Not to be confused with Thailand, and not a part of China, Taiwan is the China that should have been – a democratic nation of Chinese people who are not afraid to thumb their nose at the bully who glares at them across the Taiwan strait. Taiwan’s free, safe and fascinating society held me in thrall for ten years. Where else can you saunter down to the 7-11 in your pyjamas at 3 o’clock on a Sunday morning to pay your electricity bill and buy a bottle of whiskey? Where else do people stand patiently on the street corner holding little bags of household waste, waiting for the arrival of the rubbish truck whose theme tune is Beethoven’s Fur Elise?
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