Room Temperature is now Illegal for Large Businesses

An interesting thing comes to mind when many people look for ideas to ‘make’ others do what they think they should do…. Precedent. Even in Taiwan where precedent does not always apply to legal decisions, there still are quotations of precedent. Recently an example of precedent as a justification in Taiwan is during the rejection of the ECFA referendum, where it is stated that other countries did not vote on NAFTA. Welcome large businesses, we are now going to control your temperature and issue large fines for non-compliance.

New rule will make Taipei businesses warmer next month

By Mo Yan-chih
Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010, Page 2

More than 500 office buildings, department stores, supermarkets and hotels in Taipei will have to keep their air conditioning at 26ºC or above starting tomorrow, after the Taipei City Council passed a regulation compelling private businesses to increase energy saving. The regulation, passed on May 31, sets limits on the use of air conditioners and lighting for private businesses, and the city government will first target more than 500 businesses using more than 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month before applying the regulations to smaller firms.

The Department of Economic Development said that businesses will be given a six-month period to adjust. Starting from January next year, businesses whose air conditioning is below 26ºC could be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.

Representatives from 12 businesses, including Taipei 101 Mall, Pacific Sogo and Carrefour, yesterday joined Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) in pledging their dedication to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Cathy Yang (楊文琪), an assistant vice president at Taipei Financial Center Corp, owner of Taipei 101, said the company had installed energy-saving measures, including using efficient light bulbs and setting higher temperatures for air conditioning to reduce carbon emissions.

The skyscraper’s annual electricity bill is about NT$100 million (US$3,120,000) and the energy-saving measures helped the company save a total of NT$65 million in the past two years, she said.

“It’s a win-win situation for us and our customers. The energy-saving measures saved us money and created a more comfortable environment for customers,” she said.

Hau said the 500 businesses used about 2.57 billion kilowatts last year, or 38 percent of the city’s electricity. Those businesses could save enough electricity to supply about 7,000 households by reducing their power consumption by 1 percent.

“I want to also call on all residents to support this policy and join us in saving more energy,” Hau said.

It would be nice to think that as a business owner, we decide how much energy we use. Considering that we pay for this utility ‘service’, and TaiPower has been aggressive at the flexible rate charges ensuring that they can continue to provide this power. Simple laws of economics suggest that it is in the best interests of a business operator to reduce their power consumption as much as possible.

According to the CAN/CSA Z412-00 – “Office Ergonomics” guidelines which are the reflection of in depth analysis at human behavior in working situations states that in summer with humidity >60% that average room temperatures of 23 – 25.5 should exist in the working environment. However, take a look at the comfort chart below;

CAN/CSA Recommendations
°F °C
78 25 Optimal for bathing, showering. Sleep is disturbed
75 24 People feel warm, lethargic and sleepy. Optimal for unclothed people.
72 22 Most comfortable year-round indoor temperature for sedentary people.
70 21 Optimum for performance of mental work.
64 18 Physically inactive people begin to shiver. Active people are comfortable.

According to ASHRAE 22.5 degrees Celsius is the average recommended ambient room temperature for computer hardware components.

So according to regulations based on in-depth studies and trail-under-fire, we find that the premium operating environment for humans and computers are very close together (21-22.5 degrees). Now, lets make a regulation stating that if a company has a temperature set to < 26 degrees they will be fined NT$10-50,000. This is not a comfortable work environment (and for a westerner is almost torture).

Did anyone consider that eliciting change for reduced energy consumption may be better regulated in altering building code for insulation? Rather than inhumane treatment and another absurd law?


Another Sad Day for Gender Equality in Taiwan

I have learned many lessons from assuming that news reported in Taiwan was true. However, this story points out a fundamental logic flaw in the way people respond to situations. The only reason I bring it up is gender equality in Taiwan is so massively unbalanced already.

Source: Taipei Times

Train cars set aside for females

PROJECT EAGLE EYE: The railway police bureau has launched a project to establish a database on sex offenders with a record of sexual violence on TRA trains and stations

By Shelley Shan
Saturday, May 29, 2010, Page 2

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday said it would launch a female-designated passenger car service after a high school student was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male passenger on Wednesday morning.

TRA deputy director-general Chang Ying-huei (翴錭靟) said an investigation showed that the student boarded the Fuhsing-class train in Pingtung at 5:17am, adding that the train was headed to 〝Fangliao (蛦翋) and supposed to stop at every station along the way.

The student sat in the fourth car, said Chang. The train conductor also reported that he saw two passengers in the car.

※She indicated in her deposition to the police that the male passenger sexually assaulted her when the train passed through Jiadong (呏婘) at 6:26am,§ Chang said.

※The train arrived in Fangliao at 6:37am. The incident occurred during those 11 minutes,§ he said.

In response to a spate of recent incidents, Chang said the TRA plans to launch a female-〝designated passenger car service on 256 commuter trains that depart before 7am and after 9:30pm. He said the first car of the trains with this service would be designated for the use of women and girls.

The TRA also undertook to ensure that all stations are equipped with off-peak waiting areas for female passengers, Chang said.

※The on-board broadcast system will inform women passengers that they can sit in the first car if they are concerned about safety,§ Chang said.

He said passengers would hear the new broadcast for the first time tomorrow.

While the TRA will encourage women passengers to use the first car, Chang said it would not be possible to ban male passengers from using the first car if they chose to do so.

※We are trying to address safety issues that may arise when a woman passenger is alone … As a public transportation system, we serve both male and female customers,§ Chang said. ※We are not calling it a women-only passenger car to avoid discriminating against men.§

The Railway Police Bureau currently has 623 police officers with about 30 responsible for security on long-distance trains.

Short-distance trains are policed by officers stationed in the bureau*s branches nationwide, Railway Police Bureau (RPB) Deputy Director Fang Chien-fei (蛦坳獂) said.

At present, 188 officers police the high-speed rail system, while the remainder are assigned to TRA trains, he said.

Fang also said the bureau plans to deploy more personnel to enhance passenger safety.

Meanwhile, the RPB launched ※Project Eagle Eye§ to establish a database on individuals with records of sexual harassment or assault on TRA trains and stations.

Initially it all sounds great. A crime was committed, and not only did they catch the person who did it, but the railway is going to do something to help stop this from happening in the future.

Lets forget the insanity about a department to track sex offenders in the railway. If you want excuses why this is a complete failure just do a search for ‘US sex offender tracking’ in Google to see the biggest failure since the US declaration of the war against drugs.

Lets spend a minute and talk about sensitization. A great example of sensitization is nudity, because it has some relation to this story. Many cultures do not allow nudity in advertising whatsoever. In talking with foreigners who have just arrived in Taiwan, I find it very common that they are surprised, shocked and even sexually aroused to all of the nudity in advertising here. While in the last 10 years this has reduced (especially in the last 5 years), it is still a lot more liberal than many people are accustomed. However, after seeing these images day after day people become desensitized (meaning that it no longer surprises, shocks and/or sexually arouses them). You sensitize people by keeping them away from things and desensitize them by exposing them to things. That’s the very basic concept without covering psychology 101. Another example of sensitization could be Rosa Parks. A famous person commonly referred to as a civil rights activist, who refused to sit in the back of a bus (like she was supposed to). If you don’t understand the reference, you can read all about it in Wikipedia.

What we are talking about is the suggestion that making a car specifically for women will help protect them. This is just one more sensitization to the issue of women being afraid of attack. Now lets face it, there are real dangers out there, and i am not saying that people should not protect themselves. Lets focus on education in the ways that they can protect themselves. Lets not create a fear based environment for people to live in.

No Platform? No Problem. Join the KMT.

How must it be, simply following other party members. No plan, no success stories, you simply want an office. Well thanks to the KMT, with no clear definition of party plans and huge propaganda campaigns that simply make empty promises things like this become the norm. Anybody who supports the China Communist… oops I mean the KMT should support the party right? We are there for you. That should be the motto, considering they like to say this rather than tell you exactly how they will be there for you and what the positive and/or negative consequences could be. They leave minor details like this to their media branch (local TV stations and newspapers they they control or have acquired) to make up on the fly and conveniently sit back and neither deny or support the fabrications.

So lets look briefly at the case of “Eagle Bear” 殷維雄 Ein Wei Sheung (with many romanizations I always get confused but its close).

Considering this is written left to right lets start with the bear logo and the words surrounding it. Beware the Bear is coming out of line. Very clever, but honestly that koala does not invoke much caution or fear. The bear is coming out of a wordplay from his name, and probably is suggesting something like ‘look out here I come’ if attempted to convert to a phrase.

The three characters to the right is obviously his name.

Lets look at the blue bar of text at the bottom. The warrior fully supporting Mayor Haou and ECFA. Please support me with the phone poll. So basically he is saying, I support the current mayor (who is also up for re-election soon) and ECFA. Right now they are doing phone polls to determine candidates, and you should support him.

Now, lets look at the position that he is running for. Zhong Zheng area City Counselor. Zhong Zheng is a central piece of Taipei although most of it has developed in the last 30 years. It starts almost at the Danshui River and goes from a straight line through 228 peace park almost to the Da An park and a little ways north and south of that line. As a City Counselor for this area, the bear would have nothing to do with ECFA. And quite frankly to support or not support the mayor is not a responsibility that comes with the City Counselor, although there is some interaction between the counselors and the mayor. Many city management tasks are delegated to the counselor, and management of zoning and funding for services in the area have an impact by this person. But ultimately he is the representative of people and business who are in this area. His job is not to support functions that other people have under their control. And he most defiantly will not be controlling trade negotiations with China.

This is just another example of how polarized KMT and DPP elections are, and how little thought other than that enters the mind of voters as they enter the voting booths here. Maybe sometime I will describe how around election times voting borders change based on polls and previous votes to favor specific parties.

New Methodologies for Trash Reduction

One of my favorite propagators of trash reductions is Ma. One of his many brilliant Taipei City mayor decisions is that we need to reduce the amount of trash the city has. So his brilliant idea? Lets reduce the amount of trash bins in the city. If we have less trash bins, then there will be less trash. So a city once populated with trash bins conveniently placed around the city, now has very few. Most of the remaining ones can be found in parks and bus stations if you are lucky enough to find one. Another thing that was done was to reduce the frequency of trash collection. Its not uncommon to see overflowing trash bins in the city. So, hats off to you and thank you Ma for making Taipei more beautiful and clean.

A Taiwanese Pet Fetish

It has become a very popular trend to pamper animals in Taiwan. Considering the all too common alternative (to abuse and abandon them) it makes pet ownership one of extremes here. On the one extreme, many pet owners will carry their pet with them everywhere paying thousands of dollars just for carriages and the like. These animals never have to walk, get pampered all day, and never have to exercise. These pampered animals are not taught manners and are expected to be ignored if they come visit your house and piss on your floor, get up on your table and try to have sex with your leg. Generally these pampered animals are more costly than children and Taiwanese are very proud of their pet.

Computex – An International Trade-Show???

Welcome again to Taiwans’ premier international event. Computex, is a IT hardware trade show hosted in Taipei. Taitra, the show organizer, has failed miserably this year to host to any non-Chinese speaking person. In fact, what is the point of hosting a show with the build-up, marketing effort and substantial government investment if it does not draw additional business from abroad? In my visit this year, I spent little time looking at companies that hold my interest and focused a touch more on the attendees and people at the show. I talked with people from the Japan, Greece, Columbia, US and countries undisclosed. But I am getting a little ahead of why I decided to write this story, and will start at the beginning.

Getting There

I started my journey near the HP building, making Halls 1 and 3 equally distant. Deciding that I didn’t want to wait in line for registration in Hall 1, i headed to Hall 3. At the first door I arrived, I walked past the local security and went straight to the lady with the Taitra badge. “Excuse me, where is the main entrance?” I asked. “Uhmmm…” shaking her head in confusion (i.e. not understanding English) she invites over the security guard. “What do you want?” asked the security guard. “Where is the main entrance?” I asked again. “What?” replied the security guard. “Where is the front door?, Where can I get in? Where is registration?” I asked multiple questions hoping one of these would hit an English speaking neuron. “Ahhh, take a right and right.” the guard replied. Basically this response did not answer my question, but rather than speak Chinese or spend another 5 minutes, I walked around the corner to the right and assuming the next door was the next right, I proceeded to the next entrance.

At this door (significantly bigger) there was one security guard and two Taitra employees. I approached the one on the left of the entrance. Before I could get near, the employee on the right said “No you cant come in” as he pointed at me. This 60 kilo 18 year old youth was speaking very rudely to me, in a raised voice and pointing at me all with refined enough English that I could only assume he knew the words and tone he was using. I raised my tone to match his, pointed and said “Don’t you point at me.” at the same time I turned to my initial target and asked “Where is the registration?”. The focus of my question answered “You need to go right.” as he pointed along the face of the building. I turned and walked on.


Finally, at the 3rd door I approached, after having a vague recollection of registering before at this door years past and noticing the much large size of the entry area I knew I had at last come to where I could enter. A sign at the entrance indicated that I must prepare two business cards, and a queue presented itself in front of some registration computers. I proceeded to enter the queue as I noticed a Taitra employee at the beginning of the line talking with 2 Taiwanese. I attempted to squeeze past them to enter the queue, and the Taitra employee said “No you can go past.”. I asked him “What is the trouble here?”. “You have to give me your business card” he responded curtly. As I look at the line there was nothing to indicate what we were supposed to do with these two cards, but rather than cause issue I reached into my wallet and gave him the card. He held it in his hand and went back to harassing the other two people in front of the queue. I asked “So do I get my card back?”. He responded “No, I keep it.”. I entered the queue and politely let the two people he was harassing go ahead of me once they finally finished with the Taitra employee.

Standing in the queue, it was very apparent that the registration process takes about 4-5 minutes per person and there were only 5 computers available. Meaning that one person per minute could be handled, luckily not many people were registering here and I only spent about 10 minutes waiting. However, I could only think how lucky I must have been considering the show typically draws around 120,000 people. I proceed to the registration computer and answer more questions than I truly wanted to answer, with no consideration or statement on the privacy of my information. Once I entered my information the computer pointed me to the left to get my badge. I approached the person dispersing the badges who said “Give me your name card”. At this point I had about enough of the Taiwanese attitude and casual ignorance of politeness that they demand of other people but so rarely give out. “I have worked with Taitra for a long time, is this how they are now teaching people to deal with show attendees? Basically the question is ‘Please give me your business card’, not ‘Give me your business card’ one is rude and the other is not.” I said without giving the person a chance between breaths. “I did ask please.” she said. Feeling a little guilty to put all my annoyances so far on her lap I responded “I am sorry, you must have said please very quietly, I have had a couple other not so pleasant conversations with Taitra employees so far.”. Not feeling good about letting the lie slip, but ready to get on with my day I entered the show.


With most trade shows there is a certain dignity involved with the set up of a booth. It represents tens of thousands of dollars of investment in most cases and a significant amount of set up time working with show organizers, contractors for booth preparation, printers for materials and advertising, approval from the host, selection of the lot and so much more. Many booths in this were a ragtag collection of booths containing the equivalent of cardboard boxes and a Lemonade for Sale sign. In 3/5 booths that I visited not a single person could speak English. In 5/7 booths there was not a person present who could answer questions about major products in their display. While all announcements may not have been in English, every one that I heard was in Chinese. I walked by and the typical events were present. Companies were engaging the audience and trying to increase brand recognition by getting the audience to chant their name,or answer questions in return for prizes. The problem is, it was all in Chinese. In addition, the exhibition halls are now split between Nangang and Taipei city (a 30 minute bus commute). For many people, a trade show is as much a chance to meet with distributors, partners and clients as much as to attend the event. Subtracting a minimal 1 hour a day from a persons ability to engage in business or browsing vendors is another major cut to the exposure a trade show can provide.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that large government investments do not fiscally make sense if your targeting a trade show to the local market. When your trade show can positively impact the GDP by drawing foreign investment you then have a reason to ask for other large buildings to be built for your exhibitions, and not supporting the international community does not help. <cough cough – that was aimed at Taitra> Providing poor language support, printing newspapers with 5 articles in English and 10 in Chinese, rude staff, low booth standards for appearance and service and large distances between events are all indicators of failure. If for some reason you are reading this and are considering an appearance at next years event…. stay home, you will be just as, if not more productive contacting these companies via e-mail.

A Pot, a Kettle and the Color Black

Thank you very much MOFA for what a complete outsider to the politics of this situation calls “The pot calling the kettle black”. I have seen very few statements from a countries diplomatic corp so arrogant and so reflective of the true thinking of the current regime as this statement.

Source: This is a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on the MOFA website.

Statement regarding the Incident of South Korean Warship “The Cheonon”

The Cheonon, a South Korean warship, was sunk by an explosion on March 26, 2010, approximately one nautical mile off the south-west coast of Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. A joint investigation by the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Republic of Korea reached the conclusion that the battleship was scuttled by a North Korean torpedo. This event has seriously affected the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, rising tensions in the area.
As a responsible nation in East Asia, the Republic of China (Taiwan) highly concerns over the situation and condemns any violent or provocative act that undermines regional peace and stability.
Taiwan supports the efforts of the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and other countries in their endeavour to reduce existing tension and to restore regional stability through the United Nations. The government of Taiwan is willing to cooperate with the international community to adopt appropriate measures in order to prevent the conflict from escalating, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity.(E)

This statement “As a responsible nation in East Asia, the Republic of China (Taiwan) highly concerns over the situation and condemns any violent or provocative act that undermines regional peace and stability.”coming from the country best described as the ‘flash point’ of Asia for the past several decades does nothing but grate me the wrong way. Looking past the ‘responsible nation’ statement lets take a look at the form used. Taiwan (ROC) is not a Republic of China (Taiwan), anyone in any capacity in the dip. corps. that knows of Taiwan knows this. Secondly, the international press release in English is not even a proper sentence. Taiwan(on what grounds) condemns a provocative act (on the grounds of the fictional nation they name?). Now, to the real abuser, ‘provocative act that undermines regional peace and stability’. How does a nation well known for pissing on the boot of China, think that this is anything but shit-talk?

Did the main editor for China Post draft this press release by chance, or have the new executives from Beijing finally decided to flex their muscles and give Ma penis breath as he took notes to give to MOFA?