Barrelled Thoughts #62 – Rainy City Sojourn

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The pattering of rain is a constant in Taipei, which in this time of year is plunged into a rare cool by intermittent cold fronts and northwesters. Raindrops striking the walls and windows of our small rental in Zhongshan District like a chorus of weather emit varying pitches as they fall from different heights, some echoing as they land on awnings before casually gliding off.

Treading carefully past quickly formed and near-invisible puddles on the busy streets, one instantly recognises the sights and smells of this rainy city, the Taiwanese capital, ruled by its made-up and dressed-up city folk.

Having not written anything for this blog in more than a year, I suppose I have our rowdy neighbours to thank for spurring me into action. Lying awake in bed at 4:40am, only imagining how we’re going to complain to the pair next door, the urge to write something suddenly hit me—not enough to make me get out of bed and start typing, mind.

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Photo of the Week – Jan 6, 2015


The Giant

Taiwan’s tallest building and national landmark deflects sunlight on a chilly mid-December day at the end of 2014. Officially opened December 31, 2004, Taipei 101 was a world-beater for six years until she was dethroned in 2010.

“Daunting” is how I would describe standing in the shadow of Taipei 101. The engineering feat that made the construction of this giant possible cannot be overstated as it dwarfs all who dare enter its lair. Happy 10 years. Here’s to another 10.

Barrelled Thoughts #47 – Defining the Moral Line: Domestic Violence in Chinese Culture

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last weekend I was asked to research a common topic in Chinese culture; one that is hushed, yet at the same time undergoing a revolution of sorts in the last decade: domestic violence.
My boss and mentor wanted to know why I thought Chinese media was so quick to publish raw, unadulterated images of domestic violence—particularly against children—depicting pixel after pixel of the bruised and battered. He told me that such images would never be allowed to go to press in the UK, leading to the logical question of whether it’s acceptable to publish such images just because the child is from abroad.
But why would someone want to publish gruesome pictures in the first place? He told me the following.
“My personal opinion is that domestic violence, whether it be against a wife or a child, is shocking, and if you constantly seek to keep the horror of it from people by deciding what they have a right to see and what not, then there is a risk of it being swept under the carpet and dismissed as something almost cavalier.
“Most of the time I tend to feel that if something is widely published abroad, that is where the law [to publish] applies, and the journalist’s role is to report on what’s happening without attempting to edit things for those that might be offended. However, if you start there, where do you stop? What is morally the correct approach to stories like this?”
His concerns mirror the ones I’ve heard recently after the widespread airing of U.S. journalist James Foley’s execution by ISIS Islamic radicals. Yes, it was a terrible ordeal; yes, a precious life was lost, but to what extent should the world be exposed to the images of truth?

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306km of Saturation: Two-wheeling Taiwan’s East Coast

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At the end of the term that served as the official tiebreaker between me and university life, I was invited by my good friend Judy to cycle the east coast of Taiwan.

Before I describe the unforgettable experience that has been the past six days, it’s best I point out that the furthest I had ever cycled in Taiwan (or indeed anywhere else in the world in the past decade) was about three or four city blocks on one of Taipei’s popular YouBikes.

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Prix Tang – Arnaud Campagne [FR]

Submitted: Friday, June 20, 2014

Editor’s note: The Salad Bowl’s variety exists not only in terms of its topics, but also its formats. Having spent the best part of my last four months at the Central News Agency in Taipei, news format has become a daily diet. With that said, I can’t think of a reason why this news piece – in French – should not be shared with our audience. – J. Feng

Préface: Si j’ai écrit cet article relatif au prix Tang, c’est d’abord grâce à une rencontre opportune avec l’auteur de ce blog pendant que je réalise un stage à la Central News Agency à Taiwan. J’ai par ce biais eu la chance de découvrir l’existence de ce prix récemment installé dont je n’avais jamais entendu parler. Une petite recherche internet sur me confirme que le public francophone n’a pas accès à beaucoup d’informations dessus. Ce qui me décide à écrire un article dessus en Français. Continue reading

The Rainbow Sheep of the Family pt. 2 – Anonymous [EN]

Submitted Monday, June 2, 2014

Editor’s note: Part two of the Rainbow Sheep series is as eye-opening as the first. As someone who doesn’t possess an adequate understanding of the LGBT community, it was engaging to read about different opinions that exist within the community itself. – J.S. Feng

Before coming to Taiwan, I was never very comfortable with my sexuality. I would only ever tell the closest of my friends. And even then I was hesitant.

I knew my friends loved me dearly for who I was, but there were always those few who were a little different. You would not believe the look of happiness and pride that was apparent on their faces when I did something that would mark me as being “straight,” like when I asked a girl to prom, and the look that ensued on the face of my—at the time—”best friend”. He and I are no longer in contact. Continue reading

時代、 故事與我的縮影 – 鍾鍾靈 [CN]

Submitted Friday, May 9, 2014

編輯留言:語言無所不在,而語言和思想總是緊緊相扣的,在閱讀鐘鐘靈寫的這篇文章時,不僅能透過文字的敘述去聆聽他的故事,還能觀察到這些文字背後所包含的文化與成長背景。身為中文編輯,在不影響讀者理解的前提之下,我選擇保留這些字詞,畢竟這是他的故事、他的語言。– 湯玉如
Editor’s note: Language is such an integral part of our daily lives, so much so that you could say that thought cannot exist without words. While reading Chung Chung-ling’s article, the words not only painted a panorama of his life, but they carried the weight of history and culture. As Chinese -language editor, I’ve chosen to reserve these words—word choices and usage that differ greatly from the Taiwanese Mandarin discourse—because these are his words, and this is, after all, his story. – J. Tang

前言 : 一個出生於台灣、熱愛歷史(目前就讀東吳歷史系)與Breaking靈魂(街舞的一種)集結於一身的男孩,父親為馬來西亞華人,母親為台灣原住民排灣族。雙元的背景有一度讓我苦惱,但卻也激盪出我不一樣的世界觀和看事情的角度。

一直以來,我都是一個愛說故事的人。首先感謝John讓我有這個機會向大家說有關於我的故事。故事說得好與壞,這靠得是說話的技巧和聽者有沒有興趣聆聽你所說的故事。我不確定我的故事好不好聽或有沒有趣,但請仔細閱讀,看你可不可以從中開拓出一些屬於你的故事呢?好,直接切入主題吧,其實說穿了,我要說的是就是關於我的身份的故事。The story begins… – 鍾鍾靈 Continue reading