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Centered on TAIPEI April 2014, Volume 14, Issue 7

The CenTer’s spring Fashion spree Taiwanese wedding eTiqueTTe 69-poinT-9: on aging and ageism BaBy CaFés around Taipei Camphor press seven Tips For raising expaT Kids Cross-CulTural Training aT The CenTer

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coveR ImAGe: By Richard Saunders Pleione formosana is an endemic orchid listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.


April 2014 volume 14 issue 7

8 24 34 Centered on Taipei is a publication of the Community Services Center, 25, Lane 290, ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 6, Tianmu, Taipei, Taiwan Tel: 02-2836-8134 fax: 02-2835-2530 e-mail: Correspondence may be sent to the editor at coteditor@communitycenter. 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!


LetteR fRom the edItoR


RIchARd Recommends nAtIonAL theAteR & conceRt hALL APRIL 2014


events About town events At the centeR


csc news Spring Fashion Spree 2014


centeR GALLeRy


off the beAten tRAck Keelung’s Fairy and Buddha’s Hand Caves


chARIty Orphanage Club


Ask tAIwAnxIfu Taiwanese Wedding Etiquette


communIty TAS


communIty Peter Pan


communIty A Talk by Carl Wilkens


tAIPeI LIvInG The Young and the Restless


exPAt PeRsPectIve 69-Point-9


PhotoGRAPhy Architecture


coffee coRneR Dears Waffle, Bakery & Café


ARound tAIPeI Baby Cafés


books Camphor Press


heALth Calcium


outLook Experience the Power of Your Emotions


bLoG of the month Taiwanxifu couRses At the centeR


fAmILy Seven Tips for Raising Expat Kids


cuLtuRe Cross-Cultural Training at the Center


csc busIness cLAssIfIed


chInese kItchen Hot Stir-Fries

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner. APRIL 2014

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expat perspective

CommunIty SeRvICeS CenteR Publisher editor Co-editor Advertising manager tel Fax email Writing and Photography Contributors

Community Services Center editorial Panel

Community Services Center, Taipei Kari Schiro Richard Saunders Naomi Kaly 02-2836-8134 02-2835-2530

Leat Ahrony Suzan Babcock Dilip Bhoye Michael Cannings Heather Carr Woodruff Ivy Chen Michelle Cheung Chi-Kwun Julia Chung Aly Cooper Craig Ferguson Kim Fox Serina Huang Ting Ting Huang

Shereen Lee Carol Lin Emilie Ma Justine O’Neil Ruth Poulsen Richard Saunders Bethany Shieh Rosemary Susa Carrie Tenebrini Grace Ting Chantal VerstocktPedro Jane Wang William Yang

Siew Kang, Fred Voigtmann

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Farn Mei Printing Co., Ltd. 1F, No. 102, Hou Kang Street, Shilin District, Taipei Tel: 02-2882-6748 Fax: 02-2882-6749 E-mail:


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Suzan Babcock, I-Wen Chan, Fawn Chang, Katherine Chang, Jung Chin, Chiao-Feng Chung, Wendy Evans, Ting Ting Ge, Cerita Hsu, Carol Lee, Jessica Liu, Emillie Ma, Eva Salazar-Liu, Cynthia Teeters, Wen Ting Yen

Accountant Programs Coordinator events Coordinator It Coordinator Program Support Communications Cross-Cultural trainer Chinese teacher events Assistant Life & Business Coach

Monica Cheng Rosemary Susa Bianca Russell Shana Garcia Bunny Pacheco Heather Lowder Jane Wang Gloria Gwo Justine O’Neil Nathalie Guilbeault


Jennifer Adelson, Alison Davis Bai, Vincy Chik, John Imbrogulio, Lily Lau, Fiona Mackelworth, John McQuade, Margaret Mendoza, Michael Mullahy, Monica Pillizzaro, Gloria Peng, Ruth Reynolds, Emmy Shih, Anita Town


Bai Win Antiques European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan Hao Ran Foundation Nita Ing The Regent Taipei

Premier Sponsors

Concordia Consulting Costco Wholesale Taiwan ICRT

the Community Ser vices 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 and drop by the Center to chat with us about our programs. you can also email us at csc@

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." (

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Kari Schiro Editor

Richard Saunders Co-editor

Naomi Kaly Advertising Manager



orgive me for stating the obvious: a chief benefit of living abroad is the diversity encountered on a daily basis. We are constantly in contact with people who are different from ourselves; it simply comes with the territory. However, when we talk about diversity, we most often reflect on ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, even gender, but age is often left off the list, perhaps because so many of us spend a good chunk of our time engaged in cross-generational interactions, with our children, our parents, our grandparents. It’s unexceptional, routine. Well, this month we’re focusing on this oft-neglected source of diversity: age. With articles on topics from parenting to ageism, we’re reflecting on the richness of perspectives and interests that each stage of life brings. For the young’uns (and their parents), Justine O’Neil provides a handy roundup of some of Taipei’s most loved “baby cafés,” restaurants that cater to parents and their wee ones, providing a paradise of playthings for the kids and a moment of rest for the parents. Next, Shereen Lee offers us a peek at middle school life with her piece about Taipei American School’s upcoming production of Peter Pan. Meanwhile, William Yang profiles two young Taiwanese women to give us the twentysomething view on life in Taipei. And Serina Huang advises us on one aspect of a traditional rite of passage — marriage — that anyone who has ever been invited to a Taiwanese wedding banquet has encountered — the predicament of the red envelope. Ruth Poulsen takes us to the next stage, with insightful advice about raising expat children and, finally, Suzan Babcock addresses aging and ageism in her thought-provoking piece about the negativity surrounding growing older. Of course, we also have a number of age-less gems this month. Camphor Press, a new publishing house that focuses on non-fiction e-books about Taiwan, is an exciting new resource for Formosa-philes, readers, and writers alike. We caught up with Michael Cannings, one of the press’s founders, to get the scoop. We’re also introducing the Center’s revamped cross-cultural training services with a fantastic article by the Center’s new cross-cultural trainer herself: Jane Wang. Finally, I urge you to flip to pages 8 and 9 for a glimpse at the Center’s spectacular spring fundraising event, the first-ever Spring Fashion Spree. As you will see, it was much more than your average runway show. Enormous thanks to our volunteer contributors for their incredible work this month and every month. All the photography and writing that appears in this magazine is provided by members of the community who volunteer their talents to fill the pages with outstanding content. We are so grateful to everyone who submits material, and we are always delighted to bring more people on board. If you are interested in contributing, with photos or articles, please contact me at With that, here’s to life, at all stages.

Please send email submissions, comments, and feedback to APRIL 2014


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APRIL 2014

RichaRd SaundeRS


n one of those wonderful “odd couple” programs that I wish would crop up more often at the National Concert Hall, on April 18th the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has paired a duo of eastern European masterpieces of utterly divergent characters. The crowd pleaser is Dvorak’s late, great Cello Concerto, one of the finest and best-loved in the repertoire. The Concerto was written in 1894, during Dvorak’s sojourn in the States, but unlike his New World Symphony, it wasn’t inspired by Native American music, but instead looks back with autumnal melancholy at the composer’s own, distant Bohemia. What a difference a couple of decades and a few hundred kilometres can make! Hungarian composer Bartok started writing The Miraculous Mandarin in 1918, and it seethes with all the horror the memory of the recent Great War must have still held for Europeans at that time. Nearly a century after its composition, the Mandarin remains uncompromisingly modern and unsettlingly intense in atmosphere, while the prodigious collective virtuosity required to play it has made it a favorite showpiece among orchestras. Usually performed in its shortened “Concert Suite” version, it looks like this performance will be of the complete ballet (including the eerie choral passage at the end), which tells a grim — and very un-ballet-like — story of violence and murder. After the gaudy horror of much of the music, a little warmth is finally allowed in, as the Mandarin (who has just been suffocated, then stabbed, and finally hung) elicits a glimmer of humanity in the low-lives around him, before dying in the final bars of the piece. Yep, this certainly isn’t Swan Lake, and will horrify those who believe music should always be conventionally beautiful or even simply just entertaining. For more adventurous listeners this is one of those rare works in the regular repertoire (like The Rite of Spring and the Scythian Suite) that aren’t afraid to conjure up deep, elemental emotions that most serious composers shy away from. The NSO is responsible for one of the other more surprising pieces of programming this month, with two utterly different pieces for that rare solo concerto instrument, the trombone. The Trombone Concerto by Mozart’s father Leopold, which has a rather beautiful slow movement, is in unlikely tandem with Berio’s Solo (1999) for trombone and orchestra (one of his last works — he died in 2003). Its lush orchestral colors and almost impressionistic atmosphere in places make it more accessible than many works by this great contemporary composer, but there are echoes of the more chaotic, playful side by which Berio is probably best known, particularly in the vocal interjections of the orchestral players (who are asked to shout at one point!). Finally I’ll be giving a piano recital on April 20th (Sunday) at 2:30 pm at the Forum Auditorium in Minzu West Road. The recital will be a companion to my performance there last year September, when I played six of the twelve movements of the Java Suite by Polish virtuoso pianist/composer Leopold Godowsky. This time I’ll be playing the remaining six movements of this large-scale suite, along with beautiful but largely little-known classical music from Russia, France, Spain, Japan, and the Ukraine, and the first performance in Taiwan of perhaps the greatest piano work to so far come out of Finland: the Four Color Poems by Vaino Raitio. Raitio has been described as one of the “most remarkable colorists in the history of Western music,” and in this work the composer coaxes from the piano some remarkable sounds and textures. Hope to see you there!


National Theater and Concert Hall NATIONAL THEATER Sylvie Guillem 6000 Miles Away April 15 – 20

NATIONAL CONCERT HALL The Chant of the Soul, Egret 2014 Music by Barber, Borodin and several local composers April 3

Evgeny Kissin Piano Recital

The Russian legend plays Schubert and Scriabin April 4 RR

Little Sun’s Music Box Music for children April 6

Natalia Gutman Cello Recital

Another renowned Russian, playing Bach’s cello suites April 8 & 9

The Amazing Trombone Man and the Mermaid

Works by Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart, Zemlinsky and Berio April 11 RR

Alexander Rudin Cello Sonata

Music by Schubert and Beethoven April 17

Legends from Eastern Europe

Music by Dvorak, Liszt and Bartok April 18 RR

Philippe Jaroussky & Venice Baroque Orchestra

Works for counter tenor by Porpora and Handel April 19

Martin Stadtfelt 2014 Piano Recital Works by Bach and Chopin April 21

TSO Russian Music Concert

Music by Mussorgsky, Glazunov, Arensky and Prokofiev April 22

Midnight at Notre-Dame de Paris Organ works by Bach April 23

Arno Bornkamp Saxaphone Recital Music by Schulhoff, Debussy, Piazzolla and others April 24

Stacey Kent Romantic Jazz Concert April 25

Steinway Youth Piano Competition Finale April 26

Daishin Kashimoto Violin Recital

Works by Beethown, Shostakovich and Brahms April 28 & 29 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. TICKETING OFFICES: • NTCH: (02) 3393 9888

• ERA: (02) 2709 3788

APRIL 2014

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csc news

events about town

Just a few of the things that are going on around Taipei this month...

Art Revolutin Taipei 2014 April 17th – 20th Theme: Impressionist · Contemporary Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 3 6 Songshou Road 2014 Fantasy Ice World Until April 25th Ice sculptures and negative 18℃ temperatures! Jingmao 1st Road Car Park beside Nangang Exhibition Center 2014 Calla Lily Festival Until April 27th Fields of beautiful flowers! Zhuzihu, Yangmingshan National Park Taipei American School April 26th, 7:30 pm Carmina Burana: Carl Orff’s Cantata Venue: Guy Lott Auditorium 800 Zhongshan North Road, Section 6

Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre Tuesday Through Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm Exhibition: A Place Where Art, Culture, and Creativity Intersect Venue: 1F local_culture_page.asp?rid=219 2, Lane 5, Guling Street The Red Room On the 3rd Saturday of every month 6:30 – 10:30 pm Stage Time & Wine 2F, 117 Da-an Road, Section 1 Riverside Live House Every Thursday through Sunday Mini Concerts: A Platform for Original, Next-generation Music Call: (02) 2370-8805 for schedules and tickets 177 Xining South Road National Museum of History Until May 4th Indigenous Weaving: Exhibition of Taiwanese Indigenous Artifacts Gallery: 2F Corridor 49 Nanhai Road

National Taiwan Museum Until August 31st Special Exhibition: The Magic of Plants Galleries: G101 & G102 exhibition.aspx 2 Xiangyang Road Taipei Fine Arts Museum Until April 20th Xu Bing: A Retrospective Galleries: 1A & 1B Until April 20th Telling Details: Photorealism in Taiwan Galleries: 3A, 3B, & 3C 181 Zhongshan North Road, Section 3 National Palace Museum Until April 25th Famous Works of Modern Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Galleries: Exhibition Area 1, 105 & 107 Until May 19th In Their Footsteps: Exhibition of Images and Documents on Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan Gallery: Exhibition Area 1, 104 221 Zhishan Road, Section 2

events at the center BOOK CLUBS This month the Center’s book clubs will be reading The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, an epic story that follows two women in China as their lives intersect with one another’s and with pivotal moments in history.

APRIL SPECIAL TOPIC COFFEE MORNING Life Coaching Thursday, April 10 10:30 am – 12:00 pm This month speaker Cecilia Checchia will talk about life coaching — what it is and how it can help individuals define and attain professional and personal goals to produce positive life changes.

The morning book club will meet Tuesday, April 15, 11 am onwards. For more information, email coteditor@

ECCT-ICRT CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT Friday, April 11 7:00 am tee off Royal Kuan Hsi Golf & Country Club, Hsinchu Once again the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan and International Community Radio Taipei are teaming up to support the Center at their annual Charity Golf Tournament. For more details, please visit

The evening book club will meet on Thursday, May 1, 7 pm onwards. For more information, email sharon.k.whitfield@gmail. com.

Worship Directory anD community Groups Listings are now available online at and http:// APRIL 2014

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csc news

Spring FaShion Spree 2014


TexT: The CenTer

t was 7:00 am and the Regent’s Noble House banquet hall was already abuzz with activity. Suitcases of vintage and contemporary clothing were carefully unloaded and meticulously hung, dancers practiced throwouts in the vestibule, and a mist of hairspray filled the air as 12 stylists from L’Oréal’s Ardor Hair Salon and shu uemura busily primped 13 lovely ladies. Preparations for the Center’s first-ever Spring Fashion Spree Runway Show and Fundraiser were underway! But this was no ordinary fashion e v e n t. I n h o n o r o f I n t e r n a t i o n a l Wo m e n’s D ay, t h e Fa s h i o n S p re e served as a compelling challenge to the predominate standards of feminine beauty perpetuated by the fashion industry. The Center’s runway show featured a diverse group of women from Taipei’s international community — representing different nationalities, distinct styles, and unique figures — all exceptionally beautiful. Professional stylists and designers worked diligently to ensure that each look brought out the natural beauty of every woman. The results were breathtaking as the


Images: DIlIp Bhoye, JusTIne o'neIl, & rosemary susa

models confidently strutted their stuff on the runway, oohs and aahs circulating t h ro u g h t h e c rowd. A s o n e g u e st commented after the show, the event was a reminder that a woman need not “wear black and hide” her real figure. The show, MCed by the Center’s very own Bianca Russell, featured a fashion revue with looks from the 1930s through to the 1960s — with dance interludes performed by the sensational S i m p l y Sw i n g t ro u p e — fo l l owe d by spring and summer looks from SO NICE’s contemporary collection. Highlights from the show also included an introduction to the event’s featured charity, the Garden of Hope Foundation, an organization that empowers disadvantaged girls and young women in Taiwan and around the world, and a live auction of a one-of-a-kind dress exclusively designed for the event by Doranne Awad, with the fabulous Mayumi Hu taking over the microphone to drive up the bids to a thrilling… NT$26,000! We extend a huge thank you to eve r yo n e w h o atte n d e d fo r t h e i r tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and

support. Our deep gratitude goes to our many volunteers whose efforts made this event a smashing success, to our wonderful raffle and door prize donors, a n d to o u r a m a z i n g ven d o rs w h o generously shared 20% of their sales with the Center. Finally, our applause n eve r c e a s e s fo r S u zy Wa l ke r fo r coordinating the vintage collection, with contributions from Vintage x Passion; SO NICE for styling and coordinating a contemporary collection that was oh-sonice; L’Oréal, Ardor Hair Salon, and shu uemura for providing hair and makeup; Simply Swing for tearing up the dance floor with their infectious energy; the Regent for the use of their beautiful venue; Jacob’s Creek for providing the delicious sparkling wine; Dilip Bhoye for photographing the event; Polina Barbashina for designing the promotional materials; and Sir Speedy for printing programs for the event. A portion of the proceeds from the Spring Fashion Spree benefits the Garden of Hope Foundation, with the remainder of the funds raised helping to support the Center and its mission. Thank you!

APRIL 2014

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Justine is a loving mother and wife with a passion for adventure, photography, and ultra running.

Dilip Bhoye is a professional photographer based in Taipei, specializing in commercial, editorial, lifest yle, fashion, b eaut y, and p or trait photo graphy. He graduated from Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art Mumbai in 2000 with a BFA degree in advertising photography. For more, visit

Rosemar y Susa i s a longterm expat wife who has lived in Taiwan for over ten years. Needing some photos to accompany a previous COT ar ticle, she b orrowed her husband's camera for a day. She hasn't looked back and has been snapping pictures for the Center ever since. Her husband has camera visitation rights! APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:00:16 AM

GALLERY April 2014

Tim Budden’S PaPeR cuTTing aRT As a British artist living and working in Taiwan, Tim Budden uses his art as a way to examine and process the culture in which he finds himself immersed. His current artwork is heavily influenced by the folk art of Chinese paper cutting. Using a knife to "draw" into traditional silk paper, Tim cuts images that tell stories, some imagined, some real, but all related to his life here.

Jenny d. FlaTwaRe and JewelRy On the Gallery table, Jenny D. is displaying her modern and exclusively designed stainless steel cutlery and flatware. These elegant, handcrafted pieces are dishwasher safe and made to last. For her jewelry line, Jenny brings the new spring collection of rings and necklaces that can be worn in multiple combinations.

gaRden oF hoPe FoundaTion The April Gallery will also feature chocolates and sweets as well as lazurite bead jewelry made by women in the Garden of Hope Foundation’s workplace training program. The program helps victims of domestic violence learn new skills to build confidence and strength within themselves. Proceeds from the sales of these items will help support the Garden of Hope Foundation. A percentage of all proceeds of items sold at the Gallery goes 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.


APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:00:19 AM

expat perspective


Keelung’s Fairy and Buddha’s Hand Caves


emmed in by steep hills, each crowned with the remains of an old fort, and bordered on the seaward side by some impressive coastal scenery, Ke e l u n g i s a m u c h m o re interesting, even surprising place than many people give it credit for. Still stubbornly best known for its (very) wet winters and for its delicious ‘miaoko’ snacks (廟口小吃), there are enough curiosities, historic relics, and even places of outstanding natural beauty to keep a visitor here amused for several days. For what must surely be Keelung’s most eye-opening sights, however, look neither to the hills nor to the congested streets of the city. Try instead the huge cranes and cargo boats of the city’s harbor area. Here, behind the mass of towering metal contraptions, rise richly colored sandstone cliffs, pierced by the natural caverns now known as Fairy Cave and Buddha’s Hand Cave. The Fairy Cave (仙洞) could easily be missed while driving along Zhongshan Fourth Road (中山四路) through Keelung’s port. A large golden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha tucked in at the base of the cliffs on the left marks the location of the deep cave temple behind. Walk up the steps and the main temple chamber is right in front, in a large, rounded cave at the base of the cliffs. Walk into the main chamber, which, apart from being in a cave, looks little different from any other Buddhist temple in Taiwan. Behind it though the natural, sea-worn cave extends deep into the cliff face in two directions. The long cavern branching off to the left at the back of the main chamber is barely wider than a crack in places, and it’s necessary to bend double for part of the fiftymeter-long squeeze to the atmospheric prayer chamber at the end, usually clogged with incense smoke and water vapor evaporating from the wet floor. This unique place never fails to surprise and delight, and whenever foreign friends come to Taiwan for a stay, this place is a compulsory stop on their island tour. In the cliff immediately behind Fairy Cave is the even more

extraordinary Buddha’s Hand Cave (佛手洞). Steps disappear into the low, rather insignificant-looking cave mouth and into a natural tunnel, eroded by the sea (now some distance away, courtesy of the huge land reclamation project that created the present port area), zigzagging deep into the cliff. Walk to the farthest end of the system (about five minutes) and the eponymous hand will appear on the roof of the cavern, an astounding natural formation of cracks and strata lines in the ceiling of the cave that really do look just like three huge human fingers. It only takes an hour to explore the two caves, leaving the remainder o f t h e d ay t o e x p l o r e Ke e l u n g’s m a ny o t h e r curiosities and indulge in some of its glorious food. Interesting as all those forts, wild coastal landscapes, and historical sites are however, none are quite as unusual, or as memorable, as these two fascinating caverns, two Keelung sights that can be visited whatever the weather throws at this most inclement corner of Taiwan.

For more ideas on places to go and things to see in Taiwan, visit Off the Beaten Track at http://taiwandiscovery.

Richard Saunders is a trained classical musician and writer who has lived in Taipei since 1993. He has written several books (available at the Center and in bookshops around Taipei), including Yangmingshan: the Guide (a complete guide to the National Park on Taipei’s doorstep) and Taipei Escapes I and 2, which together detail sixty day trips and hikes within easy reach of Taipei city. A fourth book, a guide to Taiwan’s offshore islands, is out now. APRIL 2014

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orpHaNage CluB TexT: BeThany Shieh, OC SeCreTary, 2013-14

TAS FOOD FAIR On April 19th, Orphanage Club will be running a variety of booths at the annual TAS Food Fair, such as our well-known ring toss or bean bag toss where children of all ages can have fun and win prizes. We will also be selling T-shirts and sweatshirts of various student-designed styles, for both adults and children as our clothing sizes vary from children’s size 6 to XXL. We will also be distributing raffle prizes to lucky winners in our annual raffle draw that took place in February. If you’ve received a text message from us and haven’t yet picked up your prize, please stop by and claim it! FLEA MARKET Also, on April 26th we will be hosting our flea market from 9 am to 3 pm. Don’t forget to mark this date on your calendars as we will be inviting anyone who has registered for a table to sell items. All proceeds will be donated to various organizations and charities that Orphanage Club helps each year. We will be allowing people to register for tables at the flea market beginning on April 8th. Tables in the TAS cafeteria will cost NT$1,300, and tables in the MPR Hallway will cost NT$1,600, with a NT$200 deposit. If you’re interested in selling, we will be registering tables in the MPR Hallway every Tuesday and Thursday between 4 pm and 5 pm until all tables sell out. MOTHER’S DAY AND GRADUATION SALE Looking forward to a busy month of May, we will be hosting a Mother’s Day and Graduation Sale on May 6th and May 7th, when we will be selling Mother’s Day cards as well as cards to congratulate our soon to be leaving seniors. Please stop by and support us! All questions and comments should be directed to tas. Also try contacting our club sponsors Mr. Arnold at 2873-9900 ext. 239 or arnoldr@tas. and Ms. Koh at


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APRIL 2014

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ask taiwanxifu

Taiwanese Wedding Etiquette


I have just received a large red wedding invitation in the mail. I heard I should give a red envelope full of money as a wedding gift. I don't know the couple very well, and I have no idea how much to give. What should I do? — New to Taipei



h, you have received a 'red bomb' (紅炸彈, hong zhadan). Working out how much to give in any hongbao (紅包, red envelope) is always a difficult calculation. You can't really ask the happy couple how much they are hoping you will give them. And Taiwanese friends will usually tell you not to worry too much about it. But how can you not worry when it is such an important issue to get right, not least because it is part of the important guanxi (關係) social network building ritual in Chinese culture. What you give usually comes back in return, and also helps cement your social pedigree with family and friends. And there will be a dedicated desk at the entrance staffed with people receiving and opening hongbao and recording the amount stuffed inside each one, so you can't really fudge the contents of your red envelope. It’s usually better to be on the generous side, especially if you have a close friendship with the couple, or if they are family. But be generous within your means — no one expects a struggling student to spend big bucks filling a red envelope to try to impress, or for you to go into debt to celebrate what would otherwise be a joyous occasion. People working in the public sector might need to assess the ethics of giving large wads of cash to people other than close personal friends or family. In general, use the estimated cost of the meal as a guide. Will the event be in a five-star hotel, a wedding and function center, or under a roadside marquee? If so, how much would it cost per person? Once you work this out, add a little more to round it up to an even number. The happy couple will be paired for life, so use an auspicious pairing rather than a lone single digit. Eight (which sounds like “fa,” meaning “prosperity”) is best; six is acceptable (it sounds like “smooth,” but also has an unlucky homonym!). Always avoid the numeral four (which in Chinese sounds like the word for “death”). If you are attending the wedding of an acquaintance getting married in Taipei, a rough rule of thumb would be to give somewhere between NT$1,200 and NT$1,800 (NT$1,600 is the more usual amount). For a close family member, it could be appropriate to give around NT$10,000, or even double if

you have been on the receiving end of red envelopes in the past and/or the family knows you earn a good salary. Usually you can give less outside of Taipei as the cost of hosting a wedding is correspondingly less. And if you don't actually plan to attend the wedding in person, you can get away with giving a smaller, token amount. The best type of red envelope to choose for a wedding is one that has the “double happiness” character on it (囍, xi). On the back of the red envelope, it’s appropriate to write some auspicious words, e.g. 白頭偕老 (baitou xielao, literally “hoping your hair turns white together,” which expresses the hope that the couple will grow old together). Also finish with your name so that it is clear who the red envelope is from. If you feel uncomfortable about giving money, perhaps explain this to the couple and offer to provide a gift instead. I was once invited to the wedding of a new acquaintance whom I met in a work context and felt uncomfortable giving money to because of concerns about how it might be perceived. I explained that in my tradition we generally prefer to give gifts, then I found them something appropriate and delivered it to them beforehand. This couple had met and fallen in love in Australia and they were both familiar with my culture, so they understood. But in general, it is best to stick to giving a fat red envelope with notes of a nice even number. You never know, one day you might end up receiving red envelopes in return: I certainly did when I got married.

Ask Taiwanxifu is a question and answer c o l u m n b y S e r i n a H ua n g , a w r i te r who runs the popular www.taiwanxifu. com (Taiwan daughter-in-law) culture and lifestyle blog. Serina writes about Taiwan’s food, culture, travel and family issues. If you have a question for Serina, you can visit her blog, her Facebook page or email her at APRIL 2014

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at Taipei American School TexT: CARRIe TeNeBRINI, gRADe 5 TeACHeR IMAge: TAS


n N o v e m b e r, Ta i p e i A m e r i c a n School had Linsanity of the literary kind when Newbery Award-winning, Taiwanese American author Grace Lin visited students in grades KA–6. Audiences were enthralled as she varied her presentations by age level. For the younger set, she illustrated how a book is made by having audience members act out the roles of author, editor, art director, and so on. For the older students, she talked about where her ideas come from and about her process as a writer. For example, there are 39 versions of her book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon saved on her computer! Ms. Lin's work draws mainly from her own experiences growing up as a minority in upstate New York. Her parents emigrated from Taiwan before she was born. "Where I grew up there were no other kids that looked like me, so I kind of forgot that I was Asian. Sometimes it was a rude awakening when I would see myself in the mirror and realize that I wasn't Caucasian," she said. It wasn’t until later in life that she embraced her cultural roots. M s. L i n o r i g i n a l l y st u d i e d to b e an artist at the Rhode Island School o f D e s i g n. A l t h o u g h h e r p a re n t s questioned this decision, they were ultimately supportive. After graduating and traveling to Rome to study famous Italian artists, Ms. Lin realized how little she knew about her own heritage. She began to think more about what it meant to be Chinese and what drove her to create.

SomeThing To communicaTe "At first, I wanted to draw so that other people would say, 'You are such a talented artist!' I drew things I felt would win me praise. But, eventually I realized that creating art wasn't about getting praise. It was about having something to communicate," she said. As she learned more about her own culture, her art became a fusion of artists like Henri Matisse and traditional Chinese peasant paintings. "It wasn’t until I was honest with myself about who I was and what I wanted to say that I was able to find my own style. With that, ultimately, came success." Her first book was the result of adding a story to one of her original works of art. After receiving a postcard of one of her paintings, one publisher asked, “Do you have a story to go with this painting?” Ms. Lin recalled, "I didn't, but I was so excited by his interest that I said I did! When I got off the phone, I had to think long and hard about what inspired me to make that piece. Then I remembered — my mother always grew these really ugly Chinese vegetables when I was young. I always hated them, because all of our neighbors grew beautiful flowers." From this grew her first book, The ugly Vegetables, which was published in 1999. exPloRing culTuRe ThRough wRiTing Since then, she has found success writing as a way to explore her roots. "Some people write what they know, but I write what I have needed to know more about," said Ms. Lin. "Writing books gives me an excuse to find out more about my own culture." Ms. Lin has published books that

incorporate her heritage for a range of readers. Her picture books beautifully illustrate and describe Chinese traditions and holidays such as kite flying, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Chinese New Year. Her early readers are about the mischievous and lovable twins Ling and Ting. Her Pacy books are about a young Taiwanese girl living in a Caucasian suburb in America. They deftly weave in stories of her parents' childhoods in Taiwan. Perhaps the crown jewels in her repertoire are her fantasy/fairy tale books Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky. These novels tell the stories of heroic quests seamlessly intertwined with traditional Chinese folk tales. Though her books have universal appeal, Ms. Lin is pleased to provide some variety to the usual main characters found in children's literature. "When I was little, I always read books with romantic-looking princesses in them — blue eyed and blonde haired. When I started writing for children, I wanted to make books that I would have liked to read as a young girl, books where I could see myself on the page." Perhaps because her books so uniquely reach our community, they are devoured by our students. Beth Verne, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) bookstore coordinator, reports selling over nine hundred of Ms. Lin’s books — more than any other visiting author. When reading her works, students shriek, "I know just what she is talking about!" and "That's just like our family!" It's not often that what we experience here in Taiwan leaps off the printed page of a book, but Grace Lin's art and storytelling do just that.

Find out more about Grace Lin and her books at 14

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2014/3/26 7:00:25 AM


Peter Pan:

This Year’s Middle School Musical TexT: SHeReeN Lee


aipei American School’s students have just started preparing for one of the most momentous occasions of the school year: the middle school musical! Whether in the spotlight, managing the lighting and sound, playing in the pit orchestra, or creating props, over 150 middle schoolers will be involved in the play. Peter Pan, this year’s production, will tell the well-known tale originally written by renowned author J.M. Barrie in 1904. The themes of this particular musical will surely strike a chord with middle school students; after all, they themselves are going through the sometimes strenuous process of growing up! Hopefully their connection with the topic will lead to even more insightful performances. But there’s something even more exciting about this year’s musical that’s never happened in the long history of TAS Middle School productions — ever! This year

some of the actors will fly! Yes, fly! Flying by Foy, a company that has helped over fifty Broadway productions glide in the sky, will take some actors in the middle school play airborne with the help of complicated track systems and floating pulleys. This way, Peter Pan and his companions’ journeys will seem more realistic than ever before. Many students are excited, especially those who will get to experience this phenomenon; Olivia Houston, who will be playing Wendy Darling, says that she is “delighted” at the prospect. So mark your calendars and make sure you attend this momentous event! This year’s middle school musical is one you should be sure not to miss; with fine performers and breathtaking flights, this performance will surely be one that people talk about for eons. We’ll see you in Neverland, second star to the left, and straight on ‘til morning!

Taipei American School’s Production of Peter Pan TAS Guy Lott Auditorium 800 Zhongshan North Road, Section 6 May 16th & 17th, 7:30 pm May 18th, 2 pm Sh e re e n L e e i s a seventh grader currently attending Taipei American Sch o o l . Sh e lo v e s reading and writing about ever ything, and especially enjoys writing about herself in the third person during her spare time. APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:00:27 AM


THe oNlY aMeriCaN To STaY iN rWaNDa DuriNg THe geNoCiDe iN 1994

“I Am Not Leaving”


TexT: WoRLD ouTSIDe My SHoeS IMAge: kIM Fox

Hear Carl Wilkens speak at a special community event jointly hosted by the Taipei American School and the Taipei Adventist American School: “I Am Not Leaving”: A Talk by Carl Wilkens Taipei American School Guy Lott Auditorium Tuesday, April 29th, 7 pm

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ctivist and humanitarian Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990 where he served as the country director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency. When the genocide against the Tutsi was launched in April of 1994, Wilkens refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church, and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Wilkens was the only American to remain in Kigali, the capital city. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, blood-stained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water, and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions, together with those of his Rwandan colleagues, saved the lives of hundreds. For nine years now Wilkens has been speaking in schools on nearly every continent. In 2008, he and his wife Teresa founded World Outside My Shoes, an educational nonprofit organization committed to supporting educators around the world in the fight against genocide, intolerance, prejudice, and hatred. Wilkens was featured in Frontline’s “Ghosts of Rwanda” and NPR’s “The Few Who Stayed.” His story reminds us of the profound connection between history and the moral choices we face each day. It also arms us with new insights in the fight against genocide along with tools and inspiration for re-evaluating the relationships we are part of every day. Wilkens’s humanitarian work has been recognized with several awards, including the Dignitas Humana Award from Saint John’s School of Theology Seminary, a 2005 Medal of Valor from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and an honorary Doctorate from Buffalo State. In 2011, Wilkens released his first book which is based on tapes he made for his wife and children during the genocide entitled I’m Not Leaving. To learn more, please visit

2014/3/26 7:00:30 AM APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:00:31 AM

taipei living

The Young and the Restless

The pressures and pleasures of being a young adult in Taipei TexT & Images: WIllIam Yang

Like their peers in other parts of the world, young adults in Taiwan often flock to the country’s capital city upon graduation. No different from most capital cities, Taipei represents the shining beacon of opportunity for most of them. Young adults in their 20s are often passionate about life and eager to start their career, so Taipei’s welcoming atmosphere and access to various work options is appealing to the younger set. However, every journey has its obstacles, and starting life as a young adult in a big city can be overwhelming. Betty Wang and Cindy Chen both have their own understandings of what it means to be a young Taiwanese adult in Taipei. William Yang explains.


Taipei as The capiTal of career opporTuniTies With a dream of becoming a professional journalist, Betty Wang knows well that Taipei is the best place in Taiwan to find work opportunities in her field. Compared to Taichung and Kaohsiung, Taipei offers a more vibrant and healthy environment for the media industry. Additionally, in other parts of the country it is more difficult to secure a job right after graduation, as the job markets elsewhere on the island are often limited to certain industries. “If I could find similar jobs with a similar salary in Kaohsiung, I would stay there,” says Wang, who grew up and went to school in Kaohsiung. “My parents know it is inevitable that I pursue a career in Taipei, but at the same time, they are constantly worrying about my living quality here. To them, the current salary standards for young adults can make living in Taipei difficult.” Globally minded In addition to opportunities, Taipei is also where young adults can meet people from other parts of the world. In an increasingly globalized world, Taiwanese young adults have come to understand that their future careers could be based anywhere, not just in Taiwan. “Working in China has become a popular trend in recent years as many global companies are setting up regional headquarters there,” says Wang. “This makes lots of young people decide to give China a shot.” Wang appreciates the opportunities to meet people from all walks of life in Taipei, and she believes that Taiwanese young adults have so much to learn from them. “I enjoy learning [foreigners’] perspectives about Taiwan, because it allows me to make comparisons,” explains Wang. “It also gives me the motivation to learn more about this world, instead of

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feeling too comfortable here in Taipei.” Living arrangements U n l i ke Wa n g, C i n d y C h e n, w h o grew up in Taipei, views Taipei from a n i n s i d e r’s p e rs p e c t i v e. To h e r, convenience and accessibility are the two major factors that attract young adults to Taipei. She believes that Taipei accommodates all sorts of lifestyles for which young adults are looking. However, Taipei is not cheap; in p a rt i cu l a r, h o u s i n g p ri ces ca n b e exo r b i ta n t, w h i c h i s p a r t i c u l a r l y daunting for someone on a starting salary. For young adults with family in the area like Chen, living with family is common, simply because housing is too expensive. However, it also presents challenges in their lives. To Chen, living with family can create tension in young adults’ lives. These tensions can come from anything in daily life, and parents and children often have to compromise to create harmony in the household. However, she also understands how hard it is for other young adults to live

in the city without family. “Having family breathing down yo u r n e c k a n d wa n t i n g t o p ro b e into everything that you are doing is certainly not something that I’m used to,” Chen explains. “But I appreciate having my family around, although I would like to have a little more personal space sometimes.” getting out of the comfort zone Both Wang and Chen consider Taipei to be a comfortable place for young adults to settle. With its welcoming atmosphere, young adults are able to enjoy themselves and figure out what they want to achieve in their lives. However, Wang and Chen also see many young adults missing out on certain benefits of living in such a dynamic city. Chen says, “We should all get out to meet all the interesting people that pass through Taipei. It is one of the richer aspects of living in Taipei that we should take advantage of.” Wang also believes that young adults

should step out of their comfort zone and try to learn more about Taipei and all that it has to offer. While lots of things are happening in the city, young adults don’t always seem to keep pace with its currents. “This is not just a big city, but the capital city. Lots of things are happening around us every day,” says Wang. “We should all put ourselves out there and we will realize we can achieve more in our lives.”

William Yang is the International Production Editor at Nex t Media Animation i n Ta i p e i . H e received his Master's degree in Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia in May, 2013. He enjoys shooting photos, writing, and reading in his spare time. APRIL 2014

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2014/3/27 6:39:46 AM

expat perspective

69-Point-9: On Aging and Ageism You’re old. No, I’m not. Yes, you are. You’re 69-Point-9. (Overheard in a restaurant)

TexT: Suzan P. BaBcock


hen I agreed to write this essay, regarding my take on “aging,” I thought that it would be a snap to put together. However, contrary to my initial thoughts, I have found that this has been one of the most challenging topics that I have ever attempted to research and write about. I’ve stalled… I’ve hemmed and hawed.... Each time I forced myself to sit upon my “no-nonsense, straight-back chair of inspiration” and each time I placed my fingers upon the keyboard, my thoughts would either go blank or distract me by wandering down the wrong idea road. Days went by and the deadline was approaching. There was no getting around it, I was stuck, and instinctively I knew that it was more than a bad case of writer’s block. There was other stuff going on and, needless to say, this frustrated the heck out of me. Why? Well, for starters, the topic raised issues, personal issues that knocked me for a momentar y loop and subsequently almost landed me on my keister. The biggest issue was that I was now officially regarded as “old” by U.S. and Taiwan societal standards because of the length of time I have inhabited this Earth. Like that man, whose conversation I overheard in a restaurant, I have also been a bit surprised by the official societal stamp of “old age” that has been placed in my life’s passport. I continue to be surprised and mildly annoyed about the fixed norms that are associated with this stamp that I should be following. For me, there is something “off” about this whole situation, including the expectations of how I am supposed to be acting. It doesn’t seem like a good fit to me, and I am feeling mismatched. a-ha, you may be thinking, she is in big time denial about her age. That was my first reactive response as I began thinking about aging and my relationship to it. But then I brushed it aside…it still didn’t fit… so, I started doing research and interviewing people, in order to get a better handle on this. The following are some of the societal perceptions and situations that I came across regarding old age and the troublesome stereotypes that are associated with it.


It’s ALL About PeRsPectIve

In the February 17, 2014 issue of The new Yorker, Roger Angell, in his essay “This Old Man” about living in his nineties, writes, “Here I am in a conversation with some trusty friends — old friends, but actually not all that old; they’re in their sixties — and we’re finishing the wine and in serious converse about global warming in Nyack or Virginia Woolf…. There’s a pause, and I chime in with a couple of sentences. The others look at me politely, then resume the talk exactly at the point where they’ve just left it…. When I mention the phenomenon to anyone around my age, I get back nods and smiles. Yes, we’re invisible. Honored, respected, even loved, but not quite worth listening to anymore.” “I have and always have had slightly different views and beliefs on aging than some of the cultures that I associate with; my homeland’s culture, my adopted Asian homeland’s culture, my workplace culture, the cultures of my cross-cultural and blended families, friends, and so on,” commented Diana, a successful graphic artist, mother of three, and devoted community volunteer, about aging and her views on it. She continued, “One primary and working premise that I use is to try to step outside the belief system or culture that I am in, and try to understand from the other person’s point of view, so that I can better relate to what is going on. I don’t think that age is a fixed number, but a state of mind about how you work and live with yourself… at any age.” It’s ALL About steReotyPes, too

“It is the issue of stereotypes that is difficult. It’s so easy to concentrate on the negative and not the positive. But what I do is remind people of what we share in common,” wrote Prince Charles, when responding to a question about ridicule he has endured. According to Becca Levy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health at Yale University, stereotypes about old age are internalized at a young age, as early as four years, and are reinforced over a person’s lifetime. She goes on to explain that not only are negative stereotypes hurtful to older people,

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but they may even shorten their lives. However, people that hold positive beliefs and attitudes toward the elderly appear to boost their mental health; Levy found through her longitudinal study of 660 people 50 years of age and older that older adults exposed to positive stereotypes have significantly better memory and balance, whereas negative self-perceptions contributed to worse memory and feelings of worthlessness. Chief Commissioner Keith Norton’s work with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (Canada) commented on the findings of the Commission’s 2001 report “Time for Action: Advancing Human Rights of Older Ontarians”: “Older people encounter barriers daily that hinder their independence, security, and full participation in our communities. This report clearly demonstrates that negative attitudes and stereotypes about age have become ingrained in our social structures. Ageism reveals itself in the form of individual acts of discrimination, or through broader forms of unequal treatment expressed in policies, programs, or legislation.” WheRe Is thIs negAtIvIty About oLd Age comIng fRom?

The origins of ageism, according to Robert N. Butler, founder of the International Longevity Center in New York, started as people began to live longer. With this came an increase in individuals that suffered from illness, dementia, and diminishing physical activity. These conditions were perceived by the public as burdens to the family and to society. Previously, in agrarian societies, old age was generally valued and older people often provided knowledge, experience, and institutional memories that were adaptable and of value to their economies, where the men had traditionally owned their land. As societies became industrialized and when work was shifted from the home to outside of the home, older persons lost their authority. These two historic and economic examples have been integrated into the current attitudes towards the aging and their status within our societies, especially throughout the Western world. Unfortunately, however, this is no longer an isolated or Western problem. The issue of age stereotypes has become a global issue.

Peril or Promise,” confirms beliefs and cements negative stereotypes more firmly both consciously and subconsciously. Once people believe something, most will actively look for information consistent with that belief… and they do not have to look far. WheRe to go fRom heRe?

We need to raise consciousness and we need to respond to ageism the same way that we do when a person is being discriminated against due to race, gender, or a disability. The key is to educate the general public and to promote agefriendly environments for the growth and development of older adults. Additionally, consistency is important, because stereotypes do not go away easily. This question also brings me full circle, with regards to my brush with some of the dreadful stereotypes about age that are out there. For me, ageism and stereotypes just don’t work. However, what does work for me is my Irish sense of humor, centered awareness of self, and my take on life. After all that is said and done, it really is all about how we have danced with life, isn’t it? Suzan Babcock has enjoyed wearing a number of hats (counselor, university lecturer, speechwriter, poet and author), during her time in Taiwan. Currently, s h e i s do i n g re s e a rch o n b e h a v i o r modification for kitty-cats.

the medIA

“The media’s portrayal of older adults fuels the problem of age stereotypes. In reality, the majority of seniors are selfsufficient, middle-class consumers with more assets than most young people, along with the time and talent to offer society,” stated Doris Roberts, the Emmy award-winning actress who is now in her seventies, when testifying before a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging about the effects of age stereotypes. Mass media continues to be criticized for its portrayal of aging. News, television, film, and advertising routinely send messages that the elderly are in decline and have little value to their surroundings, thus becoming additional burdens to society. Such views often result in low expectations for the aging and the aged. Repeated exposure to negative images and messages, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum titled “Global Population Aging: APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:08:56 PM


ARCHITECTURE TexT & Image: CraIg Ferguson


ome destinations are noted for their architecture, and that is often one of the main reasons people travel there. Most, if not all, of the major cities of the world have at least some distinctive architecture, and even the places that are not globally known for it will have something that stands out. Photographing buildings presents its own set of challenges. A photographer who specializes in architecture will make use of the blue hour and tilt/shift lenses to photograph structures. For the travel photographer, this won’t always be possible. Time is often limited, and there are just too many iconic buildings and not enough blue hours. Add to that the expense of tilt/shift lenses, which is often more than most cameras, and you may be tempted to give up. Fortunately there are a few techniques you can apply that will make the best of the situation and help you produce some good images. VARIETY It probably goes without saying, but take a lot of photographs of the various buildings at different times of day. No one goes to Sydney and takes one or two photos of the Opera House at noon and is done with it. The trick is to photograph at different times of day, exploring different light. Look for multiple angles, and don’t

be afraid to walk around the area a bit. There’s often a classic angle of a building that is almost obligatory. Get that out of the way first, and then try and find something that is a little different or offers an alternative perspective. Wide angle lenses are great for capturing the entire building, but don’t forget your longer lenses as well. Zoom in on details or isolate a part of the structure with a telephoto lens. If you’re at ground level, make sure you look up. There may be some decorative features around the roof that you can concentrate on. Look for interesting p atte r n s a n d l i n e s to i n co r p o rate, perhaps in an almost abstract form. Don’t forget to pay attention to the shadows. Depending on the time of day and position of the sun, you may find the building casting long shadows in a certain direction. These are often very interesting to photograph, especially if they alternate with patches of light. Look in any travel magazine, and you’ll find that the opening shot in an

Craig has an eBook out now! Travel Photography Essentials by Craig Ferguson Travel Photography Essentials is an eBook designed to get you up and running with travel photography. From beginner level right through to enthusiast, this 98-page book covers a wide range of topics from basic settings to subject-oriented advice to what to do if you think your photographs are good enough to sell. For more details and to purchase the eBook, visit http://www.craigfergusonimages. com/travel-photography-essentials/. Enter the code ‘centered’ and get US$5 off!


article on a place is often an architecture photograph. It helps to set the scene and introduce a place to readers and viewers. Keep this in mind as you’re exploring a new city and try and produce your own opening shot to introduce the place. VENTURE INDOORS When photographing architecture don’t just focus on the outsides of buildings. Interiors are also rich subjects for photography. You are likely to face an additional challenge with lower light indoors, and a great many places have restrictions regarding tripod use. You can overcome this by shooting at higher ISO. Modern cameras are fantastic at low light, and you can easily raise the ISO to 800 or 1600 without any major noise, especially when the end result is viewed on a computer screen. Keep an eye out for walls, ledges and any other kind of platform that you can rest your camera on. These will give added stability, which will help you when photographing the interior of a building.

Craig is a professional photo grapher and has worked with t h e l i ke s o f L o n e l y Planet, Monocle, Asia Business Traveller, Asian Geographic and many more. In addition, he also teaches regular photography workshops and individual classes in and around Taipei. Visit his website at www.

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2014/3/26 7:09:30 PM

coffee corner


Waffle, Bakery & Café TexT & IMAgeS: ALy CooPeR


here’s nothing like catching up with an amazing friend over a cup of coffee after an extended period away. I was fortunate enough to do this twice at Dears. Dear friends at Dears café. I mean, how precious is that? In typical fashion, this café was found by chance, while roaming random alleyways until happening upon it. The café preys upon the average passerby’s curiosity at the strangely interesting deer/antler theme, then proceeds to draw you in with its expansive windows and promise of waffles and coffee. Taiwan has a love for the themed café, and while I’m not sure I fully grasp the concept of this particular one (yes, I understand the whole homonym thing, but beyond that...), it still seems to work. The inside had a bit of a deconstructed feel. With the warm dark wood and beams overhead contrasting against the gray cement flooring, it provided a comfortable and welcoming environment to settle in and, in my case, catch up. The café itself isn’t large; however, it provides ample seating whether you are a party of one or eight. For those flying solo, there’s bar stool seating in front of the window that offers plenty of light if you just want to chill out with a book or, say, Centered on Taipei magazine. For those with a larger group, there are plenty of tables, with an impressive and cozy window seat available if that floats your boat. You certainly don’t have to be of superior intellect to see the prominent deer theme present throughout the café. Sans any real furry friends being used as decor, this docile animal appears in the shape of a silhouette on a window, in flowered form on the wall, and in miniature on side tables. Behind one of the tables is a large chalkboard with the visual appeal of a piece of artwork. Naturally, it has multiple deer drawn on it, but they have been done so creatively and abstractly that you almost forget what it is you’re looking at. I know what you’re probably thinking…a bit of overkill on the deer theme (pun certainly not intended)? While I concur that you certainly can get a lot of

decorative mileage out of a themed café, thankfully, in this particular case it was done quite tastefully. Upon being seated I glanced behind the barista counter and was struck by the fact that I had missed the huge sign that greets you on entry: “Life is too short for a sh***y waffle.” Well, of course! I make this disclaimer to let the future patron know: a) I agree that the same sentiment goes for a cup of coffee and b) beware if you have a beginner reader in tow! As mentioned previously, I visited twice and ordered the iced mochaccino and the standard latte (both NT$160) during my visits. I have to admit the standout beverage in this duel, to my surprise, was the iced mochaccino. While the foam art on the latte was adorable, it was the texture and flavor of the iced coffee that was outstanding. It was an unnaturally warm day when my girlfriend and I visited, and we were not only flushed, but also hungry and thirsty to boot. Thinking I was going to go with a hot coffee, my girlfriend’s order of an iced chocolate-y coffee sounded far more refreshing and appealing, so I copied her. Always the skeptic, what appeared in front of me, while lovely, looked heavy on the milk. Simply further proof that I am not always right. (Cue dramatic gasps.) However, the milk failed to overpower and dilute the chocolate-y flavor and coffee (or espresso as it may be), which was surprisingly strong. Instead, the milk only served to complement it by providing the creamy texture necessary to make this concoction complete. It was simply delectable. While my latte could have been stronger, my girlfriend’s caramel latte was a success. Prices ranged from NT$90–180. Intriguing menu choices like Black Sugar Crush Coffee, Frizzy Iced Coffee, and Con Panna make this a café I’ll revisit — as you should too, dear.

Dears Waffle, Bakery & Café 8, Lane 71, Renai Road, Section 4 (台北市信義區仁愛路四段71巷8號1樓) Phone (02) 2773-1100 Open 7 am – 8 pm daily Aly Cooper is an expat wife of three years who enjoys adventures with her six-year-old son, reading, eating, blogging, having A LOT of coffee with friends, volunteering and spending free weekends exploring what the island has to offer with the family. Got a suggestion for our resident caffeine addict? Send them in via APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:00:41 AM

around taipei

on Board y b Ba Baby Cafés Around Taipei

TexT: TT: Jus JusTine TTine O’ O’neil neil wiTh T heaTher Th TTher Carr wOOdruff, Julia Chung, CarOl Car lin, & ChanTal VersTOCkT-PedrO Images: JustIne O’neIl, KarI schIrO, galIleI FamIly Brunch, & cOsI O cOsI

Cosi o Cosi Art at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum E m i t t i n g a c r e a t i v e, p l a y f u l, a n d fo c u s e d atmosphere, Cosi o Cosi Art is perfect for kids. The restaurant is equipped with plastic utensils for children, a kids' menu, and ice cream for dessert! You'll find wireless Internet, painting supplies, a seed pit, a water play area, a slide, and a toy area; keeping a child entertained for hours is not a problem here!

Making friends at Elephant Garden

Elephant Garden

Having fun at Elephant Garden

B2, No. 181, Zhongshan North Road Section 3 10461臺北市中山區中山北路三段181號

A child-friendly restaurant in a picturesque location across from Bihu Park in Neihu (Wende MRT), Elephant Garden has an outdoor playground, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and a toddler menu. On weekend evenings, the restaurant provides live music, with the children's repertoire starting at around 5 pm (music from famous children's songs and cartoons), followed by pop-music favorites. Pets are invited too. Reservations are recommended.

(02) 2595-7989 Open: Tuesday – Friday: 10:30 am – 5:00 pm Saturday: 9 am – 9 pm, Sunday: 10:30 am – 5 pm

No. 192, Neihu Road, Section 2 台北市內湖路二段192號

(02) 2792-6080 Open: Daily, 11 am – 9 pm

Isabella's House

Justine is a loving mother and wife with a passion for adventure, photography, and ultra running.


Located near the Shilin Official Residence Park (Shilin MRT), this three-story restaurant is a great stop. The play area is located off the side of the restaurant area, making it better for older kids who can play with limited supervision. While younger kids will certainly enjoy playing too, you may not be able to sit back and enjoy your food at your table. The restaurant is equipped with a ball pit, slides, toys, a little

kitchen, and more! This busy restaurant serves waffles, sandwiches, soups in bread bowls, pasta, and smoothies/shakes.

No. 24, Lane 505, Zhongshan North Road, Section 5 111台北市士林區中山北路五段505巷24號

(02) 2883-3820 Open: Daily, 11:30 am – 9:30 pm

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In Taipei, parents need not rely on fast food restaurants as the only dining options with kids’ menus and play areas. The city boasts a wide variety of kid-friendly restaurants — often referred to as “baby cafés” — with child-approved (and healthy!) menu items, play areas, arts and crafts, and, in one case, even a petting zoo. Many of these baby cafés have books, building blocks, painting supplies, and much more — providing the perfect space for children to use their imaginations and explore. Here are some of the favorites among Taipei parents.

Two House

Galilei Family Brunch About a 5-minute walk from the National Taiwan Science Education Center in the Shilin District, Galilei Family Brunch is the ideal stop for a post-science center lunch. They have an English menu available, and while the food selection is basic (burgers, sandwiches, pasta), it hits the spot and they have kiddie options. The main draw is the play area with toys and books on the second floor, where moms and dads can keep an eye on the kids without leaving their tables. There is also a very popular branch of this restaurant in the Xinyi Mitsukoshi A8 building on the 5th floor. This branch boasts a play space that resembles a sun room with such toddler favorites as a play kitchen and tool bench, but the real fun lies just outside the restaurant on the 5th floor patio. You’ll find a play structure, carnival ride-style mechanical creatures that the little ones can ride, and — best of all — train cars that make a circuit around a mini track!

Galilei Shilin Branch 1st Floor, No.153, Shishang Road 111台北市士林區士商路153號

(02) 8866-5988 Open: Daily, 10 am – 9 pm

Galilei Xinyi Branch Floor 5, Xinyi Mitsukoshi A8 松高路12號 新光三越A8伽立略

(02) 2722-7718 Open: Daily, 11 am – 9:30 pm

Tw o H o u s e i s o n Z h i s h a n Ro a d, t u c ke d j u st i n s i d e Yangmingshan National Park. The location allows customers to have a relaxing afternoon in a natural setting. Two House has a restaurant and — cue the kiddie squeals — an area with animals for children to feed and pet. There is a NT$200 entry fee that comes with two coupons, one for NT$120 off your food order and the other for rabbit food. The bunnies, goats, ducks, and geese are in a fenced-off area separate from the restaurant. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as little buildings with private indoor seating for bigger groups. The food is reasonably priced and tasty. If kids are not interested in feeding or petting the animals, they can check out the reading house or the playhouse. With so many options, kids will never get bored! Note: The menu is in Chinese only, but staff will help translate.

No. 342, Zhishan Road, Section 3 士林區至善路三段342號

(02) 2841-3791 Open: Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 8 pm Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 9 pm Goats also enjoy a nibble at two house

Moon Spring Café The recently opened Moon Spring Café in Dazhi provides a fun atmosphere for kids and parents alike. With its many activity options, this restaurant provides ample entertainment for the kids so moms and dads can sit back, relax, and enjoy their meals. Kids will be occupied with a seed pit as well as music, water painting, book, and toy areas. Reservations are highly recommended.

1st Floor, No. 39, Lane 128, Jingye 1st Road 台北市中山區敬業一路128巷39號1樓

(02) 2595-7989, (02) 8502-2810 Open: Monday – Friday: 10 am – 9 pm Weekends & Holidays: 9 am – 9 pm APRIL 2014

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Camphor Press

Bringing Taiwan to the World, Digitally

Camphor Press is a new digital publishing company based in Taipei. They focus on non-fiction e-books about Taiwan and the surrounding region. We caught up with co-founder Michael Cannings to find out more. TexT: CeNTeReD oN TAIPeI


Centered on Taipei: Why did you start Camphor Press? Michael Cannings: While I had been toying with the idea of setting up a Taiwan-focused publishing house for some time, the genesis of Camphor Press was a conversation I had in late 2012 with John Ross about re-releasing his book Formosan odyssey. It’s a great piece of writing and many people speak fondly of it, but it had been out of print since 2003. It was getting John on board, swiftly followed by Mark Swofford — the best editor we know — that kick-started the whole project. We united around the aim of putting out great books about Taiwan, China, and beyond that otherwise might not get published. CoT: Was it dif ficult or expensive starting a company in Taiwan? M C : I f yo u c a n re a d C h i n e s e i t’s surprisingly straightfor ward, and if you’re organized then the whole procedure can be completed in a week. The only exception is the permission n e e d e d t o h a v e n o n - Ta i w a n e s e directors on the board, which takes four to six weeks. The process cost us about NT$7,000, with most of that going towards our accountant’s fees. I’d say Taiwan is an easy and economical place to set up a business. Preparing the books was far more work than anything associated with the corporate side. C oT: Why do you t hink Taiwan is underserved with English-language


books compared to other places in the region, like Thailand? MC: From an academic perspective, I don’t think Taiwan is underserved. P u b l i s h e rs l i ke H a r ra s s o w i t z a n d Routledge are putting out some great scholarly books about Taiwan, as ME Sharpe did in the past. But when it comes to books for the general reader, you’re right that Taiwan is lagging behind. I’d attribute that to the smaller foreign population here, and the lack of support for writers. We believe that having an outlet like Camphor Press will encourage more people to write about Taiwan. C oT: W h a t d o yo u l o o k f o r i n a n author? MC: Our selection criteria are pretty simple; we want to publish things that we ourselves like to read. We like books that are interesting, informative, and well-written, while a good dose of humor never goes amiss. Since l a u n c h i n g we’ve h a d q u i te a few authors come to us with proposals. A few we have taken on, and are busy working with them to produce their books. We have turned down some books because they’re not our area (we have received a few offers of fiction, which we are generally not going to pursue), or because the writing or the subject doesn’t grab us. But we don’t like to issue blanket rejections; we want to help the authors understand what we’re looking for and, if necessary, how to improve their writing.

C oT: W hy a r e y o u j u s t r e l e a s i n g e-books? Why no print editions? MC: This is the question we get asked most often. There has been a quite dramatic global shift to e-books in the last decade, and they offer several advantages over print. Production costs are low, delivery costs are low, and you can fit a thousand books on a Kindle. We want to offer great books at low prices, and the overheads associated with paper books — from printing to storage to shipping — would interfere with that goal. Typically our books range in price from NT$120 to NT$300, and they’re formatted for Kindle, iPad, PC, and a whole range of other devices. We haven’t ruled out print editions in the future, but for now by sticking to e-books we can focus on what’s important: the content. CoT: Some of the books in your classics series are available elsewhere. Why should people buy your editions? MC: Most other editions generally lack production quality. Camphor Press books are designed with the reader in mind — with special attention being placed on quality control, background information, and layouts that are optimized for e-readers. Our classics have completely new introductions, are professionally edited and formatted, and contain notes on place names and unfamiliar concepts to help modern readers. For example, our edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s classic on a Chinese Screen features a wide-ranging

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introduction of over five thousand words written to situate the work in place and time. We set out to produce editions that we can be proud of, and I think we’ve achieved that. CoT: What are your personal favorite books about Taiwan? MC: It’ll sound self-serving if I say Formosan Odyssey, but it’s true; it’s a wonderful book. Aside from that, there are so many great titles that it’s hard to pick just a few. There’s Lost Colony by Tonio Andrade, Pirate King by Jonathan Clements, Heijin by Ko Chin-lin, and Forbidden Nation by Jonathan Manthorpe, while the language geek in me loves Henning Klöter’s Written

Ta i w a n e s e. A m o n g o l d e r b o o k s, Formosa Betrayed (George Kerr) is an essential if harrowing read about the 2-28 massacre, and Janet MontgomeryMcGovern’s Among the Headhunters of Formosa is great fun. For fiction, The Orphan of Asia by Wu Zhuoliu is my pick. CoT: What’s next for Camphor Press? M C : We’ve go t s o m e s u p e r b n ew releases coming soon, including T.C. L o c ke’s B a r b a r i a n a t t h e G a t e, a fascinating and beautifully written account of how a white student from Florida ended up ser ving in t h e Ta i wa n e s e a r my. A l s o o n t h e way we have a 1920s guide book to China, an account of a German WWI


pilot’s escapes from captivity, and e-book editions of Richard Saunders’s wonderful hiking and day trip guides for northern Taiwan. Aside from the new books, we’re looking at making our titles available through more channels, including Apple’s iBookstore. It’s going to be an exciting few months!

Camphor Press e-books are available through their website (www. and from Amazon ( also-on-amazon). They offer the option to pay by credit card, PayPal, or — for those in Taiwan — by ATM transfer.

health That essential mineral that gives us strong teeth and bones has a host of other health benefits, and isn’t only found in milk and other dairy products. Michelle Cheung Chi-Kwun explains the facts.

TexT: TT: Michelle cheung chi-Kwun, STaTe S RegiSTeRed dieTiTian of healTh PRofeSSionS council (uK)

What’s a good source of calcium? Your answer may well be “milk.” The words “milk,” “calcium,” and “bone health” are often used interchangeably. Calcium is a mineral that our body needs not only to maintain healthy bones and teeth but also to aid blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of the heart’s rhythm. People obtain most of their calcium from milk and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. However, the health benefits of milk are debatable; whether or not it is a nutritious food for humans remains controversial. Despite the debates surrounding milk, it is clear that adequate intake of calcium is the key for optimal bone health. the NutritioNal Value of milk Milk is a great source of calcium; drinking approximately 3 glasses of milk meets the daily calcium requirement. I often get asked questions such as: “Should I drink non-fat, low-fat, or whole milk?” or “Are non-fat and low-fat milk as nutritious as whole milk?” Also familiar is the gripe: “I don’t like low-fat and non-fat milk. They taste like water.” According to the latest nutrition guides, consuming dairy products such as a glass of low-fat or non-fat milk or a yogurt is encouraged. Both low-fat and non-fat milk are healthier choices since they are low in or free of fat and have fewer calories, yet have more or less the same protein and calcium content as full cream milk. Infants and toddlers, however, should drink whole milk because they need the dietary fat for growth.

lactose-free or lactose-reduced dairy products or yogurt with live active cultures that provide bacterial lactose may be solutions. Other alternatives include foods fortified with calcium such as fortified cereal and calcium-fortified orange juice. Vegetables also contain calcium although the amount of calcium absorbed from these sources varies. Many other foods are also sources of calcium, including sardines, tofu, salmon, turnips, kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage. Here are some additional tips for including ample calcium in your diet: ● Some food products on the market contain added calcium, but levels may differ widely. Check the nutrition label. ● Soup made from bones is popular among the Asian population, and it is thought to be high in calcium. In fact, calcium is not easily dissolved in water, and this soup is often high in unhealthy saturated fat. ● Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in our intestine. Exposure to the sun and foods including tuna, sardines, and salmon are all good sources of Vitamin D. Try to spend 5–15 minutes in the sun, 4–6 times a week. ● Excessive intake of some nutrients may inhibit the absorption of calcium. These include protein such as meat, poultry, egg, fish, and beans (the recommended meat/ alternatives intake is 4–6 ounces per day) and sodium (found in canned and processed foods, salt, soy sauce, and chicken seasoning powder). Calcium is important, but milk is not the only source. Including a variety of calcium-rich foods in your diet not only allows you to enjoy more delicious foods, but also enhances your nutritional intake.

other sources of calcium Lactose is a milk sugar that some people may not be able to digest, resulting in diarrhea or abdominal bloating. Choosing

Michelle Cheung is currently a full-time mom to 2 but previously worked as a Clinical Dietitian in Hong Kong. APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:12:10 PM


Experience the power of your emotions:

Keeping a healthy relationship with your emotions


TexT: Dr. Yueher (emilie) ma

elcome back to yourself! I imagine some of you have already gone on some treasure-hunting expeditions in your emotional world. What have those experiences been like for you? What have you found in those encounters? “Nothing! I tried the homework assignment you gave me over the weekend, but nothing came to me. I wasn’t feeling anything then, just like I’m not feeling anything now!” declared Rachel, sitting across from me with folded arms and a frown etched on her forehead. It is easy at this point to conceptualize Rachel’s presentation as being “defensive” or even “resistant to deepening therapy work.” Yet, considering the sharp contrast between her words and her body language, I decided to direct her attention to her bodily sensations at the present moment. Puzzled by my request, Rachel haltingly obliged. “Well… my heart is pounding …fast…there’s also some pressure here [pointing to her chest] …is it getting a bit hot in this room?” As she went on describing each salient bodily sensation, something clicked in her head. “Wait …this reminds me of last Friday when Michael gave me another ultimatum….”

DetacheD from emotions Rachel DID feel something; actually she felt quite a lot. When people habitually experience difficulties verbalizing their feelings, it could be that they have not been taught to put feelings into words since childhood and, therefore, have not developed an adequate vocabulary of emotions. They may not have been allowed to experience or express certain emotions. They may have been suffering from “alexithymia” (difficulties in understanding, identifying, and processing emotions). They may have learned to survive distressing situations with such coping mechanisms as denial, numbing, and dissociation. Most of the time, they tend to keep a “detached” relationship with emotions. When pressed with questions like: “how do you feel about this or that?” they may become confused by the questions, offer what they “think,” or admit they have no clue about their emotional reactions. When clients tend to report that “they don’t have any particular feeling” or “they feel nothing” in most situations, I do not jump to the conclusion that they are consciously hiding something from me or unconsciously sabotaging the therapy. They may be telling the truth: they are a total stranger in their emotional world! fuseD to emotions At the other extreme, people may easily become overwhelmed by their emotions. “Oh, trust me, you really don’t want to see me get angry. ‘Cause when I get angry, it’s like this…monster…

Emilie Ma received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Mar yland – College Park, and is currently a counselor at the Center.


“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” ~ St. Augustine

suddenly taking over…,” Tom explained then went on to rave about how infuriating it was when his mother dismissed all his opinions in their last conversation, reliving that upsetting incident all over again. After about ten minutes of ranting, Tom inquired apologetically with vacant eyes, “Sorry…I can’t remember...where were we?” People who tend to have a “fused” relationship with their feelings may constantly find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster ride. When being engulfed by certain feelings inside, they feel like they’re being thrown into a speeding car. Even though they are the ones behind the steering wheel, they have no control over the runaway vehicle. Not knowing where the brake is or how to step on it, they can do nothing but sit helplessly watching the intensity, impulsivity, and reactivity of their feelings running amok. Where do you fall on this detached/fused continuum in your relationship with your emotions? Do you usually stay far, far away from your feelings to protect yourself from heartaches, to maintain productivity, to keep going? Or do you usually get so close to your feelings that you cannot see and think clearly or act sensibly? Or do you find yourself constantly alternating between these two extremes? For example, do you stay distant from certain emotions (e.g., hurt, shame, worthlessness) while, at the same time, getting enmeshed in certain others (e.g., anxiety, anger, sadness)? Use this aforementioned conceptual tool as a starting point to reflect on how you get along with your emotions and how you can improve this relationship. the miDDle GrounD To develop a healthy relationship with your emotions, it is important to practice the rule of “the golden mean” — staying in the middle range of the detached/fused continuum. This middle ground has been given many different labels, such as presence, the core self, and mindfulness, to name a few. When you are in this middle ground, you feel open to, curious about, and receptive to your internal experiences in a centered stance. There you are informed, rather than impaired, by emotion, which gives you the opportunity to respond, rather than react, to challenging circumstances. Being in this accepting and grounded state not only enables you to approach the full spectrum of your emotions but helps you to see the connections among your emotion, cognition, and behavior. There are numerous ways to reach this accepting presence, e.g., focusing, meditation, guided imagery. You can try practicing whichever method works best for you. Remember: only the truth that works for you is your truth. Try exploring your emotional world with accepting presence. I am sure you will uncover many hidden “wonders” there! Note: I cannot emphasize this point enough: for those with severe traumatic experiences, it is highly recommended that you try working through difficult emotions with a trained health professional.

To make an appointment with a Center counselor, please call (02) 2836-8134.

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a Ec V W

fr do fr te fr so ve

Sh Tu

on H ri th o ex M st Ri

blog of the month


TexT: LeaT ahrony Image:

aiwanxifu is a website dedicated to “food, travel, culture and life in Taiwan” written by Australian and real-life Taiwan xifu (Taiwan daughter-in-law) Serina Huang. With well-organized tabs and a clean layout, the blog is easy to navigate and chock-full of interesting entries on restaurants (from luxury to laid back), travel, and commentary on culture and life in Taiwan. But perhaps the crowning glory of this treasure trove of interesting information is Serina’s extensive writing on the topic of zuo yuezi (坐月子), the postpartum Chinese tradition of ‘sitting the month’ when women are supposed to rest their bodies after giving birth. She shares her personal experience going through the postpartum month in traditional Chinese fashion as well as zuo yuezi recipes and explanations of the various zuo yuezi practices. Taiwanxifu is also not afraid to write about the challenges of cross-cultural living. An article I found interesting was “On My Taiwanese Mother-in-Law,” in which the author goes public about her relationship with her mother-in-law and the challenging work of reconciling her Western values with Taiwanese ones. Taiwanxifu is a delightful exploration of Taiwanese culture and traditions and one woman’s experience living in a foreign culture. The West meets East. Ying meets Yang. And with that, I urge you to go explore Taiwanxifu, because even if you are not expecting a newborn, there is plenty of food for thought on this site!

Leat Ahrony is a business u n de rg rad ua te student at the University of V i c to r i a ( U V i c ) in Canada. She b ega n her journalism career in high school writing for the Centered on Taipei magazine. She has a weekly online column for the UVic newspaper, T he Martlet, and regularly writes print news and culture articles. She plans to earn her B.A. in Commerce and continue a side career in Journalism.

courses at the center Here’s a selection of upcoming Center activities. For a full list of tours and courses, visit . Please register early to ensure that there is adequate enrollment to run the activity.

Arts, Culture And tours in tAiwAn Ecologically Grown: Farm Tour and Vegetarian Lunch Wednesday, April 30, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Join Ivy Chen on a visit to an ecologically friendly farm, established by a local eye doctor in search of a source of pesticidefree food. Learn all about the special techniques they use to grow their rice, fruits, and vegetables. Tour the farm, pick some vegetables, and enjoy a delicious vegetarian lunch. Shilin to Neihu Hike Tuesday, May 6, 9 am – 2 pm This fine, surprisingly unspoilt ridge hike on the edge of the city connects the Grand Hotel with central Neihu, and follows the ridge of steep, wooded hills that rise above the Keelung River. Climbing over a string of small peaks, the trail finishes with an exciting climb down the rocky slopes of Mount Jinmian and ends at the Xihu MRT station (Brown Line). This hike will be led by Richard Saunders.

FAmily, Fitness & HeAltH Kindermusik I & II Thursdays, May 1 –22, 9:30 – 10:20 am (18 mos.–3 yrs.), 10:45 – 11:35 am (0–18 mos.) K i n d e r m u s i k i s a d e ve l o p m e nta l l y appropriate music and movement class that enhances the bond between parent and child. Your child will thrive on musical and rhythmic activities designed to lay the foundation for a lifetime love of music. Hobbies & skills Chinese Calligraphy Fridays, May 2 – 23, 12:30 – 2:15 pm This class is an introduction to the traditional style of Chinese writing using brush and ink. Instructor Jennifer Tong will instruct you on the correct way to hold the brush and maneuver it to produce beautiful results. If you’ve taken calligraphy or brush painting before, Jennifer will work with you to improve your technique and form. To register, stop by the Center, call (02) 28368134, or visit

wHAt’s Cooking Classic Colombian Cuisine Friday, May 2, 10 am – 12 noon Join instructor Catalina Ford for her own special recipe of arroz con Pollo, a Colombian-style chicken with rice dish. To accompany this one-dish meal, she will also prepare a couple of tasty appetizers: Avocado Stuffed with Shrimp (aguacates rellenos de camarones) and Fried Yucca with two dipping sauces — Spicy Mayo and Salsa rosado. Delicioso! It’s All in the Sauce Friday, May 9, 10 am – 12 noon The secret to many a tasty dish is in the sauce. Join instructor Sally Duh Chu who will teach you how to make five different sauces: Sweet & Sour, Ginger Vinegar, Oyster, Red Chili, and Spicy. She will also show you how to prepare your own chili oil and pepper salt, two major staples in Chinese cooking. Then, enjoy a feast as she demonstrates how to use these delicious sauces on a selection of appetizers, salads, and main courses. APRIL 2014

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2014/3/26 7:13:54 PM


Seven tips for raising expat kids TexT: RuTh Poulsen


hen I told a colleague that I was leaving America to t e a c h o v e r s e a s, h e s a i d, “But what about your kids? Won't they be scarred for life? Unable to form close attachments? Rootless?” It's a fair question, I guess, since we left our house and our stuff and our extended family for this expat life. Moving is challenging for any child, much less moving overseas and being the foreigners. However, I have never met an adult third culture kid who wholeheartedly wished for a monocultural childhood. Here, from the people who lived it, are some ways you can help your expat kid to thrive in your cross-cultural life. Quotes are from my expat friends from around the world. 1. Create a family identity, since other sources of identity will be shifting. As the adults in the family, it's up to you, the parents, to give some thought as to who you are and how you'd most like to express that. Many I spoke to mentioned continuity in the family identity in your new home and the food you eat. With all the changes of moving and living somewhere foreign, keeping some things familiar can make a big difference to your kids. You'll probably have to relearn how to cook, since the ingredients or packaged foods that you're used to may not be available. But the extra effort is worth it for the extra boost to your family identity. Another aspect of your family identity is your value system. Eva, who parented her two children while living in various countries around the world, says that being consistent in your behavior and expectations "gives your child a sense of security, knowing that you will always have the same attitude in the same kind


of situation. For example, if you tolerate some behavior in some settings but not in another, your child isn't going to know what really goes. If you expect your child to live by a standard (such as not lying), you'd better live by that same standard yourself." 2. Spend time to make your nation’s cultural holidays special. This is another aspect of family identity, but so many expats that I interviewed mentioned it that I feel it deserves its own entry. Traditions, w h e t h e r s i l l y o r s o l e m n, c a n b e incredibly meaningful to your kids as they grow up with lots of external change, and holidays are an easy way to incorporate traditions. Particularly important are holidays that you care about, but that aren't celebrated in your host culture. The great part is, you can pick and choose what you want to keep from your holidays without stepping on your relatives' toes, Eva also shared. If you're like me, you love turkey, but yawn at Thanksgiving football...and eschew the whole "mall crowds trampling people at 4 am the day after" — well hey! It might take some hunting to find a turkey, but it's easy to cut out the manic shopping if you don't have to say no to Aunt Hilda to do so! Back to that turkey...spend the time to find it. As my mom always told me, chicken just doesn't smell right on Thanksgiving day.

3. Engage and respect the local culture. The other side of this "identity" coin is that it can be incredibly valuable to engage with the place you live, and not simply stay in your expat bubble all the time. Take advantage of your new place — talk about the differences with your kids. The more talking you do, the less threatened your kid will feel about being different, and the more they'll be able to, as my friend Elisa put it, "appreciate cultural differences, rather than making judgmental comparisons." It thrills my third-culture-kid heart when my five-year-old confidently discusses the differences in table manners between Taiwan and America, and ends with saying, "But no one way is right." I'll toast to that! 4. Pay attention if your child feels uncomfortable. Now this is just good parenting, but is especially needed with the extra stress that expatriate life brings. For instance, my daughters are little blonde girls, and in Taiwan people often feel totally free to come up and touch their hair without asking. Of course to the "touchers" this is a totally positive experience, but when it’s a daily occurrence, the girls can feel more violated than valued. My brother went through something similar, being a blonde boy in Jordan. Once, as an eight-year-old, he was so sick of having his head rubbed that he landed a huge kick on the shins of an unsuspecting old man. I want to teach my daughters that they never have to let anyone touch them in ways that feel uncomfortable, no matter how sweet the old lady who is curious about the little foreign kids is. So, we've taught them to firmly but politely tell people “no.” Your kids might not get to choose where they live, but

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they can choose what it feels like to walk down the street. 5. Let your kids control what they can. Speaking of control, it applies to more than just random strangers grabbing them on the street. Since they likely won't be the ones controlling the fact that they're moving and leaving their friends, don't take more self-determination from them than necessary. This is particularly applicable to the packing process. Eva says, "If we needed to ‘weed out’ a lot of their stuff, we'd go through it together.... This way they didn't just lose all they had." Her daughter Jane agrees: "If you have space constraints, delineate them and then let your kid choose what goes in the available space — don't make executive decisions." I'm sure you can come up with other situations where this principle applies. Whenever possible, let the kids have some say in the decisions that affect them most. 6. Make a space for grief before and after moves. Adults have the advantage of a broader perspective, but that doesn't make your kids' blindingly narrow perspective any less valid. Leaving a best friend can be "devastating," according to Jane, and I agree. Yes, it's fine to focus on the positive aspects of the move, but don't do that to the exclusion of validating your kids' very real sadness at what they're leaving behind. 7. Let them practice independence, because you won't be there when they go to college. Of course we need to be realistic about the dangers in our countries and neighborhoods, but many expat parents seem to be overly cautious, buying into stranger danger myths in what are actually very safe neighborhoods. When I was a teenager, I was lucky to have parents who were good at letting go. I never would have been able to be a member of an Arabic church band in Jerusalem if my parents hadn't let me ride the buses by myself as a teenager. Those experiences — walking past open markets and thousand-year-old gates to catch my bus home — are ones that have defined me ever since. So keep the leash as loose as you feel you can. Because once they graduate, there's a good chance you'll be living across an ocean from them, and then they’ll really need to be responsible. Ruth Poulsen is a lifelong expatriate who i s now getting ready for her 9th international move. She teaches high school English at International Bilingual School, Hsinchu, and has loved her five years exploring Taiwan with her family. You can find many more expat family adventures at mARch 2014

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Cross-Cultural Training at the Center TexT & IMAge: JANe WANg


hen most people hear that I’m a cross-cultural trainer, they appear slightly dumbfounded. M o v i n g i n te r n a t i o n a l l y s e e m s a s e a sy as suitcases and a flight these days, and everyone’s doing it. Some of us have already lived abroad before, and we are all living cross culturally everyday in Taiwan. Why would we need any cross-cultural training? I understand. Before I became a cross-cultural trainer myself, I didn’t even know cross-cultural training existed as a profession. Growing up straddling the cultures of Taiwan and the United States, then working in the corporate worlds of Tokyo, New York, and Taipei, I’d always thought crossing cultures was something people did naturally when they moved to a foreign land. You move, you adapt, that’s it. What more to it is there? So when I first heard of cross-cultural training, I was skeptical. whaT cRoSS-culTuRal TRaineRS don’T do Is it about telling people the dos (‘hold business cards with both hands’) and don’ts (‘don’t stand your chopsticks up in a bowl of rice’)? I couldn’t think of anything more tedious than listing out superficially appropriate behaviors for foreigners to follow. That’s what Google and books are for; moreover, teaching people to follow a set of culturally appropriate behaviors seemed to snuff out any room for individual personality and unique perspectives. Do cross-cultural trainers basically tell people how to behave like everyone else? I also imagined abstract educational seminars about that nebulous word ‘culture’ that human resources departments require their managers to attend. It wasn’t until I trained as a cross-cultural trainer myself that I fully realized how transformational it was to understand culture, its process, and its impact more deeply. Whether a seasoned culturecrosser or first timer living abroad, these cultural frameworks that we’re all shaped by lead us to a better understanding of ourselves and of others — and that’s invaluable for any social interaction, especially when we are straddling cultures. whaT cRoSS-culTuRal TRaineRS do So what exactly does a cross-cultural trainer do?

Since I started with plenty of misconceptions myself, I thought that a good way to introduce cross-cultural training would be to examine the most common misconceptions. We’ll start with the one that had boggled my mind, and decode more misconceptions in upcoming issues. MISCONCEPTION #1: Cross-cultural trainers advise on culturally appropriate behavior. Like me, many people might imagine that cross-cultural training involves telling people what constitutes appropriate or inappropriate behavior in a foreign culture. In fact, behavior isn’t the focus of cross-cultural training programs at all. As Edward T. Hall’s cultural iceberg illustrates, behavior — along with the food, language, clothing, and other external manifestations of a culture — is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Those surface representations derive from deeply held values, beliefs, and assumptions, which are in turn shaped by history and philosophies, and it is this ‘unseen’ 90% of the iceberg that is the focus of cross-cultural training programs. Moreover, we don’t just look at the values, beliefs, and assumptions of the host culture; we spend a significant amount of time first looking at the values, beliefs, and assumptions we ourselves hold from our own experiences and upbringings. As though wearing tinted sunglasses, we each walk around with our own set of cultural lenses that ‘color’ our view of the world. Cross-cultural training programs are thus comprised of dynamic conversations and interactive reflections on participants’ experiences to discover the unique composition of values, beliefs, and assumptions that form their personal take on the world. Only when we are clear about our own culture can we look more objectively at another culture’s norms. Cross-cultural training programs do provide information on how culture works and the cultural adjustment process, as well as historical foundations, business practices, and daily living in the host culture. Yet far from unilateral advice-giving, this information merely fuels the interactive conversations that are the cornerstone of these programs. A program’s success is as much based upon what each participant brings to the table, including a participant’s curiosity and willingness to reflect on their own experiences and to understand

Jane W. Wang is a cross-cultural trainer and co-founder of Becoming, an intercultural platform for creative learning & development based in Taipei. Prior to training, Jane managed global marketing for the IT group of Hitachi Ltd. in Tokyo, the strategic alliance with Microsoft for a software vendor in New York, and corporate communications for a leading semiconductor firm in Taipei. She obtained her master’s degree in international affairs & business from T he Fletcher School at Tufts University and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is certified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and is slated to receive her coaching certification with the International Coach Federation (ICF) in April 2014. Jane is bilingual in English and Mandarin and proficient in Japanese.


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another culture from its roots. The more open a participant is to deeper understanding and new ways of seeing things, the more the participant will get out of the program. As psychotherapist Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Next time something about Taiwan frustrates you, ask yourself what could be lying beneath that tip of the

iceberg — for Taiwan and for yourself. Or, sign up for a cross-cultural training program at the Center and we can chew on these issues together. We’ll unravel more mysteries about culture and crosscultural training in upcoming issues — send us your questions. I look forward to enriching cultural conversations with you!

To learn more about cross-cultural training at the Center, please call (02) 2836-8134.

cSc BuSineSS claSSiFied RecReaTion



haiR dReSSeR

#14 Tienmu E. Road


| Telephone 2871-1515 |

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hoT STiR-FRieS 臺灣的熱炒 TexT: IVy Vy CHeN IMAgeS: IMAgeS ge : TINg geS TTINg TINg TTINg HuANg HuANg Hu

The New York Times has ranked Taiwan eleventh out of the 52 places to go in 2014, and one of the main reasons for its inclusion is its food! a melTing PoT oF Fine Food Ta i w a n e s e c u i s i n e i s b e c o m i n g extremely popular, attracting huge numbers of tourists to the island. Its unique character comes from the blend of many different influences: Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese, plus more recently French and Italian. It can be enjoyed everywhere from famous, luxury restaurants to humble street stalls, and the selection is huge, including abundant seafood and local fresh produce.

becoming less common due to the noise pollution often associated with them.

FRom FRee-Range chicken FaRmS To BeeR houSeS

Hot stir-fry restaurants have been very common all over Taiwan for decades. Reqao (熱炒) restaurants offer authentic family-style food, which can usually be seen (in uncooked form) out front in a glass refrigerator and an aquarium with live seafood or on an iced counter packed with fresh seafood. Since the beer house has become less popular, beer promotion girls have moved to these restaurants. Like beer houses, reqao restaurants offer hearty, flavorful food, and include Chinese, Japanese, and sometimes other exotic cuisine on their menu, which includes quick stir-fries (熱炒; reqao), deep-fries (酥炸; suzha), cold dishes (冷 盤; lengpan or 沙拉; shala), three-cup dishes (三杯; sanbei), hot pot (火鍋; huoguo), grills (燒烤; shaokao), and soups (湯; tang). Popular orders include fried crispy oyster (蚵仔酥; o-ah su), stir-fried clams with basil (九層塔炒蛤蜊; jiuc engta qao hala), kungbao chicken (宮保雞丁; gongbao jiding), three cups chicken (三 杯雞; sanbeiji), three cups squid (三杯中 卷; sanbeizhongjuan), Hakka stir-fry (客家 小炒; kejia xiaoqao), and golden tofu (金 沙豆腐; jinsha dofu).

When traveling on the island became easier and more affordable starting in the 1970s, free-range chicken farms with attached restaurants (土雞城, tujicheng), often located in scenic spots, became very popular, offering free-range chicken and fresh mountain vegetables. In 1987, when Taiwan liberalized the import of alcohol, the beer house (啤酒 屋, pijiuwu) became popular. The beer house offers hearty food such as stir-fries, deep-fried snacks, and grills. Most beer houses are open during the evening until around midnight, and always have ‘beer promotion girls’ (酒促小姐, jiucu xiaojie). These are relaxed places to hang out with good friends or celebrate special events like birthday parties. However, they are



STiR-FRied ShoRT-necked clamS wiTh BaSil 九層塔炒海瓜子 [jiucengta chao haiguazi] INGREDIENTS 600g short-necked clams Half handful basil FRAGRANT SPICES 6 cloves garlic, crushed 6 slices ginger 1 stalk scallion, chopped into 4 cm sections 1 red chili, sliced SEASONING 2t rice wine 1T Taiwanese soy sauce paste DIRECTIONS 1. Wash short-necked clams. 2. Heat 2T oil, add fragrant spices, and stir fry until fragrance is released. 3. Add short-necked clams and seasoning; cook over medium heat until all clams have opened. Add basil and toss well. TIP Short-necked clams can be replaced with other types of clam.

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Centered on Taipei April 2014  

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

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