In an earlier FCU English Online article, my classmates wrote about the differences in festivals between Taiwan and my country, Malaysia. Not only are traditional festivals that are different in these two countries; driving is much different, too.
In Taiwan, people drive on the right side of the road, and the driver's seat is on the left side of the car. Malaysia is like Hong Kong and England; we drive on the left and the driver’s seat is on the right. I remember the first time I came to Taiwan was horrible because I couldn't get used to the traffic direction and the location of the driver’s seat. The first time I took a taxi, I opened the door of the driver's seat and the taxi driver looked at me for a while and said, “Let me handle the driving." He must have thought I was going to hijack his taxi! After I explained to him that I was from Malaysia, he knew it was just a misunderstanding. That was the first mistake I made in Taiwan.
There are some differences in taking a motorcycle license exam, too. In Taiwan, candidates have to use their own motorcycle to do the examination. There is a scooter parked beside the exam location, but they candidates have to pay a fee if they want to use it. I wonder if, when candidates ride to the exam location, doesn't this count as riding without a license? If they are caught on the way to the exam location, how would they explain to the police? Would the police accept the explanation? In Malaysia, candidates must use the motorcycle that is provided at the exam location. In Taiwan, candidates can get their license the day they pass the exam, but not in Malaysia. In Malaysia, we have to wait for one week after passing the exam.
Most Taiwanese prefer riding a motorcycle t0 driving a car. There are several reasons why this is true. The price of gas in Taiwan is very high. Although riding a motorcycle isn’t comfortable or safe, riders can save lots of money as the gas price and the service charges are lower than they are for a car. Riding a motorcycle is very convenient, too. Moreover, in Taiwan, people have to buy a space for their car, and it isn't cheap. In Malaysia, gas is cheaper, and, if you buy an apartment, your car space is already provided free! In Malaysia, driving a car is much more comfortable and safer.
I will be graduating from Feng Chia University this year, and I will be going home to Malaysia. I have had a lot of interesting experiences here in Taiwan, but I will be happy to get home, back where everyone drives on the right side of the road – the LEFT side!