Ihla Formosa (the beautiful Island) Taiwan can be considered an island with many faces. Inclusive of beaches lined with basalt cliffs, marble-walled gorges and tropical forests are just the start of a journey, which could take you from magnificent seductions mountains to a pulsing modern capital. With a dynamic and verse array of food culture, temple towns, hot springs villages and adventures of shopping and relaxation. Taiwan is one of Asia’s most diverse and friendly destinations. Without further intrigue into Taiwan’s outer beauty I must tackle why Taiwan touched my heart and how it can touch yours. As an Agricultural Economist and advocate of goodwill, I will focus on the macro-aspect of Taiwan’s People (Custom and Etiquettes), Education Horizon and Philanthropic Missions.

From a cultural anthropology perspective, Taiwan's aboriginal peoples share a common heritage with those of the South Pacific islands. They flourished in the mountains and along the plains bordering the ocean, developing a mountain/oceanic culture. Taiwanese pride themselves on being very hospitable, especially when you visit their homes. The Taiwanese believe strongly in omens, which probably explain why Chinese geographical names always mean something wonderful, like "Paradise Valley", "Heaven's Gateway", or "Happiness Road". The Taiwanese are really into endurance; therefore death is a taboo topic, or one that is not discussed very openly. In Mandarin, the figure/word four is considered similar to death. As a result, hospitals never put patients on the 4th floor, and most buildings don't have a 4th floor, that may sound funny right. The floors go from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, right to the 5th. Thus if your apartment number is 501, your apartment is technically on the fourth floor. Another aspect, the Taiwanese prefer is a clean floor. The state of the outside of the home is less important than the inside cleanliness. This tradition seems to have been inherited from the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan. Most of the homes in Taiwan are "shoes off". There is usually slipper/sandal like shoes by the entrance door. You must live it, to enjoy it!! Other customs include Dragon Boat Racing, to the ancient Confucian ceremonies, to having 100,000 fireworks blasted at you in the Yenshui Fong Pao Festival, Taiwanese culture is rich and diverse. With so much variety at hand it's only a matter of time before you find some part of this unique Asian culture that you will love.

Human resources are a nation’s foundation. They are also the key to elevating a nation’s competitiveness. Taiwan ranks 13th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2012 published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), for strong performance in higher education and innovation, and Taiwan ranks 7th in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 published by the IMD. This improved ranking is attributed to Taiwan’s educational ranking. These rankings are all testimony to the world’s recognition of Taiwan’s efforts in education. They also encourage us to focus even more on cultivating skills and excellence in Taiwan. Drastic changes are taking place in Taiwan and around the world, inclusive of Globalization, decreasing fertility, global warming. Hence, the government is responding adequately. The Ministry of Education has created a blueprint for cultivating excellence for the next 10 years, based on the cultivation, retention and recruitment of highly-skilled people, with the goal of developing our ability to compete in the international community and to establish a firm footing for the nation. Education is the foundation of the nation; it exerts a profound influence on national development and individual lives. It is also closely associated with the happiness index of people in Taiwan.

Another aspect that can touch your heart is Taiwan’s Philanthropic Missions their goal is to make a real difference in the lives of children, the old and the less fortunate. By creating long lasting relationships with on the ground aid organizations and families, these agencies we are building a legacy of service that allows individual in need to eventually stand on their own two feet and become productive citizens in their communities. For example Tzu Chi's core principles are that relief supplies (blankets, food parcels) should be handed over personally, with a bow, by volunteers. The foundation feels this expresses sincerity and gratitude, in line with the movement's teachings. Other organization helping in these charitable processes includes HueiShiang Organic Life Farm (in Miaoli), Fo Guang Shan Monastery (in Kaohsiung). An example of a Government agency is International Development Cooperation Fund (ICDF) which develops technical capacity through many programs.

Taiwan outer and inner beauty may be countless, but it has definitely touched my heart and it can definitely touch yours. Taiwan is here to stay and experiencing these beauties is unforgettable. Formosa will touch your heart and literally you’ll fall in love. 台灣我愛你!!

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