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8-08-08.

In Mandarin, eight is ‘ba’.

In Mandarin, daddy is ‘ba-ba’.

8-08 is ba ba is Father’s Day!

The name “Kinmen” dates to 138Yuan Dynasty (371 AD) and has a very long history with Taiwan. Kinmen is on the front lines of the battle between Taiwan and China for Taiwan’s independence. As such, the island was under absolute military control from 1956-1991. Kinman was bombed daily for more than 20 years. The island’s safety was a major issue in the Kennedy-Nixon elections. The first elections for county magistrates was held in 1993.

 

Kinmen is only about 2,000 meters from China. You can actually see the mainland from Kinmen’s shores.

Today, the only legal way to enter the island is by air. I’m told there are there are incredible beaches, you just follow paths that lead alongside fences clearly marked “danger: minefield”.

Kinmen is supposed to have the closest to what is purely Taiwanese culture, untainted by the years of Japanese and Chinese occupations here on this rock. The island of about 50,000 inhabitants is known for its Wind Lions, peanut candy, unique fujianese houses and GaoLing liquor. There are miles of underground tunnels, anti-parachute landing spikes and land mines all along the coast.

And Sandy and Michelle are there teaching English. So, this weekend several people from our group have decided to see all we can see and fly over to Kinmen to visit our friends, get a hands on history lesson, take in the culture and wave hello to the folks over in China. Stay tuned, I should come back with some kind of story for you and photos as well!

I started talking about the lotions and creams here back in August.  My friend, Les, has followed up with this article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Although the article refers to China and India, know that the products would be the same in Japan, Taiwan and probably all other countries in this sphere that have been controlled by China or Japan.

When I planned to come here, many folks automatically assumed I was coming to China.  Close, this country’s official name is The Republic of China.  Some also thought they heard me say Thailand.  Same contitnent, but, not close. 

Taiwan is an island country about the size of Indiana located in the Pacific Ocean east of China.  I wish I could tell you how large the population is!  I’ve mentioned that this little town that I’m in is barely on the map and it is larger than Indianapolis. 

A lot is in the news here about Taiwan trying to get into the United Nations. The Republic of China was a founding member, but lost its seat to China.  The country wants to be officially known as Taiwan.  It became associated with China, I believe in 1949 ,when the Chang Kei Shek fled here to get away from the Communists. He claimed this place as the Republic of China and began massacreing Taiwanese  folks to get his way.  China claims this island as part of their country and most places, such as the US, don’t recognize Taiwan as a country.  During the 2008 election, the country’s political status is very much in debate.  One party wants to stay independent while another wants to join China.  The debates become quite vocal and heated because this young democracy values the vote, the election process and free speech.  I hear the elections will be interesting to watch.  Maybe even more so than what the press feeds us in the US.

There is much animosity between China and ROC.  (remember the posting about Kinmen Island?) There was an article in the paper last week saying disposable chopsticks should be banned because China taints them with chemicals.  Although there is no direct trade, much does end up here from mainland China.  Taiwan has an army and is well prepared for an attack (I’ve been told nothing will probably happen before the Olympics begin.  What will eventually happen?  How peacefully will it happen?  Only the future knows!

I guess this is on my mind today because it was one of the few mornings I’ve been able to read the Taipei Times.  This is a great little English newspaper that provides a lot of information from around the globe.  I’d say it gives as much covering to Taiwanese news as it does US news.  Today, I read about Che Geuverra, Venzuela, workers in Bangladesh striking for better pay, the Dalia Lama in Germany and many other stories.  Stories I know I wouldn’t get in the Star!

The sky was so clear today I could see the gorges in the mountains that surround the city.  I did get photos and hope to post them tomorrow.

Happy Moon Festival!

In August, 2007 I will be leaving Indianapolis with my daughter, Kristen, to live and work in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will be my fiftieth year on this planet and my first year living in another country. This blog will let you join us on the adventure!
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Taipei

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