Skip to main content

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. Second, if your umbrella is stolen you will, of course, get drenched, unless you decide to steal someone else's umbrella and so create a domino effect of umbrella thefts.





During my stay in Hong Kong, where this habit is not widespread, I had completely forgotten about this Taiwanese phenomenon. But I was gently reminded today by a nice guy.

It's a hot rainy day in Taipei, with a heavy downpour (I don't think Europeans can imagine how heavy rain can be here). I went to the NTU library, where there was a big umbrella holder at the entrance. I put my umbrella there and was about to go inside, when I noticed a guy 'examining' various umbrellas. He took one out, looked at it, then put it inside again, and repeated the same process several times. I thought he didn't remember which umbrella was his, but the colours and shapes of the ones he took out were so different that I became suspicious. I hid behind the door and kept looking at him. 

Then, he finally chose an umbrella and was about to go away. At that moment I came out and stared at him. I am absolutely sure he saw me, but he, nonchalantly, simply put back the umbrella and took another one. When he opened it, I saw that it was broken. I assume that he wanted to quietly replace his broken umbrella with an intact one.    

It's not the end of the world if my umbrella gets stolen, but I wonder why I have to leave my umbrella outside of shops or libraries that do not guarantee it will still be there when I go out. One day I even left a shop, because the owner insisted I put the umbrella outside. My old umbrella had been stolen that very day, and I did not want the same thing to happen again.

Comments

  1. Hm, those are umbrellas but how about scooters? I mean Taiwan is like a motorcycle/scooters heaven! Do riders of Taiwan ever feel worried that their motorcycles/scooters get stolen on the street from where they parked? This things are portable compared to cars.

    ReplyDelete
  2. hahaha! Funny. And yes, it fucking rains far too much here!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd probably take the nicest looking umbrella.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My scooter had been stolen one time; my umbrella, more than three times. (I'm Taiwanese.)
    BTW, I like your article!

    ReplyDelete

Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei, China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. 
Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information.
Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterprises. Ren also secured soft loans from the local government of Shenzhen thanks to his personal co…

Nationalism And Socialism - The Two Souls Of Catalan Separatism

Catalan separatism is not a coherent movement that unites the entire population of the region. Not only are Catalan voters split on the issue of independence, with about half of them supporting the preservation of autonomy within Spain. But the Catalan independence movement itself is deeply divided.
On the one hand, secessionism is fuelled by a nationalist ideology that views the nation as a community with a distinct language, history and culture which requires an independent state to thrive. According to this view, people who are different cannot coexist within the same state. We have already discussed the contradictions of this concept of self-determination in a previous article.
However, there is also another element to the independence movement that has not been often explored: a far-left ideology that regards the formation of an independent Catalan state as a way to institutionalize leftist social policies.
If the attempt at founding a Catalan Republic succeeds, the tensions between…

Chinese Dissident Zhang Jilin Detained By Police In Chongqing After Calling On Xi Jinping To Resign

Chinese dissident Zhang Jilin (张吉林) has been detained by police in the city of Chongqing after publicly saying that President Xi Jinping should be removed from office.
According to Taiwan-based Apple Daily, on January 17 Zhang talked about China's current affairs on a WeChat group. His ideas received praise from the group members, and he later told friends that he wanted to give a public speech based on the thoughts he had expressed online.
Other dissidents urged him to be careful, but he insisted that he had "the right to free speech." On January 19 Zhang went to Guanyinqiao Square, in the city of Chongqing, and delivered a speech about China's political situation, calling on Xi Jinping to be removed from office.
"I think it's time for Xi Jinping to be removed from office," Zhang told a crowd according to an audio recording. "The Chinese Communist Party will not do anything to the people. If you don't believe me, look, I have been giving a speech…