Taipei is growing up?

Do you think Taipei has grown up?

  • It’s a peasant town despite the tall buildings
  • It’s an ankle biter, growing slowly
  • Adolescent is tough, getting there
  • I’ve arrived!

0 voters

A Young Taipei Finds Its Groove

[quote=“By ANDREW YANG”]A DECADE ago in Taipei, finding a decent cup of coffee would have proved a challenge. Now, there are all-night dance clubs and boutique hotels, MTV Taiwan and espresso bars. Change is a constant in the city, the capital of Taiwan, which has been transformed significantly along with its cosmopolitan counterparts Hong Kong and Singapore. As a whole generation emerges - nearly a quarter of the electorate of Taiwan is under 30 - the culture is as much about playing hard as working hard.
[/quote]

So for you long-time Taipei denizens… what do you think? He’s got it right or he’s just waxing poetic because he needed to justify his job :slight_smile:

Under thirty certainly doesn’t necessarily mean free spirited or soulful. Still it is fun to be in a place that is changing so fast. I quite like everything here but the traffic and those pants the girls are wearing these days that make them look like fatsos even when they aren’t. Oh, and the pointy shoes. I can’t stand the pointy shoes. They are indicative I think of a certain derangement of the aesthetic sense.

It wasn’t too hard to find good coffee ten years ago, MTV was already here, and there were probably more all-night dance clubs then than are now. Taiwanese people have traveled a lot more since then though and there is greater acceptance of alternative lifestyles. I wonder about the demographics too–I think Taipei is a city of old people. The young can’t afford to live here.

OK now I’ve read the article and see that what he actually means is that Taipei has now built a bunch of malls with some overpriced clubs in them. Yawn.

:laughing: :bravo:

Well, I think it was a fluff piece. Not sure why they chose Taipei to do a fluff piece. :s

I agree with Feiren. The article is nonsense. You couldn’t move for coffee shops when I came here 12 years ago. Like there were no shopping malls? What, no Carrefour, no Takashimaya, no Mitsokoshi? No Sogo? What these shitty plastic malls have done is destroy a lot of good shops and restaurants all over town.

As for no nightlife? Hilarious. Oh for a night in Top, Scum, Whiskey/Sex-a-go-go, KISS (well, er), hey even spin was OK in the early 90s.

Two differences only: more wine and cheese available; and the price of beer has gone up.

Been going down hill since they paved Snake Alley and Gary left Buffalo Town.

At the very least, the article doesn’t use that grand old chestnut of Asian travel writing cliches, “______ is a city of contrasts.”

Whenever I see any piece of travel writing that starts off like, “Beijing/Bangkok/Seoul/wherever is a city of contrasts. Nestled within all of the high-tech skyscrapers are traditional (local word for alleyways) where life has goes on unchanged for centuries,” I immediately stop reading because I know the author does not have a single interesting or original insight about that city.


What is this, the Taipei Times?

I almost spit on my screen when I got to the part about the “serene Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.”

Taipei is significantly more international and interesting than it was 10 years ago. The range of restaurants, malls, and activities is far better than it used to be. Gone are the days of needing to ask people to bring you this, that, and the other thing from another country. Gone are the days of relying on Grandma Nitties or TU cafe (ugh) for international food. Gone are the days of having to go to crapholes like Tequila Sunrise for “Mexican” food. Gone are the days of having to go to Japanese supermarkets or Tienmu boutique shops for groceries from other countries.

I’ve never been one to empty my wallet at clubs or pubs, so I won’t try to comment there. But the quality of movie theaters is 1000 times better than it used to be. Since the Warner Cinema Revolution, just about every theater in Taipei has upgraded its equipment, so much so that Warner isn’t even the top complex in the city anymore (IMHO).

The sidewalks are cleaner, there’s less garbage on the streets, the parks are bigger…

Man I could go on a while. I can see how people might argue that Taipei is worse off than it used to be, since there are people here who will argue that the sun is square and not round. But having walked across the city on a regular basis over the years. witnessing its transformation and evolution, I can only say I’m very impressed. :bravo:

I agree with Jefferson that Taibei is really better than before.

I have a bittersweet relationship with all this “change for the better” however. Taibei is slowing losing much of its quirkiness that makes this place Taibei. Being international means being New York and Los Angeles?

I’m very sentimental and sometimes when I think about Taibei 20 years ago, I don’t know whether I like the new Taibei all that much.

A load of soulless shopping malls. Fantastic. And pretentious nightclubs. Yes, they are what make a city great. :unamused: Replace “Taipei” with “KL” or “Shanghai” and repeat ad nauseum. Except KL is likely to retain some of its old charm. What little charm Taipei had is being destroyed. (And they’re doing the same with Shanghai.

I wonder has this guy (the hack) ever been to Taiwan.

But the selection of food and wine - and beer - is a lot better. And it is possible to get bread now.

Sort of sounds like the NYT is presenting an inquiry for allowing Taipei to be considered a real city to the “you are now a real city chamber”. Yuck.

I also thought the coffee joints were much better before the invasion of Starbucks et al, because they were more like of a cozy hideaway as opposed to being a caffiene filling station.

But what really irked me in this article (this is silly) is the reference to Civil Boulevard. It drives me nuts when I hear Civic Boulevard still being referred to as Civil Boulevard. I don’t know how it got named that way in the first place…I can picture some CAD operator misreading somebody’s c for an l when the place was just a gleam in someone’s eye, but how that managed to go through every subsequent stage of work and end up on the street signs is beyond me. I actually believed that it was supposed to be called Civil Boulevard, but I had no idea why…especially since there were no Architectural, Electrical, Mechanical, Structural or Criminal Boulevards to be found elsewhere in the city. And then one day out of the blue I noticed the street signs were changed to Civic Boulevard. Voila! Mystery solved. Do the road signs still say Civil Boulevard in some locations?

Taipei is a much better place than it was a decade ago, I agree… 20+ different cheeses in a supermarket on Fuzing North Road in 1995??? back then any of that sort involved a trek to Tianmu. Also, the variety of restaurants is so much bigger than it was back then.

Also the cinemas 10 years ago, dirty adn with a horrible sound.

The city, more people are obeying the traffic rules than were 10 years ago - and do you remember rush hour in MRT less Taipei??? i do a bit too well.

However, regarding the piece linked by YC, then I only have one word for it: “Parachute Journalism”.

How’s this for a gem?

Civil Boulevard??? The poor young bloke should have brought a map with him when leaving Taipei after his 24 hour stay.

That’s two.

It has always been Civic Boulevard, as far as I am concerned. That has been the name since the first section opened late 1996.

Going on a decade here I have to agree more with Jefferson and Mr He, Taipei has seen a significant transformation in livability. Since the MRT expanded the traffic and even air quality is better (though not good by any means.) Even if you are not a fan of the malls, which I am not, Taipei 101 is a well-designed and comfortable space and beats the shit out of any other choices we had just 10 years ago, at least for atmosphere and Page One is a helluva book store. I never would have imagined finding the selection that

I can agree with this. There have been enormous changes in Taipei, and it is a better place to live. The author was looking in the wrong places.

[quote=“Yellow Cartman”]A Young Taipei Finds Its Groove

[quote=“By ANDREW YANG”]A DECADE ago in Taipei, finding a decent cup of coffee would have proved a challenge. Now, there are all-night dance clubs and boutique hotels, MTV Taiwan and espresso bars. Change is a constant in the city, the capital of Taiwan, which has been transformed significantly along with its cosmopolitan counterparts Hong Kong and Singapore. As a whole generation emerges - nearly a quarter of the electorate of Taiwan is under 30 - the culture is as much about playing hard as working hard.
[/quote]

So for you long-time Taipei denizens… what do you think? He’s got it right or he’s just waxing poetic because he needed to justify his job :slight_smile:[/quote]
A decade ago: 1995. I was here for half of 1990, spent a month here in 1991, and lived here continuously from 1992 to 1996.

Let’s see:

A decent cup of coffee? You could always find coffee here. You just had to pay through the nose for it (as you do now). Then, like now, you can find a cheap yet decent cup of coffe at McDonald’s.

Espresso bars? You must be kidding. There was one around the corner from where I worked in 1990. Viciously expensive, though.

All night dance clubs? We certainly had many of those in 1990, and though some have gone out of business, some have moved and new ones have cropped up, all-night dance clubs have been part of the Taipei scene for the last 15 years at least. Spent all night in Spin in 1994. Kiss was big back in the early 1990s; don’t know about now. Haven’t kept up.

Boutique hotels? Remeber HTVs? As long as I’ve been in Taiwan there have been boutique hotels here.

We had MTV Hong Kong back then, but it was cancelled in 1995 or 1996 due to some dispute with China. That was the birth of Channel [V] - the [V] logo was designed to look like a smooth transition from the Big M logo of MTV.

Or is he talking about MTV clubs - where you rent a private room and watch a movie? Those were everywhere in 1990; they still exist now but are not common.

Playing hard? Sorry, the culture for under 30s is apparently about studying hard and working hard, just as it always has been.

There have been changes - I’d say that there are just more of what he describes than less.

I enjoy watching the city develop.