Thursday, March 22, 2007

Of Egg Rolls, Vegetarianism and Fortune Cookies

Fortunately I haven't really had much in the way of digestion problems when it comes to Chinese food but I know many expats who do complain an awful lot about food poisoning, too much MSG and general cleanliness of street food (sitting in the sun all afternoon, with hair or cockroach legs in it or with scooter exhaust billowing over it).

Could they just be weak stomachs or picky eaters in general? I feel like a stoic compared to them.

Another thing occurred to me about foreign expectations of Chinese food. This occurs especially for newbies to Asia. Particularly they go looking for egg rolls or maybe fortune cookies in the restos here. Well, I hate to break it to you but these are a little different than you think.

Egg rolls can be found but are not to be eaten with every meal like a side dish. I find they are commonly found in vegetarian restaurants in the vegetarian variety. There are also vegetarian non-fried spring rolls too.

I find it amazing how many foreigners come to Taiwan and proclaim they are vegetarian. The percentage of vegetarians here compared to the general population back home is amazing. That being said, most of these vegetarians are probably vegetarian for health reasons while Taiwanese are mostly vegetarian for religious reasons. So don't expect to necessarily find all healthy vegetarian choices. In fact, at vegetarian restaurants, most food is fried to death!

Getting back to egg rolls, they can be found in the dessert variety as well, presenting in tin boxes like cookies on special occasions.

Speaking of cookies, we can't forget our fortune cookie. To this date, I have never seen one on the island. Let's hope it stays this way! If you want your fortune, you'll have to go to the local temple and take your chances with the fortune tellers there! Good luck to you!

CNN: Chinese Food Unhealthy - General Tso: Nonsense!

...and just who is General Tso anyhow??? And why has he declared war on Americans and their diet? Well you may know the 'famous' dish but do you know the man???'s_chicken

There is actually a kind of following of the General and some details of his exploits.

That's right! There's a war for the hearts and minds, and, more importantly, the stomachs, of the people of the world!

This CNN article/feature is bound to raise a few eyebrows then, maybe even for a few of expats living in Taiwan:
Chinese restaurants a nutritionist's nightmare, group says -

Do you agree with the conclusions/suggestions or are you in the camp questioning: then why are Chinese so damn thin?

Anyone have any comments about the Chinese diet?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Racism on the Rise in Taiwan? Naaaaa...

The newspapers reported recently about a group that sympathizes with Nazism in Taiwan. What's even more disturbing is that they seem to agree with the notion of superior race promoted by the Nazis.
Taipei Times - archives

Some might say that this is another example of rising racism and xenophobia in Taiwan. I'm not so sure. I've written about the fascination with Nazis and the swastika in Taiwan before.

And although this group seeking attention seems to be a bit more organized than the typical display of Nazi anything, they really do not have any broad support or any real chance of widespread success. They must be regarded as fringe.

At least they can try to start their party regardless of how horrible it sounds. Communists don't have this privilege.

I think this is just another fine example of how flirtation with Nazis, the swastika and nationalism themes pop up now and again in Taiwan with disastrous results.

Of course, blatantly wrong things like this should be pointed out as they are really embarrassing. Poor old Taiwan that should be trying to make as many international friends that it can rather than alienating them.

I include an infamous ad that appeared in Taiwan a few years ago. The Hitler cartoon is promoting the German superiority of a heater by proclaiming "Declare War on the Cold Front". It is interesting to note the reaction of the creator to the ad once she became aware of how offensive it was:

Huang Chong-jung, manager of the trading firm's marketing department, said that the campaign was never intended to show support for Hitler. The company merely decided to use him to emphasize that the heaters were made in Germany. `We thought it was just a comic picture,' Huang said."

A German in another situation says:
"Taxi drivers will often tell me Hitler was a great man, very strong"

This is the attitutude we're up against in Taiwan and perhaps in Asia in general...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Elton John Cafe is Still Standing (Yeah Yeah Yeah)

I am surprised that no one has used a flame-thrower on this baby, especially when thinking of the impression given by Elton John on his first (and last) visit to the island in 2004.

Cornered by the paparazzi at the airport, John blurted out:

“Rude, vile pigs!” a fuming Sir John yelled at the group as he went through customs and immigration. “Do you know what that means? Rude, vile pigs! That’s what all of you are!”

“Why don’t you get out of Taiwan?!” shouted back one of the paparazzi."

“We’d love to get out of Taiwan if it’s full of people like you! Pig! Pig!” John retorted.

Just a big misunderstanding. We think so.

Well, welcome to the Year of the Pig, Elton. Have a cup of Taiwanese coffee on the house!

(Do I feel my spider-sense tingling, informing me of imminent lawsuits coming this coffee house's way???),2933,133288,00.html

Sunday, March 11, 2007


[TOP] ROC forces dressed up in various apparel. So you wanna join now?

[BOTTOM] Some babes advertising for a local temple. You've got to appreciate that!
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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Nuts about Betelnut Beauties

Tobie Openshaw's photo exhibit opens in Taipei. Lots of media attention. Lots of talk about they are hard working girls just trying to make a living. Lots more talk about how the "photos look much brighter and detailed as large prints and make a much greater impact" if you go see the show. Interesting how 99.9% of the attendees of the show were male (just kidding!). And blah, blah blah, blah, blah it goes on...

Tobie, I'm going to say to you what everyone else is denying. We love you for taking the time and doing the leg work for what we (the men in Taiwan) have wanted to do for a long time: download some of those pictures of those hot babes close up to make wallpapers for our computer desktops and send them to our horny friends back home.

Cheers to Tobie for posting the pictures of the lovelies on his flickr page: (Don't fight it! You will be downloading those pics in one way, shape or form!)

Eat your heart out suckers back home! We've got hotness walking on the streets of Taiwan!

P.S. Not too suprised about National Geograhic turning down Tobie's documentary pitch. Don't worry Tobie, we know they're just a bunch of prudes. Maybe they'll spin off a soft core film company to cover these kinds of cases.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Fashion Spin Doctors

Models posing as Barbie dolls... imagine that!
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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Hooters Taipei... Oxymoron?

The food sucks but the girls are friendly and who the hell goes there for the food anyway?

I tell you one thing that you shouldn't miss is their hula hoop show which is worth the poor dining experience. The girls all work together and use several hula hoops at a time around the waist and even the neck. They even pass hula hoops to each other at the same time.

They're really good at it with those slim, fit, trim, bodies... uh... I mean their highly professional technique. If the hooters were any bigger, they might have a harder time doing the show!

I've got some pics lying around somewhere. I'll see if I can post some soon!
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Taiwan Attractions on Google Earth

Man, who takes the time to make this stuff?
Here's a great link to download Taiwan placemarks for Google Earth:

Courtesy of Taiwanease magazine!

Adopted Boy and Sell Out Boy

Not only a real adoptee (and upset by media reports of it) but also a "Son of Taiwan", Chien Ming Wang, pitcher for the Yankees is all the rage here in Taiwan.

First, about the adoption. The media found out that he is actually the son of his aunt and uncle and that he had been given to his parents. Not really a big deal in the Chinese world where the burden of kids are sometimes shared amongst relatives in this fashion. He's still considered blood, after all. An outside adoption might have been more of a shocker since Chinese usually frown on this.

Besides, his real adopted parents now are the Taiwanese who have put him up on the altar for the whole world to adore.

Not much of a spectacular performer, Wang has now lent his acting skills to selling just about anything in the Taiwanese universe from McDonalds to computers to financial services. Jesus! Sell out city! Well, enjoy your few years of fame while you can Wang. The here today, gone tomorrow trend is the norm for celebrities in Taiwan. We'll be wondering what ever happened to you a few years from now.
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Walking on the Monument

I wonder how many of these people (or their parents) walking on the CKS monument across the cordon were true Greens.

As part of the so-called rectification campaign, the DPP has proposed changing the nature of this structure and the grounds surrounding it (including demolishing the walls around the park) and renaming it Taiwan Democracy Hall.

Could it be that these people were jumping the gun in showing their democracy? Or were they just be Taiwanese, that is, breaking the rules because they could...

I just hope the art on the structure survives the onslaught of future walkers.
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Saturday, March 3, 2007

When Darkie becomes Darlie (for obvious reasons)

Say hello to pearly white teeth "Black Man Tooth Paste". Very commonly seen here in Taiwan, this toothpaste is somewhat of a throwback along the lines of Aunt Jemima syrup.

Bought by Colgate in 1985, "Colgate's arch-rival Procter & Gamble learned about the sale and immediately went to work to use it to their advantage. Both companies were releasing a tartar-control formula that year, and P&G was happy to have the opportunity to portray its rival as racist. It hired a public relations firm to surreptitiously slip information to activists and newspapers about Colgate's disreputable Asian brand."

In response to the outrage in the English speaking world, Colgate "announced that it was changing the name to Darlie and making the man on the package an abstraction of indeterminent race."

Ironically, what went unnoticed was that the Chinese name remained the same, "" '黑人牙膏' (in English, "Black Man Toothpaste"), has not changed; a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste"."

Not to be outdone another local brand has popped up with the label 'Whiteman Toothpaste' (I kid you not!). Perhaps some of you might be inspired to come up with a brand of toothpaste of your own: Mountain People Toothpaste? Sunburned Man Toothpaste? Intoxicated Man Toothpaste? Lily-White Girl Toothpaste? .... Come on! Chip in!

The Grand View makes for a difficult view

This line is actually a long painting. Due to proportion problems it flattens out to this on the Web.

I just wanted to tell you that time is running out to see the Grand View exhibit and the Ju Ware on view at the newly renovated Palace Museum.

Unfortunately some of the paintings are in very dimly lit rooms. Also, you'll have to fight large crowds visiting the museum lately. So basically it might be as annoying as having to view this awkward piece of art.
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Girl Typology

Do Taiwanese ladies fall into the same categories as Japanese ladies?

Here is a cartoon/diagram from TIME showing some general categories of women in Japan. What struck me was the similarities between them and ladies here.

Do you agree?
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Challenging Taiwanese Birds

"Even the biggest of birds can fit in our pants" reads the Pants King store banner.

Let's put it to the test.
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Borat Poster in MRT

Yeah! Ba-le-te is here!

Nice touch with the statuette. But will it be enough to get Taiwanese into the theaters to see it?

(Strange: It says it opens 3/23. I guess that's the right opening day.)
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Tokidoki captures the essence of Asians

All the Asian cuteness, all the Asian chic but 100% Italian. That's Tokidoki, an anime type of art now seen at Le Sportsac all over Asia.

It's actually kind of nifty stuff. Ok, ok I'm not going soft on you all...
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Lantern Festival is here

Two locations in Taipei:
a) lantern displays around CKS Memorial Hall
b) lantern tunnel on RenAi Rd. near the SYS Memorial and City Hall

Street Entertainment

Here was a freaky looking fella performing in Xi Men Ding.

I've noticed that street entertainers are really starting to happen here with musicians and sometimes even a little drama.

Around Warner Village (or whatever it's called now) you can see entertainers along the lines of what you can see in Barcelona, Spain on La Rambla.
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ARCHIVES: Brushes with Fame

I have to say that I've had a lot of chances to meet close up with celebrities in Taiwan. Here are a few pictures from the archives.

The top one is me with Yang Nai Wen, a gorgeous singer with a mature sense of music (for the Taiwan scene). Wu Bai once described her as the only singer that seriously threatened his bands status.
This is me shooting hoops with Jackie Wu and Liu Er Jin in Xi Men Ding. It's funny because I'm not that great at basketball. However, I did manage to shoot one basket after his entourage grabbed me and thrust me into the spotlight. I got a red enveloppe with a $1000 bill in it for my trouble.
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Sent to me by a student...

...and very typical of English mistakes in Taiwan.
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Friday, March 2, 2007

Variety is the Spice of Life

And thank God for variety in the world!

Where is Miss Taiwan? Oh well, Miss China will have to do...

(the original link is here: . Check out Miss Kazakhstan on the left . Suck on that Borat!)
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Borat Finally Makes It to Town

Borat has finally made it to Taiwan and Asia in general. Taiwan will open March 31. The big question is, will Asians get the humor?

I wrote a piece earlier about Borat which is a good backgrounder about lost in translation cases as well as explaining why it takes so long for these films to get to the island:

Can anyone take a picture of the Chinese version Borat poster and send it to me? I'm gonna go out and see if I can find it today...
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