Archive for June, 2006

This is the hard training required to reach the top.

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve become very bitter towards soccer after this World Cup fiasco, and it’s not just because Australia is out. Many other teams have succumbed to the substandard refereeing witnessed at this World Cup making it a very hot topic on internet discussion forums.

I enjoy watching all types of sports, but none of them have left me feeling this disappointed even if my side lost. That is probably because I know that it was a loss fair and square with no decisive input from the umpires since close calls are usually double checked using technology such as multiple angled slow motion replays and ball trajectory projections. All other major sporting bodies ranging from rugby, tennis, cricket, NFL and NHL have adopted the use of technology. Even France’s football authority wanted to use it but was shot down by FIFA. FIFA is just too naive, conservative, corrupt or whatever, to do what everyone in their right minds wants.

For example, Adidas wanted to put RFID’s into the soccer balls used at this World Cup and place sensors around goal posts so that it can detect if the ball crosses the goal line. Nothing too fancy, it doesn’t even stop the flow of the game. But nope, FIFA adamantly refused it. What happened? If I remember correctly, France was denied a goal that would have been allowed if the system was in place. The ball was caught by the keeper, however during the stopping of the ball, the keeper’s hands brought the ball passed the goal line then back out. The referees did not see it.

Also not to mention FIFA’s use of video umpires who do NOTHING! They should use a system that is used in rugby and cricket where umpires can replay the event in slow motion from different angles to determine exactly what happened. It only takes a minute or so and it makes the lead umpire as neutral in the outcome as possible. This would have prevented the stupid goal that Japan scored against Australia which was a blatant foul that the umpire first allowed, then apologised for the wrong decision after the match!?

It’s a pity because this World Cup was the first time I really got into soccer and I enjoyed watching the matches (when they were played fairly). However unless FIFA starts to adopt some technology, I do not see myself following any of the European leagues. Well…that’s my rant…yes I am a sore loser.. hahaha



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We were robbed!

I am very proud of what the Socceroos have achieved by getting into the second stage of the World Cup Finals. To top that even further, they have managed to give the 3 times world champions a run for their money by keeping them at a draw for 90 minutes. However with Italy down a man, and Australia still having two subs for the overtime, the match was decided when the referee gave Italy a very questionable penalty with 5 seconds left. From the slow motion replays it is very obvious that defender Lucas Neill was going for the ball and that the Italian player, while jumping over his body decided at the last minute to fall over. There was no malicious foul at all.

Though disappointed, the Socceroos have done a great job. They have defied all the critisism and non-believers to stamp Australia’s name onto the list of soccer nations. I think the next event is the Asia Cup. It would be very interesting to see the crowd at a Taiwan vs Australia match.

I watched the match at The Brass Monkey and it was an amazing experience. There was around 30 or so Aussies and we were cheering and chanting throughout the match, drowning out the Italy supporters who were less vocal. Whenever we did the “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chant, my friends who are Italy supporters would give me an evil glare. Not to mention the playful shoves when we shouted “Bullshit.. Bullshit..” whenever it was obvious that an Italian player had dived.

Now I don’t know which team to support in the World Cup. Or maybe I should just watch Wimbledon and forget about it.

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When Tak was here in February we wandered into a stationery exhibition. There, we were given the opportunity to write on a car. Two silly guys + Marker + Car =

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The Bliss of a Tie

Wonderful performance by the Socceroos last night in a nail-biting encounter with a ragged Croatian team who were busy pushing, shoving and pulling shirts rather than actually playing soccer. This match also showcased the most dismal refereeing I’ve seen with two clear penalties not awarded to the Australians. One for an almost rugby tackle that literally floored skipper Viduka, and the other for a fisted punch to the ball that is normally reserved for AFL, both inside the penalty box. Not only that, the ref seemed to be suffering from short-term memory loss that resulted in him giving Croatia’s Simunic three yellow cards! I hope this ref is sent home.

I watched the Aussie vs Croatia match at a place called Bliss which is a bar and restaurant run by a Dutch fellow. The set up there is pretty good with three large screen projectors which allowed them to play different matches at the same time. This suited me perfectly as it was a necessity to also keep a close eye on the Japan/Brazil match after Japan unexpectedly scored a goal, and if Brazil did not win it would’ve put Australia in a very dire position. However the crowd atmosphere was a bit lacking at Bliss with about 40 Brazilian fans booking the entire second floor, leaving just a handful of people downstairs. There was only 3 Aussies there including me, and we were the only people watching our match. I think next time we’ll go back to Brass Monkey as the atmosphere there is much better.

We didn’t however, expect to end up at Bliss. Originally we have planned on going to the Tavern, however we found out after a quick phone call that they expected to be full and referred us to Capone’s, an Italian restaurant / bar run by the same managers. The staff there was really friendly and were very accommodating to our unusual requests. They even bought us chairs when we were standing to watch the Italy vs Czech Republic match. We would have continued to stay there for the 3am matches, however they were way passed their opening hours and were staying open just for us. Feeling guilty we decided to decided to walk over to the Tavern to see if we could get a spot as it was likely that the crowd had dispersed. Well, that plan went down the toilet when the skanky girl told us we needed to pay NT$500 to enter. Good thing Bliss was only a short distance down the road.

Next crazy no sleep soccer night should be June 26th where the Aussies take on Italy which should be fun as my friend is a die-hard Italy supporter. Shouting match!

No appropriate photos for this post as I didn’t bring my camera.
But you can look at these from the celebrations in Melbourne.

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A Good Loss

We ended up choosing the Brass Monkey after seeing a few good mentions of it on Forumosa, so I called them up during the day to ask a few questions and was surprised to hear an Australian accent. Turns out the owner of the place is Australian, all the more reason to go.

There, I had the first Australian meat pie since I could remember as I forgot to get some on my last visit to Melbourne. However even with the meat pie, I would have to say that the food there isn't that good. Probably better to eat elsewhere, then arrive later to watch the game.

The Japan vs Croatia and Australia vs Brazil games were spectacular to watch as all sides fought hard and every opportunity to shoot at goal was taken. There were some awesome plays, though unfortunately most of them were either misses or were saved by the keeper.

The atmosphere was just so damn good with the Japanese and Brazilian fans screaming and chanting. Though I was disappointed that the number of Aussies was quite lacking. I think there was only a total of eight, but that doesn't mean we lost in the shouting department with periodic outbursts of "Aussie Aussie Aussie… Oi Oi Oi." We did quite a good job in competing with the Brazilians fans, which also included the majority of the Taiwanese there.

A 2-0 loss against the world champions is something to be proud of, considering that Australia's official ranking is only 42. We only need a draw in our next match against Croatia in order to advance to the next round. I will definitely be out and about on Thursday night.



Lastly, a few time wasters.
Typing Test
USAF Foam Party
Beauty Generator (keep refreshing)

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Daan Park

Daan Park can be compared to New York's Central Park and is bordered by some of the busiest roads in Taipei. I think it's one of the better parks here with a playground, basketball courts, rollerblading rink, a jogging track and even a fairly large amphitheatre. Here you can see all sorts of people ranging from old people doing taichi, young couples, families with small kids or the fitness junky riding their bikes or jogging.

In the midst of all the mosquitos we had a nice evening out just chatting and eating snacks. We even managed to have a few loud games of charades which attracted quite a lot of looks from the elderly.

You're meant to walk on the rocky footpath barefoot.
If it hurts, then you're unhealthy.

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Today I managed to hand in my Financial Theory and Investment Banking reports and also do a presentation. Also accomplished was the completion of the Macroeconomics report due tomorrow. There are no words to describe how relieved I am to get all that off my chest. The fun can now officially start and I can once again roam the streets of Taipei in the wee hours of the morning.

This Sunday I hope to watch three highly anticipated World Cup matches, Japan vs Croatia, Australia vs Brazil and lastly, Korea vs France. However I'm finding it very difficult to choose a place as there are a few really good sports bars in Taipei, though at the moment it's looking like it'll be Brass Monkey. But the Tavern is also looking quite appealing.

Some pictures from the 101 shopping area on a Saturday.

Don't expect any respect from drivers
if you're a pedestrian in Taiwan

Very rare to see such orderly traffic

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