You might have noticed an uptick in 7-11 attendants asking you if you’re a member in Taiwan. This is because the chain of stores has expanded it’s app membership from just iCash card holders to everyone (copying the success of FamilyMart).
By purchasing things at 7-11 you can save points which you can use for a variety of offers and to exchange for goods, but more interestingly, you can tie the points to your Books.com.tw account and get cash off book orders.
You can also avoid queues for the Ibon machine to collect your NHI masks by doing the heavy lifting on your phone!
Registering for the app
You’ve probably already been cajoled by a hard-working 7-11 clerk into providing your phone number at the cash register. In this case, you’ve probably already been unknowingly been collecting points.
When you log into the app, you’ll be asked to register by filling in your mobile phone number (會員帳號-> 請輪入行動電話) and creating a password (請設定密碼&再次確認密碼). They will send a text to your mobile, for you to confirm your ownership of the phone number. The process is pretty simple and they let you fill in your personal details later, to login, you just enter your phone number, your password (密碼) and a captcha code, as below:
The message this film seemed to want to convey was of a tragic unrealized potential of love between two high school guys because the time (1988, just after the end of Martial Law in Taiwan) was not yet right for their love to flourish. The narrative that it seems like we’re supposed to read into the film is that, out of his love for Jia-Han, Birdy pretends not to love Jia-Han back and pursues a female classmate called Banban in order to try and give Jia-Han the opportunity to live a “normal life”.
If we examine the events that actually take place in the film, however, it’s clear Jia-Han crosses boundaries on several occasions, kissing Birdy when he’s asleep. Birdy, in appearance at least, is in love with a female classmate called Banban and is increasingly uncomfortable with Jia-Han’s jealousy and attempts to intervene in his love life.
This culminates in a scene in which, under the pretext of helping Birdy shower, Jia-Han forcibly masturbates him when he’s unable to defend himself due to his injury. The narrative it seems we’re supposed to read into this is that Birdy’s erection is a manifestation of the love he has for Jia-Han that he’s sacrificing for Jia-Han’s own good. This is not a reasonable deduction to make, although it may be a major theme of Japanese porn. Birdy did not consent and repeatedly tries to fend off Jia-Han’s advances. Even if this is some (rather convoluted) act of gallantry by which Birdy sacrifices his own feelings for Jia-Han so that Jia-Han can live as a model straight citizen in society (this is a major break in character for him given his constant impulses throughout the film to defend gay people, including a younger Chi Chia-wei), no means no. From Jia-Han’s perspective at this point in the movie, Birdy could very well be a straight man who is sympathetic to the disgusting way gay characters in the movie are being treated.
The film romanticizes an obsessive jealous idea of what love is, although to some extent the Canadian priest tries to deter Jia-Han from the pursuit of this unrequited love.
The ending of the film echoes this dynamic of teasing and violation of consent, with a middle-aged Jia-Han asking Birdy to come up to his hotel room, only to be refused, but then insisting on walking to Birdy’s hotel room instead, despite the rejection being quite clear.
In my imagination of the end of the film, Jia-Han walks with Birdy to his hotel, asks to come up and is politely rejected again, roll credits. This film left me uncomfortable and to some extent I think if Jia-Han had been cast as a less jaw-droppingly handsome actor, the creepiness would have been more noticeable.
It’s definitely worth a watch, but perhaps we can read it as the unreliable narration of a stalker, rather than a romantic film.
OK, so I couldn’t let a film go by without spotting an interesting bit of Taiwanese. One phrase which stuck with me was 「坩仔」 khaⁿ-á (lit. crucible) which is a contraction of 「坩仔仙」 khaⁿ-á-sian (fairy of the crucible) which is a derogatory term for a male homosexual. You can read a debate about what the term used actually is on ptt here.
I applied for the new format UI number, unfortunately the application process was a bit rocky, as the officer who served me didn’t seem to have a clue what he was doing.
Maybe he was super busy, but with no-one in the queue ahead of me for UI renewal (don’t click the normal button on entering the NIA, but the one to update your UI number) I saw him dander around laughing with colleagues and looking bored at his desk for a good ten minutes before he eventually pressed the next number button.
Finally get called up and tell him I’m applying to update my UI number. He tells me I need my passport to update it. Thankfully I’ve had some experience with NIA agents before, so I’d printed out the list of required documents for each category of foreign national:
Resident foreigners do NOT need their passport or a photocopy to apply. I told him I’d read the regulations and they said residents don’t need their passport to apply, and he eventually conceded.
I told him that I’d like to apply to update my Alien’s Digital Certificate at the same time. He tells me that I can’t apply for that until I get my new UI number. This also is incorrect, I inform him, according to an email from the Ministry of the Interior:
Since the government will launch the “New UI No. for Foreign Nationals” program on JAN/2/2021, your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate may also be affected:
After JAN/2/2021, you may continue to use your current Digital Certificates normally. However, if you have applied for the New UI No. (1 Letter+9 Numbers), your Citizen Digital Certificate must also be exchanged and renewed.
We advise foreigners to apply for both “New UI No.” and new “Citizen Digital Certificate” simultaneously at NIA service stations. (No extra fee will be charged. Please declare to NIA officers and fill out “Certificate Re-issuance Application Form for Foreigners.”)
Please also note that, during the issuing process of New UI No. and new Citizen Digital Certificate, your original Citizen Digital Certificate will not be available for use.
For any Citizen Digital Certificate related inquiries, please contact MOICA’s customer service: 0800-080-117.Information Center, Ministry of the Interior
Eventually he realizes that I can apply for both, but he struggles with the forms in front of him, and occasionally calls out slightly unnerving questions to colleagues, like, “Do I delete all his National Insurance Data?”
After a considerable amount of fiddling around, and the help of two colleagues, he eventually prints out a receipt with which I can receive my new ARC in two weeks. On closer inspection, however, the name on the form (and presumably the ID) is not mine. It’s some random American that the guy had been using as a reference for how to fill out my form.
Another ten minutes or so fumbling and then I eventually get a receipt with my name on it (time will tell if it’s actually my ID number), and he recruits another staff member to help him do the Digital Alien Certificate bit.
Will update if I’m successful, and will see if foreigners can now register for stuff that was impossible before.
Note: Employment Gold Card holders can apply for the new UI number online here, but the process is all in Chinese (even in the English section of their website).
There’s more information here (in Chinese) on what impact applying for the new UI number will have on other ministries.
What you have to do after applying for the new UI number:
Among the most important is to report the change in your ID number to the company which is providing you with labour insurance (your employer) or send this form to the Labour Insurance Bureau.
You also need to report the change to the post office if you have an account with them.
You can opt not to update your NHI card with your new number, but if you do wish to update it, you’ll have to pay a NT$200 fee.
You don’t have to tell your bank, as they will get the information directly from the MOI.
UPDATE: When I looked at my application to remake the Citizen Digital Certificate, contrary to the email I received from MOICA stating it was free of charge, it prompted me to make a payment. I called the helpline (you have to pretend to be Taiwanese to get through to a customer representative) and they changed my status so that I no longer had to make a payment. The customer service lady and her manager were quite helpful, and said that you have to make sure you emphasize “free-of-charge” when applying at immigration, and adjusted the form so that the fee was no longer required.
UPDATE 2: Have received my Alien Digital Certificate, so far have only had trouble logging into the Health Ministry website and the other government websites do not seem to have access to my data held under the previous ARC number. Will see if this changes once I receive the new APRC and send a copy to my employer.