Today I went to the telephone company office (Zhong1 Hua2 Dian4 Xin4) to apply for a second phone line for my house in Miaoli County. But the guy at the counter said that I could not apply for a telephone line unless I am accompanied by a Taiwanese person, just because I am a foreigner! He said that this is a “new policy” and the reason for the policy is that “foreigners can leave the country any time”!
Then he told me that the new policy states that a telephone line can be in the name of the foreigner, but when the line is applied for, a Taiwanese person must accompany the foreigner at the telephone company and the Taiwanese person must already have another telephone line in his/her name. In addition, the Taiwanese person must bring one photocopy of each side of his/her ID card, and he/she must sign a form that says that if the foreigner doesn’t pay a bill on time, then the guarantor is obligated to pay the foreigner’s bill!
I was really shocked because during the 7 years that I have been in Taiwan, I have gotten a total of 8 telephone lines in my name (one or two lines in each house or apartment that I have lived in), and the telephone company has never before told me that I needed to have a guarantor.
This is very blatant racial discrimination! I have a resident visa (ARC card), so it’s obvious that I’m not going to leave the country just because I want to avoid paying my phone bill! And it really sounded ridiculous when the guy told me “foreigners can leave the country any time”. That doesn’t make any sense at all because Taiwanese people can also leave the country any time!