[quote=“microman”]I have been pondering the idea of going to Taipei in January to look for a teaching position. However, I just came upon the following blog that chronicles the life of an English teacher there. It sounds as if life there is pure hell…fires, earthquakes, typhoons, shot outs with the mafia, blatant racism, 1000s of sick stray dogs wondering the streets, violence, bad work conditions, sickening pollution, etc. After reading it, I’m thinking that I should look for a job in Korea.
Is life really that bad there?
…here’s the blog that I have been reading:
Fires? Yes, they happen, but they also happen in the US. I’ve been present on Taiwanese soil over 5 years of my life, and the only fire I’ve ever seen here was a grass fire. I see more grass fires in California. I’ve never seen a house burn down here, but I’ve seen two burn down in the US, and I’ve seen a couple factory fires in the US, too. Fires should not be a concern - just don’t live in a place that’s an obvious fire trap.
Earthquakes? Yes, they happen frequently - I’ve felt far more quakes here in 5 years than in 12 years of living in California. But apart from the 1999 earthquake, most are mild, and can even fe fun to experience!
Typhoons? They happen on average 4 to 5 times a year, and the concrete & rebar buildings here can withstand them easily. Just stay indoors so you won’t get hit by debris. If power goes out, it’sll be back on soon - they have restoring power down to an efficient artform here, unlike in the US (especially Louisville, KY).
Shootouts? Trust me, there are more shootouts in the US than there will ever be here. There is no “gun culture” here, and gun control is among the strongest in the world (and it works). Apart from the military and the police, only the Mafia have guns, and you don’t have to worry about the Mafia unless you deliberately go looking for trouble with them.
Racism? Mostly, nothing more than ignorance. In fact, Westerners are often treated better than locals.
Stray dogs? Yes. Most are harmless. Just don’t pet them or step on their tails. Why are there so many? The locals love to keep puppies, but they all too foten abandon them when they get large and troublesome to raise.
Voilence? Trust me, America is far more violent than Taiwan could ever dream of being. You are highly unlikely to be victimized by violence unless you go out deliberately provoking it.
Bad working conditions? Sure. Disorganized offices, unscrupulous bosses, etc. Don’t like your job? It’s easy to quit and find another. The good thing is that you will probably accumulate more disposable income here than you will in the US, if you live cheaply here (which is eminently possible). Income tax rates are low, monthly living expenses can be very low if you find a cheap apartment. Result: lost of money left over at the end of the month. And work opportunities are abundant.
Pollution? Sure. But if you live in the outskirts of town, there’s less of it. Neihu, for example, is by the mountains, and the air is fresher there. By the way, I’ve seen browner skies in Los Angeles and San Francisco than I have in Taipei.
Think about the positives. Fascinating culture, interesting language, amazing food, proximity to other fascinating countries, and indescribably beautiful women.