Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

MRT Taipei

One thing that a person living in Taipei will experience everyday other than seeing the red splatter of a dried up Binlang is the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). It is in my opinion one of the best metro rail systems in the world in terms of efficiency, frequency, timeliness and hygiene. Not once have I experienced a cancellation and the wait during peak times is no more than 5 minutes, though usually less than 2. There’s also an army of cleaning ladies who are busy wiping, mopping and brushing every second, so much that they are even a common sight in a crowded male bathroom.

Melbourne needs to take a page out of Taipei Rail’s books and start fix the rotting system that the Kennett government left behind. There’s no way people are going to want to forgo the convenience of the car and use the existing service when it’s such a dud. They can start by increasing the frequency of trains and prevent cancellations. Then major upgrades and expansions to the routes is required with frequent buses to shuttle people to the trains. After experiencing Taipei MRT, you won’t wanna go back.

Trains need to rest too.

Zhong Xiao Fuxing, one of the busiest MRT stations.
Right underneath the infamous Sogo Department Store.


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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.

Mass paper burning session

Corner of Nanjing East Rd and Fuxing North Rd

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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.

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

Floral arrangement and a candle at Barcode

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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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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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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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Wonders of YouTube

I've known that YouTube is one of the new phenomena's available on the Internet that's making a huge buzz that rivals MySpace and Google. However it only hit me how good it really is when I first saw the video about Britney's latest stupid act before I saw it reported on The Age. I guess when you have the whole world working for you, there's no competition.

In other news, the US government has just announced that it might be throwing away US$13M worth of new computers, just because they're made in China. Well, they might just have to resort to pen and paper because they're all made in China nowadays. Guess they'll just have to give them all to me.

And lastly, for some reason I find this photo amusing.


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