In Taiwan’s bustling capital city, a new identity is emerging among Taipei’s youth. Style and self-expression are paramount on the streets. This generation appears to be making a break from the past, the conservative values of their parents, and of mainland China, by embracing consumerism, pop culture, technology, music, individual expression and fresh ideas. Strongly influenced by life in the West and in Japan, a shift is happening, and there is no going back.
School is intense in Taiwan. It is regimented and uniform--an environment of excessive pressure that eschews creativity in favor of rote memorization. After the school day, most students then attend cram schools, or bushiban…considered essential to prepare for exams. They study constantly to get the best scores, to get into the best college, to get the best job. There is little choice, and often little thought given to quality of life, personal interests or desires, or individual happiness.
But this is all changing, albeit slowly. Away from the confines of school and burdensome expectations, this generation has begun to question the way things have always been and is creating new ways to empower and express themselves. On the street with friends, while cruising around town on scooters, young people catch brief glimpses of freedom and insight. With all hope on the future, much is happening right now for young Taiwan as the youth ask new questions and seek their own answers.