Yesterday I attended the first day of the 2011 Hohaiyan Music Festival (海洋音樂祭) at Fulong Beach. The festival, organised by the New Taipei City (formerly Taipei County) Government, has been running since 2000. The festival has two stages with the main stage on Fulong Beach. There are also food stalls and toilets set up on the beach and a huge staff to keep things running smoothly.
When I arrived on the beach I saw members of the No Nukes group (諾怒客) handing out posters and talking to people. It is a reminder that just a few kilometres away from this beautiful beach the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is under construction. Continue reading
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.
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
On 25 December this year Taipei County will be upgraded to a special municipality. The Chinese-language name of the new municipality will be Xīnběi Shì (新北市). About a month ago I sent an e-mail to Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei enquiring about the official English name of the new municipality but received no reply. A story in today’s Taipei Times provides some answers though.
According to the article Yang Yi-te (楊義德), the Commissioner of Taipei County’s Department of Civil Affairs , said the County Government chose “Xinbei City” as the official name because “New Taipei City” would be too similar to Taipei City.
The Taipei Times also reported on a group of Tongyong Pinyin advocates protesting against the use of the Hanyu Pinyin “Xinbei”. Chang Shu-feng (張淑芬), director of Taiwan Pinyin League, said the government should use “Sinbei City” or “New Taipei City” as the English name. The article also says a final decision on the English name of the city will be made by the Taipei County Council in September. Continue reading
On Saturday the Amis community of Sanying (三鶯部落) in Sanxia held its end of year celebration. The event attracted a crowd of about 500 people which was more than last year’s event. The community had also undergone a lot rebuilding after its demolition in February 2008.
The afternoon began with dancing by members of Sanying and also the nearby riverside community of Saowac. As the evening approached the dancing ended and there was a generously catered meal enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Continue reading
The streets of Taipei came alive this afternoon with the vibrant, noisy and colorful Hope Parade (世界夢想嘉年華). The parade is an annual event organised by the Dream Community (夢想社區) in Xizhi (汐止), Taipei County.
The parade began at Freedom Square before a short march through the streets to Ketagalan Boulevard. After arriving on the boulevard in the late afternoon there was a stage set up with a concert going on into the evening.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was on hand to start off the parade and rode on one of the floats for part of the parade. Continue reading
When I got off the train in Fulong (福隆) yesterday afternoon there was a bit of cloud cover and a sea breeze making the temperature a little more bearable than in Taipei. While many people come to Fulong to cool off at the beach I headed to the area in front of the Dongxing Temple (東興宮) for the No Nukes Concert (諾努客之環境音樂會).
An article by T.C. Chang explains the reasons for holding the concert. Chang writes that Gongliao is a very important place in the history of Taiwan’s environment movement. In 2000 the Taipei County Government began holding the Ho Hai Yan Music Festival (海洋音樂祭) on Fulong Beach. In the early years of this annual festival the Green Citizens’ Action Alliance (GCAA; 綠色公民行動聯盟) held activities to inform people about the nuclear power plant. However, Ho Hai Yan has become very commercialised the GCAA decided to hold their own concert to return to the original spirit of Gongliao.
The fourth nuclear power plant is clearly visible at the end of the beach (see top photo) and served as a constant reminder of the reason for holding the concert. The construction of the plant has been subject to many delays and it is not expected to commence operating until 2012. Continue reading
The Taiwan Free Burma Network held a concert in Zhonghe last night to mark the birthday of Burmese democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The concert called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma. A Free Burma CD featuring music by Taiwanese artists was also released at the concert.
The concert in Zhonghe’s No. 4 Park kicked off with the Taiwan hip hop sounds of Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤). They gave a typically energetic performance and included shouts of “Free Burma” in some of their songs. Continue reading
Lonely Planet author Robert Kelly has written a great article about Taiwan’s tourism potential in the latest Taiwan Journal. He notes the increasing number of tourists to Taiwan, mainly from Asia. He also points out that niche tourism such as hiking and bird watching is attracting more visitors.
Another interesting article, from Reuters correspondent Ralph Jennings, reports on the promotion of bicycle tourism on the east coast. It is a good example of the things Kelly writes about being put into action.
Kelly concludes his article by noting that there is still room for improvement in promoting Taiwan to Westerners.
the 2008-09 report states that international travel bloggers will be invited to Taiwan to write about its attractions. Yet Taiwan already has many dedicated and highly informed foreign bloggers. On their own, these people are getting the word out about Taiwan’s appeal to thousands. Harnessing their enthusiasm, and giving them a little official boost, can only help to spread the message even further.
It is an important point because the English language websites and web based promotion of the tourist industry is often poorly done. As far as I know there have never been any attempt by the Tourism Bureau to engage with local English-language bloggers. Kelly’s own blog, Pashan, does a far better job than any government website for promoting hiking in Taiwan. The same could be said for a number of other Taiwan bloggers who communicate their passion for the island through writing and photos on their blogs.