Thursday, November 19, 2009

I love puppy posses.

On Thursday morning we had a lecture at NCCU by Professor Chung-li Wu of the Institute of Political Science Academia Sinica on Taiwan Politics and Government. Professor Wu explained Taiwan’s Democratic Electoral System; it’s political parties, constitution, and the five branches of government. Professor Wu went into each branch (or Yuan) in depth: the Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Examination and Control. Professor Wu also discussed the major world organizations of which Taiwan is a member (including the WTO) and those that it is not recognized by (including the WHO) and the effect this has on government practice. Professor Wu finished his lecture by discussing the most recent major elections held.

Following this lecture, we went to the Taipei Municipal Muzha Vocational High School, headed by principal Chen-Huei Hsu. The school of 2000 students is one of only seven public vocational, and 30 senior high schools in Taipei. It has 162 teachers and 47 staff. The majority of students continue on to science and technology universities in Taiwan. Though traditionally vocational enrollment has been declining, with the economic recession Muzha Vocational High School has found its enrollment numbers rising, possibly because of the demand of vocational jobs. Tuition at the school is $10,000 TND per semester. After this brief information session and a campus tour, we were paired up with Muzha students for lunch and discussion.

This lunch was fairly awkward. Actually really awkward. But really, I guess no matter the language barriers, luncheons with 16 year olds surrounded by curious pre-teen onlookers is going to be awkward. Lunch was followed by a MASSIVE photo session, when conversation simply dissolved into a seeming competition between the students to see who could get the most photos taken with the foreigners. Our bus was actually stormed on the way out by people eager to get their photo taken with Barack Obama.

Thursday afternoon we visited two companies: Taiwan Mobile and Saab. Taiwan Mobile deals in phones, wireless communications and cable television and internet. The company boasts 6.25 million customers, a 30% cell phone market share, and $2.06 billion in revenue. Taiwan Mobile is now starting to enter the wireless repeater market in a push to replace landline phones. Taiwan Mobile’s parent company is the Fuban Group.

Saab is a car company based in Sweden and owned by General Motors. We visited Saab’s Taiwan headquarters for a look at how a foreign owned company operates in Taiwan. The facility we visited mainly did repair service. We had a chance to tour the facility and to ask questions. The manager talked with us about the current economic market and about the hiring and training process of employees – which are often directly sourced from vocational high schools in Taipei.

Thursday night I went with Anna and Isabelle to a vegetarian restaurant called Om Ah Hum. According to my guide, the "red toy poodle" claims all the attention at the restaurant. Little did we know, this meant a literal POSSE of TEN miniature poodles ALL in DIFFERENT OUTFITS. Usually clothed animals make me sad, but this was just too much cuteness. Too much. The one dressed as a piggy may have peed on Isabelle. I am possibly in love with the one dressed in plaid. They were often found sleeping in piles of cuteness, or riding around in the POCKETS of the owner's APRON.

After dinner (which was insanely delicious) we went night-marketing (oh my God, again) and got fun clothes. The night market near Taida is much more bohemian and cutesy than the others. I wish we had had more time to spend there. We eventually ended up at a coffee shop till 2am. I love, love, love that coffee shop culture exists in Taiwan. It's one of the main things I miss in Shanghai, and a huge impetus for considering moving here.

No comments:

Post a Comment