Shenme Niao wrote:Has there been a discussion of how we expats can use libraries here?
Forumosa.com has several library threads:
libraries in Taipei - please help
Public Library / Privately Owned Book Shop
Taipei Public Library, directions please...
Kaohsiung, a port city on the southern tip of Taiwan, is no more or less ugly than most East Asian cities; that is to say, it is for the most part hideous. . .
The "elevator girl" working the lifts in a new Japanese department store in the center of town wore a Japanese uniform of white lace gloves, beret, high heeled shoes, silk stockings, heavy white makeup. . . But where the actual Japanese elevator girl is drilled to be virtually indistinguishable from a mechanical doll. . . everything about the girl in Kaohsiung was slightly out of kilter: her skirt was stained, her hat askew; she lifted one foot to scratch the back of her other leg, twirled a chunky jade ring round and round her little finger, and grinned at me as though to show how ridiculous this prissy japanese charade really was. . .
Annette Lu's office was of gigantic proportions, with an enormous desk at one end. On the wall, above the usual knickknacks of high office, including a large gold clock of truly extraordinary ugliness, hung a huge photograph of the beaming mayor herself [she was mayor of Taoyuan when the author visited her], framed in elaborately worked gold. Like many middle-aged ladies in Taiwan, she wore a great deal of makeup and jewelry. I hoped to break the ice by remarking on the size of the new government buildings. This was met with a look of undisguised disapproval. She tugged, a little impatiently, at the sleeves of her cream-colored jacket and looked at me severely through a pair of gold-rimmed glasses, waiting for me to begin. . .
Then suddenly she drew herself up and said: "Look, I'm a very busy woman, and I have no time for trivia. What is it you want to know?"
My mouth went dry. I realized I had badly misjudged the occasion. The interview had turned into an embarassment. I had no idea what else to ask her. . . A romantic, like Shih Ming-teh, might bask in past heroism and reflect on its meanings, but Annette Lu had no time for such things. After one or more two perfunctory questions, I decided I had better leave, whereupon her face lit up in the radiant smile of her official portrait. She asked me to repeat my name, took up a gold pen, and signed her book for me. . .
During the first presidential campaign in 1996, I had watched a rally in Taipei together with a group of Hong Kong democrats. Lawyers, legislators, and academics, articulate in English and Cantonese, smartly dressed, and mostly rich, they were amused by the rustic manners of the Taiwanese, their gaudy taste, their odd superstitions, their loudness, and their crass sense of style. But there was some discomfort, too, for when it came to politics, these same crass, vulgar, rustic people were clearly way ahead of Hong Kong. . .
Mother Theresa wrote:
everything about the girl in Kaohsiung was slightly out of kilter: her skirt was stained, her hat askew; she lifted one foot to scratch the back of her other leg, twirled a chunky jade ring round and round her little finger, and grinned at me as though to show how .......ridiculous...... this prissy Japanese charade really was. . .
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