taiwan


taiwanese band won fu are doing a quick tour of the u.s. west coast, including a halloween date in seattle. they’re a band i’ve been wanting to see live, but always seem to miss. go check them out if you get the chance. here’s one of their more girly pop numbers:

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the taipei times reports on a good reason why you should always look into the toilet before sitting down on it:

A Nantou County man had an unpleasant surprise on Friday when a snake bit him on the scrotum as he sat on the toilet.

“I felt an excruciating pain in my lower body, like someone had stabbed me with a knife, shortly after sitting on the toilet bowl … I stood up immediately and saw blood oozing from my crotch,” the 50-year-old man, surnamed Lin (林), told reporters yesterday.

When he turned around and looked into the toilet, he saw a large snake in it, Lin said.

“I thought it might have been a poisonous snake. To prevent it from hurting anyone else I tried to flush the toilet several times but the snake would not go down the drain,” Lin said.

Failing to flush the snake, Lin shut the lid of the toilet and went to the hospital.

a few weeks ago peter and i went to the second run theater here to see milk. we both really liked the film of course. i had some concern as when we sat down there was a man sitting behind us talking loudly on his cell phone. luckily, once the lights went dark he stopped talking. it helped that the volume was a bit on the high side, but i didn’t hear anyone talking during the film and i don’t think that was just the volume.

the theater we went to is kind of famous since it’s the theater ang lee grew up going to. it’s one of the few theaters in taiwan still doing hand painted signs/illustrations for movies playing. an odd thing about going to this theater is it has rekindled my love of going to the movies. not just the seeing of the movies, but the joy of sitting in a theater and watching a film. i think this largely has to do with the fact that the theater is old and as a result has a character often lacking from newer theaters. the newer theaters may have better sound and newer seats but also are usually on the sterile side. they aren’t a place i want to hang out in, but older theaters have some sort of charm. maybe i’m bored with the desire for perfection and just prefer to see the cracks showing. slightly off sound, scratched film, they all have a certain something that appeals to me in the way the latest state of the art theater doesn’t.

now if the theater started showing wacky midnight movies i’d be more than overjoyed, but that sort of tradition sadly doesn’t really exist in taiwan.

today peter and i went out to the big luermen temple here. i’d been out by it earlier in the week and it looked like there were some events that might be going on. well, there were.what they were about i’m unsure. but i shot some very bad cell phone video of a bit of it:

you can see more here and here.

i’m not sure if this story is getting much coverage by the taiwanese media, but considering the state of the media in taiwan i’m not surprised if it isn’t. that link is in chinese, but the important thing is the video.

apparently, a junior high school boy(who may be slightly retarded) had gone to look for someone in another classroom. at some point i guess he shoved a girl. the girl got upset and got a group of boys to beat the kid up. she filmed it all(i guess she was quite happy with the result since she supposedly posted it to the internet originally). after several kids had beaten on him they made him apologize. that would make this story bad enough, but there’s more.

i’m told the principal then tried to cover it up. in taiwan parents pay tuition for their kids to go to school and there is heavy competition between schools to attract pupils/money(usually with claims about how high their students score on entrance examinations for better high schools or universities) so any bad press about the school would hurt it in number of students or financially.

the parents tried to pay off the boy or his family(with a measly 20,000 nt(about 600 usd)). i’m not sure if they accepted the money or not. but the parents were still afraid of a scandal so they tried to find a politician to cover up the story. i have no idea what came of that attempt. i sincerely hope it doesn’t work and that they are punished severely.

a bit of old news, but for those that didn’t hear, the oscars re-broadcast(ie the ones with subtitles) here in asia were censored. the words gay and lesbian were simply cut or muted. i haven’t heard any details on who made the decision to do this. i wouldn’t be surprised if it was someone in singapore eventhough the network (star) is headquartered in hong kong. a lot of chinese subtitles are done in singapore(and singapore is hardly a bastion of gay rights). movies(on tv) shown here(taiwan) in general tend to be pretty hacked up(i feel like it’s getting a lot worse too). even stations like hbo or cinemax cut their films quite a bit. sometimes it’s just a “fuck” that becomes “frick” or gore cut out so that in some cases if you haven’t seen the movie before you may be rather confused. if a station is completely local it’s less likely to be as censored. taiwan isn’t quite as homophobic as a lot of other asian countries. there’s at least one out tv host/guest, a transgender host, and locally produced gay and lesbian films have been aired on the public television channel. in this market any excuses for this kind of censorship are just ridiculous. i guess this is what happens when someone from a rather conservative viewpoint is allowed to make a decision for a large chunk of asia.

i’d never heard of this taiwanese singer before, but when it comes to music in taiwan there are bits of oddities to yet be discovered i suspect. at least discovered by me. via the chawed rosin

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