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why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby finley » 09 Apr 2012, 11:57

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say here. I took from it that at least some Taiwanese people believe their country to be poor. Personally, I know the stats and can also see several advantages that Taiwan has over my own home country, the UK. Yet I know if I were to ask the average Brit about Taiwan, once I'd explained I didn't mean Thailand, they'd lump it in with their other mental images of 'places other than the West' that are therefore inferior in every way, including national wealth.

There was an interesting exercise I did once on world perceptions with some other teachers where we had to rank nations according to the quality of their healthcare. The others in my group overwhelmingly wanted to place Singapore and Hong Kong near the bottom and we nearly had an argument when I insisted they should be placed near the top, and certainly higher than the US.


This is worth a read:
http://www.bwater.com/Uploads/FileManager/research/how-the-economic-machine-works/a-template-for-understanding--ray-dalio-bridgewater.pdf
Note especially his "five stages" theory of economic development, which does explain a lot of observations in this thread. Taiwanese people are rich but still think they are poor. Britain is poor (as a nation) but still believes it is rich. It takes a while for people's perceptions to catch up with reality. Presumably, people's perceptions of other countries are subject to the same rule.

What we need here is not "urban renewal" but bylaws stipulating that you need to maintain the outside of your building. All buildings should also have management companies take care of them as they do in the west. I know it can be done. The apartment we have out in Taoyuan is in a 15 year old complex that looks as new as when it opened. Every other complex around it, most much younger, look like absolute shit holes.

The building management companies are part of the problem. Buildings are not designed or built to high standards because the building company knows that, as long as the building stays standing for the guarantee period (5 years or whatever it is) they can completely wash their hands of it once it's been handed off to the management company. The management, in turn, simply view it as a cash cow rather than a commitment: tenants must pay extortionate monthly fees but have little recourse to law if the management company don't do anything useful. In other words, the building company has an economic incentive to construct the shittiest possible building with no attention at all to energy efficiency or ease of maintenance; all that is somebody else's problem. The management company have no economic incentive to look after the building because doing so erodes their profits.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby tommy525 » 09 Apr 2012, 11:57

Yes I agree. Some intelligence is needed here. NO make that a heaping whole LOT of intelligence is needed to redo Taiwan in a redeeming fashion.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby Mucha Man » 09 Apr 2012, 12:06

finley wrote:...The building management companies are part of the problem. Buildings are not designed or built to high standards because the building company knows that, as long as the building stays standing for the guarantee period (5 years or whatever it is) they can completely wash their hands of it once it's been handed off to the management company. The management, in turn, simply view it as a cash cow rather than a commitment: tenants must pay extortionate monthly fees but have little recourse to law if the management company don't do anything useful. In other words, the building company has an economic incentive to construct the shittiest possible building with no attention at all to energy efficiency or ease of maintenance; all that is somebody else's problem. The management company have no economic incentive to look after the building because doing so erodes their profits.


I'm talking about management companies to take care of ordinary small buildings with multiple owners not the giant complexes where you pay that monthly "guard fee." Yes, some of those, most of those, are a problem as you say. Some are good though, but the problem is the law, tenant laws, management laws and so on. We need stronger tenant rights and laws regarding the maintenence of buildings. It works everywhere else; no reason it can't here except the present system is designed to maximize profit at the expense of living conditions.

As a side note, my cunt of a landlady is pissed off because when I signed a new two year contract I asked that she pay for the aircons to be cleaned and for the trim on the kitchen counters to be replaced as the seal was coming off and it was impossible to clean under it (hence becoming a breeding ground for bacteria). She thought about it for two days and agreed to NT6000. Then last week during tomb sweeping day she must have told the rest of the family (many of whom have units in the building) and I surmise they laughed at her for doing this. Now she is trying to figure out some way to recoup the losses by asking me to pay for some maintenance fees (not in the contract).

I should be able to tell her to fuck off, but this being Taiwan all the advantage is on her side.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby Feiren » 09 Apr 2012, 12:07

finley wrote:
What we need here is not "urban renewal" but bylaws stipulating that you need to maintain the outside of your building. All buildings should also have management companies take care of them as they do in the west. I know it can be done. The apartment we have out in Taoyuan is in a 15 year old complex that looks as new as when it opened. Every other complex around it, most much younger, look like absolute shit holes.

The building management companies are part of the problem. Buildings are not designed or built to high standards because the building company knows that, as long as the building stays standing for the guarantee period (5 years or whatever it is) they can completely wash their hands of it once it's been handed off to the management company. The management, in turn, simply view it as a cash cow rather than a commitment: tenants must pay extortionate monthly fees but have little recourse to law if the management company don't do anything useful. In other words, the building company has an economic incentive to construct the shittiest possible building with no attention at all to energy efficiency or ease of maintenance; all that is somebody else's problem. The management company have no economic incentive to look after the building because doing so erodes their profits.

[/quote]

You are touching on an important point here. Taiwan's legal software is missing to make this happen. Taiwan has building management committees that collect funds from residents but they don't enforce the covenants to take care of the buildings. It probably doesn't make economic sense to try. In the US at any event, people don't care for the outsides of their houses and mow their lawns because they are aesthetes. The homeowner's association will sue your ass if you break the rules that you agreed to when you bought the property (the covenants that run with it). They will win and the court decision will be enforced.


Also, given that housing prices are going up anyway, I don't think that a nice exterior really does very much for your property values in most cases.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 09 Apr 2012, 12:47

I'm with Icon and MM about the general, unnecessary shabbiness of this place.

finley: I also think you need to encounter the right Taiwanese people in terms of how much they're willing to throw the money around. Around where I live, tourism is all the rage. There are some fairly average resorts around where I live that charge 8,000NTD/night! That's crazy, yet they do a roaring trade, especially during the holidays.

Also, when I lived in Taoyuan, through my work, I started running some group classes, primarily for the local Rotary Club (in which the principal was involved). I seemed to go to more Rotary dinners than actual classes. You should have seen these things though. They were lavish, and they were always talking about how much money they'd given to this group or that group, as in six, seven, eight figure sums. The top guys also used to give each other the most extravagent gifts (like huge jade statues) whenever a new committee member was elected and so on. These guys were extremely ostentatious in everything they did. I went to the apartment of one of the minor members and it was actually quite tastefully done (but very expensive also). The lobby of the building was intense though. It was all golden mythological beasts, chubby cherubs and that whole thing. My wife's cousin is in a similar situation and the place they live in is like that.

On the other hand, there's a guy at a sporting club I'm in here who is a doctor. He drives a beat up old scooter, and wanted me to ride on it without a helmet (which I didn't). If you met him without knowing he was a doctor, you'd think he was just some dude. When I went to his clinic, I realised that he's mega-loaded. He's got a six storey building (and each level is big), four or five levels of which make up his private ob/gyn clinic, and the top one or two levels of which (or there might have been a mezzanine level, but I can't remember) make up his family's apartment.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby Petrichor » 09 Apr 2012, 12:51

finley wrote:
This is worth a read:
http://www.bwater.com/Uploads/FileManager/research/how-the-economic-machine-works/a-template-for-understanding--ray-dalio-bridgewater.pdf
Note especially his "five stages" theory of economic development, which does explain a lot of observations in this thread. Taiwanese people are rich but still think they are poor. Britain is poor (as a nation) but still believes it is rich. It takes a while for people's perceptions to catch up with reality. Presumably, people's perceptions of other countries are subject to the same rule.



Thanks Finley. It does look interesting but it's quite long so I'll save it for when I have time. I take your word for what he says, though. I think it makes sense that people don't really have an accurate perception of the state of their own nation. Living within it you lack perspective.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby TheGingerMan » 09 Apr 2012, 13:07

If one lives within the shallow defile that is Taoyuan City, then I truly feel sorry for the dim lighting and ill repose.
I lived there for quite some time, and it was not a pretty sight. Drove me a far sight more than slightly awry, I must say!

Every occasion I drive back on through that SinkHole, it just brings me down. praise allah for the French Poets that saw me through.

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D’une langueur
Monotone."

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With all due apologies to Verlaine & Hemingway.

Taoyuan is about as close to the 3rd World as one should allow.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby PigBloodCake » 09 Apr 2012, 13:22

Icon wrote:Oh, I get the don't flaunt policy and that people here are humble, but from there to the kind of scraping by existence you see most of teh time, the squalor, it's disgusting. I do not think they need a 55 inch TV and a Mercedes, I think a coat of paint, new pipes, maybe a decent sweater, a proper meal in non-paper plates, is that too much to ask?


Unfortunately, in Taiwan, YES.

A new coat of paint spells trouble down the horizon as your neighbors (or others who happened to walk/drive/ride by) think you're stashed to the max.

Furthermore, why make your home stand out amongst the uglies when all you're doing is inviting thieves and what-not.
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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby Mucha Man » 09 Apr 2012, 13:47

PigBloodCake wrote:
Icon wrote:Oh, I get the don't flaunt policy and that people here are humble, but from there to the kind of scraping by existence you see most of teh time, the squalor, it's disgusting. I do not think they need a 55 inch TV and a Mercedes, I think a coat of paint, new pipes, maybe a decent sweater, a proper meal in non-paper plates, is that too much to ask?


Unfortunately, in Taiwan, YES.

A new coat of paint spells trouble down the horizon as your neighbors (or others who happened to walk/drive/ride by) think you're stashed to the max.

Furthermore, why make your home stand out amongst the uglies when all you're doing is inviting thieves and what-not.


Come on, that's a bit of a stretch. One comes a cross many lovely houses in the countryside now, and even condos in large complexes. Furthermore there are hundreds of complexes that scream MONEY from the outside and one can see interior renovations happening all the time. I know of several around me from the noise and dust. Are they advertising themselves for thieves?

I lived in a 6 story building for a while and when some new tenants moved in they wanted everyone to agree to redo the staircase and also retile the outside of the building. Most agreed but a few did not and so the project went nowhere. Other buildings though have been successful.

Simple bylaws such as feiren mentioned would be all it required. In many case all a lot of buildings need is to be powerwashed twice a year. That would hardly set them up for theft.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: why does everyone think taiwan is poor?

Postby Mawvellous » 09 Apr 2012, 13:49

finley wrote:The building management companies are part of the problem. Buildings are not designed or built to high standards because the building company knows that, as long as the building stays standing for the guarantee period (5 years or whatever it is) they can completely wash their hands of it once it's been handed off to the management company. The management, in turn, simply view it as a cash cow rather than a commitment: tenants must pay extortionate monthly fees but have little recourse to law if the management company don't do anything useful. In other words, the building company has an economic incentive to construct the shittiest possible building with no attention at all to energy efficiency or ease of maintenance; all that is somebody else's problem. The management company have no economic incentive to look after the building because doing so erodes their profits.


After a certain number of units are sold, the developer is obliged to had over management of the building to a management committee. However, since the committee is made up of residents, they certainly DO have an incentive to look after the building. Adding bars to the windows or random illegal extensions DOES reduce property value, and is much less common on buildings built in the last decade.
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