Michael Jewell, a researcher retained by the European Chamber of Commerce, said he woke up yesterday amid the pitter-patter of rain and thought, "How the hell am I gonna get a taxi today?"
"But in Taipei, the taxi situation on a rainy day isn't bad at all compared to Hong Kong or Singapore. And we all know what it's like in Beijing, with those dirty little Tianjin things that can barely fit one passenger," Jewell said yesterday at a luncheon hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce, Taipei (ECCT).
"It's easy to criticize [foreign cities], but when things go well, we tend to take advantage of that," Jewell said while presenting the results of a survey commissioned by the chamber on the quality of life in 11 major Asian cities, including Taipei.
Some 585 chamber members throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including 100 captains of European industry in Taipei, were polled via the Internet on behalf of the chamber over the summer by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), one of the world's leading market research companies, according to the chamber.
Although Taipei scored high in certain categories such as public safety, Internet access, educational resources and entertainment and leisure, the city's overall rating was average.
Only "36 percent of chamber members described living [in Taipei] as `excellent' or `very good,'" the chamber stated in this month's issue of its bimonthly, Euroview.
However, Jewell, a TNS researcher, was quick to point out that most of the remaining 64 percent of Taipei-based participants used the adjectives "good" or "fair" to describe the quality of life in the city.
"Only one person rated the quality of life in Taipei as poor," Jewell added.
At 36 percent, Taipei scored fourth behind Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Manila, which scored 68 percent, 52 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
Shanghai and Beijing, meanwhile, lagged behind Taipei by a percentage point.
The "living" factors by which chamber members were asked to evaluate the quality of life in their respective cities included the quality of medical care and emergency services, housing, banking and Internet services, public safety and the quality of English and ease of communication.
Taipei performed poorly in the last category, with 86 percent of chamber members polled rating the general level of English in Taipei as either fair or poor.
As for banking and shopping, "the situation in Taipei would certainly seem to be better than in China, but the only place where chamber members feel genuinely comfortable and satisfied is Hong Kong," Jewell states in this month's Euroview.