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The vibrancy of Taiwan nightlife becomes evident after the fall of darkness, when the entire landscape gets ablaze with the urban street lights. After dusk covers the city, nocturnal life bursts out almost immediately, particularly owing to youngsters who come together, appear in the streets and disperse all over the mainland. The concentration of the youngsters mostly occurs in the trendy and modish areas since there are multiple recreational centers to keep them busy all night long.
Why Taiwan Nightlife is Exceptional
Several nightclubs spread all over Taiwan’s mainland, form the main centers of attraction for the nightlife. These nightclubs bring young people together for their various entertainment activities. When travelers visit this magnificent country, they are lost for choices when it comes to choosing clubs or bars to attend. Starting with Club 45, and Combat Zone, people find a cluster of bars, which date back to the Vietnam War. In the recent years, Carnegie's and The Tavern have been established increasing the number of joints in the city. The former club attracts masses of men and women who love dancing while the latter is more of a sports bar, fitted with satellite TVs to broadcast all sporting events from around the world. However, the nocturnal activities and entertainments are not just restricted to the clubs only. It goes beyond the bustle and din of the night activities, which further add to the attraction of the nightlife in Taiwan.
Shopping is one of the most popular nightly activities in Taiwan. Several shopping stores and malls in Taiwan city remain open throughout the night, which facilitates overflow of customers. The biggest shopping mall in Asia called Core Pacific Living Mall is located in Taiwan to attract customers from all around the world. The mall is open throughout the whole week on around-the-clock basis. This is still uncommon in many cities in Asia and world at large, thus making Taiwan the preferred choice for shopping (Curry, 2009). In addition, there are no problems with food availability at any hour of the night since the food stores are located near the shopping centers. The food sold in these chopping centers is of remarkable quality and of excellent flavor. No wonder it definitely attracts many customers. This is a unique experience only available in Taiwan since many restaurants and food joints close by 10 pm in many cities and towns over the globe.
KTV, which is an abbreviation for Karaoke TV, is a typical Taiwan experience, which allows people to sing their hearts out especially at night, after taking a few drinks. The KTV also provides some private rooms, so that nobody has to sing in front of a large crowd, which is quite different from the western karaoke bars. The rooms have unexpected magnificent stereo systems, and allow one to order drinks, sing and spend time in heart’s delight. While most locals prefer singing contemporary Chinese classics, KTV stations also offer enough English options to give foreigners a chance to have a sense of belonging. According to Curry (2009), this provides a unique experience for the visitors and locals of Taiwan. Film watching at cinemas is also a notable entertainment in this island. While many countries more frequently try to get rid of this entertainment activity, Taiwanese people still enjoy it. The surrounding is comfortable, and there are many international cinemas to choose from, making Taiwan even more noteworthy than any other country.
The other reason why life is vibrant at night in Taiwan is the weather. Straddling the tropic of Cancer, the state has humid and hot climate that for the better part of the year encourages people to stay in heavily air-conditioned houses during the day and venture out at night when it becomes cooler. Furthermore, the locals have many working hours during the day, and the sidewalks of the Taiwanese cities get crowded between 9 and10 pm. After that, the life transforms into night markets, pubs and eateries (Curry, 2009). As far as many locals are concerned, nightlife revolves around eating, shopping, drinking, singing and dancing. Visitors also take part in these activities, making Taiwan’s nightlife particularly remarkable. Even for people who do not drink, sing or dance, it still has plenty of activities to undertake at night to keep everyone entertained. For example, it includes sightseeing.
Taiwan is one of the most visually striking islands in the world when looked from above, especially in the evening. The obvious choice of enjoying the sight of the city is through an eagle’s eye from the tallest building, the Taipei Financial Center, better known as the Taipei 101 because of its 101 floors. The steel-and-glass 508-meter-high skyscraper is on the modern eastern side of the Taiwanese capital. The outdoor viewing platform and the 89th floor with an observation deck are open until 10 pm. Hence, it allows people to have a view of the vast and beautiful city. When the weather is perfect, a hike to the mountains in the evening and at night, while enjoying the twinkling lights of the city and the surrounding suburbs, is breathtaking. This makes afterdark life in Taiwan truly unique in comparison to other cities in the world.
Problems Associated with Taiwan Nightlife
The nightlife in Taiwan has brought with it a share of problems that affect the natives. The vivacity of the nightlife led to an increase in prostitution as young women and girls seek to satisfy the locals and foreigners overcrowding the island. Women are moving from their rural areas to the urban centers in search of work, but the jobs at the food stores and sweatshops offer incredibly little wages. The problems of the small wages push them into prostitution as they try to provide for their families in the rural areas. Moreover, there are many child prostitutes, and some of them were sold off by their parents to bring in extra income. The research shows that, in the recent past, there have been more than 60,000 female child prostitutes aged between 12 and 17. Most of these children leave school in search for employment, but at this age, no one is willing to employ them, and in the event that they get employment, the pay is too little.
Taiwan has become a main source of destination for human trafficking. Women from Taiwan are trafficked for sexual exploitation in countries like Japan, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. It is also a destination for girls and women from other countries like the Republic of China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand for labor and sexual exploitation. Women are recruited through deceptive employment offers, fraudulent marriages, and illegal smuggling (Chin, 2003). Some women from Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam move to Taiwan to work in fishing, manufacturing industries, and construction due to its fame, but later they are coerced into involuntary debt bondage and servitude. To free themselves from the debt bondage and sexual servitude, such women get into prostitution during the night since there are already waiting customers in Taiwan because of the vibrant nightlife.
There is a growing problem of alcoholism in Taiwan since most nightclubs and bars are open during the whole night even on weekends. Most young people in Taiwan spend their evenings at the nightclubs, pubs and karaoke bars (Hunt et al, 2010). They drink the whole night long and do not even think to go home. This has increased the rate of school dropouts and subsequent increase in social delinquency. Intake frequency among females has also been on the rise in the recent times resulting to ascendant cases of social misbehaviors.
Divorce cases have risen at an alarming rate in Taiwan. According to recent statistics, 57,000 couples filed for divorce in the last year, which creates a worrying trend since the high divorce rate is an indication of deeper societal problems. Currently, Taiwan has the highest divorce rates as a factor attributed to the booming business in the country. The nightlife of the cities permits men to spend so much time in the pubs, which results in neglect of their wives and children. For that reason, women become actively involved in businesses making them economically independent (Scott, 2003). When this happens, women cannot tolerate unfaithful, ungenerous, and alcoholic partners. In fact, women initiate most of the divorce cases. An additional point is that more and more women also engage themselves in alcoholism making it hard to take care of their families. Men find it difficult to stay with alcohol-addicted women, thus prompting them to file for divorce.
There are many Taiwanese kids growing up in single parent families because of the divorce cases. These facts are not conducive to raising kids as statistics show that out of the 17,000 child abuse cases reported last year, there are over 60% involved children from single parent families. This shows that the family has a significant impact on the protection of children. Most of these children also end up in prostitution, an activity that thrives well in Taiwan’s active nightlife.
People visiting Taiwan are likely to experience language problems, and may find it hard sometimes to find a food they are accustomed to in their native countries. However, it is not common to go to sleep early because there is nothing to do at night. The excitement, fun and merriment supported by Taiwanese nightlife add spice to the lives of the natives and foreigners alike. People go back to work and businesses the following morning with rejuvenated souls and refreshed minds. Unlike northern Europe or the United States where downtowns are deserted by 9 pm, the cities and centers of Taiwan hum and bustle with people, motorbikes and cars almost throughout the night (Curry, 2009). After closure of normal businesses, the streets and the malls transform into a night market where all people mingle as they do their shopping. There are plenty of inexpensive clothes, goods and shoes. The market attracts people at this time of the night because of the cool weather. Taiwan cities offer the twenty-four-hour service convenience with food stalls to provide different products and refreshments to the active people. Bars and clubs with alcohol and music also remain open as people take time to unwind. Entrance rates to the bars depend on its class, but the truth is that every person has a bar he or she can fit in since some of them are free.
However, the nightlife in Taiwan brings with it a share of problems that affect local residents. There is a burning issue of increased rates of prostitution and child abuse as business people try to maximize their profits due to the nightlife. Human trafficking has turned into a common phenomenon in Taiwan; it has become both source and destination for trafficked human beings (Hunt et al, 2010). Alcoholism among young people and women, in particular, rapidly increases and results in moral decays. Divorce rates also achieve momentum leaving children in the care of one parent, which is not the ideal background for their normal development.