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2016 Jun News
10 Patterns to Identify "Repatriates" from Taiwan
1. Melodious waste

You hear the sound of classical music played on the piano: "For Elise". Don't wonder if the "repatriate" takes to his heels, collects all the rubbish he can find in his closer surroundings and runs outside. In Taiwan, the garbage trucks play classical music to announce it's arrival. Just like the younger sister playing the piano next door.

2. Rubbish – everywhere, nowhere

Rubbish bins get a new meaning to the "repatriate", too. While in Taiwan, he was desperately searching for a place to get rid of his rubbish, in France, for instance, the street serves the purpose. But the well-behaved "repatriate" has learned to wait until he‘d find a trash can. In Europe, his search will be done soon, because buckets or containers are everywhere (at least, the street ... ), but in Taiwan, the search can grow into a day-long journey.

3. Avoid epidemics

When you're sick and sleepy, you normally look horrible enough. But if the "repatriate" enters the European metro wearing a surgical mask, he surely will catch all the attention. In contrast, entering a Taiwanese metro, and not wearing a surgical mask but harrumphing a little bit can provoke strong reactions: either people will immediately try to escape from you, or they make it very clear by looking at you that without a mask, you are totally wrong at the wrong time in the wrong place with any human-being present.

4. A very special type of shoe

Taiwanese people love flip-flops - and for good reasons. They are indeed very useful shoes: Your feet will sweat less when the weather is hot, and if it rains, the water can just flow through, so you don't have wet socks and shoes that need like forever to to dry up after a walk through typical Taiwanese rain. And if it's hot? Well, you still wear flip-flops. The "repatriate" has learned about these benefits and added flip-flops as an essential part to his wardrobe.

5. Taiwanese style

Speaking of attire, we should add the most loved accessory of the Taiwanese: The jogging pants. Taiwanese public without these pants is unthinkable. For a perfect shopping outfit you just need to add some beautiful flip-flops and the tour can begin! The typical foreigner will wear his jogging oants a home, at bed or in front of the TV, but the "repatriate" prefers jogging pants and flip-flops everywhere: on the bus, at the supermarket or while shopping in Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Prada. Because of the different climate in countries like France, Germany or Russia, however, the "repatriate" should be mindful of wearing this outfit over there, otherwise, a surgical mask might be needed...

6. Between Ice Age and heat stroke

It's comfortably warm in Taiwan. Theoretically, it also never snows there. To the "repatriate", temperatures below 25°C are being sensed as cold and he will definitely bring a jacket when it goes below 20°C. He also forgot how to deal with winterly freezing temperatures and snow in Korea, Japan, or Europe. Does anyone know where to buy non-slip flip-flops?

7. The one and only umbrella

Another typical Taiwanese accessory is the umbrella. As there is sometimes torrential rainfall in Northern Taiwan, the naive foreigner will try to protect himself from the rain by buying a promising looking umbrella. But the "repatriate" already knows that this practical tool won't possibly survive the killingly strong winds and replaces his one with rain clothes or simply with running fast and coursing loudly. He also recognizes the true functionality of the umbrella: protecting people from tanning. While Europeans try to catch every ray of sun they can get, Asian people do their best to protect their skin with everything they have, especially, by using their umbrellas. This is possible because at 40 degrees heat outside, there’s usually no danger of any wind.

8. No! ....Ehm - maybe?

The word "no" is not really a part of the "repatriate‘s" vocabulary anymore, as Taiwanese people do avoid directly saying "no". It will be replaced by "maybe", "I'll see" or other phrases like these. That's why you'll have to be careful when it comes to dating a "repatriate". He may take your "I'll have to ask my mom" as a no and already have other plans set for the time of your date when you decide to agree on going out together.

9. Hearty and deaf

Back home, the "repatriate" might face difficulties in communicating with others. A typical german handshake or the kisses with his French friends have become totally forgotten. Instead, he will wave his well-developed tennis arm like crazy and scream "hiiiiiiiii!!!" as loudly as possible. You can add a big hug, but remember to respond with screaming "Hi!" When seeing friends off, you repeat that and shout loudly "byyee byyee!" For "repatriates", it is advisable to tell friends and family before the first meeting to buy pain killers for elbows and the wrists, and earplugs in order to protect sensitive ears.

10. Searching for food

It's 3:00 am. Everyone is sleeping peacefully when the „repatriate“ decides on going out for some late midnight snack. Right when he starts wondering why he didn't come by some kind of store yet, as he's already been walking for some time, he finally ends up standing in front of closed supermarket doors. Back home, very disappointed and very hungry, he doesn't find any snacks there either because he's just not used to buying food ahead anymore, as it's usually not far to the next 24/7 seven-eleven or family mart.

“Wait-in-Line” Culture in Taiwan

Have you ever lined up for anything? Queueing for the doctors? Waiting for the bus? You can always see long queues in Taiwan: people here do not only stand waiting for the bus, but also for things like delicious food, clothes, concerts, exhibitions or foreign brands – things which are considered new and popular.

Waiting in line is therefore a very special culture in Taiwan. People like to line up for sometimes quite a long time. For example, people patiently waited for the donuts of the American brand “Krispy Kreme” for around 3 hours. Why is this phenomenon becoming more and more popular? Well - Taiwanese love delicious food all the time, thus, such offers present a fabulous business opportunity for companies and the restaurants! When they declare that the products are limited or there’d be limited time offers, many of the customers would be attracted and willing to wait for them. People are drawn into queueing up for things since they are always curious and eager about experiencing their quality. Even if they don’t know much about what they are queueing for, they often spontaneously join in, and this is the so-called “Bandwagon Effect”. - Free advertisement on the streets!

“Bandwagon effect” means the people are influenced by the ideas and behaviours of the majority, hence, they follow what others did as well. For instance, they may not actually know how delicious the food from a specific restaurant really is, but they will give it a chance and want to queue up for it. Most of the time, they just follow others blindly, believing in that they have jumped on the bandwagon. In addition, the influence of media is very important as well. People love watching TV in Taiwan. As a result, many companies produce numerous advertisements and put them into different programmes such as the TV dramas, and even the news report. The audience would be drawn into the queue for the latest items and then share their experience on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and so on; so as to show off to their friends. This is extremely common for the younger generation nowadays.

Besides Taiwan, many people in other countries love lining up as well. Japan, too, is famous for its “wait-in-line” culture, as people there think this is a good and polite habit. Furthermore, around the world, many fans of the U.S. company “Apple” go queue and wait every single time the latest model of the iPhone gets launched, right? Last but not least, it should be mentioned that queueing up for the things you like is not really a bad behaviour if it is worth waiting. But sometimes, it may be worth considering the amount of time being spent waiting: wouldn’t it be better to do something more meaningful instead?

Taiwan - A Paradise for Vegetarians?

You´ll have heard about it for sure: Taiwan ist the perfect place to be vegetarian. And it´s true. With more than 4000 vegetarian taverns, from small and cheap takeaways to noble upscale restaurants and 1.7 million vegetarians representing around 14% of the Taiwanese population, vegetarism is widely spread on this island.

All these vegetarian restaurants do not only provide a huge and delicious variety of vegetable dishes, but also nearly authentic imitations of meat bouth, in terms of both optics and taste. On top of that, vegetarian restaurants are usually noticeably cheaper here in Taiwan than in western countries.

But how about vegetarian life here at the PCCU, remotely located on Yangmingshan offsides all these specialized restaurants?

First of all, it should be mentioned that the majority of the vegetarians here are buddhists who avoid meat for religious reasons. This is different from, for example, Germany; where especially young students are convincing themselves into a vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle. But here in Taiwan, the vegetarian student is an exception. And finding ourselves being exceptions is thus confirmed by the restaurants close to the campus, that are not used to feeding exotics like us in a manner of serving a well-balanced diet. In many situations, I had to assert that it´s not that easy to live a vegetarian life here on Yangmingshan.

It starts with the fact that vegetarian dishes (or those that can be prepared in a vegetarian way) are not declared as such on most menues. Even Chinese native speakers will have to ask the staff about the details. For foreigners, whose Chinese skills are limited to having learned 素 (sù – vegetarian) and 肉 (ròu – meat) by heart, identifying vegetarian meals on the menue can therefore already become very difficult. The next problem is that there are restaurants which only provide one, two, or maybe, no vegetarian dish at all. Other than the most common side dishes like cooked salad, sprouts etc., that you may order in almost every restaurant, might not be available to the unlucky guest. However, thanks to Taiwanese people’s incredibly helpful and supportive attitude, they try their very best to avoid any customer starving at their tables. So if preparing a vegetarian meal based on the actual ingredients available in the kitchen should indeed be totally impossible, the hungry guest will very likely be escorted to the next restaurant that provides something vegetarian to him or her to enjoy.

However, there is yet one thing that you need to be particularly careful about: It can happen that you will find meat in a vegetarian meal that perhaps landed on the wrong spot during the cooking process. Sometimes, meant-to-be vegetarian noodles will just be cooked in the same pot as the meat. So, remember: "vegetarian" does not also mean "cooked in a vegetarian way".

All things considered, Taiwan does definitely provide a lot for vegetarians, and it can in fact be called a paradise on earth in this regard. On the other hand, you may also have to learn to restrict your expectations in terms of dish variety and possibly also 100% meat-free food, and this, due to its rather remote location on the Yang Ming Shan hillside, is the case here at Chinese Culture University.

Taiwan's Islands

The island of Taiwan is located on the Asian border of the Pacific Ocean. It has a size of about 36,000km² and sits between the Philippine‘s and the Pacific Plate. Actually, the size of the main island is only about 35,000 km², because the remaining 1,000km² involve numerous other islands that belong to the region named Republic of China (ROC). These many small islands definitely are worth visiting while traveling the region.

Jinmen is one of these islands. It is located to the west of Taiwan, only 2km away from Mainland China. It is about 151km² in size and has been opened to visitors as late as in the 1990's. Major parts of Jinmen couldn't be entered for a long time due to a lot of mines. Aside from Taiwan, it is the only island that owns a national university. You can also find a national park there, which was founded in 1995 to protect historical cultural assets. At Jinmen people produce „Kaoliang“, a hard liquor, which is not only exported into the whole world, but also a popular souvenir. Moreover, there is a special good, which is handy too: The „Maestro Wu Knife“. It is made out of wreck warheads of the missile and grenades, which were used in the last mid-century wars. The quality is so exceptionally good that its fame has spread also to Mainland China and many other countries.

A group of 19 islands in front of the coast of the Chinese province of Fujian forms the archipelago of Matsu, named after the goddess protecting sailors and fishermen, who is worshipped all over Taiwan. Legend says that the young woman drowned when trying to save her father from a shipwreck. Her body was found on the shore of the Matsu-island of Nangan, where a temple has then been built in honor of the “Goddess of Heaven“. Like Jinmen, the Matsu-islands have been re-opened for visitors only in the last decade of the 20th century. Still, many places remind of the military past. Apart from this, the quiet little islands invite the guest to enjoy their peaceful tranquility.

Between April and October is the best time to visit Penghu. Penghu is an island region spreading 50km away from Taiwan's west coast, consisting itself of a group of 64 islands. During the 16th century, the Portuguese discovered Penghu and its numerous fishing men who lived benefitting from the great occurance of fish. This was the reason why they called Penghu „Pescadores“, which is the Portuguese word for „Fishermen“. Today, there are still a lot of fishing activities you can do at Penghu, furthermore, you can do a lot of different kinds of water sports.

Lan Yu is a volcano island in front of the south-eastern Taiwanese coast. In 1947, the genus „Phaelenopsis“, which belongs to the family of the orchids, was intensely spread all over the island, which is why people called it „Orchid Island“. At Lan Yu lives an indigene people of the austronesian language family, called „Tao“. They earn their money by fishing, so the traditional „canoe festival“, as well as the „fliying-fish-festival“, are very important to them, and famous all over the world. Every year, these festivals attract a lot of tourists to come and visit the island.

Besides Jinmen, Matsu, Penghu and Lan Yu, there are many other beautiful islands, which do not only have their own special, worth-seeing attractions, but also a lot of cultural, economical and regional features. It's definitely worth it to go there and visit every single one of them!