Thursday, 29 December 2011

Fish of the day

well, two days ago

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

New Poem: Time is not on our side

Time is not on our side,
our subconsciouses know this
so they try to hammer love
out of like
or lust
and sometimes even hate,
striking metal against metal late into the night,
we no longer see what we are doing

the blind leading the blind,
like infants discovering themselves in playschool
wanting to share our uncovery with the world,
we are in LOVE,
cynics sneer:
yes, love, that one-letter word,
frown down on us,

but we don't care,
won't heed these inner voices,
look at US,
we are in LOVE,
repeated and repeating,
hammering hammered late into the night,
like a distant clanging bell,
love ... love ... love ... love ... love ... love ...

Monday, 14 November 2011

fish of the day

well, fish of last month actually.

New Verse - Things Known

Things Known

Before he sits to eat, Jesus knows he will be betrayed.
....Copernicus knows the earth is round,
....Darwin knows there is no God,
....Marx knows the working class must liberate itself,
and, eating their TV dinners ten thousand miles apart, Brezhnev and Nixon know the people will believe their lies.

I only know that today
....before dusk will come watch the dying sun’s rose rays light up the swaying willow leaves
and the rising moon cast long shadows across the river.

I also know that on seeing me, you will smile,
....we will walk, of music and art,
....religion, science and philosophy,
and enjoy the silence.

I know we will build our home beside the river,
....near the ocean,
....or in the mountain forests,
....where will have two children, one girl and one boy,
who we will call Jasmine and Fred (or maybe Charlie and Nicholas after our idols).

They will go to the local school to learn to read and write and arithmatise,
....that the earth is roundish, that godliness can be found within their own hearts,
....that women, like everyone, must liberate themselves,
....and to recognize that politicians are lying every time their lips move,
but above all, they will learn from cicadas in the trees and birds on the air, from the wind and the rain and the waves.

Furthermore, I know that if we are lucky,
....we will share many more sunsets,
....cuddling close on the shore against the cool evening breeze,
....smiling knowingly to each other,
as we watch our children make the same mistakes we did before.

I know you will hold me close,
....protect me against myself madness claims the last dance.
....Or you will go first,
quietly, peacefully, nodding to sleep in my embrace.

And although it is sometimes hard to believe, I do know that the earth is round,
....that it circles the sun as the moon circles the earth,
....thus the seasons progress and night follows day follows night,
....just as now, among the still willow trees beside the river,
I know that tomorrow you will come.

Friday, 21 October 2011

call me Makgeolli Mark

recipe: steam rice, allow to cool;
boil water, allow to cool;
steriise container;
add rice, yeast, water and cover with cloth;
(one week later add sugar for more kick if desired)

what could be simpler?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

cycling in Kaohsiung

article in Taiwan Today (GIO online newspaper) about cycling in Kaohsiung (

On a warm spring Sunday afternoon, Hsu Ching-jan, his wife and 8-year-old daughter make their way towards downtown Kaohsiung City to go shopping and eat snacks before heading home. All are riding newish-looking bicycles and are wearing regulation helmets and brightly colored cycle jerseys. They are just three of a great many cyclists thronging the car-free bike paths running along both sides of the Love River near the city’s harbor.

“We come here once or twice a month,” said Hsu. “Actually, it was my daughter Cindy’s idea originally. She’d heard about it from her classmates.”

This is typical of the way the pleasures of cycling spread by word of mouth. The Internet is similarly abuzz with recommendations.

“After many years of avoiding Taiwan’s second largest city [Kaohsiung], I recently went back,” Andrew Kerslake, a U.S. citizen residing in Taichung, wrote on his blog Taiwan in Cycles last fall. “The place had totally been transformed into a large friendly metropole with a small town feel.”

“It was gorgeous,” he concluded. “Most of all I felt safe.”

This final point is a key consideration. When asked why they do not cycle regularly, many Taiwanese cite safety as a major concern, along with pollution and—especially among women—getting sunburned.

Local cyclists have their own solution to this last problem: covering every inch of their flesh with layers of clothing. Regarding the first two, they have to rely on drivers’ etiquette and government administrations’ pursuit of antipollution policies.

“In order to make cycling more convenient and safer for citizens, bike paths are constructed as part of the sidewalk, so as to avoid bikes having to compete for road space with cars and motorbikes,” Kent T. Wang, director-general of Kaohsiung’s Department of Transport, said by e-mail.

Furthermore, to encourage cyclists to use the paths, he stressed that “they are built in coordination with road construction projects and in accordance with the same principles of signage, signaling and road marking.”

This will be good news to many cyclists visiting Kaohsiung from other cities—around the world and not just in Taiwan—who often feel themselves to be second-class road users. Taipei’s bike paths, for example, have few signs directing cyclists to destinations and no distance indicators other than those relating to the section of path being used.

“According to statistics from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Kaohsiung’s rate of cycle use in 2009 was 6.7 percent. This compares with a 2005 figure from my own department of 4.3 percent before the bicycling system was constructed,” Wang said. “This shows the gradual increase in bicycle use among Kaohsiung’s citizens.”

Wang explained that motivation for the city’s investment in cycling infrastructure was two-fold. “Our administration decided to promote the use of bicycles as an alternative to motorbikes for short journeys because they are better both for individual health and for protection of the environment. As such, it is part of our efforts to meet Kaohsiung’s low-carbon target.”

Due to its strategic location, from early in the period of Japanese rule, Kaohsiung was developed as the island’s major industrial region, a process that only intensified after postwar retrocession as it became the engine powering the Taiwan economic miracle. As the center of heavy industry—particularly steel, energy and petrochemical production—with thousands of factories, the city also recorded some of the nation’s worst air, water and land pollution indices, and one of the worst per capita carbon dioxide emission rates in the world.

It was against this background that incumbent two-term Mayor Chen Chu was elected. Two key items on her campaign manifesto were the improvement of transportation and emphasizing of environmental protection.

Not merely words with which to get elected, these policies have remained central to her efforts to transform Kaohsiung into a low-carbon and environmentally sustainable metropolis.

While most of the cuts in per capita emissions targeted—30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050—will have to come from the industrial, commercial and residential sectors, transportation policy can also play a role in a city notoriously addicted to car and motorbike use. Chen’s administration has expanded the city’s bus system, acquired hundreds of new, energy-efficient buses, and doubled MRT shuttle bus connectivity. It has also expressed its commitment to the embattled MRT system despite poor usage rates by citizens.

Folding bikes can be taken on buses and the MRT for free, and regular bikes on the MRT for a flat bike-and-passenger ticket of NT$60 (US$2.32), said Wang.

Alternatively, citizens can take public transport to one of 50 kiosks around the city to rent one of 4,500 bikes at a subsidized rate starting at NT$30. This C-Bike scheme, Taiwan’s first urban bike rental program, was what particularly caught CNN’s attention.

“NT$75 million of the costs for the C-Bike project came from the central government,” Lee Mu-sheng, director-general of the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau, said, also by e-mail. “With NT$15 million from the city budget, this made a total of NT$90 million in 2008.”

As for the 230 kilometers of bike paths, Wu Ming-chang, director of the Maintenance Office in the Public Works Bureau, estimated they had cost around NT$40 million for upkeep in the period 2010-11.

So do riders feel these investments have made Kaohsiung a cycling paradise?

Hans Chen, a Kaohsiung native who now lives in Taipei and commutes by bicycle from Guandu to the city center, said he prefers the Kaohsiung system, “because it is less abused by motorcyclists who illegally take shortcuts on the capital’s bike paths.”

American consultant Michael Cannon recently made the opposite move, from Linkou in New Taipei City to be near his wife’s family in Kaohsiung. “Riding around Kaohsiung itself with the flow of traffic is easier and more comfortable in comparison to riding in Taipei,” he said. “Due to the prevalence of scooters here, drivers are quite conscientious about cyclists and don’t push them off the roadway.”

But Michael Turton, an American educator based in Taichung, said he preferred Taichung or Taipei, not because the facilities were better, but because “the mountains are right outside your door, whereas in Kaohsiung there are many kilometers of terrible traffic between you and the beautiful hills.”

All three cyclists had suggestions for further improvements in Kaohsiung, from the removal of stray dogs to the provision of access ramps and extension of the system.

Moreover, there needs to be a change in perception of cycling from a twice-per month hobby to a transportation system if people like the Hsus and their daughter are going to commute daily to work or school by bike, and thus really contribute to hitting Kaohsiung’s CO2-emission targets

Sunday, 19 June 2011

fish of the day

In the morning after dropping off my daughters at nursery school, I went to the pool and swam my usual two thousand meters. I imagined I was a fish. Just a fish, with no need to think, not even about swimming. Next I showered, changed into a T-shirt and shots, and started pumping iron.

(South of the Border, West of the Sun; by Haruki Murakami)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

fish of the day - Daegu, S. Korea

MRT station in Daegu

Monday, 2 May 2011

fish of the day

fish art at Sun Moon Lake yesterday afternoon

Thursday, 21 April 2011

fish of the day

From "Book of Odes"

(translated by James Legge, 1898)


Why, in eating fish;
Must we have bream from the He?
Why, in taking a wife,
Must we have a Jiang of Qi?

Saturday, 19 February 2011

new verse: no more jeans

No More Jeans

No more jeans, or, at least,
no more jeans-and-trainers combination,
well, definitely no more jeans, trainers, t-shirt and baseball cap,
no more 1,000cc-motorbike dreams,
or cruising a convertible down country roads,
an MG, VW or even a Saab,
no more indecision about choosing a career:
athlete, scientist, poet or explorer.

No more staying up through the night staring into girls’ eyes,
no sore arm or sore neck from the back row at movies,
no more public kissing at all,
at least not tonguey ones,
no more inappropriate erections,
all the way from Edinburgh to London,
no more fumbling in the dark with bra fasteners,
bootstraps, belts and buckles.

No more crushes on cousins,
babysitters, teachers or friends’ sisters and mothers,
no more beer-fueled dances,
sauvignon-inspired romances,
whisky-powered philosophies
or gin-induced tear-filled soliloquies,
no more bud, bongs, buckets,
acid, E or H.

But, with luck,
many more glasses of OJ,
cups of cinnamon-flavoured coffee and home-cooked breakfasts,
like this morning, here with you.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Three New Year hikes (three pictures)

a fairly hard walk from Xiongkong (熊空) in Sanxia Township to Wulai (烏來) with lots of river crossings and a 1000m peak

then a gentle romp to the hotspring and a zen-style paddy field on Yangmingshan

and finally the "Buddhist" temple at Silver River Cave also in Taipei County (now New Taipei City)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

new (light) verse

If dogs wrote poetry

If we dogs wrote poetry,
no meandering iambic trot,
but galloping dactylic pace,
or else, we’ll do the spondee strut;
no host of golden daffodils,
but oak or elm each forty feet,
or lamppost, hydrant or park seat;
no odes to nightingales
but rather odes to rubbish dumps
or as we call them, the long free lunch;

ah, if dogs wrote epicurean poetry,
please, no blackbirds in a pie
but raw, still warm, beside the road,
though as familiaris we’ll acquiesce
to eulogize freeze-dried, chicken-flavoured lumps
or beef or lamb,
or liver, turkey, rabbit, venison,
however made and marketed,
we’ll wolf it down,
swallow it whole,
then lie all day before the fire
dreaming of composing couplets.

If dogs wrote epic poetry they would not
tell of Norway’s Amundson versus England’s Scott,
but rather would recall the victory
of Greenland Dog over Siberian Pony.

If dogs were meant to write love poems,
then why the hell do you have us done?
“done” – what an idiotic euphemism
for nothing short of castration,
just one more sign of your slave-owning mentality,
like the kennel and collar and leash,
or words like “down” and “sit” and “fetch”,
without ever so much as a “please”.

If dogs wrote modern poetry,
in more abstract lines we might debate
the merits of silent movies versus talkies
but only to set up a rhyme for walkies,
and likewise, Gysinesquely sample
the boundless imagery of Keats,
soulful fugues of Ms. Simone,
religious thoughts of Apostle Paul,
and communism espoused by Marx,
but only so we might make mention
of treats and bone and ball and parks.

But we dogs do not write poetry
because nothing rhymes with grughh.

Grughh grughh, grughh grughh grughh, grughh ...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Eating in the New Year

GT (

"In operation for 26 years," one sign reads; "Family-run for 35 years," another states, while yet another proclaims they've been "Selling the best foodstuffs for more than half-a-century." In Taipei's Dihua Street, tradition is everything, and this is never truer than during the annual "Southern and Northern Product Fair" that runs for two weeks leading up to the Lunar Calendar New Year's Eve (falling on February 2 this year).

Families get together, neighbors and friends visit, and since Taiwanese are nothing if not hospitable, a good supply of food is essential for the holiday.

Street Life

Supermarkets and department stores do a roaring trade in specially packaged lihe (gift boxes), and bottles of wine or whisky with free customized glasses. But most people, even if they normally buy their groceries at supermarkets, like to go to a street market to get in some traditional xiaochi (snacks) in the days or weeks before New Year. In Taipei, this means a trip to Dihua Street, in the Dadaocheng district to the north of the city center.

New Year's Eve kicks off with the traditional family weilu ("get-together around the stove"), for which hot pot is a popular dish. To perk up the usual meat and vegetables, this will contain a variety of dumplings, mushrooms, tofu and seafood, all of which are on sale.

On New Year's Day itself, cooking is taboo, so pre-cooked meat and preserved vegetables are in great abundance. Most traditional are the larou (cured pork) and lachang (sausages), since la means both "curing" and is also an alternative name for the last month of the lunar calendar. Also seen in giant heaps are beef, pork and cuttlefish jerky, rousong (shredded pork), smoked duck - a specialty of Taiwan's northeastern Yilan County - dried fish, shrimps, scallops, shark's fin and abalone.

Vendors compete vigorously: some wear costumes - either traditional Chinese apparel or eye-catching animal suits - many shout, and all offer free samples to tempt shoppers.

"Around three-quarters of a million people will visit the market between January 15 and February 1," Chen Shih-Che of Original Creativity, a privately run marketing company, told the Global Times. "This is significantly more than in previous years," he added.

Original Creativity helps Taipei City organize the annual event, including bringing contemporary pop, dance and even rap acts to a small stage in the middle of the market.

But this is really just a new face for a long-established tradition that existed for decades before the government got involved. Nanbei huo, that is, the best "produce from South to North [China]," has been sold in Dadaocheng to the north of Taipei Railway Station since before the Japanese colonial authorities instructed local shopkeepers to build porticoed brick buildings in the 1920s, and even before the railway was built in the late 19th century.

Temple Fair

One of the oldest areas of the city, it dates from the migration from the even-older district of Mangka (now Wanhua), slightly further south along the Danshui River. This influx of population was perhaps the result of fighting between rival Fujian immigrants or maybe due to silting up of the river, but whatever the reason, Dadaocheng's wharf became a key northern Taiwan center of import/export, and the local streets boasted many of the island's finest houses and company buildings.

Indeed, several of these still stand, as does the Xiahai Temple at 61 Dihua Street. Dedicated to the Lord of Walls and Moats - more commonly known as City God - and with half-a-dozen altars bearing statues of several dozen different Daoist and Buddhist deities, at other times of the year the temple organizes walking tours of the historic neighborhood.

During the two-week fair, however, it concentrates on offering free "blessed tea" to flagging shoppers, while conducting its usual business of marshalling the services of The Old Man Under the Moon - a Daoist deity - who is said to help find prospective mates for single worshipers.
Most shoppers bypass the temple, however, as there is still much shopping to be done. Having bought hot-pot ingredients and dried meat, they perhaps focus next on the fruit, nuts and candies that relatives and friends will pick at between meals over the coming days.

Once more seen in great piles, and as always available to taste, are quantities of peanuts, pistachio, almonds, variously flavored pumpkin seeds, dates, figs, sun-dried persimmons, chestnuts from Tianjin, and the Taiwanese people's beloved pineapple cakes. One stall even sells Chilean cherries, showing that "North-South produce" now applies to all over the world. Most traditional, and still most popular, are ju (small oranges), since their name sounding like zhu (to offer good wishes) in Mandarin and ji (auspicious) is prized in Minnan Taiwanese - and also they are tasty, nutritious and symbolic of good fortune over the year to come.

In a similar vein, Taiwanese like to give gifts of pineapples, since its Minnan name onglai is homonymous with "prosperity has come." At one meal during the New Year celebrations, a fish will be eaten, since niannian you yu (every year have a fish) means "every year have a surplus," another auspicious saying. Naturally, both are on sale in the Dihua Street market.

Everybody's talking

Minnan is the language of the street, though of course everyone speaks Mandarin, and, since the stalls are staffed with temporary student workers, they are happy to practice English on foreigners. "Try one, it's free," is the usual opening phrase.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin spent two hours at the market on January 21, not to shop but to enjoy the atmosphere. "It's great to see events like this revitalizing the oldest parts of our city," he told the crowd, before handing out thousands of spring couplets for people to hang at home.

For those not lucky enough to receive the mayor's gift, there are stalls selling couplets, lanterns, paper cuts and other traditional New Year ornaments, most of them red and many bearing rabbit images, in keeping with this year's Chinese horoscope animal.

Several parcel companies run stalls and promise to deliver fresh produce in temperature-controlled bags to relatives and friends anywhere on the island within 24 hours, as does the local branch of the post office. Even the police get in on the act, with the local precinct taking advantage of the large number of visitors to promote anti-corruption and other public-service campaigns.

Somewhat incongruously, there are one or two shops selling objects such as belts and needlework supplies, not because these have any connection with the upcoming festivities, but because their stores are here year round.

In fact, Dadaocheng is a fascinating area to visit any time of year, such as at City God's birthday in the fifth lunar month, or when the district's puppet museum and theater has a new exhibition or show. At all times, the stores will still be selling the "best from the South to the North," and visitors are guaranteed a taste of Taiwan from times gone by.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

riddle No. 6

The "Lord" and "Lady" of riddles:

What is the connection between the Taiwanese word for 麵包 and the English word for 夥伴?
And what do both of these words have to do with "Lady" and "Lord"?


Vegetarianism Riddle

吃素的人吃/喝什麼牛, 什麼雞, 什麼羊, 什麼馬, 什麼魚, 什麼猴, 什麼鼠, 什麼豬? …
(8 answers, each 2 or 3 characters, though other variations perhaps possible.)

[p.s. this is "environmental vegetarianism", therefore not 牛奶 or 雞蛋, i.e. no animal products]
[p.p.s. no 素雞 or anything like that]

for an example of what is sought:
if it asked for “dragon”, the answer might be 龍眼or龍鬚菜

Thursday, 27 January 2011

recent food pics

out and about for cycle trips, and amcham (here) and Global Times articles (here)
so lots of food photos for JBB recently

such as this possible chapter title page for Taipei City:

grilled tofu stall in Sanchong Night Market:

and baked sweet potoato vendor, outside Liuzhangli MRT Station, Taipei City:

a pig-ear chef in Dihua Street "south-north provisions market":

a peanut vendor in Taipei's Wanhua District:

and while looking for New Year delicacies at Luzhou Market, some women buying "lucky red underwear":

new verse

As night falls

I am disturbed by your screaming
as night falls,
but more by the silences
that punctuate your sleep-lapped, mare-tipped dreams, and
seeking congress with your wide-eyed wisdom,
I whisper that you must believe
the sun will rise on yet another day.
You ask “What if you were I and I were you?”,

but there are no simple questions
only easy answers,
no black or white,
just merging shades of orange, red and violet
and black; a baby knows more than this dying man
of truth and love and freedom, with each birth you further figure out,
each time the night falls quickly from horizon
up, you see the moon’s as high as sun will ever get.

I know you’re hurting, screaming,
waiting in your cave
for the invention of love;
’til then, I’ll tread water in your tears
and whisper that you must believe,
I’ll write “with fondest feelings” in my will,
signed and post-dated once my sanity’s returned.
’Til then, I’ll gently rock you into sleep.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Saisiyat aboriginal dancing

Dancing the Nights Away
– Joining Taiwan’s Saisiyat ethnic minority for a three-day religious festival

my second piece for GT (, though it used a different headline and, indeed a different photo of a different ethnicity dancing in a different location at a different time of the day

According to the legend of the Saisiyat people living in the mountains of Taiwan's Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, their ancestors accidentally exterminated a tribe of dwarf people from whom they had learned hunting, farming, brewing and other skills. To atone for this deed, at the full moon in the tenth lunar month every second year, they invite the spirits of this lost tribe to a three-day festival of singing, dancing, traditional foods and drinking their home-brewed millet wine. The Global Times recently went to find out more.
The 14 extant ethnic groups of Taiwan Aborigines comprise less than 2 percent of the island's total population, yet over four centuries' migration of Han-Chinese and the resulting social and political dominance, each has managed to preserve its identity, language and traditions.
One such tradition is the Pasta'ai (Dwarf Spirit Festival) of the approximately 5,000 Saisiyat people. It is held biennially in their home villages in the Nanzhuang Township of Miaoli County and Wufeng Township of Hsinchu County in the Xueshan Mountain Range of northwest Taiwan.
For decades it was a little-known, almost secretive event, but recently it has opened up to the outside world. And although at times this might look like just a booze-up, visitors are reminded that it is a religious rite and are asked to be respectful and well behaved. Immediately after having arrived, for example, locals and outsiders alike must call at a makeshift altar. Here, for a small cash donation, a sacred silver leaf is tied around their forehead or upper arm (and another around any camera or recording equipment).
Visitors may then enter the festival ground, but, for now, only Saisiyat tribe members may join in the dancing. Wearing self-made hand-stitched vests and other garments in the tribe's distinctive red-and-white colors, dancers link arms in long lines and perform a swaying backward-and-forward movement. This is designed to accentuate the movement of the rear, thereby creating a percussive rhythm on the "buttock bells" hung on the small of their backs. All the time the performers sing of their sorrow and gratitude to the spirits, and appeal for forgiveness.
Wiping out the dwarf people – said to measure just three feet tall – was not intentional, they chant. According to oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation in this three-day event, the tragedy occurred after just such a party as this.
Originally invited in gratitude for teaching the Saisiyat to hunt and farm, the Ta'ai, as the dwarves were known, had to cross a rushing river to attend their neighbors' annual harvest festival. Renowned for their singing and dancing as well as their warfare and magic arts, the Ta'ai were also infamous for their womanizing. Pregnancies often followed their visit, but the Saisiyat were too afraid to do anything about it.
Except on one occasion, when a young Saisiyat warrior, seeking revenge for the sullied reputation of his sister, sawed a notch from the log bridge used by the Ta'ai when returning home. His plan was too successful, and all but an elderly couple of dwarves were killed; the Saisiyat have been singing and dancing in atonement since.

For the first few hours each evening as the local Aborigines dance, outsiders watch, listen, take photos, purchase snacks and, above all, toast – and are toasted – with xiao-mi jiu (millet wine).
This fermented millet drink is of low strength (usually around 4 percent to 5 percent alcohol) but may be pepped up with grain alcohol. It is produced by the locals and bears no government-approved label denoting ingredients and strength, so visitors are advised to be cautious. Purchasing a bottle or two is recommended, however, as the hospitable Saisiyat constantly share from their own, and not to return the favor would be seen as rude. Many of the stalls selling the home brew provide free samples, so it is possible to choose a pleasantly fragrant version that is hopefully not too strong.
Foods are sold at the same stalls that surround the dance field, and at impromptu restaurants erected in one or two side alleys. Slate-roasted "boar" – likely just pork but possibly locally reared – and more exotic meats such pigeon or other small birds, plus a range of unusual high-altitude vegetables not found in city markets, attract particular attention. Sampling mountain fare has become popular with Taiwan's largely urban population over the last decade or two.
Indeed, the interest of the majority Han Chinese community in all things Aboriginal has mushroomed since the end of martial law in 1987 ushered in a new era of pluralist culture.
Moreover, when the island moved to a five-day working week in the late 1990s, citizens suddenly had the opportunity on long weekends to explore places and cultures they had hitherto only seen in television documentaries and travel programs.
Perhaps the opening up of the Pasta'ai to non-Saisiyat visitors should be seen in this context. And for those with sufficient time, participation in the event can be combined with walking in the nearby hills, visiting the Buddhist cave temples on neighboring Shitoushan (Lion's Head Mountain), or browsing the historic Hakka community of Beipu.
Staying in a local minsu (homestay) is a good way to learn more about the traditional community and Taiwan's Aboriginal culture. In particular, one can learn about the original anito spirit worship of the Saisiyat people, and how they view these traditions today after conversion, like most of Taiwan's Aborigines, to Christianity by Western missionaries.
Many younger revelers bring tents, however, or simply crash out on spare ground within walking distance of the festival site. This is mainly because the hours of dancing and drinking (alcohol is served by cup and ladle to the performers so they don't even need to break step) have taken their toll. At daylight, those still on their feet may stop dancing and find a place to sleep. But only until night falls again, when the Ta'ai spirits reappear and must, once again, be appeased – with more wine, dance and song.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

new verse

last night i broke open an egg and found a double yolk,
which hasn't happened in a long time (if ever)

broke open the egg and found a poem too:




Sunday, 9 January 2011

new (light) verse

Being marked Mark, I am eponymous,
with Mark Anthony, I'm homonymous,
Marc Chagall and I are paronymous,
with check off, I'm just synonymous.

Unrecorded makes me antonymous,
unremarkable, and hence anonymous,
Yours sincerely, The Shark,
I sign off, pseudonymous.