Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thoughts possibly of no interest to anyone but myself

But I was thinking. As much as Asian Americans support Asian American entertainers aka Jin, Lyrics Born, are there really any others? They're never going to be "ours" in the same way as other rappers are African Americans.

Actually it always kind of annoyed me that on a certain track where Lyrics Born and Lateef are rapping, Lateef can refer to his ethnicity as black and Puerto Rican (I think) whereas Lyrics Born largely remains silent about his ethnicity, at least in his music. It's sort of hard to in public because he looks so Asian. But at the same time, why can't Lyrics Born talk about being Asian? Because it lacks some sort of requisite realness? Because being Asian isn't very cool? None of the above? When an African American rapper announces solidarity with his ethnicity, that's considered fairly ordinary? Why does saying you're proud of your Asian ethnicity then become kind of embarrassing? Possibly because your own community doesn't really at least in theory support your choice of profession? Perhaps it once again, as Nien says, all comes down to marketing.

However both him and Jin, and less famous people when asked about their ethnicity usually try to elide the issue by just saying that they write for everyone and want everyone to listen to them. Somehow, I feel like things should be different.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Names 2 and assorted other things

Here are a couple more names that I missed or forgot about it
I should clarify, the difference between Kens and Erics is that Kens are generally smart whereas Erics are overwhelmingly stupid. Although I did have one rather daft Ken, who was just completely and utterly hyper to the point that I just wanted to kill him. Also, I had one very smart Eric.

Ricks are smart but trouble. Andys and Wendys are lively and like to play games. Generally they're pretty intelligent. Allens are sort of solid and hardworking as are Lucys. Henrys and Harrys are all intelligent with different degrees of trouble.

Also, in my final junior high class on Saturday, two of them requested that I give them red envelopes (with money in it) for New Year. They found this much more amusing than I did.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Derek Kirk Kim's Healing Hands

So, as I've mentioned briefly before, I'm a fan of Derek Kirk Kim. And recently he's been updating his site with a new story every Monday through Friday, if you want to take a look,
the link is here

Thursday, January 19, 2006


ok, so here are a few things I've learned from teaching about kids.
Boys named Eric and Ken are bad.
Jasons according to everyone else are bad but mine have always been sort of weird but smart.
Jerrys goof off all the time.
Michaels are sweet but usually kind of daft.
Joyces are very sweet.
Vivians are always very quiet but generally smart.


So, in talking to Colin, he made a hilarious comment that the track suit uniforms that the junior high kids have to wear are really a method of birth control because no one will ever be sexy in a track suit. Although I'm not entirely sure if this was on the minds of the people that designed the uniforms, I do think that the track suits and other assorted uniforms do attempt to obsure as much of the body (particularly the female body) as possible. Perhaps to prevent distraction. And don't get me started on the colors. It's hard to take a fourteen year old boy seriously when he's wearing a lavender uniform. They're all pretty cheap and they're built to last. The elementary school uniforms are just glorified sweatsuits anyway.

Anyway, it is sort of interesting to see what school the kids are from. Also, one of my TAs taught me their system of school numbers which are sewn onto their uniforms. The elementary system is pretty simple, their grade number comes first, then their class number, then their number in the class. The junior high system is more complicated and I think involves the date that they entered the class. In senior high, the boys get their names monogrammed on their uniforms, while the girls still have numbers, apparently to protect them from unwanted male advances.

The rat race

It seems like people describe life in Taiwan much like life in America. It's really hard to find a job, and even when you find one it's really hard not to get fired. Therefore people in Taiwan work constantly. Many Taiwanese people seem to be under the impression that most Westerners are rather happy-go-lucky. However, I think most of us would only be happy-go-lucky in Taiwan. In America, people say more or less the same thing, no jobs, you have to work harder for less pay and sometimes no health insurance. I sort of wonder if there's a country where people don't say the exact same thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Spring Festival is coming

Soon there will be days off and also possibly day trips to places around Taipei. A couple random observations, one, Taiwanese channels play a large number of soft core porn movies at fairly early times at night. It seems a little weird on a channel that usually plays regular movies if rather violent ones. Also, little kids aren't awake but older kids sure are.

Also, I just got news that someone I knew at college was killed. I guess I'm not quite sure how to feel the right way about that.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

An observation

If three or more 14 year old boys sit together, no matter how intelligent they are, their intelligence goes down by about 1/3.


So, for various reasons, I'm leaving my job for a new one at a different school. For a while, I guess I just thought that it wouldn't happen, so the reality of the move hasn't really sunk in until now. I'll be giving up my favorite class K10-83, which makes me really sad, because that class is so great and possibly some of the others. I'm going to miss most of the kids a lot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

English names

Why do some countries or cultures feel like they have to have English names and why do some don't? It seems like everyone in Taiwan has an English name, regardless of whether they speak English or not. This may be sort of true in Mainland China, but I'm guessing that it's not as widespread as here. I'm not quite sure why this is. Surely not because Chinese names are too difficult, since Japan and Korean names are just as difficult, not to mention Indian names.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Well, I just saw the Narnia movie. I thought it was ok. Not particularly God related which was nice, although there were definitely unmistakeable references to Jesus's resurrection. The movie was beautiful to look at, and the actor who played the faun stole the show. The little girl who played Lucy was a definite improvement over the girl who played her in the PBS miniseries. They had the same hairstyle though. The rest of the kids were just ok. Susan was annoying which is ok since she was annoying in the book. Peter was serviceable. And Edmund was also ok. The talking animals were believeable as talking animals.

Tilda Swinton was less interesting than I thought she'd be. She wasn't in the movie that much and usually she seemed confined to dresses made out of chickenwire with fabric stretched over. It didn't look particularly good or cool. Also, there were a couple things that seemed ripped right out of the Lord of the Rings.

The one thing that I did have a problem with was the Disnification of the whole thing. When Aslan comes back to life (just like Jesus!) he remarks something to the effect of that if a pure person sacrifices himself in the place of the traitor, even death will be reversed. If Aslan knew that ahead of time, (that he would come back to life, and frankly he seemed a little smug about it) than his sacrifice doesn't really mean as much does it? Also, I remember the part where all the stone people were returned to life, but somehow it seemed way more saccharine in the movie, because essentially it becomes a war where none of the good guys die. All the significant good guys are killed off and then brought back to life at the end and then Lucy has the magic potion that cures all injury. Yay. I mean I know it's a kid's movie but shouldn't war come at some sort of cost?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mailorder brides

I don't know if I've mentioned this before. But apparently a lot of men in Taiwan, or at least a number that is perceived to be a lot, get brides from Vietnam and other places. In fact there was a book in the bookstore called, "Teach your Vietnamese wife Chinese." Like in America, mail order brides are desireable because they are supposed to be more traditional and less aggressive than women from the native country.

It seems a little weird, because when they have kids are they considered fully Chinese or half?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tomato Noodles

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some sort of Taiwanese dish, I don't know what it's called

there's goey dough, lettuce, egg, and oysters, enough said. Posted by Picasa

Some sort of government building

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The stream

or sewer by my house. You know, I once saw a man fishing there. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dear god

I don't believe in you so it seems a bit silly to ask this question, but, why did you make mosquitos? If so, why did you make them small enough to enter people's rooms at will. And why for the love of god (no pun intended) do they bite my left eyelid when I sleep so that when I wake up one eye is smaller than the other? And why is it always my left eyelid? It's happened three times already. Quit it.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

One of my students, Elin called me over to the door of the teacher's room and told me
"I want to eat your eyes for breakfast. I want to eat Adreana and Clara for lunch. I want to eat Clara and Nana for dinner." It's good to know that they are learning something.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The stalking of the leviathan

While sick, I was also being stalked by a monster. For some reason, I killed two mosquitos in my room, however one was both fast enough and smart enough to elude me. It was also an incredibly nasty mosquito. I figure there's not much blood inside my ear but somehow it managed to bite me there. Also, one of my fingers swelled up to about three times the normal size. When I finally caught the fucker it was actually red, not from it's own coloring I'm sure, but because it was fat on my blood.

New Year

Today, I went with my friend Heather and we walked all the way up to a stadium in Jilong and hung out there. It was sort of amazing, all sorts of people were gathered there for exercise. So as we walked around the stadium there were people running, playing batminton, tennis, running, playing basketball etc. Afterwards we came back and watched Pirates of the Caribbean.

Taiwanese people seem to use Western holidays as sort of crazy party days. For example, huge numbers of people were outside of the KTVs last night with cases of beer. Several people have observed to me that Christmas and other Western holidays in Taiwan take the outward trappings of these holidays, the consumerism, the Christmas cards and Santa hats, and leave the family stuff for Chinese New Year. The same for New Year, the parties and the fireworks were definitely there. I suppose for most Westerners, New Year isn't really a family holiday, so I suppose it's still in keeping with the spirit of the holiday.

The Clouds

were just fantastic that day. Posted by Picasa

A View from Jilong

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The Bird Flu

You can tell people take this bird flu thing quite seriously. I like the crying bird graphic myself. Posted by Picasa


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