July 1, 2010

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About the young people of Taiwan

Read the same post in Chinese (中文): 我如何看台灣的年輕人>>

I have written about how I see Koreans and another post about Korean women, but I've never took the time to write about the Taiwanese, the people who became so close to me. There can be so much said and written about them, that I think I could write several posts, but I'll try to write down the most important things here and focus only on those who are this country's hope for the future: Let's talk about the young people of Taiwan.

Oh, Taiwan: The funny thing about Taiwan is, that it is an independent state and at the same time it is not an independent state. It has its own government, own military, own history, own currency, own culture... basically everything that an independent state should have. However, Taiwan (officially Republic of China) is not internationally recognized as a sovereign state and communist China claims that Taiwan was merely its province and constantly threatens with war, should Taiwan proclaim itself as a fully independent state. And that puts Taiwan and its people in a kind of a precarious situation: Everything is unclear, everything is contradictory, but people still find a way to live and survive in this surreal political situation.


The past: Taiwanese don't only suffer from the long lasting political conflict between Taipei and Beijing. Inside their own country they are a greatly divided nation, especially the north with Taipei, which is said to be more pro China and the south with Kaohsiung, which is said to be more pro independence. You have to know that Taiwan used to be part of Qing's China in the past, then part of Japan for 50 years, and after World War II, under a military rule of the Chinese nationalists. In 1949 some 2 million nationalists from mainland China, who retreated from the Communists while fighting for the power over whole China (read more about Chinese civil war), came to Taiwan to establish what was initially meant to be a temporary state. Their leader generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was determined to one day return to Beijing and become the president of whole China. But that did never happen. He merely remained the president of Taiwan and its outlying islands, which he saw as the continuation of the in 1911 established Republic of China. He died in 1975 and a temporary solution became a fully functioning state with its own identity. You have to know that most Taiwanese suffered under Chiang Kai-shek and his nearly 40 years long lasting martial law that limited people's freedoms (read more) and forced them to speak Mandarin instead of their native dialect Taiwanese. Taiwan turned into a democracy in the late 1980s and transformed quickly to a modern bustling economy and a high-tech nation.

So here you have a nation, that went through so many changes in the past 100 years and all these factors are important to understand the young Taiwanese people of today.

Modern Taipei: Xinyi at night.

The present Taiwanese: The young Taiwanese of today were born during the democratic era, which makes them very different from those older folks who experienced a lot of hard times in the past. Taiwan today is a successful modern country and its young people are seeing things with different eyes than their parents. Most young and educated Taiwanese speak Mandarin, while the older generation or people from the rural areas usually speak Taiwanese. Politically the young people are much more pro-Taiwan and less pro-China than the highly divided older generation.

Young Taiwanese want to be seen as Taiwanese first, but they know that they also belong to the Chinese culture, which one of the biggest and oldest cultures in the world. However, the way of life in Taiwan is closer to that of South Korea and Japan rather than to China. While not having Japanese blood, many Taiwanese would proudly say that they admire Japan, it seems that the past atrocities of the former colonial superpower have not left a lasting mark on Taiwanese people.

Sexy promoters in Taipei working hard. Taken in Xinyi.

Taiwanese are hardworking. It seems that work and family are the two pillars of their society. Respecting the elders is a must and working all day, even over time is expected. I think the latter might be a problem, because life shouldn't be only about pleasing the boss and pleasing the family. In recent years many young Taiwanese go their own way, do crazy things like one blogger, who went to Paris to kiss 100 strangers and blogged about it. Things like that stir are still controversial in Taiwan, while in Europe we merely chuckle about them. But that's because Taiwan is still in a transition. The top-down society is loosening up, being individual is slowly becoming acceptable. It's not always and everywhere, but it's not a taboo anymore.

There are thousands of albums of Taiwanese girls on Wretch (source).

Speaking of blogging, young Taiwanese love to blog or share their photos on websites such as Wretch, Pixnet and Roodo, which are massively popular. It seems that, if you don't have a Wretch account, you're not cool or up to date. And young Taiwanese take blogging very seriously. Unlike me and some of you, who sometimes write random nonsense (no offence :-P), Taiwanese bloggers mostly write very well-elaborated posts about make up products, fashion, travel and food. Many of them get paid for the reviews they write and some of them are so popular, their blogs get millions of visitors and can enjoy a good life merely from blogging. They become celebrities, who advertise products for a lot of money, travel to places for free and write about their fabulous lives... and most of their readers admire them.

Some of those famous bloggers are: IllyQueen, Cwwany, Bajenny, Onion_club, Amaryilliss, Milktea, Off60, Christabelle and many more. However, the two most popular blogs are PlayPcesor and Briian.com and are owned by guys, who write about computers and software. Check a list of the most popular Taiwanese bloggers here.

Lily's Murmur, my favorite Taiwanese blog
My favorite Taiwanese blogger is Lily Chen.

Interests and hobbies. Usually the young guys are into computers and photography, while most girls are into fashion and make up (no surprises here, right?). And all young Taiwanese are crazy about food. Food in Taiwan is like a holy thing: It's everywhere, it's worshiped and it's highly enjoyed. Young Taiwanese love to recommend restaurants, night markets and hawkers. When it comes to food, everyone's a food critic, people distinguish between poor and excellent food and usually demand the best quality.

Of course young people love to party, too. There are many awesome clubs in Taipei. If you want to see some amazing photos of Taiwan's night scene, check Steven Vigar's clubbing in Taiwan. But unlike in the West or Korea, young people usually don't get drunk, which is very pleasant. And Taiwanese are a nation of singers. They love to go to Karaoke bars (KTV) or even take part in several singing competitions on TV, that are similar to American Idol. Taiwan is full of young talented singers. Do you remember Lin Yu Chun? Just few months ago he became famous with this stunning performance.

Girls and guys like them are common in Xinyi, Taipei.

Back to fashion: Fashion is huge in Taiwan, but I should rather say Taipei. When you go to big cities like Taichung or Kaohsiung, fashion is still important in some parts, but Taipei is something else. And many young people, who come from all parts of Taiwan to work in Taipei start to dress up well, girls use more make up and dress more womanly. Taipei is not only the administrative capital, it's also the fashion capital. Although Taiwan is a fairly small country, it's very diverse when it comes to fashion and styles.

A Taiwanese couple in Xinyi. Taken in Feb 2010.

Teenagers in Ximending (Taipei) are famous for having crazy styles.

You can also see lots of fashionable guys and girls in Ximending.

There are so many different types of young Taiwanese guys and girls, it would need a lot of research to define all of them. You can see young lorry drivers, who chew betel nuts and don't care much about how they look like, to neat and clean guys in suits, who look like movie stars. They're probably the upper class and highly educated, well mannered and well traveled. I'll let other bloggers write about Taiwanese guys, I rather focus on... you know who ;-)

Taiwanese girls love to dress sexy, but not trashy. High-heels are a must (source).

When it comes to girls, it's a bit different. Most Taiwanese girls in and around Taipei take good care of themselves and that consists of a healthy diet (most girls are very slim), using various beauty products like creams and masks and a dress very womanly. You can see a lot of girls in high heels, skirts and stockings walking on Taipei's streets or riding scooters. Oh yeah, you think Italy is "Scooterland"? Come to Taiwan and you'll be totally proved wrong. And trust me, when I tell you, that you'll see some of the most beautiful girls and women, if you ever travel to Taipei, you can be sure of that.


Another thing that's pretty common in Taiwan this year are fake eyelashes. They're much more popular than anywhere I've been before in Asia (and that includes Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Macau and Seoul). Most Taiwanese girls have long straight hair, usually dyed in brown tones, blonde is very uncommon. And so many young girls, especially teenagers love bangs. Sometimes they are so thick, it looks hilarious. This photo comes close to that. Taiwanese girls want to appear young, which leads to a phenomenon, where women over 30 (sometimes even over 40) dress like people 10 years younger than them. And some can even pull that off, because they really look much younger than their age. The "culture of cuteness" (influence of Japan) is very strong in Taiwan. Girls want to be cute, cute is desirable for old and young, so many things can be ke ai (可愛), from accessories to bags, from clothes to watches, key chains and stcikers. Cute stuff makes Taiwanese girls and women happy. And they love to shop online. Online shopping is really big in Taiwan and many girls order things together and then get a big shipment of clothes (usually from China, Japan or Korea), meet up and distribute the clothes among themselves. I've seen that first hand and I must say the girls were very happy. Here are some links of popular Taiwanese online shops recommended by my girlfriend: [Makeup] [Clothes] [Bikinis] [Shoes].

Taiwanese TV at night is often full scantily clad girls.

My impression. How are young Taiwanese really? It's hard to say, I must admit. In some regards they are like other East Asians, in some ways they're same as young Europeans, but they also have some very uniquely Taiwanese traits. In the end, every individual is different and deserves a chance to be judged by their own actions, rather than being defined by a stereotype, be it a positive or a negative one, so take my observation with a pinch of salt.

My experiences: I must say I mostly had pleasant experiences with young Taiwanese. I can give you one example: There was a Hi-Life (a convenience store) near my apartment and I went there daily to buy some food or drinks, usually for my coffee. A nice young guy, probably around 20 years old, worked there and seemed to be excited to see a foreigner coming to his store. It started by him asking, if I was American. And it continued with a kind of a language exchange every day, because he always tried to speak English with me. Once he had given me a straw and then asked, how is that named in English? I replied: "Straw". And he would repeat that and then teach me: 吸管 (xī guǎn), which is the Chinese equivalent. I remember he once called a friend and they showed me a word they did not understand. Guess what, it was "chimney". You have to know Taiwanese don't have houses with chimneys, usually they don't heat during winter like we do in Europe, so I had to explain the meaning to him with a lot of sign language.

Young Taiwanese love to ride scooters.
Generally speaking: Taiwanese are usually shy but friendly in the beginning, but once you get to know them better, they open up and become very loyal friends. I've encountered all kinds of people in Taipei, from those who stared at me to those who smiled at me, even waved to me, like that one guy, who sat beside a temple and saw me taking photos. I remember once a girl in Ximending said hello to me, when I passed by and she caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting something like that, so I just said hello back and walked on. Another time a girl asked my girlfriend, if she could take a photo of us and we smilingly agreed. I once had a young guy helping me with directions, when he saw me being lost and trying to read a big Taipei map.

I think the biggest problem between foreigners and Taiwanese is the language barrier. Even though you can see language schools on every corner in Taipei, Taiwanese usually don't speak English well and foreigners on the other hand don't speak enough Mandarin to be able to have a decent conversation with each other, that goes beyond the usual small talk. Language is always the key that opens the most doors.

Young people in Hsinchu love to gather for rock concerts.

I will continue to learn Mandarin and continue to make friends in Taiwan, because I think they're great and generous people. I'm very hopeful for Taiwan's youth and the future that lays ahead of them.

If you have anything to add, what I have missed, please comment below. Thanks.

45 comments:

  1. very informative post! i missed your travel-related ones =) btw did u get the invites for my blog coz i switched it to private about a week ago? the ninoart invitation says still pending on my permissions list?

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  2. Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles !!!!! :D

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  3. *gets over excitement over bubbles*
    my favourite taiwanese blogger is Lilychen too :D

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  4. @Kit: Oh, I just saw you closed it. I didn't get any invitation, sorry :( Can you resend?

    @Manju: Haha.. good one :)~

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  5. Wow this was very long to read but really interesting. It's a shame we don't know almost anything about Taiwan and it's a shame we don't gather information, this is why I'm happy to read you... I learn a lot! Thanks!
    He is cool yes!!! Who said the contrary???

    ;-)

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  6. @Daisy: Yeah, it was long, but I had to include everything noteworthy :) Thanks for reading and yeah, he's cool, I said that to those, who may think he's not ;)

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  7. Great post =) [in fact I like all your post about Taiwan]
    Thank you for all the info. I learned a lot about Taiwan.
    did I mention that I absolutely L.O.V.E watching taiwanese dramas! :D they are the best! XD

    btw how different is taiwanese from mandarin?

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  8. @Amogh: What exactly?

    @Tine: Thank youuuuu :D Finally someone who likes them, haha. I agree, the dramas are pretty good, my gf loves some of them, too. Taiwanese is different, it's a whole different language, if you ask me. It sounds rough to me, while I feel Mandarin sounds graceful. But my gf says Taiwanese can also sound graceful, if spoken properly. Most common Taiwanese speak it proudly, usually in factories, markets, villages, while in school and in official matters Mandarin is spoken. Also young urban people would speak Mandarin with their friends, but Taiwanese with their parents.

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  9. with a nation boasting so many pretty girls, a man must have a smile a mile wide on his face!

    (or maybe a nosebleed if the man is Japanese, i understand?)

    you speak very highly of the whole country and i'm sure they'd be delighted with you!

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  10. @Adamantixx: Taiwan is indeed a country with many beautiful women and since I'm a loyal boyfriend and a real gentleman, I ogle and enjoy their presence, but I don't do anything more. So far I did not experience any nosebleeds, I guess I'm not Asian enough xD Kidding. My girlfriend told me, that she read Taiwanese forums and many girls express their admiration for me and how passionately I blog about their country. Some have foreign boyfriends, who don't show a lot of interest in their culture, some don't even like their food. I think the latter is a crime and should be punished. There's some best food in the world in Taiwan, I can guarantee you that. And forget my frog, chicken testicles and snake blood posts. That's not mainstream :P Anyway, I'm rambling, haha.. You've got my points, I'm sure. ;)

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  11. A very informative post! I have to acknowledge right of the bat that my knowledge about Taiwan and China, Japan even, is very limited. We have bloggers here to that make a living blogging, don't you Slovakia? Here they become like celebrities, it's big business!

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  12. That's great that you love Taiwan, the food and the culture :) It's important to feel welcome in a foreign country - I can only imagine how lonely and scared I would get if I were to move to another country for anything longer than say a week's stay :\
    Haha - that must have been very interesting to explain to them what a chimney is considering they don't have chimney's there and there's a language barrier!
    Not many scooters or smart cars here in Toronto. I think Canada and USA is the land of cars and SUVS :) I love SUVS!
    Fake eye lashes and big circle contact lenses are all the craze with Asian girls. I've caved into the fake lash trend since December and I'm addicted hehe So is dying your hair a lighter shade to brown.
    And I guess so is skin whitening over there - not here of course since we like to tan.
    So how are you learning Mandarin? Have you bought books to help you? Or do you converse with friends/your girlfriend? Will you take any classes? I don't speak or understand Mandarin at all. Learning languages has always been a weakness for me :(

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  13. this is extremely elaborate. lol i really like your view on taiwan & everything that comes with it.

    most importantly,

    that stiletto in the photo of that model is EXTREMELY HOT. I want one. ahah!

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  14. I learned a lot from reading this post. I love how they do their eye makeup. Just wondering, you seem to know a lot about Asian girls. If you were in a room full of Asian/Oriental girls, would you be able to identify which one is Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Taiwanese? =)

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  15. @Carina: Slovakia? O.o Did you forget this post? Naughty, naughty ;) No, we don't have celeb bloggers here, who could live from blogging. Usually they have other jobs. But who knows, maybe there are some, I just don't know them :)

    @Karen: I have books, but best way is to speak with a native speaker. Chinese is so hard to learn from books, you need to develop an ear for those 4 tones, that are still incredibly hard for me to distinguish. My gf helps me most with learning, yeah. But lately I've been neglecting it.

    @Ejann: Haha.. well, you're not the only one who is crazy about these shoes. So is my sister and my gf :P

    @Mel: Yes, I can distinguish Chinese, Japanese and Korean pretty easily, but Taiwanese and Chinese can look very alike, I mean the features. They can only be distinguished by the clothes they wear, because girls in China and Taiwan usually have different fashion styles :) How about you? Could you identify a Japanese, Korean and Chinese person? :)

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  16. I love this kind of post. It is very informative and with the unique MKL touch.

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  17. Hi, MKL I heard about your page through your girlfriend, Lily's post.

    I can totally see your passions in the Asian cultures and the goal of bridging between the West and the East. How wonderful!!

    I want to make one clarification about the Taiwan/R.O.C. history, though. R.O.C. was actually established when KMT ruled and defeated the Japanese in Mainland China. Then, CPM (the current communist government of China) raised and forced KMT to flee to Taiwan and resided R.O.C here. It is not true to say that KMT fled to Taiwan and then established R.O.C. in Taiwan. There is actually a more complicated version of the story but we'll just stay simple here, as long as it doesn't defeat the truth. :)

    ps. wretch has a lot of guys too...It's the most popular free blog provider in Taiwan. ;)

    Last but not least, I want to say nice to meet you. Hope to see more entries from you about the Asian you observe. Keep up the good work.

    ----------------------Rainy

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  18. @Angel: Thank youuu :D

    @Rainy: Hello, nice to meet you! ^_^ Sorry, I should've been more careful about that history part, you are right. I changed "fled" to "retreated", seems more appropriate. And I've studied the history of the Republic of China, I know it has been established in 1911 by Sun Yat-sen in what is today the Chinese Mainland, but its remains are now what we call Taiwan today (with some other islands like Kinmen and Matsu). The thing is, I wanted to write the history part as brief as possible, but how can I do that with Taiwan, haha. So many things happen, it's nearly impossible. After your comment I added few things, but I really want to keep it short, cuz I know my readers know I'm not a historian, but I still want it to be accurate nonetheless. Thanks for correcting me and I hope it sounds better now. I provided a link to "Chinese civil war", readers can get better info there, if they're interested. Anyway, I know Wretch has guys, haha. But you must admit, they're in the minority, hehe.

    Oh, if you can read traditional Chinese, you should this post here, it's about my observation of Korean women in comparison with Taiwanese :) There's also an English version of the same post. Btw, where are you from?

    Thanks for the compliments, I appreciate it :)

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  19. Thats one country I don't think about very much. Thanks for the insight!

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  20. @MKL: THAT was a keyboard slip up up an nothing else!! You know how I always put letters in the wrong places, I seriously need some secretary lessons, or maybe just a secretary to do a spell check.. OK, fine I'm guilty! I mix them up from time to time.. :(

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  21. Wow. I love this post! I've seen a few Taiwanese TV series and I love some of them. I like their fashion. I agree, they can dress sexy without looking trashy. Taiwan is actually one of the places I'd like to visit. Plus, I love Jerry Yan. Haha.

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  22. This post is the one of the best articles which describes Taiwan so well, you did good job again. Would there be any possibility that you can't do good jobs one day? I don't think so, the gene of doing good jobs is already under your skin, hehe.

    Although I am the main information source of Taiwan knowledge, but I should say that you do really have great observation, and always take things in an impersonal way, that's really precious and noble. I am so proud of you, even more and more.

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  23. don't know if my previous comment posted... i closed teh comment box before confirming. oops!

    but what i said was you seem to have taiwanese people pegged from what i've heard so far. very informative!

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  24. Chinese don't usually speak English in general much like Japan.. language barrier is the number one problem.

    Even Jacky Chan, Jet Li, and few others learn English language when they started filming in Hollywood.

    The new dude who have to learn English for the next big, soon to be release movie next year was Jay Chou.

    Like you mention about Taiwanese girl and their make up... The are just awesome! I sometime watch "Guess Guess Guess" and you know how they get those girl to do make up and surprises us with the super model look.

    I love their appearance, look cute and fashionable just like the Japanese girl do.... I am so in love with the culture... sexy skirt and stocking sexy blouse and etc... They are just just too lovely to describe!

    enough said, I want a girl friend like that!

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  25. @MelRoXx: You're welcome.

    @Carina: Hahaha... no worries :) First it was a mistake, then you admit mixing up? LOL. Anyway, you Swedes are so funny :P

    @Gnetch: Oh, you're a Taiwan fan, too :P

    @LilyChen: Thank you so much for your praise and compliments. I do have the best source, which is a lovely sweet beautiful Taiwanese girl. And yes, my observation skills are also good :-P

    @Linda: Hehe.. guess it wasn't published, sorry on behalf of Blogger.com :P Yes, I have them pegged, woohoo :)

    @Netsterzzz: Wow, you really like Taiwan, so good. One day we need to go around Taipei, I will bring you to night markets and if Lily allows, we can go picking up girls for you at Ximending ;) I'll talk to them, you only need to treat them Ah Zong's thin noodles :-P

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  26. i hate it when u do this.. write nice stuff on taiwan and make me green with envy and make me love and wanna go thr more, now i guess 5days wont be enuf right?

    i might hv missed some of ur bpost as i was busy. did u manage to get a job? u be staying put thr? and u both will take me ard taiwan when i visit right.... (its not a choice!) hehehhehe

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  27. Ok first of all who is that hot hot babe with the high heels??? She is bloody gorgeous!

    Secondly, the link to the girl with the bangs is inaccesible :(

    Thirdly if i remember it was/is Lily's birthday sometime this week so Happy Birthday to her :)

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  28. @Lily Riani: 5 days is short, I guess you can only stick to Taipei and maybe choose one of the lovely small towns such as Danshui, Jiufen or Wulai to visit. I think you'll have a lot of fun, if you plan well :)

    @Saby: She's a model, I don't know her name, but you have a link of her there. Sorry, those links are weird, first they work, then they don't. I found a new one. And thirdly, my Lily doesn't have birthday these days, her birthday is in November :)

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  29. Your fascinating perceptions of Taiwan must have taken time to absorb so that you could analyse and write about them.

    There are many layers of consumerism both in the family, the life of the city and the internet. Stereotypes,(even ours) abound, and from what you say stereotyping is blatant, stemming from acquiescence to society's and family expectations.

    I feel the thread of 'enjoying the day' not knowing what the morrow will bring. This may well have been subtly passed on by the parents' generations and is probably demonstrated in the activities you see. Is there an unspoken fear about the fragile nature of the Taiwanese style of freedom? Perhaps there are thoughts about Hong Kong and how it pursues its relations with its masters.

    I think that speaking Mandarin - the diplomatic language of the Chinese - is a good thing to be able to do on the world stage, the shifts in global power being what they are. It is also a 'just in case' skill. It will undoubtedly add to the subliminal insecurity of the people of this State.

    Apart from respect people and senior generations, I should like to know what more is known about the parents and grandparents ways of life today.

    Some towns and cities, some transport systems are not accessible to disabled people, you therefore rarely see any. Daily living, centres around the able-bodied. What happens in Taiwan? I have seen how 'imprisoned' people with disabilities can be because they cannot independently move around their immediate environs.

    Your pictures show vibrant and elegant life, a fast moving lifestyle, a highly colourful one, with lots of attractive people enjoying themselves.

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  30. That's a relief, I got a message saying that my comment was too long to process! It all seems to be as written. Weird or what!!!!

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  31. @ZACL: Thanks for your long comment. I must say the subway is well equipped for people with disabilities, same goes for the high-speed train. I think normal trains lack behind in this regard. It's hard to say. Taiwanese are very efficient and the moder parts are wheelchair-friendly, but if you go to some suburbs, it's sometimes hard to walk for people without disabilities, because people extend their living room to the street, place their food stalls and scooters everywhere on the sidewalk. That gave me few headaches in the beginning, because I wasn't used to that. Slovenia is not crowded at all, but Taipei is really densely populated. Space is scarce.

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  32. Your blog is just so interesting. I couldn't help myself to get off my chair.

    I am interested in reading your story since my Love is from Taiwan too. I'll be visiting her in October :D

    I must give you a thumbs up for sharing your experience with us :)

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  33. @Teji: Thank you for your compliments. I'm happy to share and even more happy to see that people like what I had to say :) Wish you best of luck in October :)

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  34. nice, thorough post! thanks for stopping by :)

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  35. this is so true :)
    in fact, I think I am becoming one (Taiwanese youth) =))

    and one thing in particular,
    Taiwanese girls are amazing in make-up!

    I often see those reality shows on tv when some Taiwanese girls transform into a really beautiful ladies *awesome and crazy really*

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  36. @citraningnum: You mean this? :) Oh yeah, they're definitely as skilled as Japanese, if not more. :)

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  37. yeah I mean that :D
    my friend even said (he's Taiwanese): you'll never know the real people till you get her in bed :D

    and he also said, to be (seen as) beautiful and sexy, Taiwanese girls need to be "cold-proof", you see how they still wear hot pants during winter -___-

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  38. @citraningrum: Your friend is right, I can confirm that :)

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  39. Love how you say taiwanese girl love to dress sexy but not trashy! That's right :)

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  40. I interact with young Taiwanese on college campuses where I live and I agree with a lot of what you say. I can usually distinguish people from Taiwan and China usually from their hairstyle or clothing, especially the men. However, it is changing a little as more affluent Chinese study in America.

    The young people do seem very pro Taiwan and I know a guy who blogs about a lot of deep things about himself and Taiwanese society. In the States, many are using facebook as well. They are much more open about themselves than many other Asian societies I believe.

    The first time I met my host in Taipei, he was shy and not confident about speaking English even though he wanted to improve it. He even mentioned he was overwhelmed, which I found an interesting comment because when I was in China and Korea, my hosts never mentioned that early on even though I could sense they were. We became good friends immediately after sharing a meal.

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  41. I've been to Taipei before and I think they speak fairly good English. Since I don't speak Mandarin very well, this has been very useful for me when I visit the north of Taiwan. When I go to the south of Taiwan, I just speak Taiwanese. It still boggles my mind that northern Taiwanese people speak better English than they do Taiwanese. I'm Taiwanese-American (born and raised in the States) and there have been cases where I could speak better Taiwanese than Taiwanese who were born and raised in Taiwan. However, I think this has to do with the history of Nationalist rule in Taiwan which suppressed the learning of Taiwanese, which I guess is the reason why not too many younger people can speak it well :(.

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  42. I am surprised by the sentence "Many Taiwanese would proudly say that...Japanese Blood..." Although I know many older generation would see Japanese good ruler in many aspects, when it comes to blood, I never heard of that, and I think they(descendants of Japanese) should hide when Taiwan is getting closer to China.

    From a Taiwanese living in ChuangHua

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