4/27/2008

No Dog Poop in Danshui



We decided to go out to Danshui again, one of my favorite places in Taipei. We had originally planned to grab the ferry over to Bali (八里) to check out a museum my cyclist-buddy Eric visited a while back http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericdiep/2391859311/ but decided against it upon arrival. The line-up was a couple of football fields long.

I took the shot of the above sign at the far end of the Danshui strip, but noticed the same sign coming back, just outside of the Danshui MRT station. I remember in a prior post that I said that I didn't normally like to make fun of Asian signs on this blog (other people have done that to death). But I couldn't resist putting this one up. It's amusing, but not so funny at the same time. Why? Well, Danshui is a major tourist destination in Taiwan. We know that Taiwan has been trying to be more "foreigner" friendly/tourist friendly (see the US$30 million the government just invested into developing Taiwan tourism). But this sign, which is new, will bother and offend many "foreigners". Others will smirk and make fun of it. I doubt that it will impress on anyone that Taiwan is a more sophisticated place that takes its sanitation seriously.

BTW, I can't rotate the vertical pictures I upload from my Mac here in Blogspot. But I'll put a full picture of the sign up here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrick_cowsill/2445864680/




This could be the original MacKay mission hospital clinic, from 1879. MacKay, a Canadian, set up in Danshui to try to convert the natives to Christianity. Besides preaching and converting, he also pulled teeth.

Remnants of an old building near the MacKay Church in Danshui, Taiwan.

4/19/2008

Taiwanese Not Forced to Serve in WWII

I managed to interview a Sakizaya war veteran during one of my recent trips to Hualien, Taiwan. One of things that came up in our interview was whether or not Taiwanese were drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. According to this man, they were not. He told me that he even had to take a test to get in, which he did willingly, just to follow friends who wished nothing more than to serve and reap the rewards, namely money bonuses and land at the end of WWII.

The issue of Taiwanese serving in WWII for the Japanese is a touchy subject - see the lack of even one good book on this subject. The old Sakizaya man I talked to, who we called Backee (Grandpa in Sakizaya), said that he wasn't receiving a vet pension, an interesting point considering all of the old KMT soldiers who do receive one in Taiwan (I think the figure is at around 80,000). 200,000 Taiwanese individuals served in the Japanese military in one way or another; these people have been ignored by both KMT and the DPP governments.





A couple of shots of trains, and how people used to ride during the Japanese colonial era. I took them in Hualien, just outside the main gate to the Hualien Train Station.


I took this shot at the Hualien Train Station. They've got a few old trains and engines on display directly outside the main gate.