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Showing posts with label Taiwan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taiwan. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2019

Taiwan Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill Today: A Look Back at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade

people holding up a large waving rainbow banner at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Big news today out of a Taiwan:
Lawmakers in Taiwan have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The vote came almost two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law -- which said marriage was between a man and a woman -- was unconstitutional. The panel of judges gave the island's parliament two years to amend or enact new laws.

On Friday -- only a week off the two-year deadline -- lawmakers in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.
Over eight years ago, I shared some thoughts about stumbling upon the 2011 Taiwan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Taipei:
Seeing people freely and openly march for a social cause in a land rich with Chinese culture felt surreal. Nothing like this was possible in mainland China where I had been living for over five years. The parade also brought to mind several friends who had repressed their sexuality but felt comfortable during their college years to "come out".
I then shared a personal account to demonstrate one way that decreasing LGBT discrimination would not only obviously benefit the LGBT community but heterosexuals as well. While I still agree with the main point I wanted to make, I later wished I had expressed myself much better (reading it makes me cringe now) and, perhaps more importantly, done so in a separate piece. That way a post which included a video and numerous photos could have been much more focused on the people who had marched and rallied.

So to finally rectify my mistake to a degree and to provide some more context and color for what happened today in Taiwan, without further ado I will share here the video and 16 photos I shared before plus 14 more photos I haven't previously shared of a parade eight years ago in Taipei that was part of paving the way to a long sought and significant gain in rights for many.




2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young man holding a sign and dressed up in a maid's outfit at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


people holding up a large waving rainbow banner at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Photography on the street at the 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young women hold signs that say free hug and LGBT at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


young women hold signs that say "Follow Your Heart" and "Equal Love" at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


paraders carrying signs at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


paraders at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


police policing  at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


two young men with rainbow flags at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


"LGBT Fight Back! Discrimination Get Out!" sign at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


same two young women who are dressed with minimal covering and vines at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


two young women holding hands with Chinese writing on their backs at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade
The young woman on the right has “我是夏娃” written on her back.
It translates to "I am Eve".
The other has "我爱夏娃" which translates to "I love Eve".


Android Robot mascot and people wearing shirts with two Android Robots holding hands and a rainbow flag at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


group standing behind the sign Promise Giver Christian Action Network


two young women with rainbow stripes painted on their left cheeks


man in bondage outfit at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


man dressed up in colorful women's clothing and wearing a large wig at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


stage at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade rally


Young men being photographed at 2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


2011 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade


Friday, February 16, 2018

A Rambling Travel Tale: One Way to Go From Taipei to Guangdong

The previous post may have seemed out of the blue not only because it was about trash collection but also because it featured Macau. So I will take this opportunity to share a personal travel experience that captures a few of the issues involved in traveling to the Pearl River Delta area.

After an unexpectedly long stay in Taipei, it was time to leave. I knew I wanted to head to Guangdong province but had some flexibility in how to do that. For example, I could take a cheap (less than US $60) flight from Taipei to the island of Kinmen, a ferry to Xiamen in mainland China, and then high-speed rail to Guangdong. Or I could fly directly from Taipei to Shenzhen or Guangzhou in Guangdong. The differing options had various tradeoffs regarding price and convenience. One issue was that there was no way to fly directly from Taipei to where I expected to spend the Lunar New Year holiday.

Then I discovered some cheap direct flights from Taipei to Macau — just US $80 one way. Macau borders Zhuhai, a city in Guangdong. There are no direct flights from Taipei to Zhuhai. But even if there were, the Zhuhai airport is actually farther from the most urban areas of Zhuhai than the Macau airport. The catch is that as a Special Administrative Region in the People's Republic of China, Macau has its own immigration procedures. And they take time to go through.

Overall, I felt the Macau to Zhuhai route was reasonably convenient, and the price was sweet. Oh, and the flight was on Air Macau. I could add yet another airline to my list. So, I bought the ticket.

The flight left the gate about 15 minutes early. The breakfast on the flight, some sort of chicken noodles, was surprisingly tasty. Upon arriving at the airport in Macau, I considered taking a special bus that allows you to avoid Macau immigration and head straight to one of the mainland China immigrations checkpoints on the border with Zhuhai. A policewoman saw me reading a relevant sign, though, and asked if I had a reservation. I said the website indicated that tickets for a bus to the checkpoint I wanted could only be bought at the airport. She then said the tickets must be sold out and that Chinese tour groups often buy them out. I explained the website didn't indicate they were sold out, just that you had to buy them in person. She repeated the point about Chinese tour groups.

I was tempted to check things out with the bus company myself. But given the departure of the next bus (they aren't very freqent) I thought I might make it to Zhuhai more quickly another way.

So, I went through Macau immigration, which was very fast at the airport. Then I wanted to take a convenient city bus to the border at Portas do Cerco. I had some change in both Macau patacas and Hong Kong dollars, both usable on buses in Macau, but not enough. So I exchanged some Chinese yuan knowing I would be making my way back to Macau later. Then I took a bus to Portas do Cerco where I passed through Macanese immigration once again — not as quickly as at the airport but 10 minutes is fine. The line for mainland China immigration was reasonable as well. In the end, I made it to Zhuhai quicker than I would have had I taken the more expensive bus which bypasses Macau's immigration process.

After settling in Zhuhai for a bit, I returned to Macau for a day. And later I finally made the next leg of this journey.

So here's a photo from today, the first day of the new Lunar New Year, next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen, Guangdong:

Man and boy sitting next to the Jiangmen River


One take home message from all of this is that when one making a long trip to this part of Guangdong, there can be a variety of options worth considering (I have other tales to share). I wouldn't have guessed that flying to Macau would be the winner in this case. But it was. And it worked just fine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Dope Sign in Taipei

Admittedly, I paused for a moment when I first noticed the "Dope Rent" sign hanging above a lane in Taipei.

"酷租 Dope Rent" sign in Taipei


I figured the sign wasn't about renting illegal drugs, so I wondered what led to the use of "dope" in the company's English name. A look at the company's Chinese name "酷租" gave a clue.

The first character can mean "hip" — a loanword reflecting that "kù" (Mandarin Chinese) sounds somewhat similar to "cool" in English. A look around Dope Rent's website indicates that was the meaning they had in mind.

The rest of the English name is straightforward, as "rent" is a common translation for the second character in the Chinese name. Fittingly, both the website and the sign indicate Dope Rent is a property management company.

So they could have gone with something like "Cool Rent" for their name. But maybe they didn't think that would be so dope.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Green and Red at Zhishan Park in Taipei

Some paths and insects for today, all from Zhishan Park:


bamboo covered path at Zhishan Park in Taipei



tree covered path at Zhishan Park in Taipei



Chinese lanterns along a stairway with traditional Chinese designs at Zhishan Park in Taipei



red bugs at Zhishan Park in Taipei


If you can identify the red insects, I'd appreciate being enlightened. I feel like they deserve a name. And maybe you can give some other red insects I once saw in Fuzhou a try as well.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Taipei Lunar New Year Festival at Dihua Street

One of the main entrances to the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street
One of the main entrances to the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street

Dihua Street runs through Dadaocheng, a section of Taipei dense with visible history. According to a government tourist website:
In late 1880s, Dadaocheng started to prosper in light of the opening of Tamsui Harbor. It has since become the keystone of economic and cultural development. In Dadaocheng, you will see extravagant Baroque architecture, traditional Hokkien bungalows and brilliant red-brick western houses. Historical buildings, traditional folklore center, tea houses, fabric stores, Chinese pharmacy and local eateries alike are rich in history. A new everyday-aesthetics derives in the vintage neighborhoods of Dadaocheng where century-old stores meet with contemporary innovation.
And at the moment, there's another reason to visit Dihua Street. It is one of the locations for this year's Taipei Lunar New Year Festival:
The Dihua New Year's Goods shopping street will be in place from February 1st to 14th, featuring hundreds of stands selling classic or trendy items. There will be 15 food trucks at Yongle Plaza during the period as well. On weekends, chefs are invited to demonstrate how they prepare New Year's dishes, and visitors can also pour their emotions and creativity into making red envelopes and New Year’s banners. Vintage style clothing and cute dog costumes are also available for people to take fun photos with, sitting in front of an AR technology backdrop. This year's festival has been expanded to Ningxia Night market, Taipei Station Wholesale Market, Rongbin Shopping District and Taipei City Mall, immersing visitors from all places in the lively, colorful Chinese New Year experience in Taipei.
When I visited Dihua Street last Thursday afternoon, what most caught my attention early on were the very dense crowds, all the more striking considering it was a cold overcast weekday afternoon and rain had been forecasted.

dense crowd at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


This made me wonder what it would be like on a weekend day with good weather.

In comparison to past Lunar New Year Fairs in Hong Kong I've attended, there appeared to be more of an emphasis on the traditional items people commonly buy for celebrating the Lunar New Year, making it more distinct from a regular night market, common in Taiwan. In that spirit, some of the sellers wore traditional clothing.

sellers at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


I didn't see anybody wearing a dog costume, though, fitting for the upcoming Year of the Dog. But I see someone wearing a Cheshire Cat outfit.

person wearing a Cheshire Cat costume


As usual for the Lunar New Year, candy was a common item for sale and a great number of varieties were available.

candy for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


candy for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


chocolate coins for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


I tried one of the chocolate coins, something familiar from my own childhood, and I'll just say after the first taste I had no desire to finish it. The cheap Italian chocolates, many with liquor fillings, sold at the same stand were significantly better.

I also took advantage of the the many food vendors there.

Taiwanese sausages for sale at the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street


Sure, black cuttlefish sausages aren't specifically a Lunar New Year treat, but I don't come across them often (the one place which comes to mind is a long metro ride away in Tamsui, though I assume there are closer options). And how can you ignore somebody waving a giant cuttlefish sausage?

woman holding a large fake Cuttlefish Sausage


As it started to get darker around 5 p.m. the crowds thinned slightly and it was easier to explore the various stands.

The Taipei Lunar New Year Festival on Dihua Street during the evening


But things seemed to pick up later on, though still not as busy as the afternoon.

There's much more to see (and eat) than what I have shared here. So if you can, head on over to Dihua Street before the festival ends on February 14. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in a bit of history while enjoying the Lunar New Year festivities. You won't be alone.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Rain and Monochromatic Adidas Themes in Taipei

Many people lined up with their umbrellas today at the Taipei Xinyi VieShow Square to have their photo taken. The large crowd for the outdoor promotion, even on a cold rainy afternoon, suggests Adidas got something right.

people with umbrellas waiting in line to take photos at an Adidas promotion


people with umbrellas waiting in line to take photos at an Adidas promotion


people with umbrellas waiting in line to take photos at an Adidas promotion