Speak Taiwanese? The sky’s the limit…

Air Macau hostessIt appears that, for some in the service industry at least, speaking Taiwanese is a desirable quality. Air Macau recently advertised lucrative positions as flight attendants which encouraged a huge number of applications from hopeful candidates. Due to Taiwan’s restrictions on direct travel to China, the flight paths between Taiwan and both Hong Kong and Macau are crowded with Taiwanese businessmen, on their way to touch down on neutral ground before heading off to Guangzhou or Shanghai. Hence the demand for Taiwanese-speaking employees:

空服員競爭有多激烈,連補習班老師都來陪考,哥哥妹妹一心一意飛上天,大家在主考官面前都力求表現。大家英文都很溜,但澳門航空不只要英文好,還要台語好。

Competition for places is fierce, and buxiban teachers* even accompany their students to the test centre. The young hopefuls desperately want their careers to take flight, and are anxious to show their best side to the interviewers. Everybody’s English is fluent, but Air Macau don’t just want good English, they want good Taiwanese too.

With salaries more than 50% above the average wage in Taiwan, it’s no surprise that so many are interested. The news site PCHome reports that 3% of applicants were successful, meaning that nearly 700 people (60/40 female to male applicants) were competing for twenty jobs.

*Just in case you were wondering, Taiwan has buxibans (“cram schools”) specifically for aspiring flight attendants – teaching comportment, etiquette and foreign languages.

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