HELP with interviewing someone from Taiwan!

Would anyone be interested in answering some cultural questions about life in Taiwan? I am to give an interview to a Taiwanese resident for a college class that I am taking and the internet is the best way for me to do that.
If you are interested, please reply and I can email you or you can send me a message at

Thank you for your help :slight_smile:

Would anyone be interested in answering some cultural questions about life in Taiwan? I am to give an interview to a Taiwanese resident for a college class that I am taking and the internet is the best way for me to do that.
If you are interested, please reply and I can email you or you can send me a message at

Thank you for your help :slight_smile: [/b][/quote]
NC!! Where in NC? I am from NC! :laughing:

Not many Taiwanese people posting here. Try one of the university BBS’ or forums (e.g. National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University).

I’m willing, though you should be aware that I’m a white guy.


if you head over to the living in taiwan page, you’ll find 32 pages of material that you can sift through. in doing so, you’ll get data from a wide variety of sources, in terms of gender, age, educational background, employment, and attitudes towards life here etc., which will likely help make your data more robust. it’ll take some work to get the usual stuff from all the pissing and moaning, but that’s stats …

but perhaps you only need answers to specific questions - i’d still wager that most answers will be found in the living section. good luck with it.

me too, but my wife tries to hide it (see Avatar).

[willing also, but only here 'til february]

Grouch: You’ll also see the complaints from people who have been approached by Taiwanese students who have been instructed to obtain answers to a few questions from a foreigner. You’ll also see that most of us find that to be an imposition, and - as we are usually compensated for educating people - think it’s a bit rude to come and ask people to teach you for free.

Of course, you’re not Taiwanese. You’re one of us, so we’ll help you. And we’ll take the words ‘racial discrimination’ out of our vocabularies.

OK, grouch over - but you might like to relay the sentiment to whoever is instructing you.

Constructive answer: Most of the people using this board are not Taiwanese. This is a site predominantly used by foreigners. There is a lot of material here, if you care to read through it all to find out what WE think of Taiwan, but not much written by people FROM Taiwan. I honestly think that we’re not the right people to ask. It would be a bit like copying someone else’s homework.

There’s another site called which has personals ads. In the personals ads there’s a section for language exchange. Put an ad there for a pen pal, and you will be inundated with genuine Taiwanesers who will happily talk to you all day about their lives and country.

Then if you’re still interested in Taiwan and want to talk to people who live here, after you’ve done your homework, then please do come back and join in the fun.

Most of us have Taiwanese wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, bosses, students and/or friends.

Post your questions here, and someone will probably pass it on to someone to answer.

Maybe someone will give it to their students as an Englsih exercise.


Oh! Thank you so much! :slight_smile:

Vannyel, I am in Fayetteville, NC.

I will post some questions…
It doesn’t matter if you are actually Taiwanese, just that you have lived there and know the customs.
They really are like age old questions, but I have no idea about Taiwan life.


[color=black]Please answer any questions that you want.[/color]
[color=indigo]1. How often do you get paid? Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?
2. What is the major means of transportation? (Driving cars, trains, buses, bicycle, or walking)?
3. How do people greet each other

  1. Monthly
  2. Scooter
  3. Saying “hi” or “have you eaten yet” (no bowing, shakign hands)
  4. porbably not
  5. Almost always integrated sexes. From early childhood to university is usual, with extra cram schools and classes very common. Huge emphasis o education
  6. Truck comes at a certain time 5 times a week. People meet the truck.
  7. Casual western clothes.
  8. Some western foods that are ‘exotic’ to Taiwan. Lamb is not popular. Dogs, cats, dolphins and protected species are illegal.
  9. The finger.
  10. Usual.
  11. Less sport than in western countries - shopping, Karaoke, eating, travelling, the usual
  12. Stores generally open from about 11AM to about 9PM 6 or 7 days a week. People in offices work long hours 5 days a week.
  13. Chiense New Year, Dragonboat Festival, Moon Festival and Tomb-Sweeping Day are the important cultural holidays for which there are public holidays. All have associated customs. There are also 3 secular national holidays.
  14. Usually at a banquet. 25F, 29M. Yes. Much the same as in the West.
  15. Mandarin Chinese is the national language. Taiwanese (Hokkien Chinese) is also usual. Hakka Chinese and Aboriginal languages are spoken by minorities.
  16. A mix of Buddhism, Daosim, Confucianism, and Chinese folk religion/anscestor worship, with a small Christian (mostly Methodist minority).
  17. That’s too big to go into. Try googling Ang Lee, Cloud Gate, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Bo Yang …
  18. Pop. Jolin.


2)It depends on the indivual. I use a combination of scooter and public transit-the train
3)Hi, or have you eatten yet?
4)I haven’t encounted having to give gifts when meeting someone new. But i find it poliet when going to their home for the first time.
5)Children are educated under the bamboo rod, and by way of the sharp tongue. Their parents have them enrolled in some sort of bushiban in vitro.
6)Listen for mozart, find slippers, do a mad dash down 6 flights of stairs, and chase them down the block
7)normal dress for women now is : anything with lace, teddy bear fur adorned clothing, pleather pants, wicked witch of the east high heels, hooker boots, lots of stockings, any thing from the thrift stores.
normal dress for men, depends on age. It could be blue flip flops and spit slattered clothing(blue collar) , japanese salaryman suit (desk job), pinstrips with shinned shoes and a purse(a murse)(ganster), designer labels but casual wear(high up in the ranks, well educated,self employed)
8)Food with out grease
9)which poliet society? I wouldn’t pick my nose or blech but that’s okay.
10)Man if you don’t bargin, then you are a fool capital F.
11)It depends on your interest. I like to stay stuck in front of the tv flipping back and forth between the 7 movie channels. English teachers, like to go to pubs and bars, chinese language students like to go where ever they can practice chinese, forumosans only hang out at Alleycats
12)Normal work hours generally based upon your job, English teachers get out at 9 pm (not all), office workers get out when the boss has sucked you dry for the day. Most stores are open on the weekend, and always late. :bravo: But the important stuff like post office, bank etc., close on the weekend :fume:
13)Chinese New Year is by far the most important. Spent with family like christmas, play lots of majhong and dealing with crazy family drama(like christmas), Mid Autum festival is a close 2nd, with everyone bbq outside on anything that’s got concrete.
14)People register their married. Then rent cars, adorn them with red ribbons and sometimes baby dolls, driving around the city at 8 am blarring their god awful horns and shooting off firecrakers. THen they have these magazine like photos done that are filled with badly rented clothing and artifical lighting, the uglier the girl or guy the softer the lighting. Avarage age seems to be in the late tweenties. Accceptable not to get married? Yea right, gotta keep the blood line going here. Diviorce is oppossed by the in laws , brings shame to the family and can affect your job position, a social position , so you better learn how to suck it in. But leaving someone is a whole nother matter…
15)Mandrian, but Taiwanese , Hakko, and 10 other of the aborigial languages.
16)Bargining and finding a good sale. Make lots and lots of money. Basic belief is that you can take care of the family and give them face. The more money the more face.
17)anything that’s from the Tangwangfang dynasty
18)Who isn’t a pop star here? Jolin, Jay, Mayday,etc.

  1. all of the above
  2. We are much more advanced than you. We either use skycars or teleportation disks.
  3. The dominant life forms here usually sniff each other’s butts.
  4. This depends on the purpose of the meeting. Clocks are traditional gifts to elders. Umbrellas are often given to married men. Red envelopes are typically given to businessmen.
  5. Children are educated traditionally in the fields, planting and reaping alongside their elders.
  6. What is this “garbage collection” of which you speak?
  7. Men: three-piece pinstriped suit. Women: thong and low-cut jeans, usually with thickly padded bra.
  8. Pork is considered taboo.
  9. :upyours:
  10. Never. Bargaining is for peasants. We are too rich for that.
  11. Sleeping and watching TV.
  12. Normal work hours are 8am-10pm Monday-Saturday. Stores are closed on Sundays.
  13. Kwanzaa, Chiang Kai Shek’s birthday, Chinese New Year, and Yom Kippur are all traditional bank holidays. Explosives are a popular method of celebration, especially on Yom Kippur.
  14. People usually get married at restaurants by signing the marriage agreement in front of witnesses. Most women are married by age 20; any who are not are destined for a life of old-maidenheadhood or perversion. Most men are married by age 30; the ones who aren’t are usually sodomites. Divorce is frowned upon and is difficult to achieve, especially for women.
  15. The national language is Cantonese-Chinese. Engrish is popular among young subversives.
  16. Capitalism. “Money talks.”
  17. Confucius, Ren Mao, Gwai Lo, Sun Yat Sen, and S.H.E. are the major literary and cultural figures.
  18. Salsa music is big here, as is samba. Unfortunately, since I don’t understand Cantonese I can’t tell you who the big hitters are.

Thanks… you guys are too kind!

Getting paid monthly, that would suck!
The rest of it sounds kinda like, same ol same ol wherever you go. Maybe that is because you all are used to it.

If I visited Taiwan, I would probably not see too many similarities to the US. I was raised in a small town with little diversity and have not had the opportunity to visit another country yet.

I thank you again for your help.
And the funny replies as well :slight_smile:

[quote=“Namahottie, referring to marriage”]
…THen they have these magazine like photos done that are filled with badly rented clothing and artifical lighting, the uglier the girl or guy the softer the lighting. [/quote]

Notice the extraordinary sharp lighting in my marriage photo (avatar). :smiley:

… wait! They put a softener round my nose, didn’t they! Oh bastardos!

[color=red]OMG!! You are serious about these wedding photos! [/color] :astonished:

I thought that was just some crazy pic from… I don’t know… but not from your wedding photos!
[color=blue]I absolutely love it! I want some!! [/color] I so wish that we did that here! Not here, we get all formal and spend millions on getting these traditional pics done. I still love that, but this is not something that you see everyday… well, not here :slight_smile:

That is just the berries, I swear I am getting some of these crazy pics one day! :uhhuh:

[quote=“curious”]Thanks… you guys are too kind!

The rest of it sounds kinda like, same ol same ol wherever you go. Maybe that is because you all are used to it.

If I visited Taiwan, I would probably not see too many similarities to the US.[/quote]

Please, Curious, I am a mature (going on sixty) American recently retired to Taiwan so I wouldn’t steer you wrong. The reason these answers sound “…linda like, same ol same ol…” is because they are almost all put ons. Most of these people answering only exist (can’t live!) in places like Kansas and Utah. Writing in this forum is their only life. Please don’t rely on their answers. It would be too cruel. MaPoSquid is the only REAL expat in Taiwan, hence the much more detailed and accurate answers providing a true picture of island life.

Good luck with your project and forget about world travel. It only lightens your wallet and numbs the brain. Spend your time and money visiting Waycross, GA instead. Much better and more enlightening than a trip to Europe or Asia.


Oh, you might be interested to know the water here has some fascinating properties that I’ve yet to fully understand. Does great things for rational thought when drunk straight from the tap.

  1. Monthly
  2. All of the above. The subway system appears to be getting more and more crowded over the past couple of years.
  3. Depends on the situation. Most ask whether you’ve “eaten yet”. There’s a whole business-card thing in business circles. MaPoSquid is correct as well about the butt-sniffing thing.
  4. As a visitor, it’s nice to give things – stuff from your location may be good. I’ve generally found that Taiwanese men always appreciate the latest porn DVDs from the U.S. Do not bring illegal drugs, no matter what’s acceptable at your university. Seriously, bring candy and other consumables – the Taiwanese give local edible treats to each other all the time. Regarding porn, I was just kidding. Really. However, if you have some, there are Taiwanese guys who’d really like it.
  5. There are lots of public and private schools – all are about equally worthless because the kids will learn everything they need to know in late-night cram schools.
  6. Trucks belting Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” come by, which is our signal to go rushing out with our bags of trash. Smart people pay to have others do this rush for them.
  7. Men wear cheesy suits and outer jackets with ridiculous slogans (“Beverly Hills Super Sport Fashion Club”), carry “bitch bags” about (sorta an Asian man’s purse), and seem to enjoy wearing white socks with their black shoes.
  8. They pretty much eat everything, which initially had me thinking: “What the hell do they put into sausage, then??” Knowing that pretty much the only part of the pig they don’t eat is the “oink”, it had me a bit worried that the Chinese were simply tying off whatever was already in the pig intestine and serving it up. The actual answer is that sausage here is made out of meat and little globs of fat – far less of a scandal than what you actually find in Western sausages.
  9. Grabbing women by the hooters is sure grounds for a beat-down in this country, as it is in many places. Word to the wise: the Taiwanese know most insulting gestures used in Western countries – they have TVs and use them to learn about our own strange ways.
  10. Not so much at department stores (although you can sometimes get away with extra deals) but definitely at markets.
  11. The Taiwanese enjoy going into small rooms with karaoke machines. They also like climbing mountains to get to little outdoor pavilions where they have karaoke machines. The businessmen like going to karaoke bars where they sing old songs with hostess women. Old people also like singing karaoke at home.
  12. Normal work hours are 9-6, with a 1-1/2 hour lunch/nap break. Stores are generally open on weekends. These days, most are open on major holidays as well to take advantage of bored shoppers. Pretty much only on typhoon days will anything shut down.
  13. Constitution Day is sacred in my household.
  14. People get married at big banquets, generally having signed off on a bunch of forms beforehand. Divorce happens more and more.
  15. People speak Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, aboriginal languages, etc. In the old days, the KMT wanted everybody to speak Mandarin.
  16. A book could be written to answer this question. Buddhism and Taoism are so mixed that it would hard to say that Taiwanese people are really one or the other. Go to a Buddhist temple, and they’ll have Taoist gods up. Go to a Taoist temple, and they’ll have Buddhist statues. Buddhism, in theory seems to appeal more to the peace-love, altruistic side of people … Taoism seems to appeal more to the “gimmee-gimmee-gimmee” lottery-ticket buying part of human nature.
  17. I think they’re still trying to figure this one out.
  18. It’s all a big blur to me: Take 1-3 pretty girls, give them a snappy beat, throw in random English-language sentences in the middle of a predominately Chinese song, and then wait for people to buy it.
  1. Monthly seems to be the norm.
  2. Subway system, bus, scooter. Some drive cars to work.
  3. Say hello, shake hands. Smile. People often ask “Have you eaten”, but that’s a greeting, not a suggestion to grab a bite.
  4. Not unless you’ve been invited to someone’s house; even then it’s not necessary. Much like the west. As for gifts, fine scotches and cognacs give big face; clocks are a no-no.
  5. English kindergarten where no English is learned, followed by a K-12 equivalent at which real learning takes place after school in the socially-mandatory bushibans. During this time they study English for 6 years, but generally fail to learn it. They begin school around the same time as we do in the west. There are sex-segregated schools and sex-integrated schools.
  6. A mad dash down the stairs and through the alleys to the garbage truck when “Fur Elise” or “Maiden’s Prayer” are blared.
  7. Suit-and-tie for office workers; betel-nut stained undershirt and slippers for mom-and-pop trading company boss. Foreigners can get away with wearing just about anything.
  8. What foods are NOT eaten? Very few. Hmmm… Limes (simply because they can’t be found in Taiwan.) Blue cheese is seen as bizarre and foreign. Dog is illegal now.
  9. Same as in the west.
  10. In department stores it’s similar to the west: feel free to ask for a discount, but you might not get it without manager’s approval. Bargaining is more common in night markets, but it’s not as widespread as, say, in the souks of the Middle East or the markets of Central America.
  11. Movies, walks in the park, mah-jong, Chinese chess, tai-chi (for old people in the parks early in the morning), hikes, gossip, shopping, watching TV, etc.
  12. 8:30-5:30, but there is corporate pressure to work long hours of overtime for no additional pay. Yes. Chinese New Year.
  13. Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival. When I started living here, there were about 12 holidays a year, including Chiang Kai Shek’s birthday. Sadly many of these holidays are history. (I like holidays - the more, the better, I say.)
  14. People get married by something like a justice of the peace, and get a certificate. An auspicious day is selected to celebrate the wedding with a banquet, where the gifts are money that defrays the cost of the banquet. Nowadays the average age is similar to the west. There is strong family pressure to get married, and after marriage, to give their parents at least one male grandchild to carry on the family name - even if the family name is Chen or Li or Chang - i.e. very common names.
  15. Mandarin is the national language. Taiwanese is widely spokes, and some speak Hakka, and aboriginal languages. Some elderly speak Japanese. And a few Taiwanese (like my wife) do speak English well, but these people are relatively rare.
  16. Buddhism, Taoism, or “Chinese Religion” - a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, animism and ancestor worship, with some Confucianism thrown in. There is a minority of Christians of various flavors (Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons), and a few Muslims. And a few pretty wacky cults, too.
  17. Too many.
  18. Mandopop is popular among the younger set. Cheesy Taiwanese karaoke music is popular among the more middle-aged set. Jolin Tsai is very popular a this time. Then there are more perennial standbys like Faye Wong and Wu Bai.