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James

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan several months ago. Taiwan to me is the real China, not that much bigger communist place over the sea that effectively became part of the USSR a few decades ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I was there for three years, working in a shopping mall language school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I took several holidays to Taiwan during my three years of work in Thailand and I preferred absolutely everything about it. The only reason I stayed in Thailand beyond the first year was a clingy Thai girlfriend who managed to keep me there far longer than I enjoyed it for.

Taiwan feels like a mostly developed island nation whereas Thailand feels like a backward xenophobic corrupt banana republic. Taiwan has high speed trains and an MRT system in its first second and third city (soon to open in its third city Taichung)

It has sea breezes pretty much anywhere in the country, awesome accessible mountains that stretch from north to south and can be easily hiked on well developed and marked out trails from any city in the country with no stupid national park entrance fees, cooler weather than Thailand for two thirds of the year which makes spending all day outdoors a pleasure (the south and west of Taiwan is mostly dry and sunny for most of the year whereas the north and east is mostly cloudy, so you can choose which you prefer and even switch between them within 90 minutes by using the awesome THSR train)

You get 90-day visa exemptions on arrival and my Taiwanese girlfriend can visit my country in Europe without a visa.

Prices are barely any higher than Thailand for almost everything and cheaper for such things such as cans and bottles of beer (65 baht for a can of Guinness anyone?) free ATMs (no stupid 200 baht fees for foreign cards).

Even the 7-elevens and family marts here are far better, with eat-in areas, outdoor eating areas, toilet facilities etc. The roads are far safer and less clogged, the buses are new and clean, the whole place is clean modern and well-built, the people more educated, interesting and worldly, and the food is healthier.

The Thais I know who have visited me here have all said that they wish Thailand could be more like Taiwan, in every way.

About the only thing better in Thailand is ease of prostitution, although I'm only a very short cheap flight away from Angeles if I need that.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

Professionalism, and that's very important to me. Thais never seem to grow up, and working with people in their 30s and 40s who behave like infants quickly gets tedious.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Nothing. I've no reason to return there other than obligations (see below).

If I feel like a break from Taiwan I nip to Okinawa, Hong Kong or the Philippines, all of which are an hour or so away.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Definitely Taiwan. I regret ever setting foot in Thailand for anything other than a holiday.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'm in Thailand now for a few days to attend a friend's wedding tomorrow. I would never have set foot here again if not for attending it.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Wise up and give Thailand a miss. It's too hot, too dirty and too corrupt. The people are charming, but if you have a brain that's simply not enough.

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