Pros: friendly people
Thursday, May 13, 2004 20:08
Being Caucasian in Taiwan is like being a member of a secret society
that isn’t secret at all because you’re wearing your
membership card taped to your forehead. Being a part of this secret
society means that other Caucasians smile and wink at you on the
street because they are part of the secret society too and they
have their membership cards taped to their foreheads. Taiwanese
people smile and wink at you on the street, either because you remind
them of their favorite celebrities, who belong to the secret society
and wear their membership cards taped to their foreheads, or they
want you to help them practice their English. At times being a part
of this secret society can be quite enjoyable. At other times it
can be quite strange.
In a particularly peculiar moment, I was jogging in my neighborhood
today and I passed by a kindergarten. The owner of the kindergarten
was sitting inside and must have seen me coming through the window.
As I passed by, she came outside and started jumping up and down
and waving her arms in the air like a crazy person. Not sure what
was going on with her, I stopped to see what was up. I was completely
sweaty, out of breath, and wearing nothing but a sports bra, a pair
of mesh shorts, and my sneakers, and the woman starts asking me
about my teaching qualifications. I explained to her that I am a
teacher, but that I am not seeking further employment at this time.
But that didn’t stop her. She continued to interview me right
there on the spot, asking me about my teaching methods and work
habits, and so on. Finally she told me that she wanted to offer
me a position. At this point I had to put a stop to the conversation,
given my physical state, and I suggested that we meet at a more
convenient time for me, like when I am showered and wearing clothes.
She agreed to let me go but made me promise to come back and give
her my resume in case I become available in the future. As I loped
away from her it occurred to me that I have never been interviewed
for a job while working out before. What a curious thing this secret
Speaking of things curious, have I mentioned the lack of copyright
laws in Taiwan? I haven’t? Well, I can’t say for sure
that there aren’t copyright laws in Taiwan, but I can say
for sure that they are lax, to say the least. This laxness manifests
itself most conspicuously in the coffee culture. If you think the
United States has a lot of Starbucks, you should come to Taipei.
Not only can you find a Starbucks on every corner, you can, without
fail, find four of Starbucks’ competitors on all of the other
three corners. And the best part is that they all have the same
logo…with minor adjustments. It cracks me up, to say the least.