Sunday, 19 November 2017

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 rate is 75% in Hong Kong, 66% in the United States, 64% in the UK, 56% in France, and 41% in Germany. How can we explain this contrast?

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.