Taipei. Oh, Taipei. What a sensory experience. The food. Oh, the food. It really is everywhere. People here know how to eat. They work hard and relish life’s pleasures. The temples. The history. The monuments. The superstitions. The traditional. The avant-garde. Taiwan has it all.
I woke up to a landscape that was neither old nor new. That was neither ancient nor modern. I’m not quite sure how to describe Taipei – except that it reminds me so much of the Singapore of my childhood. Shophouses. Tall buildings. The MRT. The sound of Mandarin, Hokkien, English and Tagalog at the main train station. People working hard. People playing hard. The old heritage and the new ways coexisting with one another.
The current President of Taiwan is Tsai Ing-wen: an unmarried *gasp* woman. With a population of 23.5 million, Taiwan is one of the four Asian Tigers: along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. Before the 17th century, Taiwan was mostly inhabited by Taiwanese Aboriginals. All that changed when the Spanish and Dutch colonies opened up the island to immigration from Mainland China.