"There's only negative news on TV, and I do not believe Taiwan is such a bad place," said Yu Tzu-wei (俞子維), a third-year student in the department of mechanical engineering at National Taiwan University of Science and Tech-nology in Taipei.
As a personal challenge and to find the true voice of Taiwan, Yu set out on a journey around the country last month without bringing a single dollar. He finished the tour in nine days, proving that Taiwan is a warm and friendly place.
In the early morning of Aug. 5, Yu left a note for his parents and took off, taking with him only a light backpack. Although he met with many refusals, many more people were willing to lend a helping hand, enabling him to travel along the west coast to Kenting and return to Taipei along the east coast.
PHOTO: LIU LI-JEN, TAIPEI TIMES
Along the way, he hitched rides in BMWs, sports utility vehicles, freight trucks and scooters. He slept in private homes or a tent, and returned home safely just over a week later on Aug. 13.
On one occasion, when threatened by a vagrant, bystanders helped him to safety. Some people urged him to go home because of the potential danger of traveling alone, but others offered their assistance in numerous ways, helping him to fulfill his dream.
Yu asked everyone who helped him to explain why they did so, and the answers ranged from "It's cool! This is what a young person should be doing," to "I just wanted to see if you were a ghost."
However, everyone seemed to admire Yu's courage. Yu added that the most rewarding part of this trip was to break down stereotypes and experience the nation's pure and passionate heart.
Yu said that in the future, he will attempt to travel around the world in the same way. He also said he wants to launch a safe hitchhiking campaign.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would