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前幾天,我和兩位外國友人一起喝咖啡,當聊到來台定居的心得時,不意外地,他們意見一致地認同自己的選擇。如許多決定定居台灣的外國人,他們普遍認為,台灣的前景樂觀,並且未來發展有部分可善用過去奠定的經濟基礎。只不過,當同樣的問題交給台灣朋友,答案卻相去甚遠,對他們來說,台灣的機會有限、前景黯淡,發展也愈來愈受到限縮。

這個觀察讓我聯想到「半杯水」的故事。一個玻璃杯,裝有半杯水,僅僅是兩種不同的想法「已經有半杯水」(Glass half full)和「只剩下半杯水」(Glass half empty),便可能讓結果截然不同。我向來是樂觀主義者,而我對台灣如此懷有信心的原因,多少也是因為我能以外人的角度,國外成長的經驗讓我能一眼看出台灣的優勢,不至覺得「外國的月亮比較圓」。

接下來就讓我分享5個填滿我的「水杯」的理由:

我半滿的水杯裡,放著台灣的這些特色

1.   世界一流的美食

以美食著稱的台灣,從亞洲及世界各地慕名而來的遊客絡繹不絕。台灣的食物不僅品質不錯,而且種類豐富、擁有各種價位的選擇;從平價的街頭小吃、小餐館,到米其林星級餐廳,美味讓外國遊客讚不絕口。而對於喜愛料理的人而言,市場裡新鮮的蔬菜水果,更是宜居的一大關鍵。

2. 最容易進行戶外活動的城市

對於熱愛戶外活動又不想錯過熱鬧城市生活的人來說,台北是最理想的居住地點。放眼亞洲,還有哪個現代大都會能讓你在短短30分鐘內,抵達可以健行、衝浪、騎自行車等種種運動的地方?台北的河道現在鋪設了150公里長的自行車道,而台中與高雄也開始發展類似的設施。2小時內,你就可以抵達景色壯麗的東海岸,而中央山地更有亞洲最棒的健行區!

3. 居住安全程度讓人感到安心

事實上,來台居住的25年經驗中,我從來沒有擔心過自身及親友的個人安全。這跟我在洛杉磯的居住體驗截然不同,在那裡夜晚走路回家時,安全總是令我堪慮。台北是名列世界前三名最安全的城市,而台灣最近更獲選為世界第二安全的國家。生活中免於個人安全的恐懼和憂慮,絕對是國家進步最根本的原動力。

4. 公平、友善且高品質的醫療

台灣的醫療系統備受外國政府智庫、國際頂尖商務雜誌,甚至是諾貝爾和平獎得主的高度讚揚。台灣醫療系統以完善的品質與社會福利性著稱。儘管有些人會抱怨診間1小時左右的等候,然而與許多其他國家的居民必須等候數星期才能就醫的情況相比,台灣友善的醫療仍為在此居住大大加值。

5. 熱心且樂於互助的文化特色

我遇到的每位外國友人在被問到對台灣的看法時,答案總會包含台灣人的親切、友善及熱心助人。能讓每位訪客都留下同樣的印象,更強調了台灣文化的特色,事實上,這也正是在台生活的實際情況。友善且鄰里間的愉快氛圍,都是讓人愛上在台生活的理由。

如何為台灣加入更多優勢?

現在,台灣「已經有半杯水」了。該如何將另外一半倒滿?我期待以下三個思考作為拋磚引玉,喚起更多討論:

1. 逐步減少燃油機車的使用率

行人和自行車騎士經常必須屏住呼吸,以避免吸入養護不良的汽油機車所排放的致癌煙霧,令人無法接受。我猜台灣街上90%的噪音污染來自燃油機車,機械產生的刺耳噪音對健康不利,不僅會增加壓力,更影響心理健康。然而,身為全球科技的領導者,台灣絕對有能力將交通工具轉向電能驅動,帶動世界。若台灣下定決心,在5年內大刀闊斧地推動電動機車,相信不只能為台灣贏得國際知名度,更能開創價值數十億元的龐大出口商機!

2. 應具啟發性,而非娛樂的新聞

許多台灣的新聞內容在20年中,已變為充斥著聳人聽聞的故事、翻譯的youtube影片,以及欲蓋彌彰的電視購物廣告傳播平台,深度且具啟發性的內容及評論分析付之闕如。這使得台灣在日益全球化的世界中,與不斷成長的全球經濟脫節。更令人擔心的是,近幾年中國大陸的新聞媒體產業素質不斷提升,從而提高了國家的全球意識與洞察眼光。

若我們期待建立一個讓人民引以為傲的國家,確保台灣人知道自己的定位,並認知到台灣在世界上無可取代的角色,這一點便更顯重要。這是我們該一起努力的方向,閱讀品質好的新聞而非一味追求娛樂,相信對專業的媒體們也會是正向鼓勵。

3. 讓孩子能發揮天賦的教育制度

我自己觀察,台灣的教育制度似乎只著重於教導前20%的學生,而其他80%的學生卻備受忽略,無法獲得應有的知識。說得深入一點,台灣的教育系統感覺是針對特定性格類型的學生而設計的,以邁爾斯-布里格斯性格(Myers-Briggs,台灣習慣稱為「十六型人格」)分類中INTJ、ENTJ的性格為主,而對於其他學生,特別是ENFP性格的學生成長發展則造成妨礙。

台灣若要提高全球競爭力,教育必不可偏廢。建立讓每位孩子有機會充分發展天賦,並養成獨特人格特質的教育系統,才能使孩子發揮與生俱來的潛力,以人才立國。

面對應改進之處,需認清現實,看見半杯水之不足,但不應因此感到氣餒。面對優勢,台灣必須更樂觀,為「擁有半杯水」而感到自信。如果所有在台灣的人都願意減少抱怨,擁抱正面思維,相信以既有的優勢為基礎,打造台灣成為亞洲最宜居,也最令人嚮往的國家絕非難事。新的一年,讓我們共同舉杯為此目標努力吧!乾杯!

本文為中英雙語呈現,以下為英文原文:

Taiwan: A nation with its ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’?

It struck me the other day, whilst having coffee with two foreigner friends, how positive they both were on their decision to live here in Taiwan. Like many foreigners who have made the choice to live here long-term, they see Taiwan as a nation with its ‘glass half full’—they believe Taiwan enjoys a healthy foundation upon which to build a brighter future. In contrast, I find many of my local Taiwan friends to be a lot less optimistic. They share what seems to be a common refrain that Taiwan has limited opportunities and not much of a future. Their view of Taiwan is more of one of ‘glass half empty’.

An eternal optimist, I side with the ‘glass half full’ gang. I believe my positivity comes, more or less, from an ability to see Taiwan from an external perspective. This is a result of having grown-up somewhere other than Taiwan. It sharpens my appreciation of the benefits of living in Taiwan, and, at the same time, reduces the propensity for me to blindly assume that other places have something markedly better on offer. This got me thinking: Why not share the five reasons I view Taiwan as such a great place to live? 

So here they are, the five things that fill my proverbial glass:

1.Tasty food

Taiwan has a well-earned reputation for great food. Tourists from all over Asia are now flocking to Taiwan to do nothing more than eat. Variety, quality, and value are second to none, and options are everywhere and at every budget; from street stalls to small cafes and now Michelin-starred restaurants. For those that prefer to cook at home, Taiwan’s markets offer an impressive selection of vegetables and what has to the world’s highest quality fruit.

2.Outdoors at your doorstep

For those who love the outdoors but don’t want to miss out on the buzz of the city, it doesn’t get better than Taipei. What other modern metropolis in Asia grants you 30-minute access to such a wide variety of activi-ties: hiking, surfing, cycling, and much more. The rivers that flow through Taipei now feature over 150kms of cycling paths, with similar networks growing in Taichung and Kaohsiung. Less than two-hours away is the spectacular Eastern coastline, and the central mountains offer some of the best hiking in Asia.

3.Personal safety

In 25 years of living in Taiwan, I have never once been concerned about my personal safety or that of my loved ones. This is in stark contrast to my experience of living in Los Angeles, where walking home at night was never without worry. Taipei is routinely featured in the top three safest cities in the world, and Taiwan was recently accorded the second safest country in the world. The opportunity to live free from fear and concern for personal safety should fill anyone’s glass more than half full.

4.Generous and equitable healthcare

Taiwan’s healthcare system has received praise from foreign government think tanks, leading international business magazines, and even a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The system is cited for its ease of access and affordable cost for every individual living on the island. While some grumble about one-hour wait times, this small inconvenience stands in contrast to the weeks that citizens in other countries often wait to see a doctor.

5.Friendly people

Every visitor to Taiwan I meet, when asked ‘what they think of Taiwan’, never fails to remark on the friendliness and helpfulness of the Taiwanese people. The fact that this impression is left upon each visitor to this island says a lot about Taiwanese culture. It also says a lot about what it is like to live here. Taiwan is truly a friendly place. And a friendly place is always going to be an agreeable place to live.

These five reasons alone should fill anyone’s cup half full. For good measure, though, I would like to share three ways I believe Taiwan could top up its glass:


1.Phase out gas-powered scooters

It is unacceptable that pedestrians and cyclists must regularly hold their breath to avoid inhaling carcinogenic fumes from poorly maintained scooters. Almost as bad is the incessant noise generated by Taiwan’s preferred tool of transportation. By my reckoning, ninety percent of the noise pollution in Taiwan emanates from gas-powered scooters. This mechanical cacophony is no way benign, contributing to unwanted stress and even mental-health issues. Taiwan, a global technology leader, should be showing the world the way in a shift to electric transportation. If Taiwan took ambitious steps to convert the island to electric scooters in the space of five years, it would not only win the admiration of the world, but open a door to billions of dollars in exports.

2.News that enlightens rather than entertains

Taiwan’s news broadcasters are doing the citizens of Taiwan a serious disservice. Over the past two decades, news in Taiwan has become nothing more than a collection of sensationalized stories, translated youtube videos and poorly disguised infomercials. The absence of meaningful news and analysis, both presenting and explaining Taiwan’s position in an increasingly globalized world, is only serving to further disconnect Taiwan from the growing global economy. In stark contrast, television news in Mainland China, which by my observation offers some of the highest quality news and analysis in the world today, is raising the global awareness and the acumen of Chinese citizens. If we wish to build a nation in which citizens take pride in their country, we must ensure that every citizen has an appreciation of Taiwan’s role in this world. Citizens should demand better quality news from news broadcasters, or else protest by turning off the news.

3.An education system that works for all children

In my experience and observation, Taiwan’s education system is set up to serve only 20% of the student population, cheating the remaining 80% of children out of any form of quality education. The system appears to cater to a small subset of personality types—primarily those that exhibit INTJ/ENTJ personalities—while retarding the growth and development of others—particularly ENFP personalities. For Taiwan to raise its global competitiveness the island needs a healthy mix of skills and personalities. Taiwan should move to create an education system that gives every child the opportunity to fully develop his or her inborn personality traits. Only in this way will each individual be in a position to contribute their fullest to the development of the nation.


To be sure, there are many aspects of Taiwan society that can and must to be improved, yet, we should not merely be discouraged. Instead, we should recognize the many positives that Taiwan already has going for itself. If we, the citizens of this island, choose to build on the positives and spend less time grumbling about the negatives, we could rather easily take what is already a great place to live and turn it into the best place to live in Asia. Let’s join the two foreigners I met at the coffee shop, and all raise our glasses to the effort. Gan-bei!

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Mark的中文名字是「史孟康」,他在20多年前來到台北,帶領DDG團隊,和大中華區數百家企業合作,力圖打造具有國際競爭力的品牌。因品牌策略顧問廣泛接觸各產業的決策者,深刻感受到台灣社會和公司文化的脈動,結合國際的視野,發展出獨特的觀點。當他不在辦公室時,經常可以在山區看到他騎單車的身影。 Mark Stocker is a columnist on Opinion@CommonWealth. Mark has been leading DDG, a brand consultancy in Taipei and Shanghai, for more than two decades. His brand strategy consulting experience working with business leaders in Greater China gives him a unique perspective into Taiwanese corporate culture and social movements. He writes about opportunities for Taiwanese businesses to better position themselves internationally. When he’s not at work, he can usually be found biking in the mountains around Taipei.
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