More election campaign posters

The five cities election (五都選舉) will be held on Saturday 27 November. As a follow up to my previous post on election campaign posters in Taichung I want to post a few more photos that I have taken over the past few months in various places. More photos can also be found in the “Five Cities” Election Campaign Posters gallery at my Taiwan photo gallery site.

Taichung goes global - Hu poster

Jason Hu (胡志強), Taichung Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is using the slogan “Taichung goes global.” I’m not sure which train he’s riding. It’s definitely not the Taichung MRT!

Poster for Su Jia-chyuan in Taichung

Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate for Mayor of Greater Taichung, is putting out the message that he can do things that Jason Hu has failed to do. Continue reading

Raining and rocking in Taichung

Panai & Nabu at Rock in Taichung

Saturday was something of a washout in Taichung. Heavy rains for most of the afternoon limited my attendance at the first day of Rock in Taichung (搖滾台中樂團節) to just one performance. Although the rain kept the crowds down there were still plenty of young people out enjoying the free festival in Taichung’s Wenxin Park.

I saw Panai and her husband Nabu, two indigenous musicians from Taitung, perform a great set on one of the festival’s smaller stages. During the set Panai spoke out against the plans for a nuclear waste dump in Taitung County. Many music festivals shy away from musicians with a political message. It was good that people like Panai had a chance to speak out about important issues.

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Election campaign posters in Taichung

Taichung election campaign posters

Although the “five cities” elections (五都選舉) are still more than three months away, billboards promoting election candidates have been in place for many months. Over the last few months I have been photographing some of the billboards around Taichung. Some of the photos with comments are included in this blog post. A larger collection can be found in the “Five Cities” Election Campaign Posters gallery at my Taiwan photo gallery site. Although the focus is on Taichung I hope I will get the chance to add some photos from other cities in Taiwan before the elections are held.

Most of the posters tend to have a pretty simple design. There is a large photo of the candidate occasionally adopting poses such as the raised fist.  There are usually only a few words describing the candidate such as their party and the position they are running for. This is also often accompanied by words such as “hard-working”, “capable” and “honest” indicating the candidate’s qualities and also the phrase “earnestly requesting your vote”. A few posters do vary from this theme and get a little bit more creative though. Continue reading

Photowalking in Taichung

Amis girls in three-legged race

I had a busy day yesterday taking photos around Taichung. The day began at an Aboriginal Cultural Festival organised by the Taichung City Government. The event featured some traditional dancing as well as some fun activities like the three-legged race pictured above and a tug-of-war. There was also a good range of aboriginal style food on offer — plenty of assorted meats on the BBQ and some fresh fruits like grapes and peaches grown in the mountains.

Amis women in a line dance

The colorful clothing of the Amis makes for great photos. I have a complete set of photos from this event at flickr.  Continue reading

Families of murder victims speak at forum in Taichung

Speakers from Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights in Taichung

Four members of the organisation Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) from the United States spoke at a forum in Taichung last night. They talked of their experiences as victims of murder and violent crime and how they came to be activists against the death penalty. It is a common assumption that the families of murder victims would all support the death penalty. However, the speakers showed that this is a false assumption and they all sought to affirm the importance of human rights and the value of human life.

Aba Gayle began by speaking about her personal experience following the murder of her 19 year old daughter Catherine. For eight years following Catherine’s murder Gayle she experienced what she called “eight years of darkness.” She was consumed with anger. Gayle said anger is a normal part of the grieving process but many families become stuck in it.

Eventually Gayle began a process of healing through practice of meditation and study of the world’s wisdom traditions. She went on to write a letter to Douglas Mickey, the man who murdered Catherine. In the moment of sending the letter all the feelings of anger were gone and she felt peace, love and joy, she said. She then went to visit Mickey in prison and resolved to become an advocate for the men on death row. Continue reading

Photowalking around Tunghai University

Art Street in Taichung

On Saturday I met up with Mark, Todd and Darren at Art Street (藝術街) in Taichung for a photowalk. Art Street is Taichung’s attempt at creating a European style walking street. I don’t think the street has quite realised the original vision, but it is an interesting neighbourhood nonetheless. A lot of the interesting stuff is actually located in the alleys and nearby streets rather than the street itself. The street was a bit quiet on Saturday morning. If you want to check it out then I suggest visiting in the afternoon or evening.

Tunghai University campus

After spending some time in Art Street we walked across to the much busier market area just above Tunghai University (東海大學). After having lunch there we walked down to the campus of Tunghai University. The campus has a lot of trees and sprawls out over a hill that looks down on Taichung City. It is a very pleasant place to walk around. The Luce Chapel which I mentioned in an earlier blog post is a notable piece of architecture. A new place I discovered was the No. 43 Studio, a small gallery featuring exhibitions by students. Continue reading

Completed my Master’s, now in Taichung

I recently completed my Master’s thesis, about two and half years after I began studying for a Master’s degree in Taiwan Studies at NCCU (國立政治大學). Although I still have a few administrative matters to complete before I can get my degree certificate. My thesis is titled “Indigenous Rights in Taiwan and the Smangus Case”. It examines the Smangus Beech Tree Incident which I have written about in a number of articles on this blog.

I moved to Taichung this week. After more than five years living in Taipei I look forward to experiencing life in another part of Taiwan. I am now a research assistant in the Research Centre for Austronesian Peoples at Providence University (靜宜大學). It is a good chance to continue doing research work in the same field as my thesis.

Travels in Central Taiwan

After the first day of the Lunar New Year passed uneventfully I joined the mass exodus from Taipei to places further south. I met a friend at Taipei Station a little before 9:00 am and we were able to purchase a ticket to Taichung on the High Speed train for 11:00 am that day. There were no tickets for unreserved carriages being sold during the holiday period. The journey was fast and smooth and the sun started shining about ten minutes before we reached Taichung HSR Station.

lugang-mazu-temple-crowd

The old street of Lugang was pulling in the crowds — it was busy but not overwhelmingly so. The town’s main Mazu Temple (天后宮) was also a busy place and you can see the crowds making their New Year wishes above.

lugang-wenwu-temple

The Wenwu Temple (文武廟) was relatively free of people. The open grounds of the temple made it very nice to walk around and its buildings have been carefully restored. Continue reading