Only Supermen and Superwomen Need Apply

Eye On Taiwan
Date: June 1, 2016
By: David Wang

One can’t help be awestruck when browsing one of the job sites in Taiwan to experience Alice in Wonderland, simply because some of the want ads seem to be looking not for mere mortals but Superman to fill positions as “export merchandiser.”

Could the writers of the want ads be high on stimulants that are found along with busted dope peddlers that are exposed as virtually daily occurrence in Taiwan?

The following is but one such want ad (some of which translated from Chinese and proofed for sloppy mistakes) that could have job applicants reach for anti-hypertension medication, bifocals to do a double-take and seat belts to avoid falling off one’s chair from spasmodic shock as if having just witnessed the Egyptian sphinx rise and trundle away.

General duties:
1. Assist sales rep/manager to complete sales in all related area; including initial sales order entry, sales order confirmation, order follow-up, packing and shipping arrangement, and after-sales customer services etc.
2. Provide support and coordinate project teams, including preparation of project timeline, ongoing budget review and management of all projects through delivery on-schedule.
3. Assist with trade show and event planning, tracking budgets and expenses, and communicate with external service providers.
4. Prepare reports and perform special projects that may require researching, gathering, and organizing information from a variety of sources.
5. Be onsite and provide support at events and activities.
6. ERP and CRM related data base entry. ERP and CRM.
7. Perform related duties as required.

New product development duties:
1. Find suppliers, build cooperative relations accordingly to achieve yearly new product development goals.
2. Analyze rival products, collect data related to market and product trends.
3. Set out new product specs, do feasibility study, initiate process, control progress.
4. Timely adjust sales strategies according to changes in global markets to enhance own market share.
5. Define own products’ market positions, develop product marketing strategy and new product proposal.
6. Analyze sales and plans for building distribution channels to achieve sales targets.
7. Create training plans for new product development.

1. Applicants must be 100% fluent in writing, listening, speaking and reading Chinese and English; detail-minded; possess communication skills; proactive; and preferably have bicycle industry related experience.

Duties & qualifications related to promoting new products:
1. Must have excellent English skills to communicate verbally and in writing with foreign buyers; total Taiwanese fluency; preferably with some fluency in a second foreign language as Japanese, German, French etc.
2. Must be able to build sales, retain accounts and help to source foreign suppliers and buyers.
3. Must be able to process orders, offer after-sales service and help with cross-departmental tasks.
4. Must be able to evaluate initially contracts between foreign-supplier and buyers, including terms, production process and specs, and request as necessary cross-departmental help to respond to buyer’s inquiry.
5. Must attend as instructed trade shows in Taiwan and abroad, planning projects, marketing activities, and be able to independently travel on business.

My personal experience in the job market in Taiwan, where the authorities would like the global community to believe the nation has an enviable college-graduation rate, tells me that this advertiser will find the candidate as described when the countries as Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Vatican embrace the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) set and hold a free-for-all bash to celebrate the coming out of all their senior ministers.

Only a couple of months ago I called one of the most established and high-profile department stores in Taipei to ask for in slowly enunciated English “gold-plated cufflinks” to see if they can handle a relatively mundane request in the lingua franca.

The first receptionist was totally perplexed to put me on hold, with another so-called “English-fluent customer service rep” put on the line to ask me to repeat at least twice the simple request, which then ended in bewilderment on my part to lead to nowhere.

The easily understood email in English that I sent regarding the above incident to the store received a reply in a combination of gibberish and perfunctory clichés that was unbecoming of a business carrying plenty of upscale merchandise.

Many years ago I tried the same experiment with the foreign affairs police in Taipei who are supposedly set up to help, at least in English, foreigners. The complaint regarding a scam was spoken slowly using the words as fraud that was completely over the head of the first officer who answered the call, as well as the second, with the third, younger officer barely able to understand me.

One can only speculate how the same test would go today. Don’t hold your breath is my advice.

Along the same vein, this female Taiwanese college grad hired as a copywriter-cum-translator with whom I worked with recently at an export promotional media was essentially incompetent, being unable to even handle a few phrases of relatively simple Chinese-to-English translations.

Total mastery of Mandarin, Taiwanese, English and some literacy in German, French or some other major European language?

Only when Shimano invents a brake set that senses deceleration to automatically via Bluetooth open the garage door to allow entry, turn on the lights, the shower, and the tap to the Fountain of High Hope.

While another 50-plus Taiwanese female with a masters from the USA with years of experience as a “reporter and editor” could not write English above the junior-high level nor intelligently comment on the merits of using hydraulic dampers on doors of furniture, nor compare the mechanical advantages between rattan and say oak to make furniture. Of course she also used the time-proven technique among Taiwanese of cut-and-paste to achieve miraculous efficiency and empress-without-clothes sense of professionalism.

While another 40ish male “reporter and editor,” coworker of the above party, took the cake by taping one day much of the interview of an European trade show attendee, to then quote verbatim in the report the man’s every word as if spoken by Moses, when actually the man from the EU could only speak English gibberish.

Could the said bicycle firm placing the want ad be looking for his caliber of staff?

And has anyone noticed that most of the junk pickers (trash recyclers) in Taipei seemingly have not discovered the fine art of crushing plastic bottles to minimize volume to enhance maximum loading efficiency before filling bags? These people are homo sapiens too and born with the same type of grey matter occupying the cranium of other Taiwanese who may apply for the job above-mentioned.

This bicycle business should perhaps locate that 50ish Caucasian hobo who was spotted recently outside a Subway near the Taipei Train Station for consultation. He is obviously cunning enough to have figured out how to play the immigration system to stay in Taiwan as a vagrant to freeload off tax dollars and Taiwanese hospitality.

One can’t help to wonder if any of the senior governmental officials in Taiwan, some of whom hold advanced degrees from the East and West, could cut the mustard on the said job.
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Parlez-vous francais?

One’d think these fancy-suited bureaucrats with 6-figure paychecks would stumble over productive discussions with foreign buyers, most of whom are not on junkets when traveling on business, a concept that many senior civil servants may have to learn.

Of course there is that news video aired in Taipei many years ago of ex-president Mah viewing one of the testing firings of a missile that traced not the intended trajectory but one usually expected of a string of spaghetti thrown freely.

Could the designers of the said missile (presumably Taiwanese) be representative of the kind of laser-sharp-minded, proactive and detail-minded talent the bicycle firm seeks?

“Good luck” as the draft picker for the NBA would say to the 170cms. college senior with sights set on playing center.

¹The views and opinions expressed by Op-Ed authors are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Eye On Taiwan or it’s advertisers. Any content provided by our authors are of  their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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