In the lively streets of Taipei, there’s more than traffic and bustling markets. There’s wisdom to be found in the crowds and queues, lessons in patience, timing, and a touch of luck. Join me as we take a drive through Taiwan’s capital, uncovering insights that resonate not just on the road, but also in the world of investing. Buckle up for a unique adventure that intertwines life and finance, all with a hearty cry of “Welcome to Taipei!”

Welcome to Taipei!

After getting our new car, Taipei’s roads opened up like a jazz musician’s solo. Places far from the MRT, which took longer to reach, were now accessible. With a car, the possibilities multiplied.

Joining us on our journey was a fellow Malaysian friend who’s been a Taipei local for more than a decade. Familiar with the roads and once a car owner himself, he accompanied us to pick up our new car.

The Great Parking Challenge

Our first adventure? A trip to a Malaysian restaurant marked my first challenge of parking a car in Taipei. It’s far more challenging than in KL! Cars were lined up at the car park entrance, spots were blocked, and it was nearly impossible to fit the car into the tight space. I circled the lot and came back to the challenging spot, having to manoeuvre and turn the steering at just the right moment.

I almost wished they would draw a line for drivers to follow. After struggling and nearly reaching the point of frustration, my friend’s voice broke through, “Welcome to Taipei.”

A Weekend of Crowds and Lessons

The next day, we embarked on a 30 km journey out of Taipei city center to an outlet mall, feeling like adventurous investors searching for untapped markets. Lucky for us, we snagged the last empty parking space for an electric vehicle with a charging station. 

But when it came to lunch, every restaurant seemed as crowded as the stock market on a bull run. Line up, wait, walk to the next place, repeat – that was our song for the day. The food court was no different, with every seat taken as if they were hot stocks. We had to stand beside a table and wait, as if timing the market for the perfect entry. If we weren’t that lucky, we’d have gone hungry, a stark reminder of how even the best plans can go awry. 

And just as I was pondering how this mall, far from the MRT, could be as packed as downtown Taipei, my friend looked at me, a knowing smile on his face, and said again, “Welcome to Taipei.” 

It was a lesson in patience, timing, and a touch of luck – attributes essential in life and investing.

Don’t Go When Everybody Is Going

After the shopping, we were on our way back, stuck in traffic that moved as slowly as a bear market. The car’s confined space became a forum for discussion, our conversation weaving through the roads of Taipei’s reality and investment principles. It went something like this:

Me: “Now we have Weekends are for exploring smaller towns outside Taipei, tourist places, you know? The hidden gems of life.”

Friend: “It’ll be crowded, my friend. Just like an overbought stock, everybody wants to get there too.”

Me: “But weekdays are out! My son’s schooling, my wife’s working, and I’ve got to hustle to suit my family’s schedule. It’s like timing the market with a full-time job!”

Friend: “Weekends, you suffer to go, and suffer the jam when you come back. It’s like chasing a hot trend only to get caught in the downturn.”

Me: “Gosh, then what use if I couldn’t go exploring farther after buying a car? It’s like having investment capital and not finding the right opportunity.”

Before my friend could conclude with his usual wisdom, I beat him to the punchline, laughing, “Welcome to Taipei!” It was a moment of realization that the plans we make, whether in travel or investments, can sometimes face unexpected roadblocks. But with humour, adaptability, and a contrarian outlook, we can navigate life’s crowded spaces and still find joy in the journey.

Finding the Road Less Traveled – A Contrarian’s Guide to Taipei and Investing

The best time to go is when everybody else isn’t, like making a winter trip to Penghu Island or hitting the popular attractions on a weekday. It’s akin to having lunch at well-known restaurants instead of joining the dinner rush. This philosophy, as I navigated Taipei’s crowded spots, got me thinking about being a contrarian investor. Just like in the world of stock investing, you seize the opportunities others overlook. 

The legendary Warren Buffett encapsulated this approach with his quote: “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” These words resonate not only in the financial world but also in our daily decisions. So whether you’re finding that perfect parking spot, the best time to dine, or the right stock to invest in, remember the contrarian’s way. 

Welcome to Taipei, and welcome to a world where thinking differently often pays off.


Personal finance author and trainer

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