11/30/2006

Past Cuisine: Cannibalism in Taiwan




I came across this passage while reading Owen Rutter's account of his 1922 visit to Taiwan in Through Formosa: "The Chinese atrocities [in Taiwan], however, far exceeded any committed by the [aborigines]. The latter took heads, it is true, but the Chinese ate and even traded in their victims flesh. After killing an [aborigine], the head was commonly severed from the body and exhibited to those who were not on hand to witness the prior display of slaughter and mutilation. The body was then either divided among its captors and eaten, or sold to wealthy Chinese and even to high officials, who disposed of it in a like manner. The kidney, liver, heart, and soles of the feet were considered the most desirable portions, and were ordinarily cut up into small pieces, boiled and eaten somewhat in the form of soup. The flesh and bones were boiled, and the former made into a sort of jelly. The Chinese profess to believe, in accordance with an old superstition, that the eating of savage flesh will give them strength and courage…. During the outbreak of 1891 [aboriginal] flesh was brought in – in baskets – the same as pork, and sold like pork in the open markets of Tokoham 桃園 before the eyes of all, foreigners included; some of the flesh was even sent to Amoy 廈門 to be placed on sale there (Rutter 224-5)."
A lot of items are whitewashed from Chinese history. Still I have met a Taiwanese who can confirm this account. My friend Gloria, a sixty-year-old Hakka from near Ta Hsin (大興) atop Nanshih Chiao Mountain (南勢角山), Miaoli (see above picture), told me that her great-great uncle killed aborigines for this purpose. Her family would then boil the aboriginal flesh to make pills which were useful in bribing Ching Dynasty officials. One day, the uncle went out into the mountains never to return. His body minus a head was found a month later in a field. All of his flesh was still in tact, only decomposed a bit.

11/16/2006

Watering down the Dust



This guy is watering down the dust from a construction site even though it has just rained and will rain again (see overcast conditions). According to my classmate Simon, Taiwanese work at an efficiency rate of 44% compared to Americans. This seems to be a good example of what he is talking about. Recently, the work week has been reduced from six days to five, with hours going from 48 to 44. Taiwan does not lack a sharp workforce. Someday, it might even be put to good use.

11/12/2006

Strange Buildings in Wenshan 文山


A lot of buildings in our neighborhood are like this - tall and incredibly skinny. I wonder what's going to keep this one up in the next big earthquake?! Notice the powerline? That was a concern for my wife. She said that it will influence our bodily functions, our chi and that sort of thing. Having grown up next to a series of powerlines, I found this line a bit dubious. When I told her so, she replied: "Now I know why you're so retarded."

Look What I Found


This rickshaw was parked around the corner from my house.

Neighborhood Three-wheeler


Neighborhood Recycling


There seem to be a lot of these recycling five-wheelers around our place. There's a lot of construction, so I guess there are good pickings. Plus with all the new residents moving into the buildings, lots of cardboard boxes (new fridges, tables, chairs) are available. This cart belongs to our neighbor. He has another which his wife drives.

Wenshan 文山, Taiwan - New Apartment

We moved to Wenshan, on the East side of the city on November 1st. Our apartment is up top, on the right side.