When Things Come To an End

Taiwan landscape

Taipei, Taiwan

When things come to an end, I think I want to come back to Taiwan.

Saying “things come to an end” may be a bit melodramatic, I simply want to retire in Taiwan, and I urge everyone who desires to have a different yet peaceful lifestyle in retirement to come here as well.

I grew up here; therefore everything is familiar to me as if I never left.

Living in the states for almost 8 years, I felt different every time that I came back to Taiwan for visits. One thing that has not yet changed is how familiar this place is. I can easily navigate between MRT (Taipei rapid transit system), city buses, and small places in the alleys. Even for a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language, Taiwanese hospitality is extremely helpful compared to other countries.

Hospitality can be ambivalent sometimes.

I used to hate this kind of touchy-feely characteristic. Well, I still do sometimes. I remember a time, about 6 – 8 years ago, when my sister and I had a minor disagreement on the street. I turned away from her and started walking away, simply because my American-self taught me the best way to deal with a conflict is by ignoring it and walking away. All of a sudden, an old stranger showed up. He approached me and my sister, looking concerned, and told us all he wanted was to help. His “hospitality,” undoubtedly, had pissed me off even more, and I swore that I would never come back to Taiwan because of how nosey people are here. In recent trips, however, I started seeing the wonderful side of Taiwanese hospitality. For example, bus drivers refused to take my money because I got on the wrong bus; random passengers stopped and helped me Google-map a restaurant because my cell phone did not work. It might simply because I have become gentler with age, but I can guarantee you that Taiwanese hospitality is second to none in the world.

Taiwan, a place moving at a turtle’s pace but with tremendous up-and-coming opportunities.

I met with one of my seniors at college in a recent visit. He is the co-founder of a non-profit organization, Pan-Sci, and he wants to change the media and society in Taiwan. We talked about the news channels in Taiwan, the kind of news that gives you a migraine, not because of the depth but because of the non-sense and lack of rationality behind the reporting. He told me that he and his organization are working on developing various sectors covering news, culture, and digital channels to reach a middle-class audience and to challenge their thought process and beliefs. His beliefs are that they can achieve this in the next 2 – 3 years through connecting with the right people and ultimately causing a ripple-effect. He asked if I would help share ideas on how to measure and track media more accurately, and of course I said yes, because I believe in his vision, and I also believe in Taiwan.

The other rising star I’ve long admired is my cousin Alice Chang. She graduated from Stanford and worked for Google for 2 years. Then she decided to move back to Taiwan and founded two companies, My83.com.tw (a community-driven platform helping consumers select insurance packages) and mamilove.com.tw (a site dedicated to new parents, offering tips and group shopping for infant products). One of them recently won a Chinese venture capital award for entrepreneurship and innovative business case studies. Her entrepreneurship has inspired many in Taiwan, and it’s only a matter of time that all the locally known entrepreneurs in Taiwan open up a worldwide market.

In short, Taiwan is awesome. You should come visit.

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