Well, today’s the day. A meeting that I’ve been anticipating since Saturday.
It’s raining a little bit, but that’s not dampening my spirits. I’ll be meeting the president of Chung-hua Telecom about my 7-page letter, regarding all the problems I’ve had with this company since coming to Taiwan, but more importantly, since the iPhone 3G was released.
I made sure to get a good night’s sleep, got up early, shaved, had my coffee… and now I’m ready to go. I got an SMS from Tina Tsai reminding of the meeting at 10am, and to drive safe due to the rain.
Upon arriving at the Cheng-gong Road office, Ms Tsai met me at the front door. As we were walking through the office, we ended up passing through the cell phone shop. She reminded me that when the meeting was finished, we would look over the available phones.
I was introduced to Eliza Tseng. According to her business card, she is a Specialist in the Billing Department, Northern Taiwan Business Group of Chung-hua Telecom. Wow. I thought government titles were vaguely specific. Nonetheless, she was a wonderful person. The first thing she did was apologize. The president of Chung-hua was not able to come to Tainan, due to a meeting or another commitment. She then gave me a bag indicating it was specifically from the president with his apologies. Thanks were exchanged, and I quickly looked inside. All I saw was a white box with the word ‘iPhone’ written on it.
The meeting actually went quite well. We had a great conversation regarding Chung-hua Telecom, and the various problems I’ve been having for the past 4 or 5 years. Eliza did mention that the gift was indeed a new iPhone, in black. I had to chuckle. In my letter, I stated my disappointment at having received a white iPhone, even though I had pre-ordered a black unit. This told me that my letter had been read through.
In fact, she did mention, among other things, that my letter had arrived in their office on Thursday. A meeting was called, the letters given to each of the recipients, and they were told to read it. Once the letters were read, discussion began. Since the gift of a new iPhone was black, this told me they really read through the letter. It was 7 pages long, and the colour situation was a mere two sentences.
Before coming to Taiwan in 2002, I had read through a travel book about Taiwan. If not mistaken, I read through it at least twice, and once again on the plane. One of the items I do remember from the information, was about cell phones. The book stated that Taiwan people were ‘addicted’ to cell phones, probably more so than any other country on the planet (per capita). Once I got here, and even now, I’m always surprised when I see little kids, 6 and 7 years old, using cell phones. That’s Taiwan!
The other bit of information was that there were two major companies in Taiwan to get cell phone service. The two companies mentioned were Taiwan Da-Ge-Da and Chung-hua Telecom. Over the years, I have realized that there are a lot more telephone/cell phone stores and companies. Internet research showed there were over a dozen providers of telecommunication service in Taiwan.
Taiwan Da-Ge-Da, according to the book, was more of a cell phone provider. Chung-hua was more residential and other services relating to telecommunications, but were also getting into the cell phone business. Coming from Canada, the decision seemed easy. Chung-hua Telecom. Also, the name ‘sounds’ better.
So one of the concerns I had stated in the letter, as well as to Eliza, was that, since the information we as foreigners are provided, Chung-hua Telecom is the company to deal with when it comes to our telecommunications needs. Therefore, Chung-hua Telecom should be a lot more sympathetic to and provide information and help to English speakers. When over 90% of the world countries (not population) speak English as a first or second language, and considering that Taiwan people ‘officially’ begin English language studies in Grade 2 (elementary school), and that most of the bushibans and anginbans and cram school hire and teach English, that English should be, at least for Chung-hua Telecom, an option for people in general.
As this was another concern I had stated in my letter, Eliza indicated that, after reading this letter in the meeting on Thursday, the decision by Chung-hua Telecom to English language, is that they are going to place a higher priority on English service. This is not limited to just customer service. This will include billings as well. I mentioned, in all seriousness, that if during the translation of Chinese to English, if they need an ‘editor’, I would be more than willing to assist them.
Although this is not a term or condition or even mentioned in my letter, I am willing to assist them in any way that I can. I was also surprised that Eliza is willing to take me seriously on that issue, and pass that information on to the directors. The problem with translating, is that it is not exact. No matter what two languages are being interchanged, there will always be some little problem. This is where an editor comes into play. Sure, they can have their own people do the initial translation, but allow an English speaker to review it, and ‘correct’ the English for spellings, grammar, and linguistic terms.
I had stated in my letter, how disappointed I was with Ms He’s language abilities. Sure, I understand that she is not a person in a position of power. She has limits to what she is able to provide. I also understand, that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE, that she would be the only person in Tainan in Chung-hua Telecom, that speaks English. I did stress to Eliza, that I am in no way trying to find any retribution toward Ms He. I realize she is only doing her job, to the best of her abilities, in a second language. I do not want to see or hear of any, um, punishment given to her. I am not a vindictive person. Yes, I was frustrated. Yes, I did not get satisfactory results. Yes, I got tired of hearing, “I’m sorry.” However, she does not deserve to be ‘punished’ for doing her job.
So basically, this is the gist of the meeting. If I have any further concerns in the future, I have been asked to contact Tina Tsai directly. All my ‘charges’ up to now, have been reset to “0”. My account is flagged as VIP, which gives me a few little ‘perks’, due in part, to signing a new contract to 2014 (the length of my ARC) and the fact that I’ve been dealing with Chung-hua Telecom since I came to Taiwan (over 10 years). I received a new iPhone 4S, in black, and contacts here in Tainan as well as Taipei, should there be any other concerns or problems in the future.
I feel good about being able to resolve issues. It was also nice to know that someone was listening, and not just passing me off as a ‘crazy foreigner’. Also, given the potential of offering my English abilities to help Chung-hua Telecom to solidify their English language service, makes me feel good. This last point may not come to fruition, but knowing that they are willing to accept my offer to assist, is nice to know.
That’s it, that’s all… for now!