Monday, March 7, 2011


Koashiung is the big southern city in Taiwan. It's only half an hour's drive from Tainan but it's huge, the industrial port. It has the most beautiful airport I've ever seen anywhere, almost luxurious. It has fabulous temples and tons of things to do, but as for living, I'd pick Tainan over Kaoshiung.

Koashiung temple


Koashiung temple



News is sensationalistic in Taiwan. Reporters get in everybody's face, even storming into hospitals for close-ups of people dying in their beds, ignoring a victim's pain and suffering for a good closeup of the death throes, and the longer the better. It's unbelievable for a westerner to see how even more intrusive the media is over here. One time, a famous Taiwanese actor's son was having a mental breakdown and they filmed the actor moaning and weeping and nodding over his lethargic, spaced-out son lying in his hospital bed. It was surreal. Dude! Go home!

Another tragic news item in Taiwan which created a lot of scandal was about a drunken father who dashed the head of his 4-year-old daughter into a wall outside a 7/11 when he was drunk. It was one o'clock in the morning. (Men usually get custody of their children here.) She wanted to go home and he got angry and threw her into the wall, resulting in serious injury to the child. A stranger called 9/11.

The police arrested the father at the scene and the little girl was brought by ambulance to the hospital. However, a neurosurgeon at one hospital had just gone to sleep and refused to see her, and no other hospital in Taipei would admit her, evidently because the father was poor and had no medical insurance. She was then taken by ambulance to Taichung, another city six hours away, but by then the delay was fatal and the little girl fell into an irreversible coma.

The country was outraged by the actions of the hospitals, politicians and their reputations were at stake, two doctors in a Taipei hospital lied about having treated her and reports were faked, and now the little girl was on the brink of death. The father was sent to jail for an indeterminate amount of time, two doctors went to jail for five years, and the Mayor fired the Health Director for Taipei. She was taken off the respirator after she was declared brain dead and her kidneys and liver were donated by her mother.

The sad thing about this saga, besides the event itself, was that during the reporting and coverage of the story, the hospital staff couldn’t bring the little girl from one room of the hospital to another without facing an explosion of flashbulbs from the cameras and tripods set up all throughout the hospital. Reporters were shouting and screaming as they scrambled around the bed carrying the girl. It was a madhouse.


A car accident occurred somewhere around Taichung, a big city north of Tainan. A young man of 19 was driving and hit another car. In the other car were a woman and a maid, who was holding a baby. The baby died because it was thrown against the dashboard and crushed. It was not in a restraint. It also turned out the woman driving had been drinking.

The father of the baby (who was evidently in the Taiwanese mafia) went to the hospital with a few of his thug friends and beat the stuffing out of the 19-year-old kid while he was lying in his hospital bed recovering from his injuries. His mother was there and she spurred them on, saying that he needed a good thrashing for what he’d done.

Unfortunately, the young man died of his injuries from the beating and the police went on a search for the killers. They all went missing. Everyone was outraged that he died in such a way in a hospital, and that his mother would actually encourage their actions. In the end, the mother got blamed for the death of her son.


Accidents are a murky affair, best to be avoided. And be careful walking down the street.

If a pedestrian is hit by a scooter and the scooter races off, no other individuals will touch the victim lying on the ground because the victim could raise his head, look at you, and say "that's the guy that hit me." You're screwed and everyone will blame you for the accident. It has happened.

Truck drivers on the highway sometimes run back over somebody they've hit in order to kill them. Better dead than in the hospital because dead people can't talk or demand money. People make private money deals here when involved in accidents. A man in one of my classes told me he had to pay $450,000 NT dollars to a family because his son-in-law had a scooter accident with an old man and the old man died two weeks later. The relatives of the dead man said he died as a result of the accident, but the old fart had high blood pressure to begin with. Nevertheless, my student would be paying and paying for a long time to come.