So what's the good news

Ok, ive been reading this forum for a very short time but i have learned the following:…its unsafe to talk to Taiwanese women if you are foreign, the cops are useless, there are a lot of a rsehole foreigners who dont even have degrees and are hellbent on money, the local women, and total disregard for the natives. Many schools treat foreign teachers like temperary babysitters…it seems that thats just the tip of the iceberg.
I want to know some good reasons for living and working there…reasons that are not about money…I live in Japan at the monemt and get paid a lot more than the average teacher there.
I also want to know what chances i have to get a job where i will be a respected member of staff at the school; I have a degree (psychology)and 1 years experience in Japanese senior high schools.
I am going to Taipei next month to check it out for myselfbut right now im thinking hat I will be better of in Japan…Can anyone change my mind? I know that some of you have done the japan thing.
Help me

Well, Southpaw, sounds like you got a lot of it right.

The problem is, you might still fall in love with Taiwan anyway. My only suggestion is that if you come down to check it out, try to spend a little more time; check out the different cities like Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, KaoHsiung and maybe even the ones on the east coast (Taidong and Hualien). I realize that would take quite a bit of time, but each city in Taiwan really has its own flavor and… pace. And the people (locals) differ a great deal from city to city.

There are definitely some foreigners who get into universities or other schools to teach, but I’m not sure what sort of credentials would be necessary. And yes, they get more respect than your average ‘bushiban’ teacher.

I know I didn’t say anything too helpful. Maybe others have something concrete to add…?

The thing about that post of Christos’ is that most of the time Taiwan is very safe and friendly. I think most foreigners here would agreee that Taipei feels safer than most western big cities. You feel cool walkign around by yourself at night. And of course talking to Taiwanese women (and going out with them and marrying them) is generally a lot less of a problem than a black man going out with a white woman might be in some parts of the US. But this lulls us into a false sense of security perhaps. We forget that there are gangs and there are bad situations. I’ve been to Spin high as a kite and sat anywhere and talked to anyone without trouble many times (couple of years ago though). But there’s a risk if you go to gangster bars or get angry at taxi drivers and perhaps a few other things. In the west there’s places you don’tgo and people you are careful woth too right?

There’s a lot of great things about Taiwan. Many people prefer it to Japan. A lot of people like to complain and this forum sometimes becoems an outlet for that. There’s so many things I like about Taiwan, that I couldn’t really do justice to it by starting to list them here. Come and see.


I agree totally with Bri in the above.

As for being respected in a teaching job, you might have to do some adjusting to your work situation. Being fresh off the boat, you might not get a work situation that is appropriate for you, but there are plenty of schools which are genuinely trying to do their best. You have to remember that Taiwan is (obviously) a different culture and so the way people think will be different from what it is at home, and this includes bosses/management…but after a year or so you ought to know the ropes and be able to get into a situation that is really suitable for you and your goals.

For colleges/university teaching, usually they want a Ph.D these days, although some places may accept a Master’s, especially outside of Taipei. They especially want Ph.Ds because they can use these credentials in their quest to be “upgraded” from college to university, for example, which is the dream of most small institutions.

I personally like Taiwan because at least my neighbors talk to me – sometimes incomprehensibly, and sometimes I don’t really want to bother, but in the States I could probably have been murdered in my bed and no one would figure it out until some neighbor’s dog started scratching at the door six months later because of the odor. You know, the kind of stuff you see in the tabloids. Here, “Street Mother” downstairs would know and probably even do something to prevent same from happening.


quote[quote] I personally like Taiwan because at least my neighbors talk to me [/quote]

Yeah right, I wonder if the Aussie girl murdered in Chiayi knew her neighbours…
The only neighbours I speak to are the video shop lady, the curry man, and the nice drycleaner couple. But then again, they take my money.

To Southpaw, maybe you should wait until the economy recovers a bit.
It’s not the Taiwan I used to know.


Do it. Taiwan has a lot to offer. I presume you are a teacher. In which case, Taiwan offers more money than Japan, and is an easier and cheaper place to live.

But be prepared it is a parochial backwater compared to either Osaka or Tokyo. The respect for your teaching ability has to be earned as it is something of a “market for lemons” in terms of teachers. This is to be understood and Japan is not so dissimilar in this respect when you first arrive. However, it is easy to be earmarked early as a teacher with potential. Your concern and that of your employer will be longevity. Money goes to those who’ve got it and can hack it.

Taipei is a beautiful city (and I know I’m going to cop it with this one)but there are very few cities in the world where you can be downtown one minute and be surrounded by exquisite beauty the next.The mountains that surround Taipei city are exceptional and from the city to anywhere by train for an hour can take you to some pretty impressive locals.

What you will get in Taiwan that you won’t get in Japan is a sense of space in terms of your apartment and a sense of autonomy as people here pretty much leave you alone.

On the other hand you are likely to experience rudeness unparalled anywhere in the world. As it is, whilst the Chinese have mastered the arts of civility and face saving they have paradoxically mastered the arts of avoidance, giving of face, and illmannered boorishness.

I disagree with Grasshopper about 180 degrees.
The people are brilliant, much friendlier than Japanese (who I find incredibly polite to foreigners, but not that jovial). It is the best thing about Taipei.

The worst thing (and you will see this from the plane, and in the txi straight away) is that it is possibly the ugliest city on earth. A comittee of people trying to design the world’s most depressing industrial metropolis wouldn’t be able to come up with anything close to the way this place has somehow evolved. If you can get your head around the total lack of aesthetic charm (none) then you might still like it. Many will go on about how nice the mountains are, so what? Most people don’t live there, anmd you’ll spend your time in and around where you work and live. It is pretty rare that you can see the mountains through the smog/gloom anyway.

I love Tokyo. It is a WORLD city up there with NY and London. Taipei is nowhere in the league. But as you can see from residents on this forum, many have fallen in love with it. That will either happen, or not. I think you will know on your next visit whether you think it is a dump, or a cool place.

Nah, Taipei is a great city. I expect Grasshopper has a motorcycle and ‘entitled to opinions’ doesn’t. Soem people get stuck in the downtown and that’s not nice, but there are a lot fo really nice places. So so many places you can go in an hour on a scooter. Beats the fuk out of London anyway.


Thanks for the responses. A lot of people say the same stuff about bangkok …its dirty , ugly or whatever…but theres something about that kind of city that i love…peole cooking, selling, and eating on the streets…I love the general busy atmosphere that it has…im not talking about from a tourist point of view, i live there for a while…discounting the temples and ancient architechture of bangkok, are these cities similar? If i love bangkok, is it likely that i will love Taipei?

See our dumb blonde moderator is at it again. God, every post from that woman smacks of gullible, the type of person who forwards chain letters to 10 of her friends so all their wishes will come true. The drunken foreigner correcting papers on her roof top in the rain comes back to haunt us, oh sorry, wasn’t that the balconey, oh hang on which floor was it, ah no it was the stairs, wasn’t it?!Anyway it was the Mafioso that did it, she stole the Godfathers perry winkles. You should have forwarded that email “Alien” you really should have…

Actually what “Entitled to opinions” said is very true. The only cities I have ever seen worse than Taipei are those “workers’ paradises” in China and Russia. Taipei is so ugly that for the first three or four years I lived here I felt it like a physical pain. And the rest of urban Taiwan is little different. People will say that you can get out of the city to the mountains but actually the areas you can reach easily are very second-rate compared with anything you have seen elsewhere and, of course, covered with litter. Camus in “The Minotaur, or the Stop in Oran” talks of mankind’s need for deserts. Too much beauty can be enervating, he argues, but the desert itself is too full of poetry. Where can a man flee to be alone with his thoughts? Answer: an utterly charmless and ugly mercantile city. If you can get your head round that then you might be able to put up with Taipei.
Oh, and Brian, I’ve had a motorcycle here for 16 years.
If you like Bangkok will you like Taipei? I don’t think Taipei is nearly as colorful as Bangkok. I don’t want to sound like a voyeur of Third World squalor here but, because Bangkok is much poorer, there is lot more “different stuff” going on. Taipei doesn’t have that because, on, average people are five times richer. But it doesn’t have the cultural vibrancy of a Western major city either, partly because the Taiwanese aren’t THAT well-off and partly because that kind of cultural vibrancy is based on the steady accumulation of what you might call cultural capital – Paris and London have spent several hundred years storing this up, even New York has a couple of centuries of people with wealth contributing to make the city a better place or the city using its own wealth to improve itself. Taipei was thrown up in an emergency in a 30-year period between 1950 and 1980 by people who were not at the time very well off and whose ruling class didn’t expect to have to stay here anyway. This is why it has all the charm of a refugee camp. Given a century or so it might become something – or not. But having said how ugly it is, I suppose I should add that you probably shouldn’t expect much else.


From the tenor of your posts, I’m reminded of that Robin William’s line from the movie “Good Morning Vietnam” - “I’ve never met a man more in need of a headjob.”

Chill baby, Chill. Hey and I’m not volunteering no matter what impressions I might have created on another thread to the contrary.

Sorry, Grasshopper, I forgot #11 of the Terms and Conditions; you know, the one about not trying to deal with any topic with any more depth or seriousness than you would display at a drunken party at Roxy 99. My apologies to all, and from now on I’ll try to restrict myself to ironic and trivial banter only, perhaps larded with the occasional sneer. Perhaps then I won’t be such a cybersocial misfit.

Lol’s right-Taipei is hands down one of the most unattractive cities around. Pyongyang is probably more charming. What makes me cringe even more is that is when locals mention going to the mountains, as if that is some great, pristine escape. You have to look beyond that to discover Taipei’s true beauty, although I really miss the sense of lawlessness so common during the late 80s. Sob.


OK, good news is:

  1. Taiwanese are brilliant, despite the odd betel nut gob on the ground, most will make you feel more than welcome
  2. Plenty of places to go out & socialize
  3. You can live on next to nothing…

BUT, if you want to live well - it is starting to get up to some of Tokyo prices. Sure, your apartment will be bigger for about the same/bit less price, but unless you’re happy to travel via scooter in the pollution, and eat under a fluorescent light out of a disposable bowl, it is definitely a pricey place to live. I found that Tokyo incomes were relative to the cost of living, the same goes for here, so you may be better or worse off, I don’t know.

And, while we’re at it, let’s just be honest - the whole pristine beauty at your doorstep is absolutely untrue. Many here have lost all perspective. The local Taipei popluation has (in general) very little respect for their environment, both urban & natural. This is startingly obvious even to Blind Freddy. That’s why the nearby mountains are full of litter, and the city looks like a ghetto. You must travel MUCH further afield for Taiwan’s beauty, and try to steer clear of anything urban (other cities are like a “little Taipei”).

If you can “become” local, see past/through the ugliness, then you may indeed become a fan of Taipei (and there are thousands of long term foreigners here who fall into that category). Most people I know who like it here a lot have an interest in Chinese language/culture and/or have fallen in love with a Taiwanese person.

You may fall in love with Taipei the moment you clear customs at CKS airport, who knows?!?

OK it’s true.

Sorry Southpaw for misleading you.

Sorry Lol for making the Robin William’s crack.

Sorry to all the Taiwanese out there who are going through their electronic dictionaries looking up the word “boarishness.” Not the least, because I spelt it incorrectly.

It’s a dump Southpaw. When I first came to Taipei, the garbage was piled up on the street corners, and like Lol I felt Taipei as a physical pain. I used to smell people cooking Chio Dofu (Stinky Tofu)and think, ‘The poor bastards I’ve heard the expression “A Chinese will eat every part of a pig, bar its Oink” but I didn’t realize they were being forced to eat their refuse too.’ It was sad and depressing. The mountains are trully strewn with rubbish. It is so disconcerting that it will drive you to distraction. Some people will call it culture shock and others will just call it shocking.

Chinese people love to have a laugh, and they are incredibly welcoming(to non-black Westeners anyway). What I said about civility is true and what I said about rudeness is probably also true minus the bit about unparalled, because I guess that remark is best reserved for me considering I made the post.

The women are beautiful. I once saw two backpackers clapping their hands, whilst some young miss bent forward to retrive her motorbike from its moorings. The men are proud and strong. And some of them are beautiful too, if that be your persuasion.

There it is, I’ve done it. And one final apology to Bri for supporting me, sorry to let you down buddy.

Taipei is not a “Beautiful” city at all. Taipei is as astheticaly pleasing as a urinal stall in a men’s room (All that white tile). I would never have gone there in the first place if my wife wasn’t from there.
Having said that, I like it because it’s a lot more fast-paced, crowded and chaotic than sedate Seattle. The perfect city for someone with ADD.
I like the cool people I’ve met there and unlike Seattle, Taipei has a monorail that actually takes you somewhere! Of course I haven’t stayed there long enough at any single time to actually have to deal with the nuances of D2D living so I couldn’t tell you anything useful in that regard.
I think the best analogy would be a dive bar that serves strong drinks and always has loud metal/punk bands. And therein lies the primary attractiveness of Taipei for me.

Hate to ruin your buzz Eric, but Taipei doesn’t have a monorail, guess you’ll be going home now.

Don’t know about living in Taipei, I only go up there to rehearse w/my band on the week-ends, but I would really think that it all depends on what you’re interests are southpaw. If you’re an outdoorsy person, this island is full of natual splendour, outside of the cities that is, if you like hanging out on tropical beaches, you can live in the south and hit one virtually every week-end. Taipei is the cultural hub of the island, a city completely devoid of aesthetic sensibility, but there’s lots to see and do. In my humble opinion, the ideal situation would be to live and work somewhere somewhat rural, with clean air (a rare enough commodity in the cities here), and easy access by scooter to the more natural aspects of the island, while being at most, about an hour away from Taipei so that you can do what you need to in the city (be that what it may).

good luck

Originally posted by : Hate to ruin your buzz Eric, but Taipei doesn't have a monorail, guess you'll be going home now.

MRT/Monorail, close enough for government work.

At least you can go to more than one place on the MRT.