Saturday, January 30, 2010

忠狗 Tlahuy
Loyal Tlahuy came to Wulai ten years ago today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people, and those with no minds at all spend their time on karaoke.

post #1800!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Tsou tribe of central Taiwan gave up headhunting long before the Tayal, but fond memories linger. When former Vice President Lu was insulting the aborigines because they had the temerity to ask for help when their homes were destroyed in a typhoon (click here), a group of Tsou brought their knives to Taipei and said they wanted to resurrect the real Taiwanese culture.

Recently I have gone several times to 嘉義 the mountains of central Taiwan. A Tsou boy showed me how to stalk someone with a shield and spear (in this case, another little boy hiding in a basket). He was actually quite good.
Their school's activities center is festooned with prize winning artwork by kids from several local elementary schools, depicting Tsou culture. Here is a little girl's picture of successful headhunting. They’ve got a doggie and a kitty and a monkey and oh isn't everybody happy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010







Saturday, January 23, 2010

What kind of image do we leave for posterity?

For use in my 聽說如意 Speaking and Listening course, I am writing about the Burke and Wills expedition across Australia. If you are not familiar with this story, you should certainly google it up and read about it.

Today, however, I am not concerned with the image of Burke and Wills, but rather, a choice sentence I came across in looking for materials at the Burke and Wills Net
from the Brief History by Dave Phoenix:
Unfortunately, Horrocks did not find any new or exciting land, but in 1846 he did become the only explorer to be shot and killed by his camel.

Which is in itself something of an accomplishment, I suppose.

Friday, January 22, 2010

You Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted to Lumps
Very pregnant woman surrounded by misbehaving children: Pregnancy is just such a gift. I mean, I feel so blessed. Like, this is what my body was made for, you know? I just feel so much more complete when I'm pregnant. Knowing that I'm growing this life...
Young woman behind her in line, interrupting: Madam? You are a walking advertisement for mandatory birth control.

Seattle, Washington

Overheard by: The guy applauding her
via Overheard Everywhere, Jan 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sabiy has been providing dance movement therapy/舞蹈治療 for 鄒族Tsou kids traumatized by the landslides wrought by Typhoon Morakot last August. While she is busy, I go out and wander around. Here are some videos I took this week, from an altitude of about 900m, or 100m practically straight above the school.

This one I took right in front of the school. You can see the school almost slid into the valley.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

overheard in Pnguu

10 year old boy of the Tsou tribe: "My brother and I were climbing a tree. We got up really high. Mom told us to come down, but we kept climbing higher and higher. Pretty soon Dad came out with his slingshot and said, 'Climb higher so I can get some moving target practice!' We came down out of that tree as fast as we could."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Seeing is not always merely a matter of opening your eyes and looking. You have to know what to see, and what you are seeing.

Once I was out on the porch with guests when a hawk flew by a little below us. I said, "That was fast, wasn't it?" It turned out that I was the only one who even saw the bird, even though it came within three meters of where we stood.

In a post last year, I commented that I had never seen an eagle or hawk swoop. Recently a hawk has been active in our area. Either it has become active recently or my eyes have picked up its paths recently, but I incline towards the explanation that it has become active recently, because apparently most of our hawks are migratory, spending winters with us.

A couple weeks ago Sabiy and I were on the porch when suddenly there was a thrashing in a nearby tree. A hawk had dropped on its prey there, so swiftly and so suddenly that we didn't even see it coming. Today we were out front when suddenly there was a commotion in the tree out front. I saw something tan, about the size of a large chicken, for a moment, and then it continued its descent. The dogs set to barking, and we all rushed out to see what was up. There was a scattering of plumage on the ground. The dogs searched the ravine and found nothing. I suspect what happened was that a hawk snatched a bird off a branch, but it happened so fast that we were aware of nothing more than a smash and a flash of tan.

On the one hand, raptors depend of speed and surprise; on the other hand, this explains why I hadn't seen them swoop.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The best way I've ever seen to protect a car against thieves.

see more There I Fixed It

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It may not look like much, but for Taiwan, this is a big thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cultural interaction and language learning at work




一位太太說,「budu。」一個先生接口說,「gwatzi budu」,大家笑,說,「不能這樣講!」他們不解釋意思,只說,「不好,你這樣講,太太會打你。」一個太太說,「可是她是budu,她就聽不懂。」好了,知道了。


又遇到接水管的先生,與一群作工的人在一起休息,直準備下班。他給大家介紹,說,「他跟他太太住烏來,」我就知道下一句他們要問甚麼,直接說,「我太太是budu。」一個先生接口說,「gwatzi budu」,大家笑,我說,「嘿嘿嘿,不能這樣講。」大家笑,問,「你聽懂gwatzi budu嗎?」我說,「聽不懂,可是知道這樣講我會被打!」

The floods and landslides last August devastated Tsou tribal land. Sabiy has recently been going there to provide Dance Movement Therapy for traumatized survivors in the local elementary school. I went along for the ride, and while she was working constructively, I wandered around the mountains.

I ran into groups of Tsou people and stopped to chat. I explained why I was there, that Sabiy was doing her best to help, that their predicament has not been forgotten by the outside world. Village people are friendly and curious, and they always asked where we stayed for the night, where we live: Wulai? That's aborigine land too, so of course they wanted to know if my wife is Tayal. No, I said, she's Han Chinese. I asked one group the word for plainspeople, or Han, in Tsou. "Budu" pronounced sort of like the English word voodoo. When I repeated that, one man immediately said, "Gwatzi budu," and everybody laughed and told him to hold his tongue. They told me not to say that to my wife, or she would beat me, but, as one lady said somewhat wistfully, "If she's budu, she wouldn't understand anyway." As if to say, give it a try.

In the afternoon, I met a man by the road and asked about roads and paths further into the mountains. I had a wonderful walk, and coming back, encountered the same man with a group of people working on the road, finished for the day, preparing to go home. He introduced me to them, and said, "He and his wife live in Wulai." I knew what the next inevitable question was, so first I said, "She's not aborigine, she's budu." One man immediately said, "Gwatzi budu," and everybody laughed. I told him to hold his tongue, which made them laugh even harder. "Do you know what that means?" "No," I said, "But I know it'll get me a beating!"

Saturday, January 09, 2010

昨晚到國父紀念館看Men in Tutus,很驚訝發現天上大字:Taiwan UP;臺灣 you pee??定神再看,原來是101,好像是寫 Taiwan up。為甚麼要這樣寫呢?臺灣不是狗。

一般訓練狗,要牠趴下,說Rover down!,要牠站立,就是Rover up!


既然要標語,為甚麼不出個好的?UN for Taiwan啦、Depose啦,都不上軌道。觀光局的touch your heart,最大的好處是不知所云。回想一下,好像上次出了真正好的英文標語,是中華民國推出聯合國時的Keep Free China Free。那時官員英文程度比較好吧。

Taiwan UP真的很像罵人的話…剛好朋友從美國打電話來問候,也順便問臺北近況。我跟他說,101上寫Taiwan up。他想了好一回,問,up what?


Friday, January 08, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Usually the Taiwan Blue Magpie (Urocissa caerulea) and the Himalayan Tree Pie (Dendrocitta formosae) bicker and jostle back and forth. At noon today a sudden uproar led me to believe they were fighting. I went to the porch to see but couldn't figure out what was going on. I went down towards where they were and saw a hawk pressing near them. The hawk was perched in a tree, too close for comfort, so the magpies and pies were screeching together to keep it away. I wasn't able to get any good photos of the hawk, but I recorded the ruckus. Finally the hawk gave up and flew away.

For an earlier confrontation between blue magpies and a hawk, please see my blog or go here and view this set.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The mountains’ gift for weary city dwellers.

Friday, January 01, 2010

During 2010,
May our wishes be granted,
May we enjoy contentment.