Tue, Jan 20, 2009 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: FEATURE: Indians see presence in Taiwan grow

GETTING CLOSER As of last August there were only around 1,900 long-term Indians residents in Taiwan, increasing from 1,400 a year earlier, immigration figures showed

By Richard Hazeldine  /  STAFF REPORTER

Another, similar-sized, group is made up of families in the diamond and precious stones trade who sell their wares to Taiwanese jewelers.

Despite the increased contacts, it may surprise many to learn that according to official immigration figures, as of last August there were only around 1,900 long-term Indian residents in Taiwan — although this number had increased from 1,400 a year earlier.

Even so, signs of an increased awareness of India and its culture are visible on the streets of Taiwan’s cities.

Yoga is one of the most obvious examples, with schools devoted to the ancient art literally on every other corner. Inspiration from Bollywood movies, meanwhile, has seen Indian dancing gain an increasing number of devotees.

Indian fashions are popular among the young and can be purchased at most night markets, while those who fancy some pampering can check into one of the many ayurvedic spas that are cropping up in big hotels and beauty salons nationwide.

Chengchi University is working on a textbook about India — its politics, economics and culture — with the aim of helping the nation’s university students gain a deeper understanding of this giant melting pot of a country.

Then there is Indian food, which can now be found at more and more locations across Taiwan.

“Even the Indian fare on offer at some of Taipei’s Western restaurants is pretty authentic,” Purswaney said.

With so much bilateral contact these days, it seems the only stereotypes Indians in Taiwan like Purswaney will have to put up with in the future will be positive ones.

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