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Centered P u b l i c a t i o n

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t h e

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S e r v i c e s

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on T A I P E I Summer 2011, Volume 11, Issue 9

Taipei arTs FesTival 2011 Yanshui (Tainan) Choosing our legaCY eaTing ouT wiTh Kids in Taiwan urban gardening soY sauCe, King oF sauCes

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Summer 2011 volume 11 issue 9


6 National Concert Hall: june 2011 Richard Recommends 7

Cultural Corner Dragon Boat Festival


8 Arts Taipei Arts Festival 2011 11 travel Yanshui (Tainan) 12

Outlook Home leave or home grief

14 15

Community Taipei American School Taipei European School


Book Review Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother


Charity Orphanage Club



18 Profile Writer Richard Saunders: How he caught the Taiwan Travel Bug 20 Entertainment Three is the Magic Number Calendar of Events at The Center June/July 2011 21

Tastes of Taipei at Samyama in June

22 Casual Dining Eating Out with Kids in Taiwan 23

The Center Gallery

Eco News 24 Urban Gardening 25 TES Roots and Shoots 26


Chinese Kitchen Soy Sauce, King of Sauces Center Courses

28 Generation Y My Perfect Wedding The beat of the clock 30

Book Review Rainy Night Moon

32 Word from the Director/ Worship Directory 33

Community Groups

26 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: Correspondence may be sent to the editor at 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 2011. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner.

COVER IMAGE: Craig Ferguson

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er Session regist erin umm S g & Summer dates: 27th June ~ 19th August 2011

no w!

Fall semester: 29th August 2011


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Letter From The Editor Publisher: Managing Editor: Editor: Co-editor: Graphic Design: Advertising Manager: Tel: Fax: email:

Community Services Center, Taipei Steven Parker Roma Mehta Richard Saunders Katia Chen Paula Lee 0926 956 844 2835 2530

Writing and Photography Contributors: Leat Ahrony

Nathan Burriston Ivy Chen Orphanage Club Steven Crook Craig Ferguson Dylan Graves Trista di Genova Samantha Hall Serina Huang

Amy Liu Kath Liu Robin Looney Owain McKimm Steven Parker Richard Saunders Sunita Sue Leng Rosemary Susa

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Community Services Center Director: Steven Parker Office Manager: Grace Ting Counselors: Suzan Babcock, Kris Carlson, Fawn Chang, Wendy Evans, Cerita Hsu, Perry Malcolm, Tina Oelke, Ming-I Sun, Cindy Teeters Amy Liu Monica Cheng Kath Liu Rosemary Susa Lauren Mack Robin Looney Aimee Wong Gloria Gwo

Volunteers: Alison Bai, Wakako Couch, Neev Exley, Kath Liu, John McQuade, Claudia Ostrouski, Bunny Pacheco, Gloria Peng, Sara Ramage, Jenni Rosen, Sandra Schnelle, Desta Selassie, Abby Taylor, Emily Whewell, Heike Wood, Lillian Yiin Premier Sponsors: 3M Taiwan Bai Win Antiques BP Taiwan Ltd. Breitling China American Petrochemical Concordia Consulting Costco Wholesale Taiwan Crown Worldwide Movers Ltd Four Star Int’l Grand Hyatt Hotel, Taipei HSBC ICRT Metacity Development Corp Nokia Siemens Networks ProQC San Fu Gas Co. Ltd. Smerwick Ltd Songfu Li Standard Chartered Bank 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. and drop by The Center to chat with us about our programs. You can also email us at

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Richard Saunders Co-editor

Paula Lee Advertising Manager

Katia Chen Designer

Charlotte Lee

Community Services Center Editorial Panel: Siew Kang, Fred Voigtmann

Newcomer Orientation Program: Accountant: Communications: Programs Coordinator: Programs Assistant: Events Coordinator: Events Assistant : Chinese Teacher:

Roma Mehta Editor

“Age considers; youth ventures.” — Rabindranath Tagore

Dear Readers, As we move into the more relaxing days of summer, and enjoy our jongzi (the traditional food eaten during Dragon Boat Festival) while balancing eggs, the pace hopefully slows down and in the words of Sam Keen, “laziness finds respectability.” This month, Serina Huang has some great suggestions for restaurants that are kid-friendly in our Casual Dining article. For those who love to read, we have two book reviews this month and if you would like to try your hand at gardening, Dylan Graves shares some great tips on creating an awesome urban garden. This summer the Taipei Arts Festival 2011 brings a fascinating mix of productions both local and international. If you are here for the summer months it would be well worth your time to check on some of these events. Our profile this month is of our very own Richard Saunders. Many of you know him in one or more of his many roles; avid hiker, traveler, accomplished pianist, writer, teacher, and of course, co-editor of Centered on Taipei. In this issue Trista di Genova talks to Richard, the person. We count on your support and contributions to make this magazine one that you would enjoy reading. Please feel free to share your stories on the environment, health, discovering Taiwan and related topics with our readers. The Center is a great place to drop by for a cup of coffee, browse the Gallery, meet people or get involved in community efforts. If you would like to contribute to the magazine, whether with your creative writing or photography, please write to me at As always, we welcome your news and views. See you in the fall!

Roma 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." ( Summer 2011


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RICHARD ReCommenDs RichaRd SaundeRS


igh summer is here once again in all its sultry, humid glory, and whether by chance or design, there’s plenty of steamy passion among the musical offerings at the CKS Cultural Center in June. Onto that in a minute, but first there is a little cool relief, courtesy of I musici (playing that perennial favorite, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on June 10th), the delicate sounds of two solo harps (June 11th), and the royal Ballet (June 30th and July 1st) supplying exquisitely controlled poise in a program of short ballets by contemporary and master choreographers. OK, now back to the passionate stuff. An almost overwhelming musical depiction of the returning spring, mahler’s Third Symphony might have been a more logical programming choice for march or April, but if the National Symphony Orchestra’s latest ambitious project is successful, it’ll be one of musical highlights of the summer. This, mahler’s longest symphony (and that’s saying something: all but two of his ten symphonies last at least eighty minutes!) is scored for huge orchestral forces, featuring an ethereal alto voice solo in the fourth movement, a chorus of children (who imitate tolling bells!), and a magnificent slow finale. It’s a huge, ungainly Leviathan of a piece, the astonishing first movement (itself a full half-hour long!) opening with the sounds of awakening life, progressing into a rustic, heavyfooted dance and ending in an extraordinary orchestral freefor-all as spring marches in with an almost primeval force capped only by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The concert’s title, ‘relief in Summer’ is something of a misnomer (listening to the symphony is quite an exhausting experience!), yet this performance (on June 19th) is one of my more eagerly awaited music events of the season. The keys of the concert hall grand will be smoking hot after Korean virtuoso Kun Woo Paik’s performance of rachmaninov’s gorgeous Third Piano Concerto on June 12th. Don’t be fooled by the gentle strains of the concerto’s opening moments. Once the pianist has dispatched that famous, meltingly beautiful melody in the opening moments of the concerto, there’s hardly a moment of rest for him during the remaining 35 minutes of this, one of the most exciting and melodically rich concertos in the repertoire. This unusually rich and tempting concert is filled-out with two further (very different) Twentieth-Century classics. The cool, limpid opening measures of Sibelius’s magnificent tone poem The Oceanides once again lull the audience into a false sense of calm. This piece is often regarded as one of the greatest evocations of the sea in classical music, and the character of the ocean is magnificently captured in all its moods within the brief, ten-minute span of the piece. The concert ends with a masterpiece from a later decade – contemporary Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s first great masterpiece, the Concerto for Orchestra, which gives the orchestral players a chance to display their virtuosity in a thrilling work that manages to feel quite modern, yet remain (thanks to its roots in Polish folk music) thoroughly accessible.


national Theater & concert hall JuNe 2011 NatioNal theater

the angelic Sound of harp

the royal Ballet – Mixed Programmes

Works for harp duo by Debussy, Faure, Saint Saens, Bach and others June 11

June 30 – July 1

NatioNal CoNCert hall les Petites Chanteurs de SaintMarc Film music, folk songs and sacred music June 1

o. Schnyder Piano recital

the Piano Virtuoso: Kun Woo Paik Works by Rachmaninov, Lutoslawski and Sibelius June 12 rr

ryu Goto Violin recital Works for violin and piano by Prokofiev, Paganini and Ravel June 18

Music by Schumann, Schubert and Liszt June 3

relief in Summer

Music Baby Do re Mi

Classic Wind Music

Children’s favorites, played by the National Symphony Orchestra June 4

Fierce romanticism Shostakovich’s Twelfth Symphony and First Piano Concerto June 5

Mahler’s great Third Symphony June 19 rr

Works for wind band June 22

eSo Classical Concert Orchestral works by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky June 25

i Musici Vivaldi’s Four Seasons June 10 rr

rr: richard recommends

For full details, please log on to the Culture express website at 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

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Amy's ultural Corner

Dragon Boat Festival Lively dragon boat races and jongzi


ragon Boat Festival (端午節, duanwu jie), also known as the ‘Poet’s Festival’ (詩人節), is one of the three most important festivals celebrated in Taiwan (the other two are the Moon Festival, celebrated in autumn and Lunar New Year, in winter). All Taiwanese make their best effort to return home for these three big occasions. This festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar (June 6th in 2011), commemorates the death of a poet by the name of Chu Yuan (屈原, 343~290 B.C.), a loyal counselor for the government of Chu (楚) of the Warring States Period (戰 國時期, 5th~3rd Centuries B.C., a very turbulent period in China). According to legend, he was banished by the King of Chu after his good advice was rejected. During his time in exile, he started composing patriotic poems expressing his deep concern for the future of his state, and upon hearing the news that it had been defeated by its rival, Chin (秦國), he jumped into a river out of despair and drowned himself. Upon hearing the news of the suicide, local fishermen and villagers who loved Chu Yuan for his patriotism rushed out in their boats to try to rescue him, and upon realizing they were too late, frantically beat drums to scare the fish away and threw jongzi (粽子; glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) into the water in the hope that the hungry fish would not eat Chu Yuan’s body. The ritual of boat racing was held every year after on the anniversary of Chu Yuan’s death to symbolize the effort to rescue him, while jongzi are also eaten, in memory of the fishermen’s efforts to preserve their hero’s body. Many Dragon Boat Festival traditions continue to be observed today in Taiwan. Taiwanese eat jongzi, stand eggs on their pointed ends at twelve noon, hang fragrant herbs on the door, and (the highlight of the day) organize lively dragon boat races. Dragon Boat Festival falls around the time when the warm days of spring are turning into the hot and humid weather of summer. In the old days it was believed this time is when pests and diseases are most likely to spread, and other negative forces tend to strike. Thus this was the time of year to drive away pestilence in order to stay healthy and safe. In the old days, around this time parents made a pouch out of cloth or silk with fragrant herbs inside called a xiang bao (香包) for children to wear around their necks as proctection against evil spirits, while adults drunk xiung huang wine (雄黃酒), also made from special herbs. Sprigs of herbs were hung outside the front door and wine was sprinkled in all four corners of the house to protect

against insects and to repel evil. Xiang bao can be still found at traditional markets during the Dragon Boat Festival season. They are generally made with colored silk materials in the shape of animals or cartoon characters and are filled not only with the traditional herbs but with aromatic flowers like lavender or rose petals. Jongzi (粽子) is the most popular traditional food eaten during Dragon Boat Festival. Traditionally, families make their own jongzi at this time to share with relatives and friends to eat during the festival. Gradually they became readily available in restaurants and from street vendors, and can now be eaten any time of the year. Jongzi is in fact a very rich and nutritious snack with a high level of cholesterol. It is traditionally made with glutinous (very sticky) rice with fillings that can include pork, egg yolk, peanuts, mushrooms, and other ingredients, the whole thing wrapped in dried bamboo leaves and usually steamed. The most exciting part of Dragon Boat Festival is no doubt the dragon boat race (龍舟賽) itself. Races attract crowds of spectators. Dragon boats are typically canoes ranging from 40-100 feet in length; the heads are in the shape of open-mouthed dragons, the body of the boat is painted to look like a dragon’s scales, and the dragon’s tail is decoratively designed at the stern. Dragon boats are generally brightly painted, and a formal, sacred ‘eyedotting’ ceremony must be performed to bring life to the boat by dabbing red paint in the pupils of the dragon’s eyes before the race. The competing teams have rowers, a drummer and a flag-catcher at the front of the boat. The team row forward in time with the pounding drums, and the winner is the first team to grab the flag at the end of the course. Dragon boat races are held in major cities and counties around the island. Taipei City has an international competition called the Taipei International Dragon Boat R a c e C h a m p i o n s h i p s (台北國際龍舟錦標賽) w h i c h attracts teams of paddlers from all over the world to join together to learn the cultural traditions of the festival. The international races have been held on the Dajia section (大佳段) of the Keelung River near Dazhi Bridge (大直橋) since 1996. On the day of the race, spectators (both local nationals and international members of the community) come to enjoy the fun of the festival and the races, and there are many festival-related performances and activities, all staged at the Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園). The vibrant Dragon Boat Festival in Taipei is a perfect day out for families, and especially children. Summer 2011

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Taipei Arts Festival 2011: Partying with Philosophers The centennial year of the ROC sees a feast for the senses and the mind at the annual festival for performing and visual arts text: Sunita Sue Long

imageS: CourteSy of the tina Keng gaLLery (tKg) in neihu, taipei


an an arts festival be cerebral and fun at the same time? Do philosophy and partying go hand in hand? Well, that’s exactly what the annual Taipei Arts Festival aims to achieve this year, which is the 100th year of the Republic of China. In a salute to the centennial, the festival organizers have assembled performances to stimulate critical thought while feeding the senses, such as a multimedia exhibition by American choreographer William Forsythe, also known as the “philosopher of dance.” There are also more free events this year, such as the pyrotechnic street performances by the colorful Xarxa Teatre of Spain on the closing nights. The festival, now in its 12th year, runs from July 28 through to September 4. Compared to previous years, the line-up this year is smaller, and performances will be at more compact venues so as to create a more intimate and interesting urban theatrical experience for Taipei residents, says Victoria Wang, executive director of the Festival. “It’s very rare in Taipei to have performances with about three hundred

seats and to be close to the stage and performers,” she says. Most of this year’s festival events will take place at specially retrofitted warehouses at the Song-Yan Cultural Park in the Songshan district. The festival opens with a play called “Ritter, Dene, Voss”, a dark comedy penned by Austrian playwright T h o m a s B e r n h a r d. T h i s n o n-m a i n s t r e a m s t a g e performance has won critical acclaim for its unusual and provocative style of dialogue. The story centers on the fraught relationship between two sisters and their genius brother, whose character is based loosely on the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Directing the stage actors from the Narodowy Stary Teatr (or National Old Theatre) of Poland, one of the country’s oldest professional theater companies, is Krystian Lupa. The Polish director studied physics at university but turned to theater and since his debut in 1976, has gained a reputation for productions that stand out for their psychological complexity, stylistic innovation, and humanity.

The Dreamy Fallacy The musical The Dreamy Fallacy celebrates the songs of Taiwanese musician Tai-Hsiang Lee Photo: Taipei Arts Festival


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Xarxa Xarxa Teatre’s El Foc del Mar is based on the Valencian parade of Las Fallas Photo: Xarxa Teatre

Synchronous Objects Synchronous Objects takes a scientific, multi-media approach towards explaining what goes on in a choreographer’s mind Photo: Synchronous Objects Project

The centerpiece of the Festival, meanwhile, is a series of choreographic objects and films by William Forsythe and the Forsythe Company. Festival director Wang, who met Forsythe in Frankfurt, describes the avantgarde dance choreographer as “very intellectual and very charming” and someone who “likes to express his thoughts in his works”. Forsythe is bringing his well-received exhibition Synchron ous Objects to the Taipei Arts Festival. Originally produced together with The Ohio State University's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, Synchronous Objects takes a multimedia, almost scientific approach towards translating what’s inside the choreographer’s mind. Besides the films and choreographic objects, there will be an installation called the City of Abstract where audiences can become choreographers by interacting with cameras and projectors. Wang expects this to be especially popular with visitors. This year’s festival should also resonate with many locals as the life and works of two Taiwanese artistes will be celebrated. Wang and her team have chosen Hung Tung, a self-taught painter, and Tai-Hsiang Lee, a

musician who has been dubbed the king o f Ta i w a n’s m u s i c business during the 1970s a n d 1980s. William Forsythe is widely known as the Hung Tung was an “philosopher of dance” Photo: Dominik Mentzos illiterate laborer in Tainan who, at the age of 50, began to paint. His unique style – noted for its bright colors, repetitive patterns and powerful originality – caught on in the 1980s, bringing him fame and respect both in Taiwan and outside these shores. However, with his passing twenty years ago, Hung Tung is today no longer a name Taiwan’s younger generation is familiar with, says Wang. She hopes that “Who’s Hung Tung?” - a performance using puppets by the Puppet and its Double, a modern theater company founded in 1999 will reignite interest in his remarkable body of work. The second event honoring a local artiste is “Dreamy Wrongness.” This musical turns the spotlight onto the songs and poems of Tai-Hsiang Lee, a classically trained musician and one-time orchestra conductor. Now seventy years old, Lee has won legions of fans in Taiwan for his Summer 2011

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Foc del Mar Xarxa Teatre from Spain will bring its own brand of fiery street theater to Taipei’s streets Photo: Henry Krul

spirited love songs. “Dreamy Wrongness” will feature parades and turned them into spectacular street theater popular singer Yu Qi and will be performed by Quanta by throwing in music, fireworks and themes revolving Theater, which was formed in 2010 by the Quanta Arts around social and political issues. There will be two Foundation, a part of Quanta Computer Inc of Taiwan. ninety-minute performances, one on September 3 and the A third production out of Taiwan is “Eastern Tale,” other on the closing night of September 4. Both will be at which creatively fuses modern dance and music with the Civic Square in front of Taipei City Hall. El Foc del Mar (Fire of the Sea) recreates the popular traditional Chinese music. Instruments such as the erhu, guqin and pipa merge with contemporary electronic Valencian celebration, Las Fallas, which is a grand music as dancers reenact parade of giant paper- mâché the story of Xiang Yu, one sculptures in praise of Saint of China’s greatest military Joseph. Pyrotechnics accompany Taipei Arts Festival Ticketing commanders, and Yu Ji, his traditional Mediterranean music beloved concubine and one of with visual references to the • Early Bird Special, from June 10th to China’s most beautiful women. works of artists Joan Mirò and July 11th, 25% off of all tickets, except B a c k t o p h i l o s o p h y, Alexander Calder. Nit Màgica, for the lowest price tickets of each m o r e t h o u g h t-p r o v o k i n g m e a n w h i l e, i s a f l o a t i n g, performance. Performances of single performances are on offer animated show in which fire price tickets are eligible for the 25% off with “An Anthology of moves through the street where discount. O p t i m i s m.” C r e a t e d b y it is staged, encouraging active Canadian writer and maker of audience participation. • Special Package entitles you to an eccentric performances, Jacob This year’s array of creative early bird discount with an additional Wren, and Belgian writer and spectacles from Wang and her coupon to win an HTC smartphone or a team connect both mind and philosopher Pieter De Buysser, limited TAF designer poster! this is a performance with a heart and should prove that difference. There are no fancy philosophy and partying can From June 10th to July 11th, any sets, says Wang, just clever go hand in hand. Or, at the purchase of 3 different TAF programs and humorous scripts. An very least, with the help of q u a l i f i e s a s a S p e c i a l P a c k a g e . optimist and a pessimist collide some Spanish flair and magic, The purchase will receive 25% off on stage to search for critical it should mean that this year’s of all tickets and a coupon valid for optimism. Critical optimism, Taipei Arts Festival ends with weekly drawings of a chance to win an as the playwrights see it, is plenty of bang. HTC smartphone or TAF poster. The an optimism that looks at the discount does not apply to the lowest world with open eyes. It asks, price tickets. Weekly winners will be how do we find sources for announced on the TAF website. Sunita is originally from genuine optimism in our world, with its many horrors and constant cruelty? To cap this year’s Festival, there is sheer fun and sensory stimulation from Spain. Xarxa Te a t r e f r o m Va l e n c i a h a s taken its hometown’s famous


For details of all the ticketing service, please refer to To purchase tickets, please go to NTCH Ticketing at For information, please call Festival Office at (02)2528-9580#196

Malaysia and moved to Taipei in 2008. She has worked as a journalist with The Edge Singapore, and now freelances with a business weekly. She loves good food and wine, hiking and dogs.

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YANSHUI (TAINAN) TexT & images: sTeven crook

Yanshui – best known for the Beehive Fireworks Festival held here early each spring – is a charming old town. Also, it's ideal for exploring on foot, the side streets being full of quaint houses, small shrines and old-fashioned shops. You wouldn’t think it from the town’s current size (population: 27,000) and relaxing somnolence, but as recently as the mid-19th century it was one of Taiwan’s four most important settlements. Its ranking was reflected in a local saying: ‘First, Tainan; second, Lugang; third, mangka [the old name for Taipei’s Wanhua district]; fourth, Yuejin [the name of Yanshui’s port]’. Yuejin harbor suffered from silting and closed for good in 1900.

GettinG there and away Frequent buses link Yanshui with Xinying, the nearest train station. Drivers should take Freeway 1 to the Xinying Exit. Parking near the downtown usually isn’t difficult. tourist information Yanshui's visitor center (21 Zhongshan Road) is opposite the post office. It stocks maps, books and postcards, but don't expect much English. where and what to eat Yanshui's trademark comestible yì miàn, an unpretentious but satisfying and tasty noodle dish. It's served at several places, including Qiaonan Restaurant & Coffeeshop (14 Qiaonan Street).

what to see and do Martial Temple (87 Wumiao Road; open: 5 am to 8:30 daily). This 320-year-old shrine is dedicated to Guan Gong, and there's a huge statue of him on the right as you approach the front of the temple. Part of the small museum next to the temple is devoted to the Beehive Fireworks Festival, although the text is in Chinese only. The Octagon (1 Lane 4 Zhongshan Road; admission free; open: 9 am to 4:30 pm daily). The town’s most distinctive structure is all that remains of a sprawling mansion built in 1847 for Ye Kai-hong, a leading merchant. Ye made his fortune exporting sugar to the Chinese mainland, and many of the materials used in the construction of this two-floor, eight-sided wood-and-stone residence – including the fir columns, roof tiles and limestone slabs – came to Taiwan from the mainland as ballast on his ships. The first floor is open to the public; inside you'll see the original partitions and a portrait of Ye. Surprisingly, the building has not caught fire once during the Beehive Fireworks Festival. Q iaon a n Old St re e t. The name of Yanshui's oldest intact thoroughfare means 'south of the bridge,' and the bridge in question spans a small body of water that once formed part of Yuejin harbor. Several of the houses are two centuries old, and at number 8 a sixthgeneration blacksmith still plies his trade. These days he turns out more decorative items for tourists than tools for farmers. Life and Culture Museum (25 Qiaonan Sreet; admission free; open: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily). There's no English sign out front and none of the traditional utensils displayed inside are labeled in English, but this single-storey wooden-framed building, said to be two hundred years old, is rather atmospheric. Adapted from Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide (1st edition, 2010) by Steven Crook. Summer 2011

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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


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


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”.

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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?" points out 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.” As Aspinwall states, 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. Aspinwall 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. Aspinwall 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. Aspinwall 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 23 years of professional experience in the communications industry. Summer 2011

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2011/5/27 7:30:58 AM


TAS Middle School Students Make a Difference Text: Gary Pettigrew, Taipei American School MS Associate Principal


ahatma Gandhi said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Many middle school students are involved in service through clubs such as Kiva Club, Community Service Club, the Orphanage Club, and through a long-standing seventh grade Walkathon project that supports students’ education in Lesotho, Africa. In eighth grade all students are involved in a community service unit designed to teach about varied forms of service and our obligation to help others. Students meet in large groups to learn about the types of service, discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and explore where they fall on the hierarchy of needs. Connections are made between our students’ own fortunate situations and the reality that because they can help others, they should. In April each year the entire eighth grade participates in a park cleanup project. This occurs in small groups and is followed by students being asked to reflect on the experience and on the different ways they can make a difference. Students watch a movie called ‘Pay it Forward’ which focuses on helping other people and the obligation of helping someone else if someone helps you. As John F. Kennedy said, "To those whom much is given, much is expected." Students then undertake an independent service project.


Examples of student service projects have included working with Animals Taiwan, volunteering at a local hospital, and baking goods to sell to raise money to donate to an existing charity. Many of our students’ families assist in seeking opportunities for service through service work they themselves are involved in. During an extended activity group meeting, students then share their independent service project. One grade eight student commented; “You actually feel better by helping the community. I will continue to look for more service opportunities. Another student explained, “Based on this experience I realize others are less fortunate. By helping them I can make a difference.” Throughout our middle school an awareness is growing about the positive impact individuals can have on their own community through their actions, and about the responsibility we all have to help those in need.

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2011/5/25 5:28:29 PM

Taipei European School : Service to the Community text: Nathan Burriston (H1 Student)


armony Home is a r e g i s t e r e d, n o n-p r o f i t organization that is dedicated to helping those infected or otherwise affected by HIV/ AIDS in Taiwan and China. They provide shelter, medical assistance, counseling, hospice care and other forms of support to people living with HIV/AIDS and nurture the children of HIV positive women. Harmony Home has shelters in Taiwan and across the strait in Yunnan, Shanxi, Guangdong, Giangxi and Henan. The idea for Harmony Home initially started in 1986, when Nicole Yang (its founder) shared her home with her friend who had nowhere to live because he was HIV positive. Since then, Nicole has opened up her home to people living with HIV/AIDS in Taiwan, to provide them with a secure place to live, and campaigned for compassion towards affected people. As part of the H1 (14 -15 year olds) PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) at the TES Secondary campus, the whole year group (seventy students) was challenged to take part in a six-week Service Project aimed at learning more about Harmony Home and raising awareness and funds to help the Association gain Foundation status. The H1 students were divided into five groups in which students applied for different responsibility roles. Each group was led by two co-chairs, with help from a vice chair, a secretary and other group members. The committees provided opportunities to gain new skills, including leadership. The ‘Awareness’ group mainly focused on educating the community about Harmony Home, while the

‘Action’ committee was in charge of organizing events such as raffle draws and clothing sales which took place at local markets at weekends and during holidays. The ‘Treasury’ group took charge of tracking the funds and work done by the other groups, while the ‘Fundraising' committee were given the responsibility of approaching local businesses and corporations to donate money or goods towards the project. The ‘Media’ group aimed to document the successes of the project by writing articles for various newspapers and magazines and organising an interview on ICRT radio. The creative talents of students were used through the design of publicity posters and video productions. To raise money, the entire year group held bake sales around the Taipei European School Secondary campus and also contacted organizations asking for donations. The Awareness group designed a T-shirt and logo, and then asked the Action committee to contact an organization that offered to manufacture the shirts for free. Posters designed by the students containing information about Harmony Home were also printed with the aim of raising awareness and informing people about our project and its aims. An envelope appeal was sent to the parents of students at TES, and their support was fantastic: NT$54,000 was raised. Meanwhile, teachers helped by supporting the committees and giving their time outside of school hours fundraising outside Carrefour and at clothing sales in local markets. As this article was submitted, the H1 students had raised NT$260,000

for Harmony Home, but fundraising was only one aspect of the project. As well as raising money and awareness, all students visited the Harmony Home children’s shelter in which the children live and are cared for. The students brought snacks for the children and spent a few hours each Wednesday afternoon playing with and looking after the children. Film footage for a documentary was taken during the visits, showing the interaction between the students and children. Every Wednesday afternoon, the H1 students gathered together in the school atrium to update the rest of the year group on what was accomplished the previous week, the progress made and the tasks still to be completed. Each week the grand total was displayed near the entrance of the school. Soon after the service project commenced, students realized that working towards this cause was not an easy task. As people living with HIV/AIDS are often wrongly discriminated against, it has been challenging gaining the support of the public at times, which in fact increased motivation. The only way to overcome this was for the students of Taipei European School to co-operate and work as a team. Through helping H a r m o n y H o m e, t h e s t u d e n t s gained a sense of achievement and understanding, and by aiding others who face significant challenges, every single student developed a strong feeling of empathy. All the money raised through the H1 Service Project will be given to the Harmony Home organization in their quest to become a foundation and to support their work in the day-to-day running of the shelters. Summer 2011

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2011/5/25 5:28:35 PM

book review

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother By Amy Chua Published by Bloomsbury Published in 2011 ISBN: 978-1-4088-1316-4 TexT: kaTh liu


ichotomies are a dangerous thing. Us versus Them, East vs West - it's not a story that ends well for anyone. Not to mention that it's patently untrue. No matter which two cultures you're comparing, you're just as likely to find similarities as you are differences. Which is not to eschew cultural difference and try and make everyone the same (which is an equally dangerous endeavor) but more a plea for middle ground - not a concept that I think Amy Chua is overly familiar with. Chua initially wrote this book as a comparison of Chinese and Western parenting. Although she says in the first few pages that you don't have to be Chinese to be a Chinese mother and many mothers of Chinese heritage aren't Chinese mothers at all, the label remains. You can couch it all you like but if you call a spade a spade, the name sticks. Personally, I would rather call this style of parenting ‘extreme,’and I feel it is far more a matter of personality than it is of culture, which is why this book is best read as a memoir, pure and simple. It's one mother's story of how she raised her kids and how it turned out brilliantly for one daughter but was a terrible idea for the other. She started writing this book the day after her thirteen-year-old daughter screamed abuse and smashed glasses in the middle of a restaurant in Russia, so really the point the book is driving at was 'boy did I learn a lesson' rather than 'my method is superior'. A lot has been made of the extremity of Amy Chua's mothering. Yes, it is extreme. Jaw-droppingly so at times. The oft-quoted examples of how she forced her younger daughter to practice the piano for hours without a toilet break; called her older daughter 'garbage' and rejected handmade birthday cards are all there, but when you read them in context, you understand a little better. This is a woman who is manically intense and admits it. She knew that writing about these incidences would get her some serious attention of the negative kind, but


she still put it out there. While I really disagree with her methods I have to say I admire her courage, and actually there's quite a lot of good hidden amongst the extreme. For example, instilling in your kids that you think they can do more. Expecting the best. Pushing them to succeed. Teaching them the value of hard work. The point that Chua missed was when to step back and see that she's being more of a hinderance than a help, but just because it lacks this insight doesn't invalidate the initial points. A lot of things have been written about this book, but as is usually the way with media hype, a lot of it is just that: hype. Amy Chua is not a menace to society. She hasn't abused her children. Maybe she's made some questionable decisions, but overall, she did her best with what she knew. If you want to know the real deal, read the book. It's a very entertaining and pretty fast read of how one mother came to realise that her method of parenting needed to be adapted and changed before she lost her daughter altogether. Now we wait for the memoirs of Lulu. That'll be an interesting book.

K ath Liu i s an avid read e r and a founding member of the C SC Book Club who believes happiness is a good book, good coffee and good friends. Like books? Check this out:

Summer 2011

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Charity The Largest student service Organization at Taipei American school: orphanage Club

How much do we raise and where does it go? TExT: sARAH Lu CHAnG AnD MAx CHEnG, TAs ORPHAnAGE CLuB sECRETARIEs


he Orphanage Club (OC) is a service-orientated student organization that includes both upper and middle school students. It has a wide range of activities, including teaching English to visually impaired students and raising money for hunger awareness. The money that is raised from the rummage book and clothing sales is all donated to non-profit organizations, including: • Oxfam America: US$2,500 is donated to this organization every year, which fights world hunger and poverty. • Holt International: We currently sponsor one orphan in Vietnam and another in China for US$350 per year for each child. • American Friends Service: US$2,500 is donated annually to this organization that works to overcome violence and injustice during humanitarian crises. • World Vision Taiwan: NT$60,000 is donated every year to this organization, which is dedicated to overcoming poverty by building strong communities. • St. Marcellin Children’s Village: US$15,000 is donated annually to this AIDS orphanage in Zimbabwe. • The Rendille: Kenya is sent US$10,000 every year to support one class of children in an AIDS orphanage. The Orphanage Club also donates to the Pearl S. Buck foundation by funding scholarships that pay for tuition for deserving students. The OC holds an annual Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party for its sponsored families in Taiwan. At this party, a feast is provided for the guests and children receive presents they requested as well as needed toiletries and school supplies. Proceeds from the Hallmark card sales support the Puli Christian Hospital, where NT$105,000 is donated annually to assist indigenous children. Money is also spent on monthly outings to two orphanages: Chung-Yi and Cathwel. The OC members take orphans out for special activities every month, including ferry rides, visits to farms, and trips to museums. The children also receive presents every Chinese New Year. To l e a r n m o r e a b o u t t h e O C, p l e a s e v i s i t w w w. for updates on our events and photos of our activities. Summer 2011

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Writer Richard Saunders: How He Caught The Taiwan Travel Bug TexT: TrisTa di Genova

Trista: Can you tell us a little about your background? When and why did you come to Taiwan, and what made you stay? Richard: I originally came to Taiwan in 1993 to get a job for three months! I was made redundant in England, and rather than sign on for unemployment came out here to find work teaching English for a few months until I regained enough fighting spirit to start searching for a job. In the end I got a great job up in the mountains in the center of the island, and never left! Trista: How did you get involved with the Community Services Center in Tianmu? Richard: While I was looking for a publisher for my first book in 1998, a friend who was working for The Center suggested I approach them. Over the next months I got to know the staff there very well, as they worked on the book, inputting it all into the computer from my manuscript (that first book, the original edition of Taipei Day Trips 1, was written on a typewriter…!). The book and a few articles written over the next few years helped me land the job of Co-Editor of Centered on Taipei, which I’ve been enjoying for almost a decade now.

imaGes: riCHard saunders

possible. It never helped anyone worrying over a nasty illness or financial problems; on the contrary, it just saps some of the joy out of life. Tr ista: How do you stay so prol if ic? W hat is you r driving motivation, and what is it you're really trying to accomplish? Richard: Enjoy life, and enjoy every day. My best friend died of cancer at the age of 40, and I don’t want to have any regrets when it’s my time to go. Trista: Your background with travel, and hiking? Richard: I’ve always loved the idea of exploring above almost everything except music, and as a young child spent hours every week poring over British travel books at home in England, wondering at all the fascinating places crammed into that small country. We saw a few of them on our summer holidays, but it was only after I started earning money myself that I really started exploring, in my clapped-out old Datsun Violet. The hiking and, later the world travelling, all grew from those early dreams of exploring.

Trista (Roma’s question): How do you stay such a grounded person? Richard: I’ve no idea! I just go round enjoying life, making sure I don’t waste a day of it, trying not to step on too many toes, and following my instincts. I’m lucky in having (I think) a good sense of humor. It’s often said these days that it’s important not to take life too seriously, and I think this is one of the most important secrets to making the most of it. Plenty of bad things happen, from small inconveniences to major headaches plus the odd lifechanging crisis. The priority for me when I’ve been slapped around a bit is to work through the problem and get back to a sense of stability and positive thinking as quickly as


Summer 2011

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Trista: You’ve established a hiking group now; how is that faring? Richard: The present hiking group (Taipei Hikers) was established about 2002, when I was working on Taipei Day Trips 2. The group has since grown (now there are about 130 members) and we’ve branched out into hiking to places not in the books, weekend trips around the mountains in the center of Taiwan by hired scooter, and even camping trips. Trista: How do you choose new hiking trails? Richard: It’s easy as pie nowadays, as there’s so much info (albeit still largely in Chinese) available, plus passable hiking maps which provide a good overview of the Taiwanese countryside and the countless trails crossing it. While writing my first two books however there was none of that, and apart from well-established walking trails such as the Caoling Trail or the Mount Bijia Ridgewalk, it was a case of reading local guidebooks, asking lots of questions, and lots and lots of trial-and-error hiking. Trista: What are your favorite spots, and why? Richard: I’ve a very, very soft spot for waterfalls (I even wrote a book - never published - documenting nearly three hundred waterfalls in England while a teenager!), and Taiwan’s combination of steep mountains and lots of rain means there are hundreds and hundreds of them here. There’s no absolute favorite, but a new discovery, Yuemeikang Waterfall in Yilan County springs to mind. It would be a beautiful sight even if it was a popular tourist attraction, but it’s actually almost unknown, and getting there is a mini adventure, involving several ropes and a short wade upstream, which is especially appealing. It’s such an evocative place, I think, that I even chose a photo of it for the cover of one of my new Taipei Escapes books! Trista: The most beautiful places you’ve seen in Taiwan? Richard: There are so many astonishing places in Taiwan it would be impossible to choose just one, but the vertiginous Jhulu Cliff Trail above Taroko Gorge, the stunning but difficult-to-reach Taiji Canyon in Nantou, and the area around Fengshan village in Chiayi County would certainly be in my Top 10. Trista: How does Taiwan compare with other countries you’ve hiked in? Richard: It’s quite different. I’ve had the enormous luck to be able to do countless day hikes in many countries all over the world, climbed a number of high mountains,

and done multi-day hikes in Uganda, Peru and Chile, and nothing in Taiwan can compare with the sheer grandeur of Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia, or be as otherworldly as the Mountains of the Moon in east Africa. On the other hand, while there are marvelous highlights in many countries I’ve visited, nowhere I’ve been (except England!) is anywhere near as rich in wonderful details as Taiwan, and with such a staggering network of trails much of it is accessible to the casual hiker. I’m still finding (thanks to local hiking blogs) fascinating new places such as waterfalls, caves, rock formations or abandoned villages just an hour or two from Taipei. Trista: How did Taipei Escapes evolve? Richard: Taipei Escapes started out as a simple revision of the two Taipei Day Trips books. As soon as I started updating them, however, I realized there was the opportunity to do far more than simply update them. So I took out all the Yangmingshan walks (which are now covered in Yangmingshan: the Guide), replaced other walks with newer, more interesting discoveries, and completely rewrote and redesigned the remainder with a lot more information. The result is basically a pair of new books, and, I think, the best I’ve done to date. Trista: What are the titles of your books and how can people order them? Are they sold mainly through The Center and/or other outlets? Richard: Yangmingshan: the Guide is available through The Center, at branches of Caves and Eslite Bookstore, at Page One and at a few other outlets in Taipei. Taipei Escapes 1 and 2 will be published in June and will be available from the same outlets. Check out Richard Saunders’ Off The Beaten Track blog at: Trista di Genova is a freelance writer, author/poet, and editor-in-chief of the award-winning online collective, The Wild East Magazine online at: resourCes taipei hikers hiking club taipei-hikers2 523 hiking club php?gid=62310365281&ref=search hiking and riding in taipei (gPS info for hikes around Taipei) hiking taiwan (Stu Dawson's excellent Blog) http:// tony huang's hiking Blog (in Chinese) http://hikingtaiwan. Summer 2011

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2011/5/25 5:28:52 PM


ic g a m e h t s i e e thr number TExT: CHARLIE sTORRAR


h r e e, a s M o n t y P y t h o n famously said, shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Good things come in threes. The original Star Wars trilogy. The Bronte sisters. Small packets of Ferrero Rocher. Men in a tub. Furthermore there are three original pieces making up The Royal Threesome at The Crown, the latest production from the Taipei Players. Three then was to be the key to the new project from the Taipei Players – the city’s only Englishlanguage theater company. Late last year the company threw down the gauntlet to their legions of fans to write and contribute their own short scripts. Write they did and from the numerous submissions the Players

whittled the original works down to Outed by Holly Harrington, Package Piece b y Maur o Sac c hi and Matthe w Lippart’s Creative Control for the upcoming production. Established in 2008 by Mandy Roveda and Sarah Zittrer, both f r o m To r o n t o, t h e c o m p a n y’s professionally-trained directors have viewed comedy and the universal gift of laughter as the best way to establish themselves on the Taipei scene and draw cooperation from local-based writing, performing and

production talent. The exclusive use of original material in the company’s latest production is a measure of how far they have come in that time. A major feature of the upcoming performance is that for the first time a Taipei Players production will be accompanied by projected subtitles in Chinese, marking a new step in the company’s efforts to reach out to local audiences. T he Ro ya l T h re e so m e a t T he Crown will be performed at The Crown Theater on June 25th and 26t h, a t 2:30 p m a n d 7:30 p m. Tickets are available for NT$400 (in advance) from Toasteria or NT$500 (at the door). The first fifty pre-sale tickets bought will receive a special i n v i t a t i o n t o t h e Ta i p e i Players VIP party sponsored by the delectable Awfully Chocolate. More information about the show is available on the company’s website, www.

For tickets, Toasteria is located at: Zhongxiao Branch 2 Lane 248, Zhongxiao east road, Section 4 (台北市忠孝東路4段248巷2號) Tel: 2731-8004 shida Branch 1, alley 72, yun-He Street (台北市雲和街72巷1號) Tel: 2365 3051 the Crown theater B1, 50, alley 120, Dunhua North road, Taipei (台北市敦化北路120巷50號B1)

Calendar of Events at The Center for June/July 2011 thursday, June 9, 10:30 am – noon

tuesday, June 21, 2011, 7:15 pm

tuesday, June 14, 10 am – noon

special topic Coffee morning

tastes of taipei at samyama

CsC Book Club

Topic: English Summer Garden Party To celebrate the English summer ‘season’ of Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Chelsea Flower Show, Henley Regatta and all the other ‘to-be-seen-at’ Royal events, join the English ladies for morning tea & cakes.

3F-2, 342, Fuxing South Road, Section 1, Taipei Tel: 0935-457-594 Our monthly dinner in June promises to be a night that’s good for the body, senses and soul. John Ang of Samyama, a private all-vegetarian kitchen and gallery, has designed a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean vegetarian dishes based on the principles of vastu shastra, a traditional Hindu system of design. The cost is NT$1,500 net per person, and part of that goes back to The Center. Space constraints, however, mean dinner is limited to twelve persons, so book early !

Our Summer read for June is Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran who is well known for her historical fiction, focusing on the lesser-known stories of famous female figures in history. If you'd like to join us for a lively discussion and a slice of something yummy, please contact Kath at

Coffee Mornings are a great time to make new friends and reconnect with old friends.


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TexT: SuniTa Sue Leng

John Ang has a mission: to show people that there is a different way of eating. That is how Samyama came a b o u t i n J u l y 2010. At this private, fully v e g e t a r i a n k i t c h e n, John creates elegant dishes that use only the f i n e s t a n d h ea lth ies t o f i n g r e d i e n t s. T h e n u t r i t i o n a l p o w e r, flavors and colors of each dish are carefully balanced with the principles of ayurveda, a holistic healing practice from India, and vastu shastra, a traditional Hindu system of design. “Color is very important for digestion,” says John, who used to own a yoga studio. Samyama has spread by word of mouth to become an oasis for soulful, wholesome, creative vegetarian food. It also doubles up a showcase for John’s extensive collection of exquisite textiles, crystals and rare shells. Born in Chicago, John grew up in Singapore and has lived in Taiwan for the last 25 years, during which he has part-owned the antique shop Art Asia on Renai Road. For friends of the Community Services Center, John has a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean treat in

store for our monthly Tastes of Taipei dinner in June. The night will begin with a medley of mezzes such as G r e e k d o l m a s, b a b a ghanoush, and hummus with pita bread. The smorgasbord continues with a salad of couscous/barley with artichoke, cranberry, mint and walnut; Yemenite vegetable soup spiced with coriander seeds; Yemenite baked guava with spices, onions, olives and mushrooms; and Tunisian vegetarian pasta. Rounding off this unique menu is a dessert of kataifi, baklava and a date/pomegranate cake. The dinner on June 21st will be limited to twelve persons and is priced at NT$1,500 net per person, a portion of which John will kindly donate back to The Center. Diners will also have a chance to chat with John about the philosophy behind his food and the works of art in his gallery. Samyama is a fiveminute walk south of the Howard Plaza Hotel, above the corner watch shop on Fuxing South Road and Tongfong Street. Please call John directly to make your reservations.

Tastes of Taipei for June Date: Tuesday, June 21st Time: 7:15 pm Venue: Samyama Address: 3F-2, 342, Fuxing South road, Section 1, Taipei 台北市復興南路一段342號3樓之2

Tel: 0935-457-594 (John Ang) Glittering night at the Galerie in April There was plenty of glitter and smiles at The Center's monthly Tastes of Taipei dinner on Tuesday April 26th at the Galerie Bistro. It was warm enough to sit out on the beautiful garden terrace of the restaurant, which is housed in an atmospheric 1930s building off Nanjing West road. For the main course, many opted for the pan-fried sea bass which got nods of approval. my filet mignon certainly deserved two thumbs. Bistro owner ely also came by to chat with some of the 29 folks who turned up for this special dinner, from which a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to The Center. A big thank you to Desta Selassie for organizing yet another great evening.

Sunita is originally from Malaysia and moved to Taipei in 2008. She has worked as a journalist with The Edge Singapore, and now freelances with a business weekly. She loves good food and wine, hiking and dogs. Summer 2011

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CaSual diNiNg

Eating out

with Kids in Taiwan TExT AnD IMAGEs: sERInA HuAnG


arents with young children know what it feels like t o w a l k i n t o a n a l l-t o o q u i e t r e s t a u r a n t, w h e r e the clinically Zen interior and linen tablecloths scream too posh for kids. This is the kind of place where other patrons send disapproving stares if your little ones dare to make any noise, blow bubbles in their drinks, or worse, accidentally drop food on the floor. T h a n k f u l l y, I h a v e n e v e r h a d this experience in Taiwan. Most restaurants – even the high-end ones – generally go out of their way to welcome children. This is because despite having one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Taiwan’s society still revolves around the family unit. So it is natural to find the whole family – at times three or even four generations – eating out together. Yet some restaurants do a better job at welcoming younger patrons than others. I asked Katrina Brown, author of popular family blog Kidzone-tw, about what makes a restaurant suitable for children. She said at


a minimum the restaurant should provide a high-chair, sturdy tables, chairs with backs and children’s crockery and cutlery. Optimally, it should also have a baby-changing area, somewhere for a parent to stand with a baby safely, and space for older kids to amuse themselves. Brown notes a trend toward making family restaurants so childcentered that some dining areas resemble playgrounds. “Personally, I prefer to give my children the learning experience of being in a real restaurant with grownups, with a few tools to help parents and children enjoy their dining experience smoothly without interrupting others,” she said. I can relate to this. As a mother of a toddler, I look for these things and more when we eat out as a family. An important criteria is whether we can fit our hummer-like pram through the door. Many Taiwanese restaurants are less than ideal for the mobility impaired (or those with prams) and negotiating narrow entrances with steps can be tricky. Once inside, we look for somewhere

wide enough to park the pram, airconditioning (especially in summer) and - importantly - cleanliness. We also avoid potentially dangerous places such as hot pot restaurants (burning coals and active babies are not a good combination). But above-all we seek a family-friendly vibe: a good indication is if there are already other children in the restaurant. We f i n d t h a t a l t h o u g h m o s t restaurants will provide high-chairs, they are not necessarily safe (most do not have straps), nor clean. And the plastic bowls and spoons provided by

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most restaurants are often too big for the average infant (although my son loves to bang on them as if they were a toy). We usually come equipped a favorite baby spoon and some snacks just in case there is nothing suitable on the menu. We have discovered several great places to eat out as a family in and around Taipei. These are three of our favorites, which I hope you will enjoy, too: 1. M i n g Ji h (銘記越南美食) i s a Vietnamese restaurant at 536-1, Kangning St, Xizhi (汐止市康寧 街536-1, Tel: (02) 2692-7015). What I liked: Lots of room for children to run around, and interesting knick-knacks and displays for them to look at. The chicken congee was ideal for young children. The restaurant complex has ample parking. Not so good: The wooden high chair was not very clean. It is quite a trek from downtown Taipei. 2. Chinese Cookbook (京宴小館) is

a Chinese-style restaurant within walking distance from Taipei 101 at 194 Songren Road, Xinyi (信 義區松仁路194號, Tel: (02) 87892008). What I liked: There were three families with young children the first time we visited, and it was packed solid the second time due to Mother’s Day. Yet the restaurant always had enough highchairs, and no matter how busy the staff were, they were always friendly. The restaurant is impeccably clean, and the food reliably good. N ot s o go o d : No dedicated parking, nor much space to park prams. 3. W h i t e H o u s e C a f é i s a European-style pasta restaurant o n 536 Yo n g g o n g R o a d o n Yangmingshan (台北市士林區永 公路536號, Tel: (02) 2861-9128). What I liked: Talk about kid central! When we visited one Sunday, every table either had several children, child-substitute pets or both. This is clearly the

place to eat when on a family day-trip to Yangmingshan. It was a hot day, and the waitress immediately rushed out to offer o u r l i t t l e b o y a c o o l d r i n k. There are gardens outside where children (and animals) can run around, plus adequate parking. Not so good: The menu is only in Chinese, and there are no children’s options.

Taiwanxifu ( T a i w a n d a ug h t e r in - l aw) i s the blog ging alter-ego of Serina Huang, who enjoys sampling Taiwan’s culinary creations, exploring ne w pl ac es and discovering cultural insights. Her blog is at http://

The Center gallerY Accent yourself and your home with the jewelry, oriental pieces and birdcages displayed by Cherry hill antiques. The bags, placemats and coasters are new arrivals, handmade by south China Hill Tribes.

meili Kou of gide This month in the Gallery, Meili Kou of Gide offers a selection of handmade cotton bags. Decorated with cute animal designs like dancing cats and smiling rabbits, the items include pouches for jewelry, purses and backpacks. 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.

July 2011

June 2011

Cherry hill antiques Di’s Jewelry and Bags On the sideboard display this month, Dianne Halliday offers a variety of fashionable jewelry pieces made from semi precious stones and metals, and vibrantly colored bags which will go with any outfit. tien tung art gallery This month The Center wall features beautiful Chinese brush paintings from Tien Tung Art Gallery. Priced between nT$800 and nT$2,200, these scrolls and fans with gift boxes make a great gift or a lovely addition to your home décor. Tien Tung also accepts custom orders. Ceramics from masterpieces merchandise A selection of beautiful ceramic items, such as business card stands, candy jars, vases and decorative plates from Masterpieces Merchandise in Yingge. Also included in this display are bracelets made from various types of stone beads. Summer 2011

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urban Gardening



o m i n g t o Ta i w a n i n August 2009 to work and live in my second Asian country meant apartment hunting again, something I detest. Usually I take the first place I see just to get the process over. This was not to be the case in Taipei but on the third day a huge balcony sold me on a place in a newish twelve story apartment in Section 2 of Zhongshan North Road. Slowly I stocked the balcony planters, buying little plants from local florists, but mainly rescuing abandoned ones on my walks around the neighbourhood. A friend told me that used coffee grounds make good plant fertiliser so I started collecting them from the machine at work about 2 kilograms a week. They can be put on top of the soil or (even better) mixed into it. The grounds do go mouldy and often harden, so I use a chopstick to loosen them now and again, but from the research I did and experience since then the plants love me for it. I have grown some plants in half coffee grounds, half potting mix or soil without any problems. Using used coffee (and tea leaves) in this way reduces a waste product and negates the need to buy fertiliser. I learnt later on to get them from CafĂŠ


85 (they package them regularly help yourself) and 7 Eleven ( I learnt to say for them: something like "ching gei wo kaa-fay Tzai" and after some smiling and pointing, I get a big bag). The balcony plants continue to flourish and l love to see the butterflies, birds and even a little head-bobbing lizard making regular appearances. One evening, during my second year at the same apartment, I was watching Costa's Garden Odyssey a gardening show from Australian TV. His enthusiasm and a show on rooftop gardens made me think to try and get my apartment roof greened. The roof was designed and built with planter boxes, but they were never filled with soil and used (after about five or six years). I took some photos of the empty boxes, Photoshopped in some plants and made a Youtube video (http:// yo ut u . be / H 3Hw - h2 I Z nY) using some of the TV program together with the photos showing where and how they could be planted. I created a poster with the photos and the video hyperlink and displayed it in the building's foyer before going to the building management committee meeting to make a request. They w e r e s u p p o r t i v e, b u t q u i c k l y expressed concern for leaking and

cited ongoing problems with the building already leaking as their priority (in other words sayin g a polite "nice idea, but no"). I found this frustrating because this excuse is too often used despite many other buildings having plants and trees on their rooftops. Days later I pondered the fact that potted plants in the planter boxes couldn’t possibly cause a leaky roof. I wanted to mention this at the next meeting a month later, but during this time a new, exciting gardening opportunity presented itself.... be continued.

Growing up in mild Natal, South Africa on a twoacre property with parents who loved landscaping and gardening taught Dylan many things and kindled his love of nature.

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Tes roots and shoots TexT: saManTha hall (h4)

22 ApRiL - EARTH DAy 2011


n 1991, a new youth environmental group called the Roots and Shoots was founded by Dr Jane Goodall and twelve local teenagers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Over the following two decades, Roots and Shoots groups have appeared in schools all over the world in over 120 countries. In the 2010 school year, Taipei European School joined this league of environmental pioneers with our very own Roots and Shoots club. 2011 is the twentieth anniversary of the organisation. Many people think that helping the environment is difficult; but Roots and Shoots strives to be green and fun at the same time! Members take part in various engaging activities that contribute to the greening of our environment, and the result of our hard work can be found across campus. Hand-made recycled paper signs posted above the light switches remind people to turn off lights when leaving. Used paper is sorted for reuse each week (both sides of the paper should always be used). Sometimes, sessions are spent ‘in the dirt’ – seeds of oranges and pumpkins are grown in small pots and flower patches around the school.

TexT: Mr Graves (Teacher in charGe)

Roots and Shoots decided to raise awareness of Earth Day through the morning bulletin and with a video or presentation each day of the week starting 18th April, as well as selling homebaked cookies and cupcakes on Tuesday through Thursday to raise money for our environmental work. We finished the week on Thursday by planting a tree after school. EMbASSy OF bELizE TREE pLAnTing Five students and two teachers were kindly invited to attend this event organised and hosted by Mr Novelo, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Belize at Tianshou Park in Tianmu to celebrate Earth Day 2011. Members of Diplomatic Corps and Taiwanese government officials attended. The tree planting was followed by Belizean food, music and a volleyball tournament with teams representing embassy countries or local universities. The day showed the improving awareness of environmental issues and the Taiwanese government's commitment to addressing these issues as well as how important a concern for the environment is to the Belizean people (40% of their landmass is protected in some way and they have the second largest barrier reef in the world). Please see our website for further information and regular updates -


Community Calendar Live at Alleycats, TianMu June 17th, 8 pm-10 pm Flâneur daguerre -- jazz

The Community Services Center

June 24th, 8 pm-10 pm LEO37 --- Jazz Hip-Hop

16th Annual Charity Auction Dinner

# 31, Lane 35, Zhongshan N. Rd., Taipei (02) 2835-6491 中山北路六段35巷31號

Friday, October 21, 2011 6:30 pm For reservations, please contact The Center: Phone: (02) 2836-8134 or email us at

Stage Time & Wine @ The Red Room June 18th, 2011 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm 2F., No. 117, Sec. 1, Da'an Rd., Taipei City 106, Taiwan 北市大安路一段 117號2F SummeR 2011

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soy sauce 醬油 [jiangyou] As king of Chinese condiments, soy sauce plays a significant role in local cooking. It smells of full-bodied soy beans with a slightly fermented alcoholic hint and tastes salty at the tip of the tongue and ‘sweet’ deep in the throat. It can’t be replaced by any other condiment. Produced for three thousand years, soy sauce is now fermented with soy bean. The technique of brewing soy sauce was exported to Japan in the sixth century and to Taiwan during the 1600s.

King of sauces text: Ivy Chen Images: Ivy Chen, xIang tIng and Isabella

Types of soy sauce: 1. Black soy bean soy sauce is very popular among the people of central and southern Taiwan. All black soy bean soy sauces are naturally brewed, so it has a reputation for being healthier. The key ingredients to make good soy sauce are pure water, suitable c l i m a t e, b l a c k s o y b e a n s a n d traditional handmade methods. Soy sauce brewed from black soy beans is darker and sweeter than sauce made from other ingredients. 2. Soy bean and wheat soy sauce: This type is the most common and is mainly brewed commercially. Soy bean and wheat soy sauces are brewed using two different methods, which are explained below.


3. Soy bea n soy sauc e: This type takes the smallest market share, yet has a good reputation among consumers. Brewing soy sauce: There are two methods. The best quality soy sauce is brewed through natural fermentation, while cheaper kinds are produced by an artificial

process called hydrolyzation. 1. Natural fermentation: Cook soy beans and/or wheat. Cool them down and make a “Koji” culture, taking about seven days under controlled temperatures. Wash koji. Mix beans and/or wheat with salt in clay vats or commercial FRP tanks, cover them and ferment for three to six

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months. Press and strain beans and/or wheat to get extra virgin soy sauce (the best essence although not necessarily the most pleasant flavor). D i l u t e, a d j u s t f l a v o r a n d pasteurize to create different grades of soy sauce. 2. Chemical-hydrolyzation method: Soy sauce can also be made by boiling the beans in hydrochloric acid in a method which was invented by the Japanese during World War II. The whole process takes only a couple of days. After the proteins in the beans have been broken down, the mix is fermented with wheat and salt. uses: There are two main kinds of soy sauce: thin soy sauce and thick soy sauce paste (made from thin soy sauce and ground glutinous rice, which tastes sweeter than thin soy sauce). Thin soy sauce is mainly used for cooking and as a marinade, while soy sauce paste is normally used as a condiment. purChasing: It’s important to recognize the

Chinese character that indicates naturally brewed soy sauce: “純釀造 (chun niangzao)” or the logo shown in photo (top right). Shake the bottle. The bubbles on the surface are a guide to the quality of the sauce: the finer and the longer lasting the bubbles, the better the quality of the sauce. Of course, price is another guide to quality. storage: Store soy sauce in the refrigerator once opened, especially if you buy the naturally brewed variety.

Center Courses aCtivitY

Summer Survival Chinese 1 Summer Survival Chinese 2

June 2011 First meeting Date

June 13 June 13


9:00 am 10:30 am

To sign up, please call The Center at 2836-8134 or 2838-4947 Summer 2011

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2011/5/25 5:29:40 PM

gENEratioN y

My Perfect Wedding TExT: LEAT AHROnY


n movies, they always tell you that every little girl's dream is to find her Prince Charming one da y, a nd h a v e a p ictu r eperfect white wedding. Even Fiona found her prince charming, Shrek, only in a more ‘ogrely’ way. Is this really true in reality though? Is there really a perfect woman or man out there who is destined to be with you? Is it really necessary to spend an insane amount of money on a dress you will probably never wear again? And does every woman desire a big white wedding? As human as I am, and as realistic as I can be, I for one have never ever thought about, or even pre-planned my wedding. However, my curiosity never stopped me from asking my parents, “Mom, dad, how did you guys meet?” My mother’s life had always been centered around her job. Working day and night, she was glued to her office chair like a magnet; she was, and still is, an independent business woman. One day, an American man followed her on the empty streets of Tianmu during Chinese New Year. No, it was not my father; it was his boss. This was how my parents were introduced to each other. New to Taiwan, my father struggled for the first couple of months. Keep in mind that this was thirty years ago, and my young father didn’t speak a word of Mandarin. My mother was his superwoman to the rescue! As time progressed, my mother and father became best friends. The first time my mother stayed over at his hotel room was a complete nightmare, because she could not stand another second of his snoring. That night she asked herself, who would ever marry this man? Five years later, my parents were getting married. Who knew? My parents officially got married at court soon after, but they didn’t have their wedding party until a year later. In the end, the wedding 28

turned out to be very simple, and relatively small in size; only close family and friends were invited. My parents didn’t see the need to make a wedding a huge deal. I understand why any human being would want their special day to be the best, and most memorable day. But I often find myself asking, is it really the only day where you get to feel special? There will be other days where every pair of eyes are on you. I think the truly special days come after the wedding date. The day you move into a new apartment or house is special. The New Year and family holidays that you spend together as a couple are special. The day when you announce you’re having a baby, and the day you feel it kicking is special. So many more days to come, and so many new events. A wedding is a celebration, but the importance of it is not in the expensive dress or flower decorations; it is the relationship between the couple that is noteworthy. We o f t e n h a v e a m o d e r n-d a y scenario where two love birds-who have only known each other for a few months claim themselves to be Romeo and Juliet. Well indeed, they are! Young and in love. Somewhere down the road though, they may r e a l i z e t h a t t h i n g s j u s t a r e n’t working out. Yo u s u d d e n l y h a v e s o m a n y

young individuals who think six months of dating will satisfy and guarantee a happily-everafter marriage. To tell you the truth, I don’t even think I can know a friend well enough in the duration of six months. Relationships require time and like a wedding dress, each thread needs to be sewn with gentle care and patience. Arguments and hardships are inevitable, but just as important, because they force both individuals to reach a compromise. Couples should try living together before rushing into a marriage. This is vital, because if one side can’t stand the other’s poor hygiene, tidiness, or weird habits for example, then problems need to be solved before moving any step further. Before you even think about having a wedding, there comes the question of WHO am I going to marry? Deep down, every single one of us desires some qualities or looks. A woman might desire a rich and powerful, but also sweet, loving, sensitive, and handsome man. A man might desire a sweet, saving, caring, beautiful, and graceful woman. But will these desires come true? Maybe, or maybe not. I have learned from the past that things don’t always go according to plan in life. My mother who thought she would never marry, got married. My father who thought his destined wife would be Jewish proved himself wrong when he stood before my Taiwanese mother with a ring, and a token of love and trust in his hands. Weddings, relationships, divorces, future years with the special someone, are all events in life that many people sail through. There are many different ways to tie the knot. You don’t have to spend 3.2 million dollars like Chelsea Clinton did in order to make it special. I’ve never planned my wedding before, but I have an idea of what I will need:

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• A guest list of close family and friends, • An elegant, but not too fancy hotel by the beach, • A simple rented dress, • Little decorations, • A dance floor, • Cultural food, • Music. I believe marriage is more than just a legal declaration or a party. It is about sharing each and every moment together. It is about respecting, caring and loving each other, and most importantly, supporting each other through the difficult times. Like the ocean, a marriage will have its high and low tides. Wherever you may go, whoever you may meet, the dream wedding is only a tiny piece of the cake.

The Beat of the Clock TExT: CHARLOTTE LEE, TAs GRADE 3

Tick tock Goes the clock Don’t go too fast The clock won’t last Look The moving hands Seconds passing Slow down What are you missing? Have you ever seen the full moon on a starry night? Or bother to reply when someone says hi? Tick tock goes the clock Don’t go too fast The clock won’t last Have you ever stopped to listen? Stopped to take the time to smile and wave to someone you know? Slow down Seconds will pass The beat of the clock Time doesn’t wait The clock won’t last Summer 2011

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book review

Rainy Night Moon by Tsai Wen-Fu Translated by: Claire Wang-Lee Published in 1999 Published by James Publishing Company ISBN: 1-893584-01-1

TexT: Owain MckiMM

The Author: Tsai Wen-Fu is chairman of Chiu Ko Publishing Company and has written over ten works of fiction since 1963. His publishing company has also published a collection of modern Taiwanese Literature, presented in 27 volumes. In 2004 he set up a grant program to help support new Taiwanese novelists. He has received the National Medal for Outstanding Service to Journalistic Publishing and the Publishing of Literary Works in Taiwan.


ainy Night Moon is the story of Yu Yun Lei, a pedicap driver working for his adopted family the Ge’s - who, on his last night of employment before breaking the ties of obligation undergoes a single stormy night of intense revelation and discovery. The book is all about family, about debt and about the ability to forgive. Taking place as it does over the course of a single evening, it manages to be surprisingly agile in its movement between poor houses, society parties, and the dank lonely street gutters where the rain is a constant metaphor for the discomfort, turbulence and unrelenting desire of the characters to come to some, or indeed any kind of a conclusion. Though this may be considered an unoriginal literary trope, and it is used plentifully in this book, the relief felt in the closing lines when the rain finally abates is undeniably, if obviously, powerful. Yu Yun Lei spends his last night working for the Ge’s battling several competing strands of personal conflict. The first is his palpable love for Ge’s daughter Joanie, while simultaneously struggling with a vigorous hatred of her father. The second is Joanie’s intentionally unfathomable attempts to sabotage his intent to marry ‘Beanpole Huang,’ a pretty yet traditional girl who Yu intends to start a new life with. The last is his inherent desire to discover his father, whose story is told in alternating sections during the narrative. The chapters dealing with the prodigal father, Liu Pei Bin are perhaps the most interesting ones in the novel. For all of Yu’s dignity and moral fire, it is the strange attraction of the degraded Liu, attempting in his last days to somehow reconnect with his (many) families, and failing at each turn, that really lends a grand sense of tragedy to the book. Like the finest of Greek plays the dramatic irony in which the abandoned son and repentant father somehow constantly encounter


each other but never realize the truth of their relationship is quite brilliant. Both ultimately fail in their respective quests, but Tsai Wen-Fu treats this failure with an inimitable skill, and manages to turn it into an unexpected success story for the staunch Yu, and in some small way finds redemption for the haggard Liu. It is unsurprising to learn that Tsai Wen-Fu is primarily a writer of short stories. The structure and scope of this novel is one that, from the very beginning, craves a resolution. Using the rainy night as a framework and a reference point for major events in the plot, each of which remain unsettled with the ominous news that the rain is still falling, Tsai exhibits a novel of purpose and focus that hits its targets with precision. There is no space to waste in the art of short story writing, and that is a skill that Tsai translates expertly to the novel, with each event poised ready to launch a new perspective on the events of this long evening. Though the translation is at some points faltering, not running as smoothly as the overlap of events themselves, there is little lost in terms of the unrelenting gloom and grime captured on the streets of this torrential city, of which the characters themselves are slaves to the discomfort and sorrow it brings.

Owain Mckimm has lived in Taiwan for over two years. He is a freelance writer in Taipei, and teaches English part time.

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hair Dresser

Contact: Jenny Wang Robert Liu Danny Shih Tel: 02-2836-1000 Fax: 02-2831-9942 E-mail:



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Word from the Director O

ne of our incredibly dedicated volunteers (who shall remain nameless – her choice) is one of those happy people who has a song for everything. Basically no matter what you are doing at any given time she can think of a song title to match the event. She is much more gifted than I in this but

around this time every year as summer approaches (it is coming right?) I always get the old John Denver song stuck in my head. You know the one, it starts “well my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”. The reason I always think about this one is that for many of the people I know summer is a time of leaving, going home to recharge, or just taking a break while the kids are on school holidays. But you know, not everyone leaves Taiwan in the summer. Last year after the summer “break” I asked a lot of people about where they had gone for the summer and many of them replied that they had not gone anywhere. And neither had I…and yet we had not contacted each other for the whole break thinking that neither one would be around! Is there a moral to my fable? Not really. Will we learn some valuable lessons from what I am saying? Maybe, maybe not. But if there is one thing that I can take from my experiences of last year it may simply be “don't assume that nobody is around”. Make a call. Get some friends together. And, in case you didn't know we are going to be here for the summer too. We will be open shorter hours for the month of July but we will still be here. So see you soon.

Steven Parker Director, Community Services Center

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

Agape 3F, 21 ChangChun road, Taipei, Taiwan Tel: 2598-1009 (office) Anglican Episcopal Church Church of the Good Shepherd 509 ZhongCheng rd., Shilin Tel: 2873-8104, 2882-2462 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 City Revival Church B1, 210, ZhongXiao e. rd., Sec. 4 Tel: 8921-8250 Fax: 8921-8272 Friendship Presbyterian Church 5, Lane 269, roosevelt rd., Sec. 3 Tel: 2362-1395 Grace Baptist Church 90 XinSheng S. rd., Sec. 3 Tel: 2362-5321 ext. 135 32

Jewish Community For information call Ahrony Yoram on 0939763-135 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 New Apostolic Church 2F, No. 5, Lane 39, Keelung rd, sec. 2, Taipei, 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 email: Oasis Bread of Life Christian Church 10F, #55, ZhongCheng rd, Sec. 2 (DaYeh Takashimaya, Tian mu) Tel: 28310299 Fax: 28317214 email:

English Ministry @Suang-Lien Presbyterian Church 111 Zhong-Shan N road, Sec 2, Taipei Tel: 2541-5390 Fax: 2523-1361 email: Taipei Holiness Church (Charismatic International Service) every Sunday morning at 10.45am with Pastor Sandra ee 5F, 107 Nanking east road Section 4, Taipei Te: 27123242 Taipei International Church meets at the Taipei American School 800 ZhongShan N. rd., Sec. 6, Tianmu Tel: 2833-7444 Fax: 2835-2778 gateway.htm TAIPEI JEWISH SERVICES Sheraton Taipei Hotel 12, Zhongxiao east road, Section 1, Taipei Tel: 2592-2840, Fax: 2594-3892 e-mail: Transforming Faith Church (f.k.a. Bread of Life Christian Church) 5F, 295 ZhongXiao e. rd., Sec. 4 Tel: 8772-2207 Fax: 8772-2210

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Website/Email Address

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 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 Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCham) 7701 0818/ 0922 109 089 British Chamber of Commerce 2720 1919 Canadian Society 2757-6977 Christian Salvation Service 2729-0265 Community Services Center 2836-8134 Democrats Abroad (Tammy Turner) Dutch Speaking Association (VNT) European Chamber of Commerce 2740-0236 Gateway 2833-7444 German Institute 2501-6188 German Trade Office 8758-5800 Goethe-Institut Taipei 2506-9028 Indians' Association of Taipei 2542-8091 2533-4272 International Community Choir La Leche League (Breastfeeding Support) lé the francophone Lions Downtown Club Taipei, English speaking (Peter Wu) 2701-1811 Oasis Youth Group 2831-0299 Overseas Trailing Talent in Taiwan Paradyme Youth Group 2833-7444 POW Camps Memorial Society (Michael Hurst) 8660-8438 Republicans Abroad Taiwan Shilin District Office 2882-6200 office and ) 2518 4901~3 Spanish Chamber Of Commerce ( aa commercial Spanish consulate Tagalog Hotline 2834-4127 Taipei International Women’s Club 2331-9403 TYPA (Taipei Youth Program Association) 2873-1815 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 8145-9007 2872-3833

SPORTS Biking Site in Taiwan Hash House Harriers 0952-025-116 International Golf Society of Taipei is a non-profit group. Participants only pay for their gear and court fees. K3 Squash Club ( This ) 0987 275 919 Free coaching is also provided for those who have never played before. Scottish Country Dancing (May Chen) 2706 3179 Taipei Women’s International Golf Group (TWIGG) 2691 5912 Tai Tai’s Women’s Touch Rugby 0981-180-020 Taipei Baboons Rugby Club - Taiwan 0952 67 1995 Taipei Shebabs Women’s Touch Rugby 0913-602-071, , Facebook: K3 Squash Club Taipei


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 8758-2088 2506-3767 2873-3096 8723-3000 2874-2943 2723-0329 2875-2964 2722-5100 2718-2101 2875-1357 2876-3509 2757-9596 2722-0764 3518-5151







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German Institute Guatemala

2501-6188 2875-6952 Summer 2011

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2011/5/27 7:35:23 AM


Summer 2011

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Centered on Taipei June 2011  

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

Centered on Taipei June 2011  

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