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When we first arrived in Taiwan, neither of us knew what to expect. Most folks in the developed world are only familiar with the country as a name stamped underneath a cheaply-made product following the words “Made in…”.

Practically no one in the West thinks of Taiwan as a holiday destination, which explains why my partner and I arrived there on the promise of work instead.

We were due to be posted as English language teachers in one of the many “cram schools” there. We were unsure whether the name “cram” referred to how many pupils they could get into a classroom or how much knowledge they could fit into the poor kids’ heads. Either way, these money-making institutions are generally meant for unfortunate children whose sadistic parents insist on giving them a few hours more study on top of some already gruelling schooling. …


Newton Wildsmith

Writer. Artist. Perpetual traveller.

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