The Taipei Kid

Rants/raves + false childhood memories

Video Games First, People Last

This is so nice. Someone dies in an Internet cafe, and people can’t be bothered to look up from their screens. We would have put the photo in this post, but we don’t like putting photos of dead people, especially ones that deserve a bit more of respect than this.

Souvenirs

Just really quickly, and since our quotes to a reporter from a major news outlet never seemed to make it in his big story, we think there is WAYYYYYYYYYYYY too much emphasis on what the mainland tourists can buy and spend here, as opposed to the freedoms they can see firsthand here. Yes, we know all about that government-organized tour for the foreign press, the one where they spent three hours showing everyone how well-stocked the Taoyuan airport’s duty-free stores were with Taiwan souvenirs. Kinda sad.

So, Mr. Ying, why don’t you take off you Gucci sunglasses and check out how the Internet here isn’t censored? Or that you can say what’s on your mind without worrying about being arrested? (Wow–speaking out your opinion without being arrested, how’s that for development?) You pathetic, shallow, $@%*! Happy Olympics!


Slowing Down on Posts (as if I hadn’t already slowed down already)

Taking a break to take care of my old, sick dog.

Banking

Poagao’s recent post on his bad experience at Bank Sinopac, a bank I won’t be going to anytime soon, reminded me of the temper tantrum I had at a certain American bank here when I was 18. This American bank and I seem to have had an up and down relationship, and now it is pretty much over.

It first went up when they paid to have my stolen textbooks replaced after I was stupid enough to leave them in a cubbyhole at the university bookstore. It went back down when I came to their office here in Taipei to pay a bill and was told I could only pay it if I had an ARC (the customer service rep I talked to in the States before I went to Taiwan that summer said I could pay the bill in Taipei, no problem–yeah, right). Needless to say, my snotty little 18-year-old self left the lady at the counter in tears and I was escorted out of the office by security. Unlike Charlize Theron’s experience, I was never approached by an agent and given a part in Children of the Corn III following my bank tantrum.

That American company tried to cancel my card a few years ago when they nearly went bankrupt, saying I had a bad credit report. (The reality is that all foreigners were viewed as “bad” when they did their little housecleaning operation.) I went and checked my credit report here and in fact, they weren’t listed on the report at all. Even the guy at the credit agency thought it was weird this bank’s card wasn’t showing up in the report. So the bank was lying. And now they’ve got a nice new switcheroo where a high annual fee for their new card shows up on your bill and when you call and ask about it you
get “Oh–don’t you remember the notice we sent you?”. (Oh yes, I think about it everyday–bye-bye! Where are the scissors?) Fun trivia: They actually asked me to mail the card back to them, as in I have to spend money to cancel the card.

Right on Time

It may not be the world’s most beautiful airport, but Peach Orchard International Airport was ranked THIRD best worldwide in flight punctuality!

Apartment Tour

Just for fun, I took my first-ever new housing development tour today at this place in Banqiao. The complex was called “Royal” something or other, and it turned out to be royally expensive–about NTD 21 million for a three-bedroom unit (about USD 700,000). For USD 700,000 you do get a free gift, however–a scooter parking spot!

It reminded me of when friends and I took a housing development tour a few years ago in Palm Springs, with units already dolled up to lure buyers into feeling they’ve arrived at home. In Royal’s case, however, home means these god-awful etched metal doors opening up to what seemed like an updated version of a Brenda Dickson set. Unlike the units in Palm Springs, neither of the two model units I saw were decorated with phony framed photos of people. All in all, let’s just say it was better to see the unfinished units.

The bathrooms in the apartments were too small. I would have gladly gotten rid of one of the three bedrooms just to expand the bathrooms (and kitchen) more. The complex did have a huge pool, spa and sauna, all waiting to fall into neglect as these things in complexes here usually do (or at least to close after a child drowns in it). In my current complex alone, they have canned the laundry room, the auditorium is now a storage room, and they “drained” that big tub of colored balls for kids to roll around in.

I have to give the agent credit for being friendly, knowledgeable and actually pleasant to be around during the tour. She was chatty, but not in an annoying way. Not once did she give off creepy real estate agent feeling.

Catfight at California Gym

Two women got in a catfight at California Gym after one, um, passed gas in the jacuzzi. Full story (in Chinese) here.

Leatherheads

I keep hearing about this Leatherheads movie. I thought it was some sort of sequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but apparently it is about football.

Some Really Neat Facts

We got these neat facts (in italics) from one of the English papers. Can you guess which one it was?

Did you know (newly elected Taiwan president) Ma Ying-jeou is “tall, handsome, athletic, a refined gentleman who is also a go-getter…is popular, not just among womenfolk but among the young hard-working men of Taiwan.”

And we be you didn’t know: His landslide victory is proof that the islanders, particularly those in their 40s and younger, are free from the February 28 trauma….Tens of thousands of innocent islanders were slaughtered by government troops sent from China (emphasis ours) to suppress the incident which broke out on that day 61 years ago. The massacre, followed by what is known as the reign of white terror, spawned a lasting feud between the islanders and the mainlanders.

Did you know we like to breastfeed baby camels for the friggin’ fun of it?

There’s Something the News Agencies Can’t Seem to Get Right

A Harvard-educated lawyer and former Taipei mayor from the Nationalist Party, Mr. Ma
The New York Times

The US-educated lawyer
BBC

But Ma, a Harvard-educated lawyer
United Press International

Nationalist (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou, a Harvard-educated lawyer
ABC News

Ma Ying-jeou, a Harvard-educated lawyer
VOA

Can you guess what it is?

Happy Easter!