KMT supporters protesting Chen Chu’s (陳菊) appointment to the presidency of the Control Yuan, with the slogans 「拒絕酬庸撤換陳菊」 (Reject cronyism, withdraw Chen Chu), 「民主已死，暴政必亡」 (Democracy is dead, tyranny must fall) and 「民心已死，還我民主」(The hopes of the people are dead, give us back our democracy). There was a middling crowd outside the Legislative Yuan in the morning, where KMT legislators occupied the floor. These were taken after work.
So there have been rumours that some establishments that shall not be named here, are asking foreigners to provide a passport and their entry and exit records for the last few months. What better way to annoy these establishments than to actually provide them without leaving the comfort of your own home or spending an hour or two in the queue at the Immigration Office. If you have an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate, you can apply for your entry and exit records online for free (while the epidemic continues). Simply follow the steps below (fire up your card reader though, there’s no option to use the FIDO app to log in).
Navigate to this page on the National Immigration Agency’s website (it must be the English site as the Chinese version only recognizes Taiwanese IDs).
Choose “Certificate of Entry and Exit Dates” as below:
You’ll get a pop-up which will try and check your system, so ensure you have your card reader attached and your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate plugged in. You can dismiss this pop-up and you’ll see the following page:
Make sure 「外國人民」 (Foreigner) is ticked and then enter your ARC number and your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate pin.
Then you’ll be asked if you want your entry and exit records in the span of two specific dates or just your latest entry and exit dates. I choose the latter, as part of my cunning plan:
Next, you’ll get your entry records, but they’ll probably be somewhat off-centre as below:
If you navigate to the bottom of this, you’ll see the option to view tables which you can click. You can then print to PDF and print later at a 711, or if you’ve got a color printer at home (get you!) then you can print right away:
If you download it as a rar file, your password will be your ARC number + your date of birth in the format YYYYMMDD.
Once you print it, it should look something like this:
Complete with the NIA watermark, and the owner of said establishment will have to find some other reason to reject you (that’s not suitable footwear, mate, sorry, can’t let you in).
I guess I’m missing queues at the Immigration Office after getting an APRC or am super motivated to find things to do other than the long-term project I’m supposed to be working on, but I went and applied for an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate on April 24. I plan on documenting the “journey” here:
Don’t be fooled by the heading by the way, you can apply online after you go in person to the immigration office with your ARC/APRC, so not technically all online.
The ID can be used for filing taxes (although you can also file taxes without it) and for various government websites and systems, giving you access to information and allowing you to apply for things online. For Taiwanese people it also means they can apply for bank accounts and credit cards online, but I’m not sure that applies to foreigners, but we’ll see. The cost of the card is NT$275 and it lasts for 5 years (subject to your ARC being valid).
April 24: Today was pretty simple, brought my ARC (no photocopies required) to the National Immigration Agency (the ground floor in Taipei where you go to apply for your ARC) and then wrote down my phone number and email address and gave it to the lady (after fielding a quizzical look from her), who then made me sign a form and then gave me a sheet of paper with the following information on it:
The key bit of information is the 用戶代碼 (username) which you’ll need to log in to the site. She said to wait for the letter to go through, so I’ll give it a few days. It says on the website one working day, so we’ll see.
You have to pay within 15 days through the system or you will have to apply again. If you make changes to your ARC (including the number) you have to apply again.
April 27 Update
I paid for the card last night on the website. If you have trouble accessing the website, make sure to delete the www. from the address bar.
Click ‘Application Progress’ on the left side and you’ll be prompted to enter your ARC number and your 用戶代碼 (username). If it’s been approved, it should give you the option to pay by credit card. And then it will link to a page where you enter your credit card information. Once that’s done you’ll just have to fill in/confirm more details, like postal address and phone number. Then press save.
April 29 Update:
When I looked up the website today it said it was in the mail and they even provided the parcel number, so that I can track it on the Post Office website:
May 5 Update:
The card finally arrived (it went to my home address, so had to wait for three unsuccessful deliveries before I could go pick it up):
So here it is:
The various security/design elements are listed in the letter it comes with:
Now to unlock it:
If you’re using Microsoft, you need at least Microsoft Windows XP Sp3, a card reader (learn to install one here) and then download and install the HiCOS digital certificate management tool at this website (you have to restart your computer so prepare for that).
So, this bit was a little complicated, and I ended up having to ring them to activate my card…. BUT hypothetically, the next step you take is to navigate to this website, where you can activate your card (the pin is supposed to be your year and month of birth in the format YYYYMM), although it says in the letter you only need your subscriber code (which is on the printed piece of paper you got at immigration. If you have trouble accessing the website, insert your card first and then try opening it. If you still have trouble try opening the link in another tab, and if you still have trouble use IE explorer.
Once you’ve activated your card, you can change the pin at this website. You just need the subscriber code and your card reader.
Then you’re all set.
To use the government’s FIDO app to use your phone to verify your identity, see this post.
What can you use the card for:
So previously we learned that 蝦 xiā (shrimp) in Mandarin can be slang for guy with a hot body but an ugly face (not you, you’re beautiful!). We also learned to pun with shrimp in Mandarin here, and learned the Taiwanese phrase 「無魚，蝦嘛好」 (bô hî, hê mā ho) here. Today, however, we’re going to mix it all up, with a Mandarin/Taiwanese/pun crossover:
These commemorative stamps (they can’t actually be used as postage stamps, they’re just decorative) were launched by the Taiwan Anti-Tuberculosis Association. The one with all the shrimps on it is their way of saying thank you to those who bought stamps in support of the cause.
Why does a bunch of shrimps mean thank you? 多蝦 duō xiā (many shrimps) is a transliteration of the Taiwanese for thank you to-siā (the actual characters are likely 「多謝」 which is how it is normally written).
So next time you’re in a taxi with a driver with a nice body but whose face has a “nice personality”, remember “many shrimp” and you can charm him by saying thanks the Taiwanese way.
Five imports, three from Indonesia (Indonesian nationals) and two from the Philippines (Philippine nationals).
Found this cool infographic online 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:
I’ve also listed details of suspected export cases from Taiwan below:
Other COVID-19 related resources can be found below:
The Medcram series on the coronavirus has calmed me down when panic overwhelms.
The slightly less calming world stats on Worldometers.
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.
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.
One of the great things about living in Taiwan is that when political leaders make speeches, like the speech made by Xi Jinping on Jan. 2, there is a flurry of discussions and critique on political panel shows and on social media, and people aren’t scared to express their own opinions on them. This is also a great learning opportunity, as people are more likely to come out with an interesting turn of phrase when they’re not being overly careful about what they’re saying.
One, such political panel show that I’ve grown fond of over the years is TVBS’s political chat show ‘The Situation Room’. Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), a politician and broadcaster previously aligned with the Democratic Progressive Party but who later became a Kuomintang member and is now the KMT Vice Secretary-General, is a regular on the show and is one of the more humourous panelists.
In critiquing Xi’s speech in which he proposed a “one nation, two systems” approach to Taiwan, she said that he’s trying to push cross-strait relations forward at such a pace that he risks not getting anywhere at all. She used a Taiwanese phrase similar to “more speed less haste”, 「食緊挵破碗」(lit. eating with such haste that you break your bowl), which is pronounced “Tsia̍h-kín lòng-phuà uánn“:
You can hear her say this phrase in Taiwanese while she’s primarily speaking in Mandarin at 5:27.
Photo by timlewisnm, licensed under Creative Commons.
Outside 101 is a bit like Hyde Park Corner in London. Lots of “interesting characters” on soap boxes. This man was previously pictured protesting Germany’s alleged refusal to reimburse Reichmark bonds issued in Taipei by Japan in the 1920s, with the Japanese reportedly forcing many Taiwanese to buy them against their will. He’s actually posted screen shots from the European Press Photo Association on another placard beside him. He was suggesting their refusal constituted being Nazis again and his placard still says “Hitler Resurrected”. He’s resorted to passive aggression now, stating in English and Chinese that given Germany’s failure to address or engage with the argument and that “they can’t afford it anyway”, he was giving the bonds as a gift to Germany. For more info you can check out their Facebook Group The Old German Mark Association. Looks like he’s had some abuse about his use of the Nazi flag, as he or someone else has crossed it out and drawn a thumbs down on it. Lots of media coverage on his protest, so maybe that’s what has led to his change of heart.
I recently attended a conference in Taipei at which the CEO of parking app 「停車大聲公」 (ParkingLotApp) Roland Yu (余致緯) described his company’s transition from a mobile-based valet parking application to an app that provides information to drivers on cheap and convenient parking spots near their destination where they can park themselves, allowing them to pre-book times and check availability. It was an interesting question and answer session and I’ll go into it in more depth in the IP Observer later this month.
What interested me in terms of language, however, was that although his app bears the word 「停車」 (ting2che1), meaning “to park”, Ronald kept using the word “pa車” during his speech.
During his brief introduction to his business, he mentioned that he’d written an article online detailing his company’s transition. On inspection of this, I found that he’s used the term 「泊車」, which although looks temptingly like 「怕」 is pronounced “bo2che1”. So why was he pronouncing it “pa”?
The receipt lottery in Taiwan – whereby you can win varying amounts of money if the invoice number of your receipt matches certain numbers announced every two months – is great. However, I firmly believe that many of my winning NT$10 million receipts have been victim to my washing machine, to sun damage or to falling down the back of the sofa until they’re out of date. There’s also the minor hassle of going through receipts for everything you’ve bought in the past two months receipt by receipt with the risk that you’ll not actually have won anything.
E-Receipts vs Traditional Receipts
There’s nothing you can do about the older receipts – the ones that change colour every two months, like the one below. You just have to check them every two months with that dwindling sense of dread that you haven’t won anything again and you’ve just wasted an hour of your life.
The receipts issued by convenience stores, chain stores and an increasing number of other retailers that have two QR codes on the bottom, however, you can do something about.
I had quite a good time at the December 10 rally in support of the gay marriage bill. While I was gearing up to head home, however, I saw this (rather cheeky) attempt at hijacking the rally by an organization lobbying for the rights of scooter and motorcycle drivers on the road. They were riffing on the slogan from the “Diverse Families” draft bill — a previous and more wide-reaching proposal that had included gay marriage that had failed to gain approval — 「多元成家」 (Diverse Families) and swapped out the 「成家」 meaning “to form families” for 「回家」, meaning “to go home”. So the altered slogan reads “return home by diverse means”. Maybe they were just showing their support for the cause, and racking up some publicity on the side, anyway, you’ve got to respect a pun at the end of the day.