Write For The Real Taiwan

The Real Taiwan website was started to offer a window on Taiwan to anyone that was interested. The original goal of the site was to be a community site with many authors and contributors. I am looking for people that would like to join me in sharing Taiwan with the world with weekly or monthly articles.

If you are a photographer, filmmaker, writer, musician, or creative type and you’d like to share your work regarding Taiwan with the world please contact me ( therealtaiwan[at] gmail.com). As much as I like doing things for this website, I am starting to get sick of my own writing voice and hope that some new perspectives can shine through. I also live in Tainan, so it is harder for me to get out and see other parts of the island.

The theme is Taiwan, and just about anything is ok. Have a look around the site to see what I have done in the past. I have changed my attitude and grown in my ability running this site, so to be honest, I feel my standards are much higher now than they were before.

I am trying to make the online experience multimedia, and you can see more videos, audio tracks (MP3’s) and photographs accompanying the articles presented. If you can help in any aspect of that that would be great. I love exploring and seeing new places myself, and also love using technology to document and share the experience with others.

If you already have a blog, perhaps you’d like to do a guest article/interview here. I can also do something for your site as well so we can share perspectives if you will…

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me. I look forward to seeing what can develop.

Best regards,

~ John

16 Responses to “ Write For The Real Taiwan ”

  1. I just came back from 11 days in Taiwan. My visit was work related and enjoyed my time there. I also took a lot of notes and pictures so I can explain to family and friends what it was like. There were many interesting example like the garbage trucks that played music. Where I come from, music of that sound quality is played by ice cream trucks in order to attract kid’s attention. I will check back with your website soon. I can contribute if you like.

  2. I am a yoga meditation teacher teaching in european countries for the past 10 years. I am interested in visiting for one week to taiwan. How many people indians are in taiwan. I am working for orphan children in India that is the reason I am working in eueope. My phone number is 0091-9443599208.


  3. Musings and Meditations on Life as an Expatriate in Taiwan
    David Alexander November 2007
    (David Alexander works at Tainan Theological College and Seminary where he is the advisor to international students).
    Crossing the Street
    I arrived in Taiwan fresh from California in July of 1976. In my homeland the law stated that a pedestrian in a crosswalk had the right of way. Motorized traffic was supposed to stop. Whether the rule was honored or not “depended.” Life in Taiwan was not like home.
    I was accustomed to cars slowing down when I stepped into a crosswalk, so was astonished that no deceleration took place in similar cases in here. Approaching drivers estimated respective locations at the time we should meet and steered to miss me to one side or the other. My own initial calculations misinterpreted their intentions. More than once I bolted for the curb, causing surprise on the part of the drivers and consternation on that of anyone walking with me.
    Now I know how to cross streets in Taiwan and am comfortable standing on the double yellow line while all manner of wheeled transport passes by with centimeters to spare on either side. California is a distant memory.

    When I was a child my father had a sales job that came with personal name cards. They bore his name, his company’s name and the office address and telephone.
    Taiwan name cards have so much more. Apart from the presenter’s name and contact data they often carry the logo of a company or of a service club (Rotary, Lions, etc.) and even a virtual resume in a few square centimeters. “President of XX Elementary School Parents’ Association”, “Vice President of YY Middle School Alumni Association”, “BA Degree from ZZ University Department of QQ”,” Former member of the Board of Directors of WW Charity Association”, “Current Member of the Governing Board of SS Temple”, “Vice-convener of the NN Township Chapter of the ____ Party”, and so on.
    Living and working in Taiwan for nearly 30 years now, I’ve had many different name cards, and I’m sure that I’ve attempted to burnish my image on more than a few. The one I carry now is fairly simple, though. I’ve found “other ways.”

    You’ll Never Walk Alone
    I’m comfortable being alone. Prior to arriving in Taiwan decades ago I often walked or biked the streets of California communities where I grew up and went to college in joyful solitude. During my first months here I was in a residential language teaching for a summer, and I soon found myself wanting “solo time” on the streets.
    One evening I made my escape, but was only a few hundred meters from the hostel” when one of my students emerged from the crowd, called my name, and fell in beside me. I was annoyed, thinking that he was trying to get in some extra English practice outside of class hours or that he thought me too stupid to find my own way back Eventually, however, I learned how important it is in Taiwan both to have a companion and to BE a companion.
    Over the years since, I’ve found ways to be alone and to walk alone when I really need to. I’ve also learned to welcome unexpected companionship when polite folk are doing what comes naturally to them.

    Where are you Going?
    The Taiwanese language has no word or phrase that simply means “hello.” Traditional greetings include the questions “have you eaten?” and “where are you going?” The second of these is more often used out of doors..
    The first time I was thus greeted I felt accosted. An elderly gentleman of my acquaintance who knew some English chanced upon me when I was going to the train station to reserve a ticket. Though his greeting to me was polite, my answer was both incomprehensible and rude.
    He had merely said, “Where are you going?” I seethed internally, wanting to say, “none of your business”, but, because he was an elderly gentleman, I told him about the station, my planned trip, and the event to which I was going.
    Time has passed. Now when asked where I’m headed I merely reply “out” or “back”. In 1977 I was living in a college student hostel off campus in Pingtung. The toilet facilities were an outhouse out back. I was on the way down the stairs when a student hailed me with the customary greeting. Remaining mum, I waved a wad of toilet paper. WAY too much information.

    Getting Permission
    In 1998 I was the pastor of a storefront church in Kaohsiung. A student singing group from an out-of-town Bible college offered to do a neighborhood outreach program on a weekday afternoon. I laboriously wrote a letter in Chinese requesting use of a small skating rink in a nearby park, including the date, time, size of group and other details. I took this to the city hall and submitted it to the park department. A few days later my letter came back stamped “request denied” because the rink and park were too small for the proposed event.
    This surprised me. On several occasions I’d seen commercial groups running medicine shows on the rink for crowds far larger than I had described in my application. On a visit to the elected neighborhood chief I learned what was “up.” The park department, he said, acted according to expectations. They said “NO” because I asked permission. He advised me to hold the activity anyway. When the day came he even provided 40 chairs and cases of drinking water.
    The activity attracted few people. The choir outnumbered the congregation. It didn’t matter. A good time was had by all despite the intentions of the city government of that little lamented period in Kaohsiung’s history.

    Are We at War?
    When I was a child in California a National Guard unit about 10 miles from my home often flew large silver cargo planes with orange on the tails and wing tips over the neighborhood on training flights. It being the height of the cold war, military stuff was common in the area.
    “Real” Air Force planes looked different when I served in Vietnam a few years later. They were dark green and black C-130 Hercules monsters. I associated their sound with the war, and when I returned “home” discovered that even the National Guard had switched over to using them.
    After college, I moved to Taiwan and dwelt in Pingtung its Air Force base, becoming accustomed to the sound of the 1940’s vintage C-119’s that flew over my house every day. But once I heard a different, chilling sound. Looking up I saw a C-130 approaching to land. My first reaction was, “are we at war?” Taiwan’s C-119’s are long gone, and I’ve left Pingtung. I work in Tainan where fighter jets and C-130’s are common sights and sounds, no longer assuming that we’re at war.

    “You Might Outrun My Old Chevrolet”
    In the 1970’s an American pop song about a rural lawman, “The Sheriff of Boone County” contained the lyric, “You might outrun my old Chevrolet but you won’t outrun my old two-way”. It implied that though lawbreakers in that rural area had cars than the sheriff, his two-way radio meant that he could arrange for someone to get out ahead of them. Whether the song had anything to do with actual police work or not can’t be said, but it leads one to believe that some folks in America at that place and time would ignore a law officer’s order to stop.
    It is not so in Taiwan. A police officer can stand near an intersection armed with nothing more than a whistle and a citation pad. A blast on the whistle and gesture with a hand can bring a truck, bus, car or motorcycle to a halt. I’m amazed! Of course, many a miscreant who espies an officer from a distance corrects his behavior to comply with traffic regulations before reaching the intersection, and maybe that’s just as good.
    Alas for both Taiwan and for America, far too many of us upon ascertaining that the law isn’t looking will take advantage of the situation and become a law unto ourselves, ignoring painted lines, posted signs and traffic lights.

    Going to Church
    A regular churchgoer in my home country, I planned to continue my habit upon arrival in Taiwan. It didn’t matter that I could not understand Taiwanese or Mandarin, my bottom would be in a pew on Sunday morning. I figured it would be enough to hum along with the hymns, bow my head during the prayers and browse through my English Bible the rest of the time, either accumulating holiness or racking up “points” whether I understood or not. On my first such trip, it “sort of” worked. I learned, however, that an hour of Bible reading was more than I was accustomed (or able) to do. Going to church in Taiwan became an exercise in patient endurance. I told myself, “Once I learn the language, it’ll all be different.”
    I learned Taiwanese. Now I understand most of what goes on during that hour of patient endurance. It is not a matter of the hymns, prayers or sermons being sub-standard… they’re about the same as those I experienced and endured in North America. There’s the rub. Church in Taiwan is like church back home. Only the language differs.
    I persist because I’m a believer and I’ve been a churchgoer all my life. But I continue to hope for “church” in Taiwan to become “Taiwanese” in more than language. I expect to have to wait a LLLOOONNNGGG time.

  4. Hey!
    I’m a Frenchie Student who spent 1 year all over Taiwan, especially in South. I studied in Nan Jeon Institute of Technology of Yanshui city (Firework’s and Beehives famous place!)
    I just wanted to thank you of popularizing this beautiful country on your website. More people should go there to learn, visit, travel, watch, and talk with taiwaneses who are fabulous peoples…
    So Thank You Guy!

  5. Thanks Jeremy. We do our best to present an interesting look at Taiwan.

  6. Hello,
    I just moved to Taiwan about a week ago to start work training. I am an aspiring photographer who loves Taiwanese culture. I have a personal blog documenting Taiwanese culture and on my spare time I go on photographic expeditions in Taiwan. I would definitely love to contribute something to this website.

  7. Sure thing Kevin. I just sent you an email to your posted address.

  8. umm..

  9. Hi Everyone,

    Recently, I created a community blog with some friends of mine. We are looking for contributors!

    The concept is simple. Articles should be written in mandarin in less than 20 minutes and cannot be edited by anyone else but the author. The purpose of these criteria is to control the length of the articles and to garantee their spontaneity. Articles should be as good or bad as your spoken Chinese and as genuine as, let’s say, your answers to a local person’s questions while waiting for bus 236 at MRT Taipei Zoo Station on a Wednesday evening.

    On the web, 99,99% of the dialog between expats and locals is limited to English. Our project is an alternative to the “mainstream media” that connect both worlds. We believe that estabilishing new links is important for cross-cultural communication. Afterall, isn’t this an fondamental part of our journey abroad?

    In short, Everyone who can write simple sentences in mandarin is welcome to join. Here is the address of the blog so you can have a look :

    I already put a link to “The real Taiwan” on our blog!

    Looking forward to hearing from you,


  10. thnks

  11. I would really want to learn about Taiwan. It has been one place on my list I want to visit someday and know more about their culture.

  12. Hey there. I stumbled on your site by accident, and I must say I really enjoy it. I live in Taitung, on the other side of the island from you, and I write a couple blogs related to Taiwan. My main one is:


    I’ll be putting a link to your site on my own, and should you still need or want any contributors let me know!

  13. I like to visit Taiwan this days but i really do not have any clue about how it is. We have lots of Chinese in my country, Nigeria but have not stumbled to see any Taiwan.

    Any suggestion about Taiwan.

    Kindly write me note to my email


  14. Hi..
    I am fazal from pakistan.22 year of old.I am a muslim.
    I realy love taiwani people.I want get any job in taiwan.And i want marry in taiwan and want to spend my whole life in taiwan.I many times try but i nt success.
    If any one there.Please help me.
    Its my email:(ppps_33@yahoo.Com)
    i will b very thankful to u.

  15. will write

  16. ok

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