In praise of Taichung's DMW
We foreigners often like to complain about things in Taiwan--I do this a lot, negatively comparing institutions here with those in the U.S. But one government organization that I've never had any reason to complain about is the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Every time I go there to get my license renewed (now it's every two years due to new regulations [hmm... that sounds like the prelude to a complaint, but I'll let it go]), it takes me less than five minutes to get in, pay my NT$200 renewal fee, and get my new license. Compare that with the time I've spend in DMVs in West Virginia, Ohio, and New York--in those places, sometimes you end up waiting in line for hours even when there's no one in front of you!
The staff at the Taichung DMV on "Big Stomach Mountain" (大肚山) have never snarled at me, either, like some of the folks in U.S. DMVs have when I've interrupted their reveries to renew a license or otherwise make them do work. Back when I got my Taiwan license (in 1993), they even let me take a different color-blindness test after I failed the first one (couldn't see the numbers among all those little colored dots). For the second test, I just had to identify whether a light was red, green, or yellow--a much more practical test, in my view. (Don't let it frighten you that there's a color-blind driver on the streets of Taichung. From what I can tell, I'm not the only one.)
So say what you want about Taiwan's bureaucracy--I know of at least one place where things are going right.