Perhaps the person who wrote it meant that Taipei was so good twenty years ago because it had modernised so rapidly (especially in comparison to other neighbouring capitals or large cities), but that (again, relative to them), it has now stagnated and hasn’t moved beyond that to the next phase, which would include cleaning up the pollution, etc.
Usually, the only television I watch is on the Travel & Living channel, and infrequently at best. Anyway, of late, I seem to have caught a lot of shows involving European design (furniture, interior, fashion). There was one part of one show about Vienna and I remembered when I was in Vienna at just how incredible it looks, even only from the outside (though everything else is cool too). I recalled to my girlfriend how one night, I was waiting at a traffic light and there was no traffic in any direction. Many pedestrians were patiently waiting for the light to change. This, along with the physical appearance (and a whole lot of other things) reminded me of how Taiwan is pretty much the complete anti-thesis of much of Europe.
My girlfriend (who is in her final year of commercial design) is a pretty creative sort of person and she’s finding it incredibly frustrating this year because everyone is suddenly getting really square and wants to impress the professors at any cost. She constantly laments the lack of creativity of her peers, as well as the artistic compromises she must make to them in their group projects. She’s also wondering about how she’s going to cope in the world of work as of next year. I suggested to her that once she gets some experience under her belt and learns the extra things she says she wants to know after her studies finish, that maybe she should set up a website and freelance to people all over the world because they might appreciate her more. It also struck me that she would really love living in Europe.
Living in Taiwan is at times hellish for us foreigners, but to a fair extent, we chose/choose to be here, so we can make our peace with the bad things. For those locals who are remotely different and don’t want to follow everyone else, it must be simply terrible, especially since many don’t have the opportunity or ability to get out.