[AMA] I'm a Taiwanese Australian who grew up in Saudi Arabia ask me anything

I was born in Taiwan, my family moved to Saudi Arabia when I was one month old. Studied in 4 different countries including Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Australia. Ask me anything.

Comments

  • +2 votes

    why ppl live in earthquake region inside non-earthquake-proof dwellings ?

    • +6 votes

      if you're referring to the recent earthquake which caused a few old buildings collapse - there was a much bigger earthquake (magnitude 7.3 to be exact) that occurred in Taiwan back in 1999 (jiji earthquake). Unlike most earthquakes that normally occurs on the ocean floor, jiji earthquake struck the island itself, resulting in the death of 2400 people and thousands of ruined homes. The tilted building you've been seeing in the news lately survived the 1999 earthquake but not this recent one. All of the post-jiji-earthquake buildings are regulated to withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, however, the one you've seen on the news were built in the 1970s.

      It'll be foolish to think that there's any non-earthquake-proof building in Taiwan as we get hit by tens of earthquakes each year.

      • +1 vote

        so is it safe to live in earthquake region ?

        it's like knowing 100% it'll struck again and again.

        • +5 votes

          Sometimes people don't have a choice where they can live. Look at Japan, will they all move away? Also Florida, do you think everybody will move out? Also while you can be sure a disaster will strike again, it's not certain that you will be a fatality. Same applies for anybody living in a danger zone like in reach of a volcano, or tropical storm.

        • +3 votes

          Couldn't agree more. To put it into Australian context, Australia has a high skin cancer rate due to the thin ozone layer.

          You're not guaranteed skin cancer but chances are higher.

          Is it safe? Put some sun screen and hope for the best.

        •  

          @grumpyhermit: Agree! Speaking of suncream, it’s not working for everyone.

        • +2 votes

          If you have a stable plan for relocating what is potentially hundreds of millions of people without causing significant civil, societal, economic, political unrest I would love to hear about it.

          IANAHistorian but I believe in the past when large populations relocate it has resulted it considerable turmoil.

  • +13 votes

    Can you eat/find Taiwanese pork bun in Saudi?

    • +11 votes

      no way there's no pork in Saudi Arabia

      • +5 votes

        So no bacon & egg mcmuffin, no ham & cheese croissant, no sweet & sour pork, no crispy pork belly, no suckling pig, no bbq pork :(

    • +5 votes

      YES there is pork bun, Pork products are avalible for westerners that work at ARAMCO or any of the large companies that provide compound housing… I'm Saudi and i live in Saudi Arabia…

  •  

    Why Saudi of all places? Surely the weather can't be the attraction?

  •  

    Do you feel lonely studying in so many countries?

    • +5 votes

      Yes and no, I have lost touch with all my childhood friends but have met a lot more both in Singapore & Australia. I do feel left out when my mates talk about their highschool/primary school life here in Australia

      • +4 votes

        I can relate to this. My dad is a pilot and I lived in Hong Kong Singapore and Australia. I went to about 7 different schools and lived in about 20 different houses.

        Learnt to make friends fast but it's interesting…

        Some of my closest friends are from uni and see them only every few months.

        Have less friends now but find it's easy to meet people and make some friends but it's a bit different than people who have went to school and been friends for 20 years as they have that deep trust, connection and shared memories.

        In Hong Kong people are often best friends for one night lol or one week, then never see each other again. Happens a lot especially since it's such a transient city (and of course sometimes it's the alcohol lol)

        • +1 vote

          Wow, that's some insight about HK. Must be because how fast pace everything is.
          I'm Australian but like Hk, and SG, sometimes pondering what'd it be like to work and live there.

          What are your +'s and things which make it really great?

        •  

          @TheOneWhoGotAway:

          Hong Kong has an incredible nightlife and culture, easy to shop or eat 24/7 or go out and meet people.

          Travellers and westerners are super friendly to each other and it's a bit strange but you do get special treatment in hong kong being western, I think thats why most people dont leave.

        •  

          @AussieMark:

          Nice, sounds like the place to spend your 20s.
          I like how small the place is but also how much it offers. Well if you have enough money to comfortably rent,

  • +1 vote

    Do you use the Chinese language? Did you parents engage a Chinese teacher for you in SA?

    • +1 vote

      I've attended Chinese classes held in the embassy on weekends. Teachers are normally spouses of embassy personnel. In fact, my mom was my teacher for a period of time

  •  

    Hey I'm Saudi and I live in Riyadh… I am guessing you guys lived in the Diplomatic Quarters, I went to KFS growing up… :-)

    •  

      yea we lived in Riyadh most of the time, it's close to the embassy area and I went to the American school. We stayed in Jeddah for a year due to my dad's work and we loved it there

  • +3 votes

    I deal with people in Riyadh on a daily basis. My work does a lot of business with a company there. The account manager is female but they have only sent them their once - they had to be escorted by a male & had to be covered from head to toe the whole time.

    What was it like living in a place where females are treated so unequally? Are my views accurate or am I wildly off? Did you find it difficult to go to other places because you spent the development period of your life in KSA?

    • +2 votes

      your views are pretty accurate, it's not uncommon to see a bunch of guys catcalling females on the street, the funny thing is the female has hijab on so they cant really see much.

      •  

        And thats just the start why the women wear hijab and need escorts, because the culture doesnt respect women so they can walk about in peace, instead they are treated as animals hence the lack of respect at home and in the community and the need for "protection".

      • -3 votes

        Not at all, I disagree. Those are purely stereotypical views, and is an outsiders view who has not interacted/ lived with them. We, from the western ideology, tend to view and project ‘oppression’ onto them because that is how we would fee/ view it l if we were in their situation, because the norm to us is not to tge same to them! & visa-versa.

        I am a full blooded Ausi man - my wife & I interacted with a lot of Saudi couples when I lived there for over 20 years. I initially had a similar view of them, i.e men treat women poorly - but it’s anything but! The women there are treated like queens!

        They are treated well with respect and love- they are provided for, protected and escorted to their every needs! And most importantly they are happy! (My wife confirm so too)

        The hijab/ abaya (covering) is a form of traditional dress that they wear when stepping out of their homes, it protects them from the sun/ heat (the Black garment they use is actually cooling as it desipates heat quickly) shelters them from others eyes and stares, and keeps them anonymous and safe to strangers. The abaya is viewd not dissimilar to jackets, coats or similar for us westerners. It’s customary for them, and they enjoy wearing them. Infact, there is a fashion selections for them!

        The women - the wives to my Saudi friends, do not feel oppressed. They feel loved and catered for (infact my wife is sometimes jealous of her Saudi friends) They find it amusing when they see the ‘oppressed views’ projected onto them by outsiders!

        I’m sick and tired to hear ‘women in Arabia are oppressed, etc’ as it’s totally naive to think so.
        No one in their right mind would treat another badly, and another to accept it. And If you scream ‘religion!’ It’s not that either! Their religion embraces the woman and mothers especially in full! unlike what you hear in the stereotypical media.

        Yes there may be some cases of oppression, and yes the arabs may have some level of strictness compared to the west - but which nation does not in the relative sense?

        Those cases you hear in the media which project oppression onto women in Arabia is why it’s making the news - because it’s an exception rather than the norm.
        No one would broadcast the norm!

        • +4 votes

          Wrong. They are oppressed, regardless of whether they have grown used to it and so don't seemingly mind it.

          If ALL Saudi women love being forced to wear the Abaya, love being forced to have a male escort with love, love being banned from driving (though thats finally ending of course), love being forbidden from opening bank accounts, travelling etc etc without permission from a male, why are these all strict laws heavily policed by morality police?

          The ONLY answer is that a significant proportion of them DO NOT want to live like that.

        • -2 votes

          @callum9999:

          may seem that way but NOPE.

          And where do you think you are sourcing/ educating yourself with that information? the western influenced media??

          Subjective views of the western ideology is what makes you (and myself prior) view it from that stand point.

          If you have not lived there and with them, not mingled with them - you cannot claim such.

          "one mans rubbish is another man's treasure"

        • -1 vote

          @callum9999:
          …Rules are everywhere, and are enforced in various methodology and ways - even here in Ausi.

          Simplest of examples: parents enforce rules under their roof/ at home on their kids, no? Teachers on school children? Etc etc. do the kids like it? No. Kids feel like rebelling? Of course!

          Another simple example: moderators in forums; which one are better, moderated or non moderated forums?If one does not like their ways, they can go somewhere else - but to call them oppressors because their ways are different to yours? No….

          There will always be some form of rebellion in any place. And it will be mostly the exception, that’s why you and I know of it because it’s the exception (crimes, road rage, etc etc - because they stand out from the norm)

          So the Saudi methods are a lil ‘low tech’ by standards - by following up with the morality police - these police are not down your back as you claim, and are located in very dense public areas…and act like moderators (in the background).

          I guess we will have to disagree on this one.

        • +1 vote

          @YoursTruly:

          Simplest of examples: parents enforce rules under their roof/ at home on their kids, no? Teachers on school children? Etc etc. do the kids like it? No. Kids feel like rebelling? Of course!

          Yes, children and women are not the same. Children do not have anywhere near complete moral agency, we need to reason with them and enforce rules that are in their best interest, and the children should agree with this by the time they reach adult age.

          In the west we treat women as though they have responsibility, independence and moral agency.

          Women are NOT children, dude…

          Another simple example: moderators in forums; which one are better, moderated or non moderated forums?
          If one does not like their ways, they can go somewhere else
          - but to call them oppressors because their ways are different to yours? No….

          So, can a woman conscientiously object to the SA state laws and independently leave to a non sharia law country?

        •  

          @owli: sigh…

          It’s called examples (for the sake and ease of understanding a point) and not implication.

        • -1 vote

          @YoursTruly: No, you are trying to make a logical argument with analogies, the analogies are bad and the logic is bad.

        •  

          @owli: okay…?

          So now you are me, and know my logic and what I’m trying?

          NOPE.

          Perhaps (maybe) that’s what you are trying to do with the Saudis - by projecting your logic that is different and influenced by our western ideology - onto their way of life?

          Whats next?? monks and nuns are wasting their lives living under a law/ methods that does prohibit them from having sex and sexual pleasure/ relationships?

  • +1 vote

    Did you ever hide booze from the Mutaween?

  • +11 votes

    Is Taiwan part of china?

    • +29 votes

      I'd say no but a lot of people would say yes. We elect our own president, we have our own army, we have access to youtube/facebook and all that in Taiwan, we are probably one of the most democratically advanced countries in Asia.

      China has nothing to do with Taiwan and can not influence Taiwanese government in any way, shape, or form. However, because as we all know China is one of the most powerful countries in the world every other country that would like to do business with China needs to consent to the "one China policy" - a.k.a Taiwan is a part of China.

      It's almost ironic to say that "Taiwan is a part of China" whilst China has thousands of missiles pointing at Taiwan :)

      •  

        If KMT won the civil war, do you think the Democratic version of China would be more successful than the current one?

        • +32 votes

          If the Dutch stayed when they first landed in Australia

          Would we be speaking Dutch?

          Or if the English won the civil war in United States

          Would the United States be a colony?

          If the nazi won the world war, would we be speaking German ?

          Those “if” are a waste of time

        • +2 votes

          A more interesting question could be, will China ever become democratic?

        • +9 votes

          @htc: it's a single party democracy ;)

        • +1 vote

          @Aceboy884:

          You have been given a time machine where you are tasked to assassinate Hitler and change history. However by doing this, you will change the fate of the world. You will no longer exist as the chances of everyone's grandparents meeting is dramatically decreased and you being born is a 1 in sextillion chance. Do you accept or reject this missin?

        • -2 votes

          @Aceboy884: your reply was a waste of time. Was asking op not you.

        • +1 vote

          @Aceboy884:

          Or if the English won the civil war in United States

          That would be crazy considering the English didn't fight a civil war in the United States. Britain considered backing the Confederates though.

        •  

          @subywagon:

          Lol@England fighting American Civil War!

          My father in law told my kids that WW 1 was when Hitler went to war with Napoleon.

        •  

          @Aceboy884:

          "Or if the English won the civil war in United States"

          D-Day (Bruce McGill): War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
          Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
          Otter (Tim Matheson): [whispering] Germans?
          Boon (Peter Riegert): Forget it, he's rolling.
          Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough… [thinks hard] the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [runs out, alone; then returns] What the (profanity) happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer -
          Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
          Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
          D-Day: Let's do it.
          Bluto: LET'S DO IT!!

      •  

        What do you think is the name of Taiwan as a country? In short, do you feel Taiwan is ROC, or ROC is irrelevant and there should be Taiwanese nation such as a Republic of Taiwan?

      •  

        Great answer! I usually answer no, but its complicated…

      • +1 vote

        we are probably one of the most democratically advanced countries in Asia.
        ROFL, Looks like most ppl believe Taiwan is the failure of democratical system.

        •  

          They have some awesome punch ups though. I wish our politicians would beat the crap out of each other!

      • -7 votes

        OK, Deep-green aren't you ? Sure you are entitled to your opinion that Taiwan is not part of China. But internationally that was not the accepted case. And there are deep-blue Taiwanese who consider Taiwan is part of China ( so people who has no prior knowledge of Taiwan history will not be led to think there is no different opinion whihin Taiwan)

        Maybe not part of a communist China I would not disagree. China has everything to do with Taiwan - from history to language. When United Nation accepted PRC in 1972, economically China is far cry from the current situation so it is not really a matter of " everyone wants to do business with China" , particularly larger economies such as Australia or France or even US.

        Like it or not China is the single factor which has, is and will be shaping Taiwan in every possible way you can think of. There are millions of Taiwanese living in mainland China and go asking them what do you think.

        One of my best personal friend is from Taiwan - and he could be more "Taiwanese" than most Taiwanese as he does have indigenous ancestry - meaning not Han Chinese who moved to Taiwan in the last 2 hundred years - he firmly an proudly believe he and his family are Chinese

        • +5 votes

          Thanks for labelling me just from a few sentences I said. You're not rational and I've already mentioned I don't want this post to be political.

        • -5 votes

          @therealsamlin:It is not labeling and no intention from me to make it political - just to state some facts for people interested as your reply to one post was "quite political unfortunately " - whereas you could say "no comments" however you jumped on the opportunity to make a "political statement "the moment it presents it to you :) ?

        • -1 vote

          For these nay sayers - cannot handle the truth?

        • -1 vote

          @AllWins: the moment you said "deep-green" and "deep-blue" is when you made it political (the main color of the two major political parties in Taiwan, KMT and DPP). Just because Taiwan and China has close history and share the same language, that doesn't make Taiwan part of China. There are also other countries in the world that share similar language/history/culture but yet they are independent countries (i.e. South/North Korea). The truth is: Taiwan has its own government, democratic elected president, currency, army and passport. You can interpret it however you like :)

        • +1 vote

          Have you ever considered that maybe China is part of Taiwan? I should probably put the weed down now…

      • +2 votes

        Hello, I was born and raised in China then finished my uni in Australia. I am not here to argue or be a keyboard warrior, but as a guy who has nothing to do with China, please dont say things like "I just care our my human rights, I can vote, etc". These words can be very misleading that people dont have rights in China. You kept saying not gonna go politically, but you were using political differences to compare China with Taiwan. I used to believe that our government is so shit, "just good at keeping people in the line". But when I got older and experienced more in other countries, I started to realize that things are not just white or black. You have no idea how China was like 5 decades ago. Of course, you have all the rights to say Taiwan is Taiwan, but it's not fair to comment on things you dont know. No one can change the fact that Taiwan is and will always be the brother country of China. As we are saying, what happened among families, stay in the family.

    • +4 votes

      Taiwanese need their own passport to get into China. Enough said.

      • -4 votes

        That alone doesn't really mean anything. Plus Taiwan ppl don't get into China using passports, they use what's called a "Tai Bao Zheng", literally meaning "Taiwan fellow country men certificate", which is issued by the mainland Chinese government to Taiwanese people. And no Chinese ppl from mainland China don't enter Taiwan using passports either, they use what's called a "Mainland fellow country men entrance pass" issued by the Taiwanese government.

        • +14 votes

          I will take the experience of an actual Taiwanese who entered China using her Taiwanese passport, rather than what a Chinese propagandist on the internet says.
          As an Australian I really don't have a dog in the fight, but I won't let Chinese spread their nationalist nonsense. Taiwan is self governed. It is its own country.

        • +2 votes

          @freakatronic: thanks for that mate :), I do not want this post to become political. Everyone has their own perspective and I respect them.

        • +1 vote

          @freakatronic:
          Wait we could use our Tw passport? I couldn’t use mine to enter mainland. take that as an experience.
          However was able to for the SARs

        • +2 votes

          @freakatronic:

          Relax mate. Don't be so easily agitated. I never commented on whether Taiwan is a country and I do know, recognize, and respect that Taiwan is self ruled. I'm merely stating facts, facts you could verify using Google by doing a quick search.

        • +1 vote

          @freakatronic: In all practical senses, yes. Officially? No. Not yet.

        •  

          Go away communist puppet

      • +3 votes

        And that passport is titled "Republic of China " - just to clarify :)

      • +1 vote

        Let's no be too political, but so as North Korean & South Korean.

    • +2 votes

      In addition to what therealsamlin said, Taiwan also has its own currency and a different writing system to the mainland (traditional vs simplified). For me, Taiwan is a different sovereign country. Everyone else knows it too, but pretends it's not just to keep China happy.

      I don't see a possibility for Taiwan to voluntarily join China. It may do so because of economic reasons, but then Taiwan would be ruled by Beijing. On every vote and every decision, all the other provinces would outvote Taiwan. The only way a China-Taiwan link up could succeed is if China adopted democracy and a senate system, allowing Taiwan to block legislation. But how likely is this in the next 100 years?

      In regards to democracy, whenever I ask Chinese friends or colleagues about it and China they have the exact same canned answer: "Well, China is such a big country and democracy would bring chaos, so I think it's better to have one party." I wonder if this is taught to students in school as a stock answer.

      •  

        not taking sides on this issue but i love how us westerners who mostly has next to no knowledge of the history nor the intricacies of the geopolitics of the issues involved always has such strong and righteous views on the matter. e.g. like the yankees and israel-palestinian ..oh wait

        •  

          By 'Us Westerners' are you referring to yourself? Because it doesn't apply to myself or my immediate family members. The China/Taiwan issue is indeed complex, but I don't see how it relates to the Israel/Palestine issue which is rooted in religious dogma (promised land, God gave it to Us etc) and several thousand years of history. Unlike the China/Taiwan issue.

        •  

          @Cluster:
          more in relation to above. replies to your comment as thread was too long to scroll up :)

    • +1 vote

      No, but both Taiwan and China Mainland are China but they are two independent governments.
      They reign different part of China but both claim the territory of China (inc. areas governed by Beijing gov. and areas governed by Taipei gov.)

  • +1 vote

    Does Saudi really do public beheadings for death row convicts in this modern day?

    • +6 votes

      I'm not sure about beheadings. I do have an interesting story though - back when I was ~ 10-year old I hung out with a couple American kids that like to do stupid shit, so we went into a bookstore and stole a couple ps1 games. End up getting caught and sent to the police station, the police officer did mention that if they catch us again they'll chop our index finger off. Not sure if he's trolling but we were shitting bricks.

    •  

      Yes, there are a few videos online if you have the stomach for them!

    •  

      My friend lived in Saudi and yes they do it end of the month on a Friday.

      He lived next to the square where they did it.

  • +1 vote

    Are McDonalds nuggets any good over there?

  •  

    How did your family end up in Saudi Arabia?

    What made you study in so many countries? And what did you study?

    • +3 votes

      We went to Saudi Arabia due to my dad's work.

      We moved back to Taiwan shortly after 911, because there were a lot of terrorists attack each day, especially around the embassy area. Our compound was even attacked by a suicide car bomber, end up killing an American diplomat family.

      So I'm back in Taiwan for grade 7 & 8. The education system in Taiwan is really f**ked up, kids my age (13): goes to school at 7:30am, finishes school at 5:30pm, go to tutor class and get home around 9pm. My dad thinks it's super unhealthy and messed up for kids my age and sent me to an international school in Singapore

  1. therealsamlin on 13/02/2018 - 11:33
  2. Aceboy884 on 13/02/2018 - 20:41
  3. therealsamlin on 13/02/2018 - 11:06
  4. therealsamlin on 13/02/2018 - 11:53
  5. djmm on 13/02/2018 - 22:02
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