We don't ALL speak English

I really like what they did to Xi Men Ding. They did something very similar in Taichung on “Electric Street” (we gonna rock down to…) I don’t like Electric Street as much because they put an English language compass on the sidewalk. Why couldn’t they write it in Chinese? Also, Electric Street’s futuristic rainbow like structures are kind of tacky. But it’s still cool. Also, the canal in front of the train station in Taichung is looking prettier. They put in a wooden walkway on its sides. There’re lots of nice parks in Taichung - especially around the Natural Science Museum. Also, if you go to Taichung - you must see Art Street. Art Street is next to Dong Hai University - which is also considered a park. Art Street (i4 shu4 jie) may be the quaint little suburb you’re thinking of - though the surrounding appartments are dumps.

But I think the ugly facades of Taipei are maybe a modesty thing…?
I notice a lot that the house may look like a dump on the outside, but when you walk inside, you see that it’s actually a palace. I even went to this “dumpy” house once in Hualien. The inside was gorgeous and the family had a private elevator. The top floor was a piano room with a bar. From the outside, though, the place was a dump.

Non Teacher,
Next time you’re in Taichung, go up Taichung Kang Lu till you come to the Tunghai Uni. Take a walk around the faculty housing there. Its all wooden bungalow-style houses with big yards, gardens, even lawns(!). Lychee trees all along the streets and in the gardens. Last time I was there I ruined a pair of shoes with lychee syrup – the fruit was piled up on the ground like snowdrifts.

Hey, you only asked for ONE place. I didn’t say there were more. No, that’s not true, go up into the mountains and you’ll see some incredibly pretty little villages with nary a bathroom tile in sight. No trash around, either, although there’ll probably be a few mountain men jakeys wiped out on rice wine.

Originally posted by : And who on earth chose that green colour to paint all the public structures - overhead passes, Civil Blvd etc?

I love that green color. It’s one of my favorite things about Taiwan.

I agree with musasa that maybe what George67 (?) was saying was that you simply shouldn’t be rude here. Respect the culture and try not to get in the way because you are a guest. As a guest it’s not your place to order the host around. But this goes into my English complex…

So if people speak English to me, I should speak English back, right? It’s rude to respond in Chinese. I read a newspaper article published in Taiwan about this. It was a “dear Abby” article about a foreign student who came to Taiwan to learn Chinese but everybody spoke English to her and she wanted to make friends. By the end of the year, her Chinese was still very poor and she went home. The “Dear Abby” person concluded that if a person starts a conversation in one language, then it is always the most polite thing to respond in the same language. It’s true, right? So if you learn Chinese in Taiwan, and you look foreign, you might find yourself being less than the most polite sometimes, right? Unless, of course, you speak English all the time.

It seems like the cultural norm is for foreigners to speak English. So if you break that cultural norm, is that rude? It’s at least very weird. Any Taiwanese person who sees a foreigner speaking Chinese will think it’s weird.

We need more weirdos in Taiwan. I always enjoy seeing young and old Taiwanese people with blue and white and red hair…and green… and nose rings… and other rings. And, yes, there was this guy in his 50’s with funky blue hair. But should I feel like I have blue hair and a nose ring if I speak Chinese in public? Well, sometimes I do.

So, in conclusion, I think George67 was telling us all to just speak English in Taiwan because that’s what Taiwanese society expects us to do. It’s not our place to learn Chinese here.

right?.. George?..dormez-vous?..

Originally posted by musasa: [QB]How could it be worse? The streets could smell like rotting filth and garbage (cough, New York city)....weirdos and bums could approach you at every corner (cough, San Francisco)...The air outside could be choking with diesel fumes (cough, Manila). Do you really want me to go on?

…and whereas I do appreciate some cities more than others, I’ve yet to find ANY city that is a utopian architectural paradise.


Woah there Musasa. Walk down any street in Taipei - what is it you smell…wait, could it be…diesel fumes? garbage rotting? Yes, I think it is! And wait, oh yes, yes, I smell sewage.

Get real. And how on earth can you compare New York (center of the universe) with Taipei. San Francisco - beautiful - bums approach you? Must be something to do with you. Good grief.

PLUS, your comment about finding utopian paradise is so far off base - I am not asking for architectural perfection - an iota of beauty would be nice though.

You need to get out more if you think Tien Mu is pretty.

Oooh Musasa,

Aren’t we the clever dick? Rest assured, I know timetables outta here by heart, thank you very much. But much to your disappointment I am sure, I will be around here for a little while longer. Work and money making beckons.

No, my home is my apartment, which I love and was built, funnily enough, by a Taiwanese architect who studied overseas (and brought some aesthetic sensibility with her).

Hey - here’s a figure for you…Taiwan had 8.5 million outbound tourists last year but only a paltry 1.5 million inbound. And most of those are business men. Seems even the locals need to leave - A LOT.

Its an ugly city, get over it and admit.

Musasa, slow down. Some bums in San Francisco, yes, but this IS one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

A very quick quote from Yahoo! travel:

“San Franciscans like to think of themselves as less obsessed with money, less riddled with status than those in the south, but San Francisco has its own element of narcissism, rooted in the sheer physical aspect of the place.”

Contrast this to Taipei - a city entirely obsessed with money and material “badges”, and a city that I fear would not be justified in being narcissistic about anything - least of all it’s own sheer physical aspect, ha.

Would you prefer to live in Manhattan or Taipei? - silly question, I think you are twisted enough to say Taipei.

I also concur a previous post, it is a smelly place, so your comparison with NY is erroneous. LA, another one of your comparisons, may not be world’s best city - but at least it has A nice suburb (Tien Mu is NOT a nice place - it is a dump)- you may have heard of them? Bel Air, Beverly Hills, etc.

Just accept it, Taipei IS a complete dump, it’s just a dump that you enjoy living in.

Lol. Musasa must have got his ass kicked in New York by a wanna-be De Niro. Ha, ha, ha!


I wonder when was the last time you were in NYC. Or have you only watched it in the movies. That whole agro image disappeared a long time ago - sure, people are busy (they have a life) and so don’t have much time for idiots aimlessly wandering the street. But they are still helpful and courteous (no less or more than here). As for the De Niro types, you must have just pissed off the wrong guy. Also, in Manhattan at least - there were no bad smells. Did you remember to bathe?

OK, because the mood is a little tense, let’s say some positive things about Taipei(just like on the other thread, where we all love the ugly tiles and green paint, and one scrawny plum tree is like Monet’s garden).

Here goes, I’ll think of 5 things to get the ball rolling …

Wait, I’ll up come up with something…


  1. Taipei is only 75 minutes by Cathay to HK (you just have to get through that 3rd. world airport)
  2. As I have been assured, it is not AS much of a hell hole as it was a few years ago, so although it is a cesspit now, it is one that can ONLY IMPROVE as time goes by (glass is half full and all that)
  3. It has no tourists (as was pointed out on another thread)- this is because there is nothing for them to see. After they’ve spent 20 mintes at Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s Memorial, then what do they do for the rest of the week?
  4. You don’t have to live on the toxic river at Tamshui (see my other post re. Tamshui)
  5. You don’t have to give up your passport or home citizenship to work here, so once you have collected enough little scratches on the wall (1 scratch = 1 day)then you can buy that airline ticket - hmmmmm… (just take a momenet to think about it) one way. After that you can head off to some complete dump where no one wants to migrate to, like say the UK, US, continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand. Mind you, those damn tourists are everywhere, which might spoil your experience.

Thanks Musasa, I feel so much better now. You’re right, you CAN see the positive side of things if you try hard enough, and surprisingly, even about this fair city. I stand corrected.

To the people who don’t like Taiwan:

I’m really really sorry you don’t like it here but for whatever reason, be it job or family or whatnot, have found yourself temperarily or even permanently located here. There are parts of the world(including rural America, most of Africa, and parts of inner Asia)that are so abhorrent to me that I imagine if I had to live there, I would be similarly miserable.

I wish you all the best of luck finding something to salvage from your experiences here so that you might walk away from Taiwan with more than just a box full of bitter memories.

I think he got his ass kicked in NY City. Ha, ha, ha. Lol.

If anyone thinks Musasa got his ass kicked by a wanna-be De Niro on the streets of the big apple, then just say so. We’ll take a vote on whether or not this niang niang chiang de Mesusa got his butt stomped on the Manhattan streets.

I vote: yes, he got his ass kicked

Yes = 1
No = 0


Your feeling sorry for me is more than enough to salvage my pitiful life in this charming cosmopolitan city. I actually agree with you about something (yes, you can get up off the floor now)… I think I wouldn’t like to live in some of the places you described. African countries, like Sierra Leone for example, are not at the top of my list of places to live. Algeria, Afghanistan also. Well, there’s another thing in Taiwan’s favour - it is safe living here.

Oh, my building is shaking with another earthqauke. China is conducting mock invasions of Taiwan at this moment, combine that with taiphoons, morons @ the conrol tower of the international airport, toxic food, air and water, and taxi drivers who earned their licence on the set of Deathrace 2000, and what have you got, oh… Taipei is ugly, boring AND unsafe. I can see why you love it so much.


get real.Taiwan is a really dirty place…do not try to make it into some ancient hidden treasure in the orient… Jolie is right…come here if it serves your needs…just don’t get lost in your starry eyed vision of Taiwan… as I look out my window now I see a dirty shitty city…nothing more…Chinese people don’t really care about it as long as they have food on the table…lots of my friends want to see taiwan more than what it is…maybe cause they live here and would like to make a life here… well where you live is part of the quality of your life… what do most foreigners do on the weekend here… nothing…and then they complain about the place being boring then they spend loads of time cursing the traffic and the food…and then they say they love Taiwan…who are they trying to convince…themselves or me ???

Thank God he’s gone. If that wasn’t one obnoxious fool, then I don’t know what is.

Originally posted by : musasa

get real.Taiwan is a really dirty place…do not try to make it into some ancient hidden treasure in the orient… Jolie is right…come here if it serves your needs…just don’t get lost in your starry eyed vision of Taiwan… as I look out my window now I see a dirty shitty city…nothing more

I wish people would get off this kick of describing Taipei/Taichung/Kaohsiung as Taiwan.
Its like saying “the U.S. is dirty and shitty. Just look at downtown Detroit.” Or “Britain is dirty and shitty, just look at Bradford.” And as for New Zealand… ugh, just look at South Auckland."

Taiwan IS beautiful, but you have to get off your fat asses and go look for the beauty. I guarantee its there. If you live in Bradford or inner Detroit, you’ll have to get off your ass to find beauty just the same.

Hey! What’s wrong with Bradford. Look at these pictures & then tell me what’s wrong with the place.

Where are you from thats so great?
Bradford Views

I just read through this thread. Interesting. I have been to Taipei four times over the last four years for a total of about 9 months. I will move to Taipei next month and stay indefinitely.

Before my first visit to Taipei, I heard time and again that it was polluted, dirtly, smelly, etc. In fact, I don’t think I ever heard anyone say something nice about Taipei. For that reason, I avoided going there for a long time.

When I went there for the first time, I was expecting a hell hole. I found a rather decent city and regretted that I had not gone there earlier.

I thought that maybe Taipei had been rather bad before, but had improved in recent years; that the negative comments I heard before were from people who had not been there recently.

But now, reading this thread, I see that some expats living in Taipei now feel that it is dirty, smelly, etc. Others seem to like the place. It is clear from this thread that neither group is going to persuade the other to their point of view.

Maybe it’s just that – a point of view. A point of view that developed from a very complex mix of experiences, perceptions, personality, etc.

I am looking forward to moving to Taipei next month. Obviously, I am one of those who like it – warts and all. I have no doubt that other people like/love places that would leave me cold.

Such is the strangeness of carbon-based bipeds. (thank you A. C .Clark)

Touche, you caught me out. However, the last time I drove through Bradford I got lost and found myself in a blighted area lit by burning car tyres. If you had some photos of that, it would have proved my point much better. OK, I know there are dirty shitty places in UK that I could better use to illustrate my point. I chose a bad example. Can I change it to Wester Hailes (an estate outside Edinburgh that looks like Taipei after a nuclear blast?). My point remains the same.

Hasn’t anyone who visits this site lived in a former socialist country in Central or Eastern Europe. I did for a bit more than two years and boy, did that suck.

The country in which I lived had ungodly pollution, high unemployment, an extremely apathetic population and gangs representing most Slavonic peoples.

The one thing that the place did have was some examples of Baroque architecture in some of its city centers. I learned how to live with imaginery blinders on.

Here in Taipei, I still wear my imaginery blinders, but am congnizant of the fact that Krakow looks a hell of alot better than here.