Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 14 2004

I know I said I wasn’t going to the Blue rally yes…

I know I said I wasn’t going to the Blue rally yesterday, but after hearing the reports about me in the paper about me being such a staunch DPP supporter, and also that some friends of mine were going to the rally, I decided to forego the B&Q trip and go to at least part of the rally instead.

I took the MRT, thinking I’d get off at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station, but after the train stopped there and everyone lined up to get off, the doors stayed shut. Then the driver announced that the train couldn’t stop at that station because there were simply too many people there, so off we went to the next stop, City Hall Station, which was also really crowded. As I walked back to SYS Hall, I passed a large hot-air balloon three guys were trying to get off the ground. The city government had closed down several sections of Zhongxiao East Road. They were handing out flags and red headbands with the character for “change” on it. Eventually I found one of my friends, but in the crowd it was nigh impossible to find anyone else.

We joined the throng marching westward towards the presidential office, where the main event was supposed to take place at 3:20, but so many people crowded the streets there was little chance of reaching it in time. As we walked people shouted slogans and waved little flags, blasting air horns and whistles. One guy even had a trombone, and another carried a bamboo flute. Flags of all shapes and sizes were everywhere. People in the office buildings along Zhongxiao Rd hung out their windows and waved flags as well. All in all it seemed like a happy crowd, representing a large cross section of society. At one intersection a short video of the Lian/Song dancing dolls was playing, and the crowd just waved their flags and laughed at it. In-rally Theater.

We shuffled along, stopping at intersections to let traffic through, until we reached Sogo Department Store. I got a call from my college roomie Yao Fu-wen saying that we should wait for him there, as he was several minutes behind us, so we stood on the chairs in front of Sogo and watch the flood of people go by. It was amazing how many people there were. Helicopters flew overhead periodically, and every time one appeared the crowd would wave their flags at it. I saw several foreigners shuffle by as I waited for Fu-wen, who showed up after about half an hour. People were taking pictures of me in my jacket, probably since I’d replaced the Tommy Hilfiger brand my friend Clar took off several years ago with an ROC flag. I took several little videos with my Canon and will probably put together a vidlet of the experience soon.

We started off again, chatting as we went, and eventually turned south at Jianguo South Road, which was something of a bottleneck as we only had one lane, and then along the pleasantly green divided lanes of Ren-ai Road. By this time it was almost 4, and I had told Tall Paul I’d be at his office at 4, so I had to take off before we reached the presidential office. Fu-wen said we should have dinner; I told him to give me a call later before I hopped in a cab and left the sea of people swamping Ren-ai Road. Later I found police estimated about 2.6 million people joined in rallies islandwide, with about 600,000 in the Taipei rally alone. Everyone seemed really happy with the turnout. It was a big, friendly crowd, and spirits were high.

Dean joined Tall Paul, Darrell and I to have a look at and do some test shots of the soundstage at NTU. From the test shots Darrell sent, I think it should work ok as long as we’re careful with our colors on the blue screen. We also learned a bit about electrical interference and angles. It’s a good space, and I think we can do a lot with it in the future.

Fu-wen called around 5, and I found myself at the KMT offices where he works at around 6. I was hanging around the press room when the guy at the podium, whom I though was doing a camera test as no-one was in the audience, called me up to ask me how the rally went. I assumed he thought it would be fun to ask a foreigner about the rally, but after I went up there I realized it was a real interview and reporters were actually filming us, so naturally I froze and stuttered on about stupid stuff for a few moments, hoping the guy, who it turned out was a legislator, would realize what a bad public relations asset I would make and let me go. Then he started asking questions about the DPP commercial I did. Uh-oh, I though, and tried to explain the best I could and excuse myself to get the hell out of there. After I escaped the podium, however, a flock of reporters pounced on me. At first I didn’t see any cameras, but they came just after the reporters. They asked me about the commercial, of course, and I said that I admired the spirit the commercial expressed, that I was only trying to explain that many people probably assumed I supported the DPP because of it, and that this wasn’t necessariily true, etc., etc.

By then I was pretty sure I was going to end up on the evening news again, no doubt with all kinds of scary words put in my mouth, but by then it was too late. After the interview I went out for dinner with Fu-wen and a few other of his co-workers. They, of course, downplayed the interview thing, saying it probably wouldn’t be noticed. I was starved by that time, and the Thai food we were having was delicious Very Thai was the name of the restaurant, on Fuxing North Road. It’s really good, but not as pricey as the stark black decor would indicate.

The demonstrations and rallies are probably going on today as well. These last few days before the election are going to be interesting. I imagine both parties will be pulling out all the stops in their efforts to gain the upper hand and attract the swing vote.

posted by Poagao at 3:49 am  

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