April 2003

the sars blog. this was actually much more interesting than i expected. though it doesn’t seem to contain much up to date information on taiwan, still nice to have lots of information on the spread of the disease in one place.via brushstroke tv.


jean mentioned on his blog this essay by momus about blogging. it’s an interesting read, especially his call for more photoblogs. i’ve been wanting to do a related blog to robot action boy that will be just of the various photos i’ve used on robot action boy, or snapshots i’ve taken that i just never got around to using on robot action boy. my concern is that the images are located on a server that will shut down if more than ten people view the images at the same time. of course, this begs the question will there ever be more than ten people viewing those images when i finally get around to setting up that photoblog? probably not, but i like to consider these things before getting started.

but to get back to the momus essay, while reading it, it reminded me that there was a time when i would see people and think to myself s/he should be my friend. it was just a feeling i got from certain people. but these days i rarely register such a thought. i’m not sure if that is just because i am older, or i just can’t be bothered with other people as much or just a case of living in taiwan. the last time i even slightly thought this was maybe a year ago(or longer) when i saw these guys on the mrt(subway) carrying some yo la tango vinyl. i’ve never been a big fan of yo la tango, but seeing people with vinyl always brings a smile to my face. i didn’t talk to them, but it was nice to see people that didn’t appear to be quite as homogenous as everyone else.

yesterday i got a postcard in the mail from the foreign affairs police station reminding me that my arc(alien resident certificate) and visa will be expiring next month. of course i already knew this and went in for my health test last week. i got the results back today and am happy to report i do not have leprosy, aids, or syphilis. the woman at my school who is processing my visa renewal has not done it before. this will be her first time doing it, so i hope it all gets done on time and quickly so i don’t have to get an emergency extension on my visa or worse yet, leave the country! i’m sure it’ll all work out in the end, but i’ll be happier once i have the new visa and won’t have paranoid thoughts whispering around in the back of my head.

a man comitted suicide because he thought his wife might have sars. in the end she didn’t have the disease, but the husbund is dead. are people just paranoid or stupid? my vote is with stupid.

i’ve also heard that people are threatening to move out of areas where sars patients are to be treated. it’s not like if you get sars you will die. it is a possibility, but you could die from the flu just as well. so why all this panic? is it the media that is causing people to be so ridiculous? i don’t know if they are causing it but the media here does have a lot to answer for. often times it’s hard to tell the difference between legitimate press and a tabloid. though i think the government is responsible for some of this. i’ve been told that the police will often use or threaten to sick the press on certain suspects if they don’t confess to certain crimes. when there is some sort of accident here(plane crash, auto collision) the press are often there blocking the way for medics to get in and treat the injured. freedom of the press is one thing, but delaying medical staff is not a good thing.

speaking of medical staff, i thought medical staff were there to help people, then how can they complain about being quarantined, you work in a hospital but never knew you might run the risk of being exposed to something? or of being quarantined so now you call it unfair when it happens? granted, there are definately things that should of been handled better, but the attitude of some of these nurses makes me wonder why they became nurses to begin with.

if no one is being allowed to leave the hospital how is it that the mayor can inspect the hospital and be allowed to leave? shouldn’t he be quarantined as well? i suppose he was using protective gear while these others were not. but still it seems a bit inconsistent.

they’ve quarantined a whole hospital here due to sars. i wonder if this will end up putting taiwan back on the WHO list of places to avoid? it’s been all over the news with some people rather angry at being quarantined. i’ve heard that some people had just been in the hospital for ten minutes(visiting someone) and are now stuck there. it sounds like maybe the way they closed the hospital wasn’t the best way. i mean if they knew they were going to close it or might be why did they allow people to still come in? but still everyone should know by this time that you may have to be quarantined at some point. still it sounds like they are handling the situation here much better than the situation in toronto. up until this latest outbreak, it seemed like people here were just living their lives like normal, and most people aren’t wearing masks(though the wearing of masks seems questionable anyway, as i’ve been told by students that most of the masks sold will not really protect you).

april 27th will be world pinhole day. only a few more days to get those pinhole cameras out and participate. the gallery from past world pinhole days is quite inspiring. if i had access to a dark room i’d be building my own for sure. i may still try to modify a disposable camera one day. via indigo blog.

students protest a rather scary piece of proposed legislation. i especially found this bit frightening:

Under the proposed revisions, those who reproduce, sell or rent pirated products will face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a hefty fine up to NT$8 million.

For example, people who copy CDs for friends, or purchase books from abroad for friends, or students who save information downloaded from the Internet on the their computers, will be prosecuted even if no complaint or lawsuit is filed, the group said, adding that the new law would only serve to “incriminate everybody in the country.”

hopefully the legislation will die or not be introduced at all, but considering how the government here likes to bend over to please washington i’m not holding out much hope. whether it will be enforceable at all is another thing. i’ve been told by quite a few of my students if you can’t copy it, it won’t be popular in taiwan. and when experts often can’t be certain something is fake how can the general public be expected to know? well, if i suddenly stop blogging you can assume i’ve been arrested for breaking part(or most) of this proposed law.

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