Half-Assed, A Salute to Taiwanese Tradesmen and Contractors

I have a very cool landlord and we have an agreement. I can change or fix anything I want in my apartment. He pays for the supplies and I do the work. As my place is getting older now there is a fair amount of stuff to be done and over the past years I have ttaken on a few of the majors in my attempt to keep my living space clean and beautiful.

During the course of my projects I have developed and awe like reverence for the work done to the place by its’ Taiwanese Tradesmen and Contractors, as they have taken fucking the dog and cutting corners to a whole new level.

Here are a few of my favorites:

A one foot hole in the living room wall had a piece of saran wrap placed over it and then it was painted.

Every single outlet in the entire house is crooked.

At least half of the outlets crackle and melt the cords to whatever is plugged into it.

The pipes in the bathroom are held onto the outside of the tiled walls by duct-tape.

All of the floor draines are slightly elevated from the floor so that none of them actually work

The tiles on the patio are held in place not with tile adhesive and grout but rather with a soupy sand and concrete mix.

The wallpaper in the bedroom was applied to a bare untreated concrete wall.

And my new favorite the windows and joints were not sealed with silicone, they actually used doubled sided tape.



I know how you feel, mate

I got my place painted the other day. In addition to painting the walls, the f**k knuckle managed to drip blobs of paint all over my wooden floors and (as a bonus I guess) also painted the new mosquito nets I had installed a few weeks ago. :fume:

And what did I get out of him? The usual lame, almost amused, “dui bu chi”!! :fume:

After he cleanded up his half-ass job, it took a cleaning crew to clean the house of soil and dirt and to get the beetle nut stains of me f***ing toilet. :fume: :fume:

I have not yet seen a contactor here who can do anything to specifications.

My friend got a “garden expert” to landscape his garden. What does the so-called landscaper do? He rips out every single tree and shrub (without permission while my mate is at work), plant some grass… and voila! Your garden is now landscaped! :noway:

In my opinion it’s more a question of your garden has now escaped.

Shifty, let’s give 'em a double-barrel half-ass salute.

I live in a fairly new place, but I have fixed quite number of plumbing and electrical problems. Nothing major, but still needed addressing. I haven’t even bothered to get the landlord to sort it out.

It has cost me a tiny bit in materials, but I have saved a while lot in piece of mind cos a) I don’t get anyone I don’t know in the apartment and b) the job is done correctly the first time.

Where I live there seems to be so many apartments coming up all the time i feel that if I was having any where near the issues you guys are having and it bothered me that much I’d move to a nicer place.

In the immortal words of the one and only Doc Youngquest:

The Taiwanese don’t have a monopoly. When I was living in the Netherlands, my rent was running $4,000US per month. Cheapo PVC plumbing, cheezy lightweight chromed bathroom fixtures that appeared to have been manufactured in Zaire and wiring which was installed with same advanced techniques as in Sanchung. The wallpaper was ok.

I spent alot of time and money trying to maintain the dump. And you can forget about trying to get a repairman. At least after screwing something up here, the Taiwanese will give you a “pai say”…

When I was first here I lived in a room in a tiny back alley only motorcycles could get into. Across the alley was an old brick-built house. When the owner’s parents died he knocked it down intending to build a modern new narrow windowless dank concrete box like all the neighbors. Work started on digging the foundations and I was impressed with how deep they dug and how much rebar went into the hole. Then they figured out it was impossible to get the cement pump into the lane and instead came up with the idea of running the pipe through a gap between two buildings and out into the bigger road outside. While great in theory, this meant that three pipes had to be threaded together in place of the usual one. Then the pump didn’t have enough pressure to get the thick concrete through the pipes, so a new plan was hatched. Water was added to the mix until it would flow through the pipes. The foundation was filled and the floor slab poured in one go. Once the workers had left I went down for a look and stuck my finger in the slab, and when I pulled it out again there was no sign it had been there, not a mark, the ‘concrete’ was so thin… Like grey colored water it was.
I decided that when this thing fell over it was coming through my window, so I started looking for a new place to live. Before I left the first two floors had gone up, again ‘concrete’ and rebars, and then a third floor was started, this time in brick. The bricklayer would come everyday at 8:30am and start on a wall. By the afternoon he would have completed a wall 10m long and about head height, but as rough as hell and held together with more snot than cement. In the night I would be woken by a huge thump, which was his wall falling down, and at 8:30am he would start over. That carried on for a week and he was up there laying those bricks again as I moved my last load of stuff out of my room.

After 921 I was in that area and stopped by for a look. Sure enough, all the other buildings in the street were standing except for his, which was leaning now against the wall outside the window of my old room.

I had to deal with these numb nuts over the years, 5 apartments, my own business. I gave up.

The last time, and I mean THE LAST time a blue truck retard was in my place he was installing a new air-con in the wall. He whips out a mallet
( favorite tool of choice in Taiwan second only to the jack hammer) and puts a hole in an adjacent hole with the back swing!!! :fume:

A phone repair man installing phone lines in my office stretches the phone cable diagonally across the wall, my dear retired daddy watched the entire process as he did this. I’m in the other room and I hear Bubba Sr. shout “Boy, I hope you piss straighter than you lay cable!!! You work like an unwanted water- head child !!”

Senior doesn’t speak Chinese but he got his message over loud and clear.

2 goofballs posing as electricians shorted out a the socket they were sent to fix, the line “popped” and I saw a flame shoot through the wooden floor burning the wood. They told me, “Well just don’t use that socket anymore.”

They are all slobs and never clean up the site after they are finished. I guess they don’t wipe after making #2 either.

I’d compare them to the 3 Stooges only I’ve got too much respect for the Stooges.

My Salut!!! :loco:

for whatever jobs i can’t do myself, i’ve found that it usually takes the third guy before anything gets done.

the last monkey who came to redo the screens for the sliding doors was adament that putting the doors in backwards was correct, and that gap the existed between them when he was done was proper … we should just fill the 2 cm gap with styrofoam so the mosquitos don’t get in. seeing as he was “right”, i let him finish, asked him if he was done, got a yes, took the doors out, and flipped them so they they closed properly. while his eyes bugged out something like this :astonished: he still refused to admit it. good humor.

[quote=“Bubba 2 Guns”] He whips out a mallet
( favorite tool of choice in Taiwan second only to the Jack hammer) and puts a hole in an adjacent hole with the back swing!!! :fume: [/quote]

So, you use this guy to help you with other tradesmen. Line them up behind him like an assembly line.

We had a hammer dropped 3 times onto a glass roof. Yes, they dropped it a 4th time and broke through the glass. Next best part was the slipping marks still visible on this glass roof where they nearly fell.

Same guy wrapped a cord around his waist and onto our bedroom door knob then went out. I think the knob saved him when he was slipping on the glass.

The hospitals must be full of these poor buggers.

Then there’s the power company worker that shorted out a 15kva transformer outside my window and nearly blew himself into next week. His ‘buddies’ hadn’t bothered to shut the line down before sending him up there to work on the transformer, and he hadn’t bothered to check either. The flash of light from this event was so strong we (watching him) all had tans like welders. The guy himself was hanging in his harness (he was at least strapped to the pole) and came round as his ‘buddies’ appeared, only to be dragged down and tossed into the yellow van of death and whisked away. :loco:

Instant expert, just add Whisbey.

I recently had the kitchen redone by MFI… proper international company, good reputation, pricy but quality… problem is like all the other companies on this common sense forsaken island, they farm the contrating out to whatever “pop and mildly retarded son” blue truck outfit comes in with the lowest bid… After calling them back to my house 4 times to fix the mistakes in their mistakes and the all round level of shoddy workmanship you’d expect from autistic chimpanzees, I discover the reason I’m getting shocked every time I touch my dishwasher is that they’d attached the earth wire (which they innitially refused to install) to the water pipe… the PVC plastic water pipe… :doh: :loco:

another team of said blue truck Neanderthals arrives to install one of those stainless steel frame, transparent, greenish plastic roofs over my patio… I point out the down pipes from the 2 gutters than run down the walls where the roof is to be installed… “no problem, we’ll re route them…” said the chief peasant… I come back from work to find they’ve installed the roof and just cut the down pipes off about 20cm above the roof surface and ripped off the rest… so now when it rains all the run off water from my roof, just gushes noisily out onto the green roof, then cascades randomly off it drenching anyone or anything in a huge radius below… :doh:

I honestly wonder how on earth, with standards this low and more importantly a general populace that gladly accepts such piss poor standards and 4th world workmanship, Taiwan will ever make the transition to being a 1st world country…

I honestly wonder how on earth, with standards this low and more importantly a general populace that gladly accepts such piss poor standards and 4th world workmanship, Taiwan will ever make the transition to being a 1st world country…[/quote]

You think too much. :bow:

I really really wish I’d taken a photo of a 5 storey building I saw somewhere down south. The guy who laid the bricks must’ve thought that it looks better with the bricks lined up above each other rather than the next row up being half a brick over… that’ll be the first building to go during an earthquake!

What kind of business opportunity do you really think there is for some proper tradesmen back home to work up here? Do you think they’d be relegated to just serving expats or do you think locals would pay for that kind of service and a guarantee that things would be done properly?

Personally if I had some kind of guarantee on workmanship, I’d pay the difference because it just isn’t worth the :fume:

Maybe local customers don’t get :fume: because they don’t know any better

I used to make a pretty good living in the off season as a “Jack of all trades.” I’m a pro painter, fair carpenter, and I know enough about electricity and plumbing to get the job done safely and properly.

I’ve often thought about doing renos and finding good sub-contractors to work for me here. The problem is, I haven’t seen any good work!

I guess the concept of doing a job right the first time, and making it safe and proper is lost on the jobbies. I imagine that Taiwan has no safety guidelines or building inspectors or training programs for laborers. I’d guess that they work for dirt money as well. I really don’t know. If I needed something done, I would do it myself.

Worker’s Comp? Don’t make me laugh!

We hired a local husband and wife carpentry team that my mother-inlaw knows to put in a dividing wall and hang a door. They gave us a very reasonable bid, and their woodwork was piston-fit perfect. They even cleaned up after themselves when they were finished. Good craftsmen (and women apparently) do exist here.

I know they do, but they are so hard to find. I hope you kept their info. Lots of us would probably love to send some business their way.

I recently moved into a new apartment. New as in never been lived in. The floors were pretty dirty, with sawdust etc - the leftovers the builders left. We decided to wash the place thoroughly, connected a hose to the tap in the laundry room, turned it on and it broke off. Completely. Water gushing everywhere. It ended up being about 4 inches deep in some parts of the apartment.

But that shouldn’t have happened. My Taiwanese roommate took his tools and went up to the roof to turn the mains water off. Sometime between leaving the apartment and getting into the elevator, he decided that he’d go and buy a new tap and fix it himself. Before he turned the water off. And naturally, he took the toolbox with him, meaning that I couldn’t turn the water off myself.

And he thought it was strange of me to call him (to say where the fuck are you? The apt is turning into a swimming pool) when the water was reaching my ankles.

I was trying to explain the idea of “you get what you pay for” esp in regards to home repairs and construction to a local friend of mine the other evening. He was unable to understand why cheaper was not better.
I went into things like quality, worksmanship, longevity, blah blah blah…
he just did not see it, nor did I see his point.
Maybe the taiwanese just look at it totally different.
Cheap and fast is better in the short run and that is all that counts. It is the “now” that matters not tomorrow?

I just don’t understand Taiwanese culture.

Don’t ask me, I just live here. :sunglasses:

Have you guys ever wondered why it is that the Science Park in Hsinchu, with soooooo many ‘qualified’ local ‘engineers’ and Phd’s of all shapes and trades and sizes, is run by foreigners? :smiley: :smiley:

Have you guys ever wondered why we actually have jobs here? If the locals could really do it as well as they seem to believe they can, they wouldn’t need us, would they? :wink:

My mate had a “glass house” as he calls it (conservatory) built where he, the wife and kids can listen to music and catch a bit of sun in winter. Requested 4 plugs, strategically placed so he can do whatever it is he wants to do.

So he comes back from work and find all 4 plugs an inch apart … on the ceiling! :loco:

We just don’t understand contractor’s culture!