Night Stalker

Day of the Malayan Night Heron

Day of the Malayan Night Heron

Just call me Richard Ramirez

Just call me Richard Ramirez

I’ve always had an eye for the birds and that hasn’t changed since I’ve been in Taiwan. The odd looking critter in the snap in a Malayan Night Heron. This one stalks around CKS Memorial but I’ve seen a few others in strange parts of town, including a patch of grass opposite the Veterans Hospital in Shipai.

I’m not really sure what they’re doing in these places, as apparently they’re meant to be near rivers and lakes. Also, most of the info. that I can find online refers to them being in central and southern Taiwan … Anyway, they’re rather ugly looking langers but I kind of like them. When they sense you approaching, they do this weird wobble of their gullet, rolling it in and out. If you get too close they’ll suddenly flap up into the branches, though they don’t seem to be the best fliers and look happiest plodding around grassy areas in the shade of trees.

What I have discovered, though, is that they don’t seem to have much in the way of peripheral vision – at least this one didn’t. As long as I was directly behind, and approached slowly, I could get up close without her noticing, a technique which didn’t prove nearly as effective with most of the birds I knew in the old days …

This manicure joint in Taichung is not concerned with the important things. Across the road is a wedding store called Insignificant Others.

This manicure joint in Taichung is not concerned with the important things. Across the road is a wedding store called Insignificant Others.

Merry Fucking Christmas


Now, FTNM is hardly backward in coming forward when it comes to effing and blinding and generally hurling vile invective around but it really does get on my man tits when I see shit like the above.

This is the window of some poncey boutique store in the Dunhua area. Again, it ain’t that I’m prudish when it comes to the profanity but this is a ‘normal’ clothing store like you’d see in any (reasonably) developed city. Why the fuck are they using the word fuck when they have no FUCKING clue what they are on about?

The day before I’d seen a little rat-haired twat bowling down the street with a massively oversized cap emblazoned with FUCK OFF. I stared at him as he walked past and he looked acutely embarrassed and was clearly aware of the import of the words (though perhaps he suddenly realised that he looked like a golf club). Why wear that shit then?

Let me explain. Native/Fluent speakers of a language have the right to wear shit like this and make cocks of themselves as they understand the intricacies of the lingo.

Foreigners who use expletives in public may have experienced looks of disapproval from locals who have no idea how the words are being used. I have had this happen several times and received frowns or shocked looks when I dropped a ‘fuck’ or, more commonly, the adjectival form into a conversation with a friend. Sometimes the gawker looks on as if they expect a row to break out right there as I am clearly affronting the person I am speaking to by using such a word. Basically, to such people, ‘fuck’ just equals ‘fuck off’ or ‘fuck you’ in every context.

Most of the people who wear or use curse words in English are basically in the same boat. They have no clue about the context, the appropriateness or, as it were, the time and the place to use swear words. They don’t have a grip of the cultural background, the social mores and all the little nuances that inform the sacred art of swearing. A man like FTNM, therefore, who has no qualms in telling any old fucker to get to fuck, nonetheless cringes and baulks at idiotic and ignorant uses of good old Anglo-Saxon like this.

Really, don’t run before you can walk. If you don’t know exactly how a word or phrase will be received, don’t utter or write it without thinking long and hard. Certainly don’t have it splattered across your T-shirt or shop window in massive, ostentatious writing for all and sundry to see. You might look like a right fucking  prick.


Taiwan Baked Chicken

Just chillin ...

Just chillin …

Passing a local market bakery the other day, I did a double take when I saw a couple of dark bundles perched on the metal frame of one of the tables outside.

It took me a while to register exactly what they were but when one of them clucked, I finally realised.

“Why are there chickens roosting on your table?” I asked a young lady who was putting bread into the large oven nearby. She shrugged. “Where did those chickens come from?”  I tried. More shrugs, then eventually, reluctantly, “They’re someone else’s.”

Ah. There you go, then.



Falun Dafa are Bigoted Nutters


Falun Dafa is good, signs around Taiwan proclaim. Trouble is, they’re not. They are, in fact, just another bunch of dangerously brainwashed fuckwits.

I realise these lot are persecuted to the max in China (you can see them outside the National Palace Museum handing shit out and meditating) but they are definitely loons with some unpleasant beliefs. If you’re in any doubt, check out some of their Dear Leader’s ‘teachings’ here.

Gay people are fucked, as are darkies and mixed race children. They’re all part of some alien plot to fuck up the world, you see. Doesn’t sound a whole lot different to these insanos.

We DEMAND our rights … to have people executed! NOW!

Kill em! Kill em all! Appeal? What? Just KILL!

Kill em! Kill em all! Appeal? What? Just KILL!

Whether you agree with capital punishment (personally I think anyone who does either doesn’t think too hard about it or has some level of mental issues), there is something grotesque about demanding it is implemented in the name of “human rights”.

I’m not talking actual victims of crimes here or their families but “civic groups” who spend the day outside the Ministry of Justice, waving banners and hollering for people to be killed. Wang Wei-chun, a vindictive old shrew with a blood-lust spokeswoman for Taiwan Children’s Rights demanded that death-row inmates be put to death, complaining that  the government “had not carried out a death sentence in 21 months.” (I want an execution goddamnit! What’s with this dilly-dallying?!) Wang said she would sit there overnight, continuing to bay for blood protest.

“What did you do today, auntie?”

“Oh, I went on a rally …”

“That’s great. To demand rights for underprivileged groups?”

“Well, yes, Shao Ming, you could look at it that way. We are demanding our rights to have people murdered by the state! It’s a fundamental human right, you know?”

One can only hope that when Wang and ilk call for “the death sentence to be carried out in all cases, they aren’t extending that to some bozo who got caught teefing from a 7-11, but with bloodthirsty old harridans like this, we can’t be sure.


If You Need to Find Me …

“What’s that ossiffer? You’ve heard reports of illegal deep-fried-pancake vending opposite the 7-11, you say? Wouldn’t know anything about that. Card, you say? Ohhh, THAT card …”

There’s nothing I like more to eat in Taiwan than fried filth. My new favorite place is stall in a lane off Dunhua South. They serve scallion pancake positively oozing in trans-fats filled oil  that has been swilling around in the grimy pan for days. I don’t think they ever clean that thing. It’s great. They also always leave the egg runny. FTNM is drooling over the keyboard as types, thinking about his next coronary-inducing indulgence.

What I love even more than what they served up is the couple who (wo)man the stall. As with most of the stalls and clothing racks on wheels in those alleys and lanes of an evening, they are one hundred percent illegal. The missus is constantly keeping a beady eye out for Old Bill and, on several occasions, I have seen them fleeing their normal spot, part of a back alley Serengeti migration in miniature, when the cops show up to do their routine wildebeest scattering (they never seem to want to catch these langers, rather just make a show of enforcing the law).

So when they handed me their business card the other day I had to guffaw heartily. I think they understood why, despite my poor Chinese skills, and joined me for a chuckle.

Name, address of their little corner and even a phone number, just in case you need to get hold of them for some preorders. Brilliant.



Visit the Historic City of Tainani

I think I’ll choose the Tainani option …

I spotted this on a wall outside a building which I think houses several cram schools. I don’t exactly know what the  International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is but a mate reckons it some kind of English proficiency test and, from what I can see, it seems to be connected to Cambridge uni.

Anyway, if you want to do the test, there are apparently centres all around the island: here in the capital, in Taoyuan, in Taichung and down south in Kaohsiung and TAINANI!

Honestly, how can these schools and “testing centres” be charging people to test their English abilities without being able to even spell or at least do a quick proofreading? Jesters …