In your report on the closure of Alexander Health Clubs ("Alexander bosses summoned," Dec. 12, page 2), company chairwoman Candy Tang (唐雅君) attributed the shutdown to a "poorly performing economy, the fallout of credit and cash-card defaults and rising inflation."
From what I saw at Alexander, mismanagement was also likely a part of the problem.
I have been around fitness centers, as a customer and employee, for more than 20 years. I hold two certifications in personal fitness training (NSCA-CPT and ACE). I know a little something about gyms.
Cleanliness was a huge problem. Closing once a month for "major cleaning" was a joke. The facilities appeared no cleaner the day after a "cleaning." In fact, the same dust and debris could be found for weeks and weeks in corners of the fitness areas and on top of the shower stalls.
It seemed more like an excuse to save on payroll expenses. Gyms are germ factories, but Alexander's idea of cleaning the wet areas (showers and spa) appeared to be hosing them down with more water, which did nothing to get rid of the mold and mildew.
A quality gym does major cleaning daily. Custodial staff should be cleaning equipment and facilities throughout the day and night. This may have lost them some members.
It also appeared Alexander relied too heavily on membership dues for their finances. Membership sales revenue is not enough to support a health club. Gyms need to aggressively sell products in their shops, food and beverages in their snack bars and services, such as personal training and spa treatments. While Alexander had all of those things, it never looked like they pushed them much. I rarely saw personal trainers with clients nor did I ever see much effort by the staff to actively promote their services.
Alexander had some valuable assets. They had many convenient locations all over Taipei, which was the deciding factor for me when I chose their club. Their equipment, albeit inconsistent from location to location, was fairly complete and modern.
They had (according to them) more than 100,000 members island-wide. It's inconceivable that the Alexander management couldn't figure out a way to make it work. Instead, a lot of members are out of a lot of money.
Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets. “Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19. Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US. The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early-warning aircraft and Shenyang J-11 fighters on March 16 conducted a nighttime exercise in the waters southwest of Taiwan and, in doing so, came close to the nation’s air defense identification zone. Three days later, the PLA Navy’s fleet for Gulf of Aden escort mission sailed north in the Pacific off Taiwan’s east coast via the Miyako Strait on its way home. Meanwhile, the US carried out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and assembled the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group with the Expeditionary Strike Group to conduct
Having returned to the UK late last year and with a Taiwanese spouse remaining in Taiwan, I have been afforded the chance to compare and contrast the UK and Taiwanese governments’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis. My early conclusions are that Taiwan benefits from a rational, competent government, which quickly recognizes, adapts to and confronts large-scale disasters. It is led by a government that does more than just talk of respecting democracy and human rights, one that is scrutinized and responds to criticism, one that is concerned about public opinion, and one that is used to dealing with emergencies on
Italy, Spain, France, the UK and the US are all depending on social distancing to fight COVID-19 and have fallen into terrible situations, with mounting positive cases and many deaths. Social distancing might flatten the curve, so that the peak is not so high that hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, the problem is that the pandemic could extend further into the future, hurt the economy more and become unbearable for society. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore have controlled the spread of COVID-19, and the main reason is that most Asians wear masks. It can be illustrated as follows: If someone contracts the