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June, 30, 2016

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Despite some flaws, Taiwan offers 'all the best'

When I first set foot on Taiwan in 2004, I came across a book titled "One Hundred Reasons to Live in Taiwan" (在台北生存的一百個理由). Soon enough, 8 years have since elapsed and now, I may perhaps have a thousand reasons to live in the country, among them the around-the-clock service at the Eslite Bookstore on Tunhua South Road, countless public and "underground" concerts, more screenings of artistic movies than you possibly have time for, mouth-watering delicacies everywhere, the hot springs in Beitou, the night view from Yangmingshan, coffee at the cafes there and a lot more. Could Taiwan be so perfect?

The answer, of course, is no. It is not perfect. The newspapers run sensational stories daily, gangs run rampant, and the citizenry is fed an uninterrupted succession of official or corporate corruption cases, excluding the ones that remain unexposed. Furthermore, the country boasts what appears to be a perfect judiciary system, but laws are rarely enforced. The police frequently conceal cases they don't want to handle. Convicted criminals go about their business as usual and flee before their fates are sealed at their third trials. Funerals of gangsters are attended by presidents. A country with a population of 23 million, Taiwan offers television viewers more than 100 television channels, none of which, however, are locally produced English-language channels.

News overkill dwells on certain people, events or developments drone on and on for days on end. Taipei, said to be a cosmopolitan city, is not exposed to international news. Political parties are short-sighted and preoccupied with short-term accomplishments, just to please their constituents, while long-term policies regarding culture and education are relegated to the back seat. Urban planning is a joke. The roads are full of potholes, and "kings of the road," bullies that monopolize the right of way, are everywhere.

Well, despite all its flaws, Taiwan, with its folksy, friendly ways and scenic beauty, still remains a "treasure island" as far as I am concerned. All I can do now is say a silent prayer and wish the country "all the best."

“Eye on Taiwan” invites you to share your reflections and observations regarding Taiwan. Please send submissions to and include your (1) real name, (2) nationality, (3) contact number, (4) photo, and (5) profile. Specify “Eye on Taiwan” in the subject line and ensure your submission is at least 350 words long. Writers whose pieces are selected for publication will receive one month's free subscription to The China Post.
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Taiwanese kindness makes repaying debt of gratitude nearly impossible
T.W. Fok

Nationality : Hong Kong

Occupation : Art Director

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