Just a small note on education.
I am one of those people who believes that, generally speaking, education back home cultivates better thinking and life skills than education in East Asia. Even if the overall knowledge base is less, that's amply made up for in the development of critical thinking skills, creativity and to some extent confidence. All skills that serve one better in the real world than testing, a lack of practice and rote memorization.
Someone I know recently brought up the teaching of science in conversation, and it got down to religious beliefs vs. science - specifically evolution.
To this person's horror, I said that yes, whether or not to teach evolution is still a debated topic in much of the USA, and many schools will teach it with a "caveat" that it's "just a theory" or "there are other points of view". Folks whose religious convictions state that evolution is either not the answer - and the world was created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago - or it's more "intelligent design" than "evolution"* have more control over science education than many are comfortable with.
Then, slowly, "if you tried to say that or teach it that way in a Taiwanese school, people would laugh at you. Teachers would laugh. Administrators would laugh. Nobody would take you seriously. Sure, evolution is a 'theory' but some theories have more proof behind them than others. Evolution has a lot of proof behind it. 'The world was created in six days' has basically no proof behind it. That's just science. You might get fired for teaching religion in a science class. Science is proof, experiment, observation and fact. It just would not happen in a Taiwanese school."
So, you know, there's that. At least here kids are learning actual science.
But then, looking back at the USA, I recently got into a debate online with someone I went to high school with and her friend. It was an entirely different discussion - about illegal immigration, in fact - and the friend says "facts don't prove a damn thing!"
Um, yes, they do. That's the whole point of facts. And when it comes to science, at least kids in Taiwan are getting better facts. If they want to take the burden of scientific evidence and say that there is an intelligent maker behind it, fine, but they're not taught that they can deny the facts just because they're inconvenient to their belief system.
*different debate, that. I don't believe in intelligent design but I do recognize that there are different ways of believing it. Some basically tear down science. Others keep science intact but add the caveat that it was God's idea and is under his watch, but little else. I could go on forever about that, but I won't.