Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2013

Life as a Foreigner in Taiwan - Of High School Students Interviewing Foreigners

In my post about my first impressions after coming back to Taipei from Hong Kong, I mentioned that sometimes Taiwanese high school students interview "foreigners" (meaning, I guess, Westerners) on the street. This is a kind of school assignment in Taiwan which is apparently very popular.
Well, today it happened to me again. I was sitting at Yamazaki, on the campus of National Taiwan University. I was studying Chinese; two days ago I bought a silly book at 7-11, called "這次是我愛上妳" (This time it's me who's fallen in love with you). I chose it because the books from regular bookstores are too difficult to read, and the other books from 7-11 are manga or horror books, which I don't like. So I simply picked this one.  As a man, I feel pretty ashamed to read this sort of stuff which is obviously made for a female audience; but anyway, back to the topic.
I was studying Chinese, when suddenly I saw three people, a guy and two girls, coming towards me with bright sm…

Taipei's Umbrella Thieves

Taiwan is a very rainy place. Downpours can be heavy and last not only for a whole day, but for several days without interruption. 
Many shops and public places have at their entrance umbrella holders. It is a common habit in Taiwan to put one's umbrella into the holder before entering a store or other indoor areas. The purpose of these umbrella holders is - I presume - to prevent the floor from getting dirty and slippery. This might be a rational idea, but this habit has a very annoying side effect: Umbrella thefts.




Apparently, there are nice people who, having forgotten their own umbrella, believe that they have the right to take others'. It has already happened to me three times that my umbrella was stolen ... Okay, umbrellas are not expensive, so this is definitely not going to ruin me financially. Nevertheless, I find it extremely irritating. First of all, it is a matter of principle: This is my umbrella and I don't want anyone to take it from me without my permission. …

Two Months in Hong Kong - And Back to Taipei

After spending two months in Hong Kong, on Saturday I came back to Taipei. Since I had already lived in Taiwan for more than a year, I decided that it was about time to try out something else, and I chose Hong Kong. Some friends of mine asked me why Hong Kong. "There is not much to see," one of them said. "I spent there a day and visited everything. You will get bored", said another. Still, I do not regret 
The Feeling of Coming Back To Taipei
After living in the bustling, supermodern, vibrant Hong Kong, coming back to Taipei felt like going from a big city to a town. Not that Taipei is small, but it just feels like that when compared to the gigantic cosmopolitan financial centre that is Hong Kong.
Interestingly enough, Hong Kong, despite being part of China, feels far away from it. You hardly hear any Mandarin on the street, and, as I explained in my previous post, Hong Kong has a local identity distinct from mainland China's. Until 1997, Hong Kong was a cultural…

Hong Kong After 1997 - The 'Hong Kong Identity'

"How has Hong Kong changed after 1997?" - this is a question that many foreigners who come to Hong Kong ask local people. The transition from British colony to Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) was one of the most symbolic events of the last century and a major historical change witnessed by millions of people all around the world through the media.
Until 1997, Hong Kong's history was deeply entangled with the history of the British Empire. One may say that without the British Empire, Hong Kong as we know it might never have existed. Hong Kong has been one of the most astonishing and successful colonial experiments, and one of the most amazing blends of different traditions and cultures the world has ever seen.
I shall argue that 1997 did not simply mark the end of British colonial rule. It rather signified the shift of Hong Kong from a unique place that had been built upon the mix of different elements and outside of nationalist, economic or political ideologies…

Hong Kong's Skyline, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon Clock Tower

One thing that every tourist should do before leaving Hong Kong is to cross Victoria Harbour by ferry. Ferries go regularly from Central Pier to Tsim Sha Tsui, in Kowloon peninsula. Tsim Sha Tsui (often called TST by locals) is one of the most densely populated commercial districts in Hong Kong, a major traffic hub and a popular tourist destination thanks to its shopping boulevards - whose luxury boutiques are mostly frequented by mainland Chinese nowadays -  old colonial buildings, high-class hotels, museums and exhibition centres.
However, the landmark of Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon is without doubt its characteristic waterfront promenade, which not only features an old clock tower - the last remnant of a demolished railway station - and the Avenue of Stars, but also boasts a wonderful view of the impressive skyline of Hong Kong Island, the city's financial and business centre.

View Larger Map
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui can be reached both by MTR (change at Admiralty and take the red…