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  • Of Taiwanese Tolerance

    Of Taiwanese Tolerance

    One of the things that makes Taiwan a great country to live and raise a family in is the remarkable tolerance that is shown toward diverging opinions, particularly in the face of provocation. I’m speaking of all aspects of society here, though what I really is have in mind is politics. As I wrote that [...]

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  • Swollen Like a Shady Magistrate: Chowing Down Burmese Style

    Swollen Like a Shady Magistrate: Chowing Down Burmese Style

    U Po Kyin, the diabolical antagonist of George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days is described as a man “so fat that for years he had not risen from his chair without help”. Frequently beset by pangs of hunger, he gorges on “a huge bowl of rice and a dozen plates containing curries, dried prawns and sliced [...]

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  • Rebel yell: Curriculum protesters shouldn’t drown out other voices

    Rebel yell: Curriculum protesters shouldn’t drown out other voices

    When Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) burned himself to death at the office of his outlawed Freedom Era Weekly in 1989, he became an instant martyr for the democratic cause. Not for the first time, the police had come to arrest him and shut down his operation. Even with the martial law period in its death throes, [...]

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  • Beginner’s Lluc: Majorcan Culture in the Heart of the Tramuntana

    Beginner’s Lluc: Majorcan Culture in the Heart of the Tramuntana

      “Whose heart does not find warmth in their mother’s house?” (Miguel Costa i Llobera)   When I started this blog in early 2010, I was advised to get things going by sticking up any material I might have lying around. I’d just got back from an enforced sabbatical in the UK, all in all [...]

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  • Sympathy for the Devil: Taipei Times Book Review

    Sympathy for the Devil: Taipei Times Book Review

    My review of Cambridge historian Barak Kushner’s book Men to Devils, Devils to Men from today’s Taipei Times (9/7/2015). A fascinating analysis of how competing visions of postwar justice shaped relations between Japan, China and Taiwan Early Saturday June 19, a group organized by Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society gathered on Lane 44, Jinshan South [...]

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  • Taiwan media owes Honduran ambassador a big apology

    Taiwan media owes Honduran ambassador a big apology

    Honduras Ambassador to Taiwan Rafael Sierra speaks at a press conference the day after he was involved in an accident with a scooter in Danshui on Sunday 17 May. Within the first few months of my two years at the now essentially defunct Taiwan News back in 2004, any slither of hope I may still [...]

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  • Opportunity Knocks: Nicaraguan director Jaime Zúñiga makes Taiwan debut with Venus in Fur

    Opportunity Knocks: Nicaraguan director Jaime Zúñiga makes Taiwan debut with Venus in Fur

    My Taipei Times piece (Friday, 15 May) on actor-director Jaime Zúñiga and his production of Venus in Fur running at Taipei National University of the Arts from 15-17 May.  All three performances are already sold out, though you might be able to grab a place on the floor if you show up early.   Jaime Zúñiga takes [...]

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  • Floyd Mayweather doesn’t frustrate me; boxing’s relentless greed does

    Floyd Mayweather doesn’t frustrate me; boxing’s relentless greed does

    When the decision was announced, the silence from the overwhelmingly Filipino crowd at the Farm House bar in Taipei’s “Combat Zone” said it all. There was some half-hearted, almost apologetic booing and, in a few cases, some wilful delusion. “It’s bullshit,” said a Pinoy named Dave, shaking his head. “He just ran away all the [...]

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  • From warzones to wailao (外勞): Taiwan’s qualifiers for World Cup 2018

    From warzones to wailao (外勞): Taiwan’s qualifiers for World Cup 2018

    While there’s next to no chance of Taiwan emerging from the second round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they could have done a fair bit worse in terms of the teams they drew in Group F. True, with a world ranking of joint-179th (out of 209 nations) with Cambodia, they are [...]

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  • Un Bataburillo de la Cocina Paraguaya

    Un Bataburillo de la Cocina Paraguaya

    There’s something satisfying about reduplication. Words like pell-mell, riffraff and whippersnapper just sound good. Johnson called them “low words.” Blackadder called him a “pompous ass with sweaty dewflaps.” Hodepodge is another good one and so is the Spanish equivalent batiburillo. The word suits Asunción, a city of jumbles. Passionate indolence. Teutonic Guarani-speaking Ladinos. Dark and dusty bookshops on hot [...]

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