2011年9月1日 星期四

Blog Archive 13 很久很久以前的文章

Older entries from Taitung Style and Taiwan Style.  To minimize space, I've deleted the pictures.  Ready to time travel?  Let's go!

1. Living Well in Taiwan (II) (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Strange as it may seem, the last "Living Well in Taiwan" was the most-viewed entry on this blog.  Why this is I cannot say.  No one left any comments there, and there aren't any images that would normally be the subject of an image search, so I can only guess.

Maybe there are just a lot of people wondering how they can be happier in Taiwan.  Or maybe there are a lot of people thinking about moving here, and wondering how they can do it better.  I don't know.  Again, I am only guessing.

But I was thinking about a series of steps, or guidelines if you will, that might lead the majority of foreign folks to being happier in Taiwan.  This isn't to say that what makes me happy is going to make you happy, but there are actions that seem to have benefited many foreigners in my acquaintance.  I am thinking here in the short term - maybe in the first year - and steps that one might take to ensure a profitable stay in Taiwan.

1. Make sure your visa is in order

Of paramount importance in this procedure is making sure that your prospective (or current) school has a legal right to hire you for the work they are hiring you for.  False addresses on visa applications, vague job titles on such applications, strange, intermediate (often English-only) paperwork - or even NO paperwork or requests for detailed personal information - are all warning signs that your present or future job may be questionable or entirely illegal.  Illegal jobs often lead to fines and deportation, especially for those bearing passports from countries that are not on Taiwan's official list of "English-speaking countries" (Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK).  South Africans should be especially wary of such complications.

Don't worry if your school asks you to enter Taiwan on a tourist visa, since resident visas are usually processed in-country.  Be sure, however, that you are entering Taiwan on the right tourist visa.  The tourist visa given at Taiwanese consulates overseas is the one you want.  The one given at the airport in Taoyuan usually spells trouble later on.

Newer schools will often bungle the visa application process.  This doesn't always mean they are doing something illegal.  If you are concerned, you have every right to contact your local consulate or the Taiwanese Bureau of Immigration.  You might want to be careful about who you contact and what you say, however, especially if you are working for one of the many, many private kindergartens in Taiwan.

Most private kindergartens have a ghost-like, semi-legal status.  They're not illegal outright, but their hiring of foreign teachers carries special considerations.

2. Keep an open mind

I would suggest that during your entire first month in Taiwan you don't make up your mind about anything.  Don't compare it to "back home," don't decide whether you like it or not, and don't try to convince others that they are right or wrong about anything in Taiwan.  If you can do this, you will be happier in the long run.  There are simply too many reasons why Taiwanese people do things, there is too much history behind why things in Taiwan are the way they are, and there is a logic to this place that will stubbornly evade the new arrival.  Pretend you are five years old for a month or so, take things as they come, and you will enjoy yourself.  There is plenty of time later to arrive at conclusions regarding Taiwan and Taiwanese people.

3. Learn the language

I wouldn't bother with Taiwanese.  It's too difficult if you are unused to Mandarin, and there are many Taiwanese people who don't even speak it.  The same could be said of Hakkanese and aboriginal languages.  There is also no practical method of writing Taiwanese, so the learning curve is steep.

Mandarin, however, is immensely useful in Taiwan.  Even knowing the words for "chicken," "beef," and "pork" pays dividends.  It is by no means an easy language to learn, but you aren't really participating in Taiwan until you know at least enough Mandarin to order food, ask for and give directions, and discuss your feelings.  In the beginning it's difficult, but no one expects you to master the language.

A lot of foreign people wait too long to study Mandarin.  If you are here after a year, that's the time to find a class and get to work.

4. Make Taiwanese friends

A lot of foreigners only talk to other foreigners.  In the beginning, this is to be expected.  You're in a new place, slightly freaked out, and your exchanges with Taiwanese people will be brief.  After a while, however, it is better to branch out and find Taiwanese friends.  This can lead to dating, marriage, or just a really great party.

5. Get out of your safety zone

Everybody settles into a routine after a while.  This routine usually involves the avoidance of things we are afraid of.  This is a natural reaction to any environment, but for foreigners it can often mean getting stuck in a rut.  Don't eat at the same restaurants, frequent the same bars, and talk to the same people all the time just because they feel "safe."  A lot of what makes Taiwan exciting also makes it dangerous, and this fact should be kept in mind.

And with that thought I will leave you.  If you are a foreigner living in Taiwan, I wish you the happiness that every day in Taiwan can bring.  If you are reading this in another country, and thinking about moving to Taiwan, I would encourage you to give it a try.  If you are a Taiwanese person, then what I have said above is probably self-evident.  To all of you, goodbye?

2. Buying English Books in Taiwan (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Buying good English books in Taiwan can be a challenge.  In Taipei and other big cities this is not a problem, but what if you live in Ruei Suei 瑞穗?  Or Jhu Shan 竹山?  Or Guan Shi 關西?

For those in rural areas, you have a choice between the internet or going elsewhere.  Ordering from many popular online bookstores can be a problem, however, since many of them have do not list "Taiwan" or even the annoying "Chinese Taipei" in the address fields.  Were I still in Seattle, I would order 90% of my books from either Amazon or Ebay, but Amazon does not list Taiwan as a destination, and Ebay Taiwan doesn't offer much in the way of English books.

I've found that Bookman 書林 or Caves 敦煌 are the best for ordering online, but they list a lot of things on their sites that they no longer have.  Shopping online in Taiwan, aside from sites such as Yahoo, can be frustrating.  Speaking of which, entering "English books" into Yahoo Taiwan can turn up a lot of stuff.

As far as actual, real, physical bookstores go, in Taiwan's big cities it is usually a choice between Eslite 誠品 and Caves.  Caves specializes in English books, particularly English textbooks, and Eslite always has a few English novels or dictionaries tucked away somewhere.  Every large city in Taiwan has an Eslite, and there are Caves bookstores in Kaohsiung 高雄, Tainan 台南, Taichung 台中, Hsinchu 新竹, and (of course) Taipei.  There used to be a Caves in Hualien 花蓮, but it closed down a couple of years ago.

Besides Caves and Eslite, there are a couple of other bookstores I frequent.  The most important of these two is the Page One bookstore in the Taipei 101 building.*  It's not cheap, but their selection of English-language fiction cannot be beat.  In Kaohsiung 高雄 there is also a huge used bookstore by the name of Shakespeare, just south of the Kaohsiung Train Station.  Shakespeare has strange hours, and is subject to unexplained, periodic closures, so don't say I didn't warn you.

*Page One is history.  It closed a month or so ago. 

3. Elementary School in Taiwan (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

I teach in a public elementary school in Taitung 台東, Taiwan.  I also have two daughters enrolled in my school.  For these two reasons, I know a fair bit about elementary schools around the island.

To clarify: I was hired by the Taitung County Government 臺東縣政府 as a Foreign English Teacher 英語外籍教師 in 2006.  I worked for two years in Tung Hai Junior High School 東海國中, also in Taitung, and later transferred to Tung Hai Elementary School 東海國小, which is just up the street.  My work at Tung Hai Elementary is full time, and I have no other duties at any other school.

What I say about my school may not be true for all elementary schools in Taiwan, but can be taken as an example of what most elementary schools in Taiwan are like.

Our school day starts at 7:50, and ends at 4 each day, Monday to Friday.  Kids in grades 1 and 2 have half days every day except Tuesday.  Kids in grades 3 and 4 have half days on Wednesday and Friday.  Kids in grades 5 and 6 only get half days on Wednesday.

Kids in our school study Math, Chinese, Social Studies, Health, PE, Taiwanese, Science, Art, and the very young kids get a Dance class, or at least they did last semester.  Kids in grades 3 to 6 study English, which is where I come into the picture.  I have nothing to do with grades 1 and 2, since they don't study English.

Many kids in our school hate Math passionately, Chinese less so.  Math and Chinese are the subjects that most classes tend to focus on, given that homeroom teachers carry the responsibility for these subjects.  Our school has three subject teachers for English, two Taiwanese English teachers and myself.  The Taiwanese English teachers have each class twice a week, but teach only two grades apiece, while I have each class once a week, but teach all of the grades.

Aside from the above, there is the usual slew of activities.  There are clubs on Wednesday afternoon - one of which is my English club - and also the field trips once a semester, the Sports Day once a year, and a graduation ceremony for the grade 6 kids in June.  The big vacations are Chinese New Year and Summer Vacation, with a sprinkling of other holidays between these two major events.

A lot of people complain about the homework in Taiwan, but I haven't found it to be much worse than homework in the States.  Grades 5 and 6 tend to have a lot more homework, but even this is nothing compared to what they have to deal with in junior high school.  My older daughter, who's in grade 5, tends to have 2-3 pieces of homework each day, usually Math, Chinese, and another subject.  When people here complain about homework (as with tests), they are usually lumping the elementary classes in with the cram school classes.

There is also a lot of fuss over tests in Taiwan, but I haven't seen much to get worried over.  I have helped write the English tests for my school, and also watched the students take tests in the other subjects.  If they have studied enough, they do OK.  It is the kids that get lazy and/or discouraged that have to watch out.  Tests are administered three times a semester, but I wouldn't regard them as a crushing burden.

I must add that there is a quite a bit of difference between Taitung, where I live, and Taipei.  The testing environment in Taipei carries with it a lot more stress, mostly because people in big cities tend to compare and compete in everything.  Kids in Taitung derive less of their self-worth from tests, and I can't see that as a bad thing.

4. Sex in Taiwan (II) (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Am I sharing too much?  Probably, but sex is always an interesting subject.  Everyone wants to talk about it, most people spend most of their time thinking about it, and nearly everyone is embarrassed by it.

  • I didn't have "relations" (there's that embarrassment again) with a Taiwanese woman until I moved to Taiwan.  This was in my apartment in Taichung, with a girl I met in a pub.  She said that the size of my "member" caused her a great deal of discomfort, though one never knows if such things are ever said in honesty.  She didn't seem to mind the size of my (ahem) "member" after a while.  For my part (heh heh), I never considered her (cough) member to be exceptionally small.

  • I've had plenty of Taiwanese guys try to check out my "equipment" in public bathrooms.  I don't think this is because they are all gay.  Many of them are just curious, and there is a lot less homophobia going around Taiwan.  I myself have never seen a Taiwanese man's "equipment," nor do I have any desire to do so.

  • I feel like plenty of married or older women will sleep with foreign men.  Younger women less so.  Young women, like their counterparts in foreign countries, like to play games.  I came to Taiwan when I was 25, and I have always preferred women my own age or older, so this has never been a problem for me.  I remember having a Taiwanese girlfriend who was 21, and it was a disaster.

  • Girls (or guys) you meet in pubs are usually only good for getting laid.  This is just as true in Taiwan as elsewhere.  A girl you'd want to have a long-term relationship with is never going to be hanging around a bar by herself.  If you have to get through five or six of her friends to talk to her, then you might be on to something.

  • There are a lot of weird cults in Taiwan with a lot of strange ideas about sex.  If you yourself have strange ideas about sex, you might think about joining one.  There are cults for celibate people who think that sexual thoughts attract insects, there are cults for people who like to watch porn together and have orgies, and there are cults for everything in-between.  They are hard to find, and they are rarely open about their less conventional ideas, but they are EVERYWHERE.

5. My Summer in Seattle 在西雅圖的暑假 (Taitung Style, September 九月 2011)

 My daughters and I spent the summer in Seattle.  My wife couldn't go, because we didn't have enough money.  Going to Seattle is EXPENSIVE.  我跟我兩個女兒在美國西雅圖度過這個暑假.  我太太沒辦法跟我們三個人一起去.  因為往美國的機票太貴了.

The three of us were in Seattle from the end of June to the end of August: roughly two months' time.  My mother and father met us at Sea-Tac Airport, and drove us back to their house in North Seattle.  I remember it being a very dark and cloudy day in Seattle, and also thinking that Seattle looked very empty compared to Taipei.  我們三人六月底到西雅圖, 八月底回台東, 總共兩個月的時間.  我父母開車到西雅圖機場接我們.我記得那一天的天氣很差.  我同時也覺得西雅圖和台北比起來好空曠.

Everybody in Taitung asks me if I had fun on my vacation.  I would have to say yes and no.  August was a lot more fun than July.  In August the weather finally turned sunny, and I had more chance to see both friends and relatives.  In July it was very dark, and I spent a lot of time missing my wife.  我在台東的朋友都問我: "你回家鄉玩得很開心嗎?"  我都回答說: "還好."  八月比七月好, 因為天氣終於轉晴.  我比較有跟家人和朋友聊天的機會.  但是七月大多時間都是陰暗雨天.  而且我那時候也很想念我太太.

The highlights of our trip were probably camping on Lake Chelan, the two concerts I went to (Slayer and High On Fire), and taking part in the Federal Way Escape Triathlon.  All of these things happened in August.  I also got to see my brother, who I haven't seen in years, and extend my congratulations on his wedding.  My brother lives in Oakland, California, and I don't see him often.  我們在美國暑假最精彩的活動就是八月時在Chelan湖露營, 參加音樂會, 還有在西雅圖參加Federal Way Escape鐵人比賽. 我弟弟也從加州回去我父母家, 我才有機會為他將要舉行的婚禮恭喜他.  他上個月結婚了. 這之前我已經好幾年沒有跟我弟見面.

 The parts of our vacation that I didn't care for were the weather in July, the price of most things in Seattle, and occasional disagreements with my parents.  My parents and I see the world in very different ways, and this can be a source of friction.  By the time my daughters and I left, my parents and I were getting along just fine, but in the beginning it was hard.  在美國不好的地方就是七月的天氣, 西雅圖的高生活費, 和偶爾跟我父母的意見不合.  我跟我父母的觀念差很多, 這應該是我們那一兩次吵架的原因.  還好我們後來就沒有這種問題了.

On August 21, my daughters and I were in the Sea-Tac Airport yet again, saying our goodbyes to my parents.  I was happy for the time we spent together, but a bit sad because I didn't know when we would be back.  We all hugged my parents, and looked forward to a day when we'd meet again.  I still enjoy Seattle, and I am always thankful for the chance to visit.  八月二十一號, 我們再一次在西雅圖的機場跟我父母說再見.  我很開心有一段與他們相聚的時間, 但是也有點感傷,因為我不知道什麼時候再回去.  我們給彼此一個擁抱,期待再聚的那一天的來臨.  我仍然喜歡西雅圖.  我也覺得能回去看看是件幸福的事情.

6. Tai Ping Mountain 太平山 (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

The first time I went to Yilan 宜蘭, I didn't know where Yilan was.  My girlfriend and some of her friends wanted to take a trip to the East Coast, and I decided to tag along.  I had no conception of Taiwan's geography at that point, and I assumed that Yilan was somewhere near Taipei.

So we got in a bus in Taichung 台中, and got off this same bus in front of the Taipei Train Station.  My girlfriend was swearing in Chinese as we got off the bus.  She was a very impatient person, and we narrowly avoided missing our train.

I obligingly trailed after my designated group of Taiwanese women to the train, and we managed to jam our astonishing amount of luggage into the overhead storage.  The only trouble was that we didn't have any seats, and as the stations passed by I began to realize that Yilan was a long, long way from Taipei.  This was before they built the tunnel from Mu Jha into Yilan City, and back then the fastest way from Taipei to Yilan was by train.

This was also back in the year 1999, and I had been in Taiwan for a month or so.  I remember a group of girls exploding into laughter as I got off the train.  My girlfriend explained that they had never seen a foreigner before.

Later on, we all piled into a small car, and some guy I didn't know drove us around for what seemed like forever.  It also seemed like we were crossing a bridge every twenty minutes or so.  My girlfriend did her best to keep me amused, but at that time I didn't speak any Chinese, and I was feeling very left out of the conversation.

After what seemed an eternity we arrived at Tai Ping Mountain, which is south of Yilan City.  I got out of the car and couldn't believe my eyes.  Was I really still in Taiwan?  Was this really the same island?  All I could see, for miles in every direction, were trees, and the air was very fresh.

I always look back on that moment with a little nostalgia.  The wilder parts of Taiwan were entirely new to me then, and I wish I still had that sense of wonder about the less-visited corners of the island.  Ever since that day, I have compared a visit to any natural area to Tai Ping Mountain, and in doing so I am always comparing the Me of now with that Me of 1999, when everything here was so new and unexpected.

7. Foreign Friends (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Everyone needs foreign friends, regardless of where they live.  "Foreign friends," as the term might be used in Taiwan, however, has two meanings:

1. If you are Taiwanese, these foreign friends would be generalized Western friends.  Most Taiwanese, given prevalent racial attitudes, would not include friends from countries like The Philippines, Thailand, or other such countries (i.e. countries further down on the economic ladder) as "foreign friends."

2. If you are one of these generalized Western friends, or even if you are just "that foreigner standing over there, drinking the coffee," it would be someone from a similar cultural background, or from your own or another Western country.

As for (1) above, I could probably discourse at length on the subject of how Taiwanese people can make more foreign friends.  Some Taiwanese people have gone so far as to ask me this very question, while others have attempted - not always successfully - to make me their foreign friend.  I think that if you are Taiwanese, and want to have a foreign friend, you could begin by observing the following five guidelines:

  1. Don't make the foreigner feel like you want to be their friend just to practice English.
  2. Refrain from making generalizations about foreigners as a group (i.e. "You guys eat hamburgers every day, right?")
  3. Don't assume that just because you know some foreigner in Tainan, I or any other foreigner will know them, especially if we don't live in Tainan and have never even been there.
  4. Don't begin your conversation with the foreigner by starting with the dreaded "job interview questions" (i.e. "What's your name?" "Where are you from?" "What foods do you like?" in that EXACT order).
  5. Don't act like we're lifelong friends if we've been talking for less than ten minutes.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that subject.  For now, anyway.

What I really wanted to talk about was foreign friends for foreigners in Taiwan, which is something else altogether.  It is also a topic which is much less amenable to generalization, given that foreigners, by definition, are a minority here.

When foreigners first arrive in Taiwan, it's hard NOT to have foreign friends.  You're in a strange environment, you're not sure what to make of anything, and you naturally seek out others like yourself.

But after a while, for those who choose Taiwan for a longer term, marriage, work, and Taiwanese friends can diminish your circle of foreign friends.  Maybe you start to feel like Taiwanese people understand you better, or maybe you feel like you just don't have the time.  Maybe you live in a place where there are few (or even no) other foreigners, and it becomes hard to maintain relationships with people who live far away.  Maybe you don't even know why it happens.  Maybe you don't care.

I have met guys in Taitung 台東 with maybe one foreign friend, who they see (perhaps) once a year.  They descend from some place in the mountains, confer with their friend for one joyous, English-filled day, and then they go back the way they came.  I once met a guy on Orchid Island 蘭嶼 like this.  He was one of two foreigners living there year-round.  And the other foreigner was German.  And spoke English as a second language.

I myself don't have as many foreign friends as I used to, but I suppose that's to be expected.  For my first five years in Taiwan, I was living in Taichung 台中 and Hsinchu 新竹, two places that have thousands more foreigners than Taitung, where I now live.  I still enjoy the friendship of a few foreigners, but this is a far cry from the wide circle of foreign friends I once had.  I would be lying if I said this didn't bother me at times, but it's the price of living in a rural area.

I have met foreign guys who've tried to "go native," or to escape the "foreigner bubble," or whatever they want to call it.  They want to become Taiwanese, or as close to Taiwanese as they can get.  Maybe this is for language-study purposes.  Or maybe they simply want to distance themselves from their own culture.  I can sympathize with this point of view, because I have felt that way also.

Still, it's good to have a foreign friend.  No matter how long you live in Taiwan, it's a good outlet to have.  We need people who are like us, or at least somewhat similar.  We need to speak in our own language, with someone who will understand that language as their own.  Taiwanese people need this too, and there's nothing wrong with it.

I was reminded of this the other day, when I visited the hot spring with my own foreign friend.  After talking to him, I realized that I was not alone, and that was a great feeling.

8. Photo Gallery (III) (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Recent pictures, taken recently.

The hotel they are building in Shan Yuan 杉原, Taitung County 台東縣

Near the Coast in Cheng Gong Township 成功鄉

Beached Boat, also in Cheng Gong

View from the Eight Fairies Cave 八仙洞 in Chang Bin Township 長濱鄉

Cool River on a Hot Day - Cheng Gong

View East from Temple near Rainbow Falls, Cheng Gong

9. Thoughts (3) (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

Wednesday again, and here I am in front of the computer.  It's raining cats and dogs, and every few minutes there is a lightning flash, followed by thunder.

I love rainy days.  At least when I'm at work.  On rainy days, I never think about all the other things I could be doing.  It's also much cooler when it rains, and it's pleasant to be in class.

More people are reading this blog now.  This is good.  If you are one of these people - and by virtue of reading this you are definitely one of those people - I thank you.  It's nice to write, and even nicer to be read.  Some of the stuff in this blog was written for my own benefit - written as a way of helping myself sort things out - but other stuff was written in the hope of communicating something about Taiwan, something about myself, and something about the intersection of the two.

Even if you just like pictures of sexy girls, or pictures of scenery, that is at least something.  If you like either of these things, then we have something in common.  My apologies to people who like pictures of sexy guys.  Lacking the requisite feeling for sexy guys, I wouldn't know what pictures to put up.

The semester has just started, and I am very busy lately.  I have two extra classes now, since our students are part of an "online mentoring" program with the Taipei American School.  Two groups of students, one in Taitung 台東 with me, and another in Taipei, use Skype to meet twice a week to practice their English.  I was skeptical of this idea at first, but I find that it's growing on me.  It is, however, a lot of work for everyone involved.

But I suppose it's worth it.  By speaking with counterparts in Taipei, our students not only improve their English, but also learn the value of English as a mode of communication.  They have also made their world slightly smaller, by meeting a new friend in a new place.  For me, such a thing is an absolute good, and I am glad to be part of the process.

Hopefully you are also making friends in new places.  No one can ever have too many friends, and it is always worthwhile to see things from another place, or another point of view.  I can only hope that this blog is evidence of that.

10. Teaching English 4: Anxiety (Taiwan Style, September 九月 2011)

For every foreigner who has come to Taiwan to teach, I'm sure there's at least one horror story.

My first day teaching here was a complete disaster.  I was teaching kindergarten, and I had never taught kindergarten before.  I had only been in Taiwan a week, and I wasn't sure what kind of classroom discipline was "OK."  I did EVERYTHING wrong, and that first day was the Longest.  Eight.  Hours.  Of.  My.  Life.

Before I came to Taiwan, I had only taught adults.  I was working at a non-profit organization in Seattle, helping immigrants pass the citizenship exam.  I had a few ideas about teaching, but I had no degree in Education, and no real knowledge of the field.

Then came the decision to move to Taiwan.  Teaching ESL in Asia - sounds fun, right?  I suppose at first I didn't think much about the actual work I'd be doing.  I was more thinking of exotic locales and beautiful women, maybe also the chance to learn some Chinese.

But as the day of my departure approached, I began to realize what kind of trouble I was in.  Of course the people on the phone said, "Haven't taught kids before?  No problem!" but as I boarded the plane, I started to think that it wasn't going to be as easy as they made it sound.

And I was right.  I had no idea of how to manage a classroom, and to make things worse, no knowledge of how to teach little kids English.  The "Chinese Teacher" they had given me couldn't even understand my English, and I went through the day trapped in a haze of crying and screaming.  Most of this crying and screaming was from the children.  But not all.

To this day, every time I see that scene in "Kindergarten Cop," where Arnold Schwarzenegger has his own first, disastrous day teaching kindergarten, I am reminded of my own first day teaching.  I had never felt like such a complete failure, before or since, and I suppose it is this feeling of failure that pushed me to be better, and to have a good grasp over what I was trying to do as a teacher.  In a way, I think it was necessary for that day to happen.  Otherwise I wouldn't have learned how to improve.

Thankfully that first day was only one day, and the next day was better.  I got a co-teacher who could understand me, I learned how to talk to little kids, and I learned how to teach ESL.  I even went back to the States and got that teaching degree.

If you are reading this, and thinking about your own first venture into teaching ESL in Asia, I encourage you to give it a try.  Yeah, your first day might be just as bad as mine, but with patience you will improve, and with time you will succeed.  It's never easy to acquire a new skill, and many ESL classrooms can be a sink-or-swim proposition, but for those with a will, there is a way.

11. Taitung: Another Perspective  台東: 不同的聲音 (Taitung Style, October 十月 2011)

In order to offer a more detailed picture of current events in Taitung, and also to provide a forum for opposing points of view, the author of this blog interviewed his three cats on recent developments in Taitung County.  It should be noted that the views and opinions expressed in this blog entry are the sole property of the three cats interviewed, and are in no way representative of Taitung's animal population as whole.  Aboriginal cats, dogs that live in alleys behind local restaurants, and cockroaches may hold opinions and engage in political activities that would stand in opposition to the political views espoused by the three felines interviewed here.為了提供更多台東重要事件的細節照片,也讓持不同意見的人發表他們的意見,作者訪問了他的三隻愛貓關於台東發展的近況的想法.這當中的觀點屬於這三隻接受訪問的貓所有,不代表台東其他動物的立場.當地住在餐廳小巷後面的貓狗及蟑螂們可能持著不同的想法,政治立場也可能與三隻家貓不同.

TIMESTHREE: I would like to begin by thanking the three of you for coming to this interview.  I'm sure it will be an edifying experience for us all.
首先,我要感謝你們三隻貓接受訪問.  這將是一項受益良多的經驗.

JOJO: No problem, man.  I never go outside anyway.
 不用客氣.  我從來沒有到外面過.

SAMMY: Yeah, me neither.  我也是.

CHRISTMAS: What?  甚麼?

TIMESTHREE: I would like to ask Jojo about the coming city and county-wide elections.  Do you think Huang Jian-Ting will be reelected for a second term?  請問Jojo對台東的縣市長選舉的看法,  黃健庭可以繼續連任嗎?

JOJO: As a long-standing member of the KMT, I have confidence in our Magistrate and wish him a speedy reelection.  I have every intention of helping with the campaign as soon as I am asked.  I understand that his offices in the Taitung County Government are experiencing a certain rodent problem, and I can certainly help with this.  做為一隻出色的國民黨黨貓.  我覺得黃縣長一定會成功.  只要有人要求,我也願意幫忙輔選. 我聽說他的辦公室有老鼠的問題.  我當然要幫這個小忙.

SAMMY: I'm DPP myself, but I will love him if he feeds me.我是民進黨黨貓, 只要他餵我, 我就愛他.

CHRISTMAS: What?  甚麼?

 TIMESTHREE: And you, Sammy.  What are your opinions on recent development in Taitung County?  For example, how do you feel about the resumption of construction on the Shan Yuan Hotel, and what it might mean for local businesses and tourism?  那Sammy你呢?  你對台東縣最近的發展有什麼意見?  比方說, 杉原的飯店啟用之後, 台東的經濟會更好嗎?  觀光客也會更多嗎?

SAMMY: I've actually never been to Shan Yuan.  The only time I ever leave this apartment is to go see the vet, and I hate that.  I think all vets should be imprisoned and/or executed immediately.  我沒有去過杉原.  我出門只是為了看獸醫.  我非常討厭看獸醫.  我認為應該把台東的獸醫關起來或是處決.

JOJO: I second that emotion.我也這麼想.

CHRISTMAS: What?  甚麼?

TIMESTHREE: OK.  And what do the three of you think of my daughter's room?  In other words, who peed on her bed?  好.  那你們三隻貓對我女兒的房間有意見嗎?  話說回來, 是誰在他的床上小便?

JOJO: Wasn't me.  I think it was Sammy.  不是我.  我以為是Sammy.

SAMMY: Me?  Not a chance.  Had to be Christmas.  我嗎?  不可能!  應該是Christmas.

CHRISTMAS:  I like chicken.  Can you feed me again?  我想吃雞肉.  你可以再餵我一次嗎?

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