Friday, April 17, 2009

Taiwan culture: Lateness and I'm on the way

Taiwanese are always late. Half an hour to an hour is considered on time - and a little late two hours.

You will try all manner of tactics to get them to arrive on time, but none of them will work. Why? - They have no concept of time management.

It will start like this. You will call her up and she will say: "I am on the way... Arrive soon." But she won't arrive for another half an hour.

The first ten times you will try and manage the situation - tell her ok, but if she is going to be late at least give you a call to say so. She won't call and so you will change tactics. You will call her and say: 'Look, I know you probably haven't even left the house but just say so and i can go and look around the shops.'

She will insist: 'I am on the way - arrive soon.' At this you will get very angry because you can hear her hailing a taxi. You will repeat your statement about wanting to know and she will repeat the bit about being on the way.

Your next tactic will be to be late yourself. But it is against your nature so you will feel bad and still only turn up 15 minutes late which still gives you another 30 minutes waiting time.

Eventually, you will strike out and be half an hour late and hope to arrive maybe 10 minutes before her. But then you will go crazy because she still doesn't arrive for another 30 minutes. And you will look at your watch and say to yourself - Now if i had arrived on time that is more than an hour...

You will think that she has some kind of sixth sense, able to realize you will be late, but it is simpler than that: you felt guilty about being late so when you arranged to meet for 7.30 you didn't give her a long lecture about being on time. Without the lecture she thought you had accepted her lateness and reverted back to her usual hour.

What can you do about? Nothing. Just get used to it.

No comments: