Odds and Ends

I frequently download videos from the internet, via bittorrent files. Without these, I would have absolutely no entertainment as I don’t have cable TV. In addition to downloading the videos, I sometimes come across other types of files, like computer programs and documents. Recently, I downloaded an archive of “How to do It Yourself” .pdf files, 158 of them in total.

The documents cover a range of things that can be repaired, including asphalt driveways, attached decks, board fences, brick walls, ceiling tiles, chain link fences, closet organizers, deck covers, disposals, drip irrigation, electric water heaters, flowing gutters, foam back carpet, hanging wallpaper, plank flooring, insulation, shingles, mower tune-ups, parquet squares, patching plaster, pool care, pruning trees and shrubs, rail fences, skylights, underground sprinklers, varnish and enamel, vinyl floors, wall paneling, lightscaping, and a whole lot more.

I scanned through the documents and couldn’t find one of them useful to my situation now. I have none of the things covered in the documents. I mean, although the shape of my house is square and I have a dishwasher in the kitchen and some framed pictures hanging on the walls, my house is basically like every other house in Taiwan – a concrete box.

I would love to spend the money to spruce up my house, to give it more warmth and a better atmosphere. However, every item purchased to do that would be a major argument from my wife, Shu Mei. You see, Taiwanese people are steadfastly against spending money on aesthetics, whether it be for a house or for themselves. You might think I’m making too broad of a generalization. However, in the over-five-years I’ve been here, I can count on one hand the number of Taiwanese women I have seen wearing make-up. And don’t get me started about the lack of fashion style! It’s all about money.

Oh, they have it, but they refuse to spend it. It is a wonder how their economy survives. Actually, that’s not true. As long as they are willing to pollute the environment, making stuff for the West, they’ll have money. The sole reason the Taiwan economy flourishes is due to the money being imported from the products that are exported. If it weren’t for the West, these people would all be poor rice farmers. That’s not racist. It’s just a fact.

Before I moved here, one of my wife’s friends told me that the Taiwanese people have one God whose name is “money”. That’s not entirely correct, but it is close to the mark. I have found the majority of the Taiwanese people love to earn money. Spending it is a different story, though. To them, spending money is foolish. They feel that the money that they earn should be kept, in case it is needed for an emergency.

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