There are surprisingly few, few, few Taiwanese in San Francisco.
A friend new to Bay Area asked: “Traditional Chinese is everywhere in SF. Who is it for?” Sadly we replied, it’s for the Cantonese.
There are many Cantonese and Chinese living in San Francisco, but most Taiwanese move to the South Bay if they plan to settle down. Mostly because South Bay is more suitable for families and Taiwanese profession: tech, engineering and coding!
We have so many Taiwanese friends who never really got what’s to love about San Francisco.
Truth be told, when I moved here for grad school un 2007, I have no knowledge of San Francisco besides the Golden Gate Bridge. Even Gay Pride was just a brief idea, and the Silicon Valley was only an artificial excuse to justify my moving here.
During my 2 years in school here, I visited San Francisco 2 times.
It was when I started working my Taiwanese boss of a Taiwanese company, that my friends suddenly saw me as the San Francisco insider and explorer. Because my boss loves San Francisco and always told me…
My work involves a lot of propaganda on establishing “creative industries” in Taiwan. Government units are meeting their asses off to make Taiwan a creative capital.
Whereas here I just feel…… liberated.
San Francisco tempts me with challenges: freedom and happiness is more abundant than you thought, but they comes with chaos and responsibility. Do you want to take it?
Do what you want. This comes before any thought of “be creative!” “be innovative!”
I delayed and delayed my plan to move back to Taiwan, because it is so easy to see different, outrageous people and things here. It is so easily comfortable to do whatever you want, try whatever you want here.
A city has its history and current efforts to keep evolving as an experimental, diverse and tolerant one.
Most of my people see the free San Francisco from practical points of view — startups, businesses, talents, markets, etc. Are people working too hard? Why can’t they access the food community, the different faces of neighborhoods, the working at third place scenes, the subcultures, themed bars and performances, and experimental place-making?
Whether they are Chinese in their own countries, or Chinese in the Bay Area, surprisingly little of San Francisco’s real treasure is experienced. Perhaps with little population living right in the city, it is hard to appreciate seemingly thin layers of experience that only locals can experience in full.
I want to make those fun and beauty known.
Starting with our own experiences, we still have a lot of research to do and stories to hear to excite others why San Francisco is so great for liberating free souls!
I am writing the Chinese book Sanfranology with a friend.
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