms in throwing over NT$30,000 in purchasing a small lotion as well!

No price is expensive as the cost of beauty!

10) “It’s special here”

Talking about food, Taiwan knows how to promote its local delicacies.

Regardless on where you are in this island, each area has their own specialty.

In Ilan, it’s a biscuit shaped like a cow’s tongue.

In Jiaoxi, it’s their chicken rice.

In Alishan, it’s their bento box.

Sometimes they’re really good, but oftentimes, they’re just blah.

Ordinary.

Overrated.

How many times can I learn excited Taiwanese peeps shriek that we should try this or that because it’s special in the area?!

But it’s something we Filipinos can learn to promote our very own trade and tourism.

11) Crazy Doctors and Crazier Pills

When sick, Taiwanese peeps usually rush to the hospital for a check-up where you line up for hours seeing a random doctor you don’t even know.

Over-the-counter drugs?

Gimme a break.

Instead, they give you bags over bags of pills.

Heck, you don’t even know what you’re taking. My guess, a lot are mere placebo drugs.

What happened to good ol’ Tylenol when you’re experiencing pain, and Benadryl when you have a cough?

Those work perfectly fine as dozens of pills do.

12) The powerful influence and implication of Taiwan news and media

In the Philippines, the newsfeed are full of stories on crimes, rape, robbery, graft and corruption, the Iraqi war, the recent elections in the U.K., business news from around the world, among others.

In Taiwan?

It’s the 300-people rally near the government office, another poor heart-broken fellow committing suicide, some healthy tapioca chewy eats available in Kaoshiung, one politician socking another in camera, one guy not taking care of his grandmother, a special flower in Taichung, a talking dog/cat/bird/whatever, and maybe, an ongoing affair in the celebrity arena.

Note the common theme?

Sometimes, I believe that a lot of Taiwanese live in a bubble, where the sun revolves around Taiwan.

Limited mentions are made by news overseas, and many Taiwanese believe news from the media as if they were words from God.

Hence, stocks have risen and fallen, government officials have backed off races, policies have been changed, reputations destroyed just because of media.

My Taiwanese aunt quotes the news reports as if it’s part of the Bible.

It’s great that people here aren’t as apathetic as Filipinos, who can’t even manage to jail a corrupt official even after accepting a bribe and caught on tape.

But would hope in the future, they’d focus their energies more on international than local news.

Seriously, it’s been quite a while that I’ve seen the Iraqi war heavily featured in Taiwan media.

That’s how local news and media here is.

13) Intense Political loyalties

Green and blue.

Basically, Taiwan politics is divided into two parties, and they’re intentionally passionate on where they stand.

In general, Taipei’s more Blue, while the South is more Green.

Green is incumbent Chen Sui-Bien’s party and heartily pushes for Taiwan independence before the elections but once they get elected, and then they get real careful on what they say.

Ah, politics.

What I found funny however is how passionate Taiwanese peeps in genereal really are on local politics.

One long-term couple broke up due to political differences (shouldn’t they figure this out before they go steady?).

A taxi driver almost fought with me after I nonchalantly said that the new Sogo department store should be painted blue (due to aesthetic reasons and simply, because I love blue) because he felt that the color of the new store signified a strong support for President Chen.

14) Weird Hobbies

For both men and women, sleeping here count as a hobby.

Specifically, for adult men, video games are a key hobby.

For women, shopping is a hobby.

Actually, for many women here, that’s their only hobby.

Maybe it’s just me but I’ve previously believed that hobbies mostly include reading, singing, surfing, playing sports, etc.

Somehow, the notion of mindlessly walking around the streets of Taipei blowing off your salary isn’t really my idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Don’t you girls have too much clothes already?

15) Too much practicality

A lot of peeps here think more with their brains than with their heart.

One former student of mine chose Math because her parents wanted to and ensured her of a better future than art, which she’s more passionate about.

One friend took up economics and finance because of a better career path than music.

People marry because their partners offer stability and money instead of love.

Kids go home to visit because of obligation despite hating their kin.

Something Taiwanese can learn from the happy-go-lucky Pinoys: Sometimes, it’s good to use your heart.

You may not make the most money, but at the very least, for some insane reason, you’re most likely to be happy.

And am sure that the Taiwanese people are scratching their heads about that.

16) A lot of Taiwanese can’t swim

Isn’t it insane that despite being an island surrounded by water, a lot of Taiwanese can’t swim. They can paddle in shallow waters like toddlers, but put them in deeper water and they scream and squeal. My Taiwanese friend said it’s because as young kids, learning how to swim wasn’t really a priority. Guess moms believe that getting high grades or learning how to play the piano are more important than learning a survival technique.

But then again, how often do a ship sink and you have to fend for yourself in shark-infested waters?! Ha! If you think about it, when do we need how to learn to swim anyway?

That’s why when we did a surfing discovery class, a few good women had to stay onshore because they can’t swim much to the chargin of their foreigner boyfriends.

Oh well.

So what make your crazy about Taiwan?

Disclaimer:

Mind you, this is my blog so if you read something offensive, please blame it on my ignorance as a foreigner and leave it at that.

Anyway, I’ll be posting another entry on why I love Taiwan to even it out soon, so stop complaining.

All’s fair in love and war.

,Signing out!

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
This entry was posted in Highly Commented, Personal opinion, Politics, Relationships, Shopping, Taipei life, Taiwanese women, Top picks. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to 16 Things About Taiwan That Drive Me Crazy

  1. Michael A. Seday says:

    Oh, how true. Can’t wait for your next list.

  2. Hello Kitty Hell says:

    Can’t believe cute (Hello Kitty) didn’t make #1

  3. John says:

    Hi, Rave, it’s me again. I like everything that you mentioned on you list. What can I say, people are people and each one has their own vane thing to swallow.

    But for entertainment sake, I think that you’ve got my attention on all of them.

    I could feel what you’re saying (or ‘whining’ about, hehehehe, joke) as if you’re telling it to me face to face complete with gestures and all.

    You are like a (picture) puzzle to me Rave and everytime I read your blog, it adds up to that missing pieces until maybe after ten years or so, I will have a complete picture of you, hehehe.

    Take care always, Rave and keep smiling!

  4. Sara says:

    I was laughing so much when I read this… it was fabulously funny! After a mere month in Taiwan, I am just going mad with doll-cute clothes, the need for BIG cars where there’s absolutely no place for them, and taiwanese people on scooters that daily threatens to rip my limbs off when they pass. And your list made me think that I am not alone in this…

  5. Captain Planet says:

    Hi,

    a bit out of point here. but i cant find any way to communicate to u other than this…so sorry for this..

    im from singapore and when im doin some research abt taipei, as im gg there for hols in june, i happen to come into ur blog(lotsa nice entries tho..)

    need some help here for my taipei trip, i noe u mite just probably be too busy to respond, but i still hope u could see this msg.

    anyway, my email add is cyngeiw@hotmail.com, could u drop me a mail if u are free to help?…jus nid to ask a few qns…=)
    thanks for reading..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anyway you can get this post to the newspapers? I think Taiwanese people need a dose of this.

    Jeanne

  7. Juliet says:

    Hey Raven, may I translate this article into Chinese and send to a newspaper (i.e. apples daily)? I really like your view, especially with #8, where they make me feel fat, due to lots of comparison unconsciously. Mind you, my gender is ♀ so you can see why I need to let my voice out through someone’s tongue before other of my female friends murder me ^^

  8. raventina says:

    Thanks Michael for visiting.

    Hello Kitty Hell, I tried, but was just pulling the list from the top of my head. But you’re right — it’s clear that Hello Kitty should be #1.

    Sara, oh no, there are others as well. I admit, Taiwan has its positives. That’s why we’re still here, right? But I don’t know if I can ever be at home in Taiwan… there are too many things to make me feel that I stuck out like a sore thumb out there! Welcome to the club. 🙂

    Jeanne, sure it would be great if papers can post this list. And Juliet, yes you may translate it. However, please put credit to this blog, okay? Much appreciated. 🙂

    On the side note, don’t ever let anybody make you feel fat. You are not fat. Taiwanese women on average are just extremely skinny. I go back home to Manila, and I look extremely malnourished, but in Taiwan, am just not slim enough. Sigh.

    John, glad to see you here and posting in the comment box. My chatbox died on me. Haha, if you’re in Taiwan, you’d realize lotsa Western women share the same sentiment! 🙂

    Captain Planet, sure, will drop you a mail. I’ll introduce myself. 🙂

    Thanks guys for the comments. I thought this post would be met by tomatoes and spoiled eggs, but instead, opened up to a community where I am not alone in all these craziness. Hugs!

  9. Dre says:

    “Toyota Altis!” buwahahahahaha… that’s some funny shit right tehre. that line had me really laughing out loud!

  10. raven says:

    Thanks Dre! What’s even funnier is that it’s a true story though.

  11. rosannelin says:

    #3 Dating Married Men — that really got me! When I first came to Taiwan, I usually had no idea I was dating married men until I accidentally ran into them in a public place with their wife and/or kids. Many years later, I joined the “small wife” club and dated my friend’s cousin as I had heard this cousin’s wife claim her husband had so many girlfriends that she just gave up caring — I believed her words. Not so! She eventually found out and contacted me saying she was going to kill me, her husband and herself. When I reminded her of her earlier words, she said, “You are a “small wife” not a girlfriend. I don’t mind girlfriends but I won’t tolerate a “small wife.” Go figure — they are two different things. This story eventually inspired me to write a funny column in the China Post … story at this link:
    http://www.rosannelin.com/WEBSITE/dearmeigui10_12.htm
    Obviously, the letters were usually my own creations.

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  16. Ten year expat in Taiwan says:

    Although most of this might be true 🙂 there are options to combat your spectrum of emotions.
    Here are the 14 tools you would need to ensure ultimate survival.

    1. Umbrella – to blend in and avoid stabs in the eye by other umbrellas users.
    2. iPod – calming music to filter out what is around you, if that is what you want.
    3. Games – like world of tanks or something that involves a lot of killing and voilence so you don’t have to deal with all the cute stuff, and shopping maniacs. For men 🙂
    4. Driving a blue truck or even a bus so your top of the hierarchy on the road.
    5. Full suit for swimming, as the ocean ain’t as clean as in south east Asia.
    6. A phone, to call your travel agent when you feel like having a hobby. Waves are lame in taiwan for surfing, unless your one of those dumb foreigners that goes during a typhoon.
    7. About half a million USD, so you can get a half ass 2 bed room apartment in an on par community, so you can adopt a single man and not have to date a married man. For women.
    8. Gluten free meals, and laxatives so you don’t end up with a pot belly. iPod when Taiwanese women tells you you are fat and that they are skinny. Remember you are not feeling fat, they are merely implicating it to try to fix with you.
    9. recreational drugs, so you can stay impractical in Taiwan. There is a bigger market for that here than say a painting or other heart warming soul searching mediums.
    10. Satelite or MOD services so you don’t have to watch local Taiwanese media
    11. A US medical bill, so you can appreciate the universal healthcare that Taiwan offers even to expats.
    12. Moving company, so you can move to 台東 and escape capitalism and other forms of 7-11 invasion
    13. Chinese text book, so you can learn Chinese and further illustrate this to the Taiwanese public about your dissatisfactions. Thing ain’t going to change by posting here:) youtube with Chinese subtitles may fair better.
    14. Reality meter, to check when it is time to go home. Unless you are from Syria.

    🙂

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