Return from a city of messiness or the enterprising – contrasting cities

Taipei residents accept a bit of messiness in their lives. They strive on individual freedom than to be straitjacketed. Let me give some examples.

In a busy tourist attraction, a small group of people stood in a corner and started to seek attention of passers-by over deficiencies in the current parliamentary voting system. They talked about their concerns and sought signatures for their cause. I can’t see that happening in Singapore without a permit.

I went into a retail shop in an upmarket art street and I saw a notice pasted on its wall stating their support for Hong Kong citizens’ protests over their rights to vote in a new Chief Executive without interference from Beijing. The shop owner openly supports something that is not even about her own country.

Scooters and motor bikes are kings on the roads in Taipei. They can appear around you suddenly while you least expected it. Most Taiwanese people use scooters for commuting. As for parking them, they just find empty spots on pavements and then park them together with the rest. Walking along pavements is therefore made difficult by these scooters. There is no need for line markings and no need for designated parking lots. In Singapore, motorists have to find legal parking lots and they must park within the lines!

You can find street hawkers at every conceivable space in the city, along pavements and side roads. You will not go hungry while walking the streets. Food was good and food preparation hygiene was not an issue. Even for a person with sensitive stomach, I can take that kind of food. For Singapore, street hawking is regulated and can happen at designated places.

Taipei has many old buildings amongst new ones. The owners added structures that were haphazard. This adds to the characters of the city’s skylines. I kind of like it that most owners keep them that way.

You will be the judge. What kind of city do you like?

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