Global: Meet a Software Engineer in Taipei, Taiwan
Interviewer: Eric Shiu; May 29, 2020
Interviewee's name has been removed for privacy.
Software engineers work with cloud systems to group up applications, repositories, etc. (Towards Data Science).
Could you tell us about yourself and your occupation and how your occupation impacts the community?
I am a software engineer for a tech company called MI TAC Information Technology which is located in Taipei, Taiwan. My work is related to cloud system integration which is systems that try to group up applications, repositories, and different environments for multiple people to use at once.
Since companies in Taiwan haven’t laid off their employees I was wondering how COVID-19 has affected the functioning of your organization?
Well, our company has added some extra equipment and strict health codes to protect employees’ health. Luckily because of Taiwan’s situation with COVID-19, we are still able to work in the company buildings, while working just the same as in the past. Our building entrance is now equipped with infrared sensor cameras to tell if an employee has the slightest traces of fever-like symptoms. Within the building, we have to wear a mask at all times and wash our hands whenever we are moving to another location. For visitors, they have to first have their temperature taken and then give a health declaration saying they have zero contact with people showing traces of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
"Our building entrance is now equipped with infrared sensor cameras to tell if an employee has the slightest traces of fever-like symptoms."
What worries you most regarding the effect COVID-19 has/will have on your occupation?
I was worried about losing my job if any one of my co-workers had COVID-19 and my company had to keep everyone from coming to work. If my company doesn’t provide tools for employees to work remotely, the company would be suspended and eventually lose profits, slowly leading to the worst outcome: bankruptcy. This is especially alarming because my family is in the United States and rely on my work income to thrive.
I was wondering how has COVID-19 impacted transportation within a busy city like Taiwan?
Well, I generally take the MRT which basically equivalent to a subway in New York City. Within the subway station, people are enforced by officers and train managers to wear medical masks at all times. For extra precaution, I make sure I am holding the railings of the MRT with my right hand and, when leaving the MRT, washing my hands immediately. When walking around everyone has to wear a medical face mask whenever they can and keep a proper social distance, which is 1.5 meters indoors and 1 meter outdoors. When reaching home I will spray everything with 75% alcoholic rub on my keys and backpack to ensure safety from being infected.
If you are willing to share, how has COVID-19 affected you individually and your family?
Because of COVID-19, the Taiwanese government has changed all processes for foreign travelers to enter the country. The process blocks anyone who is not a Taiwanese citizen from entering the country, which also, unfortunately, blocks my family living in the US from visiting me. Also, even if they came to Taiwan, I wouldn’t be able to visit them due to the strict 14-day quarantine for tourists, which really bums me out.
All tourists must be quarantined for 14-days as imposed by the Taiwanese Government. During the 14-day quarantine, people can be fined up to NT$100,000 (around $3,000 USD) for first offense. By the third offense, however, the fine is increased dramatically to NT$1,000,000 (around $33,000 USD).
"The process blocks anyone who is not a Taiwanese citizen from entering the country, which also, unfortunately, blocks my family living in the US from visiting me."
What do you believe others can do to help ease problems encountered by your organization?
Follow the government suggestions and guidelines to stay healthy and stay safe. Simple tasks like following social distancing, not passing any false information or rumors about COVID-19, or even following strict quarantine orders would definitely help stop and prevent the spread of COVID within our company.
Since we are nearing the end of this interview, are there any other comments you would like to share?
During COVID-19, I really feel that the world is beginning to become more connected as a whole. Humanity, in my opinion, is starting to unite to fight against COVID and I feel that this feeling of unity should be carried throughout our lives.