Halfway to NoWhere

Ranting and Complaints of Life in Taiwan

Communications: A Skill Requiring a PhD

The Ferris Wheel at Mirimar Park

The Ferris Wheel at Mirimar Park

Sometimes, I really hope that someone can make a law requiring everyone to get a PhD degree in communications before they are allowed to open their mouth at the workplace. Hate to say this, but some of the people that works at my place will have a hard time in beating a pre-school kid in a communications contest where the challenge is “asking the teacher for permission to use the restroom.”

Seriously, I’m not kidding… That’s the extent of the ‘defects’ I’ve witnessed. Here’s an example of this deadly syndrome, which happened to me today:

A few weeks ago, a colleague from the promotions department called me over the phone. Since the majority of people working in this building knows little English, they usually call me (or my colleague) for advice and suggestions when they run into English at their workplace. So to me, that phone call was just another daily routine (which proved to be a mistake).

“Hey, what should I call these products? We’re releasing a whole line of souvenirs using some of the landmark in the city, such as the Ferris wheel, X, and Y.”

“So there’s going to be a line of deformed toy figures which people can buy and put on their table… and you’re looking for an English term that can describe these stuff?”

“That’s right.”

“How about calling them toy collectibles? I assume there’s several different kinds, and they could be displayed… you know, like those toys you get in capsules when you put money into the vending machine? That’s my suggestion.”

So after about five minutes on the phone, the colleague decided to take my suggestions and go ahead with it.

That was just a little event which quickly faded away in my memory. Well, that was the case… until I saw a poster this morning.

Wow, so I get to see the things I’ve named. What an excitement, right?

On the poster, I saw the characters my colleague told me about – a Ferris wheel head character, two cable car heads resembling father and daughter suspending from a cable, the government building looking like a member of AUTOBOT, and so on… Alright, I’m not saying anything about the aesthetic value of these designs – that’s up to individuals.

So I should be proud when I see “Toy Collectibles” written on the poster showcasing these figures, right?

 It appears that my colleague left out a very important details: the line of souvenirs is actually bookmarks.

Maybe I resemble a Martian, making them think twice about calling me to double check or update me on the changes. All I can say is… even on your own, is it too hard to ask to differentiate between ‘toys’ and ‘bookmarks’? How hard is it to add in a little change, like “Collectible Bookmarks”?

So you see… either these people have an innate talent for miscommunications, or they cannot function on the guideline known as ‘common sense’, or they can’t tell the difference between the english terms ‘toy’ and ‘bookmark’.

Perhaps these are standards that are ridiculously high, and should not be taken for granted.


July 3, 2008 - Posted by | Rants


  1. Wow… I didn’t know a Taipei has a Ferris wheel as a landmark as well. What’s up with Ferris wheels anyway? They are sprouting up all over the world to be “landmarks” that soon they won’t be a big deal anymore.

    Ferris wheel as a head? Sounds sort of freaky… Got pics? 🙂

    Comment by Jonathan Wong | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Yeah, the Ferris Wheel is in Neihu at the Mirimar Entertainment Park. Its gonna cost you NT$450 to take a ride on it.

    Comment by ronderick | July 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. Lack of communication is not only limited to marketing department in bureaucracies… I think you trade in your common sense for an American Express black card when you go over to the dark side…

    Comment by Bard | July 16, 2008 | Reply

  4. common sense? You’re too kind. I’m more inclined to use the philosophically ambiguous word ‘soul’ for the price you hand over lol.

    Comment by ronderick | July 22, 2008 | Reply

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