26 October 2016
Within a few months of moving to Zhongli, Lo had to look for a new apartment due to problems with some neighbors. Photo: RTHK
Within a few months of moving to Zhongli, Lo had to look for a new apartment due to problems with some neighbors. Photo: RTHK

A HK couple’s bittersweet experience in Taiwan

Having visited Taiwan several times and finding the locals to be warm and welcoming, Hong Kong resident Lo kit-ling decided last year to take the plunge and emigrate to the island.

Lo set her sights on a pottery designing career. With the cost of living much lower, she felt Taiwan will allow her more time to nurture her new business.

“I won’t say last year’s tear gas (attacks on democracy protestors) was the trigger, but it certainly speeded up our emigration plan,” Lo told RTHK.

Right in the middle of Occupy movement, Lo and her husband spent HK$1.6 million and three months to get Taiwan immigration approval.

When Lo first settled down in Zhongli district, about 50 kilometers away from Taipei, it was like being in a “theme park”, she says.

She was so excited as “everything was very affordable”. For the equivalent of HK$4000, she rented a high-level, brand new apartment with a nice view.

“With this budget, you can only get a subdivided flat in Hong Kong,” she points out.

Lo had no relatives or buddies in Taiwan before she moved there. But she quickly bonded with locals once she settled into her new apartment and now has a few close friends.

Among the friends is a person named Lee, who feels it is the duty of the Taiwanese people to make immigrants such as Lo feel at home.

“They have come a long way. I don’t want them to run into walls all the time in Taiwan. I feel it’s my duty as a Zhongli person to make her [Lo] feel at home,” Lee said.

Lo found such words soothing and a vindication of her decision to shift base to Taiwan.

Now, it’s been several months since her emigration, and Lo continues to have good feelings about her new home.

However, she finds that life is not all roses even if the living costs are lower.

There are everyday issues with some neighbors and a few unpleasant things that one has to deal with.

At her new home after moving to Zhongli, one of the neighbors in her apartment building always went to bed early. If Lo and her husband made the slightest noise after 10 pm, the neighbors “would show up at my door in pajamas and complain”.

“They said noise pollution is illegal in Taiwan after 10 pm. They even called the police once,” Lo recalls.

“Sometimes, it seems… you are not allowed to do anything,” she says.

Following the issues with the neighbors, Lo and her husband quickly moved to another apartment. The new place costs a bit more, but Lo thinks it’s worth all the extra money.

In her new building, there is only one unit on each floor.

“No one is living next to us and we are on the lowest floor,” Lo says, confident that she will no longer have to put up with quarrelsome neighbors.

Lo and her husband found that the honeymoon period in Taiwan didn’t last too long.

However, they have no regrets about their decision to relocate to the island.

While there will be some difficulties from time to time, one has to keep the bigger picture in mind.

“I was not happy in Hong Kong. Life was all about making money,” Lo says. “I got too tired after work to do anything else. I could barely think.”

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When Lo Kit-ling first arrived in Taiwan’s Zhongli, she was delighted at how affordable everything was. Photo: RTHK

Some Zhongli locals extended a warm welcome to Lo and her husband. Photo :RTHK

EJ Insight writer

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