Protesters still going on about President Tsai’s doctorate (sigh) on her 2nd inauguration

20200520_084630

People protesting on the morning of President Tsai’s 2nd inauguration. The sign has the not-so-catchy slogan you’d expect from someone who still doesn’t believe that Tsai has a doctorate:「妳有沒有羞恥心 當總統 沒有博士 真騙子」 ‘Don’t you have any shame? Being president without a doctorate, what a cheat’:

Continue reading

Filing taxes online in Taiwan – Troubleshooting Invalid Date

I’ve seen an increasing amount of very frustrated people on Facebook groups asking for help on a common compatibility error with the e-filing system for alien taxpayers:

4444444

You’ve probably tried a billion things to remedy this error, but on this count, I have to give credit to the designers, who try to notify you of how to solve the problem (well, they could have just avoided the problem but hey, programming is hard):

Continue reading

Want to go to the club, but no entry and exit certificate handy? Apply online with your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate!

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:

未命名

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:

未命名

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:

未命名

Next, you’ll get your entry records, but they’ll probably be somewhat off-centre as below:

777777

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:

6666688

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:

66553345

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).

Using your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate to Validate the FIDO app

The TW Fido app (Android or IPhone) allows you to use your phone to verify your identity online when dealing with government agencies. To use the app you must first apply for an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate (instructions here).

First of all, go to the FIDO website. Then click 註冊/綁定 (Register/Validate device):

未命名

You’ll be prompted to enter your ID/ARC number and your pin (you should set this after you activate your card), with your card inserted into a card reader (learn to install a card reader here):

333

Then you press 送出 (send) and you’ll come to the next screen which asks you to check some details and enter your email and phone number:

5555

Next, a QR code will appear, which you’ll have a limited amount of time to scan with your app. When you click 註冊/綁定 (Register/Validate App) on your phone, a QR code scanner should appear, and you can scan your computer screen. Then you’ll be asked if you want to use your phone’s fingerprint/face-recognition capabilities to verify your identity when you use the app. I clicked 是 (yes):

96376682_236874054295422_7070011370355294208_n

Then there’s one final screen where you need to complete the process (完成) and you’re ready to go:

96096818_322850362016218_6787050657082769408_n

I’ll update soon with what you use the app for!

Know Your Status: Self-Testing for HIV, Order Online Pick Up at Convenience Store

Whether you’re straight, gay, or something in between, knowing your HIV status is important so that we can all work towards reducing HIV infections in Taiwan and around the world. Given that many people are hesitant to visit hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has launched a system for ordering HIV self-testing kits which can be delivered to convenience stores across Taiwan.

The steps are pretty simple. First visit this website (a page of the CDC website):

未命名

If you want to pay in cash, you can choose the option on the left for $245NT, and for people who register with their website, they offer vouchers.

As supplies are limited, you can get one per month. If you get tested elsewhere, leave these for people who are unlikely to get tested elsewhere or are in high-risk groups.

You’ll be prompted to enter your phone number (手機號碼) and choose a 7-11, FamilyMart or OK Mart branch near you (Click 選擇門市 and remember to turn off your popup blocker):

未命名

After you confirm, you’ll be asked to fill in a questionnaire:

未命名

Then it asks you where you lived before the age of 18 and you’re done, you just have to confirm the order a few times.

You’ll receive an order number via email and you can check the status of your order by entering your phone number, order number and email address.

How to use the test:

Here’s a quick video on how you go about using the test kit:

(My favourite line is “Don’t drink the liquid in the test-tube” by the way.)

95683818_838912133286284_7432974164572504064_n
Photo: Marcello Casal JR/ABr

If you don’t manage to register while stocks last, there are plenty of ways to get tested in Taiwan, whether anonymously or not, including visiting here, using a vending machine (spotted throughout the city) or visiting a hospital.

There is also free anonymous testing (blood tests – takes a week or two to get the results) held at the gay health center and at Mudan (bar in the Red House drinking area in Ximen) in Taipei as follows:

These timetables are updated every month, you can find them here.

The most commonly occurring locations have been listed below:

Gay Health Center (同志健康中心), 5F, No. 100 Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei (臺北市萬華區昆明街100號5樓) Note: This option is by appointment only

Mudan (紅樓(牡丹))(bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen)

Aniki Wow B1, No. 11 Ningxia Road, Datong Dist. Taipei (103台北市大同區寧夏路11號B1)

Soi 13   1 No. 13 Minsheng East Road Sect 1, Zhongshan Dist. Taipei (1, No. 13號民生東路一段中山區台北市104)

XL Club 4F, No. 10 Minzu East Road, Zhongshan Dist. Taipei (4樓, No. 10號民族東路中山區台北市10491)

Taipei Men Center (城男舊事心驛站) 3F, No. 5, Alley 199, Dunhua North Road, Songshan Dist. Taipei (105台北市松山區敦化北路199巷5號 3樓)

Han Sauna No. 120 Xining South Road, Wanhua Dist. Taipei (108台北市萬華區西寧南路120號)

If the result turns out positive, there are several avenues to pursue treatment. Dr. Stephane Ku (顧文瑋) does consultations at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Wednesday evenings (感染科), where you can get tested, explore the possibility of going on prep or get treatment.

I’m Applying for an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate (but just for the craic)

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:

78338641_544839276063657_29951216431661056_n

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:

000000000000000000000000000000000000111

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:

未命名

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):

95884928_222732232356122_5648513878418522112_n

So here it is:

96047630_339607313691025_5235719529308356608_n

The various security/design elements are listed in the letter it comes with:

96042981_3053769394682292_558729035656462336_n

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:

Applying online to the National Immigration Agency for a printable certificate of entry and exit dates.

 

Covid-19 Cases in Taiwan So Far (Updated Jan 23)

Six imported cases, four from Indonesia (three Indonesian nationals and one Taiwanese national), one from the Philippines (Philippine national) and one from Cameroon (Cameroon national). Two imported cases, one patient contact of Case 852 and family member of patient.

Last night an additional Danish import (Danish national).


Public places visited by Cases 863 or 864:
Jan 12 12:00 – 17:00 GD Butterfish (廣德海鮮餐廳) Seafood Restaurant (No. 36 Pu’er 2nd St., Taoyuan Dist, Taoyuan City)
Jan 13 11:30 – 12:15 Nanmen Market in Taoyuan (No. 52 Wenhua St. Taoyuan Dist., Taoyuan City)
Jan 16 09:00 – 09:20 台北大腸蚵仔麵線 (Taipei Tripe and Oyster Noodles) (No. 28, Jianguo Rd. Taoyuan Dist., Taoyuan City)
11:40 – 12:35 Nanmen Market in Taoyuan (No. 52 Wenhua St. Taoyuan Dist., Taoyuan City)
Jan 17 07:00 – 10:00 一品金湯豆漿王 (Yiping Jintang Doujiang King – No. 210 Hongchang 6th St., Taoyuan Dist., Taoyuan City)

Public places visited by Case 865:
Jan 16-18 09:30 – 21:00 Mos Burger in A7 of Taoyuan Airport Metro (No. 688 Wenhua 1st St. Guishan Dist., Taoyuan City)
Jan 16 21:10 – 21:30 McDonalds (Taoyuan Sanmin Store – No. 313 Sanmin Road Section 3, Taoyuan Dist. Taoyuan City)

If you visited these places at these times and experience symptoms (fever, respiratory symptoms, diarrhea, impaired sense of smell and taste), please contact the pandemic hotline on 1922. Wear a mask and don’t take public transport.

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:49565892377_f5a57db0bd_o

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.

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.

泊車 paak3 che1 English interpreted through Cantonese to Mandarin – Parking

20171002_160015.jpg

Parking Lot APP CEO Ronald Yu (second from left)

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”?

Continue reading

Taiwan’s Receipt Lottery: Get Virtual Receipts and Connect to your Bank Account

21441369_10103494891358479_602871138_o

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.

21441603_10103494901533089_877307070_o

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.

Continue reading

Scooter Equality Before Marriage Equality? – 「多元回家」

15992075_10103047514640009_1833746872_o

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.