Thursday, August 13, 2009

Randomness

I was recently called and asked to fill out a survey for the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan (I know, that name is not very descriptive, but then neither is "Examination Yuan"). The survey was asking about general foreigner satisfaction regarding life in Taiwan in terms of paperwork, visas, culture, language, hospitality, convenience etc..

Lots of foreigners received postcards about this approximately one month ago; if you are a foreigner here, you may well have received one. When the interns assigned with the task of actually giving foreigners the surveys called, apparently a lot of those called refused to participate, thinking it was some sort of fraud ring (or "fraud circle" as he called it).

I have to admit it seemed strange to me too; if you want to get a bunch of foreigners who live here to fill out a survey, then hang out in areas where foreigners do and pass them out (Shi-da in front of the Bo'ai building is a popular place for that). Why send postcards, call people, arrange to meet them and then pass out the surveys. Makes one suspicious. The intern who called me seemed dejected and disappointed that so few foreigners would cooperate.

But...no. I couldn't think of any way short of meeting me so as to kidnap me that it could have been a fraud ring, so I met the intern and filled out the survey. It was totally on the level; just a government survey (and not a particularly well-written one, but whatever, I got a free pen. I love free stuff!). So all the postcards and calls and meetings? Not a fraud ring; it's just how the government does things apparently.

So if you get one of those postcards and phone calls, don't worry about it. It's nothing untoward. If you want to brighten an intern's day by being one of the nice foreigners who agrees to help out, go ahead and participate.

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