18 ways to be Taiwanese: Video

Haomao Productions posts video titled 'How to be Taiwanese' listing 18 stereotypes about Taiwanese people

Screenshot from Haomao Productions video "How to be Taiwanese."

Screenshot from Haomao Productions video "How to be Taiwanese."

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On Aug. 18, the Taiwan-based YouTube channel Haomao Productions posted a video titled "How to be Taiwanese," a comical list of stereotypes about the cultural eccentricities of Taiwanese people, which is reminiscent of a list which circulated among foreign English teachers in the 1990s, but is more up-to-date and more focused on slang and pop culture.

  1. Cannot figure out whether to use R.O.C., Taiwan or Chinese Taipei
    Due to Taiwan's complex political history, there is much debate about whether to refer to the country as the Republic of China or Taiwan, with some placing stickers on their passports saying "Republic of Taiwan." There is also a great deal of pressure by China for Taiwan's sports teams to use the name Chinese Taipei, to make it appear to be part of "one China."

  2. Well-versed in the stereotypes of Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Taiwan
    Northern Taiwan - Celestial Dragon Kingdom, pace of walking is fast, loves to walk, heavily defensive mindset.
    Central Taiwan - Cheerful and happy, like to say "oh really," gangsters, can hear the sound of the sea crying (refers to murders by mafia in which bodies were dumped in the ocean).
    Southern Taiwan - Happy city, warm-hearted and humane, traditional, crazy left turns at intersections.
    Eastern Taiwan - Relaxed and leisurely, aborigine, accustomed to earthquakes, tourists please give me back my silence.

  3. Line everything
    The most popular mobile messaging app in Taiwan is Line, which is similar to Whatsapp in the U.S. or WeChat in China, and is run by a Japanese subsidiary of the Korean internet search giant. Initially adopted for its cutesy icons, it has now become the go-to means of communication in both the workplace and private life. Two of it's annoying flaws are that people can tell whether messages have been read and you cannot tell if a person as unfriended you.

  4. Can read Zhuyin keyboard input code
    ​Zhuyin fuhao (注音符號), or what is often called "Bopomofo," is the primary Chinese transliteration system for Mandarin in Taiwan, starting from kindergarten, and includes 37 characters. On keyboards that include the Zhuyin symbols, they correspond with specific letters and numbers. For example, c8 on the keyboard corresponds to the Zhuyin symbols ㄏㄚ (ha, 哈), so c8c8, would be "haha," to laugh.

  5. Go to convenience store for everything
    Taiwan is renown for its convenience, and the most convenient place of all is its convenience stores where you can do all of the following:
    Buy tickets
    Pay fines
    Recharge EasyCards
    Sweet beverages
    My name is Takeshi Kaneshiro please take the package. Refers to Taiwanese habit of having packages sent to convenience stores using fake names.
    Crap, cigarette prices went up
    Forgot to buy a gift
    Buy one coffee get one free
    Got dumped, want to drink to I pass out
    Student store clerk is really cute
    Ask for student store clerk's Line

  6. Buy bubble tea drinks when thirsty instead of water
    Taiwan bubble milk tea and other sugar-coma-inducing sweet drinks are ubiquitous throughout the country.

  7. Memorized every line from Stephen Chow films
    Hong Kong actor, director, and producer Stephen Chow is the comedic genius behind classics such as "The God of Cookery," "Shaolin Soccer," and "Kung Fu Hustle."

  8. Understand the meaning of 幹、狂、鬧、傻眼、無言、靠北、機車、北七、三小、麻吉、二一、8+9、恐龍、頭香、22K、三寶、查水表、菜逼八、小朋友
    幹 - F***
    狂 - Outrageous
    鬧 - Make trouble
    傻眼 - Shocked
    無言 - Speechless
    靠北 - Taiwanese Dialect for s***
    機車 - Mean
    北七 - Taiwanese Dialect for idiot
    三小 - What the hell
    麻吉 - Best friends, as in sticking together like mochi
    二一 - Cannot get more than half credit for the semester
    8+9 - Taiwanese Dialect for 8 Generals (八家將) performers, and has the connotation of young hooligans
    恐龍 - Ugly person (both men and women)
    頭香 - The first comment under a social media post
    22K - The low salary (minimum wage) new college graduates receive
    三寶 - Literally "three treasures," sarcastically refers to careless elderly, female, and elderly female drivers
    查水表 - Literally "checking the water meter," was once used in Taiwan during martial law to arrest people
    菜逼八 - Taiwanese Dialect for a newbie
    小朋友 - Naive

  9. Use 不好意思 to both start and end sentences
    Taiwanese people are well known for being profusely polite and apologetic in public, with the default expression when in doubt being buhaoyisi (excuse me, 不好意思). It can be used when getting one's attention when asking directions, it can be used when bumping into someone, or when arriving late.

  10. Instantly grab trash bag when "A Maiden's Prayer" is played
    For some mysterious reason, most of the nightly trash trucks in Taiwan have played the same song -- "A Maiden's Prayer" -- to herald their imminent arrival for longer than anyone can remember.

  11. The outfit one wears has a specific meaning
    Examples listed from the video of outfits telling a story include: "I am a man who is 30 years old but has the intellect of a 18-year-old. I'm DB2 (retarded), but I have a girlfriend. I was too lazy to put on makeup, so I wore a surgical mask instead. I rode my bike to work and it rained cats and dogs, this sucks."

  12. Get in line even though you do not know why
    In Taiwan, if a lot of people are lined up for something, the assumption is that there is something really worth waiting for. In the video, the woman asks the man, "What are you in line for?" To which he responds, "I don't know either, this has suddenly become really popular. I'm going to wait in line and see."

  13. Learn how to ride a scooter
    Learn how to drive a scooter, then get run over by a "three treasures" (elderly, female, and elderly female drivers).

  14. Turn food samples into all-you-can-eat buffet
    This is simply saving money, definitely not being stingy.

  15. Everything is judged by its Price-performance ratio
    In Taiwan CP值 stands for cost-performance or the price-performance ratio, with the stereotype that Taiwanese expect a high CP ratio for every single thing they buy down to NT$100 (US$3.30) dumplings in the case of the video, which are condemned for not being numerous or good enough at NT$100.

  16. Take Taiwan's healthcare services for granted
    Some say that Taiwan's healthcare service is a victim of its own success with many people going to the doctor for the slightest ailment and coming home with a bag full of pills that they do not end up taking. The video shows a man threatening to sue the doctor for making his father wait, but the doctor explains that other patients are undergoing surgery and then finishes with the obligatory buhaoyisi.

  17. Get high and mighty when young people take priority seats
    All Taiwanese modes of public transport have priority seats and they are highly respected with only elderly, handicapped, pregnant women, and young children seen seated in them. Even when there are many empty seats and few people are around, a young, healthy person sitting in priority seating will get dirty looks.

  18. Despite all its shortcomings, Taiwan will forever be the best home