My parents visit Taiwan

Mum and Dad at Hotel One

My parents have just spent the past week in Taiwan. This was their second visit to Taiwan following their first visit in 2008. The week long visit was just enough time to see a few of Taiwan’s highlights.

Fengjia night market in Taichung

The first day was spent relaxing and enjoying some of the good things in Taichung. We drank Taichung’s best coffee at Orsir. Then we had lunch at Hotel One with a great view of the city. In the evening we visited the Fengjia Night Market. Thankfully it wasn’t too busy and crowded on a Monday night. Continue reading

Visit to two 228 museums in Taipei

Relief in the Taipei 228 Museum

The Taipei 228 Memorial Museum (台北二二八紀念館) reopened in February this year after being closed for almost a year for renovations. The reopening created some controversy over how the new exhibits interpreted the events of 228. On Sunday I went to visit the museum to see for myself how it had changed.

I had visited the museum about five times since my first visit in 2007 so I had a good understanding of the previous layout and content of the exhibits. The first thing I found on arriving was that the audio guide, which was previously available in English and several other languages, was not available. The staff said that it wasn’t ready yet and did not know when it would become available. All the exhibits are described in Chinese characters with only a small amount of English and Japanese. Continue reading

Voices in the Clouds: a search for identity and belonging

Voices in the Clouds posterVoices in the Clouds (眾族同聲) had its Taiwan premiere at the closing of the Urban Nomad Film Festival in Taipei on Sunday night. The documentary is a moving and personal story of a man’s search for identity and belonging.

Tony Coolidge was born in Taiwan, but moved to the United States of America with his mother and step-father at a young age. While growing up in the USA his mother kept details of her life in Taiwan hidden. She encouraged her children to speak English so they could fit in. A year after his mother passed away from cancer Tony returned to Taiwan to meet his mother’s family. Only then did he discover that his family were indigenous people belonging to the Atayal group.

After making this discovery Tony returned to Taiwan again several years later along with his younger brother and Taiwanese wife to further explore his roots and connections with Taiwan’s indigenous people. His journey of self-discovery takes him into indigenous communities around Taiwan. Continue reading

Morning tea with Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen speaks to foreign community

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) spoke to a group of foreign residents in Taipei yesterday morning. She first spent some time outlining her vision for Taiwan before taking questions from the floor.  Tsai is currently on leave from her position as chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as she competes in the party’s primary for the presidential nomination. The primary will be decided by opinion polls conducted in the next few days with the announcement of the result expected on 4 May. Continue reading

Writers and bloggers to speak at Book Fest

The Taiwan Book Fest will take place at Alleycat’s Pizza Restaurant at the Huashan Creative Park in Taipei City this weekend. The event is “a celebration of English-language fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on books about Taiwan.” It includes talks and discussions with Taiwan-based writers and a book exchange. There will also be new and second-hand books for sale.

Some well known Taiwan bloggers including Scott Sommers, Steven Crook, Jerome Keating, Craig Ferguson and Carrie Kellenberger will be speaking at the event. I am running a discussion on “Blogging and Citizen Journalism” at 4pm on Saturday 23 April. I welcome anyone who is interested to join the discussion and share their ideas.

When: 1:00-6:00pm Saturday & Sunday 23-24 April 2011
Where: Alleycat’s Pizza Restaurant, Huashan Creative Park (華山創意文化園區), No.1 Bade Road, Section 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段一號)
Website: http://taiwanbookfest.com
Entry: free!!

Hagay community protests against impacts of Baling Dam

Hagay community protests outside Executive Yuan

Members of the Atayal community of Hagay (哈凱部落) protested outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei today. They called on the government to provide permanent housing to replace the temporary housing they have been living in for ten years. They also called on the government to take responsibility for the impacts of the construction of the Baling Dam in the catchment of the Shimen Reservoir.

The Hagay community originally lived in a remote location in Fuxing Township of Taoyuan County (桃園縣復興鄉). About twenty years ago the community decided to move to a new location near the Baling Bridge (巴陵橋) on the Northern Cross Island Highway to make it easier for the children to get to school. Continue reading