Differences - Taiwan vs. Back Home

For the May issue of the 24seven magazine - themed Wild Wild East - we are going to run an article on the main differences between living here and back home. It will start off with the more obvious things like 911 -> 119 for emergencies and the cops driving with their lights on here and turning them off when the nab someone as well as things like the toilets flushing backwards - or is it only mine?

We are looking for as many ideas as we can get, so would you please post any additions / thoughts that you may have on the topic so that we can incorporate them into the next issue of the magazine.



People walking into elevators before eveyone is out, or before anyone has started coming out.

Buying liquor (whiskey/vodka) in 7-11.

Chasing foreigners with torches and pitchforks…but maybe that’s just at my house.

  • Traffic regulations are for your references only.

  • News channels showing things that are not really news at all.

  • Scooters, scooters, and more scooters.

Everyone talks funny, I can’t understand what they’re saying. And as for those funny squiggles they call writing ? Woah…

And shops are open later
corn on pizza
everything comes with rice
No decent sized record shops like HMV or Virgin

Steak (fillet, rump, sirloin, T-bone). The paper-thin off-cuts sold here as steak is NOT steak. :s

BBQing greenpeppers! :noway:

It’s 2006 everywhere else in the world. Not here. No sir! Here it’s 94 … just to make sure the foreigners look uttely stupid. :loco:

Garbage trucks that sound like ice cream cars. :slight_smile:

Hello Kitty… an icon! :unamused:

Beetle nut beauties! :laughing:

Beetle nut chewers. Ai yoo! :frowning:

Saving face. :unamused:

Its the year 95 now.

Actually, Taiwan is now considering doing away with the Years of the Republic.

The rice grain here has a different arch angle than back home.

I am not talking about all the other stuff like pollution and insane traffic, we 've been through that billions of times already.

Really? I’ve not seen AC-Dropout CCTang or their iilk posting about the horrid state of despair that awaits us all. Odd. :wink:

Look, why don’t you just make it a crowd pleaser. Something like, here in Taiwan my drug-addled white arse can get me a job paying a zillion times more than the dole back home ever promised. I’m butt ugly but the local ladies don’t seem to mind a bit. Although I make no attempt to understand the local culture, people are considerate enough not to lynch me, unlike what like my neighbours would do if faced with the same crap from a furrener at home.

You could finish up with a big thank you to the kindly social workers at the Alabama Greydays Home for the Criminally Insane for forcing me onto that China Air plane.


Its the year 95 now.

Actually, Taiwan is now considering doing away with the Years of the Republic.[/quote]


See, like I said, it makes me look stupid. :blush:

Its the year 95 now.

Actually, Taiwan is now considering doing away with the Years of the Republic.[/quote]


See, like I said, it makes me look stupid. :blush:[/quote] Not at all. Locals do that too.

A few weeks ago I wrote the year 2005 on a bank withdrawal slip then the bank teller corrected my date and wrote 95.

Another teller pointed her mistake out to her so I ended up signing another slip with the correct Taiwan date.

The 911 = 119 emergency number doesn’t apply to every foreigner posting on this forum.

Taiwan - There are no laws…only suggestions.

911 or 119? Are you stupid? Or just ignorant?

Edit: Sorry, shouldn’t have said “stupid.” You’re probably just another ignorant American. Right? Or maybe even an ignorant Canadian? And you’re in charge of a magazine?


I think only Fiji, Philipines, Netherlands, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and one or two other countries use 911. All GSM phones and most landlines use 112

The fact that my chances of becoming a victim of violent crime (armed robbery/mugging/murder/random assault) are infintely smaller than back home.

The fact that my chances of being involved in a traffic (read motorcycle) accident are infintely greater than back home.

And now for a long list of random things about Taiwan: (so, for most sentences, regard home as being opposite or contrary to what is stated here)

The fact that everyone here lives in apartments. The fact that most buildings are immensely ugly, hunched together and covered in filth. Only the super-rich have their own private swimming pools. Normal guys wear speedos and weird cycle shorts spandex things to swim in. Girls, even with great bodies, are afraid to wear bikinis. Scooters. Everywhere. Ridden by people other than old or fat women. Ridden by everyone. Completely bizarre food - some of it’s great, some absolutely gut-churningly revolting. The fact that there are relatively few obese people around. Family pets being kept in cages too small for them to stand up in. Thousands of abandoned stray animals on the city streets. Relatively few homeless people. An unemployment rate of only 3 or 4%. Normal people lying to you with a smile on their face. Paying any household bills at 7-11. Tiny, aeroplane size bathrooms. Squatting toilets. NOT being able to flush TP… ugghhh. Massive scale ethnic unity (as opposed to large scale ethnic diversity). Children having to attend school and cram schools after that for 90% of their waking lives. Teenagers who are more concerned about getting good grades than rebelling, being different, being idealistic, and rocking out. The fact that the majority of teenagers don’t smoke pot. People caring more about their parents expectations of them than their own hapiness. Money being the Greatest God. The fact that it’s legally impossible for me to get a second hand (larger than 250cc) motorcycle older than 5 years old. The only decent beaches being hours and hours away, and even then, only being tiny and either trash-strewn or fully commercialised. Internet access being speedy, efficient and ridiculously cheap. VCDs. A relatively efficient public transport system.
Most guys not being obsessed with gymming and looking like The Hulk. Most girls not being obsessed with guys who look like The Hulk. No-one being obsessed with rugby. People hardly ever having braais (barbecues). Having a currency which has no cents. There is no public protest against fireworks. Having two 7-11s within walking distance of one another. Most people liking exactly the same trends, fashions, music, movies and having no unique opinions. Being able to walk on the streets at night with a cellphone and money in my pocket and feeling completely safe. The fact that people can’t legally own guns. Not being able to read 90% of the stuff around me. And yes, as said a million times before, polluted air, the fact that the sky is never really blue, just a pale-brown-smudged-muddy-water blue. I miss clear, deep blue skies…

[quote]911 or 119? Are you stupid? Or just ignorant?

Edit: Sorry, shouldn’t have said “stupid.” You’re probably just another ignorant American. Right? Or maybe even an ignorant Canadian? And you’re in charge of a magazine?


Mathew - the other two countries are Canada and most of the States.

Toilet Bowl Queen - did you think that the emergency number used in your country was the same one used the world over?


No good coffee and pastry (the lack of choice in pastry is just astonishing) (the only place I can drink coffee outside house is Illy in Xinyi).
Almost no sidewalks.
Buses that should have been sent to recycling 20 years ago.
3 people riding on scooters, sometimes with no helmets. young babies on scooters.
No sound isolating windows.
Tap water is non drinkable (actually my friends here get amazed when I tell them that I can drink tap water almost anywhere in Europe, and that in Luxembourg, by example, the water quality is so controlled that a simple bacteria can cause everyone to bath on bought mineral water).
Most of the stuff tastes diferent (and you don’t imagine how that is to someone who likes to cook).
The burners are too big. The kitchen is too small.
Most of the commodites are cheap, including high speed internet (80

something is almost always hanging above u with filthy rusty water just dripping at the chance to get to u.
houses are basically 4 apartments stacked one on top of another
double parking your car is, generally, ok
a long wait for a seat in a restaraunt is 30 min, whereas in san jose it’s 90 min.

-Drinking and driving is scocially acceptable.

-Low taxes.

-City workers are usually men and woman in the 80’s.

-Cigarettes are only $2.00 a pack.

-All girls wear padded bras think enough to stop a bullet.

-Low taxes.

-Courtesy is just a word in the dictionary.

-Marriage traditions such as selling off your daughter.


-Oh ya,and earthquakes.

-And my favorite…low taxes.

I always forget to press the close button on the lift. You don’t have to do that back home.
The boys here are cuter.
I feel safe walking to the 7-11 at 3 in the morning.

Sundaymorning concert of Jackhammers instead of my dad listening to some TV classic stuff too loud. If I compare to my time when I was younger.

Smell. Smell. Smell. Smell. My nose never gets a break.

And basically, everything is different. Working somehow, but you wonder why. :smiley: