February 13, 2004

Back in the USA

Man, I'm bushed. It's been a long week. And I'm still jet-lagged from my sister city trip to Taiwan. I know I said I wasn't interested in taking these junkets, but you know what? Vera was right. Having all those little foreigners making over you like you were one of the "American Idol" finalists is good for the soul.

I learned a lot about China while I was there. It's a lot like City Hall. For instance, giving and receiving gifts is a big deal. But they do have some peculiar customs. When you hand someone a piece of paper, like an approval for a project that's going to blight a neighborhood, you have to do it with both hands.

Also, it's considered impolite to boast in Taiwan. Always make sure to compliment people on anything that is worth noting. For example, you should say, "Although this project is a waste of taxpayers' money, I'm sure it will fill the neighborhood with toney restauarants." On the other hand, when receiving a compliment, you are expected to play down your attributes and prowess. If someone were to say, "You are the true representative of the little people," you should say, "Oh, I don't know, I enjoy a few perks of the job every now and then."

Then, bonehead me! I almost forgot to file my re-election papers! Good thing there are only two people filed against me so far. One's a bit of an eccentric (to put it mildly) and the other's a college kid. I should be o.k.

But right now I need to say, Wan ann.

Posted by Randy at February 13, 2004 08:19 PM

Actually, Kaohsiung could learn planning from us and we manners from them (See Steve Duin's column today re: the head of the water bureau, a US citizen orignally from Iran)...

Posted by: Lu Rong Nuo at February 15, 2004 02:16 PM