Easycard Wallet: Not (yet) for Foreign Residents? (March 26: Update)

The Easycard Wallet which could previously tell you your card balance and display your receipts has had a revamp. You can now use the app to make purchases instead of fishing out your Easycard. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to register for the pay function without a Taiwanese ID until the end of May according to a Customer Service representative (ARCs do not meet the required format and no alternative is given for foreign residents to sign up.)


A customer service rep sent the following message, saying that foreign residents will be able to register for the app starting at the end of May. They’re phrasing it like it was a planned rollout as opposed to just bad programming and lack of forethought, but hey… it’s something:






Thanks to Slava for the tip!


Covid-19 Cases in Taiwan So Far (Updated March 31)

Found this cool infographic online today, and thought it would be cool to translate the info provided so far. I can try updating it as the epidemic continues if it doesn’t get completely out of hand here. Same colour means same cluster. You can also view it on Google Drive here.

Added a few stats below:

Other COVID-19 related resources can be found below:49565892377_f5a57db0bd_o

Data visualization for Taiwan.

The Medcram series on the coronavirus has calmed me down when panic overwhelms.

The slightly less calming world stats on Worldometers or here.

The CDC website on which the above tables are based. More recently they’ve been releasing tables in Chinese listing all new cases.

An account of what it’s like to be quarantined in Taiwan from Jonathan Chen.

Tricky Taipei talks to coronavirus quarantiners.

You can also explore this treasure trove.

If you’re having visa issues, you can contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

If you believe you have symptoms of the virus, please call 1922 toll-free (+886 80 000 1922) to arrange a medical visit.

Selling Things Through Family Mart

Not an expert at this, but a commenter asked for a guide to using Family Mart to sell things. I’ve never sold on the platform, but thought I’d try and help out.

The main website is here.

If you’re selling something, you’ll want to click on 賣家專區 (Seller Section) highlighted in red below:


You’ll get an error message and will be redirected to this page, prompting you to register/login. The page asks you to enter your phone number as below:


Once you enter it, they’ll send an SMS to your phone to prove you’re the owner of the phone, and then they’ll prompt you to set a password for your account.

Next up is this page:



This is easy enough, just fill in your account name (should be the name on your bank account), make sure you select 「外籍人士」 then fill in your ARC in the ID section, then select your bank, branch (your branch code is normally the first few numbers of your account no. for E Sun bank account holders) and fill in your account no.

The second bit of this page, is for those who want to be able to have credit card payments received on their behalf. So you can sign up for ECPay (綠界科技)for free if you want:


I’m not going to sign up for that for this demo, but partner banks are listed here.

After that you’ll get a message telling you to check your account name in case there are any errors, but there should be a follow-up message congratulating you for setting up a store. Then you’ll come to the personal information disclosure screen. It will ask for your name, your email (twice) and at the bottom it will ask you if you’re willing to disclose your personal information. (The first option is disclose individual info, the second is disclose company info and the third is don’t disclose – which will be highlighted in blue and is the default choice):


From here, you can add a store:


From here, you’ll be able to name your store:


Then you can list your products:


You’ll be prompted to fill in information about the product you wish to sell:


Once you sell something, I’m assuming you get follow-up instructions.

Anyway, that was for Sue, if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to write again.

March 30 Update: Order and Pay for Masks Online and Check your Medical History with the NHI App 用全民健保行動快易通app買口罩註冊辦法


UPDATE: The number of masks you can pick up at once will be adjusted to 9 every two weeks from April 9. 

Current Round: Orders taken from 8am, March 25 to 8pm March 27
Payment period: 8am March 28 – 8pm March 30
Text sent out: March 31 – April 1
Collection from April 2 – April 8

Next Round (9 adult masks/10 child masks): Orders taken from 8am, April 1 to 8pm April 3
Payment period: 8am April 4 – 8pm April 6
Text sent out: April 7 – April 8
Collection from April 9 – April 15

I discovered this app a while back, but it wasn’t really of much use to me until I heard the news that you can order masks through it on a weekly basis. The app essentially provides you information about your medical history and medications prescribed you online, and they’ve added information about all the tests you’ve undergone through the years in English (See Extra Credit section below to explore this content). It also provides reminders about scheduling your next dentist appointment, but previously, the app was buggy and not incredibly interesting, so I didn’t blog about it at the time. The process of getting your device verified is also quite complex and involves a card reader, so I didn’t think there’d be too much appetite for a post about it, but maybe the online ordering system and the added info will change that a bit.

After downloading the app 「健保快易通」(Google Play) or here for Apple users (if you’ve already downloaded it, make sure you have the latest version). You then have to go to the website to verify your identity with a (ATM-style) card reader (you can buy them on PCHome here).

After you’ve installed the card reader, head to their website, if you’re a Windows user, you’ll need to download their Windows installer, or MAC Installer, (others available here).  You can check if your card is being read properly here.

If it’s working, you should get a message like this:


You’ll also have to mark your server as a trusted server here (or click on 「設定伺服器為可信任服務」(set as a trusted server) on this page). You’ll have to be an administrator on your computer to do this.

Now, you can get on with verifying your mobile app.

First-time users should click the box labeled 「首次登入請先申請」(First-time users, please apply here first), which I’ve marked with a red box below:
(Note they’ve now added English to the website too.)


This will take you to a list of terms that you can click agree on:


At the minute it seems like the NHI have added an extra security precaution so that you have to enter your 「戶號」. However, if you press 「讀卡」 (read card) on this screen, it should take you to the page below, where you’re prompted to fill in your ARC details (on an ARC owned by the Vietnamese spouse of a Taiwanese person apparently):


That should take you to a screen like this where you set your password:


After this you’ll have to confirm your email address:


Expect to get quite frustrated with your card reader throughout this process.

This should bring you to a verification screen, where you’ll see an option 行動裝置認證 (Phone verification). 

When you click it, you’ll get the option to 「產生裝置認證碼」 (generate device verification code). The QR code scanner didn’t work on my phone (a Samsung) so I suggest just copying the number generated directly on to your phone.

Once you’re verified on the app, things get a little easier.


They’ve added a link on the main page to the e-mask ordering system, the circle at the top below, and it should cue you to login using your ARC number and your online password. I think it asked for my National Health Insurance card number too (which is the one written at the bottom of your card).

90800110_569365610592081_8217051737589022720_n (1)

The login screen looks like this:

35972097_10155279729557811_2349411260543533056_n Login using your ARC/ID number and the password that you set above. There will be a quick notification to say that you’ve logged in successfully (derp), then you should be directed to this screen:


Click the blue button to reserve masks.

You’ll get an intermediary screen just asking you to confirm that you want to be taken to the e-Mask system, you can just click 「確定」:


It will prompt you to fill in relevant information:


The first field will be auto filled with your ARC number.

Chinese name 

Autofilled year of birth (ROC year)

Phone number


Then you have to choose which convenience store brand you want

Rough Chinese/English equivalents as below:

統一超商 = 7 11

全家 = Family Mart

萊爾富 = Hi-Life

OK超商 = OK Mart

The city or county

Then you have to pick a district or town and that will give you a pop-up list of exact addresses, and then just pick the one closest to you.

You’ll be asked to confirm all the info you entered:


Then there will be another screen telling you your order was successful:


Hey presto! Now you just wait for the text to arrange payment and you should be able to pick up your masks at the specified dates. (See dates of current round at top of screen.)

Once the payment period starts you should receive an email from the NHI informing you that you can pay for your masks online if you were one of the lucky lottery winners (everyone won in the first round):


You can choose between paying by bank transfer or online with a credit card.

Credit card payments: You can either pay by credit card through the app or online. The app is the more convenient of the two as you don’t need a card reader to pay.

Remember when they asked you above to choose between the blue and red pill button. Now you’re going for the red button:


If you’re in a payment period (see top of post), you’ll be given the option to pay by credit card or bank transfer:

91213694_2353785174912967_8682797278202691584_n (1)

If you want to pay by card, select 「信用卡」(credit card), and then you have to select your bank (you can’t pay with a foreign credit card), and fill in the standard stuff like your credit card number, expiry date, the three numbers on the back of your card and a Captcha.

You’ll see the calculation of how much the masks and the shipping cost.

If you want to pay for someone else’s mask as well as your own, you can add their ARC number in the section below, and the calculation will be adjusted automatically (kudos to the NHI, they turned this app around pretty quickly and now it’s super user-friendly).

You’ll have to press 確認 (Confirm) a few times, and then you’ll get a message saying payment was successful. You can check this by going back to the red button and this time when you tap in, it will show you a message like this. All you need to look for are the two “是”s (circled in green) on the same line as the current round and you’re sorted:


You can also pay by bank transfer through the app. I didn’t choose this option this time around, but I assume they provide you with a bank identifier code and account number to transfer the NT$22 to and you can do that at an ATM or with online banking apps.

The other option is to pay online:


To pay with a credit card you’ll need to choose the green option from the link that you got in the email and fire up your card reader. Remember you can go here to check if your card reader is actually connecting (you’ll see your name displayed when you press 讀取健保卡 (read NHI card) if it’s working correctly).

If it’s not reading properly you’ll come to this page:


At which stage you pray to your god(s) or absence thereof and DO NOT THROW YOUR ECARD READER VIOLENTLY AGAINST THE WALL! Eventually, it should go green and you can enter your ID number and the password you registered with. Each time you see this screen, readjust the ecard reader that has become an object of all your scorn and plug it back in, or visit the link I provided above to check it on the NHI site.


So, you’ll be led to a screen prompting you to fill in your credit card info (credit card number, expiry date, 3 numbers on the back). Once you press enter, it might fail a few times (particularly on the first day of a round, as servers may be overloaded), but eventually you should get a message displayed as above.

After a few days you should receive a text informing you that your masks have arrived at your designated convenience store.

Bank transfer You can also look up the bank transfer info on your desktop, as below:


There will be an intermediary screen as follows:


Then you’ll be prompted to enter your ID (身分證號) and the last three digits of the phone number you registered with (預購登記之手機末三碼), followed by a Captcha:


This will lead you to a screen which shows your info and then at the bottom there will be a bank account listed, which you can transfer the money to by normal bank transfer:


This is also the page that you come to when you want to check if you’ve successfully paid. The Bank identifier number is the one labeled ATM銀行代號 and the account number is the one labeled ATM轉帳號碼.

For people who use the bank transfer method, you can only see if you’ve successfully paid when the payment window has closed (see top of page for current window).


I’m happy to clarify anything that people don’t understand in the comments.

You’ll know you’ve paid successfully when you see the 是 in the position indicated in green below:


If you manage to pay successfully, you should receive a text from e-mask telling you you’ve already successfully paid for your mask, like the one below, once the payment window has closed. It also includes a code which you’ll use to collect masks (on the Ibon or FamiPort) once the collection window opens:


Hold your horses though, you can’t pick it up until the week specified in the text. The “week” for online masks seems to run from Thursdays to Wednesdays. If you don’t pick up your masks by the end of the collection period, you’ll be seen as forfeiting them.

Collecting your masks:

711 – There is an icon as below on the main ibon screen:


You’ll have to enter the last four digits of your ID (ARC) and the code that was texted to you. Then when you press Next (下一步), the docket should print and you can go to the counter to exchange it for your masks (remember to bring your ARC or healthcard just in case, although I wasn’t asked to show mine).

There should be a similar dedicated area on the Famiport main screen and other convenience stores. The follow-up process will be the same.

You can still get masks by queuing up at pharmacies, and if you want to get your device authenticated without a card reader, you can visit the NHI in person (but who can be arsed with that?). A little bonus is that you can use your card reader to do your taxes online (although you can do your taxes online without one) and you can use it for online banking (the stuff you can’t do with normal online banking.

Extra Credit:

For those of you that want to explore the other new features in the app (your STI hall of fame or a reminder of what your dentist said about your busted grill at your last appointment), I’ve provided a short guide below:

Instead of the eMask portal, click My Health Bank (in red below):



To check the results of any tests you’ve had done, head to the icon with all the test tubes:


Here you’ll see listed test results:

90912909_1531116287049503_3805790020137123840_n (1)

Yay! Now you can spend the rest of the epidemic worrying about what all these test results mean and googling, “Is 5.4mg of ——- normal?”.

The other part of the app lists your last Western medicine, dental and Chinese medicine appointments, where it was and what it was concerning/diagnosis. You can access it by hitting this button in My Health Bank:


And you’ll see your latest appointments (in Chinese) as so:

79461056_2235686106728576_8256422581804990464_n (2)

Oh, and one last function. If you’re part of the NHI scheme, you’re entitled to a teeth cleaning under insured fees once every six months or so, the date of this is shown under this part of My Health Bank:

91350840_488417608702924_8073991410660933632_n (1)

Which translates to “A friendly reminder (that your mouth looks stinky)”. It will list the date from which you can get the insured teeth cleaning in the first section (the year is ROC year, so add 1911 to the year to the get the Western year).

It should also list any allergies and in the third section your organ donation and other medical preferences:


Oh, and almost forgot, the mask platform will take you out of the app to a website, which has some useful links which show you which pharmacies have masks in stock and other relevant info:


Anyway, happy to answer any questions any of you have.



















Less的小說在這些年輕世代的圈內作家眼裡,是對同志身份太悲觀的風格。Less本身也有點自卑:他知道他不是天才(不過他跟詩人交往的期間身邊都是天才);跟Freddy交往時,則被視為不夠gay,不如年輕一代以同志身份為傲,也不是對同志圈有責任感的同志作家。他的姓也暗示他不如別人(less than)的身份。




The Control Yuan vs Getting 3 Meals a Day 「逐工就是顧三頓」

shabu-shabu-foodTVBS’s ‘The Situation Room’ has returned to talking about the impeachment proceedings launched by the Control Yuan against National Taiwan University President Kuan Chung-ming after he’d been in the post just a week. The discussion reveals a lot of interesting theories about the role of the「獨派」, or ‘pro-independence’, faction within the Democratic Progressive Party, who President Tsai is said to have appointed to the Control Yuan as a compromise, but who are now allegedly going rogue.

Kuan has been accused (so far) of having a second post while being an official, writing editorials in Yizhoukan (一週刊), although there is a lot of debate as to whether or not this constitutes a second post, as contributing to magazines and newspapers is quite a common practice among officials.

In the course of this debate, Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) used a Taiwanese phrase *09:50* to try and communicate what she feels is the disconnect between the priorities of the DPP and of the public:

老百姓(in Mandarin) 逐工著是顧三頓爾(in Taiwanese)

逐工 ta̍k-kang 就是 tiō sī 顧三頓  kòo-sann-tǹg 爾爾 niā-niā*

逐工 ta̍k-kang is equivalent to 每天 in Mandarin (every day)

就是 tiō sī is the same as Mandarin (are just)

顧三頓 kòo-sann-tǹg is equivalent to 顧三餐 in Mandarin (to concern oneself with getting three square meals)

爾爾 niā-niā is equivalent to 而已 in Mandarin (and only that)

*I’m not sure if she says niā once or twice here. 

From the context of her comments, we can guess why she chose to use a Taiwanese phrase. She’s talking about and appealing to the common man who hasn’t got time for politics, and Taiwanese is a way of appealing to this Taiwanese everyman.

Interestingly in the 五月天 (Mayday) song ‘I Love You無望’ both the phrase 逐工 ta̍k-kang (0.20), and ‘每一工’ muí tsi̍tkang (0.31) are used, to mean “every day”. In Mandarin 逐日 is more formal and is closer to on a daily basis, whereas 每天/每一天 is less formal. I’m not quite sure of the differences in Taiwanese, although one Taiwanese friend suggested that 逐工 can mean “the entire day”.


An Overbearing Duck? 「鴨霸」

ducks-3826244_1920Ko Chih-en (柯志恩), a KMT legislator-at-large, is another regular on TVBS’s political panel show ‘The Situation Room’.

In an interesting discussion on the long delay to Kuan Chung-Ming’s inauguration as President of National Taiwan University, she used the Taiwanese term 「鴨霸」(ah-pà) in the middle of a Mandarin sentence on political panel show ‘The Situation Room’, as follows (from roughly 5:29):


Why was the inauguration unable to proceed?


Because the ruling party has been too overbearing about it all


According to the information I can find, it’s unlikely that 「鴨」(ah)  is the original character in the expression, and it’s likely used as a stand-in for either 「」(a) (as the original form of 「惡」 or「」(ah) (according to the Ministry of Education dictionary). The nearest Mandarin equivalent is probably 「霸道」, although 「鴨霸」 can also be used in Mandarin.

For another duck-related phrase, you might want to check out my previous post here.

Gone to sh*t! 走鐘(精)

For anyone keen on keeping up with current affairs in Taiwan but with a funny edge to it, I really recommend ‘Stand up, Brian’ (博恩夜夜秀). It takes its cue from Western late night formats and isn’t afraid to take the piss.

The show was crowd-funded and is run by young comics, so there’s a lot of contemporary slang and references which is quite fun to parse.

In this short clip, they’re taking the piss out of Taiwanese diet supplement advertisements. A woman says she’s lost her figure completely after having seven kids, but she uses the phrase 「走精」 (tsáu-tsing), commonly represented by the characters 「走鐘」 (presumably because they are pronounced the same in Taiwanese 「精」 (tsing) and 「鐘」 (tsing) ).  The phrase can be roughly translated as “losing your former lustre/losing your sex appeal”. The sentence starts at 0:39 in the clip below:


(Mandarin: 我的身材在生完第七胎以後
After having my seventh (child),
Taiwanese: 著(就)規個(整個)走鐘(精)去啊啦
My whole figure has gone to shit.

著規個走精去了 tio̍h kui-ê tsáu-tsing khì ah lah