Thursday, 16 November 2017

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.




Saturday, 11 November 2017

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 to get something to drink. One of the women who worked in the cafeteria immediately took the trey and threw away the food without asking. The guy went up to the woman and complained. She was extremely rude to him and said he shouldn't have left his trey unattended. So he basically wasted his money, because he had already paid. No one would apologize to him, and he had no choice but to buy another meal.


Friday, 10 November 2017

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.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

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: 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

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 in another post), there are still many things I want to write about. Some of my memories have already faded away, and so have some of the feelings I had back then and which often compelled me to write Taiwan-related posts. Sometimes, when I try to remember the names of streets or people, or the details of things that happened to me, I realize how much I have meanwhile forgotten.

I enjoy blogging and I want to keep this hobby. And Asia is such an incredibly fascinating place. I don't know what's going to happen in the future. The world seems out of control. Trump is insane. Xi Jinping is insane. China threatens Taiwan. I truly feel exhausted and depressed. I knew something about this world was wrong, but at least I believed we had learnt something from history. "Never war again", "never Great Depression again", "never Cultural Revolution again", etc. etc. That's what people used to say. And what do we have now? It seems we are just turning back the clock of history with every year that passes.

Going back to the main point. I hope I can keep blogging from time to time, and although this blog is not what it used to be, I hope that some people will enjoy reading it and perhaps will share their thoughts, too.