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Archive for July, 2006

Ghost Month

The 7th month of the Chinese Calendar is the Ghost Month where the Gates to the Underworld opens and the spirits are left to roam the Earth. So for now there’s no getting married, buying a house, whistling at night, pointing at the moon, surgery, swimming, going to the beach, starting a business and hanging laundry up at night. The older generation take this stuff very seriously with the real estate and wedding markets quietening down. Even my dad is recommending that I don’t go to the beach….fat chance. It’s the middle of summer here!

Though what really gets me is the excessive need to burn paper money for the ghosts and spirits to spend with the rational that if they are busy having fun, then they won’t come disturb you. So you have every business with a metal can outside burning paper. Pretty soon I will need a gas mask just to walk down the street. Not to mention the fire hazard this is on a breezy 38C day. Worse of all.. this year there’s a Lunar leap month, meaning that the 7th month will occur twice.

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Mass paper burning session

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Corner of Nanjing East Rd and Fuxing North Rd

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Kaemi Shmaemi

Typhoon Kaemi came and left at warp speed with the eye of the storm spending only 5 hours on land. Its effects on Taipei was a bit weird as it seemed like just your normal sunny day with people going out for a swim in the outdoor pool while at the same time gale force winds still wrecked havoc on those living on the east coast of Taiwan. Though in the early morning a nice howl was chanted by the wind, and with it also came some torrential downpour. This was enough to satisfy me, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the Taipei City Government with businesses and classes being conducted as normal.

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Clouds from Kaemi rolling into Taipei as the night approaches

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Destructive weather on the east coast,
but no effect to the citizens of Taipei

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Party at Daan

One of the ex-Kojen co-workers was able to get some time off from his military service which justifies a get-together of some sort and what better place to hold a party than the Great Outdoors.

This time the size of our Daan Park gathering got up-sized to grandiose with around 30 people showing up at the amphitheatre just chatting, drinking and being stupid. Photos from the night can be viewed here. I also have some photos that I took of Daan Park during the day.

On an unrelated matter, another typhoon is headed this way again and is named Kaemi by the Japanese. This one started further out in the Pacific and has had a few days to gather some strength, hopefully this one will bring some action. However I do hope that it hits on any day other than Tuesday, I got things to do that day.. ugh!

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Will it stop frikkin raining?

I’ve mentioned that just prior to the full brunt of summer, Taiwan goes into a period where it miserably drizzles for a whole month. Well that is now over and we are in a period for a few weeks where there is a tropical thunderstorm in the early afternoon everyday. It can be a quick 20 minutes or a few hours which basically ruins anything you had planned for the day.

These storms are sneaky bastards as it could be a full on sunny day where the sun is so strong that it stings, and within a few minutes the clouds roll in and the tremendous crackle of thunder roars through the city.

So as you can probably tell… the weather here sucks big time. It’s either raining, raining, pouring, or it’s so hot and humid that you need to take four showers a day.

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Caught in a storm outside NTU… hid under some palm trees.
Note to self: It doesn’t work, find a better place to hide.

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Floral arrangement and a candle at Barcode

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Upon hearing that Bilis would be entering Taiwan on Thursday, my hopes were raised for a much wanted Typhoon Day as I have a Chinese test Thursday morning and an extra day to study would definitely be welcomed. But after all the hype from the media I was disappointed as the words “Normal Work and School for Taipei” flashed across the TV screen. Bilis was not even worthy of been classified as a Typhoon let alone a day off. It was a complete dud! All talk and no play!

After only a few hours of heavy rain and strong gusts on Thursday morning, the rest of Bilis’s effect on Taipei was non-existent. Apart from the odd drizzle, Taipei was as calm as the waters of an outdoor swimming pool during a cold winter. Looking at the non-moving leaves on trees you would be fooled into thinking it was a photograph. Where was the damn wind?

Not only was there no wind, there was hardly any rain! It was as if Mother Nature knew that the heat and the humidity makes people uncomfortably sweaty so it presented its thick grey clouds to teased the people below. “Hah! You are so hot and sweaty that you want it to rain don’t you!?… Well too bad!”

But the same can’t be said for the poor people in the mountains or cities down south. They have been hit by torrential rains and will be prone to landslides and flooding.

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World Cup Finals

Even with Chinese class at 10am the following day there was no chance I was going to miss the crowd atmosphere for this event. That was exactly what I got, a big fat crowd. Six thousand people.

My original plan of going to Brass Monkey was scrubbed when a friend called me up saying that Taipei Arena was holding a free World Cup Finals event in its stadium and he has 10 of the 6000 tickets available. The entire night was an absolute blast which started with us guzzling down a bottle of beer each as they had airport-like security with no alcohol allowed. In the hour leading up to kick-off we mingled with random people, throwing cheeky comments at the opposition and finding some crayons to draw on ourselves. Others passed the time by playing Big-2, as typical Asians do.

So I have four big screens and I have the crowd. To top it off, the match was exactly what you would expect from a Finals match. Both exciting and nerve racking with superb displays of teamwork and skills with even a bit of drama thrown in. But I think the highlight of the match would have to be when Zidane unleashed his supermove. For some reason, I just found the way Materazzi flew into the air from the blow to be quite amusing.

Overall I think both teams played excellently with the referee being the only person on the field to perform badly, missing some very obvious handballs and a penalty deserving foul. It was just too bad that France had to go down the way they did.

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On an unrelated matter, Taipei is set for a direct hit. Don’t typhoon’s know not to come on a weekend?!

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Happy Birthday to Maldini

You may remember our nice friend, Huang Jianxiang who very enthusiastically showed so much passion when commentating the Italy vs Australia match on China’s CCTV network that he made headlines around the world and has become a laughing matter in Taiwan. Full translation can be found here.

Well some Taiwanese DJ’s have used his voice in a remix of the soccer song which you can download. How’s that for a ring-tone?


Believe it or not this ain’t some multinational corporation.
It’s a friggin church!!! Where do they get the money?


Lights near NTU’s Main Entrance

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