Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 02 2001

One time a few years ago I was walking around Tams…

One time a few years ago I was walking around Tamshui, the suburb of Taipei located out at the mouth of the Tamshui River, and I came across a restaurant located near the back of Zhen-li College. It had swastikas and red stripes on the front and was called the “Hitler” restaurant. I thought it interesting and snapped a picture. I didn’t go in though. I doubt it is even there any more.

A couple of weeks ago I sent it to some friends in the states, and they were pretty suprised and even shocked at this picture. It made the rounds and people I didn’t even know were emailing me, asking about it. So I figured I would put it up in my photography section.

Places like that tend to come and go pretty quickly.The neighborhood was mixed residential/business, like most areas of Taiwan. The thing is, people here in Taiwan see Hitler as a famous historical figure, but not the personification of evil that most Westerners see him as. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Germany wasn’t directly fighting China during the war, or the lack of a significant Jewish population in Taiwan, but one can still occasionally see guys on scooters with swasticas pasted on them, or SS-type helmets. People don’t see any problem with that here, really, it’s only the foreigners that take offense when they see that kind of thing.

It’s Saturday morning. I was woken up by the jackhammer upstairs. Why don’t you move? you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. I would, but the jackhammer-in-the-morning phenomenon would follow me wherever I chose to live. Even if I lived in a one-story building, and that’s pretty rare in Taiwan, someone would come up with a need to jackhammer the roof. It’s just a universal constant here, much like corrupt politics.

At sword practice last night I was mildly reprimanded by one of the more advanced students for not mastering Tai-chi Chuan before learning Tai-chi sword. He is obviously well trained in other martial arts and is just now learning sword. It’s obvious from the way he moves. He’s right, of couse, but I don’t know if I like the fact that some people in that class think I shouldn’t be studying with them. I’m not the worst student, but I am far from the best, either. All I know is that I enjoy it and I need the exercise, probably more than I would with just Tai-chi Chuan. Maybe I will do both at some point, thought. Couldn’t hurt. I would also like to do more strenuous hiking. Friend Steve can arrange that, I’m sure.

I sold one of my cameras, a Minolta Maxxum 7000 SLR and lens, to my friend and former co-worker Ronnie last night. Ronnie taught me how to do the World and Asia pages when I first starting working at the News. He is going to Vietnam next month and needed a camera. Then we went out to DV8 and saw Carl. I haven’t been to DV8 much since I left the News and my friend and former sword teacher Shamus (who is in Nepal teaching his sherpas Tai-chi as they climb mountains) was DJing there. It’s just another loud bar where it’s difficult to talk to your friends, and besides doing that, what is the point of going? After a lot of diligent research, I have determined that Ronnie is genetically disposed to staying at bars until the sun comes up, so I thought it would be prudent to leave at around 2 a.m. , in order to get at least a few hours’ sleep before the jackhammers woke me up.

posted by Poagao at 2:27 am  

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