Low-Paid Ghost Island

Low Paid Ghost Island

This essay will talk about the current socioeconomic condition of Taiwan. While I do think that the problem Taiwan face is pretty much similar to other developed countries, the numbers used here are from the current condition of Taiwan. The word "low-paid ghost island (低薪鬼島)" is also how the Taiwanese people call Taiwan itself.

The highlight here is about The Four Asian Tigers. They are the first four newly industrialized countries in Asia, consisting of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Even though they are called "Tiger" in English, they are called "Dragon" in Chinese as a dragon is considered better than a tiger in Chinese culture.


台湾工人正在挣扎。台湾社会新鲜人的薪水和20年前差不多一样。虽有调涨,可是台湾的物价涨幅抵消了薪资的调涨,意味着薪水其实没有改变。这样的情况,令目前年轻人的生活不容易。还有,台湾的高龄化和少子化也越来越严重,更加台湾年轻人要负担的责任。台湾真的是一个「低薪鬼岛」吗?


我们来举一个例子;一个台湾的新鲜人。台湾的平均薪资是33000。就算房租是8000左右,就剩25000。伙食费大约是10000,交通费1500,水电费与通讯费2500,就剩11000。每个月平均收入扣除消费支出后,只剩11000台币余额,对台湾人来说是很少的。若还要缴学贷,休闲娱乐,及孝亲等,那可能变成月光族了。


台湾的房价也真的追不上。在这20年,台湾的薪资只成长15%,可是因为台湾面积不大,房价涨幅高达139%,差异是巨大的。这么少的每月结余,跟房价调涨比起来,使台湾青年对于未来很担忧,前仆后继地逃出台湾,纷纷移到异乡打拼。那留在台湾的年轻人怎么办呢?有的人因为觉得结婚会更加辛苦,就造成了台湾的另一个问题:少子化。


台湾的少子化愈来愈严重。生育率逐年下降;目前是全球最低第三四名的。原因到底何在?有两个原因:第一是因为越来越多台湾人关心自由,因此不那么重视结婚事情。婚姻不可避免地会剥夺双方的自由。再加上,照顾自己的老人已经很辛苦,要再照顾另一半的双亲,是不是找死?第二是因为已婚夫妇也不一定要生孩子。成为“上有老,下有小”的夫妇,一定会承担更大的压力。他们不但要抚养孩子,也要照顾父母,更不用说财务方面了。


我自己也搞不太清楚,为何这亚洲四小龙之一变成这样。产业没有转型?教育水平不够高?人才竞争力降低?还是因为海峡两岸关系越来越差?以前,台湾的薪资增长很稳定,制作成品出口到美国和大陆,可是越来越多大陆公司竞相出产同样的产品,使台湾企业不得不削减成本,包含工资。可是,对我来说,台湾的目前问题不见得是因为大陆的影响而已。我认为,台湾本国的社会与政治方面也一定有很大的影响。不过,这就要靠本台湾人自己的想法了。


大陆对世界的影响越来越大,台湾的势力却越来越小。从这迫切危机中,我们的低薪鬼岛能不能够恢复,重新自己,再次变成亚洲的小龙?


还是需要「大龙」的「帮助」?



臺灣工人正在掙扎。臺灣社會新鮮人的薪水和20年前差不多一樣。雖有調漲,可是臺灣的物價漲幅抵消了薪資的調漲,意味著薪水其實沒有改變。這樣的情況,令目前年輕人的生活不容易。還有,臺灣的高齡化和少子化也越來越嚴重,更加臺灣年輕人要負擔的責任。臺灣真的是一個「低薪鬼島」嗎?


我們來舉一個例子;一個臺灣的新鮮人。臺灣的平均薪資是33000。就算房租是8000左右,就剩25000。伙食費大約是10000,交通費1500,水電費與通訊費2500,就剩11000。每個月平均收入扣除消費支出後,只剩11000臺幣餘額,對臺灣人來說是很少的。若還要繳學貸,休閒娛樂,及孝親等,那可能變成月光族了。


臺灣的房價也真的追不上。在這20年,臺灣的薪資只成長15%,可是因為臺灣面積不大,房價漲幅高達139%,差異是巨大的。這麼少的每月結餘,跟房價調漲比起來,使臺灣青年對於未來很擔憂,前仆後繼地逃出臺灣,紛紛移到異鄉打拼。那留在臺灣的年輕人怎麼辦呢?有的人因爲覺得結婚會更加辛苦,就造成了臺灣的另一個問題:少子化。


臺灣的少子化愈來愈嚴重。生育率逐年下降;目前是全球最低第三四名的。原因到底何在?有兩個原因:第一是因爲越來越多臺灣人關心自由,因此不那麼重視結婚事情。婚姻不可避免地會剝奪雙方的自由。再加上,照顧自己的老人已經很辛苦,要再照顧另一半的雙親,是不是找死?第二是因爲已婚夫婦也不一定要生孩子。成爲“上有老,下有小”的夫婦,一定會承擔更大的壓力。他們不但要撫養孩子,也要照顧父母,更不用說財務方面了。


我自己也搞不太清楚,為何這亞洲四小龍之一變成這樣。產業沒有轉型?教育水平不夠高?人才競爭力降低?還是因爲海峽兩岸關係越來越差?以前,臺灣的薪資增長很穩定,製作成品出口到美國和大陸,可是越來越多大陸公司競相出產同樣的產品,使臺灣企業不得不削減成本,包含工資。可是,對我來說,臺灣的目前問題不見得是因爲大陸的影響而已。我認爲,臺灣本國的社會與政治方面也一定有很大的影響。不過,這就要靠本臺灣人自己的想法了。


大陸對世界的影響越來越大,臺灣的勢力卻越來越小。從這迫切危機中,我們的低薪鬼島能不能夠恢復,重新自己,再次變成亞洲的小龍?


還是需要「大龍」的「幫助」?


English translation:

Taiwanese workers are struggling. The salaries of fresh people in Taiwan are about the same as they were 20 years ago. Although there is a rise in the price, Taiwan’s commodity price increase offsets the increase in wages, which means that the salary has not changed at all. This situation makes the life of young people not easy. In addition, the aging and declining birth rate of Taiwan is becoming more and more serious, increasing the responsibility of the young people in Taiwan. Is Taiwan really a "low-paid ghost island"?

Let us give an example; a fresh person from Taiwan. The average salary in Taiwan is 33,000 NTD. Assuming the rent is around 8,000, leaving 25,000. The food cost is about 10,000, the transportation fee is 1,500, and the utility fee and communication fee are 2,500, leaving 11,000. After deducting consumer spending, the average monthly income is only 11,000 NTD, which is very small for the Taiwanese. If you have to pay for school loans, leisure and entertainment, and filial piety, then it will possibly become a Moonlight Clan.

Taiwan’s housing prices are also really not catching up. In these 20 years, Taiwan’s salary has only grown by 15%, but because Taiwan’s area is small, house prices have risen by as much as 139%, and the difference is huge. Such a small monthly balance, compared with the increase in housing prices, has made Taiwanese youths very worried about the future. Waves upon waves have escaped from Taiwan and have moved to work in different places. What about the young people who stay in Taiwan? Some people have caused another problem in Taiwan because they feel that marriage will be more difficult: sub-replacement fertility.

The sub-replacement fertility of Taiwan is becoming more and more serious. The fertility rate has been declining year by year; it is currently the lowest third or fourth in the world. What is the reason? There are two reasons: The first is because more and more Taiwanese are concerned about freedom, so they don't pay much attention to marriage. Marriage inevitably deprives both parties of their freedom. In addition, it is very hard to take care of the elderly, and to take care of the other half of the parents, is it not different from suicide? The second is because married couples do not necessarily have to have children. Couples who are Sandwich Generations will definitely take on more pressure. They not only have to raise children, but also take care of their parents, not to mention financial aspects.

I am not sure about this thing. Why has this one of the four Asian tigers become like this? Is it because the industry has not transformed? Or that the level of education is not high enough? Reduced talent competitiveness? Or is it because the cross-strait relations are getting worse? In the past, Taiwan’s salary growth was very stable, and finished products were exported to the United States and Mainland China. However, more and more mainland companies are competing to produce the same products, which has forced Taiwanese companies to cut costs, including wages. However, for me, the current problem in Taiwan is not necessarily due to the influence of the mainland. I believe that the social and political aspects of Taiwan's own country must also have a great impact. However, this depends on the Taiwanese own thoughts.

The influence of Mainland China on the world is growing, and the power of Taiwan is getting smaller and smaller. From this urgent crisis, can our low-paid ghost islands recover, reinvent themselves, and become Asian tiger again?

Or do you need the "help" of the "Big Dragon"?


Special notes:

  • 調漲 - tiáo zhǎng - increase
  • 漲幅 - zhǎng fú - the amount of increase
  • 高齡化 - gāo líng huà - the aging population
  • 少子化 - shǎo zǐ huà - sub-replacement fertility, declining birth (population)
  • 餘額 - yú é - remainder (money)
  • 學貸 - xué dài - student loan
  • 月光族 - yuè guāng zú - Moonlight Clan, those who used their whole monthly income and have no savings.
  • 結餘 - jié yú - cash surplus
  • 前仆後繼 - qián pū hòu jì - waves upon waves
  • 逐年 - zhú nián - year after year
  • 剝奪 - bō duó - strip off
  • 上有老,下有小 - shàng yǒu lǎo, xià yǒu xiǎo - sandwich generation
  • 四小龍 - sì xiǎo lóng - Four Asian Tigers
  • 海峽兩岸關係 - hǎi xiá liǎng àn guān xi - cross-strait relation (between Mainland China and Taiwan)
  • 削減 - xuējiǎn - cut down

Photo by Tom Ritson

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