2015年11月28日 星期六

Near the Li Jia Forest Trail 在利嘉林道附近

It's difficult to explain where the Li Jia Forest Trail is.  All I can tell you is that you take the road that goes through Tai Ping Village, and at the end of that road there are a few twists and turns that lead you to the Li Jia Forest Trail.  要跟你解釋利嘉林道怎麼去是一件困難的事.  我只能說要走太平村的那條路, 之後經過幾個彎道就能到達利嘉林道.


If you see the gate above you're on the right track.  This is a military cemetery.  如果你路上看到台東縣軍人公墓, 你就知道自己正往對的方向前進.


There is a jet, a tank, and other military things in the park around the cemetery.  It's actually quite big - much bigger than it looks from outside.  公墓的公園裡有飛機, 坦克, 還有其他的武器.  這裡面其實很大.  從外面看不出來.


Behind the cemetery the road ascends up a steep hill.  You will see a lot of signs for 大巴六九 (Da Ba Liou Jiou), a restaurant just below the beginning of the trail.  公墓後面上坡的路很陡.  沿途會看到很多大巴六九餐廳的路牌.  這家餐廳位於林道起點的附近.


The view from the top is impressive.  In the day you can see all the way to the ocean.  At night there are the lights of Taitung City, far below.  山上的風景很美.  在白天可以遠看到海邊.  晚上可以看到台東市的燈火.


A lot of people grow betel nut trees up here.  Some of the landowners keep dogs, so be warned if you're walking up.  There are also plenty of snakes around here.  這附近很多人種檳榔樹.  農夫們養的狗也不少, 所以走路時要小心.  因為這裡也有蛇!


This stretch of road is not far from the beginning of the trail.  這一段路靠近林道的起點.


Almost there...  快到了...


And this is just a few feet from the trailhead.  We didn't walk past the trailhead that day, because we were pressed for time.  The trail is an interesting place to walk, however, and I highly recommend it.  這裡很靠近起點.  我們那一天因為趕時間沒有走到林道, 我強烈建議去走那條林道, 因為那裏很有趣.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Jin Luen 金崙
Bei Nan River Mouth 卑南溪口 / Li Ji 利吉惡地
The Price of Nature  大自然的價值
How Not to Get to Our House by Going the Wrong Way 迷路了

2015年11月26日 星期四

List of Things I Could Worry About on a Thursday Afternoon


1. Global warming.

2. Terrorism.

3. The overfishing of Taiwan's coastal waters.

4. The future of English language education in Taiwan.

5. Whether certain people like me or not.

6. Whether or not certain people are talking about me behind my back.

7. Upcoming English competitions.

8. The possibility that it might rain later.

9. Cancer and other potential health problems.

10. Whether the people I work for are happy with my job performance or not.

11. Random, sexually perverse thoughts that occasionally pop into my head.

12. The possibility that this laptop has viruses.

13. If and how much my parents love me, and whether or not this love is equal to the love my siblings receive from the same set of parents.

14. How the Seahawks are doing this season, and if they will make the playoffs.

15. The potential for getting into trouble at work.

16. The likelihood of realizing future plans.

17. The thought that at times I appear ridiculous to others.

18. Getting older, and the possible effects that aging might have on my health.

19. My children's performance in school.

20. The likelihood of my children realizing their own future plans.

21. Complications that might arise from my not having filed U.S. tax returns for more years than I can remember.

22. The possibility of being struck by a car or motorcycle.

23. The possibility of falling over on my bike, increased by the fact that I use clip pedals and shoes.

24. Upcoming athletic events.

25. Alienation from my home country, culture, and place of birth.

26. My marital relationship.

27. My tendency to build things up in my mind too much, and to grow disappointed when reality doesn't meet my expectations.

28. The fact that I worry too much.

29. The possibility that this list might not be comprehensive.

30. Friendships with local foreign people, and intimations that I am "too Taiwanese" for them.

31. Friendships with other men, and the idea that I am not manly enough, don't follow the same sports, and don't obsess over the same things as they do.

32. The idea that I could be doing more than I am presently doing.

33. That quote from Ecclesiastes, in which the Preacher say(eth): "Of making books there is no end, and in much study lies a weariness of flesh."

34. Traffic between myself and any future destination.

35. The fact that I drive often, yet don't have a driver's license.

36. The possibility that I am too argumentative.

37. The thought that I am just another white man to those I work with, and any other white man would do just as well.

38. The fact that I am often full of myself, and that I could be more humble.

39. The fact that I sometimes gossip, and that this is something I need to be careful of in the future.

40. Death.

41. The death of those I care about.

42. The fact that I am often disappointed by major motion pictures (Spectre being a prime example) because I have - yet again - built them up in my mind too much.

43. The uncertainty of life, and the fragility of the human condition.

44. The possibility that I don't make the best use of my time, of which this list may be an example.

45. The fact that dumbing oneself down is often an excellent way of winning friends and influencing people.

46. The depletion of coral in the oceans.

47. Ocean acidification.

48. Gaps in my understanding of Chinese, especially idioms.

49. Women who are a little too eager to know me, and/or make themselves available to me.

50. Greed.

51. The possibility that in writing this list I may be giving too much away.

52. Money.

53. Whether or not my cats are destroying something in my apartment right now.

54. The welfare of others.

55. The fact that one of my coworkers has developed an intense dislike for me, and the associated fact that I can do little about it.

56. The extinction of animal and plant species.

57. The chopping down of the rainforest.

58. The idea of free market environmentalism vs. government regulation.

59. The certainty that I am also contributing to global warming, air pollution, depletion of the water table, the creation of waste, unfriendliness, loneliness, and other social and environmental ills.

60. The existence of God and the role of the deity in my personal affairs.

61. The question of religion.

62. Orthodoxy vs. orthopraxy.

63. The things I might or might not do this weekend.

64. Ongoing Facebook arguments with complete strangers.

65. The fact that some people are just a**holes.

66. The fact that sometimes I am also an a**hole.

67. My overconsumption of coffee.

68. The content of this morning's breakfast, which consisted of a spicy chicken hamburger and a milk tea at a local breakfast restaurant - not organic by any stretch of the imagination.

69. The fact that there are several things I cannot put on this list because they will incriminate me in the eyes of God and Man alike.

70. The idea that #69 above might just apply to everyone apart from Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the mentally retarded, and the insane.

71. The fact that I am not a practicing Catholic, yet at times experience Catholic guilt.

72. The relationship between Taiwan and Mainland China.

73. The possibility that Taiwan will one day be swallowed up by Mainland China.

74. Politics.

75. Pop stars personal relationships (just kidding).

76. The idea that trying to be "cool" is silly, but the corresponding fact that I want to be cool.

77. False friends.

78. People mistaken for adversaries.

79. My parents being taken care of in their old age.

80. The possibility of my sister or brother being unable to do this.

81. Taking care of my mother-in-law in her old age.

82. The susceptibility of my mother-in-law to con men and false bargains, and also her general lack of common sense.

83. A false sense of superiority.

84. The idea that I abuse Facebook, and should instead bring a book to school.

85. The possibility that I am forgetting something important.

86. The question as to what "a life well lived" might actually be.

87. My hairline.

88. The fact that part of the reason I exercise is that I am vain.

89. American and Mainland Chinese geopolitical struggles, not restricted to the subject of Taiwan, the building of naval bases in the South China Sea, and terrorism.

90. The fact that I am not always the best father and husband, and that I could in general be a better person.

91. The silence that pervades this office, and the fact that many of my coworkers have stopped speaking to each other.

92. What I might do during Chinese New Year.

93. What I might eat for dinner tomorrow.

94. What kind of alcoholic beverage I might drink tomorrow.

95. What kind of books I might buy in Taipei next week.

96. Whether or not I'll be bored at the wedding dinner in Taipei next week.

97. The future of space travel.

98. The making of lists.

99. The futility that often accompanies human existence.

100. The fallibility of both authority figures and institutions.

101. The fact that tomorrow I will probably think of dozens of other things to add to this list, and that the incomplete nature of this list will bother me.

Related Entries:

什麼時候要開始學英語?  When Should We Study English?
The Price of Nature  大自然的價值
Stepping Out 走到戶外
Far Away Home 遠離家園

2015年11月24日 星期二

什麼時候要開始學英語? When Should We Study English?

One of my coworkers goes to a lot of meetings.  He goes to meetings in Taipei, meetings in Kaohsiung, even meetings in Jinmen.  When he comes back from these meetings, he usually leaves the handbook from the meeting on his desk.  When I have a spare moment I'll look through them.  我的一位同事常出席許多的會議.  他會去台北, 高雄, 甚至也會去金門開會.  他回來之後常把會議手冊放在他的桌上.  當我有空的時候會看一下這些手冊.

The Chinese text below was taken from the 英語語言管理操作手冊 (English Language User's Manual), put out by the Global Education Association in Taiwan.  The Chinese was written by Chen Chao-ming 陳超明, and the English translation was written by me.  下列的文章原來在台灣全球化教育推廣協會的"英語語言管理操作手冊"裡面.  以下的中文是陳超明寫的, 英文翻譯的部份是我寫的.




When: 什麼時候開始學英語?  如何學?
When Should We Study English?  How Should We Study?

學生, 家長, 老師, 校長的難題 Problems for Students, Parents, Teachers, and Principals

小成目前就讀小學一年級, 哥哥小威就讀小學三年級, 剛開始進入學習階段.  如同許多家長, 小成, 小威的爸媽認為英文很重要, 在孩子很小, 甚至幼推園的時候, 就送去雙語幼推園及補習班學英語, 希望贏在起跑點.  他們的煩惱是進入學校後, 孩子的英語學習該如何接續?  那麼小開始學英語, 真的有效嗎? 真的贏別人嗎?  Shiao Chung is in the first grade, his brother Shiao Wei is in the third grade, and their student life has just begun.  Like many parents, Shiao Chung and Shiao Wei's mother and father think that English is very important.  Their children have attended a bilingual kindergarten and also an English cram school from very early on, in the hope that an early start will ensure their later academic success.  After these parents carry their concerns into a [public] school, how can their children's English study be accommodated?  Is it effective to study English so young?  Will they [the children] really surpass other students?

小學六年級的小華, 即將進入國中, 因為英文程度不太好, 時常跟不上老師上課的進度, 學習成效也不及同班同學, 結果在課堂上常常當"客人".  老師為他安排補救教學, 但小華本身對英文沒有興趣: 校長希望老師讓學生在小學畢業後, 能有基本的英語能力, 好跟國中的英語課程接軌, 可是英語補救教學的學習成效似乎不甚理想, 小華好像也上得不起勁, 老師, 校長都不知道該如何處理!  Shiao Hua is in the sixth grade, about to enter junior high school.  Her English level is not very high, and during English class she has trouble keeping up.  Her grades are also below those of her classmates, and she is more like a "guest" in her class.  Her teacher has assigned her to a remedial class, but she has no interest in English.  The principal hopes that the teacher can instill some English ability in the students before they graduate from elementary school, so that they can participate in their junior high school English classes.  The English remedial classes don't seem so effective however, and Shiao Hua doesn't seem so enthusiastic with regard to studying [English].  Both the teacher and the principal don't know what to do!

雅婷目前就讀國中, 正在準備會考.  雅婷很緊張, 成續不甚理想, 模擬考分數數下子在B級, 一下子在C級.  雅婷媽媽正考慮送他去補習班, 但要上單字課還是文法課?  該去雙語補習班專攻英文?  還是去全課的升學補習班?  抑或加強英文其實不重要, 選擇其他課就好?  Ya Ting studied in a junior high school, and now she is preparing for the comprehensive examination [at the end of junior high].  Ya Ting is very worried.  Her grades aren't as good as she hoped they'd be, and her scores are sometimes B-level, sometimes C-level.  Ya Ting's mother is thinking about putting her in a cram school, but should it be vocabulary class or grammar class?  Should she [Ya Ting] go to a dual language cram school to learn English?  Or should she go to a more general cram school?  Or is strengthening her English not that important?  Maybe she should choose another kind of class?

國強從小英語能力很強, 小學時, 爸爸曾到新加坡工作一年, 也帶著他去.  在新加坡的英文學校學習一年, 國強培養出閱讀英文故事書的習慣, 也敢開口講英語, 然而四年級回到學校後, 發現同學都還在跟字母, 發音及單字拼命, 國強覺得上英語課好無聊!  Chiang Guo has been good at English from a young age.  When he was in elementary school, his father went to work in Singapore for a year, and brought Chiang Guo to live with him.  In his Singaporean English school he studied for a year, and there Chiang Guo learned to read English story books.  He is very eager to speak English.  Yet when he came back to his elementary school in the fourth grade, he discovered that his classmates were still learning the alphabet, phonics, and basic words.  Chiang Guo feels that attending English class is very boring!

以上這些例子, 都是台灣現今國小及國中學生, 家長, 老師, 校長所面臨的英語學習難題.  我們可以看得出來, 大多數家長對於孩子的英語學習狀況都非常關心, 學校老師與校長也都很重視英語學習.  The above are all examples of problems that students, parents, and principals face in modern Taiwanese elementary and junior high schools with regard to English study.  As we can see, most parents are concerned about their child's English learning situation, and both teachers and principals are concerned about English language education.

家長的願景 The Parents' Perspective

父母心中最大的疑問, 不外乎孩子應該什麼時候開始學英文?  如何引起孩子學習英文的興趣?  再者, 應該送孩子去哪裡學英文?  應跟著學校走?  還是去補習班或安排家教?  In the hearts of many parents the greatest uncertainty is not only when their children should begin learning English, it is also how they can increase their child's interest in learning it.  Moreover, where should they send their child to learn English?  Should they follow their school's lead?  Or should they put their child in a cram school, or even a private [home] class?

多數家長都希望孩子具備英文能力, 能溝通, 考好學校, 將基礎打好, 將來能去國外留學, 進外商工作.  然而, 很多家長對於孩子的學習成效是沒有概念的, "英文好"的定義是什麼?  會講幾句英文?  還是會讀英文小說?  國中畢業後, 孩子的英語能力應該在什麼程度?  是以學校成續來評量?  還是要以國中會考成續來判定?  抑或有其他的標準?  矛盾的是, 國中會考現在又強調非升學指標, 種種疑問都讓家長們對於孩子英語學習的未來不是那麼清楚.  Most parents hope their children will have some English ability, that they will be able to communicate and test well, and that they will have a solid foundation [in English], so that later they can study or work overseas.  Many parents, however, have no conception of how effective their child's English education really is, or what it means to have "good English."  How many sentences should they be able to say?  Should they be able to read an English novel?  And after they graduate from junior high school, how much English should they know?  Are their grades in school an [accurate] measure of this?  Or is this decided by their score on the comprehensive examination at the end of junior high school?  Should some other standard be applied?  More confusing still, the comprehensive examination at the end of junior high school also puts an emphasis on quotas, so that for these parents the future, as it relates to their child's English study, is not so clear.

校長老師對英語課程的想像 What Principals and Teachers Expect from the English Curriculum

對國小校長來說, 建構學校語言學習的願景, 最重要的當然是讓孩子具備基本英文能力, 並擁有學習英文的動機和興趣: 至於國中校長, 當然期望該校學生會考成續都能夠達到A, B級, 不會有C級成續.  As for elementary school principals and their visions of building up [improving] English study [in their schools], of course the most important thing is to teach basic English skills, to motivate children to learn English, and to increase their interest in learning English.  As for the junior high school principal, of course it is their hope that their students can test at the A and B levels on their big test, and not at the C level.

然而, 國小校長所面臨的最大困難, 在教師來源不穩定, 許多學校沒有專識英語教師, 英語教師的識缺, 有時甚至得由不同料的教師來代理.  此外, 國中小的能力分班亦面臨著極大桃戰.  有的學生補習, 有的沒有, 程度不一定狀況下, 能力分班卻是困難重重: 即使教育當局充許分組學習, 但教師不足, 資源有限, 如何分組?  倘若分班, 同班同學的能力仍有落差: 不進行分班, 又該如何進行差異化學習?  However, the biggest difficulty that the elementary school principal faces is the varying quality of teachers [in their schools], and [the fact that] many schools do not have a qualified English teacher.  [Due to] this lack of expertise, they sometimes employ teachers of questionable quality.  Aside from this, there is also the struggle regarding ability grouping within junior high and elementary schools.  Some students go to cram school, and some don't.  [Student's] levels of achievement are not always obvious, and grouping them by ability is very difficult.  Even educational authorities are divided into several factions over this issue.  If there aren't enough teachers, and if resources are limited, how should such groups be created?  If such placement is not attempted, and if students in the same class are allowed to fall behind, how can we then address the learning differences between them? 

每位老師都希望學生有良好的英語能力, 但也面臨著許多困境: 第一, 課程繁重, 班級眾多, 尤其是代課老師, 往往對課程的準備無法負擔且不夠完整: 再者, 班上學生的英語文程度差異性大, 該如何解決分組學習的困境?  更何況, 家長常要求老師多教授考試內容, 也使得老師教學受到約束.  趕進度的壓力, 對學校及家長需有所交代的壓力, 都是現今英語教學的難題.  Every teacher wants their students to have a high level of English ability, but they also face several difficulties.  Chief among these difficulties is the fact that their course loads are heavy, they have many classes, and they are often working as substitute teachers.  Often they don't have enough time to prepare, and they cannot complete their courses of study.  What is more, the levels of English ability within a single class vary widely.  How then can we solve this problem of grouping them by English ability?  And alongside this issue, parents often pressure teachers and professors over the content of tests, and place other such restraints upon the teacher.  There is increasing pressure for improvement, and students and parents want accountability.  This is the difficulty that modern schools face with regard to teaching English.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Nine Years
Commun Englash Mastakes 常見的英文錯誤
Intro 自我介紹 7
Far Glory Amusement Park 遠雄海洋公園 

Related Links 相關的網站:

台灣全球化教育推廣協會 
104國中會考英語科閱讀試題解答 (Sample of junior high school comprehensive test - English section)

2015年11月21日 星期六

Jin Luen 金崙

Went down to Jin Luen a week ago, and these are some of the pictures I took while I was there.  Jin Luen is a small town that is known for its hot springs.  It's about forty minutes south of Taitung City by car.  上個禮拜我們去金崙.  這些照片都是我們在那裏拍的.  金崙是一個有名的溫泉區.  從台東市開車去到那裡要40分鐘左右.


A view from the hill above Jin Luen.  That construction along Highway 9 will make the trip from north to south much faster - whenever they happen to finish!  從山坡上看到的金崙.  台9線上的施工將會縮短由北到南的路程時間.  問題是它離完工還有一段時日.



The Eastern Sun hot spring and hotel.  This is my favorite hot spring in Jin Luen, though I've been to a couple of other good ones.  The view from here is the best.  東太陽溫泉酒店.  這是我在金崙最喜歡的溫泉, 雖然金崙還有很多不錯的溫泉.  可是這邊的風景是最好的.


Inside the hot spring.  Let's pretend I didn't see the "No Photography" sign until much later?  在溫泉裡面.  我假裝沒看到"請勿拍照"的牌子!


Looking west up the river.  This is one of the areas in which the 8-8 Typhoon did the most damage.  在河岸往西邊看.   這個地方在88水災的時候受到很嚴重的破壞.


The Jin Luen Train Station.  I'd like to get back to this place and take more pictures of the places around it.  We were a little pressed for time.金崙火車站.  我很想再回去那裏多拍些照片.  因為我們那時候時間很趕.


View from Highway 9, north of Jin Luen.  A lot of construction on this stretch, but the delays provide photo opportunities?  台9線上, 金崙北邊的海景.  這附近很多路段在施工, 可是這樣反而讓人有很多拍照的機會.

Related Entries 相關的文章: 

Bei Nan River Mouth 卑南溪口 / Li Ji 利吉惡地
The Price of Nature  大自然的價值
How Not to Get to Our House by Going the Wrong Way 迷路了
Stepping Out 走到戶外

2015年11月18日 星期三

Women and Their Men


Sitting or standing, standing or sitting.  Family Mart, I think.  Or 7-11.

Late at night.

And this one is talking about football.  And that one is talking about soccer.  And this other one is talking about surfing.

And this one that's talking about football is checking his phone, to see if his wife has called.

And that one who's talking about soccer says he has to leave soon, or his girlfriend will be angry.

And this other one who's talking about surfing says he has to step out for a moment, and make a phone call.

*********

Swearing and cursing, cursing and swearing.  Texas Jo's, I think.  Or Kasa.

Late at night.

And this one is betting all his money.  And that one is ordering another beer.  And this other one is not playing cards, but watching, scared to join the game.

And this one who's betting all his money is thinking of an argument, in his house, with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

And that one who's ordering another beer is thinking of that girl from the coffee shop, the one he wants to see again.

And this other one who's not playing is thinking about how lonely he is, without her.

***

Running and kicking, kicking and running.  The Exercise Park, I think.  Or the Forest Park.

Late at night.

And this one is tired, and waiting for the game to end.  And that one is happy, having just scored a goal.  And this other one is stressed, having just left work.

And this one that's tired is worried that his wife will really go through with the divorce.

And that one who's happy is thinking of another girl, in another coffee shop.

And this other one who's stressed is thinking of another night alone, wishing she would call him after all this exercise.

Until the time when these women, stretching forth their long, long arms, reach out and reclaim their men

Late at night. 

Related Entries: 

The Life of the Party

2015年11月16日 星期一

The Justice League of America v. Taiwan (Part Three of Three)


"This aggression will not stand!" cried Superman at the Justice League headquarters, "Those Taiwanese bastards killed me!"

"Now wait a minute," said the Flash.  "That's not what I said at all.  I said they killed another you, on a different Earth.  The you you is obviously still alive!"

The six heroes - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, the Green Lantern, and the Flash were in the control room, gathered around a large table.  Superman, the leader of the Justice League, was standing at the head of the table, while the five other heroes were sitting around it.

"I don't give a fuck," said the unapologetically racist man of steel, "Those chinks poisoned me with their damned sports drink, and now it's time for payback!  Who's with me?"

Superman looked around the table as four hands went up, the Flash abstaining.  All the scarlet speedster could do was sigh.  It had been a long day, and explaining the situation to the other superfriends had not been easy. 

"But how do you plan on getting to this other Earth?" asked the Flash, "I mean, it's not like I can carry you all there!  I might have my speed force back, but I never had super strength!"

Superman thought about this for a while, and then remembered that he had a machine in his Fortress of Solitude that could take them all where he wanted them to go.

"Let's go!" said Superman as they all filed out the door.  Superman, the Martian Manhunter, and the Green Lantern chose to fly the distance, Batman and Wonder Woman boarded their respective vehicles, and the Flash ran behind the other five.  In no time at all they arrived at Superman's hideout, and within the crystalline walls of this sanctuary they managed to locate the required machine.

It was a large transparent chamber mounted on a metal pedestal.  From the top of the chamber a multitude of wires protruded, and a small workstation was connected to the chamber by these wires. 

Of course it took Superman a while to figure out how the machine worked.  The instructions were, for some inexplicable reason, in Spanish, and Batman had to help him puzzle out the more difficult parts.  After some educated guesses they were finally able to key the correct sequence into the workstation, and the six heroes entered the chamber.

The Flash hesitated before entering.  Part of him knew that something would go wrong - something always did - yet in the end his curiosity overwhelmed his misgivings.  He only hoped that disaster, whenever it happened to strike, would spare him.

As the machine hummed to brilliant life a blinding light filled the space they were in, and then they found themselves in Taiwan, on Earth-T, before their reception in Taipei had been scheduled.  It was a sunny day and the Taoyuan airport was largely empty, save for a single 747 taxiing into position for take-off.

"Let's find this Chiang Ching-kuo guy," said Superman, "He'll know where to find this other guy who kills me!"

The Martian Manhunter easily located Chiang Ching-kuo, the President of Taiwan, in Taipei, and the heroes converged in front of the Presidential Manor, where he was then working.

With a great heave Superman ripped the top several floors from the building, throwing this rubble into the streets where it killed a score of innocent civilians.  Inside the eviscerated building he found Chiang Ching-kuo, cowering beneath his desk.

"Alright you fucker!" screamed Superman, "Tell me where to find the guy who poisons me later today!"

Chiang Ching-kuo, cowering within his Western clothes, was about to reply as a blur passed between him and Superman.  A moment later the kryptonian was sent hurtling through the sky, some kind of blow having knocked him from his perch above the Taiwanese President.  Chiang Ching-kuo ran to safety in the depths of the building.

The other members of the Justice League, hovering not far away, looked across the wreckage of the Presidential Palace to see six other people, hovering in the same manner.  There was a man dressed like Superman, though with green clothes and an emblem on his chest of a figure running.  There was another man dressed like the Green Lantern, though his ring and clothes were red.  There was a man dressed like the Flash, seated upon a scooter.  There was a woman dressed like Wonder Woman, though her costume consisted of the Chinese chi pao.  There was a man dressed like Batman, though his costume was reddish-brown and his emblem also looked different.  There was a giant rabbit, capable of flight.  It was clear from their defensive posture that they had intervened to save the President from molestation, and that in a moment further hostilities were likely to begin.

"We are the... Ying wen dze me jiang?  We are the League of Righteousness!" shouted the man who resembled Superman, "And we will not allow you to harm our nation's leader!" 

The Justice League could not believe what they were seeing.  Was it possible?  Did Taiwan have its own superheroes, too?

"I am Supau-man!" said the greenish superhero who had struck Superman.

"And I am Red Lantern Festival Man!" said the man who looked like the Green Lantern.

"I'm the Taitung Flash," said the man upon the floating scooter.  "Hey, Barry."

"Me?  I'm Wondrous Woman!" said the woman who looked like Wonder Woman.

"The Flying Squirrel... Xia," said the man who looked like Batman.  "Sorry, my English not so good!"

"Jade Rabbit!" said the floating rabbit, "I've come here from the moon!"

And with that a second blur passed between the two superhero teams, and Supau-man was sent hurtling through the air.  Superman had returned, and he was spoiling for a fight.

Seconds later the two teams of superheroes joined in battle.  In true comic book form, they talked copiously while they smashed each other through walls, threw each other over buildings, and crushed one another with cars and trucks.  The author of this story could type out their monologues in the space below, but it's Monday and he doesn't feel like it.

As per the usual comic book protocol, similar characters faced off against each other.  Superman and Supau-man took to the heavens for their super-powered fistfight.  Red Lantern Festival Man and the Green Lantern did the same.  Wonder Woman and Wondrous Woman battled in the street.  Batman and Flying Squirrel Xia leapt between buildings.  Jade Rabbit and the Martian Manhunter fought a less interesting contest of mental powers, and the Flash and Taitung Flash, already knowing and liking one another, adjourned to the local convenience store for a beer.

The fight between the Justice League and the League of Righteousness was brief but pointless.  Supau-man, grabbing Superman by his head, vomited forth a large quantity of kryptonite-laced super supau into the man of steel's face.  The man from Metropolis then began melting, and seconds later he was reduced to a pool of liquid, upon which floated a red and blue suit.

"Dead for good this time?" asked the Flash.

Red Lantern Festival Man then used his super power, which was emitting a yellow glow.  The Green Lantern, powerless against anything yellow, found his ring rendered useless.  Red Lantern Festival Man then delivered a swift kick to the Green Lantern's balls, and Hal Jordan fell to the ground, weeping like a small girl.

"That must have hurt," said the Taitung Flash.

While he spoke, Wonder Woman and Wondrous Woman were in the midst of a stupendous catfight.  Both women were pulling hair, ripping one another's oufits, and saying various mean, bitchy things to one another.  Wondrous Woman won the disagreement with a comment about how Wonder Woman's ass looked fat, and the Amazonian retired from the field of battle, seeking solace in a local tea shop.  Wondrous Woman had a 3:30 appointment at a nearby salon, so she left, too.

"That was kind of turning me on," said the Flash, "Too bad they stopped."

The contest between Batman and Flying Squirrel Xia took a bit longer.  There was a lot of swinging around on wires, and everything they threw at one another seemed to miss.  Eventually they were both knocked unconscious by flying debris, and after this they were both dragged into a nearby alley - Huaxi Night Market (Snake Alley) by name - and from there they met a grim fate.

The struggle between Jade Rabbit and the Martian Manhunter was less interesting, and they're lame superheroes anyway.  The Taitung Flash and the regular Flash stopped paying attention after a while, and instead turned their attention to a group of girls that were walking into a nearby KTV.  They were sitting on a pair of folding lawn chairs, and other bystanders had gathered around them.

"Well that didn't turn out well," said the Flash, "But then again I told them."

"Yeah," said the Taitung Flash, "That battle was retarded, too.  Except for Superman getting his face melted off.  So much for the Justice League of America.  Not that the League of Righteousness did much better.  I guess we're down to four now that Flying Squirrel Xia is someone's dinner.  Or five, if you count Jade Rabbit.  

"...but I'd rather not count Jade Rabbit.  He's ridiculous."

"Yeah, I'd have to agree on that," said the Flash.

Supau-man descended from the skies.  The Flash had never found Superman's poisoner, so he didn't recognize him as the man from Part One of this story.  Apparently one his many soft drink experiments had given him super powers, or at least the ability to vomit forth a large amount of super supau.  Stranger things have happened.

"What? You're not fighting?" said Supau-man.

"No," said both of the speedsters.  "We know each other from before.  Or after."

"Yes," said the Taitung Flash, "Barry was here before or after, depending on whether he traveled into the future or the past, and also depending upon whether you subscribe to Hindu cosmology or not."

"Got it," said Supau-man.  "Anyway, you guys hungry?  I'm buying."

"Sure," said the Flash, "But shouldn't we wait for those other two to finish?"

Supau-man looked over at Jade Rabbit and the Martian Manhunter as Red Lantern Festival Man walked over.  Both Jade Rabbit and the Martian Manhunter wore a look of great strain upon their faces, but other than that the two did not move.  They stood stock still, with their arms at their sides, facing one another.

"Naw," said Supau-man.  "They'll be at that for hours, and in the end they'll just give each other a headache.  I know a great dumpling restaurant near here.  You guys up for dumplings?"

The Flash, the Taitung Flash, Supau-man, and Red Lantern Festival Man agreed that they were, and they set off for the dumpling restaurant that Supau-man had mentioned.

It was a sunny day in Taipei.  1978.

And it was a good way to begin the story, if not to end it...





2015年11月14日 星期六

Bei Nan River Mouth 卑南溪口 / Li Ji 利吉惡地

Some new pictures, some old pictures.  All taken around the Beinan River mouth and Li Ji Badlands.  有的照片是最近拍的, 有的是以前的舊照片.  它們全部都是在卑南溪口跟利吉惡地附近.



Near Shr Chuan.  靠近石川.


The Li Ji bridge.  Flood control measures are underway on this river year round.  卑南溪上的利吉橋.  因為水災的問題, 水利署第八河川局一直在整頓這條溪.




Near the famous "Little Yellow Mountain," not far from the train station.  在火車站附近的小黃山.


Bike trail, north of the Forest Park.  森林公園北邊的鐵馬道.


A look across the river at Shr Chuan.  溪的另外一邊的石川.


And the mouth of the Beinan River, taken from the Jung Hua Bridge.  還有卑南溪口.  這張照片是在中華橋拍的.

Related Entries 相關的文章: 

The Price of Nature  大自然的價值
How Not to Get to Our House by Going the Wrong Way 迷路了
Stepping Out 走到戶外
Far Away Home 遠離家園

2015年11月13日 星期五

The Justice League of America v. Taiwan (Part Two of Three)



I. The curtains open upon the Justice League headquarters, where the Flash, the Martian Manhunter, and the Green Lantern are gathered before a computer screen.  All three heroes look worried.

The Flash: Still no word from Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.  What could’ve gone wrong?

Green Lantern: Yes, it's odd they haven't reported back yet.  It was just a routine diplomatic mission to Taiwan, after all.

Martian Manhunter: At any rate, we'll be able to investigate their disappearance while we are there.  Now that a week has passed, it is our turn to visit Taiwan, and to discover what dangers may lurk there.

The Flash: Yes, and as we appear to be characters in a play, the next scene will find us on the island.  No need for airplanes and airports!

Martian Manhunter: Flash, as usual your Earth humor confounds me.  What is this "play" you speak of?  And how can we be characters in it if we have not elected to perform?  I think that perhaps you are dehydrated again, and that you are hallucinating.

Green Lantern: Yes, my friend.  Have a gatorade.  One of the green flavors, of course.

End scene.

II. Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern arrive in Taipei.  They are standing in front of the Presidential Palace.  They lost sight of the Flash just outside of Justice League headquarters, and there has been no sign of him since.

Green Lantern: Where's Barry?

Martian Manhunter: I don't know.  I cannot locate his mind anywhere.  It could be that he has gone somewhere beyond the range of my powers, though why this is I do not know.  Perhaps he felt the need to return home and masturbate.  I am told he does this often.

Green Lantern: Could be.  Anyway let's find this Chiang Ching-kuo fella, and see what he's about.  Maybe he knows where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are.

Martian Manhunter: Yes, let's do that.

The two heroes enter the confines of the palace, where they find Chiang Ching-kuo sporting with one of his many mistresses.

Chiang Ching-kuo: A-ya!  Ni men liang ge dzai gan shen me?

Green Lantern [embarrassed]: What?

Chiang Ching-kuo: Ni men dze me ke yi je yang dze sui sui bien bien de jin lai?  Wo de guan li yuan dzai nai li?  Ta men dzai da ma jiang, dui bu dui?

Green Lantern [to Martian Manhunter]: What's he saying?

Martian Manhunter: He is upset that we have intruded upon his revels with this young girl.  He is wondering where his security guards are, and whether or not they are playing something called "ma jiang."  He does not know that I have used my telepathic powers to render his security forces senseless.

Green Lantern: OK, but does he know where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are?

Martian Manhunter: Yes, I think he does.  It seems... Yes, it seems that our comrades have met with a series of unfortunate accidents while visiting this island, and that they are with us no longer.

Green Lantern: What?  Dead?  How did this happen?

Martian Manhunter: It seems that Superman drank something called "super supau."  Batman was eaten - accidentally.  Wonder Woman crashed her jet while attempting to leave.  The man who poisoned Superman has thus far evaded the police, who are searching for him, and I can detect no foul play in the deaths of Batman and Wonder Woman.

Green Lantern: Superman was poisoned?  Well then, we'll have to help find his killer!

Martian Manhunter: Yes, but this man does not know anything that is of any use to us, and he is well apprised of the police investigation that is underway.  Fortunately I can use my telepathic powers to find the poisoner.  If he is still on the island, a routine patrol ought to put me near enough to detect him, and I also know from the President here what he looks like.

Green Lantern: Great!  Let's get going!

The two heroes leave the Presidential Palace, while Chiang Ching-kuo and his mistress look on in stunned silence.

Chiang Ching-kuo: Damn, I thought they'd never leave!

End scene two.

III. Back at the Justice League headquarters, the Flash has returned.  He spends a few moments looking for his companions.

The Flash: Those guys took off fast!  This is what I get for going home and jerking off!  No matter, I can always catch up!  I'll just have to run a bit faster this time!

The Flash runs offstage.

End scene three. 

IV. Back in Taiwan, where the Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter have entered a large factory.  Beakers of bubbling liquids and pipes of all sizes fill the room they are in.  At one end of the stage a man dressed in a lab coat performs chemical experiments.

Green Lantern [to Martian Manhunter]: So this is the guy?  You're sure?

Martian Manhunter: Yes, this is him.  He has been expecting us. 

Green Lantern: Alright, fucker!  Prepare to get... justified!

Just then the man in the lab coat looks up from the table where he is working and smiles.  He is very calm.

Man in Lab Coat: Well hello, my foreign friends.  How are you?

Martian Manhunter: Villain!  It was you who murdered Superman!  You can explain yourself to the authorities!

Green Lantern: Yeah! 

Man in Lab Coat: Yes, I expected you would say something like that.


Using his ring, the Green Lantern creates a giant green hammer, with which he intends to smash the man behind the table.  He does not notice, however, that underneath his white lab coat the man is wearing a yellow jumpsuit.  As the hammer comes down, the man also places a yellow hat upon his head, and discards the lab coat he is wearing.  The hammer destroys the table and everything upon it, but the man remains where he is, untouched.


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: Yes, I figured you'd do something like that.  You two have always been the lamest and most predictable members of the Justice League.


Green Lantern: Lame?  Predictable?  I'll show you lame and predictable!


And then the Green Lantern uses his ring to create a giant green net, which likewise passes through the man without harming him.


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: Yes, very lame.  What good is a superhero that is powerless against ripe bananas, lemons, post-it notes, or anything else that's yellow?  All I have to do is turn something yellow and you're as helpless as a baby!


Green Lantern: Shut up, you!  Or I'll--


But before he can finish this sentence the man in the yellow jumpsuit has produced a yellow baseball bat, with which he knocks the Green Lantern senseless.  The Martian Manhunter can only look on as his companion is knocked to the floor.


Martian Manhunter: You monster!  How dare you!  You haven't beaten us yet!


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: No?  Well what about this?


He pulls out a lighter from one of his jumpsuit's many pockets.


Martian Manhunter: What?  No!  How did you--


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: Come on, man... hunter.  We have your comic books like everyone else.  Of course everyone in Taiwan knows that your weakness is fire!  It's even in the cartoon!


And as the man advances all the Martian Manhunter can do is retreat towards the door.  He looks mournfully towards the fallen Green Lantern, but he is powerless against the lighter in the man's hand.  The man flicks his thumb against the lighter and a large, unwavering flame flickers forth, striking fear into the heart of the last remaining Martian.


Martian Manhunter [as he slips out the door]: Why... you... you haven't won yet!  I... We'll be back, I tell you!  We'll be back!


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: Yes, I'm sure you will.  And I'll have more lighters and candles handy for when that happens! Goodbye!


The Martian Manhunter leaves.  The Man in the Yellow Jumpsuit returns to his table, setting it aright.


Man in Yellow Jumpsuit: Superheroes.  So predictable.  Always poking their noses where they don't belong.  At least the Lantern didn't upset my experiments too much.  I'll have this right again in no time.  I think--


By sports drink Kal-el met his end, 
By Krypton filtered did portend,
His gasping choke as ballroom dancing,
Did prevent his last romancing.

Batman, carried to the street,

Was later tendered into meat,
Over rice wine served with golden rice,
I'm told he tasted mighty nice.

And Wonder Woman, drugged and faint,
Was later told with great restraint,
How both in League were here no longer,
And then, at last, her jet did wrong her.

Later still, with Lantern full of rage,
Yet tortured by the yellowed page,
I knock him henceforth to the floor,
From there towards the factory door.

The Martian hunting also keen,
But fire had not yet lost its sheen,
I think he'll not be back again,
For festive fires will yet offend.

For all, there's yet one left to fight,
Yet I will not leave on the light,
For he has run so far, so far I fear,
That he will overpass the years I'm here.

Green Lantern [stirring from unconsciousness]: Uhhh... dude.  What are you talking about?  What is that? Poetry or something?  I thought... I mean Flash said... are we in a poem or a play?

Man in Yellow Jumpsuit [hitting him in the head again]: Neither, my friend.  Now if you don't mind, I'll return to my experiments.  Having invented the sports drink of the future, I will now set about inventing a new kind of Taiwan beer!  Yes!  Gold Medal - your time has come!


End scene four.


EXT - AFTERNOON - THE PACIFIC OCEAN


Flash: Hey, wasn't this supposed to be a play?


AGAIN.  EXT - AFTERNOON - THE PACIFIC OCEAN


Flash: Okay, okay.  No need to get worked up about it!  So what am I doing, anyway?


The Flash is using his super speed to run over the ocean.  As he is in a hurry to reach his companions, he accelerates too quickly, leaving the surface of the globe.  Moving faster than light, he passes around the curvature of the known universe, thus traveling forward in time over 35 years, to the year 2015, when this play/screenplay/poem/story was written.


Flash: But wait, wouldn't passing around the curvature of the known universe mean that I was traveling backward in time, and not forward?  Wouldn't it be 35 years before the “present” date, or about 1943?


No, not if you apply Hindu cosmology - which is cyclical in nature - to the play/screenplay/poem/story at hand.  In one sense you'd be traveling backward, but you would pass beyond the present age, or yuga, to the one before it.  As history endlessly repeats itself, you would find yourself in the year 2015 of the previous age.  Got it?


Flash: No, but let's pretend it all makes sense to me.  So I've traveled into the future, it's 2015, and...


EXT - AFTERNOON - THE PACIFIC OCEAN


The Flash arrives in Taiwan, unaware that he has not only arrived late, but missed his companions’ arrival by several decades.  He comes to a stop in Taitung, on the east coast of Taiwan in the hopes of tracking them down.  It is a scenic, beachfront community resembling Hawaii minus all the big hotels (for now).


Flash: Whew!  Boy am I tired!  I feel like I just ran around the curvature of the universe!  I'll have to track down one of the locals and figure out where to start looking for the Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter!


The Flash knocks on the nearest door, in the nearest village.

Flash: Hello?  Hello?  Is anyone there?

Local Person: Ni gan she me?  Ni chuan she me chi guai de yi fu?

Flash: None of these people speak English!  But wait, I see a white man over there!

The Flash races over to the author of this story and his family.  They are walking back up the stairs from the beach in front of the abandoned hotel.  They are very sandy and very tired.

Flash: Hello, do you speak English? 

Me: Why yes I do.  I'm also the person writing this screenplay.


Flash: What?


Me: I'm not really here, you see.  I'm typing this in my living room, in a city south of here.  I am imagining all of this.


Flash: What?


Me: Oh anyway, how can I help you, Flash?


Flash: I'm trying to find the Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter!  Has there been anything in the news about them?


Me: Well, you're about 35 years too late to do them any good.  Martian Manhunter made the mistake of hiding in a park during Chinese New Year.  I believe he was posing as a tree.  Anyway, they started setting off firecrackers and bottle rockets while he was there, and the poor guy had a heart attack.


Flash: Oh my God!


Me: Yes, in this instance I might just be your God.  But yeah, the Martian Manhunter didn't end well.  But I think the Green Lantern made out OK.  He later moved out to Taitung, took up surfing, and opened Hal's English School up in Dulan, about ten minutes away.  You can't miss it.  Just head up the highway here, and when you get to the town on top of the hill you'll see the sign on the right.


Flash: Great!  Thanks so much!  And about that other stuff you said...


Me: Don't worry about it.  I was just killing time on the computer.


The Flash speeds away, and the author of this story and his family return to their red Nissan Tiida.  His wife and children tell him that the Flash was a hallucination, and that he was talking to a nearby palm tree.  He responds that there is a fine line between hallucination and imagination, and that it may just be the case that he was the one imagining all of them all along.


EXT - DULAN VILLAGE - AFTERNOON


The Flash slowed to a stop as this screenplay became a story.  It was a bit dizzying at first, primarily because all of his actions shifted into the past tense.  “Goes” became “went,” “runs” became “ran,” and “does” became “did.”


Being a very speedy, active sort of person, this use of the past tense annoyed him.  He was always waiting for what he did to catch up to his present understanding of events, or for his past understanding to inform his present actions.  Having already traveled around the curvature of the universe, having already traveled 35 years into the future by traveling countless eons into the past (as the Hindus would have it), he now had to contend with this difficulty at considerable mental expense.  He had run far, he was growing tired, and he still hadn't found his friend the Green Lantern.

The cram school mentioned by the (strikingly handsome) foreign man was easily located.  It was on Highway 11, the main route through the town, just after a gas station.  There was a sign over a house reading "Hal's English School," and the Os in "School" had been painted to resemble Hal Jordan's power ring. 

The Flash entered the house without knocking, and inside the living room he found Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, teaching a class of five elementary school students.  He was wearing surf shorts and a T-shirt, and since the Flash had last seen him he'd gained several pounds and lost a lot of hair.

"Cat," said Hal Jordan to the class, slightly disconcerted by the scarlet speedster's arrival, "C-A-T.  Cat.  Is the cat big?"

"No," said all of the students, the class's attention fixed on a picture from an English book, in which a cat slept on a table.  "The cat is not big."

"Well," said the former (?) Green Lantern, "That's all for today, kids.  Don't forget your pencil boxes!  See you next week!"

"See you next week," said the students in unison.  They stood up together and began walking out the door.  The Flash's uniform drew several exclamations from the students as they filed out of the room.  "Is it Halloween?" said one.

After they had left, the Flash found himself alone with the teacher, who gestured him to sit down in one of the student's chairs.  The room was very small, and decorated with English-learning posters and several bookshelves holding books.  At the Flash's back the students peered through the outside window, curious as to the Flash’s identity, and why he was wearing such strange clothes.

"Good to see you," said Hal Jordan without further ado, "How have you been?" 

"Fine," answered the Flash.  "But I guess I'm getting here a little late.  You want to tell me what happened?"

The former Green Lantern had to think about this for a moment.  Where should he begin?  How to explain it all?  "Well," he finally began, "You last saw me in… what?  77?  78?  Back at headquarters?"

"Yeah," said the Flash, "But I was in too much of a hurry, so I accidentally ran around the curvature of the universe.  I know it's a long time for you, but for me it was yesterday, or at least the last Hindu epoch, or something like that."

"Huh?"

"Forget it.  So what happened after you guys got here?  All those years ago?"

 "OK," the Green Lantern began again, "So... we were looking for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, right?  Well, as it turns out they were dead before we got here.  Superman got poisoned, Batman got eaten, and Wonder Woman crashed her jet.  After that the Martian Manhunter and I went looking for the guy who poisoned Superman, and then he knocked me out with a yellow baseball bat.  While I was unconscious he pulled a lighter on the Martian Manhunter, and he went running into a park, and some people were lighting off fireworks, and that was it for J’onzz."

The Flash took a few minutes to process all of this.  Had the Justice League really been defeated so easily?  "And how did you get away from Superman's poisoner?" he said after a long time, "Did you catch him?  Did you find a way to defeat him?"


Hal Jordan just smiled at this.  "No," he said, "He just let me go.  He flushed my ring down the toilet while I was out, and I haven't seen it since.  I was too embarrassed to go back to America after that, so I found a girl, settled down, and had some kids."


"But what about the guy who took your ring?  The guy who killed Superman?  Didn't you want to bring him to justice?"


"I thought about it, yeah, but what could I do?  I didn't have my ring anymore, and there was no one left to call.  I thought for a while that you might show up, but after a couple years I figured it just wasn't going to happen."


"So you just... started teaching English?"


"Sure, why not?  What else was I supposed to do?  It pays better than being in the Justice League - that's for sure."


"And what about Superman?"


"What about Superman?  Face it, Barry, the guy was a major asshole.  His poisoner did the world a favor."


"But..."


"But what?  There's nothing left to fight for anymore, Barry.  Why not just hang out here for a while?  I've been checking the charts and the surf looks good today.  I've got an extra board I can loan you.  What do you say?"


The Flash turned to look at the kids, still staring at the two adults through the screened windows.  What could he say?   He couldn't argue that Superman hadn't been worth doing in, but questions still nagged at him, and doubts lingered.


"I can't stay here," the Flash finally said, "Not until I know how Batman and Wonder Woman died.  I need answers."


"Answers?" laughed the Green Lantern, "Answers to what?  It's just Taiwan, man.  It just doesn't agree with some people.  Up is down here.  And left is right.  You'll learn that eventually."


But "eventually" was spoken to the Flash's back as he emerged from the house.  He had already decided to run to Taipei, and once there he planned to investigate what had really happened during that night in the late 1970s, when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman had been the guests of honor.  Maybe their deaths hadn't been the work of a single person or organization, but he had to be sure.


He began running north along the highway.  His legs moved quicker, but he did not really accelerate - not as much as he'd been expecting.  A brisk run only brought him to the local 7-11, where he stood in the path of speeding cars, short of breath.  What had happened?  Where was his super speed?


Just then a sonic boom thundered through the town, and a man on a red and yellow scooter decelerated from the speed of sound to a standstill in a matter of seconds.  This man was wearing red shorts and a yellow T-shirt.  He parked in front of the 7-11, gave the Flash a confused look, and entered that establishment for the purpose of buying cigarettes.  The Flash followed him through the automatic doors, not sure of what he was going to say or do.


Still uncertain as to the manner in which events were progressing, the Flash entered the 7-11 and approached the man, placing a careful hand on his shoulder.  Something about this man seemed very familiar.  It was almost like looking at an Asian version of himself.

"Excuse me," said the Flash as the man turned to meet his gaze, "But, um, did you steal my speed force?"

"What?" said the man, "What's a speed force?  Are you on drugs or something?"

"Um, no," said the Flash.  "The speed force is what gives me my power.  It gives all speedsters their power.  I can't run fast anymore, and I saw you come into town, and I just thought maybe..."

"You're crazy dude," said the other man, now turning to look the Flash over.  "My scooter could do that since last June when the big typhoon came through.  I got drunk and spilled a bottle of super supau all over my scooter, and then I rode home in the rain.  On the way home I got hit by lightning, and after that my scooter could go REALLY fast.  I'm the Taitung Flash, haven't you heard of me?"

"No," said the Flash, suddenly realizing the problem, "But if you're the Taitung Flash... hey, what Earth is this?"

Comprehension dawned on the other man's face.  "Ohhhh.... Oh yeah, I get it!  This is Earth-T, man.  Short for "Earth Taiwan."  You're from another Earth, aren't you?  Like Earth One?"

"Yes," said Barry Allen, "I'm from a parallel universe.  Earth One.  So I guess I didn't just travel in time.  I also ran into another universe.  That means that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Martian Manhunter probably never died on my Earth, and that Hal never became an English teacher.  It also explains where my speed force went – I left it behind on Earth One!"

"Hal?" said the Taitung Flash, "You mean like 'Hal's English' Hal?  Oh hey I know that guy.  Wasn't he the Green Lantern before or something?  Or wait - was he?  If you guys came from another Earth, does that mean there's another one somewhere?  Dude, you're tripping me out!"

By this time the two of them had moved out to the exterior of the 7-11.  Cars, bicycles, and scooters passed them by as they spoke, and the sun was sinking lower behind the buildings on the other side of the road.  Had it truly been another reality?  And how was he going to get back to his own Earth?  Trying to find the Superman's poisoner began to seem even more pointless, now that he found himself on Earth-T.

"Hey," said the scarlet speedster, "Can I borrow your scooter?  I need to get back to my own Earth!"


The Taitung Flash considered this for a moment, looking up and down the road.  "No way dude," he finally said, "But maybe I can give you a ride back to your own Earth and time.  I told Hal I'd go surfing with him later, but I should be back before I left."


The Flash could not help but embrace his Taiwanese counterpart.  A great sense of relief washed over him.  In the space of a few minutes he had gone from being the sole remaining member of the Justice League to being the victim of an innocent mistake.  


The author of this story had been wrong.  He hadn't only traveled to the future/past.  He had gone much farther… and it meant that there was still hope.

"Yeah, that would be great," he said.  "Let's go.  I'll buy you a beer when we get to my Earth."


"Awesome" said the Taitung Flash.  And then the two men boarded the red and yellow scooter, and began their acceleration down the highway.  In a few seconds they were a blur, and a few seconds after that another sonic boom announced their departure for Earth One.


The Flash would return to his own time and place, and once there he would tell the Justice League that it was better to stay in America, where it was safe.


"Hold on," said the Taitung Flash, "It gets bumpy after this part!"