Heliophobia and Taiwan

Heliophobia is the fear of the sun, sunlight, or any bright light. Could be considered abnormal, irrational, extreme.

I’m in a coffee shop sitting by the window looking out at the trees at a park. It’s rare to find a coffee shop with a park view or anything more than buildings.

Even though it’s impossible for the sun to shine directly in the window, other customers come in and pull the shades down to avoid any chance of direct or indirect sun. This is the norm in Taiwan.

They try to pull my shade down but that’s not happening as long as I’m sitting here.



Educated people have told me taking the sun takes away your vitamin D.

They fear it as if they were vampires. Wonder who started the rumor? I mean there is a higher incidence of other cancers, skin cancer is not even in the top 5 here.

Is it racial prejudice? Maybe. A brown skinned Taiwanese looks less Chinese?


Maybe it’s because people avoid the sun?

But people do need to get some sun in Taiwan.

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Yeah and it would explain the strokes, the osteoporosis, eye problems, all kinds of mood swings and other mental issues.

This is a Han Chinese thing, especially prevalent among Han females, less so among working class males.

Indigenous folks don’t have this hangup.



Yeah, vit D deficiency can cause depression and other side effects. I try to get enough of it in my diet and supplements. Especially in the winter time.

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What bothers me is the unscientific stuff being peddled as the gospel. Under the guise of health, an unhealthy practice along the lines of the 45 kilo fad is so deeply entangled. I do not believe it has anything to do with cancer, it has been a practice for longer and people here are naturally protected, they are not like whities in subtropical or tropical areas. They have more melamine. And people who work outdoors do cover themselves. Yet office, college educated people react to the sun as Dracula does.

Speaking of which, lemme check if the sun has done its job against my wet blankets… At least they do get that part right here.

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People who are brown skinned, do low level work outside and are poor. That’s the main reason why Chinese avoid the sun.

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My wife always pulls the shades down when we’re riding the HSR, and it drives me crazy. I love seeing the countryside roll by while we’re on the train. Why block that view?


Yeah. White people always want to be tanner, and Asian people always want to be lighter.

One day, the stupidest ex-pat in the world will try to open a tanning salon here.

I can understand if the sun is super strong you want to avoid it, but a lot of people have this obsession with pale skin.


Maybe open a white spray salon is better.

It’s an East Asian thing. Koreans and Japanese also want to be as white as possible… it’s not just Chinese, FWIW.

Theres not many options to tan in the city anyway. The beach is super far and a bit boring anyway… The pools are crammed. Where do you go to take of your shirt and tan?

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I tan naturally just walking outside in Kaohsiung every day.


Nope. I have a wicked tan-line. Then again I never take off my shirt unless I’m showering or sleeping. No one wants to see that.

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I will just travel to bangkok and lay down at the pool for a while. The city here missing private pools in the buildings. People don’t like swimming and tanning. It’s just different cultural things…

people here are not exactly at risk of getting burned. their skin is pretty adapted other than the few girls you see around with zero pigmentation who seem to think they look awesome.

i don’t get a tan in taipei anyway. cloudy almost every day, and there is no open space anyway. buildings block the sun out on the few times its sunny. the weather of taipei does make me think about moving but i’m not sure i could deal with living in bumblef*** town (taichung) or bumblef*** town no.2 (Kaohsiung)