Building a Taiwanease community

TaiwaneaseThe website Taiwanease, with the slogan “Making Taiwan easy!”,  is the brainchild Anthony van Dyck. Some readers may know Anthony as a long term resident of Taiwan and for his ten year involvement with the well-known online discussion forum Taiwanease is a new and expanded website where Anthony is continuing to build an online community. I asked Anthony some questions about Taiwanease via e-mail.

Discussion forums are an important part of Taiwanease and go by the name Taiwaneasia. The English-language forum was built on the back of the Parent Pages, a resource for expat parents in Taiwan. The Parent Pages still have a distinct presence within the new site. There will also be a Chinese-language forum for “internationally-minded Taiwanese” launched soon.

A quick browse of the Taiwanease website reveals much more than just discussion forums. There is also a directory that will eventually contain listings of every possible venue of interest to foreigners in Taiwan such as restaurants, hot springs and libraries. Anthony informed me that there will be smartphone app for the directory launching in early 2012.

Other features of the site include event listings which will be improved in coming weeks and months. There will be an English-language classifieds site launched at In the meantime classifieds are incorporated into the forum.

There are articles from the Taiwanease magazine that was published a few years ago. The articles are being released slowly and Anthony is also looking for writers to contribute new content.

The “Getting it Done” section includes how-to guides “that will help people in Taiwan through tasks that might otherwise be complicated, things like getting a drivers license, or getting dual nationality for children born in Taiwan.” Anthony said this is something he is looking to the foreign community in Taiwan for help with. If people share their knowledge “it will make things that much easier for the next person, and that’s what a community is all about!”

And that community is not just online but gets together in the real world too. There are monthly events. At a barbecue at the Taipei Artists Village the caterer prepared food for 200 people and it was sold out. Last weekend there was a Christmas Happy Hour at Bobwundaye. Join the Facebook group to be notified of upcoming events. “It’s really fun to see friendships that have started as a pleasant conversation online, and matured into a great friendship in real life,” Anthony said.

Finally, Anthony said the technical stuff isn’t really the core of what he is doing, it’s more about helping people. “It’s the community and the idea of service to the community that drives me. I also have come to deeply appreciate what a fantastic place Taiwan is, and I love helping other people find that out for themselves.”