Reflections on the Differences Between the UK and Taiwan by Elvis Wez

When you are growing up you sometimes wonder where you will you end up after becoming an adult. Sometimes you end up in a place that you had never even heard of before you actually visit it for the first time. This is what happens to many expats strewn across East Asia, and our new home, Taiwan. This is what happened to a local artist, originally from Brighton, UK, Elvis Wez. [Scroll to the very bottom to view Elvis Wez’s art]

Elvis Wez is a volcano of creativity and good vibes. He has to be in a good company to reach his full capacity though. From swerving his skateboard between cars in the full on Taipei traffic, through being the maddest party animal that never fails to dress to impress and sets new standards in local fashion, to being an active musician, singer and lastly a great painter, illustrator and a graphic designer that uses mostly traditional techniques.

He recently went back to his hometown, Brighton and this is what our correspondent has learnt from this rad cat:


TO: How long haven’t you been back to the UK?

Wow, geez! It must be have been 4 years. Yeah, 4 years I haven’t been back to Blighty for.


TO: What major changes did you notice first upon arrival in the UK?

Hmmm… Major changes? If you come back from East Asia where everything is constantly changing and then you go to ‘ancient-feeling’ Southern England, you don’t really notice that much of a change. Well, one thing has changed. The High Street. Shops have changed and some of the old ones we used to have for decades are no longer there. There are plenty of coffee shops everywhere, just like in London. Everyone is into coffee now. From a country that enjoyed their cuppa tea, English people have turned into coffeephiles.


TO: What was the first reverse culture shock you experienced?

Driving on the left side! I mean I know people in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore or Thailand do the same, but I enjoyed living in Taiwan too much to visit those countries.


TO: What was the first thing you missed about Taiwan and what did you end up missing the most?

I missed Taiwan’s weather the most. I wanted to be warm and cosy again. What did I end up missing the most? Must be the ubiquitous convenience stores everywhere. British Off-license stores don’t quite cut it, and if you want to go to a 24h supermarket you have to drive or take a taxi. In Taiwan, Taipei especially, you just walk literary a few meters and there’s an open 24h convenience store. Also Taiwan’s street food and how cheap things are here. I love the mollycoddling Taiwanese lifestyle!


TO: What one thing from the UK do you wish you would get in Taiwan?

Fish and chips which I love more than my mum, and greens like peas, green beans, Brussels sprouts and the like. And I am not saying in Taiwan I can’t find healthy food, I just miss this Euorpean/British kind that looks great next to your chips or potatoes.


TO: What did you enjoy about being back?

Definitely family! I enjoyed looking at them being happy to have me back, even though not for a long time, but still. After living in Taiwan for like 7 years in total now, we have obviously grown apart. I love my parents and their demeanour, there are a couple of cool folks. My brother is wicked, too. I obviously didn’t realize how much I would miss them until I left their house.


TO: How long were you back for?

I was back for three weeks, only enough to show my domestic partner how dear old Blighty looks like, catch up with my family and a few friends, and stuff my face with all the Yorkshire Pudding, Pie and Mash, Fish and Chips and Toad in the Hole that I could put my hands on.


TO: Did you only stay in England or did you travel somewhere else?

I went for a short visit to Low Countries to see how much rain Dutch people get this time of the year, I liked Heineken.


TO: What were your feelings when you were about to go back to Taiwan?

I wasn’t the happiest man on the planet, that’s for sure. Why so unhappy? Because my parents were sad. I was really sad seeing how sorrow they were when I was leaving. I was sad, too, but my parents were noticeably sadder.


TO: What were you most happy about after you came back to Taiwan?

Being in a ‘Taiwan Bubble’ if you like. Being warm, and the ability to see the blue sky. The way people treat me here and treat each other is also something I missed. Taiwanese people are very reasonable and well mannered; they rarely show you any rudeness while dealing with you on the customer level. Outside of Taiwan this isn’t always the case, you can expect all sort of epithets from members of staff at hotels, shops, at the airport or train station. Taiwanese have more integrity than this.


TO: How long are you planning to stay in Taiwan for?

Not indefinitely, but I’ve said that for the past 7 years. I will probably go to Australia or New Zealand next at some point. I’m not getting any younger and want to explore at least one more realm if you like. I lived in the UK, Finland, Taiwan, there’s definitely place for one more country on my list.

TO: Thank you very much for talking to us.

Not a problemo!

Find a few extra photos below of Elvis Wez and at the very bottom you will find some of his art.


Elvis Wez’s Art:

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