Wed, Jan 12, 2011 - Page 8 News List


Dark side of the flora expo

While Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) celebrated the great success of the Taipei International Flora Expo and its 3 millionth visitor a few days ago, Taipei leaders may have forgotten what is happening in the areas around them — especially in the areas where the visitors are coming from.

The northern coastal area is very deeply affected by this event. How the situation changed in early November! The wintertime is always a critical and very difficult time for all restaurants in the region here. The weather conditions are one reason for this. Faulty forecasting is another one. While forecasting rain, there were several occasions of sunshine instead — but where were the weekend guests?

Yes, right! Many of them didn’t make the trip to our area because of the more than five-month long show in Taipei. Many in the local communities surely want to see this event and visit Taipei instead.

It is almost unbelievable that such a long event — more than five months and in the winter time — was planned without any incentives for the surrounding regions where the visitors are coming from. Tourist activities last year were few and poor in effect. It seems that all the efforts just go to Taipei — never to the surrounding communities. I must ask if the Taipei City Government wants to have the floral show at the expense of the businesses in the surrounding areas.

Just to make it clear, in case it is still unknown or not interesting in Taipei, but local business provides and saves local job opportunities. How can it be that the surrounding communities were left alone in this way, without finding a balance for them? Did no one ever think about that in Taipei?

It’s not yet enough that we work here under the label of “forgotten, its Taipei County [the former name of New Taipei City (新北市)],” we also have to experience the hardship that has become so much greater.

What can the mayor of Taipei tell us? I am eager to learn, otherwise I will have to believe that we have been written off. If this is the meaning of New Taipei City, then that’s not more than a bad joke that is not worth spending any money on.

Andreas Forster


The complain game

As a culinary sinner, I have been to more than a few branches of McDonald’s, Mos Burger, Burger King, etc, in Taiwan. The staff may have called me a foreigner there, but why does it bother Callum McGovern (Letters, Jan. 9, page 8)? His reaction is a little drama-queenish if you ask me.

Taiwan is a far less multi-ethnic society than, say, the UK, France or the US, and a foreigner is what I am. To be stared at as virtually the only foreigner in little villages of Yilan County or elsewhere is hardly surprising.

To be spat on is not the norm here in Taiwan and I found that kids in Taiwan love to shout English at you that makes little sense, but without any unfriendly meaning. I find Taiwan is doing its best to get to know other cultures by inviting foreigners to a host of variety or talk shows, and making learning English a national obsession. In Taiwan, foreigners are generally treated exceptionally well, with a kindness that you will not find traveling through Europe or the US.

Ask someone the way and they take you to your destination no matter how far it is. And almost anything that can possibly be translated into English is translated in English. For an Anglo-Saxon, it is more difficult to find one’s way around in Germany or France than Taiwan. I advise McGovern to count his blessings and stop complaining about tiny incidents like these.

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