Why do so many Taiwanese speak English to foreigners?


toasty, I addressed the assumption already in my last post. Your contribution were not much part of it.


Yes your assumtions that Taiwan even has an immigration policy is just laughable. Maybe Taiwan doesn't want to end up like UK France Germany etc with ghetto communities because they can't accept the culture or learn the language of the country they have immigrated to.

I only joined this thread as a Taiwanese to give some local perspective.


I'm sorry? :astonished:


Yes, "get out if you won't learn the local language" is so much more welcoming than "hey come here we'll speak to you in your language". :laughing:


The UK is far more welcoming, it's true, it's very common to see foreign nationalities working in civil service positions in London for instance, police, local council etc. They may not get very high up in the chain but they are fairly well integrated and treated exactly like citizens. Of course London has more foreigners than locals in parts. The US is also quite welcoming of 1st generation immigrants as long as you learn to speak English and have some skills and pretend to like baseball and American football.

To be fair I have worked in a national institution, ITRI (and Academia Sinica) for a short-time and got as good a deal as everybody else, the problem was that the number of foreigners willing to work in such institutions (and with the required language/skillset) is quite low and that means you will be in bit of a lonely position sometimes. In the whole of ITRI in Hsinchu there are probably only about 10-20 foreigners that I could discern...which is really a tiny number for an advanced technical institution with 1000s of employees.


I don't doubt that. I was just poking fun of the general ignorance of the claim as a general statement, especially in light of Merkel's recent statements.

As for Taiwan, well, as STV has said, our current president is an immigrant as is much of the civil service. Or they too are second generation immigrants.

Don't forget you and I, etc, are really the first western immigrants. When I arrived 15 years ago there were very few westerners who had been here more than 10 years or who had any thoughts of staying here and becoming citizens or at lest permanent residents. Also most of our children are not even in university. Do you think they will experience any trouble advancing in society as they become adults? Or the children of SE Asia brides?


Erm I thought that generally they were UK citizens / permanent residents but of ethnic descent. Many countries with large immigration programs now have a lot of people from a varied ethnic background working in government, that is especially true in Australia as well.


Yes, the Met Police and all the local councils/boroughs employ people from the world over...you have to have a working visa/resident visa of some sort or other, lots of Europeans but many Africans and Asians and South Americans too (there is no citizenship restriction, the policy is much more open than Canada or Australia for example). I thought that was pretty cool myself, especially the police recruitment bit.

met.police.uk/careers/eligib ... ments.html

(London's foreign born population is 31%, which is very substantial and up there or beyond many of the famous 'immigrant' countries).

I had friends who worked for Chelsea and Kensington borough...they enjoyed their work and got good training too and my friend who was not eligible for our local police force due to height/eyesight restrictions considered joining the Met Police. In fact the British military forces also take on many foreign recruits, probably favour the commonwealth area of course.


Yeah I always thought it would be fun to work for the FAP here... would love to see the expressions on some people's faces when I say, "you're nicked"
but alas the salary isn't very good. I've already been accused of being a "Race Traitor" by those who might lose their kindy jobs or get booted out for fake degrees.... Apparently "grassing" on illegals and immigration fraudsters is wrong :roflmao: :roflmao:


Your perspective complies with what I hear from other Taiwanese. Immigration is a bad thing. Taiwan wants foreigners to be foreigners, to stay foreigners and eventually leave as foreigners. How this gets tuned up to feel "welcoming" is beyond me.


Well if Taiwan wanted foreigners to leave then they would not be offered permanent resident visas would they? But they are offered that after 5 years of working here and I believe less time if you are married here. Immigration can be a good thing if correctly controlled to bring in migrants that add to society, not just those who want to leech from it. Foreigners can become citizens here if they want to.

FoolAQ do you feel unwelcome here, do Taiwanese such as myself coming running up to you and telling you to leave Taiwan? No. Do you see Taiwanese protesting on the streets to ask the government to reduce immigration levels for skilled immigrants or business immigrants or family immigrants?

Most of the immigrants I know here work their butts off to give themselves a good life. Often it's much easier here financially than in other countries to make a living. Taiwan welcomes foreigners to stay here long term. It's been a lot harder for those who came 20 or 30 years ago than it is since 2000 when PR visa's were granted and full working rights to those married to ROC women, and citizenship for their children.


Things are changing here, there is a very popular show on TV with new immigrants to Taiwan. They all speak excellent Chinese and talk about their fun or interesting experiences here. It's a positive show. One good anecdote from the show is an Albanian or Iranian who has a niu rou mian restaurant after failing at importing carpets and selling other ethnic food. Every now and then he gets asked why niu rou mian, kind of dumb question if you think about it but it's not a racist question, it's just Taiwanese are taught to associate things together, it's hard for them to break out of that. This guy has lots of regular customers and while most treat him just like a local he mentioned some who unfailingly speak English to him, even though he has told them about 10 times he doesn't really speak English...they don't believe him or else just want an excuse to practice (this guys Chinese is good BTW). These are the 'English pushers' and ones to be avoided as they are not really interested in a 2 way conversation.

It's never going to be a hot bed of immigration but why would it one may ask? My own country had hardly a coloured face until 10 years ago, now it's very multiethnic, things can change but it's usually an economic need or a macroeconomic change that results in rapid change. In Taiwan's case, with it's high density population and lack of space and relatively low pay, it's just not going to be a typical immigrant destination.

Satellite TV is right about permanent residency, things are much easier these days, regarding residency and working rights (for one section of immigrants..white collar immigrants), in fact easier than most countries worldwide except for getting the right to vote.

I personally do not entertain any idea other than I am a foreigner here but I would think of myself as more of a 'lao shou' and I guess Taiwanese think that of me too so that sits fine with me. I have a resident ARC and proudly show it to people overseas. I would never surrender my passport to try to integrate and I feel since the rule is not reciprocal that is something that needs to be looked at. I would happily possess dual nationality if I could and vote here, yes that would be the ideal route for me although it is not an option at present. If there was a threat to my family/national well being here I'd gladly support the local people and government just like my own. In fact I always stick up more for Taiwan than my own country and admire more things about here than there (even if I probably complain about more things here than there!). My kid has dual nationality and that's great for him!


Yes but probably in nearly all countries voting rights are for citizens.


Yes but Taiwan's laws make it very difficult to get dual nationality for immigrants and therefore right to vote, most people are not willing to ditch their valuable home passport and links to their home to get a vote, this is obviously unfair compared to their treatment as immigrants overseas. For instance I am proud to be where I'm from, why do I need to abandon that? Also my home passport has much better travel and working rights which gives me access to better jobs, opportunities and also my family access to better opportunities. There should be no requirement to abandon your original passport.


Probably the most sensible thing I have read on this thread.


Well most countries in the world do not allow dual nationality. Even Mr Touduke's Germany requires immigrants to give up their own nationality if they want to become German citizens, and German citizens aren't allowed dual nationality, if they aquire a foreign nationality in most cases they lose their German nationality. Now if you want all the benefits if being a citizen here then their are choices to be made. Giving up your own citizenship isn't that hard to do for the most part. Fill in some forms, pay some fees, do a bit of document processing.

Citizenship is a priviledge, not a right. Their are obligations that come along with citizenship. Not being willing is a choice people need to make. No one is forcing them to make that choice. Mucha Man has stated he is happy to make that choice, along with the thousands of other foreigners that make the choice every year.

Does your home passport give you much better working rights here in Taiwan? No. There are many job's here you cannot apply for as a foreign citizen. If you are only interested in what jobs you can get abroad then it really means you don't want to be an immigrant here. By the way where does your home passport allow you to travel that a Taiwanese can't go. I don't have any difficulties traveling on my Taiwan passport.

I am proud of Australia as my country of origin, but as a citizen there I was banned for traveling to communist countries for 5 years after I left Australia, due to the nature of my work in the Australian Government. An obligation of my citizenship at the time.


The simple fact is that Taiwan wants immigrants who will benefit the country. Reasonable enough.

There is a large group of foreign economic migrants here who will be "passing through" and not become permanent residents or full legal citizens here and there is a very small group who will join one or both of those groups.
Frankly, it is rather silly to think that Taiwan will expend much concern. legally or morally, to those who are passing through reaping only the economic benefits while contributing little overall to the island. In this matter, I, personally, think Taiwan does a splendid job of making things right for the economic migrant workers who show up here and expect the place to accommodate their whims and bitches to level far exceeding their importance to the overall scheme of things.

My personal experience here has been most pleasant so far, except on the highways, in dealings with the various governmental entities I have encountered.

Maybe its just my smile...:smiley:

Maybe its the fact that the taxes I pay far outweigh the costs I incur to the island.


Can't speak for MM, but I surely do. As to English, no one speaks it when they address me. Not my neighbours, not my MiL, BiL, wife, son (aaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!!! I really wish he would, though!), 7-11 staff (who know me so well they know what I want and start preparing when they see me enter the shop), the Garbos, random strangers and least of all the people I work with (except one, but her English is much more awesome than my Chinese will ever be).

When I go to the Household Registration Office I get preferential treatment that Jay Chou and Xiao S could only dream of. They love the fact that I('m applying for citizenship. Take pictures with me for posterity or whatnot (I'm their first white guy), and they're always extremely helpful and accommodating, bless them.

I used to hate going to the local NIA office, but once I started using Chinese with them I've noticed they're a lot more helpful and friendly than they were in previous encounters.

Sure, sometimes folks refer to me as the waiguoren who lives down the road, but more often than not they refer to me by name or as "The white Taiwanese guy".

Sometimes kids point and stare, but how can I blame them? I'd also stare if I saw such a fine specimen on manliness. :smiley:

Have I ever felt excluded? No.
Have I ever felt discriminated against? Well, honestly I have to say yes in terms of having to have someone sign with me if I want to get a cell phone contract, but the same rules would apply to foreigners in my country of birth. It's a bit risky letting someone who could bugger off at the drop of a hat have access to an account where they could phone up a storm and disappear, no?

That's for damn sure, and not just in Canada. In SA I was still seen as a European and a coloniser, regardless of the fact that my family had been in the country for well over 300 years and had initially colonised a part of the country that never saw a single Bantu person until the 19th century. Bloody impertinence. Imagine.
Well f*ck it. I opted to leave, and I've never regretted the decision for a second. Now, my only gripe is the red tape necessary (not to mention the "African time" involved) in renouncing my citizenship!!!

Sure, but countries like Canada have a long history of mass immigration from all parts of the globe. It would be idiotic to assume anyone there is a foreigner. In Taiwan, if you don't look Chinese/Asian, chances are you aren't Taiwanese. Easy mistake to make if you happen across someone like Poagao or SatTV...

Perhaps the real problem is, that as a German, it makes him feel like they're treating him like an Engländer... :idunno:
I can understand that, as I hate it when people, here or anywhere assume I'm an Afrikaner simply because I'm a white Saffa. :bluemad:
But then I just educate them to the truth, i.e. I'm descended from a proud line of viking marauding, Angle Saxon conquering, Norman invading, English colonising stock. :smiley: Also known as a Rooinek. F*ck yeah!

I can vouch for that approach. People treated me much more like their own in my neighbourhood (even pointing out to outsiders when they refer to me as a waiguoren, that I'm "one of them") after I chased a neighbourhood kid down the street for repeatedly coming up to my house and staring. That was perhaps a bit much, but explaining your situation in a nicer way (as I did to the two aunties watching after I chased the little bugger) can have a similar result. Once the neighbours know you, you're all good.

Sure, there's always strangers, but it's not like they're belligerent or anything.

Where do you come from?
Hahahaha...no really...?
Whip out the old ID card ala SatTV, or failing that explain how long you've been here, have a kid etc. It's amazing how people welcome you as opposed to other places in the world where that may have the opposite effect. :2cents:




True. I applied for a position in the RN, but turned it down at the time because I thought what I had was going to lead to better things. Pity I did that then. :wall: