I learned years ago that people in Taiwan can be rather “possessive” of information. When we were on vacation in 1998 and my wife was discovered to need surgery, delaying our return for several weeks, I communicated this to the administrative clerk of the organization for which I worked. He told the chief officer, and all was “well”. But when we got back, colleagues were curious as to why we’d been gone so long.
We’re nearing the end of a two-weeks sojourn in Tainan. I communicated our dates and a request for use of the college guest house to some staff members of the college, who anticipated our arrival and made arrangements for all things. Yet when meeting some former colleagues on the faculty, there was surprise at our arrival. Anyone whom I had not informed directly didn’t know we were coming. People outside of the organization would meet us by chance and ask why we were here. (Our response was that we came to vote in the presidential election).
Now that we’re in our final few days, invitations are coming. A meal with these, coffee with those, an afternoon here, a morning there. We’re popular!
Next time, I’ll write to EVERYONE, using Chinese, so that nobody will be uninformed. Maybe I’ll invite them, myself.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.