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  • Hsieh Tung-min’s former residence, Ershui Township (謝東閔故居,二水)

    Hsieh Tung-min’s former residence, Ershui Township (謝東閔故居,二水)

      Today is the 68th anniversary of the 228 Incident, a dark chapter in Taiwan’s history. I thought I’d post something on Hsieh Tung-min (謝東閔), a former governor and vice-president of Taiwan under President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). Because of his background and one defining incident in his life, he is an interesting figure when it comes [...]

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  • Getting my goat

    Getting my goat

    There seem to be few ram/sheep/goat-related New Year idioms and puns in Chinese. The best-known, I think, is sān yáng kāi tài (三陽開泰), which welcomes in the spring and prosperity for the year. It uses the yáng (陽) character from the Taoist yin-yang (陰陽) concept (that half black, half white Chinese symbol to my people back home) [...]

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  • The 228 Accident (in need of assistance)

    The 228 Accident (in need of assistance)

    A mate of mine forwarded this bit of comic genius to me yesterday. As you can see from the header, it’s from the Hsinchu City Government Foreigner Assistance Center. Lord knows what the benighted denizens of said metropolis would do without these thoughtful souls to guide them. A purveyor of education, my friend was agog [...]

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  • About bloody time

    About bloody time

    At long last, Taiwan’s legislature has amended the horrendously archaic laws concerning immigrants with HIV. As reported in today’s Taipei Times, following these long overdue changes to th HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act (人類免疫缺乏病毒傳染防治及感染者權益保障條例), people will no longer be banned from entering the country or summarily booted out if it’s discovered that [...]

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  • Burkinabè Need Friends of all Stripes

    Burkinabè Need Friends of all Stripes

    My latest Taipei Times op-ed, with Viviane Bayala. With President Blaise Compaoré and his ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDC) party swept from power at the end of last month, Burkina Faso found itself on the front pages of newspapers around the world. The West African nation seldom makes the headlines.   Burkina Faso [...]

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  • The Orphan of Argentina: Interview with Ignacio Huang

    The Orphan of Argentina: Interview with Ignacio Huang

      I interviewed Taiwan-born actor Ignacio Huang in Buenos Aires in late June. Here is the original of my piece that appeared in today’s Taipei Times. After starring in one of Argentina’s highest-grossing films in recent years, Taiwan-born Ignacio Huang struggles with typecasting, identity issues and institutional racism. The mezzanine at Bar Imperial in Buenos [...]

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  • Salt, Stodge and Sarapatel: Getting Stuffed in Salvador de Bahia

    Salt, Stodge and Sarapatel: Getting Stuffed in Salvador de Bahia

    Never one to miss a trick, my son Herbie was immensely tickled at the name of the first airline we used in Latin American: LAN. “Felix would love it,” he said of his little brother who, much to my regret, I could not afford to bring along on this six-week trip. Herbie was referring to [...]

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  • Cariocans regain their swagger

    Cariocans regain their swagger

    Taipei Times ran a short feature I wrote on the atmosphere in Rio for Brazil’s World Cup quarterfinal with Colombia ahead of the semifinal clash with Germany on Wednesday. They made a complete balls up of the intro. so it now basically makes no sense. They also changed all kinds of things for no apparent [...]

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  • Barra Beach Beats

    Barra Beach Beats

    This is our fourth and final Day in Salvador da Bahia, the old capital of Brazil. I’m glad we made the choice to stay in the historic centre of Pelourinho. For all its seediness and decrepitude, it gives the traveller a taste a the real Brazil. It’s touristy but edgy, broken but charming, dirty and [...]

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  • At the Tomb of the Wild Bull

    At the Tomb of the Wild Bull

    Boxers don’t know they’re born these days. When I was a lad, they got knocked out before breakfast and still fought another 90 rounds with a broken jaw and one arm tied behind their back. Take Luis Angel Firpo, for example. Nicknamed the “Wild Bull of the Pampas,” this Argentine heavyweight was knocked down nine [...]

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