Sunday, January 18, 2009

Waiting for MaDough

As the Taipei Times reported this morning, today is the big day for distribution of vouchers for the vote buying program voucher program (slogan: Enjoying tomorrow's debt -- today!). The Taipei Times noted:
A total of 14,202 voucher distribution stations will be open across the country from 8am through 5pm to serve Taiwanese nationals.

They will also house 485 special counters to serve foreign spouses and residents around the country.
In our town the distribution station for the foreigners was at the local junior high, so my wife and I hopped on the family scooter and headed over to scoop up my share of the government's borrowings.

Despite the long lines (two hours for my wife and daughter!), we got ours because foreigners had their own special table. The friendly foreign police officer there knew me right away, and the whole thing was over in two minutes. An oddity of the rules was that foreign children could not receive vouchers. Hence, my dual citizen daughter, here on her Taiwan passport, got a voucher, but my equally dual citizen son, here on his US passport, could not.

Taiwanese line up for their vouchers.

Vouchers wait for their owners.

My wife models the dough.

Afterwards we went to the local lunchbox place, crammed with customers exchanging vouchers for food, while outside the market resounded with cries of bu zao ling! (we don't give change! [for the vouchers]).


Tim Maddog said...

Despite the suggestion in the notification letter to go in the morning, I went in the afternoon, and there were only about 30 Taiwanese nationals in line. I got mine in about 3 minutes as there were a couple of others ahead of me in my line.

My wife had to go elsewhere for hers, and although she went pretty early, I don't know yet how long the lines were there.

Tim Maddog

comprock said...

Here in Xindian, my wife went to one place and I to another to get our vouchers.

Not bad distance wise, about 1 Km about. In both places, the lines were pretty short when we went around 3:30 PM.

One interesting thing was when the gal took my ARC, she said my name was familiar and asked if I wanted a PRC.

I should of said yes and avoid waiting three years for one.

Can we use the vouchers to pay for our utilities at the quickie marts?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's so odd that relatives of foreign spouses could not receive the vouchers. Just think, if relatives of foreign spouses were visiting Taiwan during these months, they could all go ahead and get vouchers, whose debt will be borne by Taiwanese citizens.

Did your son enter Taiwan with US passport to avoid military draft? I do that too!! What visa is he under?

Michael Turton said...

My son is here on US visa, but not because of the military, but because we sent him to international school and he needed to be on a foreign visa for that.

hzchang said...

then can anyone explain how, according to the news, mr ma was able to pick up vouchers for his daughters who have been living in the US for the past several years? especially the older one holding an american passport?

comprock said...

Considering Michael's son's age, the avoiding military comment is quite funny to me.

On avoiding the military, I thought that NIS was cracking down on folks trying to avoid the service by denying entrance.

Also, at 18 or 21, aren't US dual-citizenships revoked?

reeb said...

Got mine in just a few minutes.

I was thinking about donating it to some lobotomy fund for the financial wizards that think going more into debt will solve Taiwan's problems.

In the end, I used it to pay for my health insurance premium so it went back into the system anyway.

btw, I heard on TV that one of the reasons the police were at the voucher stations was to nab some wanted criminals. Supposedly, they caught 18 people.

Haitien said...

Also, at 18 or 21, aren't US dual-citizenships revoked?

No, under existing law when a dual citizen enters Taiwan, he/she is automatically considered to be an ROC citizen irrespective of which passport is used to enter.

Of course, enforcement of this varies, and its not too difficult for dualies to get themselves classified as "僑居" (expatriate). Expatriate males are not subject to the draft unless they stay in Taiwan continuously for more than 2(?) months. This leads to many "expat" males living in Taiwan, while making short trips abroad every 2 months. Additionally, non-expat males can avoid the draft if they stay abroad till they are over 35 years old.

As someone who isn't exempt, and still has to get an exit visa before heading back to grad school in the US, draft dodgers annoy me. Especially ones who have no real attachment or loyalty to their other country, save as a means of avoiding the draft in Taiwan.

Haitien said...

Just to add, my previous comments weren't directed at you or your son, Michael, and apologize if it might have seemed like that. Studying abroad, I've run into way too many grown adults who hold US passports but know next to nothing about the US, and still run to Taiwan to make use of NIH, vote, or grab vouchers.

For me, the worst are the hardliner native-born Taiwanese/Chinese who are the most vocal about their views of where Taiwan should go, while hiding behind their US passports and enjoying the rights and freedoms in the US, while often times seeking to deny them to those in Taiwan. I'm not privy to the details of your family Michael, but I hope that you will raise your kids to understand both their rights and their obligations on either side of the Pacific. Citizenship based off of a genuine respect and love for ones country (countries) is a good thing, but citizenship simply out of self interest is nothing to be proud of.

Jenna said...

*sniff* Though the voucher plan is questionable, I have to admit I wish I'd gotten one. I pay taxes just like the locals, but because I'm not married to one, I don't get the benefit of the voucher. I still think that if they're going to go all out with this iffy plan, they should include everyone who pays into the system; that is, every working resident.