"Civilizing" Taiwan

When I’ve gone to the movies over the past year or so, I’ve seen lots of public service announcements that range from proper driving habits and respecting the police to not abusing one’s children. Does anyone pay attention to these things here? Is the government making any other attempts to ingrain these concepts into the minds of the general populace? What needs to be done to make Taiwan a more “civil” society? What kind of improvements have the long-timers here seen over the past five years or so in this area (if any)?

On the freeway - people are more likely to pull to the right letting you pass. But still less than 1/2 of all drivers doing it.

The traffic courtesies in Taipei are also a bit more developed.

Protect the environment.
Put your child in a car-seat.
Use condoms. (So if you fall, you won’t hit the spikes.)
Hakka culture is great.
Don’t beat your wife.
Volunteer for the military. (And fall in love!)

I wonder where I can apply to get my pet projects made into official government propaganda?

我們爲了實現四個現代化努力工作。

The only thing I pay attention to when I’m in a theater in Taiwan is how pissed off I am that there’s assigned seating. On a different note…I have noticed that there are less stray dogs in my area.

in my experience during the last 5 years anywhere outside Taipei has continued to be a cess pool of inbred, uncivilized, ignorant, arrogant, bing-lang chewing, taiwanese speaking, plaid polo shirt wearing, selfish, bigoted, low brow hicks who are utterly devoid of the most basic tenets of civilized society…

I predict that will continue to be the case well into the future, largely due to the fact that mom and pop are too busy to give a f**k about raising their inbred offspring and dump them on the grandparents who invariably are the class of citizens i mentioned above… repeat the cycle, ad nauseum…

In the MRT, people are pretty good at standing on the right side of the escalator. Such behavior used to be unheard of here in Taiwan. Still, people tend not to be so courteous on department store escalators.

Traffic is noticibly better in Taipei now than it was when I first visited Taiwan, in 1990. That was before the MRT, and when the mayor was appointed by the KMT rather than elected by the people. And bus drivers are far more courteous now. I haven’t seen one of their infamous rolling stops for ages. Back in 1990 I saw several people get hurt when the bused rolled along while they were trying to board.

[quote] in my experience during the last 5 years anywhere outside Taipei has continued to be a cess pool of inbred, uncivilized, ignorant, arrogant, bing-lang chewing, Taiwanese speaking, plaid polo shirt wearing, selfish, bigoted, low brow hicks who are utterly devoid of the most basic tenets of civilized society…

I predict that will continue to be the case well into the future, largely due to the fact that mom and pop are too busy to give a f**k about raising their inbred offspring and dump them on the grandparents who invariably are the class of citizens i mentioned above… repeat the cycle, ad nauseum…[/quote]

Question for Plasmatron => why are you still in Taiwan?

How to Civilize Taiwan … well, more like a rant ~

Don’t let your dog take a crap on other peoples’ front gates, this also applys to sidewalks, streets and parks. To the person who’s dog crapped outside my front door, I hope you get crotch rot.

Carry some tissues so you can hack your loogie into it and not onto the streets.

There’s no need to speak so loudly when you’re on the cell phone, the receptor is about 2cm away from your mouth, especially when you’re on the subway or in an elevator.

While we’re on the subject of noise, parents need to keep their kids on a tighter leash … little kids with the energy level of ferrets need to be subdued on subways and restaurants. I don’t care how you do it but I suggest a quick backhand for a fast and effective remedy.

People who hand out promotional pamphlets need to die along with their employers, the only thing they’re achieving is creating more trash.

While we’re on the subject of trash, we need more trash cans in Taipei County, I live in Hsien Dien and trash cans are non existant but then again there’s nowhere to put em since all the sidewalks are taken over by road side stalls.

Road side stalls, I’m a big fan of night markets but the ones I’m talking about are the ones who just appear to pop up everynight and blocking the passage of pedestrians. The area around it is always filthy with oil stains and the storm drains are usually clogged with food and other assortments of disgusting trash. So on top of trashing the enviroment they pay no tax and rent too, so feck em all.

Oh yea and for the people who are nostalgic about the rolling bus stops, I suggest the 905 bus late at night around 9 to 10 pm I’m sure it will being back many memories :slight_smile:

My wife and I visited Green Island last month, and when the boat arrived to take us back, people shoved pretty hard to get to the front of the line to board the boat. I don’t see what the hurry is. People were almost getting crushed. One woman turned around and yelled at my wife because she (my wife) was getting pushed into her. My wife yelled back “you cut in line and now you complain about getting pushed?” I put my arms out and held people back since there was a guy holding a baby in front of me. When people pushed I just turned around and gave a dirty look. I don’t know enough Chinese to yell at them, but I guess a much taller white guy looking at them was enough.

There are a lot of complaints (and justifiably so … you can’t blame most of these things on “culture” … they are simply “good manners” and “respect”). But what can/should the government do to changes these bad “habits”? Do they even realize there is a problem (Taipei city must in some respects, otherwise there wouldn’t be the public service announcements). If not, how can we let them know that these kinds of things give the impression of being a low-class, backwater place (like China, the place Taiwan is trying to be so different from) and not the economic powerhouse that Taiwan is. How do you go about changing these things?

Question for Plasmatron => why are you still in Taiwan?[/quote]

Why do you think that such criticisms imply he should leave?

Totally agree with you on this one, blaming this on “culture” is an excuse thats used all too often. However I feel that asking the government to do something about it is an impossible task, all this irresponsible behavior has permeated into everyday life and its like a bad habit that everyone has. I guess the term I’m looking for is “Everyone is doing it, so why can’t we?” Its like some sort of hereditary disease thats passes on from generation to generation, take a look at the “vroom vroom” thead on this board and people repeatedly state that the only way to drive in Taiwan is like the locals eg. psycotic madmen hyped up on pcp with no regards to public and personal safety, unfortunately its also very true.

In Taiwan you either go with the flow or you get screwed, its that simple. Ever stood in line for something here in Taiwan? drop your guard for a second and some degenerate has cut in front of you or have you ever held the door open for a stranger behind you? from my personal experience I’ve never recieved a word of thanks. I’ve got countless examples I can name but believe me when I say that after getting shafted twenty or thirty times I just decided to feck em all and act like a local, like they say when in Rome …

I was just at MickyD’s getting me breakfast when this old fossil of a hag behind me order a NT$75 combo meal and proceeds to grab FIVE copies of 聯合報 and claims that she’s got a party of five waiting up stairs and each of them want a copy to take home. (If you don’t know MickeyD’s offer complementry newspapers for customers in the morning) The employees pleaded with her to have a little consideration for other customers but she didn’t give two shites. Chances are she’s prolly passed this wonderful cheapskate trait of hers onto her children and grandchilderen so here we have the cycle all over again.

I assume you’re being a little bit flippant, but if they did that you’d be first in line to say “Look how the Taiwanese slap their kids! They’re animals!” (which ironically I hear is also a problem). Unless of course you advocate that sort of thing, in which case I’d have to question who the civilised party actually was. How a society deals with the natural and normal behaviour of young children is cultural. I think certain behaviours - such as hitting others, physically bothering other people, destroying property etc. etc. - are or ought to be unacceptable anywhere, but you were talking about noise. Adults make plenty of that too, I’ve noticed. On average the Taiwanese do have a more tolerant attitude towards kids - possibly because they already live in a noisy and chaotic society :slight_smile: I don’t see that intrinsically as a bad thing.

Irresponsible pet owners, loud phone talkers and pamphleteers are common where I come from. I think the number of strays here is responsible for some of the crap on the sidewalks though.

Civilising Taiwan - well, I actually agree with plasmatron’s point, if not with his way of expressing it. There are very few role models for the kind of behaviour I think most Westerners would want to improve. I’m sure there are a few individuals who are very civilised, but not enough on average to make a difference. Therefore I think massive public education aka ‘brainwashing’ is in order if you wanted to teach these things. Newspapers, TV, movies, billboards, hell, even speaker trucks - whatever people are likely to see, watch or read. Enforcement campaigns for traffic and other dangerous offenses plus public ‘shaming’ in the newspapers and media. Public education and speakers in schools - all levels. Taiwanese celebrities talking about how they would never litter/always drive safely etc. I think you’d need to work on ‘shame’ and ‘face’ to make these kinds of behaviours unacceptable.

Stuff I think they could use:

Basics on the link between public health and - spitting, other bodily functions, car/bike emissions, rubbish, pollution, toxic chemicals, hygenic food preparation

Traffic safety - all kinds - red lights, seatbelts, speeding

Dogcatchers

And (possibly) some kind of ‘civic pride’ campaign. Basically, I suspect that due to the culture the Taiwanese feel less like a society than a collection of individuals. A “One Taiwan” kind of propaganda campaign could help if that was thought the way to go. I say maybe only because IMO this is treading on cultural values somewhat.

Incidentally I have to say that I’ve actually had people check on at least two occasions whether I was in the queue in front of them :astonished:, and I’ve had people push in front of me more at home than here. However, I do live in a nice part of town, and I’m more noticeable here than at home - plus I tend to make eye contact with people who come up behind me just to let them know I’m watching them :slight_smile:

I agree with daasgrrl’s suggestions about how to improve civility in Taiwan. The problem is, all of those kinds of measures (such as a massive advertising/public promotion campaign) require a lot of money, and money that the government is unlikely to spend. I personally don’t think they even see any of these things as a problem, nor do the majority of the populace.

On a more positive note, though, many of my younger friends have adopted many “Western” concepts of manners, cleanliness, and politeness, although a more broad social consciousness still seems to be lacking.

It has seemed to me for a while that many Taiwanese just basically dislike foriegners. Now I know why. They met you load of hypercritical, obnoxious whiners. :loco:

Come on, bob. These are observations and comments on the genral rudeness and lack of respect for other people in Taiwan. I wouldn’t call it whining. There’s nothing obnoxious about it either.

you know bob I get the exact same impression that a lot of locals just basically don’t like foreigners… I too considered the possibility that they had been jaded by their previous encounters with hyper critical obnoxious whiners like us, but it seems that unless there’s some among us who have super human Santa Claus like powers to piss off millions of taiwanese people island wide during the course of a single night… that the vast majority of local’s contact with foreigners must be limited to a brief perfunctory stare at a 7-11 at best and more likely none at all… therefore their apparently inherent dislike of foreigners which you picked up on must indeed be based not on personal experience of our obnoxious whining as you suggest, but on stereotyped generalizations and good old fashioned word of mouth based prejudice… which brings me neatly back to the part where i accused the majority of them of being ignorant bigots…

that said I am prepared to admit that my earlier post may have been a bit curt, although frankly the utter selfishness and lack of civility i have to deal with day after day gets me down and, from time to time, i do lash out a bit… and i’m sorry if my rants upset those of you who living in your telly tubby like world of cultural relativism and acceptance of our fellow islander’s habits…

[quote=“Qrap”][quote=“LittleBuddhaTW”]
I was just at MickyD’s getting me breakfast when this old fossil of a hag behind me order a NT$75 combo meal and proceeds to grab FIVE copies of 聯合報 and claims that she’s got a party of five waiting up stairs and each of them want a copy to take home. (If you don’t know MickeyD’s offer complementary newspapers for customers in the morning) The employees pleaded with her to have a little consideration for other customers but she didn’t give two shites. Chances are she’s prolly passed this wonderful cheapskate trait of hers onto her children and grandchildren so here we have the cycle all over again.[/quote][/quote]

That’s more of the behavior i see in Taiwan, day after day. It’s not about culture, or what ever word you want to use. It’s a me syndrome that is not relegated to one particular country. You find that everywhere. What makes it soo frustrating for me is that I can’t fully be the sardonic person I would be in my own country. And while I encounter similar behavior as mentioned above, everyday not just during the holidays,rush hour, certain times, etc. it wears on you. Sad they have to have PDA’s and even sadder that the government has to become the parent(especially this government :astonished: :noway: ) but someone has to do it.

Well written. You’ve been around for a while, I see.

Folks who have been here for a few years generally still buy into the “everyone here is so friendly” ethos. I did it myself for three or four years. Then you sort of wake up and realize what’s really going on.

My cousin and his wife and two daughters recently visited Taipei for three days. They loved it. The museums were interesting, the food was good, the shopping was great, transportation was convenient. According to them, everyone was so friendly. I agree with them about the museums (we took them to the best ones in Taipei), the food (if you know where to find it and have the money to pay for it), the shopping, and the transportation (if you avoid rush hour traffic). I didn’t have the heart to tell them how many times some ignorant asshole made a rude comment about one of the girls (tall and blonde), or what most people will say about my local girlfriend and I being together, or about how many of those “friendly” people will talk or write about them when they think no foreigner is listening or reading.

I’m not terribly shocked by these attitudes. Someone who posts here once wrote that you know you’ve been accepted by the Taiwanese when they start treating you like shit, because that’s how they treat each other.