Given the population density of a place like Taipei, it’s no wonder that tensions very easily arise between neighbours. I’ve always been interested in the way people communicate their complaints in a city famed for its politeness. Parking is a particular problem and people get all sorts of aggressive if you steal their spot (my old flatmate got his car windows smashed in with a brick for parking in a space that someone else felt didn’t belong to him).
I don’t drive, so it doesn’t affect me in any way, but there has been some tension between my neighbours recently over a black car that someone keeps parking in a place where everyone normally parks their scooters. When we came out one morning we saw their car had been keyed all down one side – and they seems to be covert about the times they park (2 or 3 in the morning). Today we noticed this note under the windshield wiper of his car:
“When you park your car.. leave a phone number. And please leave me a space for when there is an emergency or I’m moving things. (Don’t park so close) OK?”
It’s kind of weirdly oriented, in that the four lines on the left read from left to right, whereas the two lines on the right read from right to left. The note writer also uses some abbreviations of characters which now constitute the simplified version of the character, like 「个」 instead of 「個」 and 「电」 instead of 「電」. When writing the character 「讓」 the person also mixes the traditional radical 「言」 and the simplified version of the right side of the character 「上」 in place of 「襄」. This reflects the reality that many people use simplified versions of characters in Taiwan for brevity.
A few years ago I interviewed my former colleagues at eRenlai and a few others on their experiences of living in Taiwan and how they interacted with their neighbours when conflict arose:
(Click CC for English subtitles)