The "Old Days"


And on the subject of elevators people would talk to each other while in there

I got a date once going from first to 12th floor


I remember getting offered teaching work constantly, in fact the hourly rate was about the same as today.
What happened to this place ? Economically speaking?


That’s an incredibly daft sweeping generalization. Strangers being afraid to talking to each other is usually not a good thing. People didn’t talk to each other in East Germany either, because if you don’t say anything then you can’t accidentally say the wrong words.

The implication there is that if you kill enough people, you’ll get civilisation. That’s not a new theory, of course, but IMO it lacks sophistication.


I miss the Scooter Table software stores in Kaohsiung and Taipei.
You browse through a several notebooks on an unattended table next to a scooter. Find what you’d like, fill out an order form and leave it on the table with a hundred or two. You walk away and come back to see a disk waiting for you.
I also miss the pre treaty days when book and music publishers TOLD the rights holders how much THEY CHOSE to pay the rights holders for the famous Taiwan only copyright. I used to buy Son May Anime music for 99NT from the department store where was sitting right next to the official Japanese product which was selling for 399. And it was all legal.


Yeah I’m sure that’s why their trains are so quiet. You’d get side-eyed even when you talk to people you know.:roll:

Who says people are “afraid”? People can’t be bothered, or keep things to themselves. I don’t see strangers talking to one another too much in London either except in pubs/bars and that’s alcohol.

Besides, East Germany was the most successful communist country in history. In 1989 its GDP was amongst top 20 in the world with just 16 million people. Actually East Germany’s GDP per capita was higher than Taiwan’s in 1989 (aka “the old days”). It wasn’t North Korea.

You are putting words in my mouth.

Other than a few exceptions like the US or Australia, ppl in developed countries don’t talk to strangers. Those who are overly sentimental are all banana republics in places like Latin America or SE Asia.


I suggested that not engaging with other people outside of your tight social circle might be indicative of social problems. So … aren’t you basically agreeing with me?

It probably depends how you define “success”.

That simple “other than” (if true) disproves your hypothesis.

Correlation is not causation, young grasshopper.

In any case, I have not noticed this. Nowhere in the world do people make a habit of talking to random strangers. Your casual observation has two possible explanations:

(a) people build alliances: they’re not talking to strangers, they’re talking to a wider group of acquaintances than the average rich-country person might have. It’s like facebook, except in real life.

(b) inbreeding. People don’t move around much, so any given family might be related to any other family by only one or two degrees of separation. People you bump into on the street might well be your relatives, or near-enough relatives.

Anyway: if we take your hypothesis at face value, it suggests that being pleasant to random Others has bad effects, while not giving a shit about anybody has good effects. Seems unlikely on the face of it, so would you like to describe exactly how that works?


The story of our young lives


They just know the right time and place to do it. A train is obviously not the place. But go to a roadside food stall (Yatai) in Fukuoka, and try not to get in a conversation with someone. Or look lost walking around and people will trip over themselves trying to help you.


Or it is indicative of placing values on PRIVACY?

It doesn’t. Europeans don’t talk to strangers. It’s just a fact.

When have I argued causation? I was always talking about CORRELATION.


Well sometimes correlation can point to causation , it just means it’s not a proven causation yet
However you two guys discussion is over my head so I’ll stay out. Yes we were taught as kids not to talk to strangers weren’t we.
“A bag or crisps, and a big fat smile, look out here comes a pedophile”. But he might not be a pedo.


If you were implying a mundane correlation rather than direct causation, your meaning would have been clearer this way:

“Usually the more civil a society, the more distance is.”

Neither does anyone else. Not Americans, Australians, or those excitable Latinos. I suppose some populations might be marginally more or less likely to do so, for some specific purpose (eg., asking directions), but in general everyone treats strangers with the same regard as rocks.

The only exception I can think of are a few sparsely-populated countries where actually meeting another person is a rare occurrence, and saying ‘good morning’ (or some similar inanity) is traditional. I can’t think of any obvious correlation with state-of-development in those cases.


I wasn’t. But now we tell our kids not to trust strangers.
In my homeland we still taik to strangers or at least acknowledge them in countryside areas.

Anyway It’s not so much not talk to strangers but there’s less chance for social.interaction in general. Think about it. You use apps to order stuff you aren’t going to get to know the local biz owners . You use an app to buy an eBook book you won’t go to the library or bookstore.
On the bus you swipe a card but don’t talk to the conductor.
You get money from the ATM but not from the bank teller.
The chain stores replace the neighbourhood shops.
Kids chat to their friends on apps with some texts but not hour long chats on the phone.
Neighbours don’t chat to each other as much (or maybe I was lucky where I lived and the neighbours all knew each other).


You’re Irish. A bit different :grinning:
I was once taken to the police station for trying to hitch hike at around 11 years old, because there was no bus service from the train station to my uncle’s house. I was lectured by the police on the dangers of hitch hiking. I was also told by my late father to not take sweets from middle aged men ha


Wages went the way of hell and high water
As this Taiwanese guy used to say : price of rice is going up ,the price of veggies is going up , the price of gas is going up ,the rent is going up…thank the heavens the salary remains the same

I think he was being sarcastic…in fact I’m pretty sure. …


My memory’s hazy but he also shot a cop in the shootout. Got off due to his KMT connections. The two scouse girls did a stretch in poky for the drug dealing.

I knew Andy.


Ha, you should have seen the river from Sanxia to Banqiao, a garbage dump alongside the banks like 30 feet high. All gone.


great thread. interesting points about smart phones. i think one thing we can all agree on is taiwanese are hopelessly addicted and reliant on their smartphones. check any crossing, the lights change and theres a delay until people actually cross because their face is in their phone. when you use your phone that much it can only be a negative. i already see couples in restaurants with their face in their phones and no interest in each other. the younger generation are going to be social retards.


Here’s what I remember about Taiwan in the 80s (up to 1993)…

When you go to the bank or any government facilities, there would be just one teller actually working. The line would be at least an hour long, and no body cares. All the other employees, usually in their 40s or 50s, would be sitting around, smoking and reading news papers, not giving a damn.

If you ran into any trouble, regardless of whether you were at fault or not, you would slip the police officer or government official a red envelope. That was the standard of conducting any official business.

Children were taught to be afraid of the police.

People who got off the bus or train really late would find themselves stranded without public transportation. They would all crowd over to a couple of taxis and squeeze themselves in, maybe 5 or so passengers in one cab, and split the fare.

Every school had slogans of retaking the mainland and defeat the evil communists painted on its walls. Some schools would still fine a student for speaking anything other than Mandarin.

There were buses with or without air-conditioning. The ones with air-con charged more. Where I lived, standard fare was 5 NTD, and you would pay 7 for the air-con, even during the winter when the air-con wasn’t even on.

Plenty of places would flood whenever it rained. The field of my elementary school, which was the largest in my city (Hsinchu), would become a giant muddy yellow pond when it rained for more than 3 hours. No one seemed to ever complain about the flooding back then.

Most water ways stank. Every stream around the city smelled like a sewer, probably because they were treated as such. Also, the markets stank, even worse than they do today.

It certainly wasn’t “better” than now.


Italians aren’t European? Talking is like one of the national pastimes of Italy. People would stop and chat if they were outside their province and finding someone from their province.

Short disclaimer: In Italy, the concept of regions and provinces is reversed compared to other countries. Regions are second level divisions while provinces are third level divisions.

Greeks also like to chat too.


That sounds about right…lol