Young Girl Flies Into Air, Wrapped In Kite Tail | Hsinchu City International Kite Festival

Today, August 30th, 2020, a three year old girl was wrapped up in the end of a kite tail and ended up flying several meters into the air as the kite took off.

The incident took place at the Hsinchu City International Kite Festival at around 3:40pm in the afternoon near the Nanliao Harbor.

While preparign to launch a kite, several revelers were standing close to watch the kite take off. As the kite is launched strong winds kicked in and whipped the tail in such a way that the little girl was able to get entangled in the tail. The winds being very strong picked the little girl up a flung her high in the air.

Those watching started screaming and gasping at the sight and the kite was quickly brought to the ground where several onlookers grabbed the little girl out of the air and got her safely back on the ground.

The girl suffered no serious injuries after the incident except a few bruises and small lacerations. However one can imagine how traumatizing that must have been for a small child. Luckily she came out physically unharmed for the most part.

The Hsinchu City International Kite Festival was suspended for the time being. An investigation to the incident is underway and the festival will only reconvene after it has concluded.

Taiwan National Clean Up

Taiwan’s National Clean Up Event is in its second year running this coming May 20, 2018 and will take place in twelve locations across Taiwan:

Sponsored by Roxy and organized by Taiwan Adventure Outings (TAO) in partnership with several international and local enterprises, the event is set to make an even larger positive impact this year.

The national event aims to bring environmental awareness to those living in Taiwan, as well as provide fun outdoor activities for families and individuals both young and old.

Every month, for the last two years, TAO, an environmentally conscious adventure company, has been hosting free beach and forest clean up events, with the goal of bringing communities together for environmental conservation, education and engagement.

The average Taiwan resident consumes an estimate of 800 plastic bags a year.

Globally the equivalent of one garbage truck per minute is being dumped in the oceans. Taiwan’s unique geographical location means it is prone to waste washing up on its shores.

Taiwan aims to be free of plastic by 2030, and already the Environmental Protection Agency has banned single-use bags in seven industries this year. Local initiatives like the Taiwan National Clean Up are essential to provide awareness and education about everyday plastic consumption to realize these goals.

The public is welcome to host clean up events in their local area, or join in on existing ones by contacting TAO at the email below or at the Facebook event links above.


Contact Taiwan Adventure Outings:





Roxy, Taiwan Adventure Outings, WRAPTIETM, One Brown Planet, NALA’S Mexican Food, Rising Sun Surf Inn, Taipei Hikers, Southern Taiwan Hiking, Origin Wellness and Yoga, ZIRAN, Taiwan Hiking Community, Blue Skies Adventures, Ocean Diary_我在海邊寫日記

A note from Taiwan Observer: Make sure you are allowed to volunteer on your current visa, some visa restrict volunteer work with out a permit.

My cyberbullying experience and what it means for safety of kids online

Are your kids truly safe on social media?

By Quintin Dormehl

This is a question most parents have had to ask at least once or twice in their lives; and with everything going on recently, who can blame them? Dominating the headlines the past few weeks were the Facebook scandal where Cambridge Analytica mined data from Facebook users without their permission, as well as Melania Trump vowing to take on cyberbullying even thought she shares a roof with a person who constantly belittles and bullies people online. Even though Facebook and Twitter has been at the center of these controversies, it is important for parents to better understand how social media influences their children, especially with regard to cyberbullying.

I have been an avid user of social media from the days of MySpace until now. I have profiles on multiple platforms where I enjoy interacting with people from across the world, and share my life and special events with those who follow me. For the most part, I have enjoyed my experience, except for the occasional weird encounter, but this all changed 48 hours ago. I have recently started using Instagram, and as a whole it has been an interesting experience, but 48 hours ago a person using the pseudonym Ally started posting homophobic messages, that are clearly hate speech and of a bullying nature, on my profile.

“@therealprincecharming gays are cancers. And your body is full of F*** FAGGOT VIRUSES!!!!!!!!!” (1)

q cyberbullying article 3

“@therealprincecharming What? You want to let viruses like gay spread all over the world. I mean you can say gay is the right of every human being and in a few years you will say pedophile is the right of every human being. legalize something sin and wrongdoing? you are really sick” (2)

Cyberbullying instagram comments

Being an adult, I can fend for myself, and I do not put too much stock in what people like this think about me or my lifestyle, but I started wondering how these kinds of things influence younger social media users. My friends and I reported the user and the comments to Instagram, and I waited to see how long Instagram would take to help a user that was being bullied. To my surprise, 15 hours later, my friends and I got messages from Instagram stating:

“therealprincehcharming, thank you for taking the time to report cijeah24’s account. While we reviewed the account you reported for hate speech or symbols and found it does not violate our Community Guidelines, reports like yours are an important part of making Instagram a safe and welcoming place for everyone.” (2)

Cyberbullying reported


Saying that I was disappointed with Instagram’s response to cyberbullying would be the understatement of the year. Their lack of taking responsibility for their users could have real world consequences. Peng Hsin-y, aka ‘Cindy’ (a Taiwanese celebrity), committed suicide in April 2015 after being bullied online.  A study done by the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) in 2015 found that “approximately 74.1% of students considered online bullying a problem [and only] 43% of bullying victims sought help from website managers, teachers or professional counselors; 42% reacted by retaliating.” (3)


Statistics like these paint a dark picture of the world our youth is entering. According to the Instagram help website, Instagram requires their users to be aged 13 or older (4) but according to the Instagram application, it is “rated for 12+” (5). Even though this is a minor detail, how can we trust a company like Instagram to keep our children safe, when they can’t even agree on a common age across their own platform? The reason why age restrictions are so important is because young people absorb things differently than adults do. Whereas adults might brush off some negative comments, young people sometimes internalize it, which could lead to depression, anti-social behavior or even thoughts about committing suicide. How are social media companies keeping our youth safe?

I tried to contact Instagram via their own medium which didn’t work, so then I tried contacting them through Facebook by posting on their fan pages as well as tagging them in a comment with screenshots of the hate speech that I received. I have yet to receive a response other than the one mentioned earlier.

If there was an infant car seat out there that only worked 70% or 80% of the time, would you still take the risk of letting your child be strapped into it? If your answer is no, then why would you allow your child to be on social media, such as Instagram, where his/her mental wellbeing could be in danger? “Seven per cent of young social network users said they had been bullied on the Facebook-owned photo app.” (6) Even if your child gathered the courage to report the person bullying him/her, then what is the guarantee that Instagram would resolve the matter in a timely manner? Speaking from experience, I would not bet on it.

If someone is being bullied, regardless age or sex, it is the company’s responsibility to step in and put a stop to it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So I will ask you again, “Are your kids truly safe on social media?”



A Women’s Mental Health Support Group: Going Beyond and Changing the Society for The Better

Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as the three major diseases of the new century. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are at least about 50 million people with depression in Asia and their numbers are on the rise. By 2020, depression and heart disease will have become the top two diseases that affect human lives. Currently, there are about 2 million people suffering from depression in Taiwan, and 97% of them don’t reach out for help.

Now WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is trying to do something about it. WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is a women’s mental health support group in Taipei. Since December, 2017, WARM has been supporting women’s mental health, and has become a necessary part of their members’ lives. WARM IS THE FIRST AND ONLY mental health support group in Taiwan. WARM has been improving and inspiring women’s lives for the better since December, 2017.

Mental illness is extremely stigmatized in Taiwan. Treatments of depression in Taiwanese clinics are poorly covered by health insurance, it only covers about 2% to 4% of the expenses. On top of that, a single therapy session can cost about 100-120 USD.

In WARM, women meet up every Sunday. WARM provides women in Taiwan a safe platform to discuss anything that is plaguing their mental health. Generally speaking, in Taiwan, a therapy session is 50 minutes a week, a doctor’s visit is about 10-20 minutes a week, once we leave the clinics, we are all on our own again. WARM is trying to break that cycle and create a community that offers support 24/7. WARM further posts encouraging posts in their Facebook group and interactive questions or weekly challenges, such as: “look into the mirror and say ‘I accept you’ for three times, comment below and get a chance on this exclusive WARM gift”. WARM makes sure that they incentivize women every single day without failing.

In WARM, women are empowered by listening and sharing. Topics which were previously considered “unspeakable” or “weak”, or something to “be ashamed of” for women are now being spoken and discussed. Sensitive topics such as rape, abortion, body image and abuse are boldly discussed in WARM. They have given their members a voice and a place to talk about their traumas. More importantly, WARM is a place for women to find closure, support and healing. WARM exemplifies that mental health is as important as physical health, no one chooses to be sick voluntarily.

Recently WARM has been featured in the Taiwan Observer, Taiwan News, Taipei Times, and ICRT. This shows how much society needs them and the important jobs they are doing. They are not a group therapy but a support group. They do not offer professional treatment to “fix” people, but guide their members to seek professional help outside of the group when necessary. The WARM meeting style is based on the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) format, providing a safe platform for women to share and encourage each other. WARM has a safe and effective platform for women with mental health related issues. It has been proven by past meetings that WARM’s structure is more than helpful to their members.

WARM holds their weekly meetings at MOWES, a community space run by and for women. Besides their weekly Sunday meetings, they have various events dedicated to mental health at different venues with a wide selection of partners to collaborate with. WARM is the true example of what happens when people unite, speak up and raise their voice for themselves. WARM believes: together, we can fight anything, even the profound stigma of mental illness. WARM is trying their best to not just be a support group, but a cause for de-stigmatizing mental health and raising awareness about mental health. WARM’s ultimate goal is that hopefully, WARM won’t need to exist one day. When that day comes, hopefully, we can walk up to a stranger, and say “Hey, I don’t know you, but I support you.”.

This is the link to WARM’s Facebook group (ladies only):

The link to WARM’s Facebook page (for the public) :

Taiwanese indie music: Nuke ‘Em All 1st Birthday

On the 27th of this month Nuke ‘em all celebrates a year of bringing its unfiltered sound to the dancefloors across Taipei with a special event at Revolver. Based on a legendary club night in east London, UK from the late 00’s, the Taiwanese version has truly carried on the legacy by mixing DJ’s playing raw electronic music, live hip-hop MC’s and delightful visuals from Leeds based artist NDYSAF.
The premise behind the event is simple, to promote underground electronic music from local Taiwanese artists as well as foreign DJ’s and producers currently residing in Taipei.
For the 1st birthday Nuke ‘em all invites award winning Taiwanese artist Dizparity aka Po Cheng Yeh, who released his debut album ‘夜相Night Phase’ last year on Dark Paradise Records and was nominated for the 8th Golden Indie Melody award.
Support comes from US born future funk artist Consumer. Electronics, French house DJ and promoter Touché and Nuke ‘em all resident Hassan Raphael.
Nuke ‘em all’s 1st birthday is on the 27th January at Revolver, Taipei, from 23:00 – 4:00. Tickets are available on the door for $300 with a drink before 12, and $150 after.

Facebook event:

1月27號重度核爆衝擊即將在Revolver迎接他的一週年生日 由DJ群們帶著大家穿梭時空 以英國東倫敦的經典夜生活氛圍為發想,將與台灣本土揉合,帶往千禧世紀末的懷舊新浪潮。

具有原創性的地下電子音樂 即興的嘻哈說唱mc 搭配上來自英倫Leeds 的藝術家NDYSAF獨特的視覺影像

重度核爆衝擊是什麼 我們是一群本土以及在台灣居住的外國藝術家的。希望能夠分享更多元的地下電子音樂文化。

本次的一週年生日 我們特別邀請到 榮獲第八屆金音奬提名DJ Dizparity aka Po Chang Yeh (2017 專輯 夜相night phase )

三把地下音樂界大刀同場出演: 來自美國future funk藝術家 Promoter Touché 重度核爆衝擊創辦人 Hassan Raphael

票價資訊 1/27 23:00-04:00 在Revolver 當天12點前入場 300元 12點之後入場 150元 (售價包含一杯飲料)

Facebook event:

nukenuke-1 - Copy.jpg

Don’t let “On Happiness Road” be the last animated film made in Taiwan!

by: Jean-Jacques Chen

Animation, and Taiwan.

Two words that seemingly don’t mesh automatically in the same sentence in most people’s minds.

And most people would be wrong !

Taiwan has actually got quite a long story in the worldwide animation industry.
Ever seen those little indie animated movies called Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Lion King and Mulan, made by an up and coming indie studio called Disney ? Well, it turns out that if all the preproduction, scriptwriting, character designs and storyboarding of these movies were made in Disney’s HQ in California, most of their animated production were actually contracted to… Taiwan !

Long before China, Korea, and now other SE Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia got on board; Taiwan has been, for almost 2 decades, the world’s animation production powerhouse, from the 80’s to the early 2000’s, having orders coming from the USA, Europe and even Japan ! This period was commonly called by nostalgic Taiwanese veteran animators who are still connected to the trade nowadays, the golden era of Taiwanese animation.

So what prompted it to end ? How could such a profitable business suddenly fall apart, leaving all its former employees to either become animation teachers in arts universities (such as yours truly), or joining only a sparse number of small to medium sized studios, scrambling to make ends meet, working mostly for the video game industry because that’s where the money is today?

Toy story is what happened.


After Pixar launched its surprise worldwide smash hit Toy story in 1995, compounded by a Bug’s life and Toy Story 2 in 1998 and 1999, something happened in every big animation studio executive’s mind, especially with Disney’s : “THIS is the future of animation ! CG animation is the way to go ! Be damned with outdated hand-drawn animations, nobody wants to watch that anymore.”

Following this mindset, Disney closed one by one all its long-established hand drawn studios worldwide, throwing away decades of experienced craftsmanship and talents, and started focusing on working on CG movies only. That, in turn, meant cutting Taiwan’s animation industry from its biggest client (and then some, as in a snowball effect, the whole world’s animations projects, except Japan, had turned CG !)
Taiwan’s biggest animation companies were caught completely unaware and unprepared by this massive tectonic shift, and frantically scrambled together to try to breed some locally Made in Taiwan animated movie projects to keep the machine rolling. While all these attempts showed lots of  heart and goodwill, they all tanked completely in the box-office due to one major factor : Taiwan was full of veteran animators, but lacked experienced storytellers, scriptwriters and lead directors. Therefore, those movies were just simply not at the same level of compelling storytelling that Taiwanese audience were used to see from both the USA and its direct neighbour, Japan. Thus marked the agonizing decline of what was once a thriving business and a source of national pride. Most of its once seemingly invincible animation companies went bankrupt, and all its talents scattered to the winds.

As a former animation film director myself (I completed my 7 years-long animation directing master program in Brussels Belgium, and came afterwards in Taiwan for 10 years, where I’ve worked in the animation industry in Taiwan for my first 8 years before giving it up and becoming a photographer and animation teacher), I’ve always complained about the dearth of worthy animation film projects that were 100% made in Taiwan for these past 10 years.

Which finally leads us to today’s main topic : On Happiness road !


The movie is telling the story of Lin Hsu Chi, a Taiwanese woman born in the mid 70’s who’s now married and living in America. Due to her beloved Amis grandmother’s passing, she rushes back to her childhood neighborhood in Xinzhuang, a suburb of Taipei, at her old family’s house located on the titular Happiness road, for helping with the funerals. There, while rediscovering her surroundings and the life that she left behind years ago, she gradually reminisces (in a series of flashbacks back and forth between past and present) all the things that led her life to what it is now, from her innocent and whimsical childhood, through her quickly maturing teenage rebellious years and leading to her hard working young adulthood age, before getting married and leaving for her American dream, to the pursuit of happiness. But did she get it ? And what’s happiness exactly? Those are the important questions the main character is constantly asking herself all throughout the movie.

Interestingly enough, the movie’s story is not only Hsu Chi’s, but also the rest of the ensemble cast, making some detours into the lives of its endearing supporting characters, from her family to her whimsical aboriginal grandmother (one of the best characters of the film), to her childhood friends, their direct environment and backgrounds, as well as a crash course of Taiwan’s tumultuous history of these past 30 years, both culturally, politically, educationally, and socially, all of these seen through the eyes of Hsu Chi and her entourage, going beyond the status of an animation film, to sometimes look more like a documentary, all the while sprinkling a few visually poetic dream sequences all throughout the film, that only the power of animation could offer.
Although that seems a lot to digest for a single movie (and at moments, it does feel a bit overwhelming to the audience), the script is so well written that, at the end, all these seemingly sparse moments come together for an emotional finale that leaves butterflies in the audience’s stomach.
2 years ago, I started hearing echoes of the production of this great looking Made in Taiwan animated project, and it did catch my curiosity, after more than 10+ years of a creative desert on the island, I decided to follow its production story. There I learned the project actually initially started in 2013, where a short pilot was shown, and earned a prize for best film project at the Golden Horse festival that year ! As a result, its author and director, Hsin Yin Sung was awarded a 1 million NT$ fund for kickstarting the project. While 1 million NT$ sounds great, it is nowhere near enough to make an animation film, so the director had to fight all the way up to find people who would support her crazy dream of making a female-led, Made in Taiwan, animation story.

The films path would follow an avalanche of hurdles to have the film produced, where for the first few years, very few would take this project seriously, nor believe in its feasibility (read in Chinese : profitability) to want to help finance it.
But it also led to some unexpected positive encounters, such as famous Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun Mei, whom after reading the script, was brought to tears by it and decided on the spot that this movie’s story needed to be told, asking the director Sung (to her shock !) if she could be the main voice actress, thus weighing in a lot of her star power to help make this movie’s future financiers happier. Another unexpected help would come from famous Cape No. 7 and Seediq Bale’s director, Wei-Te Sheng, who also happens to be an old schoolmate of director Hsin. He also decided to support the movie as one of the characters voice (and most probably pulled some strings in the background to help the movie’s financing). To be honest, the whole production of this movie would deserve a movie on its own.

And finally, last week, the film got on screen ! Excited as I was to finally see the finished version of this movie project that I’ve been following for so long, and took even longer to make, I went to Spot Huashan for its afternoon screening. Little did I know that the director and the movie’s adorable young lead actress (XiaoChi’s kid’s voice actor) would be in the attendance for a Q&A session after the screening. Having met the director on a previous occasion at TNUA’s Kuandu animation film festival, for a lecture about her movie, we’ve already discussed a bit about her purpose with this film, and I was curious to expand a bit on our previous conversation. Ultimately, we didn’t have lot of time to talk, as she was on a promo tour and had to move on to another theater for the next screening, but she did have the time to tell me that the box office of the movie has so far, been really bad, and that there were talks about slashing the movie from the big screen, as soon as this thursday, only one week in.


That would be a profoundly unfair fate for a production that has been through so much, brought upon by the sweat and tears of all the hard-working younger generation of animators and visual talents who believed in it (if you’ve never worked in the animation industry, I can assure you from an insider’s point of view that in the show-business world, it is by very far one of the most gruesome and heaviest workloaded career one could choose to tell a story).
And not only for this specific movie, but for the entire animation industry of the country, marred with massive failures for the past 15 years. One could easily imagine why Taiwanese mass audience would be reluctant to go see that new Taiwanese animation film, as they could very well believe it’s one of those half-baked failures of old again.
And they would be absolutely wrong !
All early attendance have been raving about this movie, and the word of mouth is so far excellent, prompting some very enthusiastic reviews in news media such as Taipei Times and Apple Daily.

The movie is not perfect, of course. It has its flaws and as a veteran animation film director myself, I couldn’t help but notice that it suffers occasionally from a common mistake that lot of filmmakers do on their first animated feature film : the attempt to cram too many things in just one movie ! But, overall, it’s also what makes its charm, as it doesn’t necessarily abide by the international rules of visual storytelling, and tells its own story, in its own very taiwanese way (which for once, actually translates well on screen, thanks in big parts to the great quality of the script).   


If such a gem of a movie, which is so great at addressing personal questions about self worth, family bonds and values, and one’s own place into society and life, and addressing it to so many different audiences, both to kids to teenagers to young and older adults (which really is a first in Taiwanese animation history), if such a great made in Taiwan animation still can’t crack the bamboo ceiling of its own country’s audience’s…. then, no one ever will, and it will just show all potential future investors that they were right from the beginning, that the Taiwanese broad audience just don’t care about this particular niche of filmmaking (adult animation) therefore is simply not worthy of attention anymore.

This would simply kill the whole Taiwanese animation industry once and for all,  the next national project to happen may be in the next 15 years if we’re lucky… meanwhile, all the young talent that have been growing up on this project and could have the potential of becoming Taiwan’s future in the animation industry, will either starve, change career, or move abroad…

Yes, this movie is THAT important !

It is Taiwan’s animation industry’s last hope to break through, to be even allowed to exist in the future.

And it’s fading into darkness as you’re reading this article…

If you have the time, and intend on starting 2018 with a great bittersweet but warm hearted movie, please, go watch it ! Not only you will help support Taiwan’s animation future, but you’ll also thank me for recommending you to go watch one of Taiwan’s best films to date.



W.A.R.M.: Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues, a women’s support group in Taipei


Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as one of the three major diseases of the new century. It lines up with cancer and AIDS to devour the people’s physical and mental health. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are currently between 200 and 400 million people in the world suffering from depression. It is estimated that there are at least about 50 million people with depression in Asia and their numbers are on the rise. By 2020, depression and heart disease will become the top two diseases that affect the huge human lives.
In response to this current widely-watched issue, Shen Wudian, director of psychiatry at Taipei’s Wanfang Hospital, pointed out that the proportion of people with depression in Taiwan is seriously underestimated. Anxiety disorders can easily cause depression, and 58% of anxiety patients can transmit into depression, and is now considered to be one of the most serious causes of stress or disability in all diseases. According to statistics, the prevalence rate of depression in Taiwan is about 7.3%. In other words, about 1.5 million people in Taiwan suffer from depression at present. This shows that the problem of depression is very serious.
However, treatment of depression and other mental illness is not included in health insurance in Taiwan. A single therapy session can cost about 2500-3000 NTD. This is where we, W.A.R.M. (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally), comes in. W.A.R.M is a weekly Sunday meeting where women with similar states of mental health can come and share their stories, talk about what they are going through.
W.A.R.M. is the first support group in Taiwan to support women with these mental issues, which are so stigmatized by society. The weekly Sunday W.A.R.M. meetings are based in Taipei, we are not “classes”, “sessions” or “group therapy”, also in no way intended to be viewed as providing any form of “professional treatment” to fix people. The participants can choose to remain anonymous and there will be no formal sign up. The W.A.R.M. meetings style are roughly based on the AA meeting format – although without any steps, agenda or programs. W.A.R.M. meetings are just a safe platform for women who are struggling in life to share and connect with each other, without any pressure, judgement or expectations. We are providing a safe space for women to talk and listen to their individual predicaments. We are building a support network in order to encourage and empower women by having these weekly group meetings.
Within our growing support network, we see how women unite and empower each other. As women, we have the guts to be vulnerable, and by being vulnerable, exchanging life experiences, we bond over the similar hardships that we went through. We welcome all ladies with any background to join our support network. You are not alone.

W.A.R.M. Facebook group:
Co-Founder: Vanessa Wang (
Jenn Crimin (

A review of the WeMo electric scooter sharing app and how it works

WeMo electric scooters

This week I finally tried the WeMo electric scooter service for the first time.
WeMo is a stationless rental scooter, it is basically the “oBike” concept applied for electric scooters.
You need a scooter? You find one nearby on the map, take it, ride where you want and leave the scooter on any scooter parking spot when you’re done.
I love the concept, and I feel it could improve a lot of things if it is used on a large scale.
Anyway. First things first, creating an account. That one made me postpone more than once, because you need to provide many documents:
– ARC (or ID)
– Driving license (it is a green plate so a car driving license is ok, I used my taiwanese car license to register, please comment if you succeded to register with an international car license, that would be sweet if they are accepted)
– Picture of yourself
– Credit card information. There are 2 payment types, either direct transaction from your credit card, or you can load some money into some WeMo wallet, and then use that money little by little as you use WeMo scooters.
After 1 working day I got an email saying my account was ready and I could start using the service.
Using WeMo app to do everything
Using the app, you see where scooters are and you can book one, or just walk to it and start using it.
I have used WeMo scooters 4 times in total. Every time the scooter was extremely new and in great quality: the 4 different scooters that I got didn’t have more than 250km mileage in total.
I have read some bad reviews in the WeMo app reviews where people complained about the quality of some scooters. Before any ride, better check the scooter, the general condition, the brakes, etc. In my case all was really new and good.
You control everything through the app.
– Opening the trunk (there are 2 helmets inside)
– Starting the rental
– Stopping the scooter (once it’s “started” it’s ready to accelerate any time you turn the throttle. “Stopping the scooter” is equivalent to shutting down the engine on a gas scooter.
– Returning the scooter: stops the renting and ends the ride.
The scooter
Once you open the trunk using the app, you find 2 helmets inside (one is half dome helmet for the passenter, and another one is a little bigger, covering the ears and has a wind protector, more suitable for the rider).
There is also a few disposable fabric papers that you can put in the helmet if you care about hygiene.
The scooter is pretty much like a normal gas scooter. It has the same controls, brakes, lights.
It is quite lighter overall, very comfortable to ride alone, and requires a little bit of skills for riding slow speed with a passenger, but that’s also true for regular scooters.
Riding WeMo
Once started, it is just like a normal scooter, the controls are the same: throttle, breaks, lights, direction lights.
The max speed i got was a steady 54km/h on flat. Not very fast but I was not slower than the average riders on the road.
The autonomy if the battery is 100% when you take it is about 45km. You can see how much battery is left on each scooter on the smartphone app before you start the rental.
You can see how many remaining kilometers the scooter can ride at all times.
Also I noticed than when the scooter autonomy is going below 10km, the max speed is lower, about 38km/h and the acceleration is also weaker).
With 2 people on the scooter, the acceleration is still good and the top speed still above 50km/h even with 2 passengers.
Even though speeding is not recommended, I find that the top speed is slightly below what I would hope for. A few times, I wanted to overtake someone quickly, but I simply couldn’t. On my regular 125cc scooter, I can go faster for a few seconds in certain situations to safely take over, or avoid some danger. That’s something to consider, the riding habits are slightly different here.
As of November 2017:
– Initial price is 15NT for 6 minutes
– Next is 2.5NT per minute (99 seconds red light really suck, it would be neat if the price calculation did not count the stop time, specially as this is an electric scooter)
Out of the 4 rides I took, this is approximately the prices that I paid:
– 38NT for 4km distance in my first ride, because I took some time to explore the options
– 30NT for 4km (better luck at the red lights?)
– 60NT for 8km (Elephant Mountain to Nangang exhibition center).
– 23NT for 3 MRT stations late at night
In my opinion this is a good solution at night for a 5-15km distance when there are no more MRTs and you don’t want to pay 300+NT for a taxi.
After those rides I feel very happy that this solution exists. It completes the portfolio of transportation possibilities, and gives more freedom than MRT or bus.
It may not be something you want to use every day, but once in a while you need to go somewhere far from MRT stations, or you don’t want to take UBike for 30mn+ ride, well, if you have the app installed and the account already created, you can check if there’s a WeMo nearby.

Su Beng’s 100th Birthday Gala

The Taiwan Observer team was invited by a local activist and artist Kenbo Liao to join Su Beng’s 100th birthday celebration. The event was held on Nov, 5, 2017. There were many of Su Beng’s fans and other political activists at the event. The security was extremely tight since president Tsai showed up to say a few words at the event.

The event was surrounded by fencing and everyone had to enter through security check points. Once inside there were many stalls many selling pro independence literature and art. The main star of the event, Su Beng, had a long line of revelers asking for photos and signatures. The man of the hour was more capable than one would expect a 100 year old man to be. The cameras snapped photos and videos for a while then he was carted of in his wheel chair with a mob in tow to go see the performance in his honor.


The day was filled with speeches from local activists, bands playing music, lion dances, a puppet show, and a few words from the president. Sellers of books, art, and traditional wares also took part in the festivities, with their respective political agendas prominently displayed.


The one downside to the event, as pointed out by a former professor and activist we spoke to, was that there weren’t enough younger people at the event. He lamented that only the older generation had shown up in large numbers and that he wished that there could have been more interest from younger people.


Here are the rest of the photos we took of the event, including a cool dog in glasses.

First National Home-based Workers Union Meeting

Today (Oct. 29th, 2017) the National Home-based Workers (NHW) union had their first meeting to introduce the new union and to have a vote on who the board of the union and its members will be. The NHW will be there to help domestic workers in Taiwan, they have very few rights under the current labor act and the union wants to be able to change this in the future. They feel that caregivers are treated as second class citizens and that it’s time for the Taiwanese government to change their status. The director of the Service Center and Shelter for migrant workers, Mr. Lennon, Ying-Dah, Wong likened the situations of some home based workers as being close to slave like, with some having absolutely no days off in a year. He also said that migrant workers are sometimes forced to stay in a terrible job, sometimes in abusive situations, because the brokerage firms will send them home if they complain.

Migrant workers have recently seen a pay increase under the new labor laws but domestic workers weren’t afforded this opportunity since they are not covered by under the labor laws currently. The minimum wage for a home-based worker is about NT$ 17,000 which is much less than the minimum wage other recieve, which set to be raising to NT$ 22,000 a month and 140 an hour from 2018. This is why domestic workers feel they have to start their own union to fight for their rights as workers and human beings.

The ongoing mock referendum on workers rights was also being held at the meeting. The participants at the meeting were able to cast their ballots after showing a valid ARC, visa or Taiwanese ID card.

The three questions on the ballot focus on if migrant caregivers should be protected by the Labor Standards Act. If foreign workers should be able to change their employers freely. Also, if the government should get rid of the private employment brokerage system and instead have a direct government to government hiring scheme.

Below are the some pictures from the first board meeting of NHW:


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