Sunday, December 04, 2005

Deathnote 5 and other ramblings

I'm now on Volume 5 of Deathnote, the manga I started partly to improve my Chinese, and partly because I missed comic books from America. Anyway, I'm still hooked, we'll see what they do with the new and exciting plot twist. However, I've discovered that I can't go into a bookstore withouth being irresistably drawn to the Chinese classics and it really sucks because I don't have the ability to read them. There's nothing quite like the sensation of seeing books that you would like to read, but lack the ability to read. In the meantime, Deathnote has also really improved my reading vocabulary with the ability to recognize the words for agent, investigation, and killer. All these will do me a world of good if I ever choose to go to grad school I'm sure.

Anyway, there is something that has been rattling around in my (by now largely empty) mind. I read something where someone described JJ Lin as both shuai and handsome. Both of which I happen to disagree with, but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. His music is pretty good though. Anyway, I started thinking although supposedly those two words are the same, do they actually mean different things?

I do think that Taiwanese and American standards of beauty, particularly in men is quite different. And thinking about it, I guess I do think that shuai and handsome do have different meanings for me as well. This then led me to think about Nien and his obsession with diaoness and how diaoness, according to him is unique to Asia. He can really only communicate this to me with examples, Jay Chou, Takeshi Kaneshiro (I think), Andy Lau, Shawn Yue (maybe), and Wang Leehom. Also, I think that the terms keai and cute have very different meanings despite the fact that they are seen as translations of each other. The cult of keai is something that we really don't have in America and it only really applies to girls, children, and things. Whereas cute can be used in a number of different contexts in America.

Something else I've been thinking about is the characterization by a lot of Taiwanese men as effeminate. This is usually said by Western men and I still don't see it. I mean I don't even see how people can think that. Most Taiwanese men seem plenty masculine to me even to my mostly Western eyes. There's this subtle and more difficult to quantify racial element to this, I need to think more about it before I write it down, but the racial divide, I think is much easier to see here than it is in America.

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