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Showing posts from March, 2014

Occupy Taipei 佔領台北

They call it the Sunflower Revolution. Last Tuesday, scores of university students stormed into the legislature in Taipei and took over the premises. Their grievance? Kuomintang (國民黨), the country’s ruling party, tried to ratify a controversial trade agreement with Mainland China without proper review by lawmakers. A few days later, a smaller group raided the cabinet building but were later removed by riot police. In all, over 10,000 people participated in the largest student-led protest in the country’s 65-year history.

Things are relatively tame in the second largest city Kaohsiung. Around 200 people — students, taxi drivers, store owners and office workers — congregated outside Kuomintang’s local office on Jianguo First Road (建國一路). That’s where my brothers and I found ourselves this Sunday. We took pictures with our big cameras and chanted slogans with the crowd. The organizers spotted us and invited their “supporters from Hong Kong” to say a few words on stage. We thanked them f…

When Friends Turn Toxic 當好友變毒友

I have known Thomas since we sat next to each other in third grade. Last month during dinner, I shared a piece of good news with my friend of 30 years.
“Guess what? I finally put a downpayment on this flat I told you about!”
Rather than hearty congratulations, I got a look of displeasure, or a “black face” as the Cantonese people would put it.
“They say the property market is about to crash, you know,” Thomas hissed, suddenly a macroeconomist. “I, for one, am not in a rush to buy.”
For the rest of that evening, a single thought kept playing over and over in my head: Thomas has gone toxic.
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Toxic friends are friends who have grown bitter, unsupportive and downright unbearable over the years. They undermine our achievements but secretly compete with us. They may sneer at our career advancements, make cynical remarks about our love lives or call us names behind our back. It is their passive-aggressive way of reminding us that we are no bet…

Black Wednesday 黑色星期三

I seldom wear black. But I have this black T-shirt I put on two times a year — once for the Tiananmen Square Massacre commemoration on 4 June and the other for the pro-democracy protest on 1 July. Over the years, this T-shirt, the only piece of black clothing I own, has come to symbolize both sadness and discontent.
Since C.Y. Leung moved into the Government House in 2012, I have been wearing my black T-shirt a lot more. If it wasn’t for a mass protest against the national education curriculum, it was for a demonstration in support of HKTV’s bid for a broadcasting license. There seems to be plenty of sadness and discontent to go around these days. Surely enough, yesterday morning I found myself once again rummaging through the closet looking for my protestor’s uniform, this time to defend the future of our press freedom. With a heavy heart, I slipped the black thing over my head and made my way to Tamar.
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