Wednesday, 25 January 2006

The Taiwan Times: Pretty Smiles, Nice Accents and General Good Feelings

One thing I really like about Taiwan a lot more than China or Hong Kong (and to a certain extent, Singapore) is that I have never felt intimidated or harrassed when going around Taipei.

On my recent trips to Shanghai and Beijing, I've always had a feeling of annoyance whenever I go around. When I go to shopping-centric places, I've felt harassed, and constantly feel like all oer the place, people are just shouting at me to buy their stuff.

Here, even in a night market like Shi Lin, I could walk around without feeling like I was being constantly hounded into looking at the various wares. It's kinda like how I feel in the Old Jalan Petaling back before it was all touristified. It was a strange feeling of being in an foreign environment, and not feeling at all bothered that I was not in my homeland.

In Hong Kong, I don't feel harassed, though I sometimes feel that it's a little soulless. Comparing the feeling of walking about Shi Lin here and Nui Yan Kai in Hong Kong (both popular shopping/night market areas), I feel like there is a lot more 'soul' in the Taipei one'.

I also tend to feel safer in Taiwan than anywhere else in Asia I've been to. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's just a false sense of security, and I've not been REALLY out that much here. But still...

Maybe it's the generally friendly people here. Maybe it's all the smiles I seem to see everywhere I go. Maybe it's because I prefer the slightly more melodious and somewhat polite Taiwanese way of speaking Chinese compared to Cantonese or Mainland Chinese' Mandarin (which always sounds like the speakers are arguing with each other). Maybe because the chicks here seem to be a lot cuter.

Either way, I like coming to Taipei more than any other city in East Asia (so far, that is).

(Plus they have 24-hour bookstores!!!!)

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