Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 27 2002

On Sunday I went to the Estrogen Mall with Mindcri…

On Sunday I went to the Estrogen Mall with Mindcrime, HG Janice and Dean to see The Bourne Identity, which I liked although I think they could have chosen a better actor than Ben Affleck’s boyfriend Matt, who looked like a lost child for most of the picture. We did have tasty mango treats at the Xuliufeng place beforehand, though, and after the movie we walked out of the mall to find one of my favorite Taiwanese singers, Zhang Zhen-yue, singing on the sidewalk. They might have been filming it for a music video or something, but I still think it’s cool he would do that. You’d never see Coco Lee without her huge entourage out on a sidewalk somewhere strumming a guitar and sweating in the heat. Shit, you’d never see Coco Lee doing anything original. Can you tell I don’t have the best impression of Coco Lee? I learned what a bitch she is when we interviewed her at TVBS a few years back. What a primadonna. Zhang Zhen-yue, by contrast, came in for his interview all by himself, and the extent of his make-up session was him glancing at himself in the mirror and adjusting his baseball cap.

I also spent a bit of time last weekend cleaning out my kitchen and bathroom, arranging things here and there, etc. I have yet to experience the kind of cooking smoke I did that last time when I was visiting the place; perhaps it’s rarer than I assumed it was. I’m wondering if I do really need an entire kitchen, however. I thought it would be nice, but to be honest, I really don’t know how to cook, and eating out cheaply in Taiwan is so convenient I wonder if it’s a bit much for someone like me to have a whole kitchen. Perhaps I will learn someday, but I doubt it. After long days walking around, a habit living really close to the MRT seems to encourage, climbing up to the 5th floor makes my old knee injury ache a bit. Hopefully it’s nothing to worry about. The room itself is quite nice. Next steps: adsl, possibly TV/cable and a cat.

Speaking of cooking, yesterday at lunch I was walking around the area where I now work when I came across a nice-looking cafe called the Cityskyscape or something similarly inane that should have been sufficient to warn me away had I not been too hungry to notice. I ordered a chicken sandwich and went to sit in the wood-panelled dining area. Spffy interior. I soon became aware however that the room was also occupied by a group of this city’s most pretentious people, two Taiwanese and one American girl of Chinese descent. They went on and on about the inconveniences of shopping for million-dollar houses in New York City. The ABC girl was throwing in a lot of English to impress her Taiwanese friends, but after she noticed me in the room she obviously felt that her efforts were best spent speaking accented Mandarin really loudly. I could tell she felt really conflicted about it, no doubt wondering if she was impressing us all equally.

I was grateful when my meal arrived, but only until I took a bite. On my way out, I told the woman at the cash register, “You realize that a sandwich is sort of a contract with the consumer, right? It’s a promise that ‘everything in between the bread is edible, i.e. chewable and swallowable without the aid of external forces like a fork, knife, or hay-thrashing machine’. Your sandwich broke that contract. If I were you I might want to rethink how I slice my chicken and next time leave out the huge bones, etc. from the formula.”

I think she took it rather well, all things considered. I’m sure the cursing I heard as I left was merely some old people in a nearby apartment playing a lively game of mah-jong.

As for my new job, it’s been rather uneventful. Everyone has been quite nice. The people who work there are not nearly as pretentious and full of themselves as some other places I could name, although my working environment is a bit drab in comparison, being a typical office, and a government office at that. The trappings may be modern, but Chinese bureaucratic culture goes back for millennia. My computer, for example, is an early Qing Dynasty Pentium 133, if you can imagine. It’s fine for editing documents, but when it comes across, say, a Yahoo! page it just throws its mouse in the air and sighs heavily. Whever I try to access a java site it screams “Lordy!” Luckily for me Blogger doesn’t give it much trouble, and without Internet at home yet it’s the only connection available to me.

posted by Poagao at 8:23 am  

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