After 14 (continuous) years in Taiwan, how Taiwanese am I?
- Can speak Mandarin (definitely essential for survival especially when you don't live in Taipei)
- Always say Sorry, Excuse Me, and Thank You (although I don't mean it. It's become a habit)
- Use chopsticks to eat (everything, even burgers, crisps, biscuits, and anything whenever I don't want my hands dirty)
- Keep silent inside the elevator (less attraction possible. It's uncomfortable when someone eavesdrops or starts asking basic 5W1H questions about your being in Taiwan)
- Queue queue queue (wherever there is a queue, there is good stuff)
- Avoid eye contact (because that makes your listener uncomfortable)
- Have mastered the arts of swearing in Mandarin and Taiwanese (don't mess with me)
- Don't react to the stinky smell from tofu vendors or the loud Beethoven's Für Elise melody that anybody in this world thought coming from an ice-cream truck
- Eyes on the menu on the wall upon entering the breakfast restaurants. Skip the small talk.
- Wait for my neighbours to enter the elevator before I step out from my door so they won't wait for me (because the common expected reaction by the one waiting for you is to hear you say Sorry or Thank you and feel sorry for making them wait for you)
- Cannot and don't want to eat as much chilli as before (Indonesian have a crazy high tolerance to spicy food)
- Bring my own plastic bags when shopping (because plastic bags are not free)
- Enthusiastically wait for the No Work/ Study notice whenever the typhoon comes (because who doesn't want a day off)
- Won't panic or run out of the room when the earthquake happens (because it's just another earthquake as usual)
- Clean the table by myself after eating in a restaurant (because that's the rule at some restaurants, including fast food restaurants)
- Interested in the indigenous languages (because I find Austronesian languages spoken in a predominantly Mandarin-speaking society very interesting)
- Can eat different kinds of Southeast Asian food every day (because the restaurants are everywhere especially nearby train stations)
- Karaoke isn't just a hobby, it's a skill (people fight for the mic, you gotta select your songs quickly or you'll be the last on the list)
- Never say "Nice to meet you/ hen gaoxing renshi ni" to a new acquaintance (because the native speakers don't follow the book rule)
- To be continued...
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