This weekend, Girl Meets Formosa was Freshly Pressed. Now I’m steeped in juicy pulp. (Just kidding. I know, that was terrible.)
To explain “Freshly Pressed”: WordPress.com is the location and also the blogging software that I use to host this humble site. Word Press is a very popular blog interface, and needless to say, gets lots of traffic on its homepage. Each weekday, the content editors at Word Press choose 10 posts to feature in a special section on the wordpress.com homepage called “Freshly Pressed” (with a feed to which you can subscribe). This Friday, Girl Meets Formosa was featured in that section for my post “The Fantasy Treehouse.” Thus, my site traffic has increased by an embarrassingly large number of page views in the past two days.
So, Thank You, Word Press! (Click here to learn more about how blogs are chosen for Freshly Pressed each weekday). And many thanks to you, dear readers, who have supported this blog from its beginning almost a year ago, and have followed my adventures on it!
And to my new readers and subscribers, WELCOME! Continue reading
The view of Silai from Yanping Historic Street, a road that runs through the middle of town and showcases preserved and reconstructed traditional Taiwanese architecture.
In May, I went back to my grandfather Thomas Liao’s hometown of Silai, to meet people, conduct oral history interviews, and look for documents about Thomas’s life, family, and political career.
This was my second trip– the first was a somewhat ill-advised round trip scooter ride from Chiayi City that I did in one day and took 5+ hours. But this time, I had made contact with a very kind host, Stella Chen, who introduced me to everyone she knew in the greater Silai area (between Taichung and Chiayi), and everyone I met introduced me to everyone THEY knew, who might know something about the Liao family, or remember a funny anecdote, share a photo, or take me walking around a historical part of the town.
To say the least: it was intense.
To introduce a series of posts about visiting my grandfather’s hometown of Silai (in Mandarin Siluo, Xiluo, 西螺), here’s a sweet song and video slide show, made by the town’s historical society!! It’s called the Luoyang Culture and Education Foundation, or: 螺陽文教基金會.
So I hope you’ll give it a watch if you want to see how the town looks now– in Silai itself, there are some beautiful historically preserved old buildings, collections of old photographs and books at the historical society, and a traditional soy sauce museum and factory. Continue reading
Dusky, rainy Hong Kong turns on its lights. Taken from a desk at the Hong Kong Public Library-- 1 of the 4 libraries I scoured in 3 days. Who says being a geek isn't fun?!?
I went back to Hong Kong at the end of June, but instead of tourism, boat-related travel, Fulbright conferences, or even Dim Sum being my objective, I went there to visit libraries and try to find out more about Joshua Liao. (Or, Liao Wen-Kui, Wen-Kwei, Wen-Kwui, or Wen-Kuei, depending on your romanization style.)
Joshua was five years older, and was apparently a major figure in Thomas Liao’s life. Continue reading
So, just kidding from last post, I do have some nice photos of scenic and cooling off stuff like beaches, coral, and snorkeling! (Disclaimer: no photos were taken during snorkeling, all the coral is from the aquarium.) So at the end of May, some Fulbright friends and I took a brief trip to the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting National Park, where our friend and colleague Craig Voligny had his Fulbright-culmination art show– it was a show of coral-related paintings entitled Meridians and Parallels, to reference both wave and water patterns as well as energy patterns in the human body expressed by traditional Chinese medicine.
We also got to take a spin around the aquarium, where his art exhibit was held, and of course, go to the beach and go snorkeling!! Continue reading
Now that summertime in Taipei is in full swing, the thermometer has melted: the last few weeks have peaked at 37 degrees Celsius, or 98.6 F– the internal temperature of a person! Heat indexes have been as high as 43 degrees– if I remember correctly, 109 F. From an informal poll of both Taiwanese and foreign friends and local Taiwanese acquaintances, everyone deals with summer in Taipei in different ways: Continue reading
Since I’ve begun to talk more about my history research, here’s a story of where travel and history combine: on Green Island.
The other day, I was talking to some friends about cool places to go on vacation in Taiwan, and mentioned that I went to Green Island earlier in the month over a long weekend with some fellow Fulbrighters. I was listing off fun things to do and see there, and came to the infamous Green Island Prison, which now stands in ruins (with one wing fixed up as a museum) and has a Memorial built on the nearby cliffs. My uncle Suho, who currently lives in Taipei, also spent time there, and I found his name on the Memorial–they list all of the prisoners’ names and dates spent there. It was there that I learned that he was imprisoned on Green Island– for his political actions supporting the Taiwan Independence Movement– for 8 years in the 1950s.
I actually can’t imagine doing ANY single thing for 8 years, let alone being in an incredibly brutal, hard labor camp on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
At hearing this, my friend commented, “Man, your family has been everywhere! All of your vacations in Taiwan always have history research component to them!”
This is, actually, primarily true. Continue reading
We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this world map by Christoph Niemann (not drawn to scale), who writes Abstract City of the New York Times:
Photo of old posters on the wall taken in the Bo Pi Liao Historic Street in Taipei.
This is sort of a non sequitur post, but having blogged for several different blogs over the last few years and now run two of them, I’m always endlessly amused by what Google Search terms lead readers to my blog posts.
Also, lately around Taipei I have met new people, mainly expats, who say– “Oh yeah, I’ve seen your blog… I was looking for something else, but it was interesting.” And there’s that look in their eyes that’s purposefully vague and a little bit awkward, like, were they Googling where to go in Taipei to get that toe fungus cleared up? Or the best third date spot/coffee shop/karaoke house/bathroom supplies store in Shi Da? Or how to say, “I really like you but I just want to be friends, also, I forgot to mention that I’m already married” in Chinese? Continue reading