Is quality of life here degrading?

I’ve been living here for about,10 years. I’m active, have friends and hobbies, and overall a pretty good life. I’ve noticed, however, that my tolerance for local bullshit is at an all time low. I used to look at the idiosyncrasies here and think I should be more understanding, but I have no tolerance for stupidity any longer.

My sense is that somewhere in my psyche, I decided things here would improve with time. I actually think things in Taipei are degrading. People are more rude than I noticed before, at nearly mainland levels some times. I see more people cutting in lines, more people riding scooters on sidewalks, more people driving recklessly, etc. I would have thought, for example, that less people here would stand in front of the mrt door and start moving toward the back (especially since there is even a year old announcement to do so) I would have also thought I would need to push less people out of the way when I get off the mrt because they should have by now seen the sign stuck on EVERY mrt door to let people off first.

These are just examples, but in short, I get a sense that everything that has bothered me over the last ten years has only become more prevalent. Quite a few friends, local and foreign, have expressed the same. Anyone else noticing? Or am I just due a long vacation?

Past due vacations. I find people are more civil than ever and the city has made great strides these past few years. Air quality no unfortunately but in orderliness and cleanliness absolutely. I have walked pretty much everywhere these past few months and the city is clean. So much interesting stuff going on too. Old buildings finally getting restored and turned into cool businesses. Riverside parks and cycle lanes getting better and better. MRT going more places.

If you are finding people generally rude on the MRT then you have to be primed for that. Which means, yep, vacation.

I think it’s easy to forget that probably every place you ever lived you’ve felt the same at times. Hell I am from Vancouver, the most livable city in the world, and it would bring me down deeper than hades with rudeness, dullness, stupidity, etc.

I think what gets me down is that there is so much excellent about the city and so much relaxed and human and livable but then you get pockets of idiocy: bad driving, too many cars and scooters, too much noise, ghost paper burning, animal abuse, which can really offset the gains.

I too am frustrated with the lack of progress on these last issues.

Try living outside Taipei, at least Taipei has pavements! When I go to Taipei City I’m always amazed I can walk everywhere now without bumping into scooters or tripping up every ten minutes. It’s especially important when you have young children.
I have similar issues sometimes but I would say if you are feeling like that it’s time for a vacation or time for a change of scene, why not?

I do think I need a vacation, lol. And I’m not doubting that is a big part of it, however…

I agree that externally, things here are looking better. Yes, the city is a cleaner than it used to be and there seem to be less of those unsustainable businesses (selling sports drinks and bettlenut) and more nice shops. And I do meet a lot of nice people here, from the workers at Starbucks to some of the people I know who rescue dogs. There are some great people here and I’ve met quite a few. And for the record, I could never live outside of Taipei for the reasons mentioned! :laughing:

I understand what you are getting at about being primed to see rudeness. I’ve experienced that and I’m pretty good at recognizing it in myself (bad mood, notice the bad shit). What I’m talking about is a discernible number of people who huff and puff when I try to get onto the train. The people who would rather stand in the doorway and get trounced than get out of the way. I used to complain that the government wasn’t doing it’s job and educating people, but I can’t say that anymore. There are announcements and signs, which leads me to believe that a large number of people a) are too stupid to get it; b) too selfish and/ or self-absorbed to care; c) both. I think the fact that the mrt has expanded into less…uhh…you know, Sanchong, Xinzhunang, etc…well, that’s not helping.

I think we probably agree more than not. The pockets of idiocy really get me down, but I just get a sense that those pockets are expanding, not shrinking; and that may even be due to the expansion of the mrt! :slight_smile:

I would say it differently: The civil people are becoming more civil, the uncivilized becoming more-so, and those in the middle are moving toward the latter direction.

It depends where you are, I think. I have been spending a lot of time in New Taipei City and I dislike living in Taiwan more than I ever have. (New Taipei City is the eptimone of shit.) If I can get to the east coast or somewhere nice down south – or even a nice spot in Taipei - I don’t mind Taiwan at all.

In general, though, it seems the economy is worsening and people are becoming rougher and less friendly towards foreigners, but this is probably just the influence New Taipei City is having on me.

No pavements

No green man (so its safe to cross)

Sometimes no street signs

People barging in front in queues

People invading personal space in queues - getting super close

People talking about you in chinese - thinking you are just stupid foreigner so it doesnt matter

I think what you’re going through is normal for long-timers, even those that started out wildly in love with Taiwan. Living here is sort of like being in a romantic relationship. After the honeymoon phase wears out tolerance starts to wear off. There will be ups and downs as far as how you feel about living here. I’m convinced some of the best people on earth are from Taiwan. I’ve encountered a lot of genuinely kindhearted people here. I’ve also encountered my fair share of rudeness (line cutting, standing in the way, crazy driving of course). One thing that drives me nuts is the sidewalk etiquette. I swear they either have rear view mirrors sticking out of the sides of their glasses and deliberately mosey over in front of me or a strange sort of magnetism exist within them that automatically tugs them in my direction when I’m trying to pass. Lest I digress, one thing I’ve picked up on in my travels is that Taiwanese in general are not Chinese, but they’re not entirely not Chinese too. They are a watered down version of Chinese. I really don’t know how people after living here 10 years still wouldn’t mind living here 10 more. I guess they have rose colored glasses on, or the pollution finally got to them. Or maybe they’re deluding themselves, genuinely like Taiwan warts and all, or otherwise feel stuck here. I’m a big fan of Taiwan, it will always have a special place in my heart. But it finally occurred to me it has run its course. I enjoyed my time here, but for those not exactly psyched to be here do yourself and Taiwan a favor and let it go. Make the necessary arrangements and just leave. For those that say I should take my own advise they are right, I already got the pot cooking. Farewell beloved island. Goodbye bountiful beauties. And for all the rest, good riddance :smiley:

Is degrading the right word? Actually, it probably is :slight_smile: .

Quality of life degrading during the transition from the previous generation. While many people’s parents had a car or two, a nice house and had some hope to reach or at least pursue the “Taiwan” dream, the current middle class generation is stuck riding scooters, having a college education, and luckily finding a low-paying service job or opening their own noodle or bubble-tea shop…

From another perspective, these people are the freagin’ happiest people in the world and this is a happy safe place to live. So, which is it? Quality of life degrading or upgrading?!


But from Xiamen, across the pond.

10 years in (Taichung 3, Xiamen 7+), and I’m weary.

Plus side is Xiamen has sidewalks that are not encroached upon (I noticed this a lot when I visited the island the last couple years).

Downside is I behave like a local: I spit (pollution?), ride my bicycle on the sidewalk, aggressively drive people out of my way, have become less tolerant of other creeds etc.

I’m ready to find a new haunt. And home.

Where to go?

[quote=“Cooperations”] I would have also thought I would need to push less people out of the way when I get off the MRT because they should have by now seen the sign stuck on EVERY MRT door to let people off first.

I’ve notice this too, and it first started with the mainland tourists. Now it’s more and more the Taiwanese doing it as well.

I think the word you are looking for is ‘regressing’, not ‘degrading’.

What’s an MRT and where can I buy one?

I think you can buy MRTs in the same place they sell cable cars and tall, pointy buildings.

Anyway, subways are for chumps. Successful pig farmers always drive a Benz. :2cents:

Concerning the first point, I have a completely opposite experience. I’ve met few people in Taiwan that looked happy and they were always old, aboriginal or both. I don’t think I ever met an ethnically chinese in Taipei that I would call “happy”.

I think what the OP is feeling is a function of modern life, where we’ve abandoned the idea of living in one place, at one job, and with one spouse all our lives. Sure, you get tired of it sometimes, but if it’s all you know you learn to accept it. Since most expats in Taiwan have lived more than a few places, I think it’s a LOT easier to get tired/frustrated/depressed than someone living in his/her hometown because the option to leave is always there staring at you. Every tiny problem builds to this unquenchable urge to get out. Honestly, I think you or anyone with similar feelings would eventually feel that way about any place you moved and stayed for 10 years or more. You could just move every 5-8 years and avoid it. Or grin, bear it, and find something to love about the person, place, or job you’ve tied your life to.

And in response to MuchaMan’s comments (which for some reason I can’t access to quote) I would whole-heartedly agree. In Tainan, the city has improved gradually - and in some areas dramatically - over the last decade, but there are still many big problems. Of course, these problems grate on me because they seem so easily fixable. However, I try instead to focus on the progress being made, however slow. I believe I would feel that way wherever I lived. I wouldn’t miss the air pollution or crazy driving, but I would complain about the pace of life, the availability of good tea, religious/political zealots harassing me, or any other of a million things.

I think it’s our own attitude and actions that ultimately decide our own contentedness, not everyone else’s.

[quote=“Charlie Phillips”]

I’ve notice this too, and it first started with the mainland tourists. [/quote]

That’s what I’ve seen too, most notably at airports for China-bound flights.

I’ve taken it upon myself to tell them, “this is not China. We line up here.” If they’re from China they understand Taiwanese don’t see themselves as the same, and if they’re Taiwanese it embarrasses them.

I had to do that in SA coming back to China.

They were using the ‘ting bu dong’ trick on the ground staff. So I told them in Chinese “this is not China, this is SA. We queue here. Jumping a queue could get you shot”.

They hastily made for the back of the line.

Bumpkins with too much cash - what can we do…?

I’d like to know who came originally from a country where pedestrians always walked in an orderly fashion and where queuing was always strictly observed. You guys are bitching about things which happen the world over.

Squat toilets? Where I work the only option is to squat while I find totally degrading :fume: .

They do it on purpose, IMO, because I’m foreign and I’m therefore not as good at squatting as they are. Plus, nobody told me I’ve been facing the wrong way all this time.

Squat toilets? Where I work the only option is to squat while I find totally degrading :fume: .

They do it on purpose, IMO, because I’m foreign and I’m therefore not as good at squatting as they are. Plus, nobody told me I’ve been facing the wrong way all this time.[/quote]

I mentioned queues and pedestrians TT, not the ablution solution… Anyway, things have changed in England. You can find squat toilets in all manner of public places now, especially government buildings and learning institutions. They also often have dedicated foot washing stalls too. If Asians should accommodate our lazy shitting style, we should equally accommodate their tricksy bent shitting style.