Taiwan politics made simple
Taiwan is a fabulous place full of rich cultures and the kindest of people. As an expat in the rural town of Beigang, Yunlin County, I’ve had the privilege to meet all kinds of people from rural Taiwan. The people there went so far out of their way to help me and make me feel comfortable and welcome in a land so far from home.
In Beigang, aside from being helped to get my entire life set up as far as transportation, food, living etc., I was invited to go on camping trips to Tainan, vacations to Taipei, Mazu parades and festivals, Chinese New Year celebrations, Moon Festival barbecues, and so many more exciting cultural experiences! The people here are truly some of the kindest I have run into in my life. I was fortunate to have friends living in Kaohsiung, which was an area that I visited frequently and thoroughly enjoyed.
The city was very busy and always full of life. The night markets there, as well as in Taipei, were an experience in themselves! The foods were full of flavor and variety and the shopping for trinkets and specialty items kept me coming back often! The big cities are very different from the rural town of Beigang, not seeing the farmers working in the fields and the pace was just slower in general. That being said, one of my very favorite places to visit was Kenting and the entire southwestern coast.
There I experienced gorgeous hikes through untouched mountains, beautiful beaches, and fantastic aboriginal cuisine and culture. I learned all about all kinds of aboriginal traditions, got to purchase aboriginal clothes and tools, and so much more. The local people there were truly living a different and amazing lifestyle, with all kinds of hand- crafted cookwear, bedding, jewelry, headwear, hunting tools and more.
Traveling Taiwan is something that I recommend to every person that may have the opportunity. It is one of the safest, friendliest countries I have had the opportunity to visit, and traveling around the island exposes you to an unspeakable amount, even though there isn’t all that much land to cover. Taiwan will forever have my heart, and I will never forget what I learned there, and what I was able to be a part of as an English teacher there.
Ifirst came to Taiwan from the UK over ten years ago and only had a vague idea about the political situation in Taiwan. My political leanings back home were left of center and I was led to understand that maybe the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the name standing for a democratic party, would have similar values. How wrong I was!
It was only through several years of changes in government here that I began to realize that the only party that had more of an international outlook, was less insular in approach, had in fact changed major policies regarding immigration, and made it a little bit easier visa-wise was the other party, the Kuomintang (KMT) — a key issue regarding foreigners.
They appeared to be more “foreigner friendly” if you like; even so, I cannot remember any major politician speaking out for the rights of overseas contract workers, for example. Even worse, years later I discovered that even tax payers who have permanent resident status cannot vote. Therefore, people who haven’t got a voice tend to ignore local politics and do not bother to attempt to understand the nuances.
However, the main problems lie in the fact that before any election these parties do not publish detailed manifestos in the media as can be witnessed in the UK with the upcoming general election. At first, I believed the English language press in Taiwan didn’t bother to translate the policies but then through discussion discovered that even Taiwanese locals hadn’t got a clue regarding the parties’ agendas!
It is here that the confusion lies. We know the stance regarding mainland China, and are in fact fed up of reading about it, but the general public needs to know what the proposals are on the health service, economy, education and other key issues. In depth cost aims for the future needed to be published and made available to every voter as in a mature democracy even though as we all know they all will wiggle out of the promises eventually!
Above all, it is time that politicians worked for the public good rather than to further their own careers and stop this tit-for-tat arguing between green and blue here. Maybe a move to a parliamentary system would go some way to achieving this, but don’t hold your breath.
The Ministry of Labor (MOL) wants to allow eligible migrant workers in Taiwan to apply for permanent residence as part of its efforts to increase the country’s workforce. Depending on their qualifications and skills, foreign blue-collar employees who have been working in the country for a certain period of time would soon be eligible to apply for a new type of permanent residence. According to the MOL, however, this new work permit would be different from the Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) granted to foreign professionals. But what do you think?
Why don’t you share some comments about your working experience in Taiwan to be published in next week’s PrimeTalk? Send submissions to email@example.com and include your real name, nationality, contact number, some photos and a profile. Specify “Eye on Taiwan” in the subject line and ensure your submission is between 300 and 500 words. Writers whose pieces are selected for publication will receive one month’s free subscription to The China Post.
Pete M. Jones considers it important for
all Taiwan citizens
to know the detailed proposals of politicians before they vote.
shares her journeys
and thoughts about traveling in
Taiwan, a beautiful,
warm and colorful