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Centered P u b l i c at i o n

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t h e

C o m m u n i t y

S e r v i c e s

C e n t e r

on T A I P E I June 08, Volume 8, Issue 9

cover story

Only in Taiwan Drinking from a different well Chasing the birds Mary Chua, a life of service The heat of travel The Penghu Archipelago


CONTENTS 5

June 08 volume 8 issue 9

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

6 National Theater & Concert Hall june ‘08 Richard Recommends 7 Cultural Corner ABC (American Born Chinese) 8

9

gallery - june '08

9 cover story …Only in Taiwan 11 Art/Comedy Drinking from a Different Well 12 Outlook Home Leave or Home Grief?

16

15

Chinese Kitchen Mango/Mango with Beef

16

Casual Dining Shrimping makes for Adventurous Dining

18 Sports Paragliding at Green bay (Taipei County) 20

Taipei People Mary Chua: a life of service

22

Charity Teeing up for Golf

24 Environment The Heat of Travel 26

Further Afield The Penghu Archipelago

28

Healthy Being Entering the World of Chinese Medicine

30 Book Review Geography of Bliss

18

31

Charity Animals Taiwan

32 ECCT Better Living Forum Center Courses Community Events June 08 Worship Directory 33

26

Community Groups

34 Postcard Perfect

Cover Image: Susie Brand

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Letter From The Editor Publisher: Managing Editor: Editor: Co-editor: Graphic Designer & Production Manager: Writing and Photography Contributors:

Community Services Center, Taipei Mary Chua Roma Mehta Richard Saunders Katia Chen Daniel Altschuler Foxman S. Jones Brian Asmus Prashanta Lachanna Susie Brand Duncan Levine ECCT Amy Liu Ivy Chen Lawrence Newton Tina Chen Richard Saunders Susanne DeVore Marcus Van Marilyn Duncan-Webb Tami Wada Joanne Grady Huskey Katherine Young Paula B. Lee 0926 956 844 2835 2530 paulalee@community.com.tw

Advertising Manager: Tel: Fax: email: Community Services Center Editorial Panel: Siew Kang, Fred Voigtmann

Printed by: Farn Mei Printing Co., Ltd. 1F, No. 102, Hou Kang Street, Shilin District, Taipei Tel: 02 2882 6748 Fax: 02 2882 6749 E-mail: farn.mei@msa.hinet.net

Community Services Center www.community.com.tw Director: Mary Chua Office Manager: Grace Ting Counselors: Suzan Babcock, Kris Carlson, Amy Chang, Jennifer Chang, Perry Malcolm, Shirley Peng, Eva Salazaar-Liu, Cynthia Teeters, Jay Wilson Newcomer Orientation Program: Accountant: Taipei Living Editor: Program Coordinator: Events Coordinator: Chinese Teacher:

Amy Liu Monica Cheng Sharon Raju Anna Rico Paula Lee Gloria Gwo

Volunteers: Alison Bai, Judy Liao, Robyn McDougall, Helene Marwood, Deb Meyers, Gloria Peng, Sharon Raju, Kathleen Rice, Laureen Rivet, Rachel Van Haeff, Anne Marie Pot, Carol Schramer, Terri Tiland, Lillian Yiin Premier Sponsors: 3M Taiwan ANZCham B & Q International Bai Win Antiques BP Taiwan Breitling China American Petrochemical Co. Ltd. Concordia Consulting Costco Crown Worldwide Movers Ltd ECCT Four Star International Trading Grand Hyatt Hotel, Taipei HSBC ICRT Metacity Development Corp. Nan Shan Life Insurance Co. Ltd Nike Golf Nokia ProQC Studio International Siemens Standard Chartered Bank, Taipei The Community Services Center (CSC) is a non-profit foundation. CSC provides outreach and early intervention through counseling, cross-cultural education and life skills programs to meet the needs of the international community in Taipei. CSC offers the opportunity to learn, volunteer, teach and meet others. Check out our website www.community.com.tw and drop by the Center to chat with us about our programs. You can also email us at csc@community.com.tw.

Roma Mehta Editor

Richard Saunders Co-editor

Paula Lee Advertising Manager

Katia Chen Designer

A

fter more than five years as Director of The Center, Mary Chua is relocating to Manila with her family. Her kind, generous spirit and her warm smile will linger on long after her departure. In this issue of CoT, Brian Asmus managed to get Mary to talk a little about herself - not an easy task, I might add. Amy Liu explains the differences between ABC's and Returning Taiwanese and Joanne Huskey, a regular contributor to Centered on Taipei, recounts some happy memories that make Taiwan very special for her. Joanne will be moving back to the States this summer, but her explorations of Taiwan have resulted in many interesting articles for which we are very grateful. Our Outlook article this month is about an issue many of us face when going home for the long summer break. Marilyn Duncan-Webb ponders on ‘home leave or home grief?’ On a lighter note, Prashanta Lachanna introduces Dan Machanik, a stand-up comedian who is “giving audiences all over Asia a stitch in their sides….” For a taste of travel and adventure, Marcus Van introduces paragliding at Green Bay in Taipei County and Susanne DeVore explores the Penghu archipelago. Travel is definitely on many people’s agenda and Katherine Young takes a good hard look at the impact of travel on our environment, while Lawrence Newton reviews the fascinating journey of one man and his Geography of Bliss. Does the prospect of catching shrimp for supper sound appealing? Brian Asmus takes us on a different kind of dining adventure. This month Daniel Altschuler attempts to demystify the world of Chinese medicine and how to choose a Chinese medicine doctor. The ECCT Better Living Forum, designed to create an interactive means for discussions on how to improve the quality of the living environment in Taiwan, is now online. Duncan Levine gives us a little introduction to the Forum. Please remember to write your comments and suggestions! We love to hear from you. Safe travels and have a great summer!

Centered on Taipei is a publication of the Community Services Center, 25, Lane 290, ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 6, Tianmu, Taipei, Taiwan Tel: 2836 8134, fax: 2835 2530, e-mail: coteditor@community.com.tw Correspondence may be sent to the editor at coteditor@community.com.tw. Freelance writers, photographers and illustrators are welcome to contact the editor to discuss editorial and graphic assignments. Your talent will find a home with us! Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner. Centered on Taipei is printed on 50% post consumer waste content stock. We have also replaced the glossy laminated cover with a softer aqueous based resin coating which makes it easier to recycle. By committing to post consumer paper stock we support the market for recycled fibers and reduce environmental impact. Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing paper from virgin fiber. "Every ton of recycled paper saves enough electricity to power a 3 bedroom house for an entire year." (http://www.greenseal.org/index.cfm)

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RICHARD Recommends Richard Saunders

une is a good month for music-lovers with expense accounts, as there are several stellar concerts coming up with ticket prices to match. Front-seat tickets this month to, say, a night at the ballet with a feast of stars from around the world, or Anne Sofie Mutter playing that Vivaldi war horse the Four Seasons cost roughly the same as my monthly food bill. Luckily though, some of the month’s tastiest treats carry far more reasonable ticket prices. Among the top offerings this month is an appearance by Finnish conductor Jorma Panula, in town on June 28th to conduct an all-Sibelius program, including two perennial favorites, Valse Triste and the life-affirming second symphony, together with a real rarity: the composer’s only opera, The Maiden in the Tower. British pianist Stephen Hough, widely regarded as one of the best in the world, is also in Taipei to play Rachmaninov’s first piano concerto, a youthful piece written at the tender age of just seventeen. The first is far less played than its two muchloved successors, but it’s an impressive showpiece full of richly romantic melodies which deserves to be heard much more often. Completing the program is Bruckner’s vast, eighty minutelong fifth symphony, one of the great Austrian composer’s most imposing works; the performance - extraordinarily - is claimed to be a premier for Taiwan. Another great piano concerto, although one of a very different character, receives an airing at the capable hands of Yundi Li and the visiting Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on June 27th. Prokofiev’s second concerto is one of the most formidable in the entire repertoire, and never fails to give me the shivers. The piano part, which for once truly deserves that oft-used adjective ‘fearsome,’ is certainly an intimidating proposition for any piano virtuoso, but it’s the way these fireworks are put to use in a score of searing, scarifying intensity that ensures that this work, once heard, isn’t soon forgotten. The gentler, lyrical tones of Tchaikovsky’s famed violin concerto are also on the bill this month, played by the astonishing Japanese violinist Midori, who burst into an unsuspecting musical world in 1979 as a child prodigy at the age of eight. More Tchaikovsky as the National Symphony Orchestra’s cycle devoted to the composer’s orchestral music comes to a close on June 15th, with his marvelous, unnumbered ‘Manfred’ Symphony, based on the poem by Lord Byron. The work, written between the fourth and fifth symphonies (in 1885) counts as one of the composer’s masterworks, although it’s an uncommon visitor to the concert hall, in Taiwan at least. The symphony is accompanied with a logical coupling, the dramatic Manfred Overture by Schumann, and by his lyrical cello concerto. Finally, for something a little different, try one of three unusual chamber recitals coming up this month. First, Ravi Shankar’s daughter, Anoushka, is in Taipei for a sitar recital in the National Concert Hall on June 24th. A couple of weeks earlier, June 4th sees a recital for the uncommon combination of trumpet and piano at the National Concert Hall, courtesy of Alison Balsom, who’s forged a hugely successful career since becoming a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition in 1998. Also on June 4th is a recital at the Recital Hall by local clarinetist Juliette Tu, coupling Debussy’s charming Rapsodie and Poulenc’s poignant clarinet sonata (one of the composer’s last works, composed a few months before he died) with an extraordinary piece for solo clarinet, In Friendship by the late Karlheinz Stockhausen, generally considered one of the most influential (and controversial) composers of the last century.



june 08

National Concert Hall and National Theater june 2008 NATIONAL THEATER

Evergreen Symphony Orchestra

2008 Ballet Star Gala June 20 – 21

Works by Spohr, Wagner and Rimsky-Korsakov June 19

NATIONAL CONCERT HALL

Midori, the Pearl on Strings

Anne Sofie Mutter Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, plus music by Bach and Bartok June 1 Passion of Brahms The first symphony and second piano concerto June 3

Alison Balsom Trumpet Recital Works by Hindemith, Falla, Gershwin, Shchedrin and others June 4 RR

Lu and Hough Stephen Hough plays Rachmaninov’s first piano concerto June 6 RR

Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg and Wieniawski

The great lady plays Tchaikovsky June 21 RR

Alfonso Gomez Piano Recital Spanish piano music by Albeniz, Turina and Granados June 26

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Works by Prokofiev, Ravel and Beethoven June 27 RR

A Simple Heart – Conversations with the Master Finnish maestro Jorma Panula conducts Sibelius June 28 RR

Romance of Rachmaninov

June 7

The third symphony, and the Isle of the Dead June 29

Emmanuel Ax Piano Recital

Eurasia Chamber Orchestra

Works by Schubert and Liszt June 9

Works by Beethoven June 30

NSO Tchaikovsky Cycle X: Poetic Manfred

NATIONAL RECITAL HALL

Tchaikovsky’s Manfred symphony, plus music by Schumann June 15 RR

Juliette Tu Clarinet Recital

RR: Richard Recommends

Works by Debussy, Poulenc and Stockhausen June 4 RR

For full details, please log on to the Culture Express website at http://express.culture.gov.tw or take a copy of the monthly program from CKS Cultural Center, available from MRT stations, bookshops and ticketing offices. Publication of the National Theater and Concert Hall schedule in Centered on Taipei is sponsored by Cathay Life Insurance.

TICKETING OFFICES: • NTCH: (02) 2343 1647 • ERA: (02) 2709 3788


C

ABC

(American Born Chinese)

A

n Australian started a conversation with me recently at an airport lounge in Paris, after we discovered our flight was delayed for five hours. A couple of minutes into our conversation, I was struck by the question he asked: “Are you an ‘ABC’?” a terminology that I wouldn’t expect a Westerner to know unless he has had some close encounters with Chinese nationals. He later explained that he learned the term “ABC” from colleagues of various Chinese backgrounds while working at Silicon Valley in California. This conversation reminded me of my own identity crisis when I was growing up in San Jose, California. My family immigrated to the US when I was 14 years of age. I lived in California through high school, university and later pursued a further graduate degree in the US. I remember I was always bothered by the identity question when I was growing up, “Are you Taiwanese, American, Chinese American or…?” I am not an ABC but desperately wished I was one when growing up. My logic behind it was that if I were an ABC then I would naturally be fluent in the English language and I would not have to flip through the dictionary for every other English word in my textbooks. I also thought it would have been easier to make friends and have a better social life at school. The desire to be “Americanized” or have an “American” identity was great because I believed it was the only way to fit in and to be accepted in “American” society. I used to reply, “I grew up in America, but I am originally from Taiwan” to show the bigger part of me was connected to the Westernized me, but I now proudly reply to the question with the answer of, “No, I am not ABC, I’m Taiwanese.” Allow me to share with you what makes an “ABC” and who are the other subgroups of Taiwanese with American influences.

ABC’s “ABC” literally means American-Born Chinese. ABC’s are second, third or even fourth generation Chinese, born of Chinese immigrant parents living in America. The first significant number of Chinese immigrants arrived during the California Gold Rush in the mid 1800’s. They were mostly from Guangdong province in China and immigrated to America seeking labor work. From the late 1950s until the 1970s, many Taiwanese began to move to the United States, especially after the ban on Asian immigration was lifted in 1965. The first group of Taiwanese immigrants were educated Taiwan scholars, most of whom had graduated from Taiwan’s most prestigious university, National Taiwan University with science or engineering backgrounds. At the time there were no proper post-graduate degrees in universities in Taiwan, thus they could only pursue their further education and research

ultural

CROSS CULTURE

Amy's

Corner

overseas. Due to the prestige and fame of US universities as well as the good US diplomatic relations Taiwan had with the States back then, most Taiwanese students chose to continue their studies in America. Many later settled permanently in the United States and held occupations such as doctors, scientists, researchers, engineers, and professors. The second wave of Taiwanese immigrated to the United States when Taiwan lost the United Nations seat to China and the USA withdrew recognition of the R.O.C. in favor of China in 1979. A large group of Taiwanese moved away due to the political and economic uncertainty of Taiwan’s new position. In the mid1980s onward, many of those who moved to the US were from affluent and well educated families seeking to broaden the international view of their children. The descendents of these Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants alike are referred to as “ABC’s” (American-Born Chinese). Regardless of whether ABC’s are descendents of the early Chinese immigrants from the mid-1800s, or second- or thirdgeneration descendents of Taiwanese arriving in the US since late 1950’s, ABC’s have their own subculture. They are native English speakers, and some speak the language (to a varying degree of fluency) of their parents, but many do not know how to read or write Chinese. If they live on the east or west coast of the USA, where there are strong Chinese communities, they are generally sent to attend weekend classes to learn Chinese and to maintain a good connection with Chinese culture. ABC’s by and large are well-educated, energetic, adventurous and independent. They hold good positions in all industries.

Returning Taiwanese In contrast to the ABC group, there is another group of returning Taiwanese who are strongly influenced by American culture. This “Returning Taiwanese” group consists of Taiwanese families who immigrated to the US when their children were either in elementary school or of middle school age in the 1970s and early 1980s. In many cases, splitting the household is a common strategy seen among these immigrant families from Taiwan where the mother moved with the children to the US while the father stayed behind in Taiwan to work and earn money to support the family in their new home. Another group that falls under this “Returning Taiwanese” group is called “hsiao liu hsuei sheng” (小留學生, literally “young students studying aboard”). These are children who went to the US alone, without their parents, often staying in a boarding school or living with a relative who lives in the US and can act as a guardian. Returning Taiwanese, including both the immigrant families and young students have often lived or worked in the States for at least seven to twenty (or more) years. They spent their prime education in the US school system and are greatly influenced by the American mindset. They are fluent in both English and Mandarin, and have assimilated mainstream American culture while at the same time retaining traditional Chinese values taught by their parents at home. In the workplace, they are not

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June 08 GALLERY only bilingual but are also bicultural where they can serve as a bridge between the local Taiwanese and their global team counterparts to understand and relate to both American and Taiwanese cultures. Gaining an enhanced international viewpoint A third large group of Taiwanese who have lived in the US obtained their post-graduate degrees there after completing their university degree in Taiwan. They were mainly in the United States for studying and most return to Taiwan after obtaining their degree or degrees. It is a wide-spread desire to have the opportunity to pursue further education abroad to enhance one’s horizon and international viewpoint. As a result, many Taiwanese have master’s or doctoral degrees and commonly hold multiple degrees from the US and/or other countries. Most group together with people of their own backgrounds studying, living, or traveling together, but while accustomed to daily life in America, may not necessarily understand the deeper Western cultural values of being independent, individual or direct in communication with others, due to lack of interactions with Westerners. During the 1990s, political liberalization and economic development in Taiwan encouraged many ABC's and others who lived in the States to return to Taiwan to pursue careers and education. I myself returned during this period, and many locals have a “love-hate” feeling toward these returnees. Locals are excited to meet and learn from those who are somewhat “Americanized” as they perceived them, yet at the same time they stereotype the returnees as arrogant, rich, overly open-minded, and with poor command of Mandarin language skills and etiquette. The challenge for any returnee to the workplace in Taiwan has been how to best bring back the global skills and knowledge to improve collaboration and productivity in the Taiwanese office while at the same time not seem aloof due to one’s education and experiences overseas. Local Taiwanese certainly make clear distinctions and have varying perceptions of the three subgroups (ABCs, Returning Taiwanese and those have had received a postgraduate degree overseas). Nonetheless, their return has no doubt contributed to the changing of Taiwan’s industry and helped Taiwan to excel in the world in the high-tech industry and reinvigorate traditional business in manufacturing, trading and other fields. They are key members of the global team in bridging the gap of work style differences to ensure effectively working in a global environment. I strongly believe that to become a competent global player and leader in this competitive world, it is crucial not only to have foreign language capabilities, but also to understand international business practices. Only by increasing one’s awareness of cultures and insights of differences in values, as ABC's and others that have lived overseas, is this possible.

For more on Amy's Cultural Corner, please check out www. community.com.tw, phone the Community Services Center (02-2838-4947) or email Amy Liu at amycliu@yahoo.com or amycliu@community.com.tw

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n her unique artworks, Ling Yu-in turns garbage into gold. Using leftover scraps of cloth and wood planks, she has invented a new art form which she calls ‘buhua’ or cloth pictures. By giving second life to what others may regard as trash, she conjures up beautiful pictures; turning rags into riches, she demonstrates how we can all make something out of the most ordinary, inconspicuous things. Also in the Gallery this month is a selection of beautiful ceramic items such as pen stands, candy jars, vases and plates from Masterpieces Merchandise co., Ltd. A percentage of all proceeds of items sold at the Gallery go to The Center, so please remember that by displaying and shopping here you are helping us to provide much needed services to the international community.


cover story

.. .

n T i y ai wan l n O

text: Joanne Grady Huskey images: Susie brand & Roma Mehta

L

ast year, I had a visit from a world famous photographer, who after seeing the place said to me, "Taiwan is the best kept secret in Asia!" Now after four wonderful years of living here, I have to agree with him. Taiwan is a treasure. The culture is fascinating, the mountains are gorgeous, the cities lively, the hot spas exotic, the politics wild, and the food fabulous. The deepest impression, however, may be left by the warmth, hospitality and friendliness of the people. Another visiting friend of mine noted, "The people here genuinely want you to like Taiwan; they make you feel so welcome everywhere you go." In all of Asia, I don't think there is another place that has the same generosity of spirit and friendliness as the Taiwanese. In fact, every expatriate who lives or visits here can tell stories of little acts of kindness that happen to them all the time in Taiwan. Every time a person goes that extra mile or does that sweet gesture, I think to myself, "Wow, only in Taiwan!"

For example, one time, Helen, a friend of mine was in a taxi cab and she received a call from another expatriate friend who had a flat tire on the road and was completely at a loss for what to do. The cab driver heard the conversation in the cab, dropped Helen off and went to find her friend with the flat tire, changed the flat, and helped the lady get on her way. Where else in the world would something like that happen? Another day it was raining heavily and my friend Roma was walking along getting drenched when a person on the other side of the road crossed the street and offered her shelter under her umbrella. This kind stranger then walked Roma to her destination. One day my son left his cell phone in a taxi cab. In most cities that would be the end of it, but in Taipei, the cab driver called every contact on my son's phone until he figured out to whom the phone belonged. He then drove to our house and dropped the phone off and (of course) wouldn't take any money for the kind gesture! A month ago, I was at the doctor's office in a large city hospital. I met with the doctor and departed, forgetting the medicine he had prescribed for me. As I drove away from the hospital, I saw the nurse running after me in my rear view window with my medication in her hand!

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In Taipei one has to be very careful what you ask for, because you just may get it. For example, when a large construction site was about to start development next to my house, the contractor came to pay a visit. He said that he was sorry for the inconvenience the project would cause me and wondered whether there was anything he could do. I, teasingly, said "Why don't you plant a wall of bamboo between our house and your site!" Sure enough, the next day, I woke up and looked outside my window and a slew of gardeners were indeed planting a full row of bamboo along the side of my yard! O n a n o t h e r o c c a s i o n I n o t i c e d M r. Wa n g , t h e transportation supervisor at TAS, was taking photos of a performance I was in at the TAS Spring Fair. I mentioned to him that I would love to see the photos. A few days later, he delivered seven scrapbooks with photos of our performing group and seven CDs. He had made a full set for each member of our group! Many people have tales to tell of how Taipei people go out of their way to help you when you ask for directions. Once, when I first arrived in Taipei, I was driving in a car and rolled down my window to ask the man on the motorcycle next to me how to get to Roosevelt Road. He pulled his motorcycle over to the side of the road, got off the bike, took off his helmet, pulled out a map, and proceeded to show me how to find my way. Startled at his kindness, I couldn't imagine something like that happening in Washington D.C. Another time, my friend, Jan and I left our cars parked in a parking lot on Yangmingshan for twenty-four hours. We went to retrieve the cars the next day, and as we began to put money into the parking meter machines, the park policeman came over to us and instructed us to put our money away. He then quietly lifted the barrier across the lot entrance and allowed us to leave the lot without paying a cent.

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While walking on hiking trails in Taiwan, every person you pass says hello and wishes you a fine day. In restaurants people refuse to take tips. Even the guys at Costco will carry your groceries out for you, help you put the things in the car, and refuse to take a tip. Remarkable! Six months ago, I hired a taxi to take my daughter's shoes to school for her. The driver not only drove the shoes there, but walked them into the school and made sure they were delivered to her. I could hardly pay him enough for his generosity. The kindness of the people on this island is unsurpassed; and on top of it they remain humble and gracious. It has been such a pleasure to live here and get to know so many wonderful people with such a generous spirit. Taiwan has much to teach the world. I will take these memories with me as I leave. Taiwan has taught me that being kind can be a way of life, one that I want to continue wherever I go. I thank the Taiwan people for this lesson and for four years of gracious hospitality. Huanying guanglin! (which means something like ‘we welcome you’re illustrious presence!’) Joanne Grady Huskey is a member of the Board of Directors of the Taipei American School, an English Docent at the National Palace Museum, a student of Chinese, Tai Qi, and yoga, a member of the International Women's Choir, a singer in the band Avalon, and a self-proclaimed Taiwan enthusiast.


text: Prashantha Lachanna images: Michael Geier

“S

o, t e l l m e a n a n e c d o t e from your childhood.” He looks upwards in a searching sort of fashion, comfortably slumps back into the couch, then bursts out with “My bar mitzvah was in a Chinese restaurant! What does that tell you?” We break in loud, balking laughter, gather our dignity then break down into hysterics again. Dan Gonzo Machanik, comedian extraordinaire, is giving audiences all across Asia a stitch in their sides from his side-splitting comedy shows. Performing all over Asia and, more r e c e n t l y i n C h i n a, M a c h a n i k i s brewing up a comedic storm. On the 10th of May, Machanik performed his knock-out show, “The Comedy Raj: Misadventures through India and Beyond” at the Comedy Club in Taipei. As a comedian, he’s quick, spontaneous, insightful, and slightly ridiculous. He began the show by saying, “I went to India because I wanted to see where all my calls were being answered.” During the course of his show, he observed that the national passion of cricket in India was a game obviously created by drunken baseball players. Speaking of his experiences at the Taj Mahal, which is cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and one of the most universally recognized masterpieces of the world’s heritage, he noted that when translated into English, “Taj Mahal” meant, “Let’s milk the tourists.” Counter-culture influences I ask Dan how well comedy is received in Taiwan and he spouts off various incidents in which he was stopped in the street by people who have watched one of his shows, recalling his stories. Dan says this is only possible because his material

art/comedy

Drinking from a

l l e W t n e r e f f Di

is resonant with people, based on everyday experiences. This goes back to the Machanik philosophy of being the kind of absurd social commentator that he is, by actively participating in the craziness of life with a healthy dose of provocation – all delivered back to us with split-second timing and a lop-sided grin to boot. Machanik is pretty confident of his individual style as the reason that he, well, is drinking from a different well. Machanik says his influences are drawn from counter-culture icons like Jim Morrison, Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce and Hunter S. Thompson. I ask why. They broke the rules and set new boundaries and that’s exactly what Machanik does and that’s why he will be doing a show in China later this month. He points out, quite rightly, that getting a slot in China isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Machanik will act as master of ceremonies and opener for the comedy show. He is also optimistic about getting his work onto the award-winning Jay Leno or David Letterman shows. Machanik’s confidence comes from the awareness that right now, he is doing the funniest, cleanest, most up-to-date shows around Asia. Opening his China set is Dan’s insight into the burgeoning middle class of China. He says “China. One point three billion people…and they all started driving last week!” The Comedy Club I query Dan on The Beginning of the Craziness. He recounts his early days as a comedian with almost frightening detail. Starting off at twenty years old, Machanik took a chance at The Tippler, a club in Aspen and ended up winning thirteen weeks in a row. Eventually he landed up in Taiwan where he has been so well-received by

audiences and the media. Machanik speaks of The Comedy Club as the most important development for comedians looking for a professional, supportive venue to perform in and encourages artists to take their work out there. The Comedy Club itself was opened by Social Chang ( 張碩修) and his p a r t n e r s o n M a y, 2007. S o c i a l himself has a background in theater and opened up the club as a nursing ground for comedy in Mandarin and English. The club runs from Wednesday through to Sunday with most of the shows in Mandarin and two to three nights of English shows per month. This is a one-ofa-kind comedy performance venue in Taipei and Social quotes the shows as unique and entertaining. He has had a spectrum of performers at his club: comedians, magicians, musicians, improvisation actors, hypnotists, mind readers, puppeteers and rappers. He adds that all new, upcoming artists are welcome to perform at his venue as there is an Open Mic night on the first Wednesday night of every month. If you didn’t catch Dan “Gonzo” Machanik in his last show, don’t miss the next one on June 21st at the Comedy Club. Visit www.comedy. com.tw for reservations.

Prashantha Lachanna has lived in Taiwan for four years and is an active participant in the madness.

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outlook

Home Leave or Home Grief? Is the prospect of going home this summer thrilling you or filling you with dread? Marilyn Duncan-Webb explores the joys and strains of balancing friends, family and expectations in the hazy days of summer text: Marilyn Duncan-Webb

T

he holiday from Hades or the best few weeks of the year, opinions on home leave often seem to be polarized. Most of us count the days and hours until we get on the plane, yet after we arrive, juggling our own excitement to be back home on familiar turf, the needs of our families and friends, whining, jet-lagged kids (and adults) and fitting in a few days' holiday can all add up to a nightmare rather than the dream vacation we anticipated. I asked several expats from different parts of the world about their home leave experiences: "My family is from the US and my husband is from Germany," explained one young woman. "This means a round-the-world ticket and trying to fit in one-on-one time with people in different continents. Homeless at home If you have a property in your home country and it's available for you at home leave time, all and good. You and your children and visitors too, can settle back in, but what if you are "homeless at home"? The preferred alternatives are to rent somewhere or stay with relatives, or combine the two. The former seems a little heartless when everyone's inviting you to stay, but it can be an equitable solution and provide you with a little "me-time" in a hectic schedule of visits and parties and cause less jealousy. Who hasn’t heard the plaintive, “you spent a whole week with them and only a long weekend with us!” Faced with this conundrum myself, we rent a truck and trailer, which means that we literally have a mobile home that we can trail round and park at a site near where groups of friends and family live. This heads off some of the exhausting dashing between friends’ and relatives’ spare bedrooms in houses across the nation. Renting the rig also provides the excuse (and the means) to get away to some wonderful wilderness retreats when the atmosphere becomes too intense. Others rent furnished holiday homes and set up camp, inviting everyone to congregate there on what could be called “neutral ground” where there are fewer power plays. Quality time with relatives? Staying with relatives is another option that can work

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both ways. Another mother I interviewed stayed in her parents’ house for four weeks last summer and describes it as the worst holiday ever. "We had all been looking forward to it, so we had high expectations, but it all seemed to go wrong. The kids were out of routine, so they were upset, my father couldn't cope with their noise and energy and it became a disaster. I spent half the holiday resentfully walking round the park. I've sworn never to go again and just have a holiday in Asia instead." A drastic reaction perhaps, but one that isn't particularly uncommon. However, there is an upside to this. A mother of two young children who has many siblings back in the US says, "my children have a wonderful relationship with their grandparents because when we visit, we're there 24-7 and it's quality time. When their other grandchildren, who live within an hour’s drive, visit for, say, Mother's Day lunch, there will be fifteen other people there at the same time, so I think my children have an advantage." Singles and adult children Young singles and couples whose children are grown up experience quite different responsibilities. As a student or teacher in Taipei, your budget and your time may be limited, so although there's pressure to go home, you're keen to explore other parts of Asia while you have the opportunity. Those of us who have adult children, may be faced with the difficult logistics of our sons and daughters having moved away from our countries of origin, or at least away from the place where we lived as a family, so home leave becomes something else entirely, away leave, perhaps. A comment I heard was, “One lives in the US and the other is in Australia, so I’m not sure when I’ll ever get home to Britain.” Grandchildren further complicate the logistics. However, as one mother who has four children pursuing international careers commented, "Even if your children lived in the same country as you, you might not see them any more frequently". The upside of this is that having your offspring settled around the world provides opportunities for further travel to destinations you might not otherwise visit at “home leave time”.


what's your objective? Families with both parents employed in Taipei have to factor in limited leave time, which means that there is no possibility of extended home leave for either. The hope is that the kids/sisters/aunts/cousins will visit here. Unfortunately, Taipei may be a fine place to call home, albeit temporarily, but it's not at the top of many people's lists of tourist destinations. Nevertheless, if the people who are important to you take time out to visit you here, it adds a very special level to your relationships and creates in them a wonderful understanding of the nature of your everyday life. "Try to work out what your real objective is; is it to have a vacation, or to catch up with family and friends? Can you do it all, how can you achieve some balance?" adresses Charlene Aspinwall, former Counselor at the Community Services Center. "You also have to consider family issues that recur. For example, if your mother is very controlling, do you realistically expect to change things during one vacation, or can you simply let it slide in the name of harmony? Often when we go home, we revert back to our childhood roles and we have to question how comfortable we are with that.” Charlene explains that it is hard to dive into deeper issues when you’ve been apart from your family for months and months for a whole variety of reasons, distance and time being only two of them. This is something that has to wait until the relationship has been re-established, and it is unlikely to be resolved in a short time-span. Feeling irrelevant Cross-cultural experts agree that when you return to visit your home country, sometimes you feel irrelevant. Your perspective changes and what is important to you is immaterial in a different context. Cleveland, Mangone and Adams in The Overseas Americans call this the Uncle Charlie Syndrome, quoting one of their interviewees: “I remember when we got home from Moscow people asked me how it was there, but before I could open my mouth, they would begin telling me how Uncle Charlie had broken his arm. They profess interest in things abroad, but they really aren’t interested.” Most of us will have fielded the question, “So, what’s Taiwan like?” and after the first sentence of your answer found that the topic has changed. We quickly learn to keep quiet about the specifics, unless the questioner is genuinely interested in our lifestyle. Equally the minutiae of life at home may seem trivial to you and you soon become bored with endless conversations about office politics, school runs and committees that no longer involve you. It helps to maintain year-round regular contact through letters, phone calls or email and by reading the local or national newspapers on the Internet, so that when you return, you can more easily pick up the threads of what’s going on. Experiences change you Even close friendships change. Experiences of living overseas, not shared by people at home, will certainly have affected you, so you won’t necessarily be able to jump right back into the relationship, however close it might have been in the past. Remember too, your children and their home friends and cousins will have

matured since you last saw them, but the positive side of this is that rediscovering these young people “newly grown up” can be a fascinating experience for you and your children. There may also be resentment of what is perceived as an enviable lifestyle – the expat life has a luxurious image, with amahs, drivers, allowances, entertaining budgets, free travel and so on. Whether this is an accurate description of your life or not, it is certainly one that prevails and, unless your pals at home have had some experience of overseas living, they will not understand the unique strains that making your home in another culture, communicating in a different language and without a stable support circle delivers. Charlene examines this issue from the reverse viewpoint as well: “You have to remember that although you are on holiday, the people you are visiting may not be. They still have schedules, children’s after school activities, work commitments. You can’t expect them simply to drop everything because you are visiting.” Home again to Taipei And what about when you return? Do you, like me, hit the ground running, engaging in a desperate round of work and social commitments to get through that little grieving period after every parting? Or do you heave a huge sigh of relief to be back in your routine? After all, even though it may not be our permanent home, Taipei is still our place, for the time being at least. Charlene notes, “You need to readjust; you can’t always leap right in. You may need time to process what’s happened because this is yet another transition.” No perfect paradigm Everyone I talked with seems to agree: whatever works for you is fine. There is no paradigm for perfection. Holiday disaster tales abound, primarily the result of over-ambitious plans, or enhanced expectations. Fortunately, most of us seem to crystallize a plan that results in the most gain and the least pain. Charlene sums up these workable solutions, characterizing them as creating blocks of good quality time, managing expectations, giving thought to the objectives of the trip and acknowledging that you, your friends and your family will have changed since you last saw them. And to end on a positive note, almost everyone I spoke with said that, after they had smoothed out the kinks in their holiday plans, often learning from their mistakes, they had memorably joyful home leaves, and were able to maintain strong bonds with their families. Some said they had discovered new ways of interacting with their friends, looking at them from a fresh viewpoint, not simply through tear-filled eyes across the security barrier at the airport.

M a r i l y n D u n c a n - We b b w o r k e d a s c o - e d i t o r f o r Centered on Taipei during her stay in Taipei. She now lives and works in Manila as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank. She has over 20 years of professional experience in the communications industry.

june 08

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Image: Huang Xiang-ting

MANGO 芒果 [Mangguo] Mangoes have been successfully cultivated in Taiwan since they were first planted here in 1562. There are more than six varieties in the market in different seasons and from different regions. Taiwan mangoes vary in length from 3 to 9 inches and in weight from 100 grams to about 1 kg. The skin color varies from greenish-yellow to yellow, and yellow or orange with a red flush. Try to pick strong, aromatic mangoes, because they are riper and sweeter than those with less scent. Almost all kinds of mango can be served as a dessert, preserved, dried, or pickled in vinegar. The first species that was brought to Taiwan is the ‘native mango’ (土芒果 tu mangguo). This small, greenish-yellow mango has a particularly strong scent and rather sweet flavor when ripe. A disadvantage is that its pulp is rough and fibrous and the fruit has a large seed. Unripe fruit have a sharp acidity and crisp texture, which is perfect for making the “lovers’ fruit” (情人果 qingren guo). The season for native mangoes is from March to July. The orange, red-flushed variety of mango is called “Aiwen” (愛 文) and has less fibrous pulp and a delicate sweetness and aroma. Aiwen is widely used in making various desserts (pudding, sorbet, panna cotta, etc.) and savory dishes (with beef, chicken, and prawn). Aiwen are in season from May to early August. Jinhu ang (金煌) is the largest mango grown in Taiwan, weighing up to 1kg. It is even less fibrous than Aiwan , and tastes a bit creamier. Jinhuang has a very thin seed that gets the highest yield of pulp. The season lasts from April to September.

MANGO WITH BEEF 香芒牛柳 [Xiang mang niuliu] INGREDIENTS 1 Aiwen mango, 250g sliced beef tenderloin Marinade: 1/4t salt, 1/2 egg white, 2t cornstarch Flavoring: 1/4C chopped spring onion, 2 slices ginger Seasoning: 1/3t salt, 1/8t black pepper DIRECTIONS 1.Marinade beef for 30 minutes. 2.Peel and stone mango, cut into long stripes. 3.Quickly fry beef at 160º till color changes. Drain well. 4.Heat 1T oil, fragrant ginger and spring onion. Add mango and beef, stir fry for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. For special rates please mention promotional code: AT-2 june 08

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casual DINING

I

Shrimping Makes for Adventurous Dining By Brian Asmus images: susie brand

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had been suffering from a bit of Taiwanitis brought on by a recent apartment renovation project that had me literally cursing every time I heard the expressions “yinggai keyi-a” or “chabuduo-a” (I’ve added the “a” particle to reflect the exact Taiwanese sound). These are all shopworn excuses for unacceptable workmanship. The following is a list of expressions that I got from my credit card company, local bank, post office, dry cleaners and five-star (?!!) hotel staff among others to tell you that something cannot be done (read: I don’t want to do it): “bu xing,” “bu keyi” and “mei you banfa.” I was about to be administered a much needed tonic. Joking around with good friend Veronika Bobke had led to a plan to organize an outing among 15 to 20 friends to go shrimping at Song Yuan Shrimping Grounds near her house in suburban Waishuangxi. What is involved is a swimming pool, into which are dumped large crates of live shrimp imported from Thailand. Aficionados then sit around the edges fishing them out with a rod and baited hook. For the latter, pork liver and small shrimp are preferred. Having misread the announcement, I arrived over one hour early, but I was actually happy that I did. Entering with two bottles of bubbly, I was casually greeted by the frizzy-headed laobanniang (owner’s wife) with the requisite dog sacked out on the floor at her feet. The body (of the dog, that is) is one that can be found only in Taiwan: stocky, floppy tail, unnaturally short legs. “You want to put that in the fridge?” she asked in Chinese. “It is right over there.” Any corkage or fees? “Nope.” I asked her if she wanted to try a glass, as I intended to have one while waiting. “Okay. What is it? Oh, sparkling wine. From Argentina, huh? I don’t really know what that is, but what the heck, I’ll give it a try.” She even had a cork screw ready! When I explained one was not needed, she laughed. “I never understand these things…” The loaves of bread that I had bought at the American Club Market also grabbed her eye. “What’s that then? Oh, bread. From the American Club? Is it expensive?” I let her grab a hunk. While I was waiting by the entrance, one of the shrimpers came out to buy cigarettes, striking up a conversation with me in fluent English. “I’m from the States, Boston. Just came back to work on a project but heading back soon to get my son off to college. I hope he gets accepted in state. The tuition has really gone up!” After 20 minutes, I figured I might as well give into the boss lady’s suggestion that I pick up a rod and have at it. The cost is NT$300 per person for the first hour and NT$200 for every hour after that. Anything you catch, you get to eat. Given the physical resemblance, I will assume that the person helping me out with this was her brother. These businesses tend to be very much family affairs. He proceeded to drop my rod into the pond to measure the depth, set up the hook and even helped me bait it. Flopping it into the water, I waited a few minutes. Nothing. He offered a few tips. Across the pond, a young couple had managed to snag one. I applauded. They laughed, smiled and waved.


A few minutes later, it was my turn, earning me the thumbs up from several of my newfound friends. The brother rushed to help me get the shrimp off the hook, placing it into a mesh bag that hanged from the side of the pool. He then re-baited it and I was back in business. In all, I managed to catch about three before the other guests started to arrive, wine bottles, cheese, snacks in hand. The boss lady kept the glasses coming. She clearly enjoyed the entertainment value of this influx of foreigners. Various family members accumulated around a table, where they snacked, drank beer and plum wine (she offered a glass to me and anyone else who wanted to try one as well), and yakking. While we had the best of intentions about doing something other than quaffing wine and chatting, in fact, only two or three people at a time took up the challenge of catching that night’s meal. That said, regular rotations did ensure that everyone had a chance to try it out, with varying degrees of success. After about ninety minutes, I think that we had cumulatively caught nine. My English-speaking friend donated his haul of fifteen to the group. The boss lady tsk tsked that 24 would hardly be enough for

our group, throwing in (for free!) another thirty or forty, which she then instructed the staff to roll in salt and cook for us. When this was ready, it was to the table for platters of shrimp dipped in wasabi and soy sauce. Yum! Stir-fried vegetables, fried rice and noodles, and other simple dishes are available as well, though we refrained as we were heading to Haus Bobke for chili after our adventure. The food was forgettable, the ambience hardly entrancing (what can you do with fluorescent lights, plastic chairs and metal tables?), but the experience? It was enough to make me fall in love with Taiwan all over again. Had I been on vacation in Naples or Sicily (my favorite parts of Italy), I would have relished the salty, down-to-earth, bantering friendliness and healthy disrespect for the rules. How then had I forgotten to do so while “home” in Taipei? That said I have no intention of asking either my credit card representative or any of the workmen from my apartment project to dinner any time soon!

Song Yuan 21 Zhishan Rd., Sec. 3 芝山路3段21號

Tel: 2841-1715

Brian is the director of Membership and Events at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei and regularly writes freelance for a number of publications including several international travel guides. Brian has a particular affinity for food and wine and a soft spot for all things Argentine.

june 08

19


sports

Chasing the Birds

Paragliding at Green Bay, Taipei County

text: Marcus Van images: Foxman S. Jones

W

hat’s the first thing you s a y t o y o u r s e l f, w h e n you’re about to jump off the edge of a cliff and be snatched up into the clouds as if you were caught in a typhoon? I’ve a suggestion; how about, “YEAH!” I’ve always dreamed of flying. Every morning when I wake up and hit ‘snooze’ on my alarm, I have the reoccurring wish that I could just go up to my roof and fly my mini helicopter to work. No more scooters, buses, t a x i s, o r b i c y c l e s t h a t move diagonally across the road. I would fly high above it all and witness the chaos from my place of peace. Paragliding offers that much desired experience of flight. It is one of the closest ways that we have to being like the birds. Paragliding is a flying sport that can be both recreational and competitive. To some, it seems like an unnecessary risk in the great game of life. To others, it’s a spiritual experience that takes them as close to the sky as they can get without being in a plane. The sport itself was introduced to the world in a series of modifications made to the existing parachute

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d e s i g n i n t h e 1960s. NASA originated the t e r m ‘p a r a g l i d e r’ i n t h e e a r l y 60s, a n d ‘paragliding’ was first used in the early 70s to describe the foot-launching of gliding parachutes. S i n c e t h o s e e a r l y b e g i n n i n g s, paragliding has enjoyed international success. From the 80s until today, paragliding has been altered and improved, and now attracts pilots from countries all over the world. The first World Championship was held in Kössen, Austria in 1989. Paragliding equipment consists o f t w o m a j o r c o m p o n e n t s: t h e paraglider wing (canopy) and the harness. Other safety devices include the variometer, which monitors climb rate and sink rate, a radio, and a GPS tracking device. Paragliding in Taiwan Paragliding became very popular in Taiwan in the 90s. At that time, there were over 2000 certified pilots on the island. However, as a result of economic down turn as well as interest in other sports, the number of pilots significantly dwindled to just over 200 pilots island-wide.

The major places to paraglide on the island are Green Bay in Wanli, Taipei County (萬里,翡翠灣) Zhunan in Hsinchu County (竹南新竹縣), Zhengwen Reservoir in Chiayi (曾文 水庫,嘉義縣), Puli, Nantou County (埔里,南投縣), Saijia in Pingdong County (賽嘉,屏東縣), Taidong (台 東), Hualian (花蓮), and Tucheng in Ilan County (土城,宜蘭縣). Each area has a season that offers the best paragliding. For instance, on the east and north coast, the summer and autumn months are the best times to fly. Make sure you check the information at each site to see when the best flying conditions will be before you go. When paragliding first came t o Ta i w a n, i n t e r n a t i o n a l s a f e t y requirements were basically upheld. However, as the sport grew, so did the number of under-qualified instructors. According to information obtained by Wings Taiwan, an organization dedicated to flying safely in Taiwan, the accident rate is one pilot death every two years. This is significant because of the low number of pilots o n t h e i s l a n d. M a n y a c c i d e n t s can be attributed to poor training, obstructions in the flying zones, and flying in unfit weather conditions.


Paragliding in Taipei: Green Bay in Wanli, Taipei County Green Bay (翡翠灣), sits high above the sands of the northern coast, in Wanli (萬里), near Jinshan in Taipei County. Just an hour’s bus ride outside of Taipei city center, this location is highly accessible and a hot spot for both flying enthusiasts and novices alike. The launch site is just a 5-minute drive from the bus stop at Wanli E l e m e n t a r y S c h o o l. W h e n w e arrived, we called a man named Peter who came and got us in his weathered gray van. Peter Liu (劉 松添) t h e o w n e r o f T h e Ya-m e i Paragliding Club, also known as the Hangliding Association (野馬飛行 傘俱樂部). This company has been operating out of Green Bay for 20 years. Peter is a certified instructor and his company employs a team of ten certified coaches that will assist the novice flyer in training or in a tandem flight. Peter has flown all over the world, including in France, Japan, Korea, and the USA. “Paragliding a good way to make a living doing what I like,” he says. After the vehicle chugged up the side of the mountain, we were taken to a grassy area with artificial turf laid out and told that this is where the flight takes place. Beyond that were sweeping views of the scenic northern coast. There was only one pilot in the sky, as the weather conditions were not the best for flight. safety first Peter stresses that safety is the most important part of any flying situation. All of his equipment is purchased from European companies and he constantly checks the gliders and harnesses to ensure they are safe to fly with. Peter is strict about the standards in which he will allow his customers fly. When we arrived at the launch site, the winds were strong enough to see the white caps on the water. This, we were told, was an indication that the wind speed was too high and we should wait until conditions became better to fly. While we sat by, waiting for the winds to calm down, another instructor from a competing company was still instructing a novice how to fly. Peter looked on and shook his head. Eventually, the other instructor also gave up and the

student went home. Peter believes that paragliding does have its dangers, like any other extreme sport. However, if safety is always first, it can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Peter confesses that there are minor accidents that happen at Green Bay such as rough landings or tree landings. However, in his last twenty years at the site, he has only witnessed one fatality. “The winds were strong that day, and a pilot who’d only flown a couple of times decided to go up. He didn’t come back.” The Ya-mei Club provides both tandem flying services and individual flight classes. If you want to fly with a coach, it will cost you just N T$1,000, a n d t h e i n s t r u c t o r will control the reigns. However, f o r N T$12,000, y o u c a n l e a r n to fly solo. In addition to ample instruction with your flying specialist, you will be given ten extra flights with equipment rentals. Before you begin to fly, you will be given on-ground instructions for how to control your glider, how to land, and maneuver. After these instructions, and a tandem flight with the instructor, you will be given a radio and launched from the cliff. The instructor will tell you exactly how to maneuver your glider from the radio. The hardest part for some new pilots may be landing. While the beach at Green Bay offers soft sand to land on, most instructors prefer to land in other areas because the sand usually gets in their equipment when they land on the beach. If you are thinking of going to Green Bay for a lesson or to fly solo, call first to make sure that the weather is suitable launching on 0932-926-289. Have fun, fly high, and above all, be safe.

Marcus Van is a writer who has lived in Taipei for four years. He enjoys life in Taiwan and hopes to explore more countries around the area. (marcusvan@hotmail.com) Foxman S. Jones is a photographer, an English teacher, a soccer coach and a musician. (arsenalfox2000@yahoo.ca)

GETTING THERE: If you are planning to take public transportation, it is easy and convenient to reach the launch area. Go to Taipei Main Station and leave the MRT station by exit 5. Once you exit the station, keep heading west on Zhongxiao West Road. At the second traffic light, you will see the Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal. The building, find Kuo-Kuang Co. (國光客運). There, you can buy a ticket to Jinshan, Wanli Elementary School (萬里國小). Once you arrive at Wanli, you can call Peter and he will come and pick you up and take you to the launch site. Alternatively, you can also take an express bus from the Danshui MRT station headed for Green Bay. Buses run every thirty minutes. Driving: Take freeway one (the Sun Yat-sen Freeway) north towards Keelung and get off at Jinshan/Badu interchange. Now take Provincial Highway No.2 (in the direction of Jinshan) to Wanli and Green Bay.

RESOURCES: The Ya-mei Club /Hangliding Association: This club has a good safety record and has been in existence for twenty years. Peter Lui 2434-8686, 0932-926-2986 http://yamei-club.myweb.hinet.net/ Wings Taiwan This is an extensive site that offers some of the best information available about flying in Taiwan. http://wingstaiwan.com/

june 08

21


taipei people

Mary Chua: a life of service text: Brian Asmus

M

images: provided by the community services center

ary Chua was born and grew up between Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. She recalls with fondness the natural beauty, the lakes, the greenness. “Michigan is a very beautiful state.” Does she miss the winters? “Not desperately,” she said with a laugh, “but when we go back for Christmas, it is lovely to see snow for a few weeks and then, we fly away.” Chua’s mother was from Atlanta so she grew up with a strong sense of Southern hospitality. In many ways, said Chua, the Deep South and Asia are very similar. “Family is important, and the people are very warm. When I first moved to Asia, it was very familiar to me because of my mother’s Southern roots.” Her father was a very successful businessman who had grown up during the dark days of the Great Depression. “The experience instilled in him a sense of service and modest living,” said Chua. His influence was largely responsible, she said, for the paths that she and her three siblings would take. “My two sisters, brother and I have all gone into jobs involving service. My father taught us about social awareness. You provide for yourself, but then you give to others. There is a sense of responsibility for one another.” While earning her degree in liberal arts at Notre Dame, Chua recalled Thomas Werge as one of her best-liked professors. “His class on Mark Twain was one of my favorites,” said Chua. “Tom had a scintillating intellect

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with a broad vision of life that encompassed literature, social issues and politics. He could bring it all together in an uplifting and stimulating way that was humorous. The professor who had the biggest impact on her, however, was Thomas Schlereth. “When I was a senior, he hired me to be his research assistant. He also invited me to take his first graduate class. I was one of four students and the only undergrad.” Schlereth’s advice to Chua, the hardworking student, was to learn to say “no” sometimes. When you do so, he advised Chua, “Remember all the ‘yeses’ in your life that you are protecting.” Chua then earned her Master’s degree in social sciences at the University of Chicago, and while pondering further study at the University of California Berkley, she decided to come to work in Taipei. “I had already been accepted to Berkley, but the professor that I wanted to study with had just taken a five-year sabbatical.” The decision proved to be a momentous one. It was in Taipei that she met her husband Roger. “He was new to town. One night, he was having a dinner party and a mutual friend Charmian Martin, who now lives in London, invited me to go along, but it was not a set up,” said a smiling Chua. Roger and Mary now have two children, both at Taipei American School: Michael (a senior) and Dominique (in seventh grade). Michael, said Chua, “is a risk taker; he does not want to miss a thing.” When he was a baby, she said, he always


After more than five years at the helm of the Community Services Center, director Mary Chua will be leaving her post to relocate with her family to Manila. Chua was not particularly eager to have a profile; rather, her preference was for an article to talk about The Center. I managed to convince her, however that it would be a nice going-away message, a remembrance to all her many friends in Taipei.

wanted to face out when placed in the baby carrier. Dominique, on the other hand, is more reserved, though no pushover. “She keeps the rhythm in our home life going very well. Ritual is important to our family. She is the one who asks in October how we will prepare for Christmas and, when Chinese New Years approaches, she reminds us that it is time to take the Christmas tree down.” What makes Chua proudest of her two children is the fact that while both are very hard-working and accomplished students, they are also generous and caring. “Their teachers tell me that while they are doing very well academically they also help others. I am very proud of that. I think that the Jesuit encouragement about ‘being people for other people’ is very important.” In the same way, Chua has been very committed to her work at The Center. “The community has been outstanding,” she said. “My own dedication would not have made a difference without the literally hundreds

of people making the effort.” She praised the board of directors, large staff of volunteers, and donors. “It has been great working with so many people who have contributed their time, energy, humor and enthusiasm,” she said. When I told Mary that Rick Monday (the host of the ICRT Morning Show) had said the best thing about her is that: “She never seems to be asking,” Chua was visibly moved. “What I genuinely feel is gratitude,” she said. “I sincerely do not take anyone’s contribution for granted. While I am happy to hear Rick’s perspective, I do have a begging bowl,” she added with a laugh. “People do not make me feel bad when I ask for things, but given how much I do ask, I hope that they do not breathe a sigh of relief when I get on the plane.” I very much doubt that anyone would feel anything of the kind.

The success of Center services relies on many. My sincerest thanks to Center committee members, donors, staff, continuing education teachers,volunteers, contributing writers, photographers, consultants, and colleagues from trade offices, chambers of commerce, churches and schools for their support during my tenure as Director. It has been a challenging andgratifying experience, and I will remember it mindful of all who have contributed their time, talent, ideas, funds and expertise to strengthen The Center and its programs. For those who have benefited from our services over the years, I extend my gratitude to those who have made our outreach possible.” Mary Chua

june 08

23


community

2008 Charity Golf Cup

Teeing up for charity

Text: Duncan Levine

T

Images: courtesy of the ECCT

he 5th annual ECCT-ICRT Charity Golf Cup, jointly organized by the European Chamber of Commerce (ECCT) and International Community Radio Taiwan (ICRT) to raise funds for The Center’s counselling services was held on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the Royal Kuan Hsi Golf & Country Club in Hsinchu. Thanks to the support of four main sponsors and three hole sponsors, the event successfully raised NT$500,000 for the CSC. 22 teams or 88 players (give or take) representing companies, countries and other associations in the community, teed off in perfect weather conditions on a course that players later described as being in mint condition. Even though some players had to rise before dawn to make it to the course in time for the 7 am start, team spirits were high. Some scores were high too, which in golf of course is not good, but there was no shortage of golfing talent in the field as well, producing some record low scores. Sticking to the popular format - Texas Scramble, one of the few formats that turns golf into a team sport - players once again demonstrated their sense of sporting and community spirit in support of a good cause. After an exciting day on the course, tournament participants, partners and friends were treated to a delicious buffet feast and some entertaining anecdotes from ICRT personalities Rick Monday and Bill Thissen at the awards ceremony party held at the American Club on the evening of the tournament. After Rick Monday had warmed up the crowd, ECCT CEO, Guy Wittich took to the stage to take care of the serious business of the evening. CEO Wittich thanked the main sponsors, Siemens, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Standard Chartered Bank and DHL Express for their generosity and continued support of the community. Wittich also thanked ICRT for their extensive promotion in the weeks leading up to the tournament on ICRT. After thanking all, CEO Wittich invited representatives from the main sponsors to the stage

Main Sponsors

where, together, they handed over a cheque for the sum of NT$500,000 to Mary Chua, Director of the CSC. Director Chua thanked the sponsors for their generosity, saying that funds will help to keep allowing the CSC to provide services to those in need. After the handing over of the cheque, an awards ceremony was held to present prizes to golfers for excellent performances on the day. The team from Standard Chartered Bank showed that bankers know a thing or two about golf as well as finance, scoring a phenomenal 13-under par 59, a record low for a charity cup tournament, to take the champions trophy. Just one shot off the pace at 60 was the Morning Show Boys, a team inspired and recruited by ICRT morning show host, Rick Monday. Coming in third at 62 was the team from Calyon. Prizes were also awarded for individual excellence on the fairways and greens. Nearest the pin prizes went to Mike Lee (from ICRT), Arthur Huang (Nokia Siemens Networks II), Katri Tunttunen (Finlandia) and Sam Lin (Calyon) while longest drive prizes were awarded to James Yang (DHL), Pekka Tunttunen (Finlandia) and Jack Tsai (Morning Show Boys). So as not to leave out partners and friends, after the awards ceremony, the CSC also held a lucky draw raffle for other guests giving away hotel stays, bottles of wine and other prizes to the lucky winners. Finally, with the formalities over, guests tucked into the delicious buffet accompanied by some fine wines. In the company of good friends, many stayed until late in the evening. Due to the extraordinary success of this, the fifth ECCTICRT Charity Cup, as a social event with a community purpose, organizers and participants are already talking about plans for the 2009 Charity Cup. Duncan Levine has lived in Taiwan for over 10 years and is an avid golfer. He is the Communications Director at the European Chamber of Commerce.

Tournament winners:

1. Standard Chartered, Jim McCabe, 59 2. Morning Show Boys, Mike Jewell, 60 3. Calyon, Eric Chien, 63 24

june 08


march 08

25


environment

The Heat of Travel Text: katherine young

T

he treasured holiday season is arriving, and with it many of us will jet off to our various homes around the world to reconnect with family and friends or take an appreciated breather from the sultry summer heat of Taipei. Great distances, in addition to our island habitat, generally limit our options for travel to flying. Given what we now know about climate change and flying’s contribution to it, a friend recently wondered whether people consider the extent of their individual impact on the climate when making travel choices. In this column, I offer a few brief opinions regarding this concern, some extreme, some moderate, and given the complicated nature of the issue, none necessarily conclusive. aviation and global warming In his book Heat – How To Stop the Planet Burning, British journalist and environmentalist, George Monbiot, explains that “aviation represents the world’s faster growing source of carbon dioxide emissions.” But the problem is not limited to the carbon dioxide emissions alone; the water vapor produced at high altitudes by these emissions form ice crystals, which then trap the earth’s heat. “What this means is that the total warming effect of aircraft emissions is 2.7 times as great as the effect of the carbon dioxide alone.” As airports expand and flights increase to accommodate more travelers, Monbiot argues that the only way to cut back on these emissions is to restrict those of us (the relatively small percentage of the world population) who do fly. As we will not likely impose such restrictions ourselves, he believes that governments will need to place these restrictions. Given that many of us live outside of our home countries and have friends the world over, we live our lives in movement, most of which involves the airplane. This presents an irreconcilable dichotomy. Monbiot explains: While it is easy for us to pour scorn on the drivers of sports utility vehicles, whose politics generally differ from ours, it is rather harder to contemplate a world in which our own freedoms are curtailed, especially the freedoms that shaped us. More painfully, in some cases our freedoms have become obligations. When you form relationships with people from other nations, you accumulate what I call "love miles": the distance you must travel to visit friends and partners and relatives on the other side of the planet. If your sister-in-law is getting married in Buenos Aires, it is both immoral to travel there, because of climate change, and immoral not to, because of the offence it causes. In that decision we find two valid moral codes in irreconcilable antagonism. Who could be surprised to discover that "ethical" people are in denial about the impacts of flying?

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The hunt for Sustainable alternatives Monbiot asserts that the only way to mitigate the increase in the number of flights and the expansion of airports is to 1). create a new fuel or 2). dramatically increase fuel efficiency. Yet according to his research and writings in 2006, there is no foreseeable new energy source that would work as efficiently as current kerosene-based fuels. That said, Richard Branson of Virgin brands has made some dramatic pledges; he will invest all of future proceeds from his transportation companies into renewable energy initiatives and other projects to tackle emissions related to global warming. In February, 2008, a Virgin airplane used a biofuel/kerosene blend of 20/80%, the first ever to do so, “to make a visible demonstration of our commitment to find a sustainable alternative to traditional crude-oil based kerosene.” While Branson realizes this is not the long-term solution to air travel, it is a groundbreaking step. Note: Monbiot features Branson in his “Greenwash Exposed” page of his new www.turnuptheheat.org where he purports that Branson’s primary focus is expansion and his pledges to develop new fuels are empty and impossible, at least in the foreseeable future. While there has been some increased fuel efficiency in flights – (Cathay Pacific states they have increased efficiency by 20% since 1998) Monbiot argues that other major improvements are not on the horizon. The gas turbine engine that has been used for the last fifty years will not be changed in the near future, which means that essentially efficiency has been maximized given current engines. They are as good as they can be. Where does that leave us flying, but caring folk? What are the options given that we are about to fly off for the summer? Jurriaan Kamp, Editor of Ode Magazine, summed up a practical, more middle-of-the-road approach when he wrote in the April editorial, “It might be better for the planet if we all went back to our pre-historic caves and warmed ourselves around a simple fire after the hunt. Better it might be, but it isn’t going to happen – unless a meteorite hits Earth. Our real challenge is to find ways to make our world a better place from the starting point of our current reality.” He continues, explaining that cars, and I will add, planes, are not going to disappear; we don’t want them to. We do, however, want them to be sustainable, and to that end, we must act thoughtfully and support those actions and organizations that are pushing thinking and technology to new places. While not extreme in its approach, it is a step, and if we keep taking these steps, we can only hope that we will ultimately make the dramatic progress that right now, we can not envision. carbon offsetting One current option to do some good is to ‘neutralize’


the carbon emitted from travel (or any other carbon producing activity) by purchasing carbon offsets. Since 2006, carbon offsetting has gained publicity; it allows p e o p l e t o b a l a n c e o u t t h e C O2 t h e y e m i t i n t o t h e environment by investing in projects or companies that might, for example, be planting trees or developing new fuel technologies. Cathay Pacific has recently added an option to calculate and purchase such offsets through their website. Placed prominently on their home page, in one click, you can learn how Cathay is trying to ‘Fly Greener.” For instance, an adult roundtrip economy ticket to Sydney results in a production of 1.39 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. To offset these emissions, one can pay HK$105 or 2602 Asia miles. This payment then goes to carefully selected projects aimed at cleaning up their own backyard, the Pearl River Delta, a zone that has grown exponentially and is a major contributor to Hong Kong’s pollution. Of course, the major complaint about such offsetting programs is that they are not aimed at getting people to

travel less, and thus produce less CO2. Critics opine that in fact, they are more of an opportunity to ease our own guilt at our carbon footprints instead of changing behavior, which is what is critically needed, especially from those of us in developed countries. They argue that we must reduce our carbon footprints, get involved in discussions with family and friends, and use our influence as citizens to put caps on emissions. These are complex issues that have no facile responses. At this juncture, I am opting for thoughtful choices about flying in conjunction with supporting research and develop-ment of new technologies. At least carbon calculators make us aware of the imprint we leave and legitimate offsetting programs, while not perfect, give us an opportunity to support forwardthinking groups and organi-zations doing good works and bringing hope for the possibilities ahead. Katherine Young is interested in sustainable living and environmental issues.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION VISIT: Cathay Pacific’s Fly Greener projects. http://www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/ en_INTL/aboutus/flygreener George Monbiot’s site with links to many of his articles on a vast array of subjects. http://www.monbiot.com/

George Monbiot’s site where he aims to expose the falsities and untruths pedaled by various corporations and environmental groups. http://www.turnuptheheat.org/ TerraPass and Carbonfund, www. terrapass.com and www.carbonfund. org both offer the opportunity to purchase offsets for travel and energy consumption.

U.S. based. If you need an educated guess at your annual electricity usage, heating type and amount, miles driven and flown, try http://www. greentagsusa.org/greentags/calculator/ Check out the Consumers’ Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers at http://www. cleanair-coolplanet.org/

june 08

27


further afield

Islands in the Strait:

The

text & images: Susanne De Vore

A

s the plane lands at Penghu’s Magong airport, I look out the window. Green slabs of rock float on the Taiwan Strait, some rimmed with black shoals, some with rust columns and others with golden ribbons. Aqua-marine water splashes against the shores and small towns languor in the shadeless plains. This is Penghu: 90 remote islets that are less than an hour’s flight from Taipei. Shortly after landing, I visit Aimen (隘門沙灘), the longest beach in Penghu. Standing on one side of the arc, I look for the opposite end. Nearby, there are some beach chairs and umbrellas. The far end of the beach is a hazy blur. I kick off my thongs, settle into the spot of sand I’ve chosen and go for a swim. The water is clean and crisp: in water about three meters deep, I can still see the seabed – now covered by seaweed, rocks and a few types of coral. Back on the beach, a local man tells me that the water is even cleaner at the beach of Shanshuei (山水沙灘). My curiosity piqued, I pack up, jump on my scooter and set off for this other place. It’s a 15 minute drive on a four-lane highway that’s clearly marked in English and nearly empty. Arriving at the beach, another slope of golden sand stretches to the water. There’s no noticeable difference in the quality of t h e w a t e r: t h e beaches seem equally

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Penghu

Archipelago

pristine, but where Aimen has rocks and vegetation, Shanshuei has nothing but sand, and now, at low tide, the water is shallow f o r a l o n g w a y o u t. When the weather’s right, the beach is popular with surfers. It would be easy to spend all my time on Penghu's many beaches, but as the sun sets, I head back to Magong City (馬公市), where I am based for the summer. I visit Matzu Temple (天后 官), the oldest in Taiwan and built without a single nail, and wander around the streets of the old town, coming to the Four Eyes Well (四 眼井). From there it’s a short walk to Zhongzheng Road (中正路), the main street for a coffee and some shopping. Finally I meander over to Guanyin Pavilion (觀音亭) to watch the sun set over Magong’s beach. It’s a small enough city that all of this takes less than an hour. Blowholes and beaches After a few days of sticking around Magong, Aimen and Shanshuei, I go on a scooter trip around the three main, interconnected islands. I head straight out to Fongguei (風櫃 洞), locally famous for its blowhole. When I arrive, all is silent. Sitting inside an ornamental pavilion nearby, I listen to the wind. At the mouth of the cave, I hear nothing but waves splashing on rocks, and it’s not until later I find out that the cave only whistles at the changing of the tide and usually only during the winter. After a brief backtrack, I head out to the east side of Magong island, and Lintou Park (林投公園). The beach here is tempting, but I haven’t brought my swimsuit today, so after a quick chat with the employees of Penghu Bali Water Sports (which offers banana boat rides and jet skis.) I leave for a place called Guoye (果 葉). I’ve heard that this is a good spot

to watch the sunrise; however the sun comes up at 5:30 am and by the time I arrive mid-morning is turning the island into a sauna. I opt not to walk around the park. Off the beaten track My explorations continue with a trip to Beiliao (北寮). The paved lane leads through fields hemmed in by coral walls, tombs and pastures with scrawny cows – all sights common on Penghu’s plains. There are lots of unpaved side trails which I am very curious about, but maybe next time. For njavascript:_d("Next")o w, I stick to tarmac. The lane ends abruptly, but a passerby points me to Kueibishan Recreational Area (奎壁 山游憩區). By chance, I have arrived at low tide, so I can walk across a rocky trail to a hill that at high tide will become an island. Next, I head across a bridge onto Baisha (白沙), the second of the three main, connected islands of the Penghu archipelago. I skip the side road that would take me by this island’s beaches and a century-old banyan tree, and stick instead to the highway. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, but I am nearly out of gas and the next station is at the other end of the island. Filled up, I continue over Penghu Great Bridge (跨海大橋) and on to Siyu (西嶼), the last island on my itinerary today. Just after the bridge, I head off the highway along a smaller road which hugs the coast for most of the length of the island, winding through fishing villages and past beaches. Everywhere,


from a dry dock at which vessels are being cleaned and painted to beaches lined with fishing nets, the area’s dependence on the ocean is evident. Refreshing treats There are few road signs to point the way, and I saw none in English, but this way is much more scenic than the highway. I’ve been driving for about an hour, passing bizarre basalt columns (natural volcanic formations for which Penghu is famous), beaches and fishing villages, when I come to Erkan (二崁), an old village. After wandering through the narrow streets, between houses with quaint tile roofs, I stop at a restaurant named Xiao Man Man (小滿滿), The iced tea is a house blend of black and green leaves and as refreshing as the shade

the establishment offers. The owner also serves traditional Penghu cuisine – much of which includes pumpkin – but I’m not hungry. Instead, I eat a cactus cake shaped like a pumpkin and after chatting with the owner, return to the coast road. The road finally merges with the highway and I am on my way to Neian (內安), and Neian Beach, which is white sand with a smattering of black rock. Descending the steps down to the beach I’ve worked up a sweat, and not having swimming gear is torture. But nothing for it but to head on to the last stop on my itinerary: Siyu Lighthouse (西嶼燈塔). Following the signs I finally come to a military base, complete with guards who stand in the entrance clutching their guns. I park and walk around the base to the lighthouse on the far side. This is as far as it is possible to go overland. I look out over the ocean and gaze at a few of the outlying islands, visible across the blue water, but that’s another trip. For now, it’s a straight shot back to Magong - via the highway. Susanne DeVore has lived and worked in Taiwan for over four years. She has majored in journalism and loves writing about her travels.

How to get there: TransAsia, UniAir and FAT offer regular flights from Songshan Airport in Taipei to Magong for about NT$1,900 one-way.It’s a good idea to book in advance, as during the summer, flights are often full. How to get around: Taxis from the airport to Magong City cost around NT$300. You can hire a taxi for a six-hour tour for around NT$1,500, or rent a motorcycle (under NT$500, many places insist on drivers having a Taiwanese motorcycle license) or car (just over NT$1,000; driving license or IDL also required). Accommodation: For a complete listing, see http://tour. penghu.gov.tw/English/index.asp Surf Club in Shanshuei: http://www. mahalosurfing.com/ In Erkan: Er-Kan Min Su (二崁民宿, www. phnet.com.tw/erkan, 0920-423-463)

may 08

29


healthy being

Entering the World of Chinese Medicine text: Daniel L. Altschuler, L.Ac, PhD

S

eeking qualified medical care anywhere can be daunting and intimidating. Especially when living in an unfamiliar environment with language barriers and cultural differences. The world of Chinese medicine lends itself to an even stranger presence using a mixture of ancient and modern terminology and being based on a philosophy steeped in thousands of years of Chinese culture. Also, rumors and myths, unfortunate results of propaganda from both the early Republican and Communist governments in their efforts to Westernize and modernize, create obstacles to fully understanding and trusting the potential benefits of a good Chinese medical treatment. When faced with a health issue, you need to consider all of your options and Chinese medicine certainly should be one. The first, obvious but most important question is whether Chinese medicine can provide any benefit for you. This question is most appropriately addressed through introducing the scope of this medical system and its components. What is now called Chinese medicine is the combined system of what used to be independent regional medical traditions. Acupuncture, moxabustion, tui-na and bone setting, and herbs are the main divisions. Acupuncture generally consists of thin, short needles being quickly inserted into special locations in the body which are k n o w n t h r o u g h e x p e r i e n c e (a n d r e c e n t l y t h r o u g h scientifically designed studies) to beneficially affect the body. Moxabustion refers to the use of dried and crushed mugwort or artemesia leaves which are rolled into a small marble-sized balls and burned. Depending on the practitioner, they can be affixed to the end of a needle, or placed near or on the skin. This adds heat to a specific body location that helps strengthen and heal the body. Tui-na is a hands-on traditional body manipulation technique. This skill is most often used in injury medicine. Bone setting may be seen as a wing of tui-na. The options Acupuncture (which also usually includes moxabustion) and herbs each are complete systems that have tomes of classical and modern medical texts which describe their applications in treating just about any disease or injury. There are specialty texts covering internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, cancer, dermatology, eyes and just about any problem you could imagine. In short, if you

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have a disease, acupuncture and herbs can certainly potentially be helpful. While acupuncture and moxabustion are somewhat unique to Chinese medicine, herbal medicine is a part of nearly every indigenous healing system around the world. Plants, animals and minerals all have an effect on the body. When prepared and applied correctly, even poisonous products can produce incredible healing. What makes Chinese herbal medicine different from other traditions is that the Chinese wrote down their knowledge and experience. This allowed physicians of different locations and eras to learn and compare ideas resulting in an enormous accumulation of commentaries and even new medical systems. Herbs were combined into highly intricate and sophisticated formulas. Acupuncture also benefited from this written tradition as well. Another advantage is that physicians were able to test and understand that a treatment that worked in, say, a hot and humid climate did not work for patients in an arid or cold climate. What works in a desert might not be effective in a mountainous region. Two patients with similar complaints or pattern of symptoms might need to be treated completely differently. A Texan cowboy with a spicy diet of beans and rice predictably will have a fundamentally different physical and emotional constitution than a New York office worker who eats donuts and cheesecake. Western versus Chinese This is what lends a reputation of individualism and ‘holistic’ to Chinese medicine —something which is missing in modern Western medicine where disease is based on germ theory. The individual patient has little to do with choice of treatment. According to this theory, a drug which is effective on a certain bacteria in California should be equally effective in Calcutta. This individualistic perspective of the patient and disease is a double edged sword. While patients benefit from a closer look at their individual situations, it is nearly impossible to set any sort of standards from one practitioner to the next. While in Western medicine a physician has only a small handful of treatment


options, a Chinese physician may have hundreds. Thus the competency of the physician becomes a much more important factor. Many people have told me, ‘I have tried Chinese medicine and it doesn’t work for my condition.’ It’s difficult to explain that one physician and one treatment method does not represent the entirety of ‘Chinese medicine’. Choosing a qualified practitioner This brings us back to the original question: “How do you go about finding a qualified practitioner of Chinese medicine?” Here are a few pointers: • What is the physician’s experience in treating your particular problem? This is less important for common aches and pains, but more crucial if you are facing complex or life threatening diseases. In some cases experience is not as important as the connection you feel with the practitioner and how confident you feel he or she will work to find the most appropriate treatment. • Does the physician listen to you? Some practitioners of Chinese medicine take pride in making a diagnosis from your pulse or facial appearance or other external diagnostic method without bothering to spend time taking your disease history. While they may be excellent in such skills, it is still important to listen to the patient’s complaints. Remember, however, as a patient be mindful of time and keep explanations of your problem focused and concise. • Does the diagnosis make sense? Chinese medicine has a lot of flexibility in how a disease may be interpreted and understood and its terminology is ancient. Remember that when a Chinese physician makes a diagnosis such as, say, ‘Your liver is bad’ this often has nothing to do with your physical liver organ. Liver related illness (or imbalance) can encompass a wide range of symptoms from actual liver disease such as hepatitis to anger, tremors, high blood pressure, depression and many more. If you are confused, ask for an explanation or interpretation. • Do you feel comfortable with your treatment? If you have been already undergoing acupuncture or herbal treatment for a while, what is your progress? Complex and serious illnesses aside, most problems should see at least some improvement after a month or two. If there is no improvement discuss this with the physician and consider your options. Also be mindful of your lifestyle and what may be contributing to an unusually slow recovery. For example, it would be difficult to cure knee pain if a patient constantly wears high heels or carpal tunnel syndrome if one is a video game addict. Early on in my training I met a French woman who had been seeking help for what she described as systemic rheumatoid arthritis. She was seeing an unlicensed qigong (energy) healer for over a year without any improvement. When I asked if she had felt any improvement she said no but she expected to in six months time. The qigong ‘master’ stated that her season of healing had not yet arrived. Apparently she had been strung along like this for a while. Fame and appearance mean little: Some of the best doctors I know are well-known within the medical community but not necessarily famous in the general

community. A reliable referral is often the best method of finding a good Chinese physician. Remember that even the best physicians are not divine. No physician can guarantee a complete cure of any illness, nor can a precise treatment time be predicted. Some seemingly complex, chronic problems may be successfully ‘cured’ with one or two treatments, while what appears to be a simple common backache may take months. Be mindful that there are several factors which limit healing effectiveness. These include the abilities and experience of the physician, severity of disease, patient lifestyle, legally defined scopes of practice and unavoidable human mortality. Finally, remember that a licensed physician of Chinese medicine is different than a foot masseuse or folk medicine practitioner. If you feel that you would like to experience Chinese medicine, it can be a fun and interesting adventure which reveals a slice of ancient Chinese culture. Daniel would like to hear your comments regarding his column or Chinese medicine in general. Due to time constraints, he may not be able to reply to everybody. He may be contacted at marikpahealing@gmail.com Daniel Altschuler(古丹)studied Chinese medicine and Taijiquan in Taiwan for 15 years. He earned a PhD in Chinese medicine and is currently living in Seattle where he teaches and practices Chinese medicine. Daniel regularly returns to Taiwan to visit friends and family, drink tea and teach classes.

june 08

31


book review

Geography of Bliss “Exposure to dramatic cultural differences can enlighten one to his or her own emotional growth and understanding” Author: Eric Weiner

Text: Lawrence Newton

I

wrote “I love Taiwan” on one side of my paper lantern while a patient resident of the little village of Pingsi, who greeted and befriended me immediately after I arrived at the Lantern Festival celebrations taking place there, expressed the same sentiment in Chinese characters. Up went my lantern, aloft, an emblem of my respect for a culture that brought then, and still contributes now, such contentment to my life. Reading Eric Weiner’s memoir The Geography of Bliss reminded me of that experience in Pingsi. His travelogue is, in essence, a testament to the enrichment and joy one gains through meaningful cultural contact. Weiner, ironically a self-proclaimed grump, sojourns in ten countries, and though his observations of customs and behavior are often complemented by weighty allusions and literary finesse, they remain, in the end, largely stereotypical. Yet there is method here. For the savvy reader, and especially the acculturated traveler, there is greater substance beyond the obvious generalizations the generalizations we harbor about certain cultures that coalesce into truisms. But where does happiness reside ultimately? Weiner, a seasoned correspondent for National Public Radio, who traveled to “unhappy places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” qualifies what he calls the “axiom of the self-help industrial complex,” and revises the common notion that happiness lies solely within. In Weiner’s view, happiness is both inside and outside: the demarcation line is not clearly drawn, and one must travel since “happiness is out there” and must be sought as it is not limited to the confines of one’s own heart and mind. Hence, The Geography of Bliss is a paean to the soul searcher, and this quality aligns his text with Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent, best selling memoir Eat, Pray Love. In both self-help travelogues, the writer’s cultural epiphanies correlate to their personal, emotional awakenings, highlighting the notion that exposure to dramatic cultural differences can enlighten one to his or her own emotional growth and understanding. Weiner’s clever reportage reveals a number of his personal awakenings. His reflections on the Swiss, for example, in the “Happiness Is Boredom” chapter offer one case in point, for while he expresses jealous anger at

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the quietly satisfied and smug Swiss couple he encounters during a hiking expedition up the Matterhorn (“damn the efficient, competent Swiss to hell”), he later embraces their broader culture for seeing to clean air, clean toilets, an efficient train system and overall organized living. His musings on Thai culture and its people’s wellbeing follow a similar pattern. On the surface Weiner recalls their many types of smile (he identifies four, finding a convenient analogy to the Inuit, who have many words for snow) yet, on a deeper level, he admires Thai contentment, which manifests itself in an attitude, a profound level of comfort expressed by the phrases mai pen lai ( “Just-drop-it-and-get-on-with-life”) and jai yen, which roughly translates to “cool heart”, or in vernacular, “Don’t lose your cool” if someone does something to really annoy you or to try your patience. B u t w h e r e c o n t e n t m e n t r e i g n s i n o n e c u l t u r e, melancholy haunts another. While Bhutan enjoys a governmental policy of bliss (Gross National Happiness, as promulgated by King Wangchuck in 1973) Moldova is inhabited by the profoundly downtrodden. The chapter title here (“Happiness Is Somewhere Else”) says it all, for the former soviet republic is painted in dark tones. Weiner closes this section of his book, and seals his traveler’s disillusionment, by quoting the ancient Indian text Mahabharata: “Hope is the sheet anchor of every man. When hope is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itself.” In his introduction to his work, Weiner cites a revealing and apropos observation from Henry Miller: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Summer, and its perennial multitude of travel destinations, is nearly upon us, and The Geography of Bliss could be the perfect toes-in-the-sand read. Its Ben Franklin-like witticisms, colored with Weiner’s carefully researched details and pop culture appeal, could provide a way of “seeing things” we might not consider otherwise.

Lawrence Newton is an avid reader and is thankful for the opportunity to share his reading experiences.


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Adopt from AnimalsTaiwan Each year thousands of animals die because no one will adopt them. Due to the growing stray problem in Taiwan, most government shelters only hold dogs for ten days. If a dog is not adopted it will be killed. If you plan to raise a dog please consider adopting one from one of Taiwan’s many private or pubic shelters or from Animals Taiwan. To find out more please email a d o ptio n s @ animalstaiwan.org or visit our website at www. animalstaiwan.org.

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Al is a lovely mixed breed male, about 18 months old who has been vaccinated and neutered. As a young puppy, Al contracted Distemper, a disease which damaged the nerves and tissue in his front paws. Al recovered from the disease and is now perfectly healthy and happy. However, his front paws are not as strong as a regular dogs and he has trouble walking long distances so he would suit a person or family with a more laid back lifestyle. Al is extremely affectionate and loves nothing more than being cuddled and hugged. You can meet Al in person by visiting our holding center in Shilin district. june 08

33


Center summer course To sign up, please call The Center at 2836-8134 or 2838-4947. SURVIVAL CHINESE W / Gloria Gwo

Summer Survival Chinese 1 Mondays & Wednesdays Begins June 16 9:00 am – 10:20 am NT$4,200 14 Sessions @ The Center

Summer Survival Chinese 2 Mondays & Wednesdays Begins June 16 10:30 am – 11:50 am NT$ 4,200 14 Sessions @ The Center

Summer opening hours The Center will go to half days (9 am - 1 pm) in the month of July and will be back to normal office hours (9 am - 5 pm) as of Friday August 1st. Coffee mornings will remain throughout the summer break.

C

Community Events 06, 2008

Agape 3F, 21 ChangChun Road, Taipei, Taiwan Tel: 2598-1009 (office) csc@agapeicataipei.org www.agapeicataipei.org Anglican Episcopal Church Church of the Good Shepherd 509 ZhongCheng Rd., Shilin Tel: 2873-8104, 2882-2462 www.goodshepherd.com.tw/english/ Calvary International Baptist Church 21, YangDe Blvd., Sec. 2, Yangmingshan Tel: 2831-3458 Fax: 2838-5792 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 5, Lane 183, JinHua Street Tel: 2321-9195, 0939-687-178

COT advertises community groups free as a public service as room permits. If you would like your group included write to centeredontaipei@ hotmail.com with contact information and the dates of upcoming events.

City Revival Church B1, 210, ZhongXiao E. Rd., Sec. 4 Tel: 8921-8250 Fax: 8921-8272 doris.henry@msa.hinet.net

Patrick Lee, the artist, has opened a cafe, bar, gallery and studio space in TianMu. Lili's is open every day from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. Location: 760 ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec 6

Friendship Presbyterian Church 5, Lane 269, Roosevelt Rd., Sec. 3 Tel: 2362-1395

Website for updates on information about Taiwan: http://www.tier.org.tw/bless_epaper/index.aspx Orphanage Club rummage sale, June 14 @TAS Visit www.orphanageclub.com . Alternatively, e-mail or call Mr. Arnold (arnoldr@tas.edu.tw, tel: 2873-9900 ext. 239), or Mrs. Koh (weehueykoh@yahoo.com)

Better Living Forum now online The Better Living Forum of the European Chamber of Commerce (ECCT) is now online on the ECCT's website. The forum, an initiative of the ECCT's Better Living committee was set up to provide an interactive means for ECCT members and the broader public to raise and discuss issues or make suggestions on how to further improve the quality of the living environment in Taiwan. The ECCT's Better Living committee raises quality of living issues and makes recommendations to the Taiwan government on how to improve Taiwan's living environment. Every year the committee submits a position paper to the government listing its priority issues and recommendations for improvements. Members of the public and the ECCT are invited to post submissions on a variety of issues relating to the quality of the living environment in Taiwan on the forum. Message boards on the issues raised in the Better Living committee's 2007-2008 Position Paper have already been set up covering the following topics: the English-Language Environment, Domestic Helpers, Residence Status of Family Members, Traffic and Transportation and Support for International Schools. An additional board on "Other" Better Living Issues allows posters to suggest further areas where improvements could be made in Taiwan's living environment. Anyone is free to post on the forum although they are required to login first. ECCT members already have assigned user names and passwords for login purposes, but non-members are required to register first before posting. A link to the forum can be found on the home page of the ECCT's website at:

www.ecct.com.tw.

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Worship Directory (For full details of services please refer to Taipei Living or contact the church organization directly)

june 08

Grace Baptist Church 90 XinSheng S. Rd., Sec. 3 Tel: 2362-5321 ext. 135 Jewish Community For information call Ahrony Yoram on 0939-763-135 Living Word Church B1, 304, ShiDong Road, Shilin Tel: 2834-6549 Mother of God Catholic Church 171 ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 7, Tianmu Tel: 2871-5168 Fax: 2871-7972 www.geocities.com/mother_of_god_church vanaert@iplus.net.tw New Apostolic Church 2F, No. 5, Lane 39, Keelung Rd, sec. 2, Taipei www.nac-taiwan.org, info@nac-taiwan.org New Life International Seventh-day Adventist Church 4th Fl. Health Center- Taipei Adventist Hospital 424 Ba De Rd. Sec. 2, Taipei 105 Pr. Robbie Berghan 0958-732-704 www.nlisda.org email rberghan@twcadventist.org.tw Oasis Christian Fellowship 10F, Dayeh Takashimaya, Tianmu “The Watering Hole” (youth center) 428 ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 6 Taipei International Church Meets at the Taipei American School 800 ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 6, Tianmu Tel: 2833-7444 Fax: 2835-2778 www.taipeichurch.org/ gateway.htm Transforming Faith Church (f.k.a. Bread of Life Christian Church) 5F, 295 ZhongXiao E. Rd., Sec. 4 Tel: 8772-2207 Fax: 8772-2210 fellowship@transformingfaith.org.tw


COMMUNITY GROUPS Organization

Telephone Website/Email Address

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 2836-6994 Al-anon (English speaking) Alliance Française de Taiwan 2364-8833/ 2364-1919 American Chamber of Commerce 2718-8226 American Club in China 2885-8260 American Institute in Taiwan 2162-2000 Amnesty International 2709-4162 Artist Connection Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCham) 7701 0818/ 0922 109 089 British Chamber of Commerce 2547-1199 British Social Group 8237-9352 Canadian Society 2757-6977 Christian Salvation Services (Betty Brown) 2729-0265 Community Services Center 2836-8134 Democrats Abroad (Tammy Turner) European Chamber of Commerce 2740-0236 Gateway 2833-7444 German Cultural Center 2365-7294 Indians' Association of Taipei 2542-8091 International Community Choir (Siew Kang, Choir Director) 2873-4272 La Leche League (Breastfeeding Support) Lions Downtown Club Taipei, English speaking (Peter Wu) 2701-1811 Oasis Youth Group 2831-0299 Paradyme Youth Group 2833-7444 POW Camps Memorial Society (Michael Hurst) 8660-8438 Republicans Abroad Taiwan 2592 2840 Shilin District Office 2882-6200 Tagalog Hotline 2834-4127 Taipei International Women’s Club 2331-9403 TYPA (Taipei Youth Program Association) 2873-1815

caliq17@yahoo.com alanonfamilygroup@hotmail.com info@alliancefrancaise.org.tw www.alliancefrancaise.org.tw amcham@amcham.com.tw www.americanclub.org.tw www.ait.org.tw amnesty.taiwan@gmail.com, www.aitaiwan.org.tw artcon@yahoogroups.com secretary@anzcham.org.tw www.anzcham.org.tw www.bcctaipei.com annequybsg04@yahoo.co.uk www.canadiansociety.org www.csstpe.org.tw www.community.com.tw http://tw.democratsabroad.org www.ecct.com.tw gateway@taipeichurch.org lalduru@seed.net.tw internationalchoir@gmail.com www.lalecheleague.org www.tapeidowntowntw.lionwap.org www.paradymeyouth.org www.powtaiwan.org einhorn@ttn.net www.sld.gov.tw paultic@ispeed.com www.tiwc.org www.typa.org.tw

SCHOOLS

Dominican International School Grace Christian Academy Morrison Academy Taipei Adventist American School Taipei American School Taipei European School Taipei Japanese School

2533-8451 2785-7233 2365-9691 2861-6400 2873-9900 2862-2920 2872-3833

www.gca.tp.edu.tw www.mca.org.tw www.taas-taiwan.com www.tas.edu.tw www.taipeieuropeanschool.com www.taipeijf.org

SPORTS

Hash House Harriers 0952-025-116 International Golf Society of Taipei Scottish Country Dancing (May Chen) 2706 3179 Taipei Women’s International Golf Group (TWIGG) 2691 5912

www.chinahash.com www.taiwan-golf.com maychen321@pchome.com.tw twiggtaipei@hotmail.com

COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVES IN TAIWAN COUNTRY

TELEPHONE

COUNTRY

TELEPHONE

COUNTRY

TELEPHONE

Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Britain Brunei Burkina Faso Canada Chad Chile Costa Rica Czech Republic Denmark Dominican Republic El Salvador Fiji Finland France

2757-6556 8725-4100 2712-8597 2715-1215 2876-0894 2723-8721 2835-7388 2192-7000 2506-3707 2873-3096 2544-3000 2874-2943 2723-0329 2875-2964 2738-9768 2718-2101 2875-1357 2876-3509 2757-9596 2722-0764 3518-5151

Gambia Germany Guatemala Haiti Honduras Hungary India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jordan Korea Malaysia Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Nigeria Norway

2875-3911 2501-6188 2875-6952 2876-6718 2875-5512 8501-1200 2757-6112 8752-6179 2725-1691 2757-9692 2725-1542 2713-8000 2871-7712 2725-2324 2713-2626 2757-6526 2713-5760 2757-6725 2874-9034 2757-6987 2543-5484

Oman Panama Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Russia Saudi Arabia Senegal Singapore Slovak Republic South Africa Spain Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Thailand Turkey United States Vietnam

2722-0684 2509-9189 2873-6310 2757-7017 2723-2527 2757-6140 8780-3011 2876-1444 2876-6519 2772-1940 8780-3231 2715-3251 2518-4901 2872-5934 2757-6573 2720-1001 2723-1800 2757-7318 2162-2000 2516-6626

june 08

35


TAMI WADA Tami has worked as a photographer in The US for many years. Originally from Japan, she came to Taiwan to learn Chinese. Tami enjoys shooting journalistic style and is always interested in learning about culture. phototami@hotmail.com http://www.clicktami.com

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june 08


Centered on Taipei June 2008  

An English language lifestyle magazine produced for the International Community in Taiwan.

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