To stop living like a fugitive


I live like a person who has escaped from somewhere and who’s now in hiding.

– I have a work permit, granted on the condition that I work at least eleven hours per week at a specific school. Actually, I only work three hours per week at the school.

– I don’t have a driver’s license, although I regularly ride a scooter, for which I need a license.

– I don’t have a National Health Insurance card – the only legal resident of Taiwan of which I know that doesn’t have one. Which means I always have to explain why I can only present a residence card when I go to see a doctor or a dentist.

– I have been renting an apartment for seven years, but I have never signed a lease. I don’t even know what the owner of the apartment looks like.

– I don’t live in the apartment anymore. I use it as an office and storage space.

– My phone bill is in the name of one “Ma-li-ou Ma-ka-ne” – the sinified name of a South African friend of mine who left Taiwan five years ago.

– The residential address on my ID card indicates that I live in the school where I work. Naturally I don’t live there.

A few years ago, I spoke of rehabilitating myself for entry into the socio-economic middle-class. Before I get to that phase of my life, I can think of quite a few benefits I will enjoy if at the very least I can manage to no longer live in apparent fear of doing things right.