Looking for foreign husbands for an interview today

This is Debby from Taipei Times and I am doing a story on foreign husbands in Taiwan. Someone told me forumosa would be the right place to look for some possible interviewees, so here I am.
Basically I am doing this story as a comparison to the foreign brides stories.
What are the issues/problems faced by the foreign husbands here?
What do you think the government can do to help deal with these problems?

Or if you would like to talk about some other experiences that would be great too.

Please drop me a line here or to debbywu at taipeitimes dot com if you are interested.

Please leave me with your phone number and I’ll call you asap. Thanks!

Debby, since when has the Taipei Times ever cared about the foreign population in Taiwan ? You only run stories about people coming here on fake marriages to become prostitutes, or the other evils of having foreigners corrupting Taiwan, does this story (for one) ring a bell ?

Why would a DPP mouthpiece want to show foreigners in a good light ?


Do be fair. We also run stories presenting different sides of the foreign brides. Yu Sen-lun at the features section did two recently.

taipeitimes.com/News/feat/ar … 2003056352
taipeitimes.com/News/feat/ar … 2003057258

honestly, I was also irritated when I first read that story you posted.
But again it’s what the Legislators said, not what the Taipei Times said

I would have been interested Debbie, but this is too short notice… Next time, give us some advance warning so we foreign spouses can prepare our schedules and comments in time…

Debbie, I would guess you are a reporter, rather than an editor choosing which stories to run. Our gripes are mainly with the selection of stories - hence our scepticism. The Taiwanese media in general has had great fun representing foreigners in Taiwan variously as drug addicts, sex maniacs, criminals, and general deadbeats. We contrast this with the way the millions of Taiwanese who emigrate to our native countries are treated by officialdom, and the media.

Perhaps your story will be the beginning of a trend in redressing this imbalance. I’ll believe it when I see it. If I really thought the story would end up published the way you are describing it, I would sit down with you for as long as it took to explain the situation. But I don’t. I think it will be another bash at foreigners. We’ll see.

If you really want to find out our problems, peruse this website for a week or two.

I find hexuan’s comments very insightful . . . (as usual). However, let me add a few comments here.

When we started the Foreign Husbands Self Help Committee in April 1994, I was elected the first President. At that time, of course we had a lot of grievances about visas, work permits, entry & exit matters, long term residency, etc. Over the years, due to vigorous lobbying in the Legislative Yuan by me, we have addressed and solved a number of these grievances. A category of permanent residency for foreigners was established in the Immigration Law (May 21, 1999) and applications were accepted beginning January 2000. As of May 2003, foreigners married to local Taiwan citizens have free work rights in the Taiwan area. This took nine years of lobbying . . . and was the major area of concern back at our Public Hearings in the Legislative Yuan in the Spring of 1994.

We re-organized as the National Network of Foreign Spouses in July 1995. This was an attempt to be more receptive to the needs of female foreign spouses as well . . . . . . however, up to the present time I would say that 99% of the email I receive is from “foreign spouses” with a North American and European background. Beyond that there is a scattering of Japanese and African . . . . . . but as for Southeast Asian brides, I am lucky to get two email a year. So, as it has turned out, we have been largely unable to offer any free counseling services (by email) to these people . . . . . maybe to some extent this is due to the language barrier. I can handle email in English or Chinese . . . . . and perhaps these are two languages which are outside the reach of most of the Southeast Asian “foreign spouses”. I don’t know.

Overviewing the concerns of the “foreign spouse community in Taiwan” here in late-Aug. and early-Sept. 2003, (and from my perhaps “limited perspective”, as outlined above . . . ), I would say that some of the major confusing points at the present time are the differing interpretations of various laws and regulations by different government administrative agencies.

I do note that the Taipei Times frequently makes remarks such as " . . . . it is illegal for foreigners to teach in elementary schools, or in kindergartens . . . . . (or in other job categories) . . . . " which in my understanding is promulgation of incorrect information, because as mentioned above foreign spouses (with residency rights based on marriage) do now have free work rights in the Taiwan area as of May 2003 . . . . . so certainly (in my opinion) the Taipei Times should take some note of this special class of foreigners . . . . . . however again I must admit that often the local Taiwan government agencies do continue to give out incorrect information on this topic, and this is most frustrating . . . . . .

My explanations of the new work permit rules are posted at

So . . . continuing on with this matter . . . . . a few months back we had a Coordination Meeting in the Legislative Yuan with PFP Legislator Chin Hwei-ju about this work permit problem. The representatives from the Ministry of Education said that a foreign spouse could not work as a teacher in a bushiban without a “work permit”, whereby I stated that such an interpretation of the Employment Services Act is clearly nonsense, since Article 48 clearly says that the foreign spouses (with residency rights based on marriage) need no work permit, and since there is no licensing procedure for “English teachers” in Taiwan, so there is no question of these foreign spouses needing a special license to teach English anywhere! (This is an important point of distinction, since to be an accountant, dentist, architect, pilot, nuclear engineer, etc. one certainly does need the relevant license, and ESA Article 48 cannot be interpreted to exclude a foreign spouse from such a requirement.)

However, the Ministry of Education quoted from some administrative regulations of 1999 (or thereabouts) saying that their interpretation was indeed correct . . . . whereby I replied that there is no way that administrative regulations of 1999, 2000, or 2001 can override the provisions of a LAW which was passed by the Legislative Yuan and promulgated by President Chen in 2003!

The Ministry of Education was baffled by this argument! Whereupon Legislator Chin suggested that the Council of Labor Affairs (who sent three representatives to the meeting) issue a clear set of guidelines as to what the scope of ESA Article 48 includes, and what it doesn’t include, so that there would be no possible confusion.

When you think about it, this is extremely reasonable, since the employer who illegally employs a foreigner is subject to a fine, and perhaps a prison term, and of course the foreigner (who is working illegally) can be fined and deported . . . . .

However, the CLA representatives said that it would be impossible to provide such a list! In their rationale, there were 360 categories of work . . . . or more in Taiwan, and hence it would be impossible to come up with a comprehensive list . . . . . . .

THE POINT BEING: Since inquiries about foreign spouse issues generally all come to me at richard@forumosa.com . . . . . . and I have been doing “email consulting” on these issues (free of charge to the best of my ability) for eight or more years, so what I see at the present time is still that it is very difficult for the AVERAGE FOREIGN SPOUSE to get a clear and consistent explanation of what the rules, laws, regulations, etc. in Taiwan actually are . . . . and then to orient his/her life around those rules, laws, etc. Different government departments continue to give out contradictory information . . . . . and as seen from the simple example given above, even the Council of Labor Affairs (which is the ESA “relevant central government authority”) cannot decide what ESA Article 48 means.

I have tried to solve this problem through Coordination Meetings at the Legislative Yuan, and through writing inquiries to the various Ministries and Departments asking for clarifications, but it doesn’t seem to do any good . . . . . the Kaohsiung Police Department (for example) does not accept an official CLA or Executive Yuan letter interpreting some clause of the ESA as “authoritative proof” of what the clause means . . . . they go to the Kaohsiung Dept. of Education and ask them, whereby that Department gives a reply based on data and regulations of three or four years ago . . . . . . and currently totally out of date.

So . . . to my way of thinking, the lack of any coordination between government departments, and the resulting confusion in terms of how to deal with all types of daily issues (in the proper legal way) is one very serious problem that foreign spouses currently face. When Richard Hartzell says “Yes, you have totally free work rights in the Taiwan area,” and yet the affected foreign spouse cannot CONFIRM THAT INFORMATION with his/her employer, or his employer’s relevant government agency, or the CLA (via telephone inquiry), etc. . . . . . then there are serious problems of inter-agency coordination here . . . . . . . (the so-called “Chinese departmentalism”) which are actually BEYOND MY POWER TO DEAL WITH.

My NT$2.

Hex, BFM,

The TT gets flack for giving space to reactionary and racist views about foreigners, but when some lowly reporter presents an opportunity to voice your views, you shout her down. :shock:

If I had of logged on earlier, damn. You could have experienced it all. My wife just got out of hospital today with our beautiful new baby girl. Mother is around to ‘zuo yea zi’. And I’m in the kitchen cooking bangas and mash, sucking on a crowny after just putting in a new airconditioner. Now that would have been a beautiful story. Amos, Annie, the beagle and the baby :wink:

One bitten twice shy, as the saying goes Salmon. The reasons for scepticism are clearly and fairly stated above.

hi all,

turns out I still have some more time for this project so would still love to hear from you.

I know all about the sceptism about stereotyping–but hey, that’s why I am asking around for something different, individual experiences from some of you.

And Richard, thanks for the response. I’ll follow up on that thing about teaching English in Taiwan.

[quote=“salmon”]Hex, BFM,

The TT gets flack for giving space to reactionary and racist views about foreigners, but when some lowly reporter presents an opportunity to voice your views, you shout her down. :shock:[/quote]
Why would the Taipei Times allow her to voice our views ? Even if Debby is sincere, I have no reason to believe the TT is. For example, if we have a gripe with DPP politicians portraying us as crimials and the root of all Taiwan’s problems, would they print it ?
But I would also suggest she wanders around some of the forums here to get a feeling for some of the problems. maybe some of the Legal forums, Guarantors, Driving Licenses and ARCs are maybe good topics ?

As a former reporter myself, I would just like to point that this reporter likely has responsibility for writing a certain type of feature on a regular basis so is blameless. Moreover, there is very little macro level editorial coordination of stories usually, so blaming the TT for a conspiracy to demonstrate xenophobist attitudes or such is bullshit. Blaming individual reporters who choose to write stories in a certain way makes a lot more sense. If it’s a wire story, then blame the person pulling the stories from the wire for bad selection skills. But a newspaper typically has very little top level coordination other than to try to put a good mixed smorgasborg of stories together but I doubt the Taiwanese papers even do much of that. The editors probably just pick stories that apply to foreigners, without checking to see if they’ll be received warmly or not.

Question for Hartzell. Have any foreigners been taken to court or taken an agency to court? Wouldn’t a court be the venue for properly interpreting a legal statute under dispute, by setting a precedent for how agencies should enforce it?

Debbie, if you interview the weirdos who post of forumosa. com, you will hardly get a representative sample. I suggest you check 1) Tianmu, and 2) Anhe Road on a Friday / Saturday night. There you’ll find some typical hubbies (just make sure you bring some mace to ward them off).

I am interested. leave me a private message here, and I’ll send you my phone number. I have been married to an ROC citizen for 7 years - I have lived here for (nearly) 3 years.

What we think and how we feel about things can all be found on forumosa. Guarantors, banks, telephone companies, and the countless other institutions that treat us like we don’t exist. The complaints are all there. The good stuff is all on Forumosa too.

If you are really serious why don’t you start researching the threads here on Forumosa and PM those who actually write something worthwhile???

You can probably tell that we are not trusting of too many things in Taiwan, you may want to ask why we don’t trust Taiwanese institutions etc.

As you can see we aren’t too welcoming of people wanting our opinions as when we give it no one listens at all or it takes a freaking decade to see any results.

Ignored. Hell, I went home decor shopping with my wife on Sunday. We were ignored by every sales assistant in one store, and yet they were all over the Taiwanese shoppers, my wife is Taiwanese too. finally we did find a store with great service and bought over $100 000NT worth of household furniture from them. I hope the other store chokes on that.

This is a classic example of “Taiwan Timing”. Let us see, I have to do an article that does not have any “time value” in the sense of being “late breaking news” and so towards that end I wait until the day before it is due and…ask for interviewees.

It has never ceased to amaze me that many of the locals seem to have zero idea of planning ahead; either in the big project sense or the little project sense.

I so often get asked to do editing jobs “today, today, quickly, quickly” that in fact have been sitting around for months on someone’s desk. Then the little alarm bell goes off in the little local’s head; "oh shit! I gotta get this done…manana (tomorrow). And they think that I can or will just drop everything I am doing to tend to their “self created time crisis”.

I often think the locals think that two things are really illusions:

  1. other people (I have a private theory that many locals think that only they exist on earth, which is why the dears often walk right into me walking down the street.

  2. time (another of my private theories is that many of the dear locals wander through their lives without any real clear concept of “the future”)

I guess it is all “good zen”; no time, no beings, eternal nowness.

Peace and Love,
Brian Roshi (Zen Master)

We are a bitter lot :wink:

Brian, at least look on the positive side. At least she’s trying to find people. She could have just made up a few quotes instead.

The Chinese don’t look at time in a progressive, linear form as do Westerners. Time is based on dynasties…floating around like individual bubbles in the champagne of Chinese reality. :laughing: Ever talk the locals about specific events in Chinese history? Whereas they might be able to tell you who the emperor was, they can’t tell you how many years ago. If they have no clear concept of where they’ve been, how can they tell where they’re going? BTW, what year is it supposed to be here in Taiwan? I never pay attention anymore…

“Taiwan Timing”?!?!

Procrastination, in my experince, is a human condition. The Taiwanese have not cornered the market.