Tuesday's Taiwan-ism {stamps}

Sooo, maybe this post is a day late....Wednesday's Taiwan-ism?!?! (ok, so it doesn't have the same ring...I'll try to stick with Tuesdays!) But to be honest, I've been beat lately! I think all this running around and trying to understand a new language is finally catching up with me and all I've wanted to do lately is SLEEEEP! But I'm awake now {I'm technically at school so I guess I hope I'm awake lol} and I've got a new Taiwan-ism for you!

I had heard about Taiwan's stamps (or signature stamps or chops) before I came here, but was still surprised by the amount that they are used in everyday life. In America if you go to the bank, they ask for your signature; if you sign a rental contract, they make you sign your name; if you buy a car, agree to a work commitment, or apply for a loan...you must sign a paper. We view this as a sign {no pun intended!} of ones approval and as a way of "making our personal mark".

In Taiwan though, this isn't the case.

In any of these legal situations in Taiwan, a person must use their signature stamp; and these are exactly what they sound like...a stamp, with your name on it. Within a month of moving to Taiwan I already owned 2 stamps; one for my bank account and a second for signing the purchase agreement and insurance on my scooter.

These stamps range from dinky & super cheap to beautiful works of art that are  much more costly. They can be square or sound and engraved into wood, plastic, or expensive stones. Virtually every street has at least one shop boasting that they engrave keys and stamps as well as many street vendors offering to make them as well.

Personally I feel as they are much more impersonal more easily replicated than a personal signature, but in this culture, it is the norm. These red stamps (they always use them with red ink) are every where you look here; from your pay stub, to art work on the walls, to your bank statements. The Taiwanese way of marking something as their own!