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

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on T A I P E I September 2011, Volume 12, Issue 1

Special Sixty, the MoSt iMportant Birthday SoundScapeS and SoundwalkS traditional artS Steven crook the coMedy cluB where iS hoMe FeaSting in yilan rice

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September 2011 volume 12 issue 1


6 National Concert Hall: September 2011 Richard Recommends 7

Cultural Corner Special Sixty, The Most Important Birthday


8 Arts Soundscapes and Soundwalks 10 Eco News Urban Gardening


12 Traditional Arts The National Center for Traditional Arts - Macedonian songs, a Lion Dance, and a Steam Train Journey 14 Profile Steven Crook 16

OTT News Helping others while finding personal fulfillment


17 The Center Gallery 16th Annual Charity Auction Dinner Donors 18

Charity Who let the dogs out?

21 Entertainment The Comedy Club The Center’s Favorite Finds 22 Expat Life Where is Home? 23

Community Taipei American School

24 Tastes of Taipei September 2011 25 Book Review Expat Women: Confessions 26

Casual Dining Feasting in Yilan Events at The Center


Generation Y Goodbye Playtime, Hello Management Events about town


Chinese Kitchen Rice


Community Groups

34 Word from the Director/ Worship Directory


30 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:

COVER IMAGE: neil wade

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!

A marcher in the 2011 Keelung Ghost Festival Parade throws gifts to the crowd.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner. september 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

Ivy Chen Glen Clifford Steven Crook Trista Di Genova Dylan Graves Serina Huang Terence Lloren Amy Liu Kath Liu

Robin Looney Lauren Mack Owain McKimm Tobie Openshaw Steven Parker Richard Saunders Katya Ilieva-Stone Sunita Sue Leng Rosemary Susa Neil Wade

Community Services Center Editorial Panel: Siew Kang, Fred Voigtmann Printed by: Farn Mei Printing Co., Ltd. 1F, No. 102, Hou Kang Street, Shilin District, Taipei Tel: 02 2882 6748 Fax: 02 2882 6749 E-mail:

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

Amy Liu Monica Cheng Kath Liu Rosemary Susa Lauren Mack Robin Looney Aimee Wong Gloria Gwo

Volunteers: Alison Bai, Wakako Couch, John McQuade, Jessica Nielsen, Gloria Peng, Jenni Rosen, Sandra Schnelle, Desta Selassie, Emily Whewell, Heike Wood, Lillian Yiin Premier Sponsors: 3M Taiwan Bai Win Antiques BP Taiwan Ltd. 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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Roma Mehta Editor

Richard Saunders Co-editor

Paula Lee Advertising Manager

Katia Chen Designer

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” — Rainer Maria Rilke Dear Readers, Life is a journey and we can decide if we wish to enjoy, explore, and remain curious. The writers in this issue of Centered on Taipei have obviously chosen to remain curious. There is a wonderful freshness to experiencing Taiwan and its treasures with new eyes. Birthdays are good milestones for some self searching and in Taiwanese culture, sixty is a landmark year and is celebrated in style. Amy Liu explains the significance of the sixtieth birthday in Taiwanese culture. Serina Huang and Katya Ileva-Stone explore the food and culture of Yilan. And on a very different sensory level, Glen Clifford introduces us to a fascinating collection of Soundscapes and Soundwalks, a unique series of recordings to help people pay closer attention to and experience daily life on the streets of Taiwan. Our profile this month is centered on Steven Crook. His recently published book Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide is an excellent resource for those who wish to explore the island. Another must have in a collection of Books on Taiwan for those who love the outdoors, Richard Saunders’ Taipei Escapes 1 and 2 are a perfect companion and guide to exploring the many beautiful nature walks in and around Taipei. Dylan Thomas continues with the third part of urban gardening and Ivy Chen explains all you need to know about Taiwan rice and how each variety is cooked, and for a dose of that good old fashioned remedy for any type of blues, Owain McKimm suggests you try out the Comedy Club in Taipei. Fall brings along many opportunities to meet friends new and old, and at the same time to support the community we live in. Two such events are coming up soon so be sure to save the dates and reserve a space for yourself. Celebrate World Animals Day on September 30th with Animals Taiwan at an all vegetarian gala to raise money for a new animal rescue shelter in Taiwan. Also coming up in October is The Center's Annual Charity Auction Dinner, an evening not to be missed. We count on your support and contributions to make this magazine one that you would enjoy reading. If you would like to contribute to the magazine, whether with your creative writing or photography, please write to me (coteditor@ As always, we welcome your news and views. With gratitude, 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." ( september 2011


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National Theater & Concert Hall


september 2011

Richard Saunders


ot on the heels of last month’s pocket introduction to modern classical music in this column, September turns out to be a great time to catch up on a whole clutch of listener-friendly Twentieth Century classics at the CKS National Cultural Center. The big orchestral event of the month is the opening concert of the 25th season of the National Symphony Orchestra, which features one of Ravel’s finest works, the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Written for the famously fussy one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who originally refused to play the work), the concerto is one of Ravel’s last works (1930), uniquely fusing elements of jazz with much darker, more troubled undercurrents. The turmoil of the times is caught even more sharply in the first movement of English composer Gustav Holst’s magnum opus, The Planets, a work written during the first two years of the Great War. Mars, the bringer of War has always been by far the most famous movement of this extraordinary suite, due to its powerful and unnerving ability to both thrill and disturb at the same time. The remainder of the suite however deserves to be more familiar, especially the unearthly final movement, Neptune, the Mystic, with its disembodied female chorus, drifting away into silence at the end. Another fine composer who’s generally known these days by just one work, the German Carl Orff (yes, the creator of the Orff Method) used a collection of bawdy medieval verse as the unlikely inspiration for what’s become possibly the last century’s best-known classical work, Carmina Burana. The dramatic opening (‘O Fortuna’) especially has been used hundreds of times in everything from adverts (remember Old Spice?) to video games and has become one of the most instantly recognizable of all pieces of classical music. However, after this deeply familiar snippet, there’s another full hour of Carmina Burana to enjoy, packed full of whistle-able tunes, monks’ drinking songs, and even the lament of a swan, being roasted on an open spit…. Moving on, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra have constructed a fine program (September 22nd) featuring two classics from Soviet Russia. Prokofiev’s first two symphonies couldn’t possibly be more different: the First is light is as a feather, while the headache-inducing Second Symphony sounds like some industrial-age sonic nightmare. Luckily, the TSO decided to program the much loved first (subtitled the ‘Classical’), which hides a great deal of high art behind its carefree, melodious warmth and high spirits. Prokofiev’s great younger contemporary Shostakovich inhabited a very different Russia at the time he wrote this wonderful First Piano Concerto, the other work in the TSO’s Russian program. Laced with sardonic humor (the very beginning of the work features an irreverent quotation of a theme from Beethoven’s Appassionata Piano Sonata), the brittle fun subsides for a slow movement of great tenderness and sorrow: a reflection of the vice-like grip Russian creative artists were already working under in the early 1930s, when the concerto was written. Things were to get a lot worse in the following decades, and it’s staggering that Shostakovich later managed to write such intense and soul-searching masterpieces as the First Violin Concerto and the Eighth Symphony without getting into life-threatening trouble with the Soviet dictatorship. Now those are two pieces I’d like to see performed again in Taipei soon.


National Theater Ballet Nacional de Espagne: La Leyenda September 30 – October 1

The 25th Season Opeining Concert NSO plays Brahms and Ravel September 16 RR

NATIONAL CONCERT HALL 2011 TSCB Children’s Concert September 2

Rococo and Planets Orchestral works by Tchaikovsky and Holst September 18 RR

German Romanticism Orchestral works by Beethoven, Wagner and Mahler September 3

Hundred Dollar Concert Favorites for cello and piano; tickets only NT$100! September 18

Bella Tang Piano Recital Works by Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin and Bartok September 6

2011 Summer Jazz: Yellowjackets September 9

Three Little Pigs Children’s concert, with classical music favorites September 10

Carmina Burana

Piano and Trumpet Concerto Orchestral music by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn September 22 RR

Gwhyneth Chen Piano Recital Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes, plus Bach September 24

Das Lied Von der Erde Mahler’s magnificent symphony in songs September 25 RR

Carl Orff’s perennially popular cantata September 13 RR

Alessio Bax Piano Recital Works by Brahms, Rachmaninov and Liszt September 14 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

Special Sixty the most Important birthday


oday many young people in Taiwan enjoy celebrating their birthday every year, complete with a birthday cake, gift-giving and eating out at a restaurant or going to a KTV. Parents also make the effort to give birthday parties for children at home or at a child-friendly restaurant or activity center. These youngsters celebrate their birthday as it appears on the Western calendar. The older generation, however still mark their birthdays according to the lunar calendar. Traditionally, Taiwanese people don't celebrate their birthdays until they reach the age of sixty years old. The sixtieth birthday is regarded as a very important point of life. It is also the first year where both the animal and the element symbol of the Chinese (lunar) calendar are exactly the same as in the year of birth. I n c r e a s i n g l y, p e o p l e e n j o y celebrating a little extra during the Chinese zodiac animal year of their birth, which occurs once every twelve years. It is believed that on that year a person will be either especially lucky or particularly unlucky and, at that time many Ta i w a n e s e s e e k w a y s t o b r i n g themselves good luck. For example, during the Year of the Rat, those born under that animal sign may go to a temple to pray for additional luck to keep bad energy away. A sixtieth birthday is most elaborate and is commonly celebrated by inviting relatives and close friends to a Chinese banquet dinner. After that landmark event, a birthday celebration is customarily held every ten years, until the person's death. Grown-up sons and daughters are expected to coordinate and pay for a grand celebration at a hotel or restaurant to show respect for their parents, and as a way to express

thanks for all they have done for their children. Traditionally, the older the person, the bigger the party, but nowadays elders generally prefer a low-key birthday celebration with just family members. At the sixtieth birthday celebration, everyone eats traditional foods, extend their best wishes and give hongbao (紅包, money stuffed in a traditional red envelope). The money must be of an even number such as NT$2,000, 3,600 or 6,000, but never including the number four, such as 2,400 or 4,000, because for the Taiwanese the number is unlucky, suggesting death. Alternatively little statuettes of twenty-four karat gold are commonly given to the longlived star to wish them continued prosperity and health. Do remember to write your name directly on the red envelope so that your gift can be recognized. Another custom when celebrating an elder’s birthday is to offer foods with happy symbolic associations. A bowl of ‘long-life’ noodles (麵線,

mian xian) symbolizes a long life. The noodles are never cut or broken because this can imply cutting life short. Pig knuckles, (豬腳, zhu jiao) represent power and energy, while red eggs, (紅蛋, ho ng d a n) are a symbol of a harmonious and happy life. Finally the peach bun (壽桃, shou tao), which is a steamed bun in the shape of a peach with sweet (red or green) bean paste inside, also symbolizes long life. Sixty years makes up a cycle of a life and when one turns sixty, he or she is expected to have a big family with many children and grandchildren. It is an age to be proud of and to reward one’s great achievements. This is why elderly Taiwanese people traditionally start to celebrate their birthdays only upon reaching sixty. september 2011

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Soundscapes & Soundwalks text: Glen Clifford and terenCe lloren

Soundscapes “As sojourners or tourists, there is a whole world that people do not usually hear. The 'foreign' experience is at first exotic and fleeting. From an anthropological aspect, most hardly scratch the surface, with tacky fridge magnets of Taipei 101 and visits to Shilin market. From an intercultural communication aspect, most come away from the time abroad with a very external and subjective view of how different people think and reason, rather than the internal view, being that experienced by the people living in the culture. My aim with 'The Streets of Taipei' Soundscape segments is to help people scratch a little deeper, by forcing them to pay attention to a specific aspect of daily life abroad – sound. I also aim to give people, whether they have visited Taiwan or not, a memory or taste of what expatriates and sojourners experience, every day” - Glen Clifford


n 2009, BBC World Service Radio commenced production on a series of programs called 'Save Our Sounds'. Involving contributions from professional producers and amateurs, the aim was to create a collection of both rare and exotic ‘Soundscapes’ from as many countries as possible. Glen Clifford was already well placed to make a significant contribution, not only being a former radio presenter and advertising producer, but also having then lived in Asia for four years, during that time taking his digital audio recorders to seven nations across Asia. "I ' m st a n ding o ut si d e thi s t e mpl e a n d the re are these black-faced deities staring at me, as if this is my day of judgment; the threatening rhythm of constant drumming is almost shaking the ground. The parade starts and as the horns increase their pitch, a travelling hawker suddenly appears, calling “Mantou, mantou, buy dumplings now.” Suddenly it occurs to me that we may both be committing some grave offence, with me running recorder under one arm, the other arm holding microphones, warding off the approaching deities with a double-headed stereo threat. I start thinking: the next segment in the series will be on 'Taiwan Sound Trucks,' those annoying little blue vehicles that wake us up on weekend mornings, the mobile sound-making machines that become horrendously intrusive come election time, and yes, sell dumplings. Standing there thinking future logistics, I wonder if working beside politicians could be as scary as alongside the deities.” Clifford, talking about the recording of 'The Buddha's Birthday,' the first segment made for 'The Streets of Taipei' Soundscapes. If what he does seems a little strange or faddish, consider the following: the first mobile tape recorder (1954) was marketed as a device for making 'Family Sound Albums'; recording music was the last idea Philips, its maker, had in mind. It was thought we would all be good boys and girls, and not copy friends' music collections - or record songs off the radio. These


Sound Albums were to document baby's first words, sounds of local marching bands, festivals and other types of gatherings. Although it turned out that most people preferred to illegally copy their friends’ music collections, many Family Sound Albums were indeed created, lost and years later, found again. We see these today, in the form of letter-cassettes; more on these later. But what is it about people, such as Clifford, who prefer to record history with a concentration on sound, rather than video or the still image? Clifford answers with the attitude of 'Why not?' placing sound in equal importance and relationship to vision, but adds: "There's a huge revival in radio documentary, and in documentary in general. We have four things to acknowledge for this: the availability of reasonably priced portable digital recorders, the increased speed of the Internet and its streaming technologies, portable digital audio players (from the early Korean MPMan to the latest Android wireless devices), and a desire by amateurs to become podcasters, often producing documentary-like content. Another aspect has been the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the corresponding small but powerful flood of documentaries that soon followed. All these technologies and events 'happened' near the same time, and we now see the biggest film, photographic and audio documentary revival since feminists and civil rights activists grabbed 'new' lightweight film cameras in the 1970s. In 2009, no less than four major academic media journals devoted their entire issues to audio documentary or sound-art that captures contemporary life. I should point out that this current [Taipei] project is not standard documentary either, rather a series of observational sound works, often called 'Soundscapes'. There may be talking, but this is all background to other aspects of daily life, like the nightly rubbish truck, the Family Mart door chime or the sound of the MRT stopping...". It’s obvious that Clifford takes sound seriously, but how

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can a regular traveler record sound and use it to enhance memories of time abroad? Although he admits to being a 'Sound Evangelist,' Clifford does not suggest we abandon our cameras and video equipment. But he does highlight how moving pictures often steal the show. He describes how people tend to forget what's going into their ears when they are exposed to ever-increasing images in the taxi, at the supermarket, on the bus. Many homes also now own huge flat-screen video/TV displays with high definition pictures, but pitiful sound. When making their own media, people can create a truly memorable and often emotional sound experience by leaving some of the video baggage behind, and creating slide-shows by either freezing a few video frames, or simply using a digital still camera. "My aim when recording and mixing Soundscapes is to help reproduce the feeling of what it is like to be somewhere; I check that feeling with other people to make sure that I'm not being too subjective. I have occasionally mixed these with pictures to create slide-shows. The frozen frame of a digital image from real life and the high attention given to sound capture the feeling of a situation or place in ways that no fleeting movie image or text can compete with. Music should come into the composition at some stage. Holiday-makers especially repeatedly hear at least one currently popular tune on their travels. This slide-show production can be done with surprisingly little technical expertise; I would recommend handheld audio recorders by Teac-Tascam, REAPER audio mixing software and Sony Vegas software for slide-shows - all inexpensive but producing professional results". Yet some people record unintentional sound souvenirs in the form of 'letter-cassettes'. Whereas early portable tape recorders were seen as a tool for family sound albums, the invention of the cassette (again, by Philips), a system that holds tape inside a mechanized plastic shell, was first marketed for secretarial dictation work, but widely used for sending letter-cassettes (and later, as tape quality improved, for recording your friends' music!) Many letter-cassettes recorded during military conflict and various important events, have found their way to museums. These are unique for the simple fact that they were never meant to be public records of history. Clifford tells a story about lettercassettes, and how they can easily soon show how much people change: "I was a kid of about 12, my parents and I made lettercassettes soon after emigrating, and sent them back home to my grandparents. It was a time when we were all going through culture-shock after moving to a new country for the first time. We eventually got to hear these again, upon

taking one of those 'holidays back-home'. Although only three years had gone by, my voice had broken, and the outlook upon life of all four of us had changed in a way that no written words could do justice to. And we could all hear it: an amazing audio capture of the people we were. So imagine what it's like to listen to recordings from ten, twenty or even thirty years ago? This is an amazing experience that sound best captures. Why? Because when recording speech, we tend to concentrate on intimacy and message content, even more so than being on the phone. With photographs and video, we tend to concentrate on what we look like, neglecting intimacy, emotion and message content." Letter-cassettes are not as common as they were in the 1970s and 80s. Throughout the 1990s, the price of international phone calls decreased rapidly (thanks to satellites and fiber optics), and consequently the use of cassettes for international correspondence. However, a modern version of the letter-cassette is how some people now record Skype conversations; these are often burnt onto CD (again, invented by Philips!) as a sound souvenir for later playback. StreetwalkS We stay with the subject of personal narrative, as we introduce the work of Terence Lloren and his guided walks on CD, called 'Growing Up with Shanghai', yet another way of thinking about sound and memory. "A few years ago I came across a website produced by a New York-based company that was kind-of a tourist audio walk. It guided people through quite a nice route of Shanghai. I had already been experimenting with different types of recording, but something about this audio production both gripped me and, unfortunately, left me feeling out of reality. After repeated listening, I realized that this was not really the Shanghai I knew. It was too produced, too dramatized, it did not represent the everyday people that I see and hear across this city, it was like listening to a fake love story. So I decided I would try something similar, using real local people, and hopefully do a better job‌. We are now up to fifteen CD/booklet sets; my goal is to reach a hundred." Terence Lloren tails people like a private detective. In fact, he blends in quite well. This is just as well, as he doesn't want to break the thought of his 'walkers' (locals he pays money to) to talk about Shanghai, in what he calls 'Streetwalks', a type of 'Soundwalk' that is commonly found in art galleries and museums. Another good reason to blend in is the fact that he is a foreigner, walking around

the recent evolution of portable listening and recording technologies: (l-r) The first MP3 player - SaeHan Systems MPMan (5/1998), the latest Samsung Galaxy Android Smartphone (5/2011) and the new Teac-Tascam DR-05 Digital Audio Recorder (2/2011). IMAGES: SaeHan/Samsung/Tascam Press Kits. for some examples of how Soundscapes can be put together, listen to the following (with stereo headphones). Streets of Taipei - The Buddha's Birthday Streets of Taipei - One Day in My Street The Star Ferry: Causeway Bay to Kowloon september 2011

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recording people. But that's another story; as yet, Lloren has never been stopped by anyone asking what he is doing in the backstreets and often near abandoned neighborhoods that have been cleared of their original inhabitants by the government, for 'development'. He continues to tell how he first got the project going: "First thing I did was to approach a group of my Shanghai friends and asked them to record their stories. One of the first [participants] took me to an old area with many building which were basically gutted and ready to be pulled down. She began a monologue ‘… this is where I used to live, this is my apartment, oh - my old bed is still in there... I haven't been here in about eight years.’ She continued her story and we walked the same route she once used when going to a nearby language school, talked about old friends and growing up in Shanghai. I switched off the recorder and realized that I had found something really unique. Whereas before I just saw a street, I now began to see someone's life. I thought the more people I have on these walks, the more familiar this city will be to anybody who actually takes a walk, following in the footsteps of the speaker. Many of these routes are quite common, frequented by foreigners and locals alike, but places like local shoe shops or Mom and Pop cornerstores take on an entirely different meaning if you hear their history through stories and gossip." Another aspect of Lloren's discovery is that acoustic space actually has ambience, meaning the ‘feeling’ of the sound. Just by listening, we can roughly feel the size of any room - where the nearest walls are, and even have a good idea about its furnishings, due to the way the sound of movement and voice is absorbed. Difficult to imagine? Just ask any blind person how they get about town. It is also possible to perceive the presence of another human in a darkened room, as they create an 'acoustic hole,' absorbing some of our energy as we pass them. In all of Lloren's recordings there is the audible and the supposedly inaudible. These sensations become crystal clear when the walkers stop, reflect, or perhaps do something like shuffling their feet on an old doormat. In fact, different walkers give a unique feeling to each recording, creating a strong sensation of real life during the listening experience. "For me, there's no point any more in trying to discover a city through a travel agent or a guide book. The travel agents are all about the 'hot spots' and commissions; there is no 'soul' to a city when you take a tour. As for guide books like Lonely Planet, they may be written by seasoned travelers, but here again is a big issue: they’ve travelled so much that it’s all become a blur of nightclubs and more hot spots, they’ve never really settled down in a place long enough to pick up the finer feelings of a city, and almost never get to know the locals. I believe, if your schedule is tight, it should be possible to stay perhaps just three days in a city, but in that time, really pick-up on the culture and history, if you have the right resources. This is a little like the home-stay that thousands of high-school students experience every year. But as adult travelers, we're a little past that, and these Streetwalks really are a great alternative resource." Part of what Lloren describes is known in philosophy as a 'historical sensation'. The term was coined in the 1940s by Dutch historian Johan Huizinga, and denotes the unexpected feeling that may overcome someone when 10

encountering a historical object. In this sense, perhaps 'the unexpected' is the chief quality of each Streetwalk. For example, unexpected impromptu conversations between old friends (that sometimes get conveniently recorded) present Shanghai as not so much a city of over twenty million, but more like hundreds of little villages. In anthropology and tourism studies, it could be claimed that despite massive re-development, Shanghai has not been a total victim to commodification of its culture and history. 'Commodification' is when a community's culture, built-up over hundreds of years and an essential part of the social fabric, gets converted into a lifeless object of exchange value for tourism consumption. But generational change is very evident. "In these recordings of little pockets of a big city, it's easy to hear how family values are always changing. Between the 60s to the 90s and beyond, we've become more liberal, more conservative; society changes and we change, we are no longer that person we were twenty years ago; we are this person now, and are changing into still another person. In this way, young people in Asia relate to older people in both a more passive and patient manner, compared to their Western counterparts. So some of the best moments are when I am fortunate to get two people [of different age groups] conversing. But generally the CDs are about walking; there is a strong sense of movement, and each walk goes on for at least half an hour. This doesn't mean that the person in the recording is continuously talking for half an hour; there are occasional breaks, and for the most part, these always come across as completely natural.” There is only one requirement that Lloren insists upon. This is that his walkers were born between 1978 and 1985. These are young adults who grew up in the 1990s when Shanghai was going through massive reform and a period of 'adolescence' for both the speaker and the city (hence the name 'Growing Up with Shanghai'). Listening to the Streetwalks as an entire body of work, Lloren says they almost shout, "I am Shanghai and this is my growing up", as if the city has a life of its own. At another level, Lloren's age bracket represents a big chunk of what social scientists and marketers call the 'Generation Y' demographic, usually defined as those born between 1977 and 1994; the youngest in this generation is 17, the oldest is 34. Among other attributes, the 'Y-ers' have been shown (through market research) to be the most individualistic and adventurous generation to date; certainly prime candidates for Lloren's Streetwalks. But don't let age put you off! Grab a local and go for a walk in the backstreets and neighborhoods of your chosen city. Or why not, grab a recorder and record the soundscape? For Centered on Taipei, Glen Clifford has written on expatriate bloggers, online language learning systems, ex pat r i at e docu m e n ar i st s an d Taiwan c hildre n's television. If you want to hear some of his work, go to ... Meanwhile, Terence Lloren will continue walking the streets, hoping to collect his 100 recordings. He intends to visit Taipei soon. You can find samples of his Streetwalk recordings through the project website,

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eco news

Urban gardening

[ Part 3 ]

Continued from previous article in the last issue of Centered on Taipei

TexT & images: Dylan graves


n the first days of January I was invited by a contact at the Green Office of Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association ( to join a tour to Pierre's Organic farm near Baishawan (; a half-day presentation about every step in the process of organic, sustainable farming, 10-3 p.m. for NT$500 lunch included (to register, call (02) 2636-5700). Pierre has developed an effective way to compost large amounts of kitchen waste into “black gold”, a compost that nourishes his vegetables so well that they are strong enough to repel pests with their own defences. It was interesting to hear about Pierre’s dream of all of Taiwan’s farms becoming organic as he believes there is sufficient kitchen waste to make enough compost and clean water availability to grow the crops. Organic Taiwan would help improve the populations' health and be a huge export earner. It will be interesting to see Taiwan's progress on this in the future. The tour motivated and inspired me further with my organic urban garden. I completed the brick walls and the water reservoir (in foreground right), early March:

The yellow stuff are rice husks which I used as a mulch to help improve the soil by keeping in moisture and breaking down over time. Around this period I planted vegetable seeds and seedlings and after about 4 weeks I was eating lettuce and spinach daily (late April):

Other plants and vegetables by this time were also thriving and the sunflowers were delightful. I received further satisfaction from seeing vegetable plots being created, tended, and producing food just around the corner from where I live and in the next issue I would like to share what happened there over the corresponding time period of my project. Another photo taken at same time as above photo (late April) showing the aerial view.

Working in International Education for 7 years in London, Singapore and now Taiwan, Dylan is a keen advocate for individuals to take action to do something about greening their environment as a first step to a lifestyle change that benefits the environment. september 2011

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traditioNal artS

The National Center for Traditional Arts Macedonian songs, a Lion Dance, and a Steam Train Journey TExT And IMAGES: KATYA IlIEVA-STOnE


s soon as we pulled i n t o t h e p a r k i n g l o t, I heard the drums and the cymbals. “They must be performing the Lion dance by the temple! Quick!” So my husband and I hurriedly bought our tickets, greeted the smiling employees at the gate, and almost ran down the main street leading to the temple. And sure enough-two bright red lions were already jumping up and down on the stage, while more were getting ready to join them. Some ‘lions’ were just four, and attracted a lot of photographers as their parents helped them to put on their costumes. Despite the early hour


on Saturday (it was barely past 10 in the morning), a sizable crowd had already gathered, and another show had already started in the Performance Center. Welcome to the National Center for Traditional Arts! Located in Wujie Township in Yilan County, about an hour’s drive from Taipei, the Center is a colorful, bright and inviting display of traditional handicrafts, theater, music and dance. Its main street, lined with red-brick buildings, hosts stores, exhibitions and art studios where you can learn about art, and also has a DIY center. In one section there were little kids painting wooden tops; in another, teenagers drew on their paper umbrellas. Here you can buy a calligraphy set (the store is one of the best in Taiwan), a puppet, or a personalised bracelet with your name, made at the aboriginal shop. Have you heard about the Blessing Flower? It’s traditional Hakka art which uses silk threads to made stunning flowers for accessories or paintings. Or did you know how to make soap by hand? There is a place for that, too. Hungry? Once you have tried the sugar-glazed strawberries from one of the shops, head to the food court, 7-Eleven, or Starbucks. And do not forget the

hungry fish in the beautiful pond behind the main street. For 10 kuai you can feed the hundreds of bright little and not-so-little creatures, who gather as soon as they hear the click of the machine dropping the box of food. Once you have finished your lunch, take a walk along the lake or the Dong Shan River, which flows alongside. If you are still hungry, buy a snack from the numerous food stalls, cross one of the bridges or relax on a bench and watch the world go by. Or even better - rent a bike and see the grounds on two wheels. You can spend a whole day here, walking, eating or shopping. Despite this being a center for traditional Taiwanese arts, in both of our visits, as surprising as it is, I was reminded about my home country – Bulgaria. Back in November I had a hard time believing that I was thousands of miles away from the Balkans. At the Performance Center two Macedonians were singing folk songs from their land. Those were the same songs I had sung during my years in a folk ensemble in Bulgaria! And on this visit I saw a store selling an ocarina, a musical instrument I had played at that same Bulgarian folk ensemble (winning third prize in a National competition). I had

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no idea that the ocarina was not purely a Bulgarian folk instrument! The store in the center has ocarinas in all shapes and sizes, but my husband bought for me the type I used to play on. My new ocarina is a beautiful white clay instrument with colorful birds, hand-painted by the lady who owns the store with her husband. Now I need to remember the songs I played, and maybe learn new ones from the book the friendly storeowners gave me.

As we were heading towards the exit, we heard a train whistle and saw a mini steam train, with locomotive and passenger seats, getting ready to depart. The train driver, an elderly man in uniform, was sitting there with a serious face, his knees sticking up from the seat. His passengers were both children and adults. The locomotive whistled, white steam came out of its chimney, and away it went! Everybody was cheering, but the driver remained serious and determined to transport its passengers safely – obviously it’s no joke when you have real coal burning, making real steam. The journey was short – it takes longer to clean the coal and get the train ready than to travel the hundred meters or so along the tracks - but how often do you get to see a genuine (even if miniature) steam train in action? If you have not been to the National Center for Traditional Arts, what are you waiting for? And if you have, don’t think that you have seen it all. Because every time you go, this place will surprise you – with Macedonian m usi c, m e m o r ies fr o m y o u r childhood or a journey back in time on a steam train.

K a t ya Il i e va - S t o n e ha s be e n i n Ta i pe i si n c e Ju ly 2010, working for the American Institute in Taiwan. She is a former journalist who was born in Bulgaria. She also has lived in Nepal, Ukraine and Afghanistan. september 2011

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Steven crook: the consummate cultural notetaker TExT: TRISTA dI GEnOVA IMAGES: STEVEn CROOK


teven Crook, a Briton who’s been in Taiwan s i n c e 1991, i s a n a m a z i n g l y v e r s a t i l e freelancer. He’s worked as a government project consultant, copy editor for Taiwan Ne ws a n d t h e G o v e r n m e n t I n f o r m a t i o n O f f i c e's Taiwan Headlines website, and as managing editor of the now-defunct FYI SOUTH magazine. His resume by no means stops there, however. He’s penned over six hundred articles for an astonishing variety of media outlets, as well as three books about Taiwan: Keeping Up With The War God (2001), Dos and Don’ts in Taiwan (2010), and most recently, Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide (2010). As they are published, Crook compiles his articles on his blog. Most will find it an enviably comprehensive resource on everything from travel to business, culture and the environment. So in this interview, I wanted to look at how Steven has managed to succeed as a writer in the Taiwan market, and to draw upon his expertise to explain some of the many curious and puzzling aspects of local culture. Crook says from his home in Xinhua, Tainan County: “Since getting married and moving back to the south (my wife’s from a small village in Tainan), I’ve kept busy writing, editing, and the odd bit of consulting government bilingualization projects, for instance." Trista: Do you consider yourself a travel writer? Steven: I don't go out of my way to call myself a travel writer, as it's just one of the areas I write about. Trista: As a freelancer, you seem to use a diversified strategy. How did you develop this? And what do you find is the most lucrative of your strategies? Steven: There is/was no master plan. I'm interested in several fields and writing is a great way to learn about different things. The most lucrative strategy? Keep working! Trista: Do you have advice for other freelancers such as myself? Steven: Be persistent, be reliable, be flexible. Keep trying, keep looking for new places to sell your writing. If you promise someone an article, deliver it on time. Make


sure you double-check all the facts. Be available and helpful if the editor has questions or revisions. If an editor doesn't like your precise idea, work with him or her to turn it into something suitable. Trista: Care to comment on the ups-and-downs of being a modern-day writer in such a roller-coaster ride of a publishing industry? Steven: I self-published my first book. Writing features is much more lucrative, so I decided not to write another book – even though I greatly enjoyed writing the first one – unless someone waved cash in front of me. Someone did. Then someone else did. Not huge amounts of cash in either case, mind. Trista: How did you successfully manage to promote your first book? Steven: I'm not sure I did promote it very successfully. I asked people to review it, and that helped a lot. For instance, Bradley Winterton's review in the Taipei Times certainly helped spread the word. Trista: How did you get contracted to write the Bradt Travel Guide? Steven: They found me, but I'm not sure how they found me. We negotiated for a while, then I signed a contract. It was by the far the largest, most timeconsuming project I have ever undertaken. In word count, it's twice as long as my first two books combined. Also, much of the research I did didn't end up in the book. Some of the restaurants I visited weren't worth mentioning, or closed down between writing and final proofs. I checked out several hotels that weren't up to scratch. Also, in the initial stages I tended to overwrite. I had to compile lists which take up a small part of the book but which required careful thought.

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Trista: How do you write a Taiwan travel guide on the shoestring budget they usually give for this kind of thing? Steven: By not devoting myself only to writing the guidebook. I did it while writing other things, and many of the research trips I did for the book were also research trips for magazine articles. Also, some of the research that went into the guidebook has in recent months been turned into articles. Trista: What are the things about Taiwan culture that have kept you here, writing about so many facets of local life? Steven: To put it simply, Taiwan is a fascinating place. Things keep changing, and I keep learning. Trista: What place/s in Taiwan have touched you the most? Steven: It's impossible for me to pick out just one (or just a few) places, but I'm certainly more of a mountain man than a beach man. Maybe that's because I grew up beside the ocean. Tr i s t a : A s a m e m b e r o f t h e K a o h s i u n g C i t y Government's Bilingual Living Environment Commission, what do you perceive are the greatest obstacles Taiwan needs to overcome in this area? Steven: Considering English-speaking foreigners are such a tiny drop in the Chinese/Taiwanese/Asian ocean here, I think the government is making an impressive effort. One problem that crops up again and again is the assumption by Taiwanese that what foreigners want is exactly the same as what locals want. There is a tendency to make do with a literal translation of the Chinese-language original when a complete rewrite would be better. Trista: You also work with the Executive Yuan's Advisory Committee for the 2010 English Services Emblem Project. What is that all about? Steven: This project aims to boost the level of English in retail, medical and other sectors of Taiwan's economy, and to help foreigners find businesses where English is understood and labelling and signs are bilingual. Stores, restaurants, hospitals etc that think they offer a decent bilingual service apply to the RDEC for an 'English Emblem.' Those which pass a preliminary test are then

visited by teams of judges (I'm one) who inspect the labels and signs, ask the staff questions, browse the website, and give a score which may lead to the business getting a 'gold emblem' or a 'silver emblem'. Trista: About Taiwan-related literature: I’ve run across several excellent books by foreigners, such as John Ross’ Formosan Odyssey and Catherine Dai’s Bound Feet, which are fantastic reads. Why is it so hard for Taiwanrelated literature to break into the publishing market, and why is it so difficult for writers to publish and get distribution in local outlets like Eslite Bookstore? Steven: I've read and enjoyed both of those books. The demand for such books is too small. It's as simple as that. Eslite did distribute my first book for a while. Caves did a better job of actually selling it, but were a pain to deal with for various reasons I won't go into now. Trista: I’ve noticed there is actually a mountain of unsung writers on Taiwan, expat and Taiwanese and waishengren [Chinese that came to Taiwan in 1949 with Chiang Kai-shek’s armies]. What do you think accounts for the fact that most writers on Taiwan seem to fall by the wayside, in world literature? Do you see any positive trends that might reverse or change this? Steven: I'm not optimistic. If some major event happened – as happened to East Timor in 1999 – then more people in the outside world would take an interest in Taiwan. But, fortunately for those of us who live here, it's a stable place. Trista: Do you have any ideas about how Taiwan could promote itself better? Say, photography contests, cultural awards, literature grants, what-have-you? Steven: I think the authorities are moving in the right direction, more or less. Boosting visitor numbers isn't easy, and never gets quick results. Another interview with Steven Crook: http://www. 2010/10/ 29/msw-interviewstaiwan-travel-writer-steven-crook/ Trista di Genova is a writer and co-founder of the award-winning online magazine, The Wild East (www.

Steven can be reached at Steve’s Blog: http://crooksteven. The full version of this interview is available at

Taiwan Today’s review of Bradt Travel Guide: "Out-of-the ordinary tales and enough wry comments to provoke occasional laughter make Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide” ... “a useful resource for those looking to experience something a little different while journeying around the island”... “A prolific writer on all things Taiwan, Crook has an intrinsic feel for what tickles the average reader’s fancy”... “a plethora of revealing observations sprinkled throughout that are sure to amuse and enlighten those already in Taiwan and wanting to learn more." september 2011

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2011/8/29 11:25:06 AM

OTT News

Overseas Trailing Talent Helping Others While Finding Personal Fulfillment In the first of a two-part series, we featured the stories of Dorothea Hanke and JennieAnnabel Crowhurst, two of Overseas Trailing Talents (OTT)’s success stories. Dorothea is now working in Taiwan and Jennie-Annabel is studying through the UK Open University and working toward a psychology degree. This month, we discover how OTT also helped Liselott Costello and Anja Serfontein help themselves, while helping others.

TexT: lauren mack


efore coming to Taiwan, Liselott Costello had volunteered for various causes, including working with people affected by HIV and AIDS, and wanted to continue to help those in need. “I felt that I was in a place in my life when I had a little extra time to do something for someone else,” said Liselott. A friend told Liselott about Overseas Tr a i l i n g Ta l e n t, a n o r g a n i z a t i o n founded in 2008 that helps talented expatriate partners further develop themselves by providing assistance in finding a job, volunteering, furthering education, starting a business or continuing personal development. OTT provides a social outlet and professional forum for those who come to Taiwan with their partners and are looking for opportunities to develop their career skills. OTT hosts bi-annual wine socials which offer the chance for networking and coordinates a range of workshops and luncheons on topics such as volunteering, job hunting in Taiwan, starting a business in Taiwan, and continuing education opportunities in Taipei. A friend at Taipei European School told Liselott about OTT’s Focus on Volunteering Luncheon last spring, which introduced overseas trailing talent to three of the many volunteering activities in Taiwan. Liselott went to the luncheon looking for an organization that would be a perfect fit for her. After watching a presentation about Harmony Home, a home for children and adults affected by HIV/AIDS, Liselott knew what she wanted to do in Taiwan. “For me it was important to start with something I felt comfortable doing,” said Liselott. Liselott began volunteering one day a week at Harmony Home where she helps take care of the children. Her duties include feeding, changing diapers, and spending time with the children. Liselott has some advice for others who are interested in volunteering: “I think it is important to try to understand what you are doing and how much you can manage,” said Liselott. “Know your own abilities and limitations.”

And for those worried about the language barrier, don’t be. “It’s OK volunteering and not knowing Chinese, although it would help if I knew more.” Taiwan offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, from fundraising to environmental activism. “There is always something to do for everyone, but we can’t do everything. Be honest to yourself so you can feel good about what you are doing, then you and everyone around you will benefit from your work,” said Liselott. For Anja Serfontein, joining OTT was never a question. Anja always had a keen interest in professional training and coaching, but the final step to start the journey of becoming a Certified Professional Coach was laid out during an OTT Coaching Event that she organized together with facilitator and transformation coach Leon VanderPol in November 2010. Anja truly enjoys her time as a trailing spouse, as she realizes how precious this time is. Not only does it allow her to be there for their daughter, it also opened up the possibility for her to reinvent herself on a professional level. “I enjoy being part of something that is constantly evolving and able to deliver value for people currently living in Taiwan as well as those who will come to Taiwan in the future,” said Anja. Anja is now a portable entrepreneur who can work from virtually anywhere in the world to meet the requirements of a global economy. Anja is an Expat Coach who works with executives and trailing spouses alike to help them with their adjustments and challenges that new postings bring along. In her spare time she is also a baby signing instructor, who teaches parents and caregivers how to nonverbally communicate with their babies. Anja, Dorothea, Jennie-Annabel, and Liselott are just four of OTT’s success stories. To see how OTT can help you, visit and attend OTT’s upcoming events, including a Wine Social on September 22nd at Sommelier (underneath the Wellcome supermarket on Tianmu Square).

Each year, hundreds of talented expatriates pause their careers to accompany their partners on assignment in Taiwan. OTT ensures these trailing talents don’t take a permanent break from their careers. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Anja, Dorothea, Jennie-Annabel, and Liselott by helping others while helping yourself, consider becoming an OTT committee member. Email for more details. 16

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The Center GALLERY

September 2011 An-Ho Chang In September, The Center wall features An-Ho Chang's colorful abstract oil paintings. Born in Shanghai, An-Ho Chang is a notable spiritual artist in Taiwan. His background in system engineering together with his childhood memories create colorful art works that blend the beauty of the East and West.

Handcrafted Soaps On the sideboard display is a selection of refreshing and nourishing handcrafted soaps. These soaps don't contain animal fats, artificial preservatives, or chemical additives, hardeners or lathering agents. They're made purely from natural ingredients such as exquisite vegetable oils, organic botanical and Chinese herbs. Pamper yourself this summer with earthfriendly, skin-loving handcrafted soaps made by Amanda Chen, an environmentally conscious mother with sound soap making experience and Patricia Kortmann, a devout animal lover and long-time enthusiast of essential oils.

Beaded jewelry Made from precious and semi –precious gemstones, pearls and silver, these pieces include necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The works are all one-of-a-kind creations and blend the rich variety of contemporary style beads with handcrafted ethnic beads. 15% of Patricia’s soap and jewelry sales at The Center will be donated to Animals Taiwan and community animal welfare projects.

Lemon Grass House Lemongrass House Taiwan is proud to present to you a range of aromatherapy, spa and household products. Light up your life with Sniff Soy Candles and Sachets from Australia. Indulge your body and mind with spa products from Lemongrass House Thailand and clean up with handmade soaps from Spa Culture.

the Community services Center

16th Annual Charity Auction Dinner

Donors (at the time of this publication)

3m taiwan Ltd. American Chamber of Commerce in taipei American Club In China Apostolic Nunciature in China Arlo Chou's photo studio Audi taiwan Co., Ltd. Australian Commerce & Industry Office Auto Checkers bAbI taiwan Klaus bardenhagen the bazaar bespoke Cellar pte. Ltd. taiwan branch brilliant Art Handicraft Co., LtD british American tobacco Canmeng Aveda Capital machinery Capital motors, Inc. Carlsberg-Cottingham Ltd. Cherry Hill Antiques China Airlines China American petrochemical Co., Ltd. Commerzbank steven Crook Crown Worldwide (taiwan) Ltd. Dirk Diestel photography east West Culture project educational experience taiwan eiger Law engaging minds Formosa Optical Fusion Flame George pai's beauty parlor Gray Gleason Grand Hyatt erawan bangkok Grand Hyatt san Francisco Grand Hyatt seoul Grand Hyatt taipei Diane Halliday Heineken brouwerijen b. V. taiwan branch the Howard plaza Hotel taipei Hyatt regency tokyo ICrt

Italian Coffee Company Jardine Food services (taiwan) Co., Ltd. sunita Leng Liaison Office of south Africa in taiwan Amy Liu L'Oreal taiwan Ltd. master Wu's Art Workshop melchers trading GmbH, taiwan branch mobility Holdings, Limited Nestlé taiwan Ltd. Over the rainbow… pernod ricard taiwan Ltd. Q britannia the regent taipei royal Choice Limited shangri-La´s Far eastern plaza Hotel, taipei sheraton taipei Hotel sommelier Wine expert space Concepts Limited standard Chartered bank (taiwan) Ltd. superior realty Co., Ltd taipei City Government taiwan Animal s.O.s. Juchi tang-Liu the sparkle spa tien tung Art Gallery tsar & tsai Law Firm turkish trade Office UKeAs utah ltd personalized Golf Vin Vino Wine Neil Wade stephanie Wang robert Warren Lisa & bill West Willie's Deli Winkler partners Attorneys at Law of taiwan and Foreign Legal Affairs Wonderland Nursery Goods Co. Yang tze-Yun

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. september 2011

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2011/8/30 10:14:30 AM


Who let the dogs out? Come celebrate World Animals Day and help Animals Taiwan raise funds for a new rescue center TExT: SUnITA SUE lOnG IMAGES: AnIMAlS TAIwAn


he was a little puppy by the side of the road. She had severe skin disease, was dehydrated and her eyes were closed due to mucus b u i l d-u p. A k i n d r e s c u e r f r o m Animals Taiwan rushed her to the vet who found four large bite marks on her rear end. Two were infected and full of maggots. Her rear end was also oozing pus due to infection. However, after medical treatment and tender care at th e Animals Taiwan shelter, Danica is now a healthy and lean one-year-old, with a shiny coat of jet-black fur. Elvis was found at a beachside car park in Baishawan, with his bloodied paw caught in the cruel grip of a gin trap. He survived his terrible ordeal, thanks to the rescuers at Animals Taiwan. And, although he has lost one leg, this fluffy-haired mixed breed is in good health and good spirits today. Danica and Elvis are two of the hundreds of dogs and cats that A n i m a l s Ta i w a n h a s s a v e d a n d lovingly rehabilitated since it started in 2004. Today, there are about

Danica had severe skin disease when she was found


75 dogs and ten cats at the shelter, which is housed in Beitou. Leading the staff of three full-timers and two part-timers is rescue center manager Rita Chen, a committed animal lover who left a job in retail sales to care for needy strays. Space is quickly running out at the shelter. Animals Taiwan can now only take in new rescues when its healthy ones are adopted. On top of that, the shelter has to move to a new location by December 2014 due to a land development project near the current premises. celeBratinG aniMalS To help raise funds for a new rescue center, Animals Taiwan is proud to present its World Animal Day Charity Gala Ball on Friday, September 30th at the Hotel Palais de Chine. World Animal Day is an international day dedicated to celebrating animals in all their forms. It’s a chance to do something special to acknowledge the contribution animals make to our lives. The gala ball will serve up a sumptuous spread of vegetarian dishes. There will also

Danica is now a healthy one-year-old with a shiny coat of fur

be live entertainment as well as a live and silent auction and raffles with sensational prizes. A s i d e f r o m r e s c u e s, A n i m a l s Taiwan promotes animal welfare through educational outreach workshops. Although Taiwan has a strong pet ownership culture, abandoned animals and strays are a serious problem. Much needs to be done to inform people about responsible pet ownership, spaying, neutering and the dangers of puppy mills. Animals Taiwan, a non-profit organization, is also making great p r o g r e s s w i t h i t s C N R (C a t c h, N e u t e r a n d R e l e a s e) p r o g r a m, backed by growing support from the government and veterinarians. Between January and July 2011, at least 37 dogs were caught, neutered and released. And with financial aid from the Taipei City Animal Protection Office exclusively for the Feline TNR (CNR) Project, more than 270 cats were treated since the program started early this year. Animals Taiwan is your chance to make a difference to the lives of abandoned dogs and cats that are in critical condition. You can help by being a volunteer, fostering animals, becoming a sponsor or making a donation. For more information and heart-warming stories of animal rescues, please go to: http://www. Sunita and her husband adopted Moby, a mixed breed abandoned dog that was found with a broken leg, from Animals Taiwan in late 2008.

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


INTERNATIONAL september 2011

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b u l C y d The Come Stand-up comedy co

mes to east Taipei



ll comics cut their teeth in the clubs, and like the famous Comedy Cellar in New York, the culture of stand-up comedy has always h a d i t s r o o t s i n t h e b a s e m e n t. Cramped rooms and packed venues where people can huddle together around tables, have a few drinks and get up close and personal with the comedian create an intense atmosphere just right for big laughs. Back in 2007 Taipei finally got its own Comedy Club. Pa c ke d in to th e b u s tle o f th e student-rich Shida district, the club’s English stand-up scene thrived, with performances twice or three times a month and regular headline acts which drew people off the busy streets and down into the basement. But after a recent move to the high-end business district of Xinyi, English stand-up has given way to more and more Chinese performers, introducing stand-up comedy to a whole new audience of Taiwanese who’d never seen anything like it before. Social (張碩修), the owner and program director of Comedy Club,


set up the club after working for twenty years in the theater industry. He opened the club in the hope of attracting all kinds of comedic performances from magic s h o w s t o h y p n o t i s t s; h o w e v e r the urge to set up a venue where stand-up c omics could perform regularly was also a big factor. “I wanted to have stand-up because there was no one else doing that in Taiwan, and in the early days foreigners really helped to make the stand-up shows successful. We’ve been doing this for four years now though, and at the moment we have at least twenty stand-up comedians who perform exclusively in Chinese,” he tells me at one of the Saturday night English comedy shows. Despite the decline in foreigners who frequent the club, there is still a loyal group of Western stand-up comics who regularly perform at the open-mic nights on Wednesdays and at the soon-to-be monthly All-English events.

performing at the Comedy Club for about three years. A musician as well as a comic, his comedy songs a n d ‘T-s h i r t’ r o u t i n e a b o u t t h e non-English-speaking wearers of garments with borderline obscene slogans are legendary. “As the MC I have a responsibility not only to the performers but also to the crowd. I have to create a situation where we have the best performers at the right time for the entirety of the show, which is tricky. But luckily I know most of these people and their acts really well,” he says. As someone who knows the performers intimately, he is also aware of the challenges facing stand-up comics who

Mixed audience R o b e r t ‘To r c h’ P r a t t i s t h e de-facto MC for all English events. Tall and bald with a face that lends itself easily to comedy, he has been

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perform to a mixed audience. “The foreigners in the crowd expect stand-up comedy,” he tells me between bouts of greeting and joking with performers and audience m e m b e r s a r r i v i n g a t t h e c l u b, “like George Carlin, Steve Martin - set up the joke, knock it down. But Taiwanese people in general don’t know what to expect.” At a recent Funniest English Teacher contest, some of the comics had a wackier take on doing comedy, he says. “While that would not be a considered a bad thing for a completely Western audience, if there’s anything that’s too off the wall or non-standard, the mixed audience might be a bit confused or just not get it.” uniQue coMedy Style Social estimates that about 80% of people who come to the club are Taiwanese, and they’re a tough audience, with very different expectations to a Western one. “Taiwanese audiences like the comedian to be smart and funny, he needs to be able to outsmart the audience – and that’s similar to comedy in the West. But you also need to have to have some slapstick, pull some funny faces - they need both. Taiwanese audiences are not easy to please, you need to be half stand-up, half variety performer.” He explains that Chinese jokes often revolve around puns, wordplay and misunderstanding, which given the limited phonetic range and copious homonyms of Chinese allows for a rich and unique style of comedy, often seen in the Chinese art of cross-talk (相聲), typically a

dialogue between two performers revolving around a specific topic. friendly, intiMate atMoSphere Going to see one of the All English performances is a great way to witness first hand which kind of humor works for both Eastern and Western audiences. The club itself is a few minutes’ walk away from Taipei City Hall MRT station, and has a bar on the first floor. The comedy happens in the basement. The atmosphere in the first floor bar is friendly and relaxed, and people can chat easily with the comics before the show or during the break. The basement, when full, holds about seventy people, and gives just the right kind of intimate feel conducive to great comedy. The headline act is a ventriloquist called Matt ‘the puppet guy’ Bronsil, whose vaudevillian gimmick satisfies the Westerner’s need for off-the-wall comedy as well as the Taiwanese craving for variety. “The first show I went up for my train was an hour late,” he tells me, but the organizer decided to let him try out his set with the punters at the bar – a fully Taiwanese audience with little English who hadn’t turned up to see any kind of show. “But they loved the puppet, they loved its personality,” Matt says, “so there’s an advantage there: if there’s nobody there who speaks English at least I have this physical thing with me that works” SpreadinG the lauGhS A naturally funny man with an infectious laugh, Matt is also

The Center's Favorite Picks, Finds, Secrets….. I just found a new favorite this week! It’s a restaurant called Journey Kaffe in Neihu, near Xihu station on the brown line. Journey Kaffe is the closest thing I have found to a local earth cafe/coffee house thus far that satisfies my want of a healthy main dish salad, and has delicious coffee to boot. They bake their own bread and pastries and also offer delicious soups, wrapaninis, pasta and fresh fruit juices. The cafe reads like an open loft space - with a long community table up front

involved with boosting stand-up comedy in Taiwan’s other cities. He is a part of the recent improv movement in Taichung, and often incorporates improv exercises into his set, getting the audience involved whenever he can. “I know laughter is contagious,” he says. “When I’m with people who are all speaking Chinese, if everybody laughs, then I start laughing. I think that’s in a way universal; if you can get a lot of your audience laughing, I think other people will laugh and enjoy it even if they don’t fully care about the joke or understand it; they at least have a good time.” W h i l e h e’s p a s s i o n a t e a b o u t spreading comedy further afield, Matt feels it’s unlikely that Taipei could support another club. Social has already had many emails suggesting UK and US performers m a k e a p p e a r a n c e s a t t h e c l u b, but he’s aware that the space and audience needed for bigger headline acts conflict with the current status of stand-up comedy as a niche art form in Taipei. For now, the Comedy Club, with the help of its long-time stand-ups, is slowly attracting a new wave of performers, who are taking advantage of the club’s easy-going nature and friendly audience to develop their ambitions as stand-up comedians. Owain Mckimm has lived in Taiwan for over two years. He i s a freel anc e writer in Taipei, and teaches English part time.


Journey kaffe RECOMMEndEd BY JESSICA nIElSEn

and more cozy seating in the back. The second floor seats look down onto the first floor and the open kitchen space. The company also has a space called Journey Lab next door where they hold cooking and baking classes, although I'm not sure if any are offered in English. They also offer free wifi so I'm planning on spending the majority of my Friday afternoon there working on a project whilst enjoying a latte and some banana bread! september 2011

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ExPat lifE

Where Is Home? The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes TExT: KATH lIU


or me, this one quote perfectly sums up what it feels like t o r e tu r n to y o u r co u n tr y of origin, be it permanently or for a quick visit, after a period of living overseas. For me, it feels like something has grown and it no longer fits like it used to, like a favorite T-shirt you used to wear all the time that accidentally got shrunk in the wash. Of course, the process of change from being overseas is a lot slower and more subtle than an overnight laundry accident, and you often won't even realise that it has happened until you go back for your first visit. The process of trying on your previous life for size, as it were. When I'm asked where I'm from, it's a challenge to answer in absolutes. I was born in Cornwall, England but I did all of my teenaged growing up in Auckland, New Zealand. I was already a bit of a mutt before I moved to Taiwan but now I feel like I've morphed into something else entirely, but goodness knows what that actually is. All I know is that when I went back home to NZ for a visit recently, I felt different. Stretched. Slightly misshapen. A little odd. There were the obvious things that happen that made me notice, like the fact that I forgot that in NZ you follow road traffic conventions and keep to the left on escalators (in Taipei it's the reverse - you stay to the righthand side) and I was shocked and appalled by the cost of living and how it had risen since I had last been back.


a fiSh out of water But there were other things that made me feel weird, like after having had a couple of glasses of wine at the wedding I was there for, I found Mandarin phrases bubbling up. I found myself nearly saying we i she m e? instead of ‘why?’ and other strange linguistic anomalies. I found myself feeling unusually intimidated by hoodie-wearing youths, even though I knew that they weren't at all dangerous. I found myself feeling like a stranger in a place where I used to be absolutely comfortable feeling exactly the same way that I did two years ago when I first moved to Taiwan. I guess if I was going to be staying in NZ longer you'd say I was experiencing reverse culture shock, but since I was only there for a week, I'll just call it feeling out of place in a familiar environment. It's a fairly lonely experience too. There you are, feeling like a fish out of water and everyone else around you has no idea you're feeling like that. Why would they? You've come back home. It's natural for them to assume that you feel like you've just slotted straight back into your old life and everything feels comfortable and familiar. So how was I supposed to tell anyone? If I responded to "I bet it feels good to be home!" with "Actually it feels really weird and I don't feel like I fit in here anymore..." then I run the risk of accidentally offending someone or ma king it sound like I wasn't enjoying the fact

that I was back in NZ, which I was absolutely. Being back and seeing all of my dear friends and spending time with family was fabulous. The ability to shop in regular stores that carried my size was brilliant. Going to the supermarket and seeing more cheese than you could shake a stick at was lovely. Nothing was wrong with New Zealand; what was wrong was me. Multiple ‘hoMeS’ Living overseas changes you, it has to - you have to adapt to a new environment, usually learn a new language and get used to all sorts of crazy things. I mean, this makes sense logically but the emotional reality of these changes can sometimes be harder to accept. Going back to NZ pointed out to me that I wasn't the same person who left in 2009 and that felt very strange. If I wasn't that person anymore then who was I? Where did I fit in? Where was home really at? There is something rather unsettling in not really knowing which country is your home, but it's also kind of exciting because it opens up all sorts of possibilities. If I can count England, New Zealand and Taiwan as my 'homes' of various types then doesn't that mean that ultimately anywhere we choose to settle could be considered home? Life without boundaries can be terrifying, but it’s also freeing. Maybe that old T-shirt no longer fits, but there are many more out there that will.

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Taipei American School Students Have a Successful Summer Recently TAS upper school teacher Adam Nelson, chair of the political science and forensics department, attended the International Debate Education Association's annual Youth Forum in Istanbul, accompanying TAS students Arthur Chang, Jane Choi and Thomas Lee. As part of the Youth Forum, students receive several days of debate instruction before dividing into teams of three people from three different countries for the Mixed Team Tournament. After six preliminary rounds of competition, Thomas Lee's team was among the top eight in the tournament, earning them a spot in the elimination rounds. Following victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Thomas's team competed in the final round held before an audience of over three hundred people. His team was declared the winner of the round and awarded the title of 2011 Mixed Team Tournament Champions. Please join us in congratulating Thomas and his teammates on this outstanding accomplishment!

Green News: Summer Internship Taipei American School expects to accomplish the Gold Standard of LEED Certification for existing buildings through the United States Green Buildings Council (USGBC), the most respected green building accreditation agency in the world. EcoTech and Siemens, through a joint venture, will consult on the LEED project. During this time, TAS will respond to more than a hundred specific categories to improve long-term sustainability. As part of the process, Siemens invited TAS students to participate in a summer institute, enabling them to learn about the LEED process, as well as perform a number of specific tasks to assist with TAS' LEED Certification. This internship occurred over the summer and five rising seniors participated: Alice Chang, Eunice Lin, Kateline Lin, Stephanie Pang, and Andrew Wu. They learned about energy audits, conservation, alternative energy, and environmentally friendly purchasing. The students also worked at Taipei 101 and observed how the building achieved the Platinum LEED Certification. They successfully completed their internship and presented their “TAS LEED Green Operations Walkthrough Proposal” to Siemens, EcoTech, and TAS administrators at the end of the summer. Their recommendations will form the framework for TAS’ green efforts this year.

TAS Robotics Soccer Club Competes at the RoboCup Competition in Turkey Text: Adrian Nolin, Upper School Physics Teacher The TAS Soccer Robotics Club (Annie Lee, Edwin Cho, Michael Yen, and William Shyr) traveled to Istanbul the first week of July to compete in the annual RoboCup competition, the largest robotics competition in the world. There were fourteen categories, from middle school through university level, with over 2,500 participants attending from all over the world. The TAS team competed in the category RoboCupJunior against sixty other teams. This was the first year TAS

TAS Dancers Perform in California Text: Kendra Flemming, Grade 11 This summer, a group of TAS dancers traveled to Irvine, California for a weekend of dance workshops and performances. "Platform," hosted by Backhaus Dance, was created to showcase concert dance. It was also an opportunity for emerging choreographers to present their work and for pre-professional dancers to perform and study a variety of master classes. Jennifer Lu, Alex Yang, Iris Hsu, Kyoko Harris, Yuka Aoki, and I performed a piece that Indah Boyle (TAS '04) had choreographed for the six of us earlier in the school year. In addition to a tech rehearsal and a dress rehearsal, we presented three performances of Beirut Duet. Another TAS student, Wesley Horng, joined us for Indah Boyle's modern technique class, a William Forsythe contemporary ballet masterclass, a lyrical jazz class, and a performance enhancement workshop. The experience really opened our eyes to more of the dance world, as most of us had never performed, let alone danced, anywhere outside of TAS. We were much younger than the majority of the dancers and most of them were at a higher technical level than us. Though challenging at first, it made me realize how much more there is in the dance world and if you want to get the most out of it, you need to work really hard. This gave us all a huge desire to improve and the motivation to do so in our performances, in the workshops, and in our future dance studies.

had a soccer robotics club and the opportunity to attend such a prestigious competition. Despite being newcomers at the event, TAS competed admirably and made it to the quarterfinals! More importantly, it was a learning experience both in robotics and culture. The team returned with significant knowledge on how to improve their robots for next year’s competition. The team was very dedicated and worked on their robots for many long days at the competition. However, I did manage to pull them away from the robots long enough to show them the culturally rich city of Istanbul, with a visit to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. september 2011

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orking as a lawyer in Taipei, Erik Siddons missed one thing badly: good Mexican food. He had also long harbored dreams of opening his own restaurant, having learnt to cook helping his mother make tacos, enchiladas, and other hearty meals in the kitchen as a child. So a year and a half ago, the Los Angeles native decided to swap his law career for a job as a chef, and the Mayan Grill was born. The restaurant opened six months ago and is strikingly cool and contemporary in its ambience. Besides traditional Mexican fare, the menu features some original creations by Erik such as Cielo Chicken. This is a juicy grilled cumin-marinated chicken breast that rests on a sope (a thick corn tortilla) surrounded by fresh avocado salad, and topped with homemade chipotle-lime cream sauce and spicy chipotle peppers. Another dish that has gone down well with patrons is his chicken flautas. Grilled chicken topped with cheese is encased within two large flour tortillas and then fried. The flauta is one of four special entrees that Erik will be offering diners for The Center’s

Tastes of Taipei dinner on Wednesday, September 28th. The other options are soft Sonoran-style fish tacos, spicy beef enchiladas and for vegetarians, crispy tacos filled with sauteed vegetables, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. There will also be a starter of fresh chips and salsa, followed by a chile corn soup and lime vinaigrette garden salad. Rounding off the dinner, which is priced at NT$800 per person, is a traditional Mexican flan - vanilla pudding with a caramel sauce. The bar menu, featuring specially-imported Mexican beers, sangria, margaritas and wine by the glass will also be available. So come chow down on some prime Mexican fare in support of The Center, as a portion of the night’s proceeds will be donated back to The Center. Please make your reservations directly with the restaurant at (02) 2511-6292, and don’t forget to mention The Center when you call.

tastes of taipei for September date: wednesday, September 28th time: 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm venue: mayan Grill address: 6, Lane 65, Zhongshan North road, section 2, taipei (behind the ambassador Hotel) 台北市中山區中山北路2段65巷6號 Price: Nt$800 nett per person Sell-out dinner at Le Jardin in May tianmu’s elegant Le Jardin restaurant was completely taken over by friends of the Center at the last tastes of taipei dinner on may 25th. the thirty folks took up the entire French restaurant and, fuelled by wines from its well-stocked cellar, enjoyed a night of bonhomie and fine dining. Co-owner sunny wang chatted with guests while chef willy Isler, after performing magic in the kitchen, entertained diners with an interesting repertoire of magic tricks. the evening began with a choice of homemade pork pâté or snails stewed in a fragrant sauce of garlic and thyme. Next up was a refreshing pumpkin and orange cream soup. For the main event, most opted for the poached sea bass fillet in a mushroom cream sauce, which won praise for being healthy and tasty. I had the calorie-laden duck confit with sautéed potatoes, which was nicely crisp on the outside and tender inside. the dish delivered enough calories for me to jog home to downtown taipei but was worth every morsel. In fact, I wouldn’t have complained if they had put more of those delectable sautéed potatoes on my plate. Dessert was a bit of a surprise. the cinnamon flavored rice pudding and vanilla ice cream was a great match but the accompanying parmesan cheese biscuit didn’t mesh together as well. all in all, a memorable night and a big merci beaucoup to Desta selassie for putting it all together.

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.

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50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad

book review

Expat Women: Confessions by Andrea martins and Victoria Hepworth published by expat Women enterprises pty Ltd AtF expat Women published in may, 2011 IsbN-13: 978-0980823608

TexT: kaTh liu


x p a t Wo m e n (w w w . e x p a t w o m e n . c o m) i s a website that aims to equip women living expatriate lifestyles with knowledge, resources and an online support network in the hope that this will enable them to live fulfilling and enjoyable lives at their various overseas locations. This book is a result of the compilation of fifty readers' real-life 'confessions' about their lives and the issues that typically plague those who live the expatriate lifestyle. The book is split into six sections covering settling into a new country, questions of career and money, raising children abroad, relationship i s s u e s, o t h e r c o m m o n i s s u e s associated with living abroad and of course the inevitable return home. Each question is given a positive and helpful response, focusing on plans of attack and solutions whilst still retaining a strong grounding in reality. The questions covered range from the everyday struggles to the darker realities of life such as infidelity and teen suicide and although certainly not all of them will be relevant to all who read this book at one time, this seems to be an excellent resource to dip into on the

occasion that you're feeling a little lost or in need of guidance. The most consistently made point in the whole of this book is need for a social connection. Going overseas to live may seem like a glamorous lifestyle to those we have left behind but in reality it can be isolating and scary, especially if you're living in a country where you don't speak the language or understand the culture. Meeting others who you can connect with and who can relate to your experiences is an essential part of settling into and living a meaningful existence in your new country, and a driving force behind the Community Services Center. There is one issue that I had with this book, however. Despite its global reach of looking at the lives of women in loads of different countries, I felt like it was really focusing on one particular sort o f e x p a t w o m a n, n a m e l y t h o s e who have moved abroad due to a corporate contract. Which isn't to say that this group is not worthy of focus, but there are other women living lives overseas who don't fit this category. What about those w h o m o v e d o v e r s e a s t o t e a c h? What about those who are doing m i s s i o n a r y w o r k? W h a t a b o u t those, like myself, who are 'foreign spouses'? What about overseas-born folks who have come back to their parents’ home country to explore their cultural roots? Perhaps I'm asking too much for one book to be able to incorporate the views and experiences of such a diverse range

of women but then again, aren't we all women who are expatriated even if we're not living what is commonly understood to be the 'expatriate lifestyle'? I think, in the spirit in which this book is written, perhaps the best solution-based answer to this expat confession would be to suggest that there is room for a future book: Other Expat Women: Confessions Continued.... But despite the fact that one size doesn't fit all, there are plenty of people I know who will find this book a very useful addition to their bookshelf. Whether you're thinking about moving overseas, newly arrived or even been overseas for a while now this book will have something to offer. It doesn't matter where you are in your life, the main message of this book is that you can and will succeed and find happiness and that there are others out there who know exactly how you feel.

Kath Liu is an avid reade r and a foun ding me mbe r of t he C S C B o ok Club who believes happiness is a good book, good coffee and good friends. Like books? Check this out: september 2011

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2011/8/30 10:14:47 AM

CaSual diNiNg

Feasting in Yilan



h, Yi l a n. J u s t t h i n k i n g about this agricultural rice plain makes me hungry. Convenient to reach from Taipei thanks to a 13 kilometer tunnel burrowed through the mountains, the charms of its slower pace of life and beautiful natural surrounds still reach out in a warm embrace the moment you step off the freeway. hot SprinG cuiSine The hot springs town of Jiaoxi (礁 溪) is fast becoming a Mecca for the discerning bather. Part of its appeal is the great dining options, perfect for indulging after working up an appetite in the baths. To sample local fare stop by Eight Treasures (八寶冬 粉, 中山路二段131號), which serves up soft-boiled eggs cooked in the hot springs themselves. And don’t miss Eight Treasures’ house specialty; a thickened soup called geng (羹). The thick liquid hides a wealth of ingredients, including noodles and meat or seafood balls poached like soft-formed quenelles. Wander a few doors down and you will find Manyilou (滿意樓, 礁


溪鄉中山路二段59號), whose name translates as ‘satisfied house’ which perhaps is the secret to its popularity with locals and tourists alike. Most dishes are cheap at under NT$100, not including the complimentary selfserve pork gravy rice (滷肉飯), which my toddler devoured with gusto. Do order their salmon sashimi (生 魚片), served with curls of daikon and decorated elegantly with a small swan carved from watermelon flesh. And it is hard to go past their tender stir-fried beef using local Sanxing shallots – a specialty of the region – bathed in a spicy gravy (蔥爆牛 肉). In summer, be sure to order Manyilou’s chunks of bamboo flesh topped with mayonnaise (竹筍沙拉). at the niGht Market Yilan’s Luodong Night Ma rket (羅東夜市), s i t u a t e d n e x t t o t h e Zhongshan Park in the center of the city, is famous throughout Taiwan for tempting snacks, many of which utilize local produce. It’s worth queuing up to enjoy the shallot pastry rounds (蔥油餅), and also look out for a type of ‘pearl’ tapioca filled with whole red beans. But definitely

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seek out the steamed Shanghai-style buns at Linji Soup Buns (林記湯包), expertly hand-rolled to meet demand in a small shop-front a street back from the main thoroughfare. Made with minced boar meat and shallots, the buns are lusciously light and pair perfectly with Linji’s signature hot and sour soup. My toddler, who is only just starting to eat adult-style food, couldn’t get enough of the soup and kept grabbing the spoon from me to eat more. In The CITy Yilan city itself also has plenty of options for the gourmet. Start off with Kouxiangting (口香亭, 宜蘭市 宜興路一段251號), located within walking distance of the main train station, where you can sample local delicacies such as fried bricks made from chicken soup called gaozha (糕 渣). Chef ‘Mouth’ (陳慶洲), also serves expertly carved sashimi along with your pick of fresh local seafood. Then visit the Y i l a n D i s t i l le r y, Taiwan’s oldest distillery, where you can wander amongst the original buildings and learn about the process of distilling whisky. Make sure to stop at the former liquor storeroom restaurant inside, where you

can order local dishes such as Yilan smoked duck (鴨賞) and bitter melon with salted ducks eggs (鹹蛋苦瓜). FOOd On The Farm Te n m i n u t e s o u t o f Yi l a n i s an unexpected find: the Kuche n Kentwort Museum (亞典菓子工場, 宜蘭市梅洲二路122號), a JapaneseGerman-style bakery museum. The bestseller is ba u mk u c he n (年輪蛋糕) – concentric circles of cake cooked on a rotisserie that resemble rings in a tree-trunk when cut. Other popular items include honey cakes (original, orange, green tea and red bean versions), moist Japanese-style chocolate cake, and baked cheese cake using imported Australian cheese. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. A d m i s s i o n, w h i c h i n c l u d e s t e a and coffee, is free. Look out for the friendly security guard, who is teaching himself English and happy

to give guided tours. Finally, if you have school-aged children, they will love visiting To u c h e n g Fa r m (頭城休閒農場). There is plenty for the whole family to eat at the farm, and you can watch local food being made. On our last visit, staff rolled out sweet sticky-rice dumplings (湯圓), stuffed wontons, taught us how to bake sweet potatoes underground, and set out rings of sugared winter melon on bamboo poles to dry in the hot sun.

Taiwan xifu ( Taiwan d aughte r - in - l aw) i s the blogging alter-ego of Serina Huang, who enjoys sampling Taiwan’s culinary creations, exploring new places and discovering cultural insights. Her blog is at

Events at The Center Book Club – Tuesday, September 13th This month’s read is The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. It’s a humorous love story about a Beefeater, his wife, and their 180-year-old tortoise who live in the Tower of London. If you'd like to join us for a lively discussion and a slice of something yummy, please contact Kath at

Overseas Trailing Talent Wine Social Kick-off: Thursday, September 22nd , 8-10 pm at Sommelier, Tianmu. Join us for a glass of wine and an opportunity to meet other professionals in Taipei. Find out what you can do to help the volunteers of Overseas Trailing Talent help you! RSVP by September 15th at OTT is a victim of its own success! Interested in becoming a committee member for OTT? Many of our members have found great opportunities through the organization. Contact taipeitalent@ for details.

Special Topic Coffee morning – September 8th Hosted by Ivy Chen, our Chinese cooking teacher. Join us for a Chinese Moon Festival-themed September coffee morning. The Center’s Coffee Mornings are a great time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.


Tastes of Taipei – September 28th Mayan Grill Lane 65, Zhongshan North Road, Section 2 (02) 2511-6292 This month The Center takes you to Mexico! Mayan Grill, the latest, greatest Mexican restaurant in Taipei is supporting The Community Services Center by hosting dinner and donating a small portion of the night’s proceeds to The Center. So contact the restaurant and make your reservation for Wednesday, September 28th, and tell them The Center sent you. september 2011

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generation y

Goodbye Playtime H e ll o Clean Management A sixteen year old teenager wants to go to a late night party on a Friday night, but she needs to get her parents’ approval first. The agreement? She must clean the dishes, vacuum the house, wipe the windows, and finish all of her homework before she steps out the door. All dressed and glimmered up, she makes her way to the party, but she can’t get the nagging and souring pain out of her body. “What happened to the days when I was small and free?” she whispers to herself. text: leat ahrony


s a young child, my mind revolved around three essential things: eating, playing, and having fun. The idea of ‘planning’ for the next day or week never crossed my mind; I was a free bird. We have all been there once or twice in our lifetimes. However, there comes a day when you have that sudden epiphany. You realize you are no longer a child, and things are going to be different from now on. All of a sudden, you cannot afford to fit any ‘play time’ into your cramped daily schedule. All of a sudden, your freedom is limited, and your responsibilities pile up like a giant land field. Ever feel like your day is swamped? Great! Be proud of and thankful for this. You may be cooking several pots on the stove at once, but think of all the colorful dishes you will be able to place on the dining table later on? Maybe you lose a little day-dreaming time, but you also gain experiences, knowledge, and you feel proud about your accomplishments. First you need to learn the basics. Wouldn't it feel so much better to know you can now accomplish greater goals in a limited amount of time? Time management is a key in life. If you don't have excellent time management, then I'm afraid you won't be able to open the treasure box. And just what exactly is in the treasure box? It is your goals, dreams, and accomplishments. Just because you may be not attending school doesn’t mean you aren’t gaining precious knowledge. No one is perfect, but we can always work towards being a better person. I learned to be organized and plan ahead of time. I started with my very own room. I wasn't always an obsessive organizer. Believe me, if I had pictures, I would gladly show you what my room previously looked like. Papers, pencils, flyers, dust, accessories I never used, gifts I received (but never used or needed), markers, books... etc. you name it. Once, I was playing in my cluttered room, and a cockroach sneakily crawled on my arm. The hairy legs gave me goose bumps, and I screamed at the top of my lungs. Frequent


cockroach visits probably means you need to stop piling and start cleaning. This is where your time management and organizational skills will come in handy. Make category piles: General Garbage, Things to Give Away, & Things to Recycle. • If you can find giant paper or garbage bags, this will be extremely handy. • Keep your windows opened, because trust me, you will need the fresh air. It would be a wise idea to toss leftover candy wrappers or even half-eaten snacks into the general garbage. Clothing items that are still in good condition, but that don’t fit you or aren’t to your taste anymore can be donated to orphanages. Or perhaps your friend would like a new pair of jeans? Let’s put on our green goggles, and search for items that can be recycled like paper, empty plastic and glass bottles, broken electronic devices…etc. You would be surprised by the objects hiding in your closets, under your bed, and on your dusty shelves. It might take you the whole day to clean out your room or apartment, but it is worth it. Your room or house will feel like refreshing lemonade. Take one day out of your busy life to organize and manage your house. Everyone could always use a little change and refreshment in their lives. So now that you’ve taken your first baby step, what is the second? Have a plan. Life is indeed very short, but not literally. The average life span has a great amount of hours. The question is, how do you use those hours? I went to the bank last week, and I saw an employee sitting at his desk staring into thin air. Do you not get paid mister? I wanted to question him. Certainly, the majority of people are working into the late hours to earn an average salary. My point is however, even though working or studying hard makes you exhausted at the end of the day, it also gives you something to feel proud about. Even if your everyday routine is repetitive, even if you are surrounded by the same faces, you most likely will come across different customers and challenges. My advice is to have your very own to-do list.

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SAMPLE TO –DO LIST: 9 AM: Go to the bank and finish paperwork. � 10 AM: Attend medical appointment. � 12 PM: Eat lunch. � 1 PM: Shop for household necessities. � 3 PM: Shop for food. � 5 PM: Prepare dinner for family. � 6 PM: Eat dinner with family. � 7 PM: Do some cleaning. � 8 PM: Check computer activities. � 9 PM onward: Relaxation time. � Even the little tasks like 'throw the garbage’ I must add to my list. If I don't write it down, I will forget. When I plan out my to-do-list, I am promising myself that I will commit to each and every task. I’ve taken you through a roller coaster from cleaning your house to having a list. This isn’t new information. With technology, pretty much everyone has a busy schedule and a long list of things to do already, but I’m here to remind you that it’s a positive attitude and energy. This means you treasure time and know how to use it wisely, not wastefully. In life, we all come across dangerous, easy, relaxing, stressful, joyful and terrifying paths. However, on a daily basis, we must live every day to the fullest. Having a future plan is vital, but it wouldn’t be very wise for you to leave all your goals to the future. At the age of 60 or

70, your heart and soul won’t be prepared for the list you have been compiling for twenty or thirty years. Take baby steps and have a shorter list for everyday. Make sure you add those little cute check boxes, because it sure does feel great to tick! The task must be completed of course. When we were little, our parents told us we couldn’t have dessert until we finished our veggies. Here, you can't have your satisfaction of a tick, unless you complete your task. Of course, don’t forget to schedule in some relaxation time as well! You can still go out to movies, and spend a little money for luxury and relaxation, but remember to never feel bored or daydream. On the MRT, read the newspaper, answer Emails from your smart phone, bring a book to read, or listen to music. Don't just stare at someone's unzipped pants or someone's sweaty back. Do something, anything! Wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, make sure you have goals, plans, and great time management skills. If you’re going to go the grocery or supermarket, take a moment to think about other items that you may need to pick up on the way as well; this will save you gas, energy and …. TIME! Time is too precious, so don't waste it!

EDGE your way along the famed knife-edge ridges of Wuliaojian STRIDE across the glorious grassy slopes of Paradise Valley COOL off in the beautiful natural swimming holes of Jiajiuliao ADMIRE the 360° seascape from the top of magnificent Turtle Island PAY your respects at Taiwan’s mysterious Buddhist mountain EXPLORE the island’s turbulent history at Keelung There’s an enormously rich and fascinating mixture of traditional culture and rugged natural beauty to be found within easy reach of Taipei city, and the two volumes that make up Taipei Escapes, featuring forty walks and twenty day trips, form a comprehensive guide to enjoying the area. Taipei Escapes features detailed and carefully researched information for exploring the best of northern Taiwan on foot, by public transport or by car. Taipei Escapes 1 & 2 are available now from The Center and at bookshops in Taipei.

Events About Town Teens Unplugged 4 A Dynamic Opportunity for All Graduating Seniors September 3rd, 2011, 2pm - 5pm Taipei European School (Lower Campus) Wen-Lin Road SIGN UP NOW!! Go to TEENS UNPLUGGED on Facebook Or email:

Stage Time & Wine at the Red Room Celebrate the spoken word with us as we read our own passages or those that we yearn to share. Speak. Listen. Hear. Feel. Come and share a unique experience with new and old friends. Live music and warm company. All languages desired! 17th September 2011, 6:30 pm onwards. 2F., No. 117, Sec. 1, Da'an Rd., Taipei Tel: (02) 27714195 北市大安路一段 117號2F sEPTEMBER 2011

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rice 米 [mi] TExT: IVY CHEn IMAGES: IVY CHEn, xIAnG TInG And ISABEllA

Rice farming has a long history in the Far East: fields dating back nine and three thousand years have been found in China and Taiwan respectively. In Taiwan, rice is harvested twice each year. The first crop is planted in January and cut in July, while the second grows from July to December. There are basically three types of rice to be found in Taiwan markets. Taiwan Japonica rice, the most common, was introduced from Japan, and has produced many sub-types in Taiwan. Indica rice, which is normally used in cakes and noodles, was transplanted from China, and has also been improved via many sub-types in Taiwan. The third type, glutinous rice, is used in both savory dishes and desserts as well as in making wine and vinegar, and various kinds of dumplings and cakes.

typeS of rice Most of the above types of rice are also available organically grown. Ta i w a n J a p o n i c a r i c e (台灣梗米 taiwan gengmi or 台梗 taigeng): Short grain: has a chewy texture after cooking. Brow n r ic e (糙米 c aomi): rice is husked and retains all the nutrition. W h it e r i c e (白米 ba i m i): rice is husked and milled, and no longer contains bran or germ. Embryo rice (胚芽米 peiyami): rice is husked and milled, but still has germ attached.

medium grain. White rice (在來白米 zailai baimi): me d iu m g ra i n a nd g rou nd i nto powder.

R e d r i c e (紅糯米 h o n g n u o m i): medium long grain. B l a c k r i c e (黑糯米 h e i n u o m i): medium long grain.

Glutinous rice (糯米 nuomi): W h i t e, r e d o r b l a c k i n c o l o r; medium long & short grain; sticky texture after cooking. W h i t e r i c e (白糯米 b a i n u o m i): m e d i u m l o n g, s h o r t g r a i n a n d ground into powder.

BuyinG rice Rice with a higher ratio of whole grain is healthier. Any damaged, broken or yellow rice should be discarded. Look for the CAS (Certified Agricultural Standards) logo on the packaging, which guarantees quality.

Indica rice (秈米 xianmi or 在來米 zailaimi): Medium long grain: fluffy texture after cooking. Brown rice (在來糙米 zailai caomi):


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White rice grains should be translucent to transparent.

control and other health functions.

uSe of different typeS of rice Taiwan Japonica rice: steamed, in porridge and sushi. Indica rice: Steamed, and in various types of rice noodle and rice cake. Glutinous rice: White short grain rice is used for desserts and making wine and vinegar; white medium long grain rice is made into dumplings and cakes. Red and black grains are for steaming and desserts.

cookinG tipS 1. Rinse rice 2~3 times gently and quickly. Change water for every wash. 2. R i c e s h o u l d b e soaked in water f r o m 30 m i n u t e s (white rice) to four hours (brown rice) or as instructed on the package before cooking. 3. If cooking rice in a rice cooker, use one cup of water for each cup of rice or 1.6 cups of water for each cup of brown rice, or follow the instructions on the package. 4. Always allow the cooked rice to sit in the rice cooker with the lid on for about twenty minutes after the

nutrition Rice contains carbohydrates, protein, fat, dietary fiber, vitamin B-complex, and minerals, especially phosphorus. It can reduce blood pressure, improve diabetes and cardiovascular disease and reduce the incidence of cancer, and can prevent constipation, help in weight

cooker switches off. 5. If cooking rice in a pot on the stove, add about two cups of water to each cup of rice, bring to a boil and cook until the water is level with the top of the rice. Turn heat off and cover with a lid. Allow to sit for twenty minutes. 6. Fluff the cooked rice with a rice spatula to allow excess steam to escape before serving. StoraGe Place rice in refrigerator after opening. For more information in English, please see the linkďźš http://www.cas.

CsC busINess CLassIFIeD education



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Center Courses September 2011 Activity First Meeting Date

Survival Chinese 1 Survival Chinese 2 Chinese Study Group 3 Chinese Study Group 1 Chinese Study Group 2 Kindermusik 1(0-18 mos.) Kindermusik 2 (18 mos.-3yrs.) Easy Yoga 1 Bloom Where You Are Planted Beginning Belly Dance 1 Shi Dong Market Tour Qi Gong 1 French Conversation Porcelain Painting Self-Defense for Women and Girls Chinese Knotting It's All in the Sauce! Beginning Golf Exploring the MRT: Hongshulin to Historic Danshui Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines Chinese Salads and Starters Tea Research and Extension Station and the Shihmen Dam Navigating Transportation A Fabulous French Dinner Lunch at Din Tai Fung Indian Vegetarian Delight


September 5 September 5 September 5 September 6 September 6 September 8 September 8 September 13 September 13 September 14 September 15 September 15 September 15 September 15 September 16 September 16 September 16 September 19 September 20 September 21 September 23 September 27 September 28 September 28 September 29 September 30


9:00 10:30 12:00 noon 9:00 10:30 9:15 10:15 19:00 10:00 10:30 9:00 13:00 9:00 12:15 16:00 12:15 10:00 12:00 noon 9:30 10:00 10:00 8:30 12:30 18:30 11:30 10:00

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COMMUNITY GROUPS Organization Telephone 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



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

2876-6718 2875-5512 8501-1200 2757-6112 8752-6179 2725-1691 2757-9692 2725-1542 2713-8000 2871-7712 2725-2324 2713-2626 2757-6566 2713-5760 2757-6725 2874-9034 2757-6987 2543-5484

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

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

German Institute Guatemala

2501-6188 2875-6952

2722-0684 2509-9189 2873-6310 2757-7017 2723-2527 7718-3300 8780-3011 2876-1444 2876-6519 2772-1940 8780-3231 2715-3251 2518-4901 2872-5934 2757-6573 2720-1001 2723-1800 2757-7318 2162-2000 2516-6626 september 2011

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Word from the Director Welcome back to all those who have been away. I like to read about history. You never know what you are going to learn and inevitably you find yourself learning something that leaves you with a “wow!” on your lips. I like to read about a lot of different things and I was reading about Rotary the other day, more specifically about the Founder of Rotary, Paul Harris. And it got me to thinking about how we live our lives. Here is a man who decided that he wanted to make an organization that reflected the hometown country values that he grew up with. And he was prepared to put his own money – and ask for that of his friends – into the organization to make sure that it did exactly the kind of good that he had envisaged for it. Some 100-plus years later and there are Rotaries all around the world – Taiwan alone has around five hundred clubs I believe – and the net worth of this foundation must be in the billions. They have more or less eradicated Polio, donated billions of dollars in aid, and perform good deeds all around the world. Imagine a company with that kind of success, and this is simply a philanthropic organization. And it all started with one man in Chicago’s South Side who just wanted to make an organization that reflected ‘old fashioned values’. Now I am not really here to advertise Rotary but as I read more about this chap Paul Harris I learnt that his original house (sold after his death in 1947) has been repurchased by a Rotary foundation and is being made into the Paul Harris Museum. This house where a simple guy from Chicago lived was important enough to a large group of people that they set up a foundation worth over three million dollars to buy the house, and remember him and what he stood for. There are many measures of a person, but how do you measure your impact on the world? I don't know about you but I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy the house where I grew up, can you? Think about that the next time you are getting a group of friends together… maybe there is something that you can all achieve together; just like Paul Harris and his friends.

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 34

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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One of the musicians in the 2011 Keelung Ghost Festival Parade relaxes before the start.

NEIL wade

Neil Wade specializes in travel, sports, and candid photography. When he's on assignment or relaxing, Neil likes to drive his motorcycle in Taiwan's beautiful mountains. His website, features photographs from all over the world.

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Centered on Taipei September 2011  

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

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