Today is my first Taiwanese class at TLI. I am taking the class with my friend Hironobu, who is truly a lover of languages. Although I have some basic fluency with Taiwanese, I am looking forward to the day when I can really talk with Taiwan's taxi drivers-the true pulse of a society.
While working for TOPICS magazine at AmCham Taipei, I've discovered an affinity for journalism. I do worry about committing the sin of oversimplification, slathering stereotypes over nuance. For example, the November 2001 issue of Vanity Fair had a photo spread featuring Shakira, with an accompanying caption about how she escaped a "coastal village" as a youngster and with "Laundry Service," her first English-language album, she may be the Colombia's "greatest legal export." Joaquin and Mate were flaming: the coastal village is the 4th largest city in Colombia with a population of about 2 million, and Colombia is not only about cocaine.