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Centered on TAIPEI May 2014, Volume 14, Issue 8

Raising Bilingual ChildRen ECCT-ICRT InTERnaTIonal ChaRITy Golf Cup 2014 Top DEsTInaTIons foR youR aDvEnTuRous KID DEalInG wITh EaTInG DIsoRDERs CRoss-CulTuRal TRaInInG: noT JusT foR nEwComERs TRavEl To ThE pEnGhu IslanDs

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cover iMAGe: By Justine O’Neil Children at Baby Bear Pre-School.


May 2014 volume 14 issue 8


Letters froM the editors


richArd recoMMends nAtionAL theAter & concert hALL: MAY 2014


csc news ECCT-ICRT International Charity Golf Cup


events About town events At the center


courses At the center


coMMunitY DIS


coMMunitY TAS chAritY Orphanage Club

12 20 22


center GALLerY


off the beAten trAck Sun Moon Cave


Ask tAiwAnxifu Hostess Gifts


educAtion Raising Bilingual Children


fAMiLY Top Destinations for your Adventurous Kid


trAveL Penghu


coffee corner Gabee


expA expAt xp perspective xpA Anorexia: My Story


outLook Recognizing the Signs of Anorexia and Bulimia


cuLture Developing Cross-Cultural Sensitivity


photoGrAphY Places of Worship


csc business cLAssified

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

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expat perspective

CoMMunitY ServiCeS Center Publisher editors Co-editor Advertising Manager tel Fax email Writing and Photography Contributors

Community Services Center editorial Panel

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

Christina Ahn Leat Ahrony Aly Cooper Mercia De Souza Wendy Evans Craig Ferguson Serina Huang Erick Kish Duncan Levine

Justine O’Neil Ruth Poulsen Richard Saunders Joe Schoeman Bethany Shieh Rosemary Susa Grace Ting Jane Wang Henry Westheim

Siew Kang, Fred Voigtmann

Printed by

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


Adam McMillan

office Manager

Grace Ting


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 Systems Manager Program Support Communications Cross-Cultural trainer Chinese teacher Life & Business Coach

Monica Cheng Rosemary Susa Shana Garcia Bunny Pacheco Justine O’Neil Jane Wang Gloria Gwo 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

Suzan Babcock Editor

Richard Saunders Co-editor

Naomi Kaly Advertising Manager

LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS Well, folks. My time has come to bid Taiwan farewell. After three amazing years here, my husband, son, and I are relocating back to California, where our extended family is eagerly awaiting our return. I am nothing but grateful for this unforgettable period in our lives. This island has been good to us; the Center has been incredible to me. Serving as Editor of this magazine has been — and I say this without exaggeration — the best job I have ever held. There are many things I will miss about Taipei — taking care of everything at 7-Eleven, lunchboxes, an unparalleled feeling of safety — but, undoubtedly, I will miss the people I’ve met along the way most of all. To my Center colleagues past and present, to our contributors, and to our readers: Thank you. Thank you a hundred times over. While it is difficult to say goodbye, I am thrilled to be leaving the magazine in the very capable hands of the Centered team with the new Editor Suzan Babcock heading operations. Sue is a counselor, writer, educator, and, above all, an absolute delight. So without further ado, I give you Sue….

There is something about spring that brings with it a sense of new beginnings. Kari and I are about to have 'new beginning adventures' of our own; for Kari, a return to the States, and for me, here at the Editor's Desk. I for one will definitely miss Kari; her talent as an outstanding editor, her sense of humor, and especially her upbeat monthly emails to all the volunteers that contribute so enthusiastically to Centered on Taipei. This brings us to our May lineup. From our Center counseling team, we have an article by Wendy Evans on eating disorders, along side a moving personal essay about anorexia by Leat Ahrony, and Jane Wang’s article on why cross-cultural training is not just for newcomers. Serina Huang's popular Ask Taiwanxifu column will guide us with ease through the cultural and etiquette front gates for attending a dinner party Taiwan-style. Since day trips and travel articles continue to hold wide interest among our readership, this month's issue includes Ruth Poulsen's "Top Destinations for your Adventurous Kid," Erick Kish's piece on visiting the Penghu islands, and Richard Saunders’s treasured monthly column Off the Beaten Track. Coffee enthusiasts will delight in Aly Cooper's review of Gabee Coffee. The Center depends on the generous support of its volunteers, donors, and from the Taipei and international communities. Each year, the ECCT-ICRT International Charity Golf Cup is held to raise monies for the Center. Duncan Levine shares with us the highlights from this year's charity golf tournament, which once again was a huge success. So, there you have it. Our May lineup, which is an issue of dedication, love, and hard work from Kari, our volunteer writers, the staff at the Center, and you, our readers. Enjoy.

Sue Please send email submissions, comments, and feedback to MAY 2014


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RichaRd SaundeRS


n an odd coincidence, this month, almost exactly a hundred years after the First World War broke out (July 28th, 1914), we have not one but two performances in Taipei (on May 4th and 13th) of a relatively little-played masterpiece written by Richard Strauss in 1945 to mourn the destruction (by Allied forces) of the German city of Dresden in the closing stages of that war’s horrific successor. Strauss, like the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, chose to stay in Germany and cooperate (albeit in purely musical matters) with the ruling Nazis: a decision that has naturally caused a huge amount of controversy since. For the record, Strauss’s affiliation with the National Socialists extended no further than purely musical matters (Joseph Goebbels described Strauss as “…unpolitical, like a child”), and he refused to condemn the works of Jewish composers, which the Nazis described as Entartete Musik (‘degenerate music’). The programming of this great work brings to mind an interesting, if rather thorny subject: composers who cooperated (or at least were perceived to have collaborated) with Hitler’s National Socialists and the Fascist regimes elsewhere in Europe, and the more general topic of anti-semitism in music. It’s a controversial but very interesting one, and it’s only recently that the music of several fine composers (who also happened to be or were suspected of being Nazi collaborators) has begun to become better known through recordings and concert performances. Whether music by some of these composers (Casella, Malipiero, Pfitzner and even Carmina Burana composer Carl Orff) should actually even be played has been a topic of contention in some circles, but the general consensus these days is to judge the music by its own merits alone. And wow! What music some of it is! A composer of some particularly striking music, Alfedo Casella has been described as the most important Italian composer active between the two World Wars, so it was unfortunate that he was also an enthusiastic supporter of Mussolini, even going so far as to write an opera (Il Deserto Tentato) to commemorate the Italian Fascist invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935. The Italians (and to an extent the rest of Europe’s music-loving public) never forgave Casella for his ideological views, and until just a few years ago his music was all but unplayed and rarely recorded. Finally things are changing as musicians are discovering the power of Casella’s best works (including three huge symphonies) and especially his uniquely intense A Notte Alta (‘in deepest night’; originally written for piano but later arranged for piano and orchestra). Casella perhaps unwittingly gave future enemies ammunition when he divulged that the work was “inspired by emotional events in my personal life.” The work depicts a nocturnal liaison between a man and a woman (representing the composer and his future wife, who, like his first, happened to be Jewish). Hearing this dark, deeply disquieting work it’s hard to imagine anything very romantic going on, and what, in this context, the shockingly brutal climax near the end represents is one of the great secrets of classical music. I’ve been learning the piece for several years and hope to play the piano solo version in an upcoming piano recital; meanwhile I wish a local orchestra would program the richer version with orchestral accompaniment, which is a wee bit more audience friendly. While we wait for that great day, catch the orchestral version of A Notte Alta on CD (no less than four different recordings of it have appeared during the last few years). It’s well worth getting to know if its dark expressive force appeals.


National Theater and Concert Hall May 2014

NATIONAL THEATER Pilobolus Dance Theater: Shadowland

A ground-breaking fusion of shadow theater, dance, circus and concert from the USA May 20 – 24

NATIONAL CONCERT HALL Konstantin Lifschitz 2014 Piano Recital The Ukrainian pianist plays Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations May 1 RR

Joe Hisaishi Concert

Conducting his own music and… Beethoven’s Ninth May 2

H Christian Wille Piano Recital Chopin’s 4 Ballades and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition May 3

Two German Giants

Strauss’s late, great Metamorphosen and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 3 May 4 RR

NTSO: Horn for Hero

More Strauss: A Hero’s Life and the Horn Concerto no. 1, plus Berg’s Lyric Suite May 5 RR

Evergreen Symphony Orchestra Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony, plus Weber May 11

Klazz Brothers’ Latin Fiesta May 12

Richard Strauss’s Swan Song

Metamorphosen (again) and music by Tchaikovsky May 13

The Greatness of Beethoven

The great man’s Fifth Symphony and Ravel’s G major Piano Concerto May 16

Artemis Quartet Taiwan Debut The German quartet plays Bartok and Beethoven May 20 RR

Anderson and Roe

The highly acclaimed American piano duo play classical and popular works May 21

Maxim Vengerov and Polish Chamber Orchestra

The Russian violinist debuts in Taiwan with a series of short works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Saint Saens May 24 RR

Three Romantic Symphonies

Les Petits Chanteurs de SaintMarc May 7

Actually only two, by Schumann and Brahms, plus Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto May 25

The King’s Singers

Ju Percussion Group

May 8

Jenny Lin Piano Recital

The magnificent (Taiwanborn) American pianist plays Debussy, Liszt, Stravinsky, Bach, Shostakovich and others May 10 RR

Contemporary percussion music May 26

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

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

May 2014

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csc news

Golfers Support the Center in the 2014 ECCT-ICRT International Charity Golf Cup TexT: Duncan Levine images: JusTine O’neiL


n April 11th, the 11th consecutive ECCT-ICRT International Charity Golf Cup was held to support the Center. As in previous years, the event was the highlight of Taipei’s annual social golfing calendar, providing a perfect opportunity for Taipei’s best amateur golfers to show off their golfing skills and support a good cause at the same time. Thanks to the event’s sponsors and a portion of players’ fees, NT$250,000 was raised for the Center. The organizers, the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) and International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), chose the perfect venue and a perfect day for the tournament. The beautiful layout and scenery surrounding the Kuan Hsi course always makes it a popular choice for golf tournaments. On top of that, the course was in splendid condition and the weather was perfect — 25 degrees, bright and sunny. Fourteen teams, comprising ECCT members and supporters of the international community, took a day off work to support the event. Thanks to some generous sponsors, players were well taken care of throughout the day, starting with a complimentary breakfast, goodie bags, and soft drinks before the game, beer at the 10th hole, more drinks at the 19th hole, and a lavish banquet and prize-giving ceremony to bring an end to a perfect day.


After the lunch banquet, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo took to the stage together with ICRT CEO Tim Berge to present a check to Adam McMillan, Director of the Community Services Center. McMillan went on to thank the sponsors, organizers, and players for their support. He also gave a short history of the Center and its programs. Then it was time for the prize-giving ceremony. Perhaps inspired by the US Masters tournament, which happened to have started the day before the Charity Golf Cup, some spectacular golfing prowess was demonstrated on the course. Very few strokes separated the teams at the top of the leader board. The final results showed the Asian Tigers edged out Siemens by two strokes to take the top prize in the team competition (on handicap). Judging by the length of the longest drives and the nearest the pin flags (more than one was almost in the hole), there were also some excellent individual performances. Prizes were awarded to the best five teams, longest drives, and nearest the pins. Many thanks to the ECCT and ICRT for organizing and hosting this wonderful event!

may 2014

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csc news

events about town

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

Museum of Contemporary Art Until June 15th KP.OP – Korean Contemporary Art 39 Chang-An West Road National Palace Museum Until June 30th Four Great Masters of the Ming Dynasty: Wen Zhengming Galleries: Exhibition Area 1: 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212 221 Zhishan Road, Section 2 National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall May 13th – 29th Işıl Özışık’s Watercolor Exhibition: “Scenes from Turkey” 3F, De-ming Gallery 505 Ren-ai Road, Section 4

National Taiwan Museum Until January 2015 A Unique New Breed of Gems: Taiwan Black Jade Exhibition Gallery: GG02 exhibition.aspx 2 Xiangyang Road

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 Taiwan Science Education Center Until August 31st Revealing the Hidden Code of Insects F7, West Special Exhibition Gallery 189 Shihshang Road

Taipei Fine Arts Museum Until June 8th View–Point: A Retrospective Exhibition of Li Yuan-chia Galleries: 2A & 2B 181 Zhongshan North Road, Section 3

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

Taipei Story House Until June 29th "The Story of Fortune Telling" Exhibition 181-1 Zhongshan North Road, Section 3

events at the center BOOK CLUBS This month the Center’s book clubs will be reading Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang, a biography about the most powerful woman in 19thcentury China. The morning book club will meet Tuesday, May 20, 11 am onwards. For more information, email justine@ The evening book club will meet on Thursday, May 29, 7 pm onwards. For more information, email sharon.k.whitfield@ May Special Topic Coffee Morning Crossing Cultures, Repatriation, and the Third-Culture-Kid Experience Thursday, May 8 10:30 am – 12:00 pm Please join us this month for an informative talk by Cross-Cultural Trainer Jane Wang on the cross-cultural experience, with a special focus on the unique experiences of repatriation and of thirdculture kids. How is reverse culture shock different from culture shock? How is growing up cross-culturally as a third-culture kid (TCK) different from crossing cultures as an adult? By better understanding these perspectives you may be able to ease the transition for you and your family. 10

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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 Sanxia Old Street, Temple and Indigo Dye Center Tour Wednesday, May 14, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Join Jennifer Tong for an adventure to Sanxia, with its endearing old street and beautiful Zhu Shi Taoist Temple. Included in this tour is a visit to one of the town’s indigo dye centers where you will have the option of creating a hand-dyed item of your choosing (cost not included). Explore Taiwan the way the locals do — using MRT and public bus. leArning Chinese with gloriA gwo Summer Survival Chinese I Mondays & Wednesdays, June 9 – July 23, 9:10 – 10:30 am

Wo u l d yo u l i ke to b e a b l e to communicate with shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and co-workers? Whether you’ve just arrived in Taiwan or have been here awhile, this is the class for you. Learn spoken Mandarin in a relaxed and informal e nv i ro n m e nt at t h e C e nte r. C o u rs e materials included. This class is also suitable for anyone who has taken some basic Chinese lessons and would like to continue with his or her studies. Summer Survival Chinese II Mondays & Wednesdays, June 9 – July 23, 10:40 am – 12 noon This course builds upon the skills learned in Survival Chinese I (or any other basic Chinese course) and offers approximately 20 hours of language instruction for people who would like to

upgrade their basic skills and go one step further with Mandarin. Course materials included. whAt’s Cooking Chinese Salads and Starters Friday, May 16, 10 am – 12 noon Eaten as appetizers before meals, these cold salads, or xiao cai, are great as side dishes in the hot summer months. Enjoy cucumber salad, cabbage salad, chicken salad with sesame dressing, and tofu thread salad. A delicious way to include tofu in your family meals — if you don’t tell them they aren’t “noodles,” we won’t!

To register, stop by the Center, call (02) 2836-8134, or visit MAY 2014

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Celebrating Cultural Awareness Day with Students of the Atayal Tribe TexT: Mercia de Souza iMageS: Mercia de Souza and Joe SchoeMan

This year, the Dominican International School in Taipei celebrated Cultural Awareness Day, with the theme “Celebrating the Indigenous Cultures of Taiwan.”


or the past two years, Dominican International School (DIS) has been involved in a project, initiated by Professor Arthur Wang of the Hsinchu National University of Education, which utilizes technology in the classroom to make social contact with other cultures. This three-way communication project enables conversations among students from Taoshan Elementary School, where the students of the Atayal tribe are educated, DIS students, and the students of Barrow Elementary School in Georgia, USA. In the previous school year, Grade 4 students participated in three-way communication using the software programs Edmodo and Voice Thread. The project culminated in a faceto-face meeting between the DIS students and the students of Taoshan Elementary School, when the pen pals were able to share their experiences and spend some time together. This year the same students, now in Grade 5, plus this year’s Grade 4 students, made use of electronic communication to establish or continue this social interaction, which culminated in the Taoshan students visiting DIS. The Taoshan Elementary School visit coincided with the school’s annual Cultural Awareness Day, organized by the Social Studies Department. They invited merchants from the indigenous tribes to set up booths selling traditional crafts and food products. Ten tribes were represented. Students and teachers were able to buy beautiful tribal crafts and try traditional food.


Awareness for the day’s activities was introduced to the DIS students three weeks before the event by launching a photograph competition with the theme “Celebrating the Indigenous Cultures of Taiwan.” This was restricted to high school and middle school students. Students had to photograph indigenous, tribal images. From the forty-five entries, thirteen finalists were chosen by a committee of teachers, but the final choice was made by an external judge and photography expert, to keep the competition results unbiased. The winners were announced at the final assembly of the day. The highlight of the day’s celebrations was a traditional performance by the students from Taoshan Elementary School. Taoshan’s students are renowned throughout Taiwan for their performance of traditional tribal dances, accompanied by hand-crafted percussion instruments. The international school students were enthralled by the skills of the indigenous performers. They were also very privileged to hear a traditional Atayal myth read in the language of the people by one of the teachers who chaperoned the Taoshan students. The Grade 4 students at DIS were given the translation of the story so that they could take turns translating it into English. The tribal languages of Taiwan are endangered languages, and an awareness of preserving the indigenous languages of Taiwan was created. The students gave feedback that it was a great event, and a Grade 12 student remarked to one of the organizers at the end of the day, “I don’t want to go home, I want to stay longer to enjoy the...atmosphere.” The organizers were satisfied that they were able to create cultural awareness of the indigenous people of Taiwan amongst the students.

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Taipei American School Buildings Awarded Ecology, Energy Saving, Waste Reduction, and Health Certification TexT & Images: Tas


n January 23, 2014, the Taipei American School (TAS) Upper School Science and Technology Building, Upper School Gym, and the Liu Lim Arts Center received the Bronze level EEWH (Ecology, Energy Saving, Waste Reduction, and Health) certification, which is Taiwan’s equivalent to LEED in the United States. This certification is the result of the school’s Board of Directors and Construction Committee’s vision and unwavering commitment to resourcing an environmental initiative at TAS. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Steve Panta worked with Artech and Parsons Brinkerhoff to ensure that the planning, materials, and construction met EEWH standards. Achieving the EEWH certification’s energy saving standards was accomplished over three years of preparation and execution. Examples of energy saving features installed in the new buildings include a low E coat on exterior windows to reflect sunlight; the incorporation of sufficient natural light and airflow; landscaped green spaces on the surrounding property; the appropriate disposal of construction materials; and properly treated sewage and drinking water. Today, the new buildings are celebrated for both their quality and green sensitivity. They are a public recognition of TAS’s commitment to the environment and serve as a model for responsibility, sustainability, and global citizenship.


Orphanage Club TexT: BeThany Shieh, OC SeCreTary, 2013-14

MOTHER’S DAY AND GRADUATION SALE As we enter the month of May and rush towards the end of the academic year, we will be having a sale to celebrate Mother’s Day and the graduation of high school seniors on May 6th and May 7th. We will be selling Mother’s Day cards and cards to congratulate our soon to be leaving seniors. Please stop by and support our booth! All proceeds will be given to the Puli Christian Hospital, to assist indigenous children.


RUMMAGE SALE We are still collecting donations for our Rummage Sale that will take place on June 14th. We welcome donations of all kinds such as clothes, bags, and accessories. Don’t forget to save the date for this great opportunity to purchase a variety of clothes and goods at amazing prices!

FLEA MARKET Our Orphanage Club flea market will take place on May 17th. There will be refreshments as well as Indian and Indonesian food. Admission is free of charge, so please mark this date on your calendars and drop by on the day!

All questions or 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 MAY 2014

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GALLERY May 2014 Yang tze-Yun and wang Yi-Fan aRtwoRk For our May Center Gallery, we are very pleased to present the artwork of the ultimate Chinese calligrapher, Ya n g Tze-Yu n. I n c re at i n g h i s w o r k , Y a n g Tz e -Y u n steps away from traditional Chinese calligraphy by employing an avant-garde approach, and brings Chinese calligraphy to a completely new domain. Yang’s unique, expressive style has been recognized internationally; here is your chance to appreciate and collect his artwork. Also exhibited are paintings from Ms. Wang Yi-Fan. Her painting style is a combination of realistic and abstract, filled with images of fond childhood memories. Please come to the Center and visit this special display.

gaRden oF hope Foundation The May Gallery also features 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. patRicia koRtmann JewelRY Also displayed is a collection of Patricia K o r t m a n n ’ s j e w e l r y. Patricia creates her pieces from a wide assortment of gems such as aquamarine, citrine, amethyst, fluorite, rose quartz, crystal quartz, and pearls. Her works are all one-of-a-kind creations, and blend the rich variety of contemporary-style gemstones with handcrafted ethnic silver and gold beads. Patricia also offers custom designs to create personalized pieces of jewelry. 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.


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expat perspective


Sun Moon Cave


aiwan has no shortage of unusual attractions for those willing to search them out, and t h e X i a n Fe n g L i n g S u n Moon Cave (仙峰嶺日月 洞), cut into the face of a hillside in the southwest corner of Nantou County in central Taiwan, certainly fits into this category, yet this unique oddity is also an impressive testament to the imagination and amazing determination of one man. The cave (or rather tunnel) was carved into a small rock face on the side of Mount Wandou, high above the tiny hamlet of Taziwan not far from Nantou City, by a retired local, Chen Ching Chuan (陳清泉), over a period of ten years from 1969 to 1979. Step inside the entrance and beyond lies a complicated series of tiny chambers, dead-end side turnings, and short cuts. This place is definitely not for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia! You’ll need to bend over double to get through the entry arch, and although in many places inside it’s possible to stand, the later stages of the tunnel (as it nears the exit, which is punched out of the rock a few meters to the left of the way in) are much lower, and it’s necessary to crawl much of the way. A board giving a brief introduction to the cave is posted up next to the entrance, and a quick glance at the accompanying sketched map gives some idea just how complicated the network of tiny passages inside the hill really is. The various tunnels connect a series of miniature rooms with fanciful names such as ‘The Conference Hall,’ ‘The Pass of the Milky Way,’ and the ‘Sun and Moon Caves’ themselves. Enter the cave and one of the larger c h a m b e rs, t h e ‘L i v i n g Ro o m,’ i s o n t h e l e f t; daylight streams through

a ‘window’ connecting it with the outside world, lighting up the rounded cave, inside which are rough chairs and a table painted yellow, hewn out of the rock. Venturing any further in requires a torch, a set of old clothes (it’s muddy in there!), and a liking for narrow, low, enclosed spaces. An arch on the right leads into the largest chamber in the cave, the Conference Hall, after which the passage splits into a confusing series of tunnels. Pick the right way and the passage, with a ceiling high enough to stand comfortably, veers round to the left to enter the circular Cave of the Sun. Adults need to be something of a contortionist to explore the later stages of the tunnel, as in places the passage is barely high enough to squeeze through even when bending double. A t i ny c o n c av e ro o m, somewhat grandiosely christened the ‘Cave of the Moon’ is as far as I got on my last visit. A couple of bats were whistling around the chamber and almost collided with my head, quickly draining my curiosity, and sending me crawling to the exit, emerging muddy and blinking into the bright sunlight. If exploring this miniature labyrinth of passages and chambers is something of an adventure, then getting there is almost as exciting as well. The cave lies off the road between Nantou City and the town of Jiji (集集). Leaving Freeway 3 at the Nantou exit, follow route 139 through the pleasant rolling hills of western Nantou County for about six kilometers, past the delightfully named hamlet of ‘Banana Town’ (香蕉市), and turn right at a small, easy-to-miss signpost just after passing through the next tiny settlement, Taziwan (撻子彎), onto a narrow, one-lane road that winds uphill for several kilometers (follow the hand-painted signs at junctions) to the cave. 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. MAY 2014

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ask taiwanxifu

Hostess Gifts: What to bring


I have been invited to visit the home of a Taiwanese friend for dinner. What do you suggest I give as a gift?

TExT: sErINA huANg


irstly, let me say that it is quite an honor to be invited into your friend's home. They must think very highly of you and consider you to be a close friend. The Taiwanese don't really go in for dinner parties in the home the way that people do in the West. Once upon a time when life was simpler and people poorer, it would not be uncommon to drop by a friend's place for a meal. This was no elaborate dinner party, but rather a casual feast with family and friends. Whoever was cooking (usually the matriarch or daughter-in-law) would always cook several dishes, and the guests would simply find a chair (or stool) around the common table, the host would bring out some extra Chinese bowls and chopsticks, and the guest would help him or herself to the food. This kind of open-ended hospitality still exists in some places, more commonly in southern Taiwan. My Tainan homestay father used to say to me that good friends needed “no booking”; guests came by for cups of tea, snacks, or a meal at pretty much any time of the day or night and were always warmly welcomed. There was always enough food on the table, but if for any reason there wasn't, the local markets or shops were just a short scooter ride away. But this open-door hospitality is becoming less common. The issue seems to be that most Taiwanese live in cramped accommodations, and worry about bringing visitors into their cluttered inner sanctum. And conversely, if they happen to live in opulence, they may be less likely to entertain as they are often wary of letting people into their homes. There was a series of high-profile kidnappings in the 1990s targeting the families of people who had been public about their wealth, so wealthy families try to be low-key, at least as far as their families are concerned. Thus, these days most people opt to entertain at restaurants, especially ones that have private rooms. When visiting a friend, whatever time of day, your hosts will never let you go hungry. Hospitality (人情味, rénqíngwèi) runs deep with most Taiwanese, and there will likely be an overabundance of food. Accordingly, it would be unlikely that your hosts would let you bring a dish as you would at a “pot luck” in the West. They might even feel taken aback if you intend to bring something, because the expectation is that the host will provide everything. This, however, does not mean you cannot bring food or other gifts. Indeed, it is best not to arrive empty handed. Aim, however, for food that can be consumed later or that complements what the host will serve without it in any way indicating the host's offerings lack in any way. Fruit is always popular, especially when presented in gift boxes. A box of rose-scented lychees, export-quality mangoes, fat orange persimmons, or orbs of nashi pears are appropriate. Or,


alternatively, a bag of gourmet fo o d, s u c h a s a re g i o n a l s p e c i a l t y or health food, is a nice gift. And I know few people who would refuse a beautifully boxed cake from one of Taiwan's many bakeries. Pineapple or honey cakes are also acceptable gifts, although perhaps less exciting because they are an oft-chosen choice. Chocolates are a less common gift in Taiwan, partly because older people usually find them too sweet. But tastes are changing, and the younger urban generation is gaining a distinct taste for high quality cocoa. We often present a pair of Australian red wines if we are visiting someone. Red wine is prized for its health-giving properties (it is believed to help improve the blood). It is more usual to give bottles in pairs because it is more auspicious, but whether one or two bottles, try to find a nice bag to put the gift in. Sometimes we give a pretty floral arrangement, such as an orchid or boxed arrangement, especially if we know that the hostess likes flowers. Finally, don't be surprised if your hosts present you with a gift at the end of the meal. In Taiwanese culture, the host likely considers your visit an honor that signals the next stage in a long-term friendship. There is no need to try to thank your hosts for their hospitality immediately; you will have plenty of opportunity to reciprocate over the course of your developing friendship. Ask Taiwanxifu is a question and answer column by Serina Huang, a writer who runs the p opular w w ( Ta iw a n da ughter-in-la w) culture a nd lifestyle blog. Serina writes about Taiwan 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

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Exploring Common Questions about Raising Bilingual Children TexT: ChrisTina ahn image: JusTine O’neil


o t t o o l o n g a g o, t h e r e was a much talked about list making the rounds o n Fa c e b o o k a n d o t h e r s o c i a l m e d i a w i t h t h e t i t l e “28 Reasons to Love Taipei.” As a mom of a multilingual child and a scholar of language learning, I eagerly read through the list hoping to find “Mandarin Chinese” as one of the reasons to love living in Taiwan. While learning Chinese unfortunately did not make the list, I think most parents raising young children would agree that the exposure to and the ability to learn Mandarin Chinese with ease is one of the greatest benefits of being in Taiwan. As the recent shift of economic and geopolitical powers has led to the perception of Mandarin Chinese as a language of “power,” many parents all over the world have made it a laudable goal to provide their children with the opportunity to learn Chinese, whether they are living in a Chinese-speaking community or not. Research indicates that an estimated half of the world’s children grow up exposed to two or more languages because they live in bilingual homes or communities, but the concept of bilingualism and dual language learning is still often misunderstood and causes confusion for parents and practitioners alike, due to the large number of conflicting st u d i e s t h at o f te n m i s g u i d e a n d misinform us. This article will explore some of the key questions parents often have about raising bilingual children. Does bilingualism enhance intelligence? The notion of being bilingual has become somewhat of a badge of intellectual superiority for some, as results from limited studies have been


interpreted and overstated by the popular press in recent years. While there are definite advantages in being bilingual, research sug gests that these advantages exist only in very specific and targeted areas, and that our understanding of this vast area of inquiry is still far from complete. There is evidence to suggest that bilingual children show enhanced metalinguistic awareness (awareness of their own language use) and cognitive processing, a n d t h e r e f o re b i l i n g u a l i s m m a y contribute to the strengthening of some specific cognitive skills for some children, but it should not be viewed as an overall indicator of a higher level of intelligence or as a predictor of advanced academic performance. Does bilingualism cause language delay and/or language confusion? Despite popular parenting literature frequently citing that acquisition of two languages may result in "language delay," there is no scientific e v i d e n c e t h at l i n k s b i l i n g u a l i s m to language delay of any sort. In fact, research suggests that many children throughout the world grow up with two or more languages from infancy without showing any signs of language delays or disorder and that monolingual and bilingual children meet major language developmental milestones at similar times. Another piece of popular advice given to parents suggests that any language delay or confusion could be avoided by using the one-parent,

one-language approach to bilingual child rearing, in which each caregiver uses only one language with the child, and parents refrain from using two languages in the same conversation. There is evidence that this approach can be effective in promoting active competence in two languages, but it can also result in passive bilingualism in which children understand both languages but speak only the majority language. This approach is one of many options for raising bilingual children, but parents do not need to fear language confusion if they opt for another approach, such as using only the minority language in the home or using both languages in the same contexts. Rather than focusing on who speaks which language when, parents should be most concerned about the total amount of exposure to both languages in a wide variety of contexts in order to ensure balanced bilingualism in their children. Often, when children start to learn a new language, they start to mix the languages and this causes undue concern for parents. Studies indicate that the ability to switch back and forth between languages, sometimes called code-switching, is a sign of mastery of two linguistic systems, not a sign of language confusion, and that children as young as two are able to codeswitch in socially appropriate ways. Many normally developing bilingual children mix their two languages, with the type and amount of code-switching depending on environmental factors,

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such as how much the parents or wider community engage in code-switching. Is it OK to use mobile devices/apps to supplement second language learning? In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid the temptation of using mobile devices and other technology media to enhance our children’s learning, and language learning is no exception. While using TV and other media such as Chinese learning apps to supplement our children’s Chinese language abilities is an attractive option, it is important to understand that some activities are more effective than others in promoting second language acquisition and bilingualism. Researchers have found that live interaction (e.g. reading or talking to a child) is more effective than exposure to recorded sounds (e.g. television or apps). Other studies have found that, for older children, being read aloud to in the second language increases second language vocabulary much more than watching television in that language. In sum, while audio and video materials can serve as a positive and entertaining source of support for language learning, human interaction is the best method for fostering both first and second language development. However, as rapid technological advances allow for the development of more sophisticated apps capable of monitoring and assessing language learning in our children, these devices are quickly gaining acceptance by parents, educators, and institutions as instrumental tools for learning, and even those in the field of early childhood education, who have been known to be cautious about technology use, increasingly acknowledge that integrating mobile technologies in learning can promote the social, linguistic, and cognitive development of young children if used in developmentally appropriate ways. Raising bilingual children and ensuring a balanced level of exposure to more than one language is challenging, but given the wealth of resources in Taiwan, our children are in an advantageous position to not only get exposure to but also become fully immersed in multiple languages. What is most important is consistency and the amount of exposure in different contexts both in and outside the home environment. Christina Ahn is a mom and a do ctoral candidate at the University of Hong Kong. She i s c u r re n t l y c o m p le t i n g h e r doctoral degree in educational psychology at the University of Hong Kong while living and raising her trilingual daughter in Taipei with her husband. She has previously lived in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and the US. She can be contacted at MAY 2014

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Top Destinations for your Do your kids crave a little adventure in their city lives? Well, spring is your chance to do some exploring before the weather turns sweltering hot. So hurry up, grab a map and a water bottle, and get outside! Check out one of these great day trips — guaranteed 100% kid-friendly, but only if your child is the adventurous type! TExT: ruTh POuLsEN IMAgEs: www.MILkTEADIArIEs.BLOgsPOT.COM

#3 Long Dong


Now, you may have seen the Queen’s Head rock at Yehliu, but have you gone a bit farther south to the seaside park of Long Dong? The official hike at the top of the cliffs has a lovely view of the ocean, but what the kids will love is going off the beaten trail. Go down by the elementary school and walk along the bottom of the cliffs. Soon you’ll have to hop from boulder to boulder, but keep going — the best places to climb around are about half a kilometer in. There are cliffs for serious rock climbers at Long Dong — some of the best in Taiwan, I’ve read — but for those of us with kids, the real draw is the bouldering. Bring a picnic lunch and let the kids clamber around. From the ocean spray to the hundreds of crabs, it’s unforgettable.

If bouldering is a little too risky for your style, why not try family camp? When we went to Camp Taiwan, we were amazed and pleased at the professionalism and safety standards — so while you’ll be trying things that feel really scary, the biggest danger is probably the traffic on the way up to the camp. The adventure activities include a giant swing, archery, and much more, but my daughters’ favorite was definitely the climbing wall. You can also send your kids there for a week in the summer, but be sure to book early — the sessions fill up fast!

#2 Camp Taiwan

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#1 Taroko Gorge There’s a reason the guide books always devote a whole chapter to Taroko Gorge — it’s simply stunning. If your kids like adventure, then don’t miss this national park. But beware: don’t go during any Taiwanese national holidays, or you will be sharing narrow cliffside roads with more tour buses than you can count. Though there are plenty of long hikes, I suggest the short Tunnel of Nine Turns as a kid-friendly jaunt. You can see the fabulous drops to the river, and younger kids will enjoy wearing the hard hats they give out at the entrance. I also recommend the Wenshan Hot Springs for a break from the walking. You’ll have to watch the map closely since there wasn’t any sign visible from the road the last time we were there. The scalding hot water comes right out of the rock into the freezing cold river. There’s a rough pool that has been built, where the waters mix together to create ponds of various temperatures. Keep a hold of younger kids’ hands so they don’t step into the rushing river, but if you’re up for an adventure, this is totally worth the hundreds of steps you’ll have to climb to get back to the road afterwards. So whether rivers, bouldering, or climbing harnesses are your thing, there are plenty of exciting memories to share with your kids in Taiwan. Now go have an adventure!

Ruth Poulsen is a lifelong exp atriate 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 fiv e years exploring Taiwan with her family. You can find many more expat family adventures at MAY 2014

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Beaches, Banana Boats, and Basalt

Penghu’s many islands are a tropical paradise of white sand beaches, crystal clear seas, geological formations, and much more. Erick Kish introduces this beautiful National Scenic Area.

TexT: erick kish images: henry WesTheim



enghu’s beautiful white sand beaches are its main claim to fame, but there are countless natural wonders to explore and things to do in this National Scenic Area of almost 100 islands and islets. I recently visited Penghu with some friends on a Taiwan Tourism Bureau tour. We had a great time exploring the main islands of Magong, Baisha, and Xiyu and taking a boat tour to Pengpeng Beach and some of the North Sea area. One of our first stops was the beach to check out what all the buzz was about. Aimen Beach on the southern coast of Magong Island has something for everyone, with plenty of luxuriously soft sand to curl your toes in on this seemingly endless 3 kilometer-long beach. At the southern end is the main tourist area near a breakwater that protects a swimming and water activity basin. The beach here has plenty of soft sand, sand volleyball courts, a BBQ area, picnic tables, parking, and — most important on a hot summer day — a beer shack! The swimming area has beautiful clear water with a shallow area extending far out from the beach,

perfect for families with kids. Many visitors enjoy rides on banana boats and other water activities: banana boats and popular tourist beaches go hand in hand in Penghu. The middle part of Aimen Beach near Lintou Park is an excellent spot with less of a crowd. Lintou Park is a peaceful area shaded by a sighing forest of whistling pine trees. Nestled in this woodland sanctuary next to the beach is a nice café, a comfortable refuge from the sun where we enjoyed a tasty lunch and cold drinks. White sand, emerald sea The most famous beach in Penghu is Baishawei — the Jibei islet sand spit, a kilometer-long tongue of white sand lapping at the emerald sea. A short ferry ride from the North Sea Visitor Center on Baisha Island, Jibei islet is a great day trip. Scooters are available for rent at the port, and a nice coastal road makes it easy to explore. An overnight stay is possible with options like the Down-Home Bed and Breakfast. There are scores of beautiful beaches scattered among the islands of Penghu.

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Taking to the sea to explore, we set sail on a three-hour tour aboard the S.S. Minnow…just kidding. We didn’t find Gilligan’s Island, but our brave skipper did land us on Pengpeng Beach, a beautiful sandbar of white sand and crushed coral just off the northeast coast of Baisha Island. This is a fantastic beach with soft sand and crystal clear water. There were water activities available including — you guessed it — banana boats. This sandbar formed in the past twenty years and is known as “Living Dragon Beach” because the shape shifts around due to the sea

currents and weather. Our boat tour included a visit to an “aqua farm” near Yuangbeiyu islet. Guests were really excited to touch and hold fascinating sea creatures such as skate, puffer fish, and horseshoe crab. This looked like a fun and interesting experience for families with kids. Rock FoRmationS and Rugged coaStline P e n g h u’s a m a z i n g b a s a l t r o c k fo r m at i o n s a n d r u g ge d co a st l i n e present a variety of striking landscapes awaiting exploration. The islands

The Islands of Taiwan by richard Saunders Kinmen, Matsu, Lanyu, Lyudao...The outlying i s l a n d s o f Ta i w a n o f f e r a n extraordinary combination of t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u re , s o m e o f Taiwan's finest old architecture, and beautiful natural scenery, yet most of them are still an unknown quantity to both locals and foreign visitors alike. The Islands of Taiwan by Richard Saunders is the first and only Englishlanguage guide book devoted to these endlessly fascinating yet often overlooked corners of the ROC. The book features in-depth coverage of more than thirty islands, including detailed information on culture and history as well as sights and attractions, plus recommended food and accommodation options. MAY 2014

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of Penghu were formed by ancient v o l c a n i c a c t i v i t y, a n d t h e b a s a l t formations and geological landscape took shape some ten million years ago. There are many columnar basalt formations, often huge walls or cliffs o f h exa go n a l co l u m n s. G e o p a r ks and viewing areas showcase popular basalt formations, and many other interesting basalt formations are scattered throughout the islands. Some basalt formations are best viewed by boat tour, and there are several worldclass formations on small islands that have been designated Basalt Nature Preserves. Whale Cave and the cliffs of Xiaomenyu islet were my favorite geological excursion. Xiaomenyu islet is located across a short bridge from Xiyu island’s northern tip. We started our exploration from Xiaomen Geology Gallery, which is a nice facility with an information center, informative displays and exhibits, and restrooms. The walk to Whale Cave was easy and only took a few minutes along the paved trail that runs along the coastline. Whale Cave is a huge basalt arch formation that looks like a whale — to some people. I suppose that interpreting

Erick Kish teaches at Ming Chuan University (www.TaiwanTraveler. org ) and is the Alaska Trade Representative in Taiwan (www.


what geological formations resemble is just like beauty — it’s all in the eye of the beholder. This short walk got us warmed up and we continued on the trail to the east to do some exploring. New vistas opened before us around each turn of the trail, with the black mosaics of the basalt cliffs and the crashing surf framed by the wide expanse of green and blue sea dotted by rocks, reefs, and islets. The Daguoye Columnar Basalt viewing area on Xiyu Island offered the best opportunity to see a columnar basalt formation up close. After a short walk uphill from the road we were standing at the base of the formation. We stood like a band of hardy dwarves staring up in awe at an ancient castle wall towering above us. These mighty basalt columns look like stacks of huge stone blocks precisely laid down by the ancient builders of the Pyramids or Machu Picchu. The Kuibishan Geopark features a tiny islet reached by a narrow causeway that only appears at low tide. We had fun clambering around the basalt cliffs on this islet and exploring the intertidal pools. Make sure you get back

across before high tide comes and the causeway disappears! Urban Exploring From our base at the comfortable Hai Yue Hotel in Magong City we did some urban exploring. On the city walking tour we found Zhongyang Old Street and the Four Eyed Well. We were looking forward to seeing the Tianhou Temple, built in 1592, but it was under renovation. The Rainbow Bridge park area is a great place to visit to try to catch the sunset. The Guanyin Temple here is a historical site rebuilt in 1891. We had a nice stroll around the park area, along the sea wall, and across the bridge. Up on top of Rainbow Bridge the wind was gusting so strongly that you could imagine it carrying you away. This was a good reminder of why April to September is the best time to visit, when the winds are calmer — unless you like to windsurf, of course. O f f i c i a l w e b s i t e: h t t p : // w w w. Down-Home Bead and Breakfast:

Henry Westheim, a professional photographer from New York City, has been living in Taiwan for 16+ years. A partial list of where Henry’s photos have been published, and/or who they’ve been published by includes Condé Nast Traveler, Discovery,, Forbes Traveler, Financial Times, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, National Geographic, Technology Review, and Washington Post. Henry can be reached at henry@asiaphotoconnection. com and through his website,

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coffee corner

Gabee TexT & ImAgeS: AlY COOpeR


first went to Gabee over a year ago with my coffee cohort in crime, Neev. She had seen an article about Gabee in a local paper, which at the time was touting their specialty coffee that included pop rocks and grapes. Naturally this is the drink I had to order. Surveying my facial expression after my first sip, Neev exclaimed how much she loves those things in coffee, and proceeded to switch her yummy iced concoction for my pop rocks. THAT is the act of an amazing friend. Feeling nostalgic and knowing that Gabee does in fact serve a good product if I choose not to go off-the-rails crazy, I decided to indulge yet again. Gabee is a fun, lively, bright café, with an entry and rear both comprised of windows, which allows a lot of natural light to stream in. The accent wall to the left is painted a rich chocolaty brown with visually appealing, stark white, geometric shelving, peppered with Gabee products for sale. The wall to the right features the same shelving in chocolate brown and is loaded with mugs, shot glasses, coffee products and various paraphernalia. The barista counter takes precedence, running nearly the entire length of the café, with additional seating at the counter should you choose. Additional seating is also available as you continue to walk toward the back of the café, with glass doors leading to a separate room. Looking past the slight product push and selfpromotion, the feel of Gabee is very 70s Mod to me, with their color choices, oversized white globe light fixtures and white rounded stools at the counter. I took a seat over to my right, which boasted a number of tables with the choice of bench or chair seating. Sitting upon the bench at my marble-looking, two-top table, I proceeded to observe my coffee options. Imagine my delight upon opening the menu and discovering it was a pop-up menu! How fun! (It’s the little things people!) Catching my breath at the vast number of latte options, I decided on the coconut latte. This decision was clinched when the waitress indicated that I could choose which type of coffee I wanted. As far as I could understand the first option seemed to be a stronger roast with chocolaty flavor while the second was a bit sour with flowery notes…kind of a no-brainer, my friends. It’s always about the chocolate for me. SO, perhaps a nod to my favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Samoa, or perhaps because I wanted something flavorful, or

because I’m just downright CRAZY, I went out on a limb with the coconut latte (NT$170) as my choice. The latte came out quite quickly, which always makes me a tad anxious. Shouldn’t a stellar product take more time, be drawn out, causing the consumer to anticipate the eventual taste of greatness? The answer is … no… at least not in this case. Had I initially eschewed the pop rocks a year and a half ago, I would have written about Gabee sooner. Why? The latte arrived, and upon the first sip I was sucked into its light, delicate, creamy, and everything-you-want-a-latte-to-be goodness. This latte offered the perfect balance of foam, milk, and coffee, with just the subtlest taste of coconut pulling through with each sip. The coconut’s desire was not to be the star of the show, but to be the supporting actor. Let me assure you, to the coconut goes the Oscar. In reading some reviews online, there were grumblings about the noise level and the coffee machine. Um…I suppose I could see how that would perhaps annoy some. When I arrived it was not crowded at all; however, as more people started pouring in, the din got a bit louder, and the shop seemed to echo a bit. While some cafés offer more peace and quiet, more intimacy, I find slightly louder cafés (with, yes, coffee grinders and latte machines buzzing) to be energetic and lively, inspiring you not to hush, but to laugh, have a good time, enjoy the company you’re with without fear of being frowned upon. Really, it’s what having coffee with friends is all about, and I can assure you that if that’s what you’re looking for, Gabee is the place for you. The coffee menu was extensive, offering hot and iced varieties with everything from an espresso grappa to a hot mint café latte or an iced melon café latte. No complaints here. Both hot and iced versions range from NT$100 – NT$200.

Gabee Address: 21, Lane 113, Mínshēng East Rd, Section 3 (台北市民生東路三段113巷21號) Phone: (02) 2713 8772 Open: Monday – Friday: 12 pm – 11 pm, Weekends: 10 am - 11 pm 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 MAY 2014

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expat perspective

EATING DISORDERS: Dying To Be Thin Eating disorders are now prevalent enough that most people are familiar with the common characteristics of anorexia and bulimia nervosa, but were you aware that these disorders are among the most deadly mental illnesses? Do you know what these disorders actually look like, physically and mentally? In this two-part feature Leat Ahrony shares the story of her personal struggle with anorexia nervosa and gives us an insider’s look into the thought life of someone struggling with the disorder. Next, Community Services Center counselor Wendy Evans provides a professional perspective on eating disorders and their symptoms, so that we can better recognize the signs in ourselves and others.

Anorexia: My Story TexT: LeaT ahrony



norexia. This beastly disease is not uncommon and is gaining more attention in the media, but ever yone has a different story. When people ask me how I learned to cook so well, I say I closely observed my parents in the kitchen during my childhood, but I stopped cooking and eating when I went through my traumatic experience with anorexia eight years ago. Some double lock their experience in a secret box and never want to pull it out again. Some live with it till they are buried deep in their graves. I’m choosing to speak about the struggles, challenges, and the fear of it coming back.

parents may be, they do not have total control over what their child is doing or thinking. Every day was a drag for me. I detested everything about my school: the teaching and grading system; the rooftop drumming from pounding raindrops; the blue-striped, collared uniforms; and the uncomfortable blue knee-cut skirts. I was mentally obsessed. My school uniform that came out of the dryer "fresh and clean" was perceived by me as "dirty and evil." I knew this wasn't a normal reaction or way of thinking, but I closed one eye and told myself it was just a pet peeve of mine. But it was more than a pet peeve — much more.

Early Childhood They say unpleasant childhoods spark unfortunate events. I learned the hard way that this is not always true. My childhood was filled with love, care, attention, and multiculturalism, but when I fell into depression at the age of 12, I began to mentally and physically abuse myself. An average teenager spends more time at school than they do at home, so no matter how loving and caring

dEprEssion and dEgradation At the age of 12, I was a lonely child. My brother, who was one year away from graduating high school, barely paid any attention to me. He was never home; he was always at school, hanging out with friends, playing video games, or clubbing downtown. My parents were extremely busy with the family business, but they did not neglect me. However, they missed the cues. I knew I would receive hugs and kisses from

my parents every day when I came home. But despite the warmth and love from my Jewish parents, I was already spiraling downward. Unless someone caught me at that moment, there was nothing stopping me from sinking to the bottom. I fe l l i n t o d e p r e s s i o n a n d fe l t vulnerable. I did not enjoy my school, peers, teachers, and did anything possible to escape it. I made the "I feel sick today" excuses to my parents and exhausted my school absence allowance. Every day was a shade of dull grey, and eventually my world turned black. Everything went from positive to negative. I felt helpless, hopeless, and then I found something I knew I could take full control of: my body. I devoted all my physical and mental energy to exercising. The gym became my obsession, and the mirror was my glimmering reward after a workout. I stopped myself from eating food, and went to the gym two to three times a day for one-hour cardio workouts, each time with some weightlifting. I wanted to be skinny, to attain a great shape, because I felt it was the only satisfying reward

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left in my life. I had a weight loss goal in mind, and the number never stopped decreasing. I cut out desserts, carbohydrates, juices, and drinks. I ate less than 500 calories a day. It was a vicious cycle of restrictive eating. hiding inSecuRitieS I tried to hide it for more than five months, lying to my parents saying I was going to the park or doing an errand when I was actually working off calories in the gym. I felt in control of my body and felt proud to be able to see my skeletal structure through my thin layer of pale skin. But what I repeatedly saw in the mirror was the distorted truth. I saw an "overweight" and "imperfect" body. My goal was to attain the “p er fec t ” body, and it was hard for people to pick up signs because I suppressed all of my emotions and feelings. I layered up to make my outer appearance look seminormal. I lost my passion, courage, soul, and self-confidence. It is difficult to explain how you end up spending thousands of calories your body doesn't have, but yet you keep going because your brain tells your legs to keep going. Anorexia is a mentally tiring disease to battle with. mental lethaRgY you are not skinny enough, not perfect enough. One more hour in the gym. Two more hours. Three more hours… One more lap around the school track. you are not burning enough calories. you can't eat lunch today. This has too many calories. you need to portion your food sizes. you are fat, and you cannot eat. you are not hungry. you don't need food. Don't Eat. Where did I end up? I literally began weighing my food behind my parents' back. I weighed my dinner by putting a few leafy greens on the scale, and occasionally a few miniscule tofu cubes. If I was one milligram over, I panicked. With poor nutrition, my grades and concentration in class plummeted. When I felt hungry and wanted to eat food, I was pulled back and slapped with a whip by Anorexia, telling me my body did not need it, and that I

couldn't fail at my goal of attaining a perfect body. I was constantly hungry, but never let myself give in because it meant setting myself up for failure. I turned into a skeletal being who lost all her emotions, and knew the only way to feel in control was through excessive exercise and starvation. the Final Fall The school bell rang, and I ran towards the school gates, but I tripped on a tile. The next thing I knew, I was down on the ground on my face, barely able to lift my fragile body up. When the nurse saw me, she called my parents. "Do you know your daughter has barely any body fat left?" My parents took a close look at me, and realized they were not looking at the daughter they raised. My face was pale, and my weak and thin bird legs hung over the nurse’s bed. It was time. My parents took away the only control and possession I had in my life. RecoveRY Road "If you do not start eating well and gaining weight, we will hospitalize you," said the doctor in Yang Ming hospital. In a span of six months, I had lost almost 20 kilograms. "I want you to come back in one week to go over your blood test results, and I hope to see some increased weight by then. If you keep losing weight, we will need to feed you through a tube." The image of this terrified me, and I knew then, I had hit rock bottom. My parents encouraged me. They prepared my meals, and followed the doctor's instructions. I was forced to eat two eggs every day for seven months. I refused to eat deep-fried or junk food, and still eliminated any unnatural sugar items. "I want to gain weight, I promise!" I cried out to my parents, “But I want to do it the healthy way." By my eighth recovery month, I was back to normal weight, had gained back muscle strength, and was close to being relatively sane again. Altogether recovery took two years of counseling and prescribed medication. The only way one can begin the road to recovery is admitting you are sick and need help. the little voice Anorexia never goes away completely. Almost ten years later,

the voice is still there, pushing me to be perfect in everything I do, and always comparing myself to others. I suppress my emotions, afraid to show any sign of weakness. Fortunately, I maintain healthy eating habits, perform moderate exercise, and do not count calories. I often try to encourage myself by asking, "What strengths, talents, and skills do you have that others don't?" I learned to accept life itself is a roller coaster, with high and low moments, rainy and sunny days, exciting and mournful events. I taught myself to see things in brighter colors rather than only in black and white. why did it happen to me? It's a question victims often ask. My mother still feels guilty today, feeling it was partly her fault, but it wasn’t. My childhood was filled with love and care. Unhappiness stuck me in a web of depression and pushed me to the bottom, but it is the past, and I have to focus on the present and future. I h aven't rel a ps ed s i n c e t h i s happened, eight years ago, but I am aware that another depression in my life will likely bring it back. I value having a close social support network, because when you have people who care about you, they will notice signs of a potential relapse. I am not going to define beauty because I don't know how to. I believe everyone is unique, and beauty is meaningless and empty. Every day should be a celebration to encourage yourself and the people a ro u n d yo u. S u p p o r t a n d l o ve i s what we all need. If you make it to perfection, that is great, but I learned life is not about being perfect.

L e a t A h ro n y is a business undergraduate student at the University of Victoria (UVic) in Canada. She began her journali sm career in high school writing for the Centered on Taipei magazine. She has a weekly online column for the UVic newspaper, The 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. MAY 2014

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Recognizing the Signs of Anorexia and Bulimia TExT: wENDy EvANs


norexia and bulimia nervosa are two eating disorders that trouble millions of p e o p l e. T h ey a re u n i q u e i n t h at t h ey a re t h e o n l y m e nta l health disorders that bring about physical symptoms that can be fatal (due to the impact they have on the heart). Binging and purging of food, co m m o n i n b u l i m i a n e r vo s a, ca n lead to electrolyte imbalances that can cause irregular heartbeats, and possibly cardiac arrest. Anorexia can cause a gradual weakening of the heart, potentially leading to heart failure. In fact, according to one study, those with anorexia are 18 times more likely to die early than those not affected. Females are predominantly prone to anorexia and bulimia; women and girls make up more than 90% of people with anorexia and more than 80% of those with bulimia. There are aspects of today’s society that make women more prone to eating disorders. One of the greatest contributors is the fact that many women portrayed i n a d v e r t i s e m e n t s, fa s h i o n, a n d entertainment themselves qualify for a diagnosis of anorexia; Rader Programs, an eating disorder treatment center, claims that a majority of runway models are anorexic, weighing 23% less than the average female. The prevalence of touched-up anorexic images nudges many girls and young women toward eating disorders. Both men and women today put pressure on females to have bodies that attract positive attention. Sadly, popular images of beauty often involve unhealthy body weight. In order to help those who are afflicted with eating disorders, each of us should be more aware of the symptoms. The earlier an eating disorder is diagnosed, the more hope


there is for that person. Behaviors characteristic of anorexia include: 1. Preoccupation with food and dieting: This includes obsessively reading food labels, counting ca l o r i e s, we i g h i n g fo o d, etc. Whereas such behaviors may also be part of balanced weight management programs like Weight Watchers, a telltale sign of an eating disorder is that the person becomes anxious if she does not perform these practices. 2. Refusal to eat cer tain foods: This is more than just the average “I’m trying to stay away from j u n k f o o d . ” R a t h e r, w h e n a person struggling with anorexia encounters certain foods, she may become vehemently stubborn or visibly anxious about the prospect of eating it. What you see as an innocent-looking chocolate looks like a loaded weapon to her. 3. Anxiety about gaining weight or being overweight: There is resistance to maintaining a body weight that is within even the lower range of expected weight. Such fears often result in a person weighing themselves at least daily, if not multiple times per day. What is a healthy weight range? Please see this site for a calculator: 4. Withdrawal from friends and a c t i v i t i e s: This phenomenon is usually more pronounced in someone with anorexia. As the force of this disorder becomes stronger in an individual’s life, she typically becomes increasingly isolated, with much of her thought life revolving around food. This may seem ironic, given that the

person with anorexia is seeking to avoid food and lose weight; however, as a person’s weight drops below the healthy range, their body craves being fed. The hungry body then forces the mind to think about food. 5. Distorted body image: Although she might be unhealthily thin, she can still look in the mirror and see someone fat looking back at her. She will ask others if she looks fat, which may appear to be a ridiculous question. These words are not being said for attention, but rather reflect fear and a skewed visual perspective. 6. L a c k o f m e n s t r u a l p e r i o d : Abnormally low body fat causes a girl or woman to stop having her menstrual periods. This condition also predisposes a woman to osteoporosis (brittle bones) later in life. 7. Ignoring hunger: After repeatedly denying hunger, one can lose conscious awareness of hunger. Nevertheless, the body’s physical hunger can become unbearable and lead to eating in a way that breaks one of her self-imposed r u l e s. S h e m i g h t fe e l o u t o f control because she had two slices of bread instead of just one. These physical cravings for food can lead to overeating or binge eating. Feelings of guilt can then overwhelm the afflicted person. In order to restore a sense of control, she might over-exercise, skip meals, or purge. At a point like this, a person can transition from anorexic to bulimic behaviors. Behaviors characteristic of bulimia include: 1. Binge eating large amounts of

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food: Even though such eating is often done in secret, family members or roommates might n o t i c e t h e d i s a p p e a ra n c e o f large amounts of food in a short period of time, or find lots of food wrappers and empty containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food. 2. P u r g i n g a f t e r e a t i n g l a r g e amounts of food: Examples of purging are self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, and laxative use. All three of these methods of purging can damage one’s body. Self-induced vomiting can inflame and even rupture the esophagus (the passageway between the mouth and the stomach). Frequent vomiting can also lead to tooth decay and discoloration of teeth as a result of stomach acids that are released (dentists are often able to notice this). Excessive exercise can lead to chronic injuries that people suffer from for years. This is especially true since many

people with an eating disorder will insist on exercising despite being injured. Laxative use can lead to chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation. 3. Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area: The salivary glands become swollen as a result of frequent vomiting. 4. Scratches or calluses on the back of one’s hand: The back of the hand can be scratched by one’s teeth while inducing vomiting. Eating disorders are very serious conditions that are on the rise in cultures around the world. Research shows that an increased exposure to Western media brings an increased incidence of eating disorders. In spite of the onslaught of unhealthy images, together we can make a difference in our community to combat these disorders by increasing our awareness of the warning signs discussed above. If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please reach out to our caring and professional counselors at

the Community Services Center. Early detection, counseling, and treatment can prevent the devastating and longlasting damage that eating disorders cause. Don’t let yourself or someone you love… die to be thin.

Wendy Evans, one of the therapists at the Community Services Center, is a Certified C o u n s e lo r a s w e l l as a Registered Dietitian with more than twent y year s of experience in working with weight management and eating disorders. In addition to working with these issues she offers help to people struggling with various issues including couples’ relationships, depression, anxiet y, parenting, substance abuse, and crosscultural adjustment.

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

Developing Cross-Cultural Sensitivity It’s Not Just for First-Time Culture-Crossers! TexT & Image: Jane Wang

Last month, we launched a series on cross-cultural training, starting with misconceptions. The first misconception to be debunked was that cross-cultural trainers advise on culturally appropriate behavior. Crosscultural training programs in fact focus on the values and beliefs underlying behavior and involve interactive conversations with participants to understand the values and beliefs of both participants and host cultures. This month, we debunk a second misconception about cross-cultural training — that it’s only for first-timers. Veteran culture-crossers, this one’s for you!


A PERSONAL ANECDOTE When I arrived in Tokyo on the international product marketing team at Hitachi, I brought with me all the bravado of a 25-year-old American. It was my first time working abroad, my first job out of graduate school, and the first “real” resume-building job of my budding career in marketing. The stakes were high, and I was determined to do well. Compensating for inexperience were youthful enthusiasm and a confidence borne of innocence. As a young Asian female, I knew I might face challenges in the traditionally more hierarchical, male-dominated environment of a Japanese company. My defenses were up. I refused to be dismissed as a Taiwanese female (whom I imagined to be even lower on the totem pole than a Japanese female), nor underestimated because of my age. I would not yield and become yet another Japanese. I was not serving anyone tea. No, not I. MAY 2014

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Hear Jane Wang speak at the Center’s May Special Topic Coffee Morning!

Crossing Cultures, Repatriation, and the Third-Culture-Kid Experience

Thursday, May 8 10:30 am – 12:00 pm Jane Wang will be giving an informative talk on the cross-cultural experience, with a special focus on the unique experiences of repatriation and of third-culture kids. How is reverse culture shock different from culture shock? How is growing up cross-culturally as a third-culture kid (TCK) different from crossing cultures as an adult? By better understanding these perspectives you may be able to ease the transition for you and your family.

Instead, as the only non-Japanese on a global marketing team, I took it as my mandate and mission to make our team more globally minded. As it turned out, my interpretation of “global” meant “American” in practice. I would assert my opinions, I would be proactive, and despite being the youngest and most junior member of the team, I would treat everyone respectfully as equals and expect the same respect in return. What I didn’t realize was that what constituted respect in Japanese culture was completely different from notions of respect in the US. If only I’d undergone some cross-cultural training first. Suffice it to say, I stepped on a few toes and injured a few egos in my first six months there. Fortunately for me, I had strong backing from senior executives at Hitachi who supported me in shaking things up. Eventually, I learned to smooth my American edges and even perform Japanese courtesies like serving people at dinner or holding the elevator open for guests. Yet if I had learned earlier that I could behave in a Japanese style without losing my cultural identity, I would have been more effective in my work and saved everyone some culture shock. It hadn’t mattered that I’d grown up straddling the cultures of Taiwan and the US, that my family relocated often, nor that I’d studied Japanese since college. I prided myself on being cosmopolitan and therefore thought my way was right. The irony was that I hadn’t displayed the cultural sensitivity of a true cosmopolitan — I was still behaving according to my own cultural norms, without making adjustments for a different culture. developing inteRcultuRal SenSitivitY To my relief, I later learned that intercultural sensitivity is not natural for us humans, according to foremost intercultural expert Milton Bennett. No matter how many cultures we’ve crossed in our lives, we humans want to stay secure in our own way of seeing the world and ourselves. Rubbing against

difference is uncomfortable because it can make us question our very identities — so we maintain our security by rejecting difference. B e n n e t t i l l u s t ra t e s t h i s h u m a n t e n d e n c y i n h i s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), one of the most useful frameworks I’ve come across in my crosscultural training work. The model consists of six stages: in the first three (denial, defense, and minimization) a person is ethnocentric, choosing behavior based on one’s own cultural norms; in the advanced three stages (acceptance, adaptation, and integration) one is ethnorelative, able to choose behavior based on the specific cultural context. Even the most multicultural people move up and down the stages of development depending on which behaviors or perceptions are being challenged. However many cultures we’ve crossed, intercultural sensitivity has to be consciously developed, each and every time we rub against different ways of seeing and behaving. In fact, I’ve found in my cross-cultural training work that the more experienced culture-crossers tend to value the program even more than first-timers. It’s precisely because they have already experienced those jarring cultural differences that result in misunderstanding, simply because people come from different perspectives and are at different stages in developing intercultural awareness. Experienced culture-crossers find the programs a valuable opportunity to process their experiences, learn about different styles, and discover new ways to enhance connection and communication across difference. Crossing cultures is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day exercise in self-reflection and intentional understanding of others. Whether a veteran culture-crosser or a first-timer, we’ve all knitted together a tapestry of how we view the world based on our experiences, and it can be tough to set aside, and even harder to behave in a completely different style. Yet for all the trouble, the rewards are invaluable — true connection across difference. If only my 25-year-old self knew what I know now!

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 Taipei, Jane worked in global marketing and strategic alliance management in Tokyo and New York. She obtained her Master’s degree in International Affairs from The 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 graduate from the International Coach Academy (ICA) in June 2014. Jane is fluent in English and Mandarin and proficient in Japanese.


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Photography in Places of Worship TExT & IMAgE: CrAIg FErgusON


s you travel one thing you will come across time and time again is religion. No matter where in the world you find yourself, there will be somebody praying not far away. Whether it’s a massive religious pilgrimage festival or private prayers in a place of worship, sooner or later it’s a subject that the travel photographer will be attracted to. First and foremost, respect is the name of the game when photographing in places of worship. This cannot be emphasized enough. More important than coming away with good pictures is coming away not having caused offense to the people and religion you are photographing. Regardless of whether or not you are religious yourself, or whether you have any preconceived ideas about a particular faith, mosques, churches, and temples are not theme parks and you should behave accordingly. Act with respect and don’t disturb people. Switch YouR cameRa to Silent One of the first things I do when I’m heading into a religious structure is switch my camera onto silent mode. It’s not completely silent, but it is a lot quieter than the normal mode and much more suitable for use within a house of worship. Not every camera has this mode, so check your camera manual to find out if yours does and make a point of using it if possible.

ReSeaRch There’s a lot you can do in advance to better prepare yourself for photographing p raye rs a n d wo rs h i p. D o some advance reading about the religion so you are not going in completely unaware, and find out whether there are any restrictions on photography or camera equipment. You may often find that certain areas are off-limits, or that flash photography and use of tripods is prohibited. In a lot of places, there will be a priest or some other kind of official present who can explain any restrictions to you before you enter. dReSS appRopRiatelY You may also run into dress restrictions or, if not outright restrictions, there may be articles of clothing that are inappropriate. It may be that hats cannot be worn or that you must wear some head covering. Shorts and short skirts or dresses may be prohibited. When I’m exploring a new city or country I generally make it a rule to always wear long pants, especially if I think there’s any chance that I’ll be entering any kind of religious site. be patient and obSeRvant Once you’ve entered the site, take

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!


it slow. Sit and observe, soak in the atmosphere. Rushing in and sticking your camera in somebody’s face is a sure-fire way to cause offense. Being patient, staying quiet, and keeping in the background is both more respectful and will reward you with better photographs. Pay attention to the way people move. In certain Buddhist temples, for example, people move around the temple in a clockwise direction, so if you’re in a place that does this, then do likewise. Certain times of day may be busier than others. These are often good times to photograph, as the crowds make you less noticeable. Also, certain places are marketed as tourist sites. These are good places to start off in, as they are used to and tolerant of camera-wielding tourists and photographers.

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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cSc buSineSS claSSiFied beautY




haiR dReSSeR

#14 Tienmu E. Road


| Telephone 2871-1515 |

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Centered on Taipei May Issue  
Centered on Taipei May Issue