Recently I’ve been thinking, how Taiwan differs in a political point of view from China. Officially both sides think they’re different from each other. However when the doors are closed, is there something unspoken between these two, something they also have a common target? Quite often in this part of world politics aren’t so easy. Often what’s said is different what’s decided or the messages are controlled from the top level. Who has the best knowledge of current situation?


When Covid-19 pandemic started, I felt lucky that I was in Taiwan. There was low case count and no big changes to everyday life. Same time the rest of the world was suffering. When I came back to Finland I realized that you may do less, and share more information from authorities to people, and still keep the case count low.


Taiwan didn’t test much during the time I was living there in 2020. It was almost impossible to get tested for Covid-19. This was mainly needed if an airline or at the border control it would be required to have a negative PCR test result. In Taiwan if you didn’t have a clear reason for Covid-19 testing, you were denied to get a test (traveling wasn’t really a reason). I wondered why it was so difficult, even if you pay by yourself. Recent changes in the case count in Taiwan make it more clear: if you don’t test, no cases are added into total numbers.


Do I question any other Taiwanese policies now? Late 2020 there started to be in local news stories about immigrants who tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Taiwan. Note: non-Taiwanese migrant workers only. This is pretty much similar case as we saw happening in China during the year 2020. They tried to put public thinking against foreigners: locals didn’t bring the Covid-19 outbreak, they were immigrants and others who came to China that had infections. Believes who wants. I didn’t hear any violence against foreigners in Taiwan, in China there were seen some violence and bad behavior. Some foreigners even left China after these incidents. Now it looks happening also in Taiwan.


How about the quarantine rules? My arrival in Finland was pretty smooth. Only self-quarantine was requested (you monitor your situation, you avoid public places, etc). Some passengers were tested for Covid-19 right after arrival at the airport, too. Other side in Taiwan you were asked to stay in quarantine hotels in 2020. Was this Taiwanese quarantine rule in place to avoid total case count growing too quickly and too high? Most asymptomatic cases aren’t counted if no testing is done. Same time it will let them go out free and possibly infect some other people. Authorities may cross fingers so that there won’t be any extra cases.


There are many ways to avoid epidemic to spread freely. Also you can put more responsibilities to people themselves and avoid any bad to happen with limited effort. Taiwanese often think they need to make sure about things by themselves for any bad. As long as governments are telling and keeping the message simple enough, there won’t be many people against their decisions. You can also silence people by giving them a threat or putting them in a situation that they’re somehow responsible of things. It doesn’t feel so good anymore to get a positive Covid-19 test result.


With these things I believe both China and Taiwan have had pretty much the same policies in place in this pandemic. Their message to the public is: it didn’t come from us,We tried very hard to prevent it spreading freely, We helped other countries by offering support, help and equipment, We asked our people to be cautious; and We didn’t let them travel free, We controlled cases; and We requested people to avoid public places. Were these strategies in place with a reason or even controlled by same decision makers in both places?


Nobody knows for sure what has happened behind the scenes. A good advice is still to be careful, think about own actions and then follow the public guidance. I believe all countries try to do their best, but also get the right message out in communication, probably for a reason.


There’s still some interesting reporting and public speaking in Taiwan at the time I’m writing this. Many of the messages look so much different for me at the moment. If you do something wrong, it’s okay to admit it. At least in Finland.

I did big plans to change a country by the end of last year or early this year. Already one year ago or so. This didn’t happen suddenly or without any reason. Personal choice. I have been in Taiwan last 5 years or so and it hasn’t been bad, actually quite refreshing time to time. I also had a chance to live short time in Vietnam and spent time in Indonesia for my work. It was good.


Things I believe Taiwan should do more in the coming years (in case they are interested in attracting more foreign workers, especially more educated ones).



Official language

Currently Taiwan is still working like a mini-China. You hear, smell and see China everywhere. This isn’t so multicultural or open society for people without Chinese background. When you meet new people, one of the first questions is always “Do you speak Chinese”. It feels that more important is what languages you speak or not, not even who you are or what other skills you have. This is in both casual occasions and work, job interviews, public offices, banks, etc. I haven’t seen this habit even in China or other countries. In central Europe it helps if you can speak German, but it’s not a question – more like a nice surprise for opposite if you can.


My suggestion: English as an official language



It’s typical in Taiwan to see all decisions go to top level. I remember Taipei mayor saying that he asked HM directors contact directly his office when they had difficulties to establish business in Taiwan. What kind of city or society wants to do business only through connections? Doesn’t it sound like some sort of corruptions when things get easier for some others? Another example for this is companies. Even high level managers can’t decide without asking their superiors. You can adapt to this, but what it affects to culture in general can’t be changed without decision making going lower. People will not take responsibility of themselves without ability to affect, without decision making power. It keeps them thinking “I’m not able to decide”. It’s poisonous.


My suggestion: Promote culture which encourages shared responsibility, power and decision making skills




This is everywhere. Traffic noise is mostly because of cheap motorbikes. I totally can’t stand this. It’s easier to just take a bus or MRT, ride a bicycle. People still need to have their old, noisy motorbikes which cause a lot of emissions (NOTE: noise is also emission). You’ll also hear “piip, piip” often from buses, when you live your city bike, when you withdraw money, use almost any kind of machine. If I wear blind, could I even use those machines and need the noise as well? And shops or restaurants have either a person or a loudspeaker t attract more customers. This noise feels sometimes more disturbing than neon lights in other big cities.


My suggestion: High taxation to motorbikes (emissions or support electric, less noisy motorbikes), remove "piip, piip" and avoid noisy scouting


These and some other reasons put me to think other options. I have an option to go back to Finland, travel or move to another country in Asia, consider Australia. Well, many of my friends thought I would go to Bali because I had a one-month-plan to stay there first. This was just an option, but the virus situation and lock downs put me to decide something else. I’m pretty satisfied about this timeout which came by a sudden.


How I see things are good? Last months I’ve been living in one of the safest places in the world, no restaurant or shop closures, almost normal live inside Taiwan. I’ve been concentrating in my online courses, creating new content, making plans for the coming, testing online advertising, many things. At least I have learned how to do things. It’s important to find your opportunities around, prepare for surprises, take can-do or “I’ll survive” attitude. This will help you out!

I often hear from local friends and colleagues a question: What's good in Taiwan? This is because many times I've been complaining about things or telling what should be changed. Also my foreigner friends or colleagues have asked me what keeps me here.


I want to go through in this post several positive, happy and different things in Taiwan compared to other places or countries I've been living, traveling or having chance to do projects. I could compare, but  this will not be  the case. Rather than comparison I want to upraise the greatest things!



General things I have found great in Taiwan


1. Water, free supply. Many, many places you need to buy a bottle of water, but in Taiwan you can easily find a water dispenser to refill your own bottle. This is great!


2. Convenience, easy to go different places. There are public transportation, public bikes and cheap prices in Taiwan. You can even use the same card in different cities. However it doesn't mean exactly everywhere, but biggest cities, local trains, and so on. Same card which you can buy small things in convenient stores as well applies.


3. Public toilets without someone to ask you to pay. Yes, when the nature calls it's good to find a place easily.


4. Buy and get many services in thousands of  Family marts, 7evelen and other minimarts. This means nearly anything, 24/7. Food, snacks, drinks (soft drinks or alcohol, hot or cold, anything).


5. Public parks and places to exercise. There are a lot of places to go to hang out or exercise in Taiwan. It will make you happy and keep you healthy.



How about the society


1. I'm coming from Finland, of course I feel good about taxation here. You can get deductions by just telling your name and local tax officials will even make sure you get all you can. General tax level is very low already, but if you ever get kids or need to take care of your parents, you'll get more help.


2. Safety, any time of day. You can easily go out and only some areas you may see a bit more insecurity. I haven't had any safety issues ever in Taiwan. Not a single time of day. People even leave their wallet on the table when they go outside for a smoke in bars. Nobody will take it.


3. Healthcare, this will be very easy to use. You can get to a doctor or a dentist easily. Basic healthcare is good and you will find specialists easily. National health insurance doesn't cover everything, but for basic things and checks I appreciate the options. You can choose by yourself.


4. You can settle in easy. Taiwan is quite open place for moving in and finding a simple job. It wasn't difficult to do all the things after I found a place to live and even got a job. This doesn't mean flexible job market, but at least you can solve the issues with public organizations easily.


5. There's not much visible corruption, but I believe it exists still here. Government is working on it, but if you're a local or foreigner living here, normally you'll not see that. I have heard you can get easier to a special care in hospitals or such by paying extra, but you can also think this as a tip.



These are my ten things about Taiwan I wanted to share to you. If you are more interested, join Skillshare today and take advantage of two free premium months/access and join my class. You can also join my Udemy course to get even more for now. I will update Taiwan topics in Skillshare later on, but you can already take your free premium months now.


Have a great day and welcome to Taiwan!

I didn't really realize how lucky I could ever be when I decided to change location around 5 years ago. Now that I live in Taiwan, I suddenly noticed that government need to be aware many things in public health. I already have enjoyed easy access to doctors, dentists and even hospitals when I've been in a need by national health insurance. That is so different to Finland. Only employer paid medical care is actually really good in Finland (not all of course).


I really appreciate the actions with Novid-19 in Taiwan. All actions immediately taken can be read from this article. Awareness of course came to here in 2003 when Taiwan was one of the most affected areas in the world in SARS. This current pandemic will sure change North America and Europe. I hope it will affect to people, too. 


As a foreigner I was a bit uncertain what will happen next in January 2020. I just saw almost all people wearing face masks around me. I also started to use it time to time, like taking public transportation or going to bank, staying in elevators, etc. Also my temperature was measured in public offices, banks and later also in bigger coffee shops, universities came after WHO announced pandemic. I haven't seen people coming these places with high temperate. This thing I believe was the reason why spread was less: self-quarantined people staid home. There were no high level asking to do it.


Now that I have been back in Taiwan after several weeks and news started to flow, I trust more and more this country and its people. I feel more safe about latest actions. I must extend my stay here. I planned to see another country but not that many to go right now.


There are people here who will come back all over the world. One group of them will take private charter from Peru. This is paid by themselves. They will not wait government to pay when they're in a risk to get sick. It's a big difference in thinking which now seems to be clever. Taiwanese people first think about themselves, they feel that others will not care about them so much. Even if government was immediately in action, it's better to take responsibility of yourself. Not wait too long. 60 people still in Peru wait for Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize their evacuation.


An interesting thing happened at my dentist some time ago. I had been traveling and I entered country at the time there were no restrictions to countries I had been. My dentist recommended to stay home next days because there was 14 days you can still get Novid-19 symptons. He said someone should have advice you and he knew this traveling from NHI system which alerted them. One healthcare system all over the country, not related to city or public or private. One system. Now that all arriving people are isolated, maybe I should have been more careful however I didn't work and mostly already stayed at home. In the beginning of the crisis all over the world.


Government paid factories to establish new production lines for creating more face masks. It's restricted and fixed price but can only buy if go early enough. I got 3 more today. Mostly older people waiting when the time comes, but they will also do it for the family. I believe they go every day. Sometimes you don't know about the future, it's hard to predict. How lucky you can be so suddenly!

After I had worked almost three years in Taiwan they finally started to offer a new kind of Employment Gold Card for professionals. Basically in Taiwan you usually first look for a job, you get a job and your new company will apply a work permit for you. After it’s approved, you will then apply an alien resident card to be allowed to live and work in Taiwan. However a new Employment Gold Card has both of those and other features and you can apply it before you even visited Taiwan.


The process wasn’t very smooth to get the card. It started with the application. The form asked to fill my address in Chinese. I wonder if you apply abroad, are they still asking to fill it in Chinese. For my address it didn’t actually have the correct way to put lane or number of my apartment.  I just noticed this last week at bank because the card has wrong characters still (even I said it in open form to them in application process). Luckily my bank is okay, they just put it correct to their system, didn’t ask for passport (which is also many times asked along with ARC card).


Second problem was asking for status. You’re not really able to track the status through website, because it only has main steps – not all. This started another discussion. They already knew something need to change in application, but didn’t do anything before I asked. Then they asked to call for another ministry to get detail information. I wonder again if you apply abroad, how easy it is to make phone calls instead of emailing. They do have one email address to use for contacting. I actually used it often to ask them to make calls, much simpler.


These emails continued. My current ARC was going to expire; processes took time and at the end to extend my current ARC we had to apply work permit traditional way during the process. But when I had applied extension, company got new work permit and I placed another application for new ARC I got acceptance email. The whole process took two months’ time, the Employment Gold Card costed 5700 NT dollars (maybe around 150 euros).  Also these additional ARC extension/new ARC and work permit costed extra around 2000 NT dollars. It was also a lot of stress because so many papers were asked and I didn’t know if I’m going to get it or not. Then that application would not have been refunded.


Anyway, at the end I feel good because this card really is beneficial for you. You can rely that even you’re jobless or want to change a company, it’s you who make the decision and you’re not dependent on other people. I know many foreigners get married to local for avoiding  hassle, but it’s also making you dependent on someone else and actually how good does it feels for your spouse to be first of all married to you for resident status (even if you’re in love).