E-Commerce in Taiwan (Event Recap)

Date & Time: Friday, 6th May 8pm-10pm
Venue: Beer & Cheese Social House
Topic: eCommerce in Taiwan
Admission: Members FREE, Non-members $NT200

The CCCT’s Small Business Committee (SBC) invites you to attend our next presentation and discussion night on Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 8pm at Beer & Cheese Social House.

There will be a few short presentations for individuals interested in operating their own e-commerce business in Taiwan. Please join us, learn something, contribute something, and meet some cool people.

After presentations from our guest speakers, who are all knowledgeable and successful expat entrepreneurs in the e-commerce industry, there will be a Q&A and open discussion.

Our guest panel is:

*Mr. Anthony van Dyck, Founder of Taiwanease.com*Taiwanease 300x250
Originally a highly acclaimed magazine, Taiwanease was officially re-launched as an independent website on September 1st, 2012.

Since then, Taiwanease has grown to be the largest website of its kind in Taiwan, with bustling forums, classified ads, magazine articles, “how-to” guides, and a an island-wide directory with complementary smartphone app.

*Mr. Jake Morrison, Owner of Cogini*
For the past 10 years Jake Morrison has been running Cogini, a consulting company that helps entrepreneurs and startups build products.cogini-logo-name

He works them to define the product strategy and features, then builds the product, serving as their long term technical partner. Over the years, he has built dozens of custom e-commerce websites and mobile applications.

*Mr. Ofa Hsueh, Knowledge Keeper, Archilife Research Foundation; Consultant, Digital Movie Create Club, NTU*
Ofa has diverse experience in IT field as a programmer, hacker, manager and COO. He also travels between Silicon Valley Ofa Hsuehand Taiwan to develop his own start-ups philosophies. Mr. Hsueh will be talking about payment systems, including an overview of FinTech, why FinTech matters for eCommerce, and tips for building a modern eCommerce platform in Taiwan.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Yilan Is Magic – Cycling Through The Ocean Breeze (Part 2)

Yilan is Magic continued from Part 1 on My Several Worlds… Today’s guest post is brought to us by Joshua Samuel Brown. Mr. Brown is the author of Vignettes of Taiwan and 13 Lonely Planet Guides, including the 2007 & 2010 editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan.

Cyclists looking to chase the ocean breezes should hit the 13.5KM Seaside Cycling Road between Zhulan Bird Watching Area and the Dingliao Ecological Park. Other Yilan cycling paths include the 10K Dezikou River path, which passes through fish farms and protected wetland and the 10.5K Lanyang River path, which goes through the Lanyang River Bird Sanctuary and offers great views of nearby Guishan Dao (Turtle Island).

Seasoned cyclists who don’t mind sharing the road will find in Yilan thousands of kilometers of beautiful roads, most all offering beautiful views and some with relatively light traffic. Though on bigger roads you’ll ride beside the usual assortment of scooters, cars and the occasional tour bus (especially on the coastal highway, which is still a must-ride), on smaller inland roads expect to pass many a slow-moving farming vehicle on your ride.

Yilan’s agricultural roots run deep, and over the last several years Yilan has morphed agriculture with tourism, leading to the creation of several leisure farm, areas consisting of several – in some cases, dozens – farms and agricultural areas that supplement their agriculture output with tourism. In some cases, tourism seems to have overshadowed agricultural output entirely.

One such leisure farm is the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure Area, a collection of attractions spread out over several kilometers rice paddies and former farmland east of Yilan city. Jung Lung Jai is a a traditional Taiwanese farmhouse that’s been renovated and brought back to life as as a café serving coffee, kumquat tea and homemade pizza. The café sits next to Wang Long Tang (Dragon watching Pond), an artificial lake that’s home to a multitude of water-birds multi-angled bridge shaped like a lightning bolt leads to an island with a pavilion, as good a spot for dragon watching as any you’re likely to come across.

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The author in a giant pitcher plant at Bo’s Farm – the Living Zen college

Other parts of the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure Area include quirky spots like Bo’s Farm – the Living Zen college. Even if you’re not in the market to buy carnivorous flora, its still worth a visit to see the thousands of  pitcher plants and Venus flytraps that are Bo’s agricultural output. There ‘s even one you can sit inside, if you’re in the mood to feel like a mosquito. Somewhat more straightforward in nature is the Agrioz museum of Candied Fruits. Part factory, part store, Agrioz earns the right to call itself a museum thanks to the educational tours, complete with courses in DIY candied fruit-making. The museum is run by second-generation candied fruit maker Lin Ding-gang, who enjoys regaling visitors with Taiwanese opera songs about – what else – candied fruit.

Though not in the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure proper, the Fang Yue Tea Garden holds its own in the quirky-cool-agricultural department, offering lessons in the finer points of of traditional tea-cake preparation under the careful instruction proprietress Hong Hsou Ing. Though the ingredients are deceptively simple – Green Tea Powder, Green Bean flower, and various fillings made of pomelo & mulberry (with a hint of orange peel) – making the cakes takes a bit of practice.  Mrs. Hong promises that all her charges will leave not merely knowing how to make green-tea cakes, but but with a box filled with 15 cakes presentable enough for gifting or eating on the train back home.

If DIY tea-cake making doesn’t bring out your inner child, than a visit to the San Fu Leisure Farm just might – more jungle tour than farm, San Fu’s chief ranger is a jovial, hyper passionate man nicknamed Elephant, who leads tours through the extensive jungle paths while teaching about both the flora and fauna of the area, which include an endless variety of butterflies, spiders and frogs, some of which Elephant (given name Chen Han Ching) will hypnotize for your amusement.

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Image Source

Finally, Yilan offers more adult pursuits, and those with a taste for fine spirits will want to hit the Kavalan Distillery, Taiwan’s first and only whiskey distillery, the Kavalan Distillery is said by some in the high-price booze know to produce the world’s finest single-malt scotch. Tour the factory and learn how Whisky is made from start to finish. If you’re of drinking age you can sample various blends in Kavalan’s tasting room. Underage visitors and teetotalers will have to content themselves with the angels share, the fumes given off by the evaporating whisky that permeate the factory.

And if that isn’t enough to relax you, there’s always The Art Spa.

Joshua Samuel Brown is the author of Vignettes of Taiwan and 13 Lonely Planet Guides, including the 2007 & 2010 editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan. He currently leads bicycle tours around Taiwan for Bicycle Adventures, and considers himself a semi-honorary Canadian by virtue of having once lived in Newfoundland. Follow him on twitter @josambro, and buy his most recent book of short stories, How Not To Avoid Jet Lag and other tales of travel madness at Smashwords or Amazon.

Li Cheng-Shu is a Photographer and tour guide based in Yilan. Find him on Facebook at CS Art Space & Studio (青水工作室)

Working in the Education Industry in Taiwan (Event Recap)

A few weeks ago, the CCCT Small Business Committee had another Taiwan Small Business Network event, aimed at presenting some deep background and top tips for expats interested in starting an education based business.Tribeca Taipei

It was a really successful event, thanks, of course, to our enlightened speakers, and to enthusiastic participation by the attendees. Many thanks to TRIBECA for hosting their second small business event with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. We truly appreciate your support and patronage!

Our first speaker was Brian Hockertz, CEO of Oh! Study Education Group. Brian is a very long-term Taiwan expat, having worked for the Canadian Trade Office in Taiwan even before Taipei 101 existed! Going from heading the education department at the CTOT, Brian went on to open his own successful educational consultancy for Taiwanese students bound for overseas study, first in Canada, then also in the USA, and now worldwide.Oh Study-2016

Brian shared with us the distillation of his business experience in Taiwan, presented as points of advice:

  1. Respect your core competency. Stay focused and committed to the thing you do best;
  2. Go local, that’s where your market is;
  3. Keep clean books, because your business competitors will try and get you audited, if you actually start making any money;
  4. Standardize your operations as if it were a franchise. That’s called efficiency and it’s much easier to train staff in this kind of system;
  5. Be one of the top 5 companies in Taiwan the world at what you do. Be world class, and you will get customers;
  6. You might very well be copied, so keep innovating.

Thanks Brian for your business bushido!

Carleen's English SchoolNext Carleen Emma, founder and owner of Carleen’s English School, a mid-sized children’s cram school in Neihu, told us about her experiences starting and growing her now-successful business. And, wow! What a story!

Carleen talked about the financial tightrope she walked, the constant struggle with surprise costs and revenue slumps, and the big risk she took when she bought out a larger location. But running her business wasn’t just about money: She also very frankly told us about the tough times when she was teaching classes with her infant daughter strapped to her body, and about the deep connection she had with the local community achieved by protecting and educating their children, listening to their concerns, and being a positive part of the scene day by day, month by month, year by year.

A great origin story with a happy ending!

Thanks Carleen!

Our next presentation was from Bob MacLeod. Bob became a partner with Rick France, who is the founder of ACES. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, ACES is the top franchise in Taiwan of a business model that was formerly called “hardcore foreign-run buxiban”.Aces English School

The model is of an expat-owned cram school hires (reasonably) bilingual foreign teachers to do very focused and disciplined classes where words and sentence patterns in English are directly translated into Mandarin. Each class has an aggressive pace, and the students’ mothers are often seated at the back of the room, helping to motivate both student and teacher. ACES teachers get quite decent pay if they build up their skills and class size, and stay with the school for many years. There are now 13 branches in Taiwan.

Bob’s talk was mainly about how he came to Taiwan with a strong background in education, looking for an education-based business opportunity. He found out about ACES, and partnered on a new school in Hsintien, which has become a success. Opportunities are out there if you are sharp enough to see them!

Brief takeaway from his starting a business in Taiwan experience: Always overestimate your expenses.

Cheers Bob!

Last but not least, Joel Laughrin, owner of Guidelines International English Academy, and Professional Support Leader, Asia Pacific Cambridge English, gave a great talk. Joel explained the benefits to all stakeholders – parents, teachers, students and schools – of having a professional third-party independent language ability assessment. Especially, of course, when that system comes from Cambridge University, a global leader in EFL.

Takeaway: if you can be involved at an ownership level in a respected global EFL brand in Taiwan, your business will likely have decent growth potential over time. Quality pays off.

Thank you Joel!

We look forward to seeing you at our next event at CODA. We have guest speakers that will be talking about their experience operating your own sporting business in Taiwan. Come and check it out!

Operating Your Own Sporting Business in Taiwan (Recap)

Our event at CODA on April 8th, Operating Your Own Sporting Business in Taiwan, was another success. Thanks very much to our expert speakers!

First, Kathleen Batchelor talked about her journey that took her to being a successful Taipei instructor of Zumba, a globally-popular aerobic dance exercise program that incorporates Latino dance styles and hip hop.Kathleen Batchelor

After dabbling in ballet and burlesque, she says she was hooked after her first Zumba class. After her Zumba instructor left Taiwan, she stepped in and took over the class, soon thereafter receiving her official certification as an instructor. She now has hundreds of students, and is well on her way to leaving ESL teaching completely behind.

Persistence and skill were part of it, but she claims her success is mainly based on Free Electrifying Joy! Anyone can succeed if they follow their true passion.

Thanks for the inspiration Kathleen!

nigelandersonSecond, we heard from Nigel Anderson, owner of the Scubar in Fulong Beach, where in addition to providing food and beer, he takes divers out to sites on the North East Coast. He starts his trainees at the Taipei Songshan Sports Center pool, a step he says is essential for safety.

A licensed PADI instructor, Nigel says that it was always his dream to be a business owner. So when he had an opportunity to buy the Fubar (a popular foreign-owned restaurant in Fulong), he jumped at the chance.

Nigel had gone diving in Canada’s Vancouver Island, Okinawa, Australia and Thailand. But when he first started diving in Taiwan, in Longdong, he was taken aback by the limited number of dive sites that led to massive overcrowding. So he and his crew went exploring and found lots of good coral – 32 new sites, to be exact.

Now business is good, and he has signed on with the big new Fullon hotel in Fulong. But problems remain: he still gets flack from fishermen who think that scuba divers scare away all the fish. And his relationship with his landlord went south when he asked for an upgraded electrical connection. However, his drive to explore has helped him bring his business dream to life. Thumbs up, mate!

Next, Shawn McClelland gave a talk. Shawn is a successful serial entrepreneur whose startup credits include Luxy, OMNI nightclub, the Green Room, and MIT English Schools. One of his big current projects is 03 Fitness Taipei, which has top-quality modern equipment and innovative fitness programs that incorporate boxing, kicking, yoga, interval training and more. o3-logo

One of Shawn’s main points was that selecting business partners is of the utmost importance. Not only is it essential to share a clear vision with partners, it is also crucial to enumerate any troublesome situations that might come up and have a clear plan for them in black and white. People can have a very different sense of fairness, especially if they are “sweat equity” partners – those who contribute something other than money, such as skill or contacts, to the business. If you don’t have a clear system for dealing with possible disputes, there can be grief, so always have an exit strategy.

Shawn also said that the legal requirements for owning a gym are quite onerous, especially regarding obligations toward clients. So get a good lawyer to write up your contracts, but don’t automatically trust them to do their best for you. You yourself are responsible for making sure you get contract terms that protect your interests.

Last but not least, he mentioned that it is useful to use group cohesion to keep customers engaged. Get some class spirit going so members will nag each other into not missing classes. This is good not only for your business, but helps satisfy your clients’ fitness goals as well.

Next, Tomasz Hasinski of Runivore gave a great presentation. “Eat Superfoods and Run!” is Runivore’s moto, and the company Runivoresells nutritious Chia seeds and Chia-based food products. Their company was created by three runners, who found that their middle-aged bodies weren’t up to the demands of 100k runs powered by burgers and fries alone! Like Shawn McClelland, Tomasz discussed the importance of finding the right partners and having a dispute resolution system. For them it is usually based on going on a run together after an argument! But they also have scheduled “airing out” meetings on a regular basis to keep things real.

He also emphasized the importance of quality: never take any shortcuts when it comes to quality. It took them a while to find the right clean and safe manufacturer for their Chia seed bars, but they did: one that also produced for Starbucks and hospitals.

The company is in the midst of expanding to Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Good luck guys, and thanks for sharing!

Last but not least, we heard from Andrew Lunman, creator of CODA, Bongos, Forkers, and other successful restaurants in Taipei. This was Andrew’s farewell to the CCCT Small Business Network, as he is returning to Canada, and it was a sad one for all concerned. Andrew’s experience and community spirit has been a driving force for the Small Business Network. His last message was that it was a real pleasure to him to see so many expats with creative ideas. His final official words to the expat small business community, regarding any small business plan they might have: “Go ahead and do it! Do it!”

Honouring Our Ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day

Every year on April 5, Taiwan honours its dead with a special festival. The festival is called Qingming, but it is often referred to as Tomb Sweeping Day. In Mandarin, Qingming is roughly translated to “Pure Brightness Festival,” and the day is intended for people to go outside and enjoy the spring weather while paying respects to their ancestors.

On Tomb Sweeping Day, the people of Taiwan traditionally go on family outings to visit the graves of their departed relatives. The families will usually pray at each grave site before sweeping and cleaning the grave as a sign of respect. Some families will even sing and dance at the gravesites and offer food and wine to the deceased.

Willow branches are a very common sight on Tomb Sweeping Day. It is believed that willow branches will fend off the evil spirits that roam around on Qingming. As such, people will carry willow branches with them, and some will even hang the branches from their front doors.

Another Qingming tradition you’re sure to come by is a bite-sized snack called caozaiguo. Caozaiguo consists of sweet dough made with rice flour, sugar and East Asian herbs that give the snack a green colour. The dough is then usually filled with ground meat or bean paste.

Tomb Sweeping Holiday-1988

Since 1975, Tomb Sweeping Day has always been observed in Taiwan on April 5, in order to honour the death of Chiang Kai-Shek, a Chinese political leader who ruled Taiwan for 30 years. Chiang’s legacy is the subject of much debate in Taiwan, but Tomb Sweeping Day is still recognized every year on the anniversary of his death.

For Canadians in Taiwan that are looking to take part in the festival, the Danshui Foreign Cemetery in Taipei is the perfect place to go.

Many Canadians are buried in the cemetery, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been maintaining the grounds every Tomb Sweeping Day since 1984. Don’t miss your chance to take part in this unique and meaningful festival!

The Legacy of George Leslie Mackay

One of Taiwan’s best known and most loved expats was a Canadian man from Zorra Township in Oxford County, Canada, which is now known as the Province of Ontario.

His name was George Leslie Mackay and he was the first Presbyterian missionary to visit Formosa (Qing-era Taiwan). He arrived in Southern Taiwan on December 31, 1871 and began his life in Tamshui (Danshui) in northern Formosa in early 1872. He remained in Tamshui for 30 years until his death in 1901.

Mackay had the honor of being the first missionary to be dispatched by the Presbyterian Church of Canada. His mission was to bring the gospel to those who had not heard of Christ.

My commission is clear; I hold it from the King and Head of the church: …To get the gospel of the grace of God into the minds and hearts of the heathen, and when converted to build them up in their faith – that was my purpose in going to Formosa.” (Mackay p. 135)

Right from the very beginning, Mackay was known to avoid the small European community in the Tamshui area. The local European and Christian communities did not take well to his arrival. Moreover, the environment during that era was somewhat hostile for foreigners. Mackay was often labelled as a ‘foreign devil’ and a ‘black-bearded barbarian’, and the locals were reluctant to become involved with him.

Shortly after arriving he wrote:

“I am shut out from fellowship with Christian brethren, yet I am not lonely nor alone. I feel my weakness, my sinfulness, my unfaithfulness. I feel sad when I look around and see nothing but idolatry … I can as yet tell little about Jesus, and with stammering tongue. What can I do? Nothing; But, blessed thought, the Lord Jesus can do all things. .. Jehovah is my refuge and strength.” (Mackay p 18-19)

Since Mackay had no means to speak with his parish, he decided it was of the utmost importance that he learn the language. When he was not able to find a tutor, Mackay spend his time with local herds boys, and they agreed to teach him Taiwanese. He learned vernacular Taiwanese, the language that is spoken by the common people of Taiwan, and it was in this way that he was able to preach his basic gospel message.

Upon mastering Taiwanese, he helped to adapt the Taiwanese language to a written form by adapting the Latin alphabet to represent it phonetically. From then onwards, this style of writing was used by the Presbyterian missionaries and by the indigenous Presbyterian Church of Taiwan.

In addition to learning the local language, Mackay employed a number of different methods to find converts. He preached predominantly with aboriginals in mind, and his earliest converts were illiterate natives. He wasn’t a doctor of medicine, but he had sufficient skills in medicine to be able to provide aid to those who suffered from tropical diseases such as malaria. His most notable method at the time was an itinerant dentistry practice that he used to extract teeth, all while singing and preaching his message. He was eventually granted a honorary doctorate by Queen’s College in Kingston, Canada for his many achievements in Taiwan.

Danshui Foreigners' Cemetery

By 1888, he had 16 chapels and 500 converts among the native Taiwanese.

His marriage to a Taiwanese slave-woman named Tiu Chhang-miâ is also another example of Mackay’s success in going native to find converts. His marriage caused a considerable amount of controversy in Canada and in the foreign community in Formosa. However, his wife, known by the name of Minnie in the West, proved to be a formidable force in the mission. She helped to raise money in Oxford County for the construction of Oxford College in Tamshui, and she also acted as matron of the girls’ school. Their marriage was a happy one, and they had three children together.

In 1895, Dr. Mackay authored a missionary ethnography and memoir of his missionary experience in Taiwan in 1895. His book was called From Far Formosa: the island, its people and missions. It is is best known because of its defense of gender and racial equality, but it is also of importance to many historians and scholars because it lends an important anthropological understanding of Taiwan’s peoples and cultures during the nineteenth century in Taiwan.

Dr. Mackay is responsible for many incredible achievements in Taiwan, including the establishment of churches, schools, the first western medical hospital of its kind in Taiwan, and a dentistry practice for aboriginals. The churches that he founded eventually became part of the present Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.

Although Dr. Mackay achieved many incredible milestones during his lifetime in Taiwan, perhaps his most significant achievement was the building of the MacKay Memorial Hospital, which was established on December 26, 1912. It is one of the largest medical centers in Taiwan, and it is deeply rooted in the Presbyterian tradition.

The original Mackay Hospital was initially called Mackay Clinic, and it was built in Tamshui in 1880. The hospital was closed in 1901 at the time of Dr. Mackay’s death, but it reopened in 1905 and it was eventually relocated from Tamshui to Taipei in 1912. The hospital was renamed as the Mackay Memorial Hospital.

Mackay showed great love and pride for Taiwan and because of his achievements, he was eventually loved by Taiwanese and expats alike. Some families in Taiwan today, especially of lowland aboriginals of the Kavalan ancestry, can trace their surname to ‘偕’ (‘Kai’ or ‘Kay’), which not only demonstrates their love and respect for Dr. Mackay, but it also shows their family’s conversion to Christianity by Mackay.Mackay and wife grave

Dr. Mackay was one of those rare individuals who allowed himself to be transformed by the people he served, and his life is truly something to be celebrated. Taiwan would not be what it is today without George Leslie Mackay’s significant contributions.

He dedicated his life to bringing medical, dental, and spiritual guidance to the people of Taiwan, and was directly responsible for establishing more than 60 local churches, Oxford College (Aletheia University), the first girls’ school (Tamsui Girls’ School on the east side of Oxford College in 1884), and Tamsui Middle School, which is now known as Tamkang Senior High School.

Mackay might be unknown to most Western scholars of religion, but in Taiwan he is revered as Taiwan’s most famous ‘native son’. His story and memoir provide valuable insight into his life, background, and legacy, as well as the Taiwanese cultural background in which he worked. His lifetime achievements are a true demonstration to his love for Taiwan and its people.

How dear is Formosa to my heart! On that island the best of my years have been spent.
How dear is Formosa to my heart! A lifetime of joy is centered here.
I love to look up to its lofty peaks, down into its yawning chasms, and away out on its surging seas.
How willing I am to gaze upon these forever!
My heart’s ties to Taiwan cannot be severed! To that island I devote my life.
My heart’s ties to Taiwan cannot be severed! There I find my joy.
I should like to find a final resting place within sound of its surf and under the shade of its waving bamboo.
-“My Final Resting Place” by George Mackay

Business Interview – Clear Sky Communications with John Groot

Today we’d like to introduce a new interview series to introduce our Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan business members to the general community.

If you’d like to interview with us for our business interview series, please email us at info@cancham.tw with the subject line “CCCT Business Interview”.

To kick off this series, we have an interview for you with Mr. John Groot, owner of Clear Sky Communications based in Taipei.

CCCT: Thanks for joining us today, John. Can you tell us a little about yourself?John Groot

I used to be a journalist back in Canada. I’ve been working here in Taiwan as a trainer for 14 years. Last year I finished a project where I walked around the entire coastline of Taiwan.

CCCT: Can you tell us a little about your business?

We’re a small training and consulting company, a bit of a boutique business. We do customized programs that include business English training for teams with a specific purpose, like marketing teams, IT teams, sales teams etc., as well as some more interesting programs like cross-cultural communication. We also do writing and editing work, like technical editing, online articles, and also some curriculum design.

CCCT: How did you get started with Clear Sky Communications?

Well, I had been working as a freelancer for a while, and had a chance to do a big project for a major ICT brand. But I needed to issue them an official tax receipt, so we incorporated. After that, things just snowballed.

CCCT: Can you describe your customers?

They’re a pretty diverse group. I’ve worked for many of the biggest ICT brands, some less well known Taiwanese tech firms, big pharma companies, and lots of individuals. I’ve had some private clients who were newly arrived business people who wanted to get a cultural orientation to Taiwan. I’ve done training for the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei’s trade assistants. I guess the common thread is that they all have an international focus.

CCCT: Would you mind answering how you set your business up here in Taiwan?

I set up the business with my wife, as it was the easiest way to do it.

CCCT: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?

Over the next 2-4 years we hope to become one of the top customized training companies in Taiwan. Our plan is NOT to hire more employees, expand, and compete for market share with established players, but rather to follow the small team approach and go for higher-level training opportunities.

CCCT: Is there anything about your company that you feel makes it special? Clear Sky Communications Taipei

We really take the time to get to know what senior managers want, what HR wants, and what the trainees want. Then when we deliver the program, it is almost always very close to what everyone actually needs. If it isn’t, we can correct course very quickly. This is actually rarer in the training business than you might think.

We can do all this because the trainer, the training program designer, and the contact window are one person, myself. So I can get to know everyone and don’t operate at a distance from decision makers or end users. I think this helps us deliver a special level of customized service.

CCCT: Thanks, John. We look forward to seeing you out at a CCCT event some day soon! Good luck!

Business Links

http://www.clearskycommunications.tw/

https://www.facebook.com/clearskycommunications

If you’d like to interview with us for our business interview series, please email us at info@cancham.tw with the subject line “CCCT Business Interview”.

Help Us Maintain the Danshui Foreign Cemetery

We are looking for friends to join us in our monthly maintenance event at Danshui Foreign Cemetery in Taipei.

The Cemetery is located near TamKang High School in Danshui. 

Please consider volunteering some of your time to help the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taipei keep up with regular maintenance of the cemetery. Help us to preserve this beautiful historic site in Taipei.

Please join us for our next cemetery maintenance event. We host family-friendly events throughout the year. Visit our Events Page  on the CCCT website or subscribe to our events on Facebook for up-t0-date information.

The Danshui Foreign Cemetery was established in 1870, and it is a symbol of Canadian heritage in Taiwan.

The cemetery has been cared for by the Canadian Society (now the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taipei) since 1984. There are more than 70 graves in the cemetery, many of which belong to Canadians.

Members and friends of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce join together at the cemetery to clean up the tombstones and clear away the grass and debris that collects there throughout the year.

This is a great way to take in some of Taiwan’s traditional culture while becoming familiar with the history of Canadians in Taiwan.

There are plenty of historical sites in the area that can be visited if you plan on spending the day with us, such as the Customs Building, the “White House”, the first high school in Taiwan, the Red Fort, Danshui Old Street, and the Fisherman’s wharf, to name a few.

The TamKang High School grounds are open for parking. You just have to find your way up the hill in the narrow streets!

The History of Danshui Foreign CemeteryGeorge Lesley Mackay

The cemetery grounds were consecrated in the early 1870s after a foreign event passed away in the Danshui area. She was buried on the top of the hill behind the Harbor. Soon after her, a second child passed away and was buried in the cemetery.

After the arrival of Dr. MacKay, the first Presbyterian missionary to northern Formosa, all foreigners were buried in the same area under the management of the British consulate, which was located in the Red Fort.

Dr. Mackay served with the Canadian Presbyterian Mission, and he is one of the best known Westerners to have lived in Taiwan. His grave lies in the eastern corner of the Tamkang Middle School campus.

His son is buried next to him.

The Japanese authorities in the early 1900s classified the lot as a cemetery, and it was given for perpetuity to the Consulate for the burial of foreigners.

The British Consulate was managing and maintaining the cemetery until the recognition of the PRC government in 1971, when the management was transferred to the Americans.

Following the closure of the American Embassy in the late 70s, the cemetery files were transferred to AIT, and the cemetery was abandoned.

Eventually, the wall was taken down, stones were stolen, and the graves became covered in tall grass.

In the early 80s, two Presbyterians missionaries, Jack Geddes and Georgine Caldwell, tried to do something about the miserable state of the cemetery, where many Canadian expats are buried.

They began by cutting the grass and cleaning the graves, and it eventually passed it into the hands of the Canadian Society in Taiwan for safe keeping in 1984.

And so began our tradition of paying our respects to those who are buried there by keeping their final resting place clean and beautiful.

Among the dead who rest here are Canadians, British, Americans, Germans, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, and Chinese. Some were missionaries, others were sailors, harbor masters, merchants, engineers and many infants.


Each year, on Tomb Sweeping Day, we visit the cemetery to clean up the grounds and to pay our respects.

In 2014, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan decided to visit the cemetery more regularly as many of the tombstones and walls were deteriorating quickly.

Some of the tasks involved with our clean-up are: cutting the grass, fixing and repainting the stones, and removing garbage and other debris that accumulates there. In 2016, the CCCT, thanks to its generous benefactors, was able to rebuild the entrance gate to the cemetery. We have also started contribution drives among the foreign community to rebuild the surrounding walls.

To stop the city government from destroying the cemetery to widen roads, the CCCT lobbied to declare the Danshui Foreign Cemetery a historical site in Taipei.

This happened officially in 1998, and the cemetery has been in our safekeeping ever since. Since then, money and raffle sales from our small business events has been allocated to the cemetery to help with its annual upkeep.

As the cemetery is adjacent to Dr. George Mackay and his family graves inside the TamKang High School, the school has also shown interest in helping with maintenance.

The wall between the two cemeteries was lowered to its original height, merging the two sites, giving them the view you have today.


Directions to Danshui Foreign Cemetery

1. On Foot, Taxi

  • Get off at the MRT Danshui Station 淡水站
  • Take Zhongsan Road 中山路 and turn right on Xinsheng Street 新生街
  • Walk up Xinsheng Street 新生街 and turn left on Xinmin Street 新民街
  • Walk up Xinmin Street 新民街 and turn left on Zhenli Street Lane 3 真理街3巷
  • You’ll see the entrance of the cemetery on the right. Note: Total distance 1.5km, about 30 minutes’ walk. Taxi is about $120.

2. By Bus

  • There’s a bus stop across from MRT Danshui Station 淡水站
  • Take Red-26 and get off at Aletheia University 真理大學.(it’s the 4th stop)
  • Walk up the hill, pass Aletheia University真理大學 and you’ll see Tamkang High School 私立淡江高中.
  • The cemetery is inside the high school on the north east corner of the campus.

3. Drive

  • Take Zhongsan Road 中山路 to Wenhua Road 文化路.
  • Take Wenhua Road 文化路 to Zhenli Street 真理街 and turn right on Zhenli Street, Lane 3 真理街3巷 to Danshui TamKang High School 私立淡江高中.
  • Please park inside the high School. The cemetery is inside the high school on the north east corner of the campus. Note: About 15 minutes’ walk.

Featured Image Source: Guide Gecko

 

Event Recap: Working in the Entertainment Industry in Taiwan

Event Recap: Friday, 15th January 8-10pm at DV8 Pub

We had a great event a few Fridays ago at DV8: excellent speakers and solid support from our hosts Gary O’Connor and Stephen Hepples, as well as the entire DV8 staff. Thanks also to Chef Jason for the good food!

Our first speaker was Elias Ek, founder of B2B sales and marketing firm Enspyre. Elias talked about the Foreign Entrepreneur’s Workshop on January 28th, in cooperation with the City of Taipei Department of Economic Development.

The workshop (there was an earlier one on November 30) will provide a space for foreign entrepreneurs to share their frustrations with local government officials, in the interest of reforming government policy over time. In addition, expat small business people can also learn how to apply for grants and subsidies to start or grow their businesses.

Then we had three speakers who presented on the ins and outs of being an expat entertainment worker in Taiwan:

First, we had Mr. Brook Hall, Managing Artistic Director at The Lab Space. Brook gave the packed room a run down on his long career in Taiwan. He said it took him years and years to get comfortably established, and encouraged anyone interested in acting to contact him to get more info on how The Lab Space can help them. The LAB Space on Facebook.

Contact Brook
Email:bfly.efx@gmail.com
Tel:  02-28985382

Second, we had Mr. Daniel T, of the Foreign Students Club. Daniel spoke mainly about being a model and actor in Taiwan, and gave useful tips about working with agencies. If you are interested in modeling or the Foreign Students Club (which aims to help foreign students have the best possible experience in Taiwan) you can contact Daniel through the FSIT Facebook page.

Last but not least, DJ Marcus Aurelius described his journey as a DJ (plus writer, actor etc.) in Taiwan. Among several great take-aways was this: Don’t burn your bridges! He said that he had previously had issues with Frog in a Sock, but now they are working together in harmony. Take the long-term view and grow positive relationships!

After his speech, Marcus went on to DJ for the rest of the evening, laying down some great tunes for the convivial after-party. Want to contact Marcus? Find DJ Marcus Aurelius on Facebook or email him at DJMarcusA@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for more fun and useful events by the CCCT Small Business Committee!

Photographer: Josh Yang – Visit the CCCT Small Business Network Facebook album for event photos.

Chairman’s New Year Message

Dear Members and Friends,

On behalf of the Canadian Chamber’s Board of Directors and Supervisors, I would to thank you for your continued support and patronage to the Canadian Chamber. This year has been another successful year for the Chamber, both in terms of activity and membership.

Our signature event, Celebration Canada, drew 9,000 people this year, benefiting from being able to hold the event in the same location the past three years: the Hakka Cultural Park. We hope to hold the 2016 party at the Hakka Cultural Park again and I look forward to seeing you there!

This year also marks two new key initiatives for our Chamber: the establishment of the Small Business Committee and its Small Business Network; and our first ever MacKay Gala Charity Ball.

The Small Business Network is a new initiative where the Chamber is reaching out to support and bring together small businesses owners (or those interested in starting small business in Taiwan) and provide them with a forum to share ideas, network with each other, and learn from expert speakers. Our monthly Small Business Network meetings have been well attended and we are planning on introducing a new Small Business Membership category into our Chamber membership structure to recognize the special status of small businesses.

The first MacKay Gala Charity Ball was held this year and we are already busy planning the second one for 2016. The event is a tribute to a great Canadian, whose legacy is well known and respected in Taiwan.

By working with MacKay Hospital, and through the generous participation of sponsors, we were able to raise money for the hospital. We hope that this event will become an annual event and take its place among the other well-established balls and galas of Taiwan.

On a personal note, I would also like to thank our members and the Board of Directors for letting me serve again as acting Chairman, following Allan Read’s return to Canada this past summer. It is always an honour and a privilege for me to be associated with the Chamber and the good work it does! I will not be running for Chairman at our Annual General Meeting in January, but I certainly plan to remain involved!

The Chamber’s Board of Directors and committee members are always looking for new people to get involved and I encourage anyone who is interested and has time, to join us in this very worthwhile cause.

Finally, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Leo Seewald
Acting Chairman, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan