I landed in Taipei 36 hours ago and I’m trying very hard to re-calibrate. This is my first time to Taiwan and I already had a hunch I would like it. There’s a lot to love: Complex characters 繁體字, fast unfettered Internet, and all of the best stuff taken from the Forbidden City collection when Chiang Kai-shek abandoned the Mainland back in 1949. The problem is: I like Taiwan very much in a way that is not altogether healthy.
Nothing is more annoying than the eagerly uncritical writer (See: Friedman, Thomas) who arrives at a destination, and proceeds to gush and coo over every fucking miraculous quirk of local culture. It’s particularly execrable when the gushing and cooing have nothing to do with the place being described and everything to do with bashing whatever supposed hellscape the writer just left.
So when I say I love Taiwan, I do so with the full expectation that I may be simply exorcizing the accumulated demons of a life lived in Beijing. But you know what, fuck it… I absolutely love Taiwan and let me tell you why.