Saturday, February 28, 2004

Today was a glorious day: sunny and warm but not too hot, perfect weather for strolling about outside.

On this day in 1947, aggrieved Taiwanese protested the KMT government for its corruption and failure to govern. In response, the KMT government launched a reign of terror, when between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed. The '2-28 Incident,' as this event is called today, decimated Taiwan's intellectual elite.

At noon on this day in 1980, masked assailants broke into the home of Lin Yi-hsiung. Lin Yi-hsiung was in jail at the time as a political prisoner for his role in the Kaohsiung Incident. His mother and twin 6-year-old daughters were stabbed to death. His eldest daughter managed to survive 6 stab wounds.

This morning, I attended an annual memorial service for the Lin family murders. It's moments like these that I realize how much some people have lost when they have stood up for what they believed in. I realize how privileged is my life, and how my daily concerns are trivial in comparison.

This afternoon, I joined hands with over a million other people forming an island-long human chain in the '228 Hand-in-Hand Rally', an event that honors the victims of KMT rule and focuses on Taiwan's relationship with China. The event is also expected to increase support for President Chen Shui-bian's re-election. An incredibly exciting, once-in-a-lifetime moment.

A celebration of peace, and of triumph over sorrow, marked by perfect weather. A glorious day, indeed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A blog entry about a blog entry. Henry Jenkins writes about how media changes cultural identities. Certainly, the internet (can't forget IM!) and cable television (if I'd only remember to turn on the TV when I go home) is a great help in keeping up with American news and culture, such as Carrie's and company's latest antics (well, one season behind), Janet's Super Bowl exposure, and the Dean-Kerry-Edwards excitement. I don't think it's possible, however, to fully live mentally in one culture while living physically in another...I am constantly shifting between multiple worlds, whether I'm spending time with local friends from the climbing gym, fellow Western-educated peers here (and that group is further sub-divided between ethnically Chinese and non-ethnic Chinese), and relatives.

As an expatriate, you're never really fully immersed in whatever culture you're physically present in. I feel removed as well, when I go back to the States.

Anyways, these are deep thoughts that I will have to ruminate on further.

Re-cap of the weekend: busy, but good. After tai qi on Friday, Evelyne and I went to see "Lost in Translation," a movie I quite liked, and coincidentally also about alienation abroad. My takeaway from the movie, however, is that I hope never to take for granted my loved ones.

Saturday night was delicious all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and dancing at Luxy in celebration of Adella's birthday. At one point, the DJ started playing some really old songs: "Baby Got Back," something from Mariah Carey, a little Duran Duran. I felt like I was reliving my middle school days. Although I also realized how far I've come since then. Now is much more pleasant, without all the bewilderment of adolesence. For one, I'm no longer self-concious about dancing, and just enjoy the music.

Perhaps I enjoyed a little too much, because I didn't have much sleep before getting up early Sunday morning to go rock climbing in Beitou. Still, a very enjoyable session, and I will have to upload photos soon. I always have such a good time outdoors with Karen, Bear, and Bo-ren. Jonathan, Sherwin, a mother and her daugher (both novice climbers), were welcome additions to our very merry party.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I was in much distress last night after a long two weeks and finding that my Zire 21 had hard reset itself...again. I lost a whole month's worth of data. I suppose I should've been more careful. I put my cell phone on top of it without thinking, which according to the online user bulletin boards, may be the cause for this. Still, this is some messed up hardware problem, and I'm not the only one who has it. It's unfortunate, I'd find the Zire 21 just about perfect otherwise.

So yeah, long day, already tired, and then I found out I had to re-build from the backup and try to re-create what I lost. At least today is Friday!

Monday, February 16, 2004

Taipei's cab drivers are holding a rally in the parking lot across the street. People are chanting and air horns are a' heart should be warmed by the sight of people practicing their political right, but at this point on a Monday morning, I think I'm going to put on my headphones and turn up the volume...

Saturday, February 14, 2004

A very quick entry while Eve gets ready for her big night on town...not going out tonight, as I have another CFA test prep class session tomorrow. I'm over at her place checking it out; she just moved in, and ironies of ironies, Sherwin is her new roomie.

Anyways, I've had a busy week at work, but I am definitely learning a lot. Today I had my first CFA test prep course, and I was quite pleased with myself as I had done a bit of studying beforehand. Jen said that today I was the kind of student she annoying in college: ahead of the teacher and asking questions about problems before other students. Trust me, though, this is *not* how I was in college, when always felt like I was in a fuzzy haze desperately trying to grasp the subjects. So a nice change of pace.

Saw Bowling for Columbine last Sunday, followed by an excellent brunch animated by intelligent conversation with four other talented and thoughtful women. A party sitting at an adjacent table apparently found our conversation more interesting than his dining companion's conversation.

I definitely want to write more about movie and some other deep thoughts on my mind, but that is an exercise that will take some time.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I used to dislike papaya, which had a far too pungent smell that would always make me nauseous. Recently, though, I've developed a fondness for it...actually, while on my trip to Thailand, where it was in the fruit medley one morning. Either the fruit has become milder (it does seem lighter in color now than in the summer) and sweeter, or my taste buds have the many other parts of me that have changed since moving to Asia...

Monday, February 02, 2004

More water rationing measures were announced in the Taipei Times last Friday. You wouldn't have guessed any measures existed at all, as the sidewalks in front of Warner Village were being hosed down on my walk to work Friday morning.

Thanks to Melissa, who forwarded this gem:
"he who has the most time to play with his toys and the most fun playing with them, wins."

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Thankfully the cold snap has finally broken. Sunshine and temperate temperatures at last!

Unfortunately, I was unable to make tai qi on Friday night because of a last-minute work project. I did manage to take Karen, Adella, and Evelyne (her first time!) to the climbing gym, where my solo climb for the evening was a most pretty and quick go over the overhang. Afterwards, Karen and I met up with Angela, Felix, and Mike to see "Seabiscuit," which was playing as part of a film series at Changchun Theater.

Saturday I got a hair cut, ran some errands, lolled around, had Indian food for dinner, and watched "Frida" (again, part of the same series at Changchun). Today has been more lolling about, errands, catching up on projects, and some studying. I still haven't sent my 2003 year-in-review email...and we're pushing well into the year of the monkey. Oh well.