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To Momopi, Rock: Questions about Taiwan

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To Momopi, Rock: Questions about Taiwan

Postby Winston » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:37 pm

Momopi, Rock, can you explain these strange quirks in Taiwan?

- Why do Taiwanese pronounce the letter N as "uuuuuhn" with a sharp sound? That sounds so tacky and gay. How did that come about? I don't think the British do that, so where did they get that from? It wrecks the English language when they pronounce N that way.

Also, why do they pronounce L as "ellow"?

- Why so some Taiwanese say that their school taught them that the US has 51 states? They refused to believe me when I told them that it has 50.

- Where did that gay ass custom of using the peace sign in pictures come from?

- How come Taiwanese are polite to your face and bow and say "bu hau isuh" when they trouble someone, but when you make a call in Taiwan and get the wrong number, they abruptly say "You got the wrong number" and hang up? In America, people say, "I'm sorry but I think you got the wrong number" and then wait for the caller to say goodbye or hang up first. They don't usually hang up first.

- How did the Taiwanese come to be so careful, cautious and paranoid about danger? Their country is one of the safest in the world. So what brought about so much fear, caution and worry?
Last edited by Winston on Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strange quirks in Taiwan: Momopi, Rock, why?

Postby Rock » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:04 pm

Winston wrote:Momopi, Rock, can you explain these strange quirks in Taiwan?

- Why do Taiwanese pronounce the letter N as "uuuuuhn" with a sharp sound? That sounds so tacky and gay. How did that come about? I don't think the British do that, so where did they get that from? It wrecks the English language when they pronounce N that way.

Also, why do they pronounce L as "ellow"?

This is a linguistic issue. When you grow-up, you only learn to make sound which exist in your native language(s) or those you are frequently exposed to. After the critical age of late teens or so, your throat and vocal muscles stiffen-up. If you try to learn new languages or sounds after that time, you often have to approximate them with sounds you know how to pronounce. Consider, a lot of Taiwanese speakers who do not use Mandarin much pronounce 'sh' as 's', 'zh' as 'z', and 'ch' as 'c' because no words in Taiwanese require you to curl your tongue back like they do in standard Mandarin. In the case you mention, they are not used to pronouncing short consonants in isolation. So they tack on a vowel sound at the end. I've got to say, I actually prefer the way they pronounce 'n' and 'm' cus its very easy to get those two confused when spelling things verbally.

- Why so some Taiwanese say that their school taught them that the US has 51 states? They refused to believe me when I told them that it has 50.

I don't know. But even Obama go this wrong as do many regular Americans. No biggie if Taiwanese are off by one. And let me ask you, without checking, tell me how many provinces Taiwan has? Who is the current President and VP? Who were the previous ones? Who are the richest 5 Taiwan families/people? When did Taiwan become a so-called democracy and under which President?

- Where did that gay ass custom of using the peace sign in pictures come from?

I don't know but it is pretty lame. I sure prefer it to gangster style posing though.


- How come Taiwanese are polite to your face and bow and say "bu hau isuh" when they trouble someone, but when you make a call in Taiwan and get the wrong number, they abruptly say "You got the wrong number" and hang up? In America, people say, "I'm sorry but I think you got the wrong number" and then wait for the caller to say goodbye or hang up first. They don't usually hang up first.

They tend to be rude behind the wheel too. If they don't see you or have to face you squarely, they don't have to acknowledge you as a person. They can be very rude to an anonymous stranger who wastes their time. I never thought of Chinese as polite in the first place anyway. A lot of Taiwan politeness probably comes from Japanese influence and efforts to compete in service businesses. Mainland Chinese used to be extremely rude too but things have improved with private sector service business competition and government campaigns to make the country more foreign/tourist friendly.

- How did the Taiwanese come to be so careful, cautious and paranoid about danger? Their country is one of the safest in the world. So what brought about so much fear, caution and worry?

Taiwan used to be a lot more dangerous. Many people got killed or injured in car, motorcycle, and industrial accidents. A generation ago, neighbors and colleagues would disappear if an anonymous person accused them of political crimes. Taiwan has traditionally had a high gang presence believe it or not. So pissing off the wrong people could spell disaster - they might be gang connected or report you to KMT for some sort of wrong behavior. Also, Taiwan used to have a lot of burglary. Ever notice how most apartments have windows covered with bars. People have been trapped in their homes during fires because of that. The tendency is to focus on the affairs of your own family and business and avoid conflict with unrelated outsiders.
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Postby Winston » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:40 pm

Rock,
Thanks for those answers. I don't know the answers to most of those questions about TW.

Some more questions:

1. Do Taiwanese people get offended if you refer to them as Chinese? If so, why? They realize that they originated from China, don't they?

2. Why is a Taiwanese who grew up in America, or was born there, called an ABC, if Taiwanese dislike being called Chinese? Shouldn't he/she be called an ABT?

3. Rock, you said that when you went to China, you noticed that people were more open and direct. I find this to be true too, from my experiences meeting people from mainland China. They seem less shy, more relaxed, and not as inhibited or hung up. Talking to them didn't feel awkward or tense either.

Why is this though? How did Taiwanese become more indirect and shy? Aren't they from the same race as the Chinese? What made them become different?

Could it be because they idolize the Japanese and want to be more like them?

Also, what do mainland Chinese think of Taiwanese? How do they perceive them as?

And why do most Taiwanese have a negative opinion of the Chinese? Chinese people from China seem so friendly and warm. Why would anyone have a negative opinion of them? Have the Taiwanese been brainwashed?

Don't they know that the government of China is different from the people of China? Why do they hate the people for the actions of their government?
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Postby momopi » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:19 am

Winston wrote:- Why do Taiwanese pronounce the letter N as "uuuuuhn" with a sharp sound? That sounds so tacky and gay. How did that come about? I don't think the British do that, so where did they get that from? It wrecks the English language when they pronounce N that way.
Also, why do they pronounce L as "ellow"?


It's not realistic to expect others to speak your dialect of English without an "accent", or refrain from intersperse expressions or interjections from their mother (non-English) language. For example, Singapore used to be a British Colony, and they still battle with Singlish trends every year:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlish
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speak_Good ... h_Movement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speak_Good ... 10.2F11.29

...Americans speak a tacky dialect of Queen's English. ;p


Winston wrote:- Why so some Taiwanese say that their school taught them that the US has 51 states? They refused to believe me when I told them that it has 50.


Explain to them that the District of Columbia and dependent territories are not US States. Point to Puerto Rico on the map and explain the difference between an US State vs. US territory. If they have trouble understanding, cite Special Administrative Region of China (Macao, Hong Kong), and explain that a SAR is not a province.


Winston wrote:- Where did that gay ass custom of using the peace sign in pictures come from?
- How come Taiwanese are polite to your face and bow and say "bu hau isuh" when they trouble someone, but when you make a call in Taiwan and get the wrong number, they abruptly say "You got the wrong number" and hang up? In America, people say, "I'm sorry but I think you got the wrong number" and then wait for the caller to say goodbye or hang up first. They don't usually hang up first.
- How did the Taiwanese come to be so careful, cautious and paranoid about danger? Their country is one of the safest in the world. So what brought about so much fear, caution and worry?


1. For East Asia region, that actually started in Japan in 1970s-1980s and spread to TW:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign#Jap ... hotographs

2. This depends on the person answering the phone. Some people are only polite face to face. Personally, I was taught in the US to think twice before apologizing. i.e. if you get into a car accident, you never say "I'm sorry" unless if you want to admit guilt to causing the accident. When someone calls and it's the wrong number, I say "You may have the wrong number sir".

3. This depends on where in Taiwan. Generally speaking people in urban cities tend to be suspicious and install metal security doors. When I lived in a rural area of Changhua, the local shop keeper left a coffee can w/change out for customers to deposit money and take exact change, while he's off somewhere playing Mahjong (or gossiping with neighbors about you behind your back).

For a silly look at the paranoid Japanese:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/world ... japan.html



Winston wrote:1. Do Taiwanese people get offended if you refer to them as Chinese? If so, why? They realize that they originated from China, don't they?
2. Why is a Taiwanese who grew up in America, or was born there, called an ABC, if Taiwanese dislike being called Chinese? Shouldn't he/she be called an ABT?


1. This depends on the person's political views on Taiwanese nationalism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_ ... tification

Technically, China is a political entity and its people are citizens of the political entity but not a single ethnic group or category. The Chinese government recognizes 56 official ethnic groups:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_et ... s_in_China


2. "Taiwanese" wasn't even an option on US Census until 2010. But this is becoming irreverent, as the commercial and economic dominance of Taiwan immigrants in US "Chinese communities" is fast eroding to Mainland immigrants. Back in 1970s the community was dominated by Cantonese, and by early 1990s to 2000's, the immigrants from Taiwan became dominate. But due to TW's low birth rate and increasing immigration from China, the demographics is shifting again.


Winston wrote:3. Rock, you said that when you went to China, you noticed that people were more open and direct. I find this to be true too, from my experiences meeting people from mainland China. They seem less shy, more relaxed, and not as inhibited or hung up. Talking to them didn't feel awkward or tense either.
Why is this though? How did Taiwanese become more indirect and shy? Aren't they from the same race as the Chinese? What made them become different?
Could it be because they idolize the Japanese and want to be more like them?
Also, what do mainland Chinese think of Taiwanese? How do they perceive them as?
And why do most Taiwanese have a negative opinion of the Chinese? Chinese people from China seem so friendly and warm. Why would anyone have a negative opinion of them? Have the Taiwanese been brainwashed?
Don't they know that the government of China is different from the people of China? Why do they hate the people for the actions of their government?


Stop wasting time worrying about what others think. Go visit China and form your own opinions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainland_T ... _Residents
Last edited by momopi on Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rock » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:44 pm

momopi wrote:
It's not realistic to expect others to speak your dialect of English without an "accent", or refrain from intersperse expressions or interjections from their mother (non-English) language. Case in point, Singapore used to be a British Colony, and even then they still battle with Singlish trends every year:



Yea, a lot speak Singdarin too which is pretty understandable to outsiders who knows both Mandarin and English. Countries with integrated multi-cultural populations tend to develop creole languages. Since SP government is so powerful, they do a pretty good job of keeping the chosen languages fairly pure. Consider the English based creole used in Jamaica or the French based creole used in Haiti for a contrast of how far things can depart from the standard version.
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Postby Repatriate » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:26 am

Rock wrote:
momopi wrote:
It's not realistic to expect others to speak your dialect of English without an "accent", or refrain from intersperse expressions or interjections from their mother (non-English) language. Case in point, Singapore used to be a British Colony, and even then they still battle with Singlish trends every year:



Yea, a lot speak Singdarin too which is pretty understandable to outsiders who knows both Mandarin and English. Countries with integrated multi-cultural populations tend to develop creole languages. Since SP government is so powerful, they do a pretty good job of keeping the chosen languages fairly pure. Consider the English based creole used in Jamaica or the French based creole used in Haiti for a contrast of how far things can depart from the standard version.

The difference is that when Singaporeans need to use proper English (for business) they have the ability and educational background to do so. I look at it sort of like how black americans constantly "code shift" with each other. When they are around other black people they tend to go with the vernacular. Singaporeans do the same thing. When I meet them they speak mostly proper English when they know where i'm from but when they talk with each other the Singlish starts up.

It's much different from let's say Thailand..where they speak pidgin because of low social value assigned to foreign language and poor education. Most simply don't know what proper English is.
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Postby Winston » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:27 am

How come no one in Taiwan knows what a forum is? Even young people here say they've never used one and don't know how to post on one. When I show them threads here, they never read it. It's like they have no interest in forums at all.

It's like TW people are very isolated from the Western world and don't know about common popular things.

Are there no forums in Chinese?

I guess even in the US, most people I meet have never used a forum, though they know what one is.

What percentage of Americans actually use forums? Anyone know?
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Postby Winston » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:30 am

Momopi, Rock,
The other day, my friend here introduced me to a student from mainland China at her college. We all went to Chiayi to tour around. She sure was different alright. She seemed more approachable, and less shy. I felt like she didn't have as much of a guard around her.

So I think it is true that girls in China are probably more direct, open and less shy/hung up/inhibited than girls in Taiwan or Japan.
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Postby momopi » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:22 am

Winston wrote:How come no one in Taiwan knows what a forum is? Even young people here say they've never used one and don't know how to post on one. When I show them threads here, they never read it. It's like they have no interest in forums at all.
It's like TW people are very isolated from the Western world and don't know about common popular things.
Are there no forums in Chinese?
I guess even in the US, most people I meet have never used a forum, though they know what one is.
What percentage of Americans actually use forums? Anyone know?


TW:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PTT_Bulletin_Board_System

JP:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2channel

CN:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianya_Club
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mop.com
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Postby Winston » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:51 am

momopi wrote:
Winston wrote:How come no one in Taiwan knows what a forum is? Even young people here say they've never used one and don't know how to post on one. When I show them threads here, they never read it. It's like they have no interest in forums at all.
It's like TW people are very isolated from the Western world and don't know about common popular things.
Are there no forums in Chinese?
I guess even in the US, most people I meet have never used a forum, though they know what one is.
What percentage of Americans actually use forums? Anyone know?


TW:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PTT_Bulletin_Board_System

JP:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2channel

CN:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianya_Club
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mop.com


That doesn't address my question though. Why does everyone I've met in Taiwan or the Philippines tell me they don't know what a forum is or how to register in one?
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Postby Winston » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:34 am

Rock, Momopi,

1. The other night, I was really annoyed and took a long time to recover from it. I rolled down the car window to cuss out other drivers at the top of my lungs for doing dangerous maneuvers that were too close to us, and made me feel threatened. Every time I do that, I'm in such a rage, that I'm ready to go outside and bash the shit out of them or their cars. f***ing stupid idiots! I wanted to kick the f***ing shit out of them. That's why I hardly go out with my parents.

Why do so many Taiwanese drivers SOOOOOOOOOOOO f***ing STUPID? They do such highly risky maneuvers, yet how do they get away with it? Especially on scooters, where one accident could result in death or critical injury. The other night, a scooter to the right of us, suddenly crossed in front of us to make a left turn after the stoplight turned green. That was f***ing stupid. How did he know we wouldn't accelerate fast and knock him down? God I hate them! I HATE THEM! THEY MAKE ME WANT TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF THEM!

What is ironic is that TW people tend to be obsessive chronic worrywarts who fear every little thing and overprotect themselves and their friends and family. Yet in spite of this, many drivers do suicidal maneuvers and think they are invincible. WTF? How do you explain that?

Also, how do they drive like suicidal maniacs, and get away with it? And how do they do it without any fear or anxiety?

Even momopi is overly cautious. One time when he and I were in a night market in Taipei, he told me to put away my video camera because someone there might beat me up. Come on now. The odds of that happening are astronomical. No person there would sudden approach two guys violently. He'd be too fearful of getting his ass kicked. They're more afraid of us, than we are of them, just like dogs are. So logically, I knew that momopi's fears were illogical. Even though he's Americanized, he must still have that "Taiwanese worrywart gene."

Finally, why would anyone make highly dangerous moves while driving, just to get somewhere faster? Why risk your life, endanger others, or damage your car unnecessarily? Isn't that 100 percent illogical and stupid? There's nothing to gain, and everything to lose. I've never understood that. People are so f***ing WEIRD! Does God love stupid people? Can you explain something that stupid?

2. How come the stoplights in Taiwan are so f***ing stupid? They turn yellow for one or two seconds before turning red again! WTF? Even if you're driving only 35 mph, that is not enough time to slow down to a complete stop. So there is a good chance you will cross the intersection when the light turns red. Isn't that stupid? Why do TW transportation systems do that? So that they can collect more tickets from drives that have NO CHOICE but to cross the intersection when the light turned red? Or are they f***ing idiots? Are TW police officers understanding when this happens? It's almost inevitable isn't it? Why doesn't their media address this unfair problem?
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Postby Winston » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:13 am

Also, how come some Taiwanese have darker skin? I never see Japanese or Koreans that are dark. Is there a reason for that?
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Postby Rock » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:27 am

Winston wrote:Rock, Momopi,

1. The other night, I was really annoyed and took a long time to recover from it. I rolled down the car window to cuss out other drivers at the top of my lungs for doing dangerous maneuvers that were too close to us, and made me feel threatened. Every time I do that, I'm in such a rage, that I'm ready to go outside and bash the shit out of them or their cars. f***ing stupid idiots! I wanted to kick the f***ing shit out of them. That's why I hardly go out with my parents.

Why do so many Taiwanese drivers SOOOOOOOOOOOO f***ing STUPID? They do such highly risky maneuvers, yet how do they get away with it? Especially on scooters, where one accident could result in death or critical injury. The other night, a scooter to the right of us, suddenly crossed in front of us to make a left turn after the stoplight turned green. That was f***ing stupid. How did he know we wouldn't accelerate fast and knock him down? God I hate them! I HATE THEM! THEY MAKE ME WANT TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF THEM!

What is ironic is that TW people tend to be obsessive chronic worrywarts who fear every little thing and overprotect themselves and their friends and family. Yet in spite of this, many drivers do suicidal maneuvers and think they are invincible. WTF? How do you explain that?

Also, how do they drive like suicidal maniacs, and get away with it? And how do they do it without any fear or anxiety?

Even momopi is overly cautious. One time when he and I were in a night market in Taipei, he told me to put away my video camera because someone there might beat me up. Come on now. The odds of that happening are astronomical. No person there would sudden approach two guys violently. He'd be too fearful of getting his ass kicked. They're more afraid of us, than we are of them, just like dogs are. So logically, I knew that momopi's fears were illogical. Even though he's Americanized, he must still have that "Taiwanese worrywart gene."

Finally, why would anyone make highly dangerous moves while driving, just to get somewhere faster? Why risk your life, endanger others, or damage your car unnecessarily? Isn't that 100 percent illogical and stupid? There's nothing to gain, and everything to lose. I've never understood that. People are so f***ing WEIRD! Does God love stupid people? Can you explain something that stupid?

2. How come the stoplights in Taiwan are so f***ing stupid? They turn yellow for one or two seconds before turning red again! WTF? Even if you're driving only 35 mph, that is not enough time to slow down to a complete stop. So there is a good chance you will cross the intersection when the light turns red. Isn't that stupid? Why do TW transportation systems do that? So that they can collect more tickets from drives that have NO CHOICE but to cross the intersection when the light turned red? Or are they f***ing idiots? Are TW police officers understanding when this happens? It's almost inevitable isn't it? Why doesn't their media address this unfair problem?


1. Wow, you sound just like one of my American friends. Like you, he gets extremely irritated and sometimes angry and upset at Taiwanese driving style. Somehow, it doesn't bother me. Perhaps because I've been spent time in places which are much worse. Also, Taipei at least has gotten a lot better with the dedicated bus lanes, extensive MRT development, economic slowdown, etc. Keep in mind, Taiwan is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet and since its relatively prosperous, most families own cars.

2. You overestimate Taiwanese meekness. Not all dogs are afraid. Same goes for Taiwan guys. Don't you realize that if you provoke the wrong guy, and there are a lot of wrong guys, he and maybe his friends will likely beat you senseless. Even Gits on this forum, who at 6 feet is a pretty solid 220 lbs. has been attacked by locals in Taiwan before. I've heard that overly cocky ABCs out at night often get put in their place by local toughs too.

3. Night markets have some pretty rough people. If someone didn't like your filming, I think you would get a warning. But if you didn't heed it immediately, you would be sorry.

4. Don't know why yellow is so brief. But I've noticed in Taipei that even after light turns red, perpendicular traffic does not start to move for another 3-4 seconds or so. As long as their is a sufficient delay between yellow + red for one direction and green for the other, the result should be the same.
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Postby Rock » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:35 am

Winston wrote:Also, how come some Taiwanese have darker skin? I never see Japanese or Koreans that are dark. Is there a reason for that?


Some Japanese get very dark intentionally. They are one of the deviant subsets.

1. Part of the reason is weather. Taiwan has stronger sun, especially in center and south. You also see a fair percentage of darker Chinese in places like Singapore and Malaysia where sun is even stronger.

2. Some people have some aboriginal blood. Taiwan aborigines tend to be quite dark, just like Filipinos.

3. The majority of Taiwan's current population (over 65%) originate from Fujian Province in China. In general, Chinese from this and other more southern provinces are on average darker than those from the more norther provinces.

4. Chinese do tan well. Those who work out in the sun (farmers and other various outdoor types) absorb a lot of sunlight during their everyday life. They tend to get very dark from this lifestyle.
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Postby momopi » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:46 am

Winston wrote:That doesn't address my question though. Why does everyone I've met in Taiwan or the Philippines tell me they don't know what a forum is or how to register in one?


Make sure you're asking the correct question with the correct audience. In Chinese language, internet forums are commonly referred to as BBS, 討論區 (discussion area), 討論版 (discussion board), etc. Just as many English internet forums use phpbbs, Chinese BBS use Discuz! Do a Google search on "Powered by Discuz!" Example: http://www.discuz.net/

If you want to meet people in TW or China on BBS, you need to learn Chinese first and communicate with them on Chinese language BBS. Obviously anyone you meet on there would know what a BBS is.



Winston wrote:1. The other night, I was really annoyed and took a long time to recover from it. I rolled down the car window to cuss out other drivers at the top of my lungs for doing dangerous maneuvers that were too close to us, and made me feel threatened. Every time I do that, I'm in such a rage, that I'm ready to go outside and bash the shit out of them or their cars. f***ing stupid idiots! I wanted to kick the f***ing shit out of them. That's why I hardly go out with my parents.
<snip>
Even momopi is overly cautious. One time when he and I were in a night market in Taipei, he told me to put away my video camera because someone there might beat me up. Come on now. The odds of that happening are astronomical. No person there would sudden approach two guys violently. He'd be too fearful of getting his ass kicked. They're more afraid of us, than we are of them, just like dogs are. So logically, I knew that momopi's fears were illogical. Even though he's Americanized, he must still have that "Taiwanese worrywart gene."

2. How come the stoplights in Taiwan are so f***ing stupid? They turn yellow for one or two seconds before turning red again! WTF? Even if you're driving only 35 mph, that is not enough time to slow down to a complete stop. So there is a good chance you will cross the intersection when the light turns red. Isn't that stupid? Why do TW transportation systems do that? So that they can collect more tickets from drives that have NO CHOICE but to cross the intersection when the light turned red? Or are they f***ing idiots? Are TW police officers understanding when this happens? It's almost inevitable isn't it? Why doesn't their media address this unfair problem?



1. Deal with it. Otherwise you won't survive in Mainland China.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPxinqO3f8o[/youtube]

2. Taiwan is a small island with too many news stations and too little news. If you catch a police man napping in his patrol car in the morning, you can video tape it and sell it to the news station for $$, and they'll run the clip nonstop on the news all day long. Consequently, I was asked by shop keepers to put away the video camera on several occasions back in early 2000's, sometimes not in a nice way. I can take a hint when someone thinks I'm breaking his rice bowl.

3. Here's your chance to make some $$. Find a cop setting up a red light trap, hide in the bushes with your camcorder, tape the event, then take it to the TV station and see if they'd pay you for it.



Winston wrote:Also, how come some Taiwanese have darker skin? I never see Japanese or Koreans that are dark. Is there a reason for that?


1. If they have Indigenous Taiwanese genes, they may have natural darker skin.

2. Google "ganguro" to see "dark skinned" Japanese.

3. Korean women have been pulled over by cops because they wear this while driving:

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