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Showing posts with the label taiwanese society

How Is Customer Service In Taiwan? - My Thoughts Before And After Living In Taiwan

Before I went to Taiwan I had a lot of expectations regarding customer service there, mainly for two reasons. First of all, I hated customer service in Europe. Having lived in Italy and Germany for several years and having spent time in Greece, the UK and other European countries, I noticed that across the continent a lot of shop assistants are indifferent or rude to customers. Of course, that is based on my experience and on that of my friends, and it refers only to episodes I witnessed or heard about.  Let me tell you just a few examples. Once my internet provider in Germany changed my contract without my consent. When I went to their shop, I was yelled at and threatened with a lawsuit right away. Later I quit that company, but the point is, whether I made a mistake or not (and I think I did not), they should have cleared up the matter in a nice way instead of being so aggressive.  One day I was in my university cafeteria, and I saw a student leave his trey with food on

Sex Meetings - Taiwan's 'Yuepao'

Sexuality in Taiwan is a controversial topic which highlights the contrast between publicly sanctioned virtue (德道) and actual individual behaviour. As far as women are concerned, Taiwanese society tends to value female characteristics such as faithfulness, filial piety , innocence and submissiveness to men. Many women create a public persona that conforms to such standards, as it is assumed that following the accepted social norms will advance one's prospects of a good marriage and career. However, the reality often contradicts abstract ideals, as the phenomenon of Taiwan 's yuepao shows. Yuepao is a neologism that describes a sexual relationship between two people who typically have met through social media or dating apps (徵友). The term yuepao   (約炮; often also spelled 約砲), is the contraction of the words 約 會 (meeting) and 放鞭 炮 (to set off firecrackers). It can be roughly translated as "sex meeting". 

Sleeping At Taiwan's Eslite Bookstore

Before I went to Taiwan for the first time, a friend of mine told me that if I ever wanted to date a classy, clever and pretty girl I should visit Eslite Bookstore in Taipei. It was not until I arrived on the island that I realised what he was talking about.  Eslite stands out for its stylish design, wide range of English and Chinese books, and its customer-oriented service. Many people spend hours there reading books, sitting on chairs and armchairs, and even on the floor. The staff will leave you alone, no matter whether you buy something or not. Basically, Eslite is half public library half bookstore.  Some Eslite branches are open 24-hours and have their own cafes and tea houses. They have turned into actual entertainment centres for people who like to read, need to read, or pretend to like to read. There are all kinds of customers: you see families, couples, groups of friends, people who are absorbed in a book and those who stroll around leisurely and, most importantly

Why Taiwanese Media Are Talking About McDonald's Doll-like Waitress

On June 27 Taiwanese blogger RainDog posted pictures of a cute waitress  who works at a McDonald's in Taipei. The images soon went viral and were shared on  Taiwan's media .    【吸睛!麥當勞店員酷似洋娃娃 超夢幻】 http://t.co/PSE9pSKwVb pic.twitter.com/pPlSzptCo1 — 中時電子報 (@tw_chinatimes) July 9, 2015 The girl's name is Xu Weihan and her Facebook page has over 60,000 likes.  Xu's media notoriety is another manifestation of some phenomena I already described in previous posts.  First of all, her 'cute' looks correspond to a popular beauty ideal: girls have to be child-like, feminine, gentle and innocent; on the other hand, they have to be pretty and sexually attractive.  Read: 'Pretty, Innocent Asian Girls': The Cult of Cuteness in East Asian Societies Secondly, this 'Lolita-like' appearance is used in the context of a competitive market economy, in which beauty attracts customers and publicity. Therefore, the right behaviour and looks

Don't Anger Your Taiwanese Wife or ... Face the Consequences!

Are Taiwanese women submissive and passive, innocent and cute , as some people suggest? The following story, although extreme, seems to prove the opposite. As Apple Daily reported, on Chinese New Year a man surnamed Liu went with his wife to visit her family in the southern part of Taiwan. On February 21st, while the couple were returning to their home in Taichung, they had a quarrel. The man decided to stop at a service station in Gukeng, a township in Yunlin County, to try to ease up the atmosphere a bit. But his wife was so furious that she took his money, wallet and phone, and just left. "Find a way to go back home, if you can!" she reportedly said as she drove off the service station, leaving her dumbfounded husband alone and penniless. Without his money and mobile phone, Mr Liu could neither pay for a taxi nor call friends or relatives to help him. Nevertheless, he asked the staff of the service station to call him a cab. He explained to the driver what ha

Taiwan, Breathtaking Miniskirts and the Wrong Laowai

I am not a big fan of hiking, but I love to take long walks in the city, where I can observe people and see interesting buildings. If I have to go somewhere, I usually go on foot instead of taking the MRT. Yesterday evening, too, I walked from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to Xindian. Before going home I went to Family Mart because I needed toothpaste and milk. While I was looking for the things I wanted to buy I suddenly saw a girl, one of the many girls one sees in Taiwan who will take your breath away. She looked young (I would guess between 18 and 20, but here you never know, she might have been 30, as well). She had a petite, slender body, and long dyed brown hair. Her clothes were simple and reflected the common and to me inexplicable Taiwanese habit of wearing winter clothes on the upper body and summer clothes on the lower body.  In fact, she wore a black hooded sweatshirt, which definitely suited yesterday's cold and windy weather. Below she wore a tiny, really ti

Taiwanese Policeman Killed by Mob Outside Nightclub in Taipei's Xinyi District

On September 14  Xue Zhenguo (薛貞國) , a 38-year-old police detective, was beaten do death during an altercation with several members of a criminal gang near  ATT 4 FUN , a shopping mall and recreation centre in Taipei 's Xinyi District . According to ' Apple Daily ', the causes of the incident date back to September 13, when a man named Zeng Weihao (曾威豪) , his girlfriend Liu Xintong (劉芯彤), and three other people went to  SPARK , a famous nightclub inside ATT 4 FUN. Customers at a nearby table complained that the group was too loud, and a fight broke out between them. The nightclub's security intervened and forced Zeng and his friends to leave the premises. Zeng was enraged and vowed to settle the score. " We are from the Hetang *," he said, " we'll teach you a lesson ." *( 和堂 , pinyin: Hétáng, is a subgroup of the notorious Bamboo Gang , one of Taiwan's most powerful criminal syndicates) The 28-year-old Zeng Weihao immediately wen

"Little Thirds" (小三) - Taiwanese Businessmen and Chinese Mistresses

One day I went with a friend of mine to a nice coffee shop near the campus of National Taiwan University. I don't know how or why, but we began talking about family values. I don't recall the details of that conversation, but one scene I remember vividly as if it had happened yesterday. She smiled at me and said, " We are more responsible ." What she meant, of course, was that Taiwanese people care more about their families than Westerners. I have challenged this view several times, showing that terms like 'love' or 'responsibility' have different meanings in the West and in East Asia. In this and the next posts, I would like to talk about the phenomenon of the "little thirds" ( xiaosan , 小三, also called 二奶), which, as I will show, derives from traditional East Asian concepts of family life. In this post I will tell a few stories of Taiwanese businessmen who took mistresses during their stay in mainland China. In the second post I w

Foreigner Goes Berserk, Assaults Taiwanese Bus Driver

The case of a foreigner that assaulted and insulted a bus driver in Taoyuan has become a major piece of news in Taiwan yesterday. On August 4, a US national of Taiwanese descent named Jason  accused a bus driver of not halting at a stop. The driver, surnamed Chen, claimed that the passenger had not pressed the stop button on time, while Jason himself argues that he did. Jason was travelling with his pregnant wife.  A female passenger sunamed Lin uploaded a video in which Jason can be seen shouting at the driver and threatening him. He can be distinctly heard saying to the driver: "I will f*** kill you, bitch". Jason was furious because the driver had not stopped after he pressed the button. He insulted him repeatedly. The word "f***" can be heard 17 times. Jason also demanded the driver apologise to him. Several elderly people intervened and apologised on behalf of the driver in order to soothe the man who had turned violent and had entirely lost his te

16-Year-Old Girl Uses LINE App to Organise Prostitution Business

As Apple Daily reported, a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl and her boyfriend have been arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police discovered they were using the popular social App LINE to lure customers.  According to the newspaper, 16-year-old Xiaoya [fictitious name] used LINE, an app owned by the Korean company Naver, in order to lure male customers with whom she had sexual intercourse. Because her 'business' was increasingly successful, she couldn't handle it all by herself and decided to find other young girls to work for her.  5 girls, all of them between 15 and 17 years old, agreed to have compensated dating for money. Xiaoya would contact the potential customers through LINE, and then would arrange a meeting with one of the girls. Each client paid 3000 NTD (around 75 Euros), of which Xiaoya took 50%. Xiaoya's boyfriend worked as a pimp and bodyguard for the girls. However, after one of the girls went to the police and claimed to have been sex

Taiwan's Convenience Store Clerk Falls Asleep, Insults Customer Who Wakes Him Up

Yesterday evening at around midnight I went to Family Mart, a big convenience store chain, next to an MRT Station to buy my dinner - a salad, rice with egg, and strawberry soy milk. When I was about to pay, I looked at the shop clerk and saw that his eyes were closed. He seemed to be asleep asleep. 'Ni  hao,' I said. He woke up. 'Ni hao,' I repeated.  He had dark circles under his eyes, and as he was scanning the products and putting them into a bag he moved sluggishly. In Taiwan, they usually give you plastic cutlery, but the clerk forgot it. 'Wo yao yi zhi chazi' (I need a fork), I said smiling. 'Ah, chazi,' he slurred. I also had to remind him to give me a straw and chopsticks.  I'm not writing this post to criticise this guy. Actually, I smiled at him and when he apologised I said it didn't matter. I really understand that convenience store clerks who do the night shift have a pretty tough time. Probably he hadn't slept much befo