Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby sandman » 21 Feb 2010, 15:26

You said in your message that you found Taiwanese people to be very friendly. That's great that you've had that experience, I think it's how we all feel before we live here. Taiwanese are very polite to foreign tourists, but as you stay you'll realize that the system itself is racist, Taiwanese are not very polite (not even to each other), and as the make up fades, everything in Taiwan seems to lose its rich flavors and colors.

For some. Not for others. Personally, I pity those who live here and have that mindset. Its SO far from my own 20-year experience here. SO very far.
And as for your child being "hated" -- that's utter, utter shite. I know MANY halfbreed kids here and they are for sure singled out, sometimes. But hated? :roll:
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby Funk500 » 21 Feb 2010, 15:30

XinBiDe wrote:Your girlfriend is happy with staying in NZ??? Christ, you won the lottery buddy, just take it and run! Do NOT move to Taiwan. I wish I had the choice to stay in America but my girlfriend just can't bear the thought of being away from her parents... Ugh.
There is absolutely no reason for your child to learn Taiwanese. If you really want her to learn Taiwanese, you'll need a tutor. Schools don't teach it, really, and less and less kids know it. In fact, my girlfriend's generation (she's 25) doesn't even know much beyond "Hello", "How are you?" and "I love you".
I also had this idea before I moved to Taiwan. I had the same train of thought. I wanted my kids to learn Chinese and Taiwanese. Then I realized Taiwanese is useless and they'll learn Chinese regardless of where they grow up. The school system in Taiwan is a tyrannical system, filled with loathsome abusive teachers, copious national tests, and practically requires children to go to cram schools to stay competitive.
I'm not just warning you, I'm telling you, PLEASE don't move to Taiwan. Taiwan is a country great in small doses, but the children here grow up soulless products of a machine that grinds out spoiled, abused, monsters. Your children will also be subject to intense racism in their early years in Taiwan, as other kids struggle to comprehend why she looks different. She will be called names, she will be treated unfairly by her teachers, she will be hated by her peers.
Furthermore, if you do move to Taiwan, it's likely the in-laws will be paying lots of unexpected visits and requiring you to visit them, if not move in with them entirely. No matter how independent your wife is, few Taiwanese women can ignore their mothers wishes when confronted with them so directly.
You have a good career in NZ. Keep it that way. If things don't work out in Taipei, and they won't, there is no guarantee that this career will be waiting for you when you come back. You're taking an unnecessary risk. I'd say, save money up for annual visits during Chinese New Year and during her summer vacations at school. She can visit and stay with the grandparents then for a few weeks and that'll be enough. But please, please, please do NOT subject your child to that torture. I wouldn't wish it on any child, and a half-Asian child will face inconceivable sums of discrimination and hardship.
One other thing. I love Taiwan. Maybe it doesn't seem that way, but I do. It's just a very complex relationship we foreigners have with Taiwan, you see... It's truly love-hate, give and take. Some stuff about Taiwan I totally adore, but other things I loathe. Where you stand depends on where you sit, really. Maybe Taiwan will seem enjoyable to you if you have a good job here (though I don't see how you will since the one thing Taiwanese value more than their parents is a good degree), but you're still torturing your child, and the sad thing is your child won't even know that there is something better out there by the time she is old enough to be asked "Do you like it here?"
You said in your message that you found Taiwanese people to be very friendly. That's great that you've had that experience, I think it's how we all feel before we live here. Taiwanese are very polite to foreign tourists, but as you stay you'll realize that the system itself is racist, Taiwanese are not very polite (not even to each other), and as the make up fades, everything in Taiwan seems to lose its rich flavors and colors.
I wish that my experience here was always the same as my first week in Tapei. Ignorance is bliss. That being said, I very well may spend most of my life here, and I won't be that unhappy, but for a man in your situation, please don't make the same mistake. For your children, if not for yourself, stay in New Zealand if you have the chance.


Fun to see how your posts have changed since you first got here.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby bismarck » 21 Feb 2010, 19:32

XinBiDe wrote:Your girlfriend is happy with staying in NZ??? Christ, you won the lottery buddy, just take it and run! Do NOT move to Taiwan. I wish I had the choice to stay in America but my girlfriend just can't bear the thought of being away from her parents... Ugh.
There is absolutely no reason for your child to learn Taiwanese. If you really want her to learn Taiwanese, you'll need a tutor. Schools don't teach it, really, and less and less kids know it. In fact, my girlfriend's generation (she's 25) doesn't even know much beyond "Hello", "How are you?" and "I love you".

Depends where you go, or where the person comes from. The south part of Taiwan has a lot of Taiwanese native speakers, and the students I teach all have Taiwanese at school.

XinBiDe wrote:I also had this idea before I moved to Taiwan. I had the same train of thought. I wanted my kids to learn Chinese and Taiwanese. Then I realized Taiwanese is useless and they'll learn Chinese regardless of where they grow up. The school system in Taiwan is a tyrannical system, filled with loathsome abusive teachers, copious national tests, and practically requires children to go to cram schools to stay competitive.

Some truth to that, but I don't fully agree with this assessment. Elementary school, at any rate, is nothing like that. Not in my experience, anyway.

XinBiDe wrote:I'm not just warning you, I'm telling you, PLEASE don't move to Taiwan. Taiwan is a country great in small doses, but the children here grow up soulless products of a machine that grinds out spoiled, abused, monsters.

That depends more on parenting than anything else. Laying the blame of how some kids turn out solely at the door of the educational system isn't completely true IMVHO...

XinBiDe wrote: Your children will also be subject to intense racism in their early years in Taiwan, as other kids struggle to comprehend why she looks different. She will be called names, she will be treated unfairly by her teachers, she will be hated by her peers.

Completely untrue. I have never experienced this with my son, not have I heard of that happening to anyone I know. That includes people with children from Taiwanese and foreing parents, as well as parents who are both foreigners.
If anything, my son is more popular because of it, which irritates me because I don't want him being treated any differently than his peers.

Here's a first hand account of a friend of mine's son and his experience of growing up in Taiwan. The Foreign Kid in Taiwan.
Here's an article by my friend and his experience on the matter: Schooling your kids in Taiwan.

XinBiDe wrote:Furthermore, if you do move to Taiwan, it's likely the in-laws will be paying lots of unexpected visits and requiring you to visit them, if not move in with them entirely. No matter how independent your wife is, few Taiwanese women can ignore their mothers wishes when confronted with them so directly.

The in-laws depends on many factors. Obviously, living too close to MIL isn't advisable.

XinBiDe wrote:You have a good career in NZ. Keep it that way. If things don't work out in Taipei, and they won't, there is no guarantee that this career will be waiting for you when you come back. You're taking an unnecessary risk.

That is really the only real problem I see. As long as the OP can find a way to continue his career instead of making a dead end move to buxiban, it really isn't a problem.

As Tomas said, the traffic is my number one irksome feature of Living in Taiwan. That and bemoaning the career situation. But I came here without the benefit of this site and the often valuable opinions to be found here. Had I known then what I know now I would've completed my post grad studies and could've had a nice position at a uni or something.

MadeInNewZealand wrote:John, thanks for the idea to work remotely. I had not even considered this yet it is so obvious.

I think if you can find a way to do that (with a JFRV you can do as you bloody well please, anyway), it would be a great option for you.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 21 Feb 2010, 20:08

Ah...those are by Tobie Openshaw (and his son). I've seen his videos on Youtube and I once saw him at a bar in Taoyuan a couple of years ago, though I've never spoken with him.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby pgdaddy » 21 Feb 2010, 21:29

XinBiDe wrote:stuff



XinBiDe do you actually have children inside the education system in Taiwan ? I would hope, for the sake of my own peace of mind, that your observations (which in many ways reflect the fears inside me) are not based on your own experiences. I would hope and pray that the comments of Bismarck, for instance, are nearer to the truth.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby XinBiDe » 21 Feb 2010, 21:34

I knew, of course, that there would be plenty of people disagreeing with a lot of what I said.
You know, I truly love Taiwan and the Taiwanese people, but I find that there is a lack of empathy here which sometimes drives me crazy. That's my main problem.
As I do not have a kid, I only have my girlfriend's word to go on for how he/she will be treated when I finally have a child of my own. My girlfriend seems certain that they will face a lot of adversity, and I base a lot of my opinion on her word.
She loves Taiwan, and she can't imagine leaving. I feel trapped, as a result. I love Taiwan too, but I would like to have options. I just can't imagine raising a child here in this horrid education system.
I don't want to end up defending myself, but I feel like I owe it to Taiwan to clarify: It's a great country in every way. The people are nice, the landscape and scenery are nice, the food is great, but it has its own problems, just as I'm sure NZ, or my own country (USA) do.
I just don't want to see the OP invest time and money into something that would be worthless and leave him jaded. I shouldn't have been so dramatic, as the truth is I'm having a blast here 100% of the time, but my observations tell me that, if I were a parent, I'd have a much different attitude. I hope that clarifies things.
The system is great for someone like me; a young English teacher saving money for graduate school. It's not ideal, compared to some other countries which pay more, but it's still a great opportunity, especially for those who want to have fun, go clubbing, score some 'tang (that's not me, btw), or whatever. But this leaves you with a shallow perception of Taiwan...

Has anyone read Ender's Game or Speaker For the Dead? It's like that. Ender explains at the end that he has this theory that if you truly understand anything, you can't help but love it for what it is. Taiwan is like that. Once you're here, and you have lots of friends, have been around, tried all the famous foods, and gotten a feel for the community, you have to love Taiwan. It's magnificent in its own way. However, you still need to deal with those faults, and they become all too clear after a while.

So my post before was merely cautionary, advising the OP to not give up what he has for something less. That's all. There is no need for him to come here. I'd like to point out that most of you were saying the same things I said, actually, just not all at once :P
And Lord knows I used to defend Taiwan to the death whenever the veterans started a "Why I hate Taiwanese/Taiwan" thread, so I hope you understand that at least part of my viewpoint comes from those interactions.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 21 Feb 2010, 22:08

pgdaddy: I worked in the junior high school system for two years. It's pretty draining on the kids. The kids were meant to get there at 7:30am to do all the cleaning or tests, and would get out around 5:00pm or so. Some would have buxiban to go to, or music lessons. All would have a fair bit of study to do at home. They also had weekly tests in most, if not all of their classes, and big monthly tests that lasted for days. It's all basically to make sure that everyone is keeping up so they won't do badly on the really big tests.

Year nine in particular is hellish as that's what counts towards senior high school. The year sevens were a fairly happy, energetic bunch in the main, but you could see them gradually get worn down over the next two years and by year nine, many had really retreated into themselves. Many of the kids were still really nice kids, but you could see all the time that they were really tired. Every day, there would be a parade of kids lined up outside the offices for being late (i.e. sleeping in too late), and at almost any time of the day, a walk past the classrooms (especially the year nine classrooms) would reveal usually one kid, and often several kids, asleep or drifting off in class. I asked one of my year eight classes one day how many hours of sleep they got per night. The most was seven. The least was five. The reason they collectively offered was because they have so much study to do. It's pretty intense.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby TainanCowboy » 21 Feb 2010, 22:12

GIT -
Our son is 14 and in year 9, yr 3 of middle school, and it is indeed HELL!

Pure hell for the kids and a lot of the parental units also.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby maoman » 21 Feb 2010, 22:16

I agree with bismarck. Taiwan's elementary schools are pretty good. Life gets tough in junior high, but I'm not planning on putting my kids in local schools after the fourth grade, so it's not really an issue.

As far as racism towards mixed kids go, I'm not particularly concerned. I imagine my daughters will grow up having to deal with a certain amount of idiocy with regards to their race, but jerks are universal, and Taiwan isn't unique.
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Re: Want to move to Taiwan, but no idea WTF to do for a living

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 21 Feb 2010, 22:33

TainanCowboy wrote:GIT -
Our son is 14 and in year 9, yr 3 of middle school, and it is indeed HELL!

Pure hell for the kids and a lot of the parental units also.


TC: He's in a standard Taiwanese school? The thing that struck me about it is that I didn't face that kind of pressure and sleep deprivation until I was in my final year of high school. Also, Taiwan does well in some areas, yet it's still way behind Finland, for instance, and their school system is not nearly so intense in Finland. Actually, they have a completely different approach. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there are a handful of places at the really decent universities in this country. About 98-99% of kids here are going to end up cruising their way through pretty mediocre universities that aren't even remotely internationally recognised and they're going to end up with fairly useless degrees so they can get pretty non-descript jobs in other fields. In some ways, the educational systems in English speaking countries are really slack, but I have to wonder why these kids here end up getting drilled into the ground to become office workers or shop assistants just like all those slack kids in the West. I mean really, does the average office worker in Taiwan require six years of really, really intense schooling and a degree? There's this incredible educational inflation here where everyone is running faster and harder just to remain mediocre. Seriously, if you're not in the top three kids in your school, you're not in the hunt, so why bother? Why not have a life instead? Why not hang out with your friends, read comics, pretend you're going to become a famous pop star (because it's about as likely as getting into Tai-Da), etc.?
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