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Showing posts from 2017

Luis De Camoes Square In Macau

I am always stunned by how many nice buildings and little corners there are in Macau, the former Portuguese colony that looks like a piece of southern Europe transplanted into Asia. 
A few days ago I was strolling around in Macau's city centre when suddenly I spotted from afar a church at the end of a side alley. I decided to walk up to that street, without knowing that it would lead me to a beautiful small square named after the Portuguese writer Luis de Camoes.
Here are some picture of my short walk. 

Why Taiwanese People Love Social Media

Many of us are in some way addicted to social media. Nowadays our politicians tweet, our friends update their status on Facebook, our colleagues send us messages through WhatsApp. There are apps and websites for almost everything: from making friends to dating, from chatting to finding people with similar interests. 
It has gone so far that it is hard to imagine how things used to be when there was no internet. I was born in the pre-internet era (well, the internet existed but it wasn't as ubiquitous as today). I remember using phone booths on the street, reading newspapers in the morning, and being completely cut off from the rest of the world. Times have indeed changed. 
But in Taiwan, people seem to have a particular obsession with social media. According to Statista, in 2016 81% percent of Taiwan's population were active social media users and Facebook was the most popular social network, with a staggering 83% penetration rate. 
By comparison, the social network penetration r…

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park In Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated metropolises, I don't find it as oppressive and suffocating as many other, even smaller, cities.
The reason is because Hong Kong's urban planning maintained a balance between residential areas and nature. As a matter of fact, about "80% of Hong Kong's territory is still natural, or semi-natural." That's not easy to see if you spend all of your time in Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, but if you go outside of the main financial and shopping districts, you will be stunned by its gorgeous wild nature.
But even within the skyscraper jungle that is Hong Kong Island, the British authorities tried to create parks and playgrounds so as to give residents a refuge from busy modern life. After the 1997 handover the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has so far upheld those policies.



How Is Customer Service In Taiwan? - My Thoughts Before And After Living In Taiwan

Before I went to Taiwan I had a lot of expectations regarding customer service there, mainly for two reasons.
First of all, I hated customer service in Europe. Having lived in Italy and Germany for several years and having spent time in Greece, the UK and other European countries, I noticed that across the continent a lot of shop assistants are indifferent or rude to customers. Of course, that is based on my experience and on that of my friends, and it refers only to episodes I witnessed or heard about. 
Let me tell you just a few examples. Once my internet provider in Germany changed my contract without my consent. When I went to their shop, I was yelled at and threatened with a lawsuit right away. Later I quit that company, but the point is, whether I made a mistake or not (and I think I did not), they should have cleared up the matter in a nice way instead of being so aggressive. 
One day I was in my university cafeteria, and I saw a student leave his trey with food on a table and go …

Back To Blogging, Finally

A few months ago I deactivated this blog because I wasn't happy about it. Over the years I had been writing too many posts about news and politics, and I felt that this was no longer the kind of personal blog I wanted to create at the beginning: a place for me to share my thoughts and experiences about my life in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of East Asia.

Triad Member Behind Scuffles Between Pro-China And Pro-Independence Protesters On Taiwan University Campus

On September 24 scuffles between anti-Chinese and pro-unification groups erupted on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei during the Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival.
According to The Taipei Times, the festival, co-sponsored by mainland China's reality TV show Sing! China and the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs, is part of the memorandums of understanding on cultural and arts events signed by Taipei and Shanghai.
Embed from Getty Images

However, the event drew widespread criticism from students and pro-independence groups. On Saturday representatives of the NTU student council criticized the university for renting the school's athletic field for the concert, saying that it prevented students from using the field and that the organizers had damaged facilities.

During the concert supporters of Taiwan independence gathered outside the venue, shouting anti-China slogans. The protesters claimed that the concert was part of a "united front"…

Are Taiwanese Nice to Foreigners? A Few Thoughts on Prejudice and Freedom

Years ago I wrote a post about the contrast between the clean MRT and dirty restaurants in Taiwan. Yesterday a Taiwanese user posted the following critical comment:
Read through your paragraph, so you want to spend a little money but experience the luxury, you are telling the joke. Actually, if you feel bad toward this kind of experience, you can go back to your own country, right ? No One Force you to come here, buddy~ If you think the restaurants in your country are much cleaner than ours, then.... you don't even have to torture yourself, just go back and do not waste your time to write down these shit. Last but not the least, come to a new environment, you should learn how to get accustomed to their culture, including learn their language, not just complain all the day. 
You can read my short reply to him here
Now, does the logic of this Taiwanese netizen's comment sound familiar to anyone? Let's compare it with the following sentence: 

Chinese Official Says China Might Invade Taiwan If "Peaceful Reunification Takes Too Long"

In a recent interview Wang Zaixi (王在希), a former vice-chairman of China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said that Beijing might resort to the use of force if "peaceful reunification" between China and Taiwan "takes too long".

Wang's statements echo the increasingly assertive stance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) towards the island since Xi Jinping took office in 2012.
In the interview Wang Zaixi stated that although the Taiwan question is a complex issue that must be resolved in the long term, there "must be a sense of urgency towards cross-strait reunification."
Wang blamed Taiwan's democratic process for slowing down the prospect of a peaceful solution of the cross-strait issue, arguing that because of the transfer of power from the pro-unification to the pro-independence coalition the possibility of peaceful unification "is gradually being lost."
In 2014 and 2015 the Guomindang, Taiwan's pro-unification party, …

Back to Blogging?

It's been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. I have been quite busy and, as most bloggers know, it is very hard to post regularly over a long period of time. That's probably why many blogs such as mine end up being discontinued.
To be honest I have missed blogging, but I just had no time for it, for personal reasons I don't want to discuss here. I have also decided to put more effort into my website china-journal.org, where I write new posts about Chinese culture and history and republish old articles.
As I explained earlier, I felt that this personal blog wasn't the right place to write serious articles. The solution was to start another website. This blog is and should be a platform for absolutely personal opinions, experiences, and from time to time also for weird news. When I write this blog, I just want to relax. I want to write short posts, rants, thoughts, episodes, and that's it.
Although I left Taiwan a long time ago (and I would like to explain why …