Culture

THIS SECTION IS MAINLY BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. PLEASE DO NOT GENERALIZE.


Family is the basic foundation in Asian countries. Taiwanese parents highly prize their kids, and sometimes even spoil them, tending to baby their kids into adulthood. College students usually don't have to work because their parents provide for them. They are asked to concentrate on their studies and not worry about money.

It's not unusual to see an adult still living with his/her parents. However, not everyone lives with and depends on their parents. Some adults live with their parents until they get married, because they want to take care of their parents. In Taiwan, when parents become old and can't take care of themselves, they won't go to rest-homes. Instead, their kids will live with and take care of them. Sending parents to a rest-home is unusual, and kind of unethical, in Taiwan.

Family relationships are probably stronger in Asia than in Western countries. Many parents now think they can take care of themselves when they become old.


T aiwanese students have to study hard in high school to pass the exam held once a year to go to college. The government is making an effort to release the pressure. More colleges are being established. More alternatives are being offered after high school graduation.

Students in Taiwan probably may not be as creative as American students. Uniformity seems more important in Taiwan. Students wear uniforms in school until college. High school students are used to having the similar hairstyle. And in general, teachers are highly respected.

University sounds like "lets you have fun for the whole four years" when translated by sound from Madarine. Students indeed have lots of fun when they study in college. After working hard in high school, many students totally relax after they pass the exam to colleges. Some students take use of their college days to enrich their knowledge.

In my generation, most of us started to date after college. Dating before college is not supported, because it is considered a bad influence on school. Relationships are probably taken more seriously for the Taiwanese than for Westerners.

The Old generation is conservative about sex. Parents may never talk about sex with their kids because they don't know how. Virgins were valued in the old days. Kissing or hugging in public was not appropriate for the older generation. However, this is changing. Closeness between couples is now more commonly seen in public.


The wedding invitation brings an obligation for the guests to present money at the wedding party. Therefore, a wedding invitation, always in red, is referred to as a "red bomb."

In the wedding party, guests give the cash in red envelopes ,and enjoy a rich meal. The money is used to cover the fee for the meal during the wedding party. The amount expected is around $45.

After the wedding party, the bride and groom's close friends will stay with the couple until the very late night. They try their best to embarrass the couple by asking them to perform mock sexually acts in front of their friends. Taiwan is usually conservative about sex, but becomes very open during wedding parties among close friends.


If you receive a card informing you of the death of a friend, you are required to give money in a white envelope, just like when you receive a wedding invitation. The money for the funeral must be in a "white" envelope and the money for the wedding must be in a "red" envelope.

Some funerals are solemn, others are festive. Family and relatives of the dead may employ the services of an electric organ flower car. Women sing, and sometimes strip off their clothes, on the car. This behavior is explained as entertaining the dead. Some strangers may be employed to cry for the dead.

Since Taiwan is very crowded and the land is very expensive, people spend lots of money buying a place to bury the dead. Some Taiwanese even say that they have to save money to buy a tiny burial ground for their dead.

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