9/29/2012

If You Could Read My Mind


My buddy Igor keeps firing Russian folk songs at me via Facebook. He was wondering if I could do the same. I was tempted to do the usual, see Bob Dylan, REM, or Neil Young. Then I remembered this song by Gordon Lightfoot, and was pleasantly surprised to find a great recent rendering on the Internet.

Message from India


I received this letter from Delhi, India. I'm going to post it up. I remember Eric, from France, in Taiwan for a short while. I put up a link to the photo album he mentions; there are some great shots. If memory serves, Eric has been teaching for a non-profit organization in India. He had been cycling by the Hsin Tien (新店) River and was trapped under Huanzhong (華中) Bridge in a sudden rainstorm. I was there with some Taiwanese friends, drinking Taiwan Beer and eating stinky tofu. We invited him to join us. The picture above is from his link. Both my wife and I are interested in what Tsai Ing-wen, whom he brings up, has to say about the issues as well:

I don't know if you remember me. A rainy summer afternoon, taking cover under a bridge, you shared a beer with me, more than a year ago. I hope you are fine. I am still living in South India. I still owe you a beer! 

I was in Delhi last week to work on the 'Auroville Festival', a one-week event showcasing Auroville to the capital in the India International Centre, and while I was on duty, Dr Tsai Ing-wen who was visiting India gave a talk in Delhi. I could not attend as the venue was quite far from the place where I was on duty (IIC). Around noon, a friend working at the Taiwanese Embassy calls me and tells me that the venue has been shifted to IIC!!! So I managed to sit in the room where five former Indian ambassadors were sitting, all ears to what Dr Tsai had to say. She is a simple and intelligent woman, easy to access. She was accompanied by Antonio Chiang. They gave a very interesting talk on "China-Taiwan relations: a DPP perspective"

I must say that I appreciate reading your blog. You may have seen this photo album on Picasa, it is going viral! Posted around September 24, the pictures have got something like 70,000 views now. The guy is a good photographer. Judging from the number of views in a few days, I believe that a photo exhibition in Taipei should be organised. 

Hey, today is teacher's day and as your blog has taught me a thing or two, so

Happy teachers day! 

9/23/2012

Monga Train Station Hotel


Another great picture from the Formosa Vintage Museum Cafe. This is the Monga Train Station Hotel (日本明治時代民國前艋舺火車站前霧__旅館). I left a blank space for a character I don't know. I think it's ㄨ in the second tone, but it's not showing up in my Chinese typing program.

According to discussion, the Monga Rail Station was finished in 1901 right around where the Hoping (和平) Hospital is today. It could have taken the place of an older station built during the Ching Dynasty (a line from Keelung to Hsinchu was completed in 1891). I'm also guessing the money for its construction came out of 28,800,000 yen budget passed by the Imperial Diet in Tokyo in 1899. Work on a island-wide train network commenced in April, 1899, four years into the Japanese colonial era. 

9/09/2012

Red House (現紅樓)


I came across this in one of my Facebook groups, Formosa Vintage Museum Cafe to be exact. I posted something on the Red House before. In my opinion, it's one of Taipei's prettiest, and most historic, buildings. Unfortunately, the propaganda our government uses to explain the place continues to be exhibited inside: http://goo.gl/Eq5rN

9/03/2012

Nazi Gold Caps? You've Got to Be Kidding



I took this shot at the Huashan Culture Center (華山創意文化園區) yesterday in Taipei. I have been told before in making such posts I am a.) a boring individual b.) humorless c) both. I don't see the humor in the pic above. Nazi Gold? Is it the name of a new band? Nazi Gold makes me think of Jewish people and the Holocaust. Not that I'm against thinking about the Holocaust. If you go to Israel, pretty much the first thing anyone asks you is if you've been to the Holocaust Museum. In putting Nazi Gold on baseball caps, where there is no context, something strange is going on as the message is probably meant for the head of some swaggering moron who has no idea about what is on his head. Selling these "Nazi Gold" caps is screwed up for many reasons. I could do a reason a day for the next month. 

I told the vendor the caps made me uncomfortable. She said sorry and put them away. Ten minutes later this one (above pic) was out again, so I took a picture. I was thinking it would be better for when I figured out who to complain to. To my surprise, the vendor started to follow me and even became aggressive. I told her the caps would undoubtedly make people think of what happened during World War II. At first, she apologized. She said she had no idea. She also said that a foreigner sold her the caps; therefore, she believed they had to be okay. When I shrugged and continued on my way, she tried to grab my phone. Then she said she'd have security detain me. For what, I don't know. I shrugged again. 

When I got to the sidewalk, the vendor became more emphatic, stepping right in front of me to block my way. Then she started jabbing me in the chest, calling me a troublemaker and lousy father. "Are you Jewish?" she angrily asked. Ha! Boom! So she did understand the caps could make people wince and the reason too. Actually, I heard her friend say the first time I complained

"Foreigners always complain about those caps." 

My wife and I were wondering why the vendor would lose her cool and go to such lengths over a photograph. My wife thinks that she doesn't really understand what she's doing. I, for reasons already given, am not buying that. I think the vendor has been taking flak for selling the hats -- more than she supposes she deserves -- and has finally had enough. That could be the reason she exploded yesterday. But that also gets me thinking about why she would endure. The hats must sell well enough to make it seem worthwhile.

I wonder who I should complain to about this? Huashan Culture Park? The city?