Monday, September 29, 2014

Ten Things That Taiwan Does Right

Breakfast on the road

The well known expat blogger Carrie Kellenberger recently posted a list of Ten Things That Taiwan Does Right. My personal ten:

1. No guns and no gun cult.
We have a few gun loons, but guns are thankfully strictly verboten in Taiwan. That means that in Taiwan, road rage almost never turns one person into a corpse and another into a killer. Nor do we have the open carry insanity, or mass killings, or guns in schools (WTF?), or the US' vast gun-related suicide death toll. In Taiwan, only gangsters have guns and for them they function largely as status symbols. For me, from a nation where guns cause 30,000 deaths annually, living in a country where the toxicity of guns is held to very low levels is a kind of security that I never knew in America.

2. Universal health insurance.
Taiwan has one of the best national health insurance programs in the world, and its health care is excellent. I often feel a deep compassion for Americans with their clinically insane health policies which are merely a form of disguised transfers of ever more wealth to the already wealthy.

3. Widespread English.
This has slipped under many a radar, but the Taiwan government's steady promotion of English has meant that Taiwan is far more English-accessible than many of its neighbors. And no matter how isolated the community, it has English speakers. Virtually all important signs are available in English, and most government websites have an English mirror. This is a far cry from when I first arrived in 1989.

4. The Rail System.
I ride it three or four times a week. It's marvelous: reliable, safe, fast, easy to use, and offers many payment methods. I love the rail system here and use it several times a week.

5.  The internet.
This country is wired: the internet in Taiwan is relatively cheap, fast, and reliable. One of the most common complaints I hear from my friends who go to the US is the spotty internet there.

6. Rents are cheap relative to income.
Outside of urban Taipei and a couple of other hotspots Taiwan's rents are very affordable. This, coupled with the inexpensive health insurance and relatively low cost of food, means that you can enjoy a good lifestyle on what appears to be a lower income than the US.

7. Local and national government services are often quick and easy
Lose your driver's license? Renewal takes 5 minutes and costs $200 NT. Need a copy of your Hukou minbu? Two minutes, a small fee. Car inspection? 20 minutes. Permanent ARC? Follow the process and there it is. When I hear the horror stories coming out of the US...

8. Low street crime
It is very unlikely that a foreigner in Taiwan will ever be the subject of random violence, mugging, or a kidnapping. In the wee hours you can walk around in the streets or major cities without fear.

9.  Asia is right next door. 
I dreamed of Asia when I was a lad. Now I live it, with inexpensive flights available to every country in Asia. And I am still a lad.

10. Changes are for the better
Taiwan has changed immensely over the two decades I have lived here and followed events. The island is constantly evolving, and for us foreigners, most things are getting better, easier, and more convenient. That is likely to continue for some time to come.

What are your ten?
_______________________
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39 comments:

Anonymous said...

US' vast gun-related suicide death toll

And yet, Taiwan has a higher overall suicide rate.

海伦 said...

During our trip through Taiwan we immediately noticed the friendliness of the Taiwanese. Always eager to help and very polite. Although the Netherlands is a wonderful country to live in I do miss the Taiwanese politeness every so often.

Anonymous said...

Religious freedom and tolerance which you find in hardly any other country in the world!
Unfortunately recently some "Christian" fundamentalist extremists have been trying to change that, hopefully their influence won't increase.

Michael Turton said...

And yet, Taiwan has a higher overall suicide rate.

I knew someone would post that without stopping to think. Here, let's complete that thought.

...imagine how low the suicide count would be in the US if guns were banned.

Eric Hadley-Ives said...

About suicide rates... A significant minority of suicide rates are impulsive. Easy access to substances that reduce inhibitions (alcohol, usually) and a quick and easy means (guns or pills) allow something like a quarter of suicides. This is why having a loaded handgun nearby is so dangerous. James Mercy of the CDC in Atlanta did some good research on this back before Congress stepped in and forbade the CDC from researching links between firearms and violence/suicide.

Anonymous said...

Michael, invoking imagine how low doesn't render your original statement any less incorrect.

Michael Turton said...

My original statement was "vast GUN-RELATED suicide death toll"

Yes, note the presence of that term GUN RELATED.

We can now add inability to read to your inability to think.

Nowhere did I compare Taiwan's overall suicide rate to the United States'.

Read the comment from Eric above.

Michael

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on most issues Michael, but I think you are way off the mark on your gun culture comment. The second amendment is critical for
the people to have the final say-so in government. Without the right to bear arms (concealed or not) the USA would be a fascist nation already. We must have some way to protect ourselves from the encroaching police state. The second amendment was written specifically for this protection.

Secondly, after living here for many (many) years, I find the "Taiwan is the most friendly place in the world" comments to be a bit naive. Sure, there are plenty of kind, decent people here, but I have come to learn that Taiwanese have a real issue with petty jealousy which leads to a back-stabbing mentality.

Third, the national health care is broke. It still exists because every year it goes deeper and deeper into debt. It doesn't help that Taiwanese
who have lived in the USA or elsewhere for the past 30 years come back to Taiwan only for expensive operations when they need it. It also doesn't help that people get 10 different pills for a common cold.

Fourth, although Taiwan is wired, I find it frustrating that most businesses here are still living in the stone age when it comes to online communication. Three brief examples: most international business websites (and government sites) here look as if they were written in HTML 1.0 with broken links, unfinished pages, crappy content & poor navigation. Anywhere else in the world, businesses understand their website is their #1 marketing tool, but in Taiwan they just don't get it.

In addition, Taiwanese still don't understand that it is better to have a short, easy to remember email. (and company domain name). I mean, the internet has been here for 20 years and still many people use emails such as: a1978o0comeonbaby@ms8.hinet.net. Lastly, and my absolute biggest beef, is that I find that hardly anyone answers emails anymore. I run a small but busy import/export company and find it extremely frustrating to get a quotation from anyone in Taiwan. In contrast, when I inquire to a Chinese company, I usually get a reply back within 30 minutes plus follow-up emails a few days later. It's as if the Taiwanese just throw every inquiry into the trash.

Anonymous said...

3 and 5 don't work for me. The English terrible outside of Taipei and in a little village (where I live) there is none. My internet is horrible, and much worse than anything I've had in the States. As far as healthcare, I had one bloodtest and it cost me $70 US out of pocket though I have healthcare, so, I have no idea yet and hope never to find out of it's good or not.

MacDaddy said...

Why are you responding to this guy Michael he's a right wing loon.

Michael Turton said...

Without the right to bear arms (concealed or not) the USA would be a fascist nation already.

LOL.

Gem said...

well, to the people who disagree with Michael, the point of this post is 10 things right about Taiwan. not "why taiwan is such a marvelous Utopia". no place is perfect.

yes, okay, about the suicide rate. but no place is perfect. and it's probably also related to the whole high-stakes pressure East Asian culture thing. i've lived it, studying in a pressure cooker Chinese school here in much relatively laid back Philippines. i thought i had it bad, and when i lived in taiwan for 3.5 years back in the mid 00s, i was horrified to see teens going home at 10 PM after studying in tutorial review centers all night. it wasn't even for a special short period of time for test prep for SATs, it was part of their daily routine schedule.

about the gun ownership. well, i live in a country where guns are legal, and i do believe in the right to own guns. that said, the philippines is a very different kind of country from taiwan, it's lovely in its own right, but in many ways you are on your own because you can't really rely on the police as they're often the ones preying on you.

ideally i believe in a society where everybody has the right to own guns but VOLUNTARILY CHOOSES NOT TO get one because the society makes them feel safe. or if they do feel the need to buy one, it's for sport shooting and not because they need it to defend their lives.

anyway, in the street, especially here in the third world, the best defense is your wits, and next, a knife. not some gun. most gunowners here keep their guns at home or car trunks. i don't know that many people who actually walk around with it on their bodies, so that's kind of moot. and knives are legal in taiwan.

well, the national health care is decent enough for basic care. when i was a living with my ARC there, i paid a small sum every month and was able to get decent dental care and some minor EENT stuff done. yes, the anonymous commenter is right- there's an antiobiotic abuse problem for hypochondriacs with a small cold, but like i said, no place is a magic utopia. hopefully they can progress out of this too.

yeah ok- i agree about the bad company websites. i'd also add a lot of them still use flash. but that's a different issue from what michael mentioned about fast, cheap, and widespread internet access. that's just shortsighted companies sticking with crappy designs that worked decades ago. taiwan isn't the only "advanced nation" with crappy websites- japan and korea are like that too. i've looked at really crappy japanese hotel booking sites that made me shake my head. and korean government sites still use ActiveX until recently when they had to evolve out of that because no sane person uses Internet Explorer anymore.

my theory is that these countries got internet so early and adopted it so early and made websites so early that it's hard to change and adapt. it's really a hassle to make a brand new website from scratch. that's why it seems like many company websites in my nook of the third world seem much more professional. it's a matter of timing.

Mike Fagan said...

It's a bit daft to name 10 things that Taiwan "does" that are "right", but stipulating to the sloppy premise I'd go with (in no particular order)...

1. International trade.
2. Small businesses everywhere.
3. Stable families.
4. Low labour costs.
5. House architecture.
6. Scooters.
7. Public parks.
8. Fruits, vegetables and seafood.
9. Selective law enforcement.
10. Water management.

There are others of course, but it's not easy to judge their "rightness" e.g. the intelligence agencies.

Mike Fagan said...

I could probably bump that list up to 20...

Anonymous said...

We have a few gun loons, but guns are thankfully strictly verboten in Taiwan.

And at any time, Taiwan can become a Province of China when China decides they've had enough of this Tai-Du stuff. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Number ten is key for me. It's nice to live in a civilization during its ascendancy. Things have improved a lot in the 15 years I've lived in Taiwan / Taichung, especially for foreigners. Canada is worse than I left it in almost every way.

Anonymous said...

Number ten is key for me. It's nice to live in a civilization during its ascendancy. Things have improved a lot in the 15 years I've lived in Taiwan / Taichung, especially for foreigners. Canada is worse than I left it in almost every way.

Mike Fagan said...

"I agree with you on most issues Michael, but I think you are way off the mark on your gun culture comment. The second amendment is critical for the people to have the final say-so in government. Without the right to bear arms (concealed or not) the USA would be a fascist nation already. We must have some way to protect ourselves from the encroaching police state. The second amendment was written specifically for this protection."

Like you I also disagree with Turton and the rest on here as I also think that, in principle, firearms ownership should not be prohibited. However, I disagree with your reasoning.

I don't think firearms ownership is defensible on 2nd Amendment grounds that are now anachronistic purely because of the technological progress during the last century. Not that it would ever be likely to get this far, but a bunch of M16s aren't going to help you against an A-10 Warthog.

A better practical argument is that firearms ownership *when combined with sound and politically independent judicial process* reduces your dependency on the police who are (1) a monopoly, and (2) usually (and perhaps consequently) corrupt and/or incompetent to varying degrees.

That being said I think that the social-psychological context of firearms ownership is also critical. Scumbags and idiots owning guns are one thing, the likes of Tam Slick are quite another.

At the end of the day, I don't think firearms ownership will ever happen in Taiwan in my lifetime largely because the political culture is still predominantly collectivist and subservience to force-backed "authority" is still second nature for which we can thank the KMT.

Anonymous said...

First of all, how did thread become a place for gun drivel? Bottom line: Lots of people get killed with guns in the US. Almost no one does here. My kids are safe in public places. QED, now shut your trap.

Now, to the list--some Turton already brought up some are my own. Need more than 10:

1. Health Care. Efficient low cost high quality care.
2. The high speed rail and effective public transport (at least in taipei). Dont have to spend your life on massive 5 lane freeways.
3. Taiwanese understand the role of the free market and the role of govt. Its what libertarians think they're advocating for-limited, reactive police presence in daily life, less taxes, less licenses and red tape involved in opening businesses. Generally laisseiz-faire when it comes to dealing with others.
4. Awesome produce at low cost
5. Realistic views of human sexuality. Lots of outlets for people to conduct secret liasons in private. General acceptance that humans are polygamous and outlets for it, rather than the banal repressed heavy moralizing and media hysteria about it like in the west
6. Rent is cheap, quality restaurants are affordable
7. Free internet everywhere
8. Arguably the most beautiful women on the planet (see #5)
9. Lots of beautiful nature getaways that are virtually unused by tourists
10. Old beautiful temples, especially in Tainan.
11. Very little xenophobia, as compared to other East Asian countries like Japan and Korea.
12. Taiwanese are generally very kind, friendly, accepting people.
13. In general, first world standard of living at second/third world prices.
14. you can live with yourself knowing that your country isn't the #1 earth destroyer
15. Overall pragmatic approach to governace, free of religion and/or the cult-religion of libertarian ideology paralyzing rational decision making.
16. A vibrant democracy with an engaged population politically that actively, especially young people.
17. Fireworks, barbeque and coltrane like horns at public gatherings
18. High quality baseball
19. The glorious East coast and the aboriginal cultures there
20. Stinky Tofu baby!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and yes 20b. lots of small businesses and not everything is a corporate chain store.

Anonymous said...

An armed citizenry is the one thing that would stop China's territorial ambitions stone dead. If only we had a 2nd Amendment.

Jenn said...

Hahahahaha! I agree with everything....minus the stinky tofu... ;) Each to their own. The English in this country has been improving at an exponential rate for the past 13 years. They once used to hide when they saw a Westerner, in fear of having to communicate in English. Now a large number go out of their way to help you, hoping to use what English they have (and it's quite a bit in my region.)

I love this country, it's people (so friendly and helpful, especially when you show interest in their culture and language,) the food (the hours in which we can find stuff, fresh seasonal fruits and veggies (lots of organic and at a cheap cost, at the day market even more,) interesting flavors...,) Chinese medicine, health care, old folks taichi and yoga~ing in the early hours at the park, wonderful festivals....long weekends! (Way more long weekends then in the West.) Beautiful, hot weather with tons of beaches!!! The list just goes on!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anonymous 9:02. Because guns are really effective against missiles.

Anonymous said...

1. Taiwan has a very serious mob issue, and the lack of guns issue spans the police department too, very little to no police has a gun…
2. The universal health care that is provided is being abused by the everyday person, and is depleting the country its funds
3. This is maybe the only thing that has been done right in Taiwan… sad to say…
4. This is also a good one, but only in 2 of the largest cities, money funneled from the smaller regions to build these 2 systems…
5. Also the same issue with 4, internet infrastructure was built only in selected cities, with taxpayer money from the rest of the region
6. Rents are cheap, but decent housing is impossible to afford in most cities
7. Lots of wasted money, because when they are not busy, there are tons of government employees sitting around
8. Low street crime, because everything is either major or organized…
9. Reminder to journalist that Taiwan IS in Asia…
10. It’s getting better for foreigners because the society is catering to the foreigners, at the expense of the locals…

The writer's view is obviously from a foreigner's point of view, there are tons of instability in Taiwan, from a political point of view, as well as a safety point of view, but I suppose the writer has never experienced those...

Anonymous said...

1.Taiwan has a very serious mob issue, and the lack of guns issue spans the police department too, very little to no police has a gun…

>>>Is that a bad thing? it means less people get shot.


2. The universal health care that is provided is being abused by the everyday person, and is depleting the country its funds

>>any time you have a universal system there will be this problem, but if you want to see depleting the country's funds, check out the US system where you have pay 1000's of dollars just for an emergency room visit, and a serious injury will cripple a family financially for life if they're uninsured. The TW system is much more efficient, despite this problem.

3. This is maybe the only thing that has been done right in Taiwan… sad to say…

>>they do a lot more than just English right...

4. This is also a good one, but only in 2 of the largest cities, money funneled from the smaller regions to build these 2 systems…

>>>true. But at least you have it. The US coasts have no light rail system. It's inexcusable.


5. Also the same issue with 4, internet infrastructure was built only in selected cities, with taxpayer money from the rest of the region

>>I travel all over taiwan and i can find a wireless signal anywhere i go with minimal effort, even in smaller areas. Ever been to Japan? Try finding a wireless signal anywhere there. Even in Tokyo, Osaka major cities. TW, Korea way ahead on this.


6. Rents are cheap, but decent housing is impossible to afford in most cities

...renting a decent flat is relatively cheap here. I guess "decent" is the key word, but unless you're trying to find a place in the center of Taipei renting seems affordable.

7. Lots of wasted money, because when they are not busy, there are tons of government employees sitting around

>>>i'd rather have that then the disastrous US system. Take a trip to the US DMV to do something like renew your license. It can take hours. Taiwan is so easy to do things like that. Quick, easy, efficient.

8. Low street crime, because everything is either major or organized…

>>>Maybe, but does that affect anyone's daily life? If it does, i'd love to hear examples.

9. Reminder to journalist that Taiwan IS in Asia…




10. It’s getting better for foreigners because the society is catering to the foreigners, at the expense of the locals…

>>>Come on. How is it at the 'expense of the locals". This seems xenophobic. it's understandable that locals are resentful at times because underqualified foreigners come here and get better jobs than they can, more pay for the same jobs, etc. but that's more due to market forces than any particular 'catering' to locals. I also agree that the locals tend to put foreigners on a pedestal at times when they don't deserve it, but that's an issue to take up with them, not the wai guo ren.

Also the flip side of this is foreigners, no matter how good their chinese is, no matter how much they try to integrate, will never truly be part of the system here. They will always be looked at as a novelty, a foreigner first and a person second. So you take the good with the bad.


The writer's view is obviously from a foreigner's point of view, there are tons of instability in Taiwan, from a political point of view, as well as a safety point of view, but I suppose the writer has never experienced those...

>>>I've lived all over the world, and there is some instability due to economic issues and a worsening class divide, but spend a day in Chicago in the projects and you'll see just how good Taiwan is, even in 'poorer' areas. The writer is right on this one...

FOARP said...

Shouldn't this be "things the US does wrong that other developed societies don't"?

Michael Turton said...

Well FOARP, we do the English part ok. Mostly.

Mike Fagan said...

I dislike having to address people as "Anonymous @ October 2nd, 11.54am" but since they are too lazy to use pseudonyms...

"...4. This is also a good one, but only in 2 of the largest cities, money funneled from the smaller regions to build these 2 systems…"

Are you talking about the Taipei and Kaohsiung MRT systems?

The original point you were responding to was that the rail system in general is good, not specifically just the two MRT systems. The criticism that most rail infrastructure investment is centered in Taipei and Kaohsiung is not true. There has been considerable investment in Taichung, and Zhunan in Miaoli County (and possibly elsewhere). Whilst it is true that many of the rural stations are old and somewhat decrepit - as are many of the actual trains that serve these places, they still perform their essential functions and so replacing or rennovating them would be largely an aesthetic undertaking and therefore, arguably, a waste of money. There's nothing much wrong with, for example, Ershui station in Changhua that could not be fixed by relatively small amounts of money.

Another point worth mentioning is that there seem to be new HSR stations under construction in the counties of Yunlin, Changhua and Miaoli. This may not be cost-effective (I daresay it probably isn't), but when those stations come online it will mean that the HSR will be even more useful for people like me who need to get around a lot.

"5. Also the same issue with 4, internet infrastructure was built only in selected cities, with taxpayer money from the rest of the region..."

Is not internet infrastructure paid for by the ISPs out of their own funding rather than the government out of taxation? I would not be surprised if tax-payer money is involved in one way or another, but do you have a source for that claim?

an angry taiwanese said...

1. public shit houses are many and free.
2. most people can be bought.
3. most ballots can be sold.
4. tangerines, bananas, watermellon.
5. males are not competitive for sex.
6. Taroko National Park.
7. Even Chiang KS also died.
8. Ma YJ will die someday.
9. high speed rail.
10. People don't revolt.

les said...

Things are better for foreigners? Perhaps... if you're the white kind of foreigner. I think the author doesn't know that the vast majority of foreigners in Taiwan are from SE Asia and get treated like appliances at best and slaves at worst.
And even if things are getting better for the white man here, how about the locals? Quality of life for the average Taiwanese is going backwards at high speed and accelerating. What kind of guest only cares for himself and shows no regard for his host?

Michael Turton said...

'''What kind of guest...and not the host?""

Yes, what kind of guest on someone else's blog treats the host with such monumental bad faith?

MSD said...

The National Health Insurance system is not broken. It is under funded, and always has been, and that's mainly a political problem.

Part of the answer is to raise premiums. I know for one I could afford to pay more and would gladly do so. Internally, the system is stretched by shortages of doctors in key fields, and wages need to be to be raised, especially for nurses.

If the NHI fails it will be because the politics have failed it, not because it is somehow fundamentally flawed. But I shake my head in disbelief that anyone would not agree this system is far, far superior to the nightmare found in the USA and other so-called advanced economies.

SY said...

When Fay said that her top fruit is pineapple, Mark said his is mango. Mark turned around and asked me: "What's your top one?"

Do I answer Mark with: "Mine is custard apple" or do I criticize Mark for choosing mango because mango smells too strongly and that Mark only thinks of himself and totally ignores the need of the locals to enjoy smell-free air?

Faun listed her top ten on her blog. Michael followed with his ten and asked his readers: "What are your ten?" It seems that people don't understand the question.

The amount of negativity in the reader response is flabbergasting. Why so negative?

One should be able to find something positive to say about any country in the world, including Taiwan, unless Taiwan is a hellhole.

Come on, "what are your ten?" was the question of the blog posting. What are your ten, then?

That said; here are my ten:
1. Vast area of forests. 58% of Taiwan is covered by forest. (46.67% virgin forest + 11.33% replanted.)
2. Cycling awareness is up and rising.
3. Volunteerism high in daily community life.
4. Efficient public service on village and township level; this is not common in a lot of countries. I am not talking about big cities or central gov.
5. Convenient nation-wide travel and transportation network.
6. NHI with the flexibility of allowing private practices (unlike Canada where patients cannot choose.) As well, NHI covers Han (Chinese) Medicine, which is amazing and probably unique in the world.
7. Biological varieties and diversity, particularly in plants, floras, birds and insects (most notably, butterflies.)
8. Geological varieties and diversity: ocean (flat bed on west coast and deep blue on east + south coasts), lakes, East Asia's highest mountain chains, hills, rivers (big and small) with huge varieties of soils and fossils.
9. Ethnic and cultural varieties and diversity: 16 Austronesian ethnic groups plus Hölö, Hakka and various peoples from China (Hans, Mongols, Tibetans, Manchus, Miaos, Yaos, etc.) plus the new immigrants from SE Asia. All in an island where only 17% of the territory is inhabitable. Yet, overall, people live harmoniously together.
10. Religious tolerance.

Mike Fagan said...

"If the NHI fails it will be because the politics have failed it, not because it is somehow fundamentally flawed."

It is precisely the fact that the system is dependent upon coercive politics that is its' basic flaw. That you can point out this flaw and then deny that any such flaw exists is somewhat ironic.

"But I shake my head in disbelief that anyone would not agree this system is far, far superior to the nightmare found in the USA and other so-called advanced economies."

Your disbelief is well-founded: the U.S. system is a nightmare. In part that is because it is a bad quasi-market system rigged by government, and in part because investment in medical research is far, far higher in the U.S. than in any other country. That doesn't come cheap.

Lincoln said...

Thanks for this list! I haven't been back to visit Taiwan since 2002, and while I speak/understand Mandarin just fine, I've always only gone back with family and were cared for by family, never on my own. Can't read/write Chinese at all, so knowing even a simple sign like "food" or "toilet" will exist should make traveling there alone much more easy.

It's too bad the commentary here focused so much in a negative vein rather than to take away the main point. I'm sure everyone has every kind of opinion about any place you've ever been to - I've lived in Berkeley CA for a few years and the opinions vary widely from "amazing and beautiful place to live, love the cafes and culture!" to "dirty stoner town, oh and don't forget the homeless freeloading college dropouts."

The point is, it's a non-hostile, easy-to-navigate country to visit, and if one is so inclined, perhaps make a more long-term stay.

I'll be sure to visit Taiwan again soon.

Jenna Cody said...

Even in urban Taipei rents are not *that* high if you look a little more - it's only a small minority of apartments, marketed specifically to foreigners and wealthy kids with parental pocketbooks, that are overpriced. We live in downtown Taipei (not near it - in it) and while, yeah, we pay higher rent than some guy in Kaohsiung or living out in Xinzhuang or whatever, we still would never be able to afford a place like the one we have on a comparable American salary, adjusted for PPP. Downtown, three bedrooms, less than a thousand US per month? Try finding that in a comparably sized US city.

Jenna Cody said...

re "the healthcare system in taiwan is broke"

uuuhhhh, you wanna talk broke? Look at the US "system" (if you can call it that). The Taiwanese system costs money, true, but nobody's afraid it's going to go under anytime soon except a few tinfoil-hatters, and its costs are positively modest compared to the money the US "system" hemorrhages.

Why people spew tired, unfactual right wing talking points in this day and age when easy confirmation is available...it'd be beyond me, except those who spew them clearly haven't learned the fine art of critical thinking.

SC said...

As an ABC who grew up in TW...

1) Although politicians love to smear each other with petty attacks, as a whole, the government isn't usually divided on what I consider non-issues. However, looks like KMT is really messing things up these days.
2) Food. Nightmarket. The sheer variety.
3) Safe cities. At least in Taipei, I can walk from one end to the other, be completely safe (except from cars/scooters), and find interesting places in every block.
4) Easy to spread positive behaviors to the entire populace. Examples include recycling, reducing electricity/water, etc. They advertise a pretty girl and encourage you to be like her.
5) Tolerance (religion, race, sexuality, etc), on a macro level. On a micro level, as another person said there is a lot of petty discrimination.
6) Similar to tolerance, high acceptance of foreign culture, although this lightly correlates with a weaker national pride.
7) Multiple rail lines, high frequency buses, and cheap taxis.
8) Lots of 24-hr stores worth visiting.
9) No open-container policy, and nobody carding me when I buy alcohol (I hate it when it happens in a restaurant). I can stroll down the nightmarket with a bottle of beer. Just like in Germany.
10) People are becoming more and more considerate. They clean up after themselves, especially during large gatherings. Say what you will about the Sunflower movement, but it was organized very well. This is connected to #4.

Anonymous said...

While I can easily come up with a list of 10 negative things about Taiwan that can easily overwhelm your 10 items, I will only point out a couple of things.

1. No guns... This is only pervasive in the US and a few other less developed countries. Most develop countries do not share this view. So this point is meaningless
2. Once again, you use your American point of view to think that no other country has Universal healthcare. It maybe cheap here, but you get what you pay for.
3. There are still many places that cannot be accessed without knowledge of Chinese. I bet if you went to most McDonalds in Taiwan, no one speaks English.
6. Rent?? The people who rent are mostly lower income individuals. This is not the general population. Just a foreigners perspective.
10. This is a cliche. Which country does not improve? If at all, Taiwan is improving much slower than it's neighbours

Your perspective if very narrow. You use a foreigner and American point of view to try to reason your points. Some of your points do not reflect the view of the general public. Are you an English Teacher?