KMT supporters protesting Chen Chu’s (陳菊) appointment to the presidency of the Control Yuan, with the slogans 「拒絕酬庸撤換陳菊」 (Reject cronyism, withdraw Chen Chu), 「民主已死，暴政必亡」 (Democracy is dead, tyranny must fall) and 「民心已死，還我民主」(The hopes of the people are dead, give us back our democracy). There was a middling crowd outside the Legislative Yuan in the morning, where KMT legislators occupied the floor. These were taken after work.
Now you can use a virtual EasyCard in your Samsung Pay wallet for all your EasyCard needs, including MRT turnstiles, YouBike rentals and mobile payments by EasyCards. First go to your Samsung Pay app, and click the EasyCard option on the front page (if you don’t see this, you should do a software update on your phone or check if your model is compatible):Continue reading
True to their word, just as all the introductory offers are ending, the EasyCard Corporation have held their noses and finally allowed foreign residents to register for their EasyCard Wallet app at the end of May (they should probably add this in English on the Play Store too):
You can either click on 「悠遊卡付專屬」 or 「我的」 as below:Continue reading
While ostensibly chronicling his family history, from the war-torn Vietnam his mother and schizophrenic grandmother witnessed, to the immigrant experience in the US, the author of this novel provides a breathtaking look at contemporary America, from morphine addiction to racial and class-based inequality and the politics of integration and queerness.
The novel is structured as a letter to the author’s mother, who cannot read in English, giving the author license to say things that he may never have been able to communicate with her in their common tongue, which the author describes as follows:
“The Vietnamese I own is the one you gave me, the one whose diction and syntax reach only the second-grade level. […] a time capsule, a mark of where your education ended, ashed. Ma, to speak in our mother tongue is to speak only partially in Vietnamese, but entirely in war.”
All through the book, the author plays with language in a fascinating way, at times veering into poetry, at times examining language itself, facilitated perhaps by the distance provided by his mother’s unfamiliarity with the English language:
“How often do we name something after its briefest form? Rose bush, rain, butterfly, snapping turtle, firing squad, childhood, death, mother tongue, me, you.”
For me, as well as its emotional impact, many parts of the book have a powerful wit and humour to them which made me linger over certain passages.
The immigrant experience in the US (although one could also say more generally) is captured in passages such as the one that follows, about the nail salon in which his mother works:
“In the nail salon, sorry is a tool one uses to pander until the word itself becomes currency. It no longer merely apologizes, but insists, reminds: I’m here, right here, beneath you. It is the lowering of oneself so that the client feels right, superior, and charitable. In the nail salon one’s definition of sorry is deranged into a new word entirely, one that’s charged and reused as both power and defacement at once. Being sorry pays, being sorry even, or especially, when one has no fault, is worth every self-deprecating syllable the mouth allows. Because the mouth must eat.”
The author later echoes his mother’s self-deprecation, while working on a tobacco plantation, when he meets his first lover for the first time:
“I would know only later that he was Buford’s grandson, working the farm to get away from his vodka-soaked old man. And because I am your son, I said “Sorry.” Because I am your son, my apology had become, by then, an extension of myself. It was my H
But the novel also touches on other issues in the US, like the impact of the marketing of oxycontin by the pharmaceutical industry to doctors leading to drug dependency among wide swathes of the US population and the overdose deaths of many of the author’s friends.
What I loved about the book was how real the author seemed in his thought patterns, in the realistic way memories flitted up during conversation and associations click in his mind, even if they weren’t verbalized by the character at that time. There is also an honesty to the portrayal of his sexual experiences which makes them rawer and more real. Think Peep Show‘s portrayal of sex without the comic aspect. I also liked how real his coming out conversation is with his mother, as the ball is taken completely out of his court as she confronts him with her own truths, which I think is part of a lot of people’s coming out experience.
One of the tidbits of cultural information about Vietnam was about the use of drag performers in funeral processions, which is similar but different to the gaudy performances at Taiwanese funerals:
“City coroners, underfunded, don’t always work around the clock. When someone dies in the middle of the night, they get trapped in a municipal limbo where the corpse remains inside its death. As a response, a grassroots movement was formed as a communal salve. Neighbors, having learned of a sudden death, would, in under an hour, pool money and hire a troupe of drag performers for what was called “delaying sadness” […] It’s through the drag performers’ explosive outfits and gestures, their overdrawn faces and voices, their tabooed trespass of gender, that this relief, through extravagant spectacle, is manifest. As much as they are useful, paid, and empowered as a vital service in a society where to be queer is still a sin, the drag queens are, for as long as the dead lie in the open, an othered performance. Their presumed, reliable fraudulence is what makes their presence, to the mourners, necessary. Because, grief, at its worst, is unreal. And it calls for a surreal response.”
Anyway, there’s so much more that I don’t really know how to describe, but a great read, would definitely recommend.
A Red Pine At Dusk
On my way home, I count the bird calls on my abacus
Every chirp and tweet carves your silence
You extend your branches in welcome
To the fall of night’s black canvas, your limbs want to toss away the stars
As you turn on to the path of your Autumn years, I know
Dusk isn’t dusky, the red pine has a keen red heart
Lin Yu is a poet from Guangxing in Lugu, Nantou. He was born in 1957 and after a career working in journalism and editing, he returned to his hometown to run a tea shop.
The Beginning of Spring
At the beginning of spring, the rain slouches
The sun is sluggish, like a wound that has scabbed in deep winter
The dreamscape sways back and forth with the splish-splashing
I see my childhood years riding on an ox back, walking towards me from the water
Zhan Che (詹澈 (Chan Chao-li) is a Taiwanese poet from Changhua. He has worked on various poetry journals and magazines, including founding Grassroots, and has long campaigned for local farmers’ rights.
Recently the Taiwanese authorities have been quite strict with parcels in and out of the country and if you’re using a courier like DHL, you might have recently been sent an email instructing you to fill in a form to let the company deal with import/export procedure for you. They normally link to the EZ Way app (Android / Apple).
Their name verification is currently done by mobile providers and this is for ROC citizens only, so you’ll have to manually upload the front and back of your ARC.Continue reading
People protesting on the morning of President Tsai’s 2nd inauguration. The sign has the not-so-catchy slogan you’d expect from someone who still doesn’t believe that Tsai has a doctorate:「妳有沒有羞恥心 當總統 沒有博士 真騙子」 ‘Don’t you have any shame? Being president without a doctorate, what a cheat’:Continue reading
I’ve seen an increasing amount of very frustrated people on Facebook groups asking for help on a common compatibility error with the e-filing system for alien taxpayers:
You’ve probably tried a billion things to remedy this error, but on this count, I have to give credit to the designers, who try to notify you of how to solve the problem (well, they could have just avoided the problem but hey, programming is hard):Continue reading
Do you want your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate to hold all your receipts online so you don’t have to check them every two months (except the old ones that change colour every two months)? You can also get your winnings from the receipt lottery deposited directly in your bank account.
If you don’t have an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate yet, you can find out how to apply for one here. If you don’t want one, you can still get digital receipts and your winnings automatically deposited in your bank account, by checking out my previous post on mobile barcodes.Continue reading