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Showing posts from January, 2013

Love, Romance, Duty: Marriage in Chinese Culture

Yesterday I stumbled upon an interesting blog. A girl asked for advice on whether she should stay together with the man she loved, or break up with him because he wasn't  well off. It was the same dilemma I talked about in one of my earlier posts: Is bread more important than love? 
Someone replied to her question, saying: "結婚是兩個家庭的事,不是兩個人的事", which translates as follows: "Marriage is a matter between two families, not between two people."
Although this person's opinion cannot be considered as universally accepted by all Chinese, it nevertheless shows one of the most distinctive traits of Chinese culture. To Westerners who are not familiar with China or Taiwan, it is very hard to understand this point, because our own concept of love and marriage is exactly the opposite. We see marriage as a union of two individuals who decide that they want to spend their lives together. 
I decided to write this blog post to share with you my experience on this issue and …

Snow In Europe

Snow looks poetic. White, quiet landscapes, Christmas feeling and children playing on it - that's what we associate with the idea of snow. Some people love snow. Others - like me - love it only when they see it through the closed window of their home.

A few weeks ago, a heavy snowstorm raged in large parts of Europe. One morning, I opened the door of my house and there I saw the whole street covered in white. My feet sank into the snow up to my knees, so deeply that I could not walk.

Except for the cold, which may or may not bother you as much as it bothers me, snow can cause a range of problems. Even after the snow was removed, salt and sand had been strewn on the pavement, iced spots remained, which were extremely slippery. And in the morning electricity went out, so that I couldn't heat my room. At least, I didn't need to get worried about the food in my fridge; I could simply put it on the balcony.

Now that I've come back to Taiwan I have to cope with a completely …

The Myth of the Busy Asian: Time, Money and Social Life

“I hate my job”, “I want to be my own boss” - these are sentences you're likely to hear often in Taiwan. Though I met several people who liked their job, I think that the great majority were extremely dissatisfied with their current occupation. Long working hours, despotic bosses, low wages or unfavourable working conditions are among the main reasons. 
One of the things that shocked me during my first stay in Taiwan was that people don't have nearly as much spare time as Europeans. When I was in Europe, I used to meet my friends on different days of the week or on the weekends. In Taiwan, I became acquainted with a completely different concept of time. People are simply too busy. As I explained in a previous post, life in Taiwan revolves around social circles. For most adult people, these circles are represented by family, friends and work. Taiwanese usually have longer working hours than Europeans, but they also have a more strict social hierarchy, with family and work at the…