Dan Bloom


I just heard this really scary story about a reporter who wrote a book about Taiwan and called it “I’m Crazy about Taiwan” and he wasn’t being sarcastic. Must get hold of the book and find out more about his point of view.

FYI, the book qualifies as a success – the printer has agreed to a second run (more info at the book at this web page). And if you can’t see anything good about Taiwan, why are you staying here? That is the NT$ 10,000 question.

And no further responses are necessary.

Originally posted by : Mind you, Jolie never read the book (he can neither speak nor read Chinese).

Neither can the author, actually, I’m told.

Thank God It’s Almost Chinese New Year.

Of course, Jolie’s friend Mr. Bloom would be staying here on this “lovely island”.

BuggerJolie is a tad defensive isn’t he? He must secretly hate it as well, or else can’t afford a ticket off for CNY. Hang around, read the great book, and enjoy the weather.

Is this comedy going to be published in English? I look forward to it.

What criteria do you use to state [quote] the book qualifies as a success – the printer has agreed to a second run [/quote]
Is it purely because the printer has agreed to a second run – or are the local newspapers also calling it an unqualified success???

Does anyone know if he has included a really funny story about a crazy taxi driver in his book – cause I’d buy it for that alone…

You’re all typing too loud. It’s disturbing my concentration. And which of you stole my bicycle?

Hee hee…! Somebody touched a nerve.

I’m slightly of the opinion that the vehemence in the first post leads one to think that they do not enjoy or respect Taiwan, so one might wonder why they are here.
But the responses that followed… oh what fun!

I don’t know what’s more amusing, the fact that people get incredibly pissed when someone they’ve never met says they hate Taiwan and Taiwanese people, or the people who get more pissed at people suggesting that they don’t like the first bunch.

The joy…

And monkey, just FYI, oftentimes posts here are said a bit tongue-in-cheek, with a bit of humor (hence the ‘smiley face’ often placed after comments). I was simply adding my comment that I would tend to agree with the above reply, and not implying that I actually thought I was moderator and would somehow ‘not allow’ further comments. I did not realize my wording would actually confuse some people. Further, as a mild suggestion, if you only understand anger and not humor, I suggest you skip reading any of my posts.

The author of the Crazy about Taiwan book does not speak Mandarin and could not know first-hand if the translation of his English was good or not (not that it matters, really).
Mr. Bloom, as I knew him, DID like Taiwan and was not gloomy. Eccentric? Definitely, but harmless.
I wonder if the author reused his articles from the Liberty Times that ran as a short series in Chinese (along with those of another journalist who liked Taiwan enough to leave for Bangkok…)?
I’ve never even seen the book in any bookstore in Taipei, but then it sounds like you have to know the secret handshake and proper Chiayi night market to get a copy.
Also, Taiwan has much to recommend. It also has much to bitch about. Personally, I couldn’t write a book about the wonderful side of the country since publishers are not very wild about five-page manuscripts. But hey, let freedom ring – you want to moan, moan and let others do the same. You want to glow, glow and let others do the same.
This is not, the last time I checked, a forum for readers of the Watchtower, is it?

I’ve not read Dan’s book, and I’ve never met him (unless e-mails count as meeting). But I find the number of Taiwanese who knock Taiwan to be downright depressing, so a book telling them their island/country/province has some good points is a worthwhile project, as far as I’m concerned.

Steven Crook

Frankly I don’t think the Taiwanese even begin to touch the English when it comes to moaning about their country. These people are world champions at running their own country down, they make the Taiwanese, who actually have a lot more to moan about, look like Doctor Pangloss in comparison.

Here’s the real story about those wacky Brits.the real story

I have to agree with Steve here; it would be nice if more Taiwanese people were more confident in themselves. I don’t know if Dan’s book can accomplish such a thing, but it couldn’t hurt, as long as it’s not one of those “Ooh, the foreigner likes Taiwan…silly foreigner!” kind of things.

a bit off message but interesting no?

I received this from an Ozzie reporter in Oz. she asked that she remain anonymous for obivous reasons.
chilling no?


Case of Australian national found dead in Chiayi remains a mystery

by an Australian reporter in Sydney

When 23-year-old Australian teacher Elizabeth Bretel, who was working in Chiayi City as an English teacher at a local bushiban, died in what the police have called a freak accident, not everyone in the southern Taiwan city was convinced. Although news stories in both the China Post and the Taipei Times on the island called the death an accident, there are rumors floating around Chiayi City that the woman was the victim of a love affair gone wrong and that she was killed by a local man with so-called “seedy” connections. All this, of course, is “off the record.” Of course.

However, an Australian woman who knew Bretel told a reporter by phone in Australia that Bretel had been involved in a love affair with a young man with known, so-called “unfriendly” connections, and when Bretel wanted to break off the romance, “the man went beserk and threatened her life, her dog, the whole nine yards of male anger.” Bretel had even tried, apparently, to leave Chiayi a few weeks before she died, but she was stopped by her boyfriend on the train to Taipei and turned back, this reporter was told in an anonymous e-mail from Taiwan. The man also threatened to kill her dog, the email said.

Although police have concluded with an autopsy report, stamped and sealed by government officials, that says Bretel died from an accidental fall down a stairways in her apartment building on a rainy night (she apparently slipped and fell), many expats in the Chiayi area are pretty sure that it was not an accident, according to reports coming to Australia. Bretel lived on the 3rd floor of her building, and the police report says she fell from a 5th floor balcony. Go figure. Connect the dots. Local boyfriend with alleged seedy connections, love affair gone awry, male ego damaged heavily by break-up of love affair, death threats, freak accident on a rainy night. Was this an accident? You decide.

According to another email from Chiayi City, from an American woman who knew Bretel, the roof of Bretel’s apartment building showed a wine glass and some home work papers she was apparently correcting at the time of the “accident.” This scene may have been set up by seedy people involved in the “accident,” according to the worried email.

TAIPEI TIMES, January 29: “Police have yet to determine the cause of death of a 23-year-old Australian who taught English in Chiayi. On Saturday, Elizabeth Yvette Bretel was found unconscious, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of her apartment stairs.
She was taken to St. Martin de Porres Hospital, but doctors could do little to save her life. Police believe that Bretel fell, although forensic experts have yet to reveal the results of an autopsy.”

TAIPEI TIMES, Jan. 29: “Though police note that Bretel was found with a wound to her head, they ordered an autopsy to determine whether the cause of death was due to an accident or other reasons. ‘We will be able to learn more about this case after we receive the results of the autopsy,’ said Shih Kun-mo (施崑&#35584 , section head of the Criminal Department at Chiayi City’s second police department branch. Shih also dismissed rumors that Bretel was beaten by local gangsters.
‘These rumors are not true,’ he said. ‘We did not find any scars or marks whatsoever indicating she had been beaten.’”

TAIPEI TIMES headline a few days later on Feb. 3: “Police rule out foul play in death of Australian teacher”

TAIPEI TIMES, Feb. 3: “Chiayi City Police yesterday said that Elizabeth Bretel, the 23-year-old Australian teacher found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her apartment building Jan. 26, died as a result of an accident.”

TAIPEI TIMES, Feb. 3: “We found no other scar or mark on her to lead us to suspect foul play. Evidence such as footprints and fingerprints show she fell from the balcony on the fifth floor of the building, although her own room was on the third floor,” Shih Kun-mo (施崑&#35584 , section head of the Criminal Department at Chiayi City’s second police department branch, said. “What she was doing on the balcony was a mystery because we have no witness evidence on that. We are pretty sure that it was an accident, however. When she was found, she was fully clothed,” he said. “Her room on the third floor was locked and there was no sign of robbery or theft.”

TAIPEI TIMES, Feb. 3: “An autopsy verdict of accidental death in Taiwan stands unless relatives of persons named on the death certificate appeal the decision within a year, in which case an inquest is held. ‘It is sad but the evidence says it all,’ Shih said. ‘She was cremated and her family members have taken her ashes back to Australia. The case is closed.’”

Is the case really closed? Word in Australia has it that Bretel’s father, a former soldier in the Australian military, has launched a private investigation of his own, having heard from Bretel’s friends that she had had a love affair gone deadly wrong with a local man. Although there were no known witnesses to whatever happened to Bretel on that fateful night, rumors abound and the case is far from closed in the public mind, especially expats living in Taiwan. As a result, some expat teachers in the Chiayi area are thinking of leaving the city as soon as possible, fearing the environment, another email message said.

Most local Chiayi residents of Taiwanese nationality seem unconcerned with what happened and have accepted the police report at face value, according to an email received in Australia. Local Chinese-language newspapers did report the case, as did local TV reports, but most of the Taiwanese public has accepted the final police report and consider the case closed and the event a tragic accident.

Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. Stay tuned to reports in the Australian media. You won’t find anything in the Taiwan media, however, where the case has already been shelved and filed away as FREAK ACCIDENT CASE CLOSED.

wolf reinhold: send me your snailish mailish addressish and i will send you copy of Mr Bloom’s book. BTW, he told me that none of those old Liberty Times articles were used in the book, everything was written new for the book at the publisher’s insistence. This really threw Bloom into a tizzy because he was hoping to sit back and just have his LT columns reprinted and earn millions of NT bucks, but no, he had to write the whole thing from scratch and his final take, he told me, was like around NT$43,000 for the entire two year project. Figures about NT$1000 per chapter. Fed up with the pub business, he is now delving into derivatives in the TAIEX stock market from his new base in HSINCHU and losing money as always. He sends his eccentric best to his old deskmate and drinking buddy Wolf Reinhold. [MARK: send your snail mail address for book (it’s on the house, he says, and that cow mug you sent him is still in grateful use) to:

Mr Daniel Bloom
PO BOX 1000,
Chiayi City 600

his email addresses have gone kerplunkish and not much is getting thru these days.

PS – Oh, yes, book went into third printing last week. Available at all bookstores nationwide (er, make that, islandwide) but you gotta ask for it by name because otherwise the clerks have stuck on the 4th floor in a closet so nobody can find it. True. Even Dr. Bloom himself could find his own book. That’s why he went to night markets with a pushcart and stuffed it inside chodofu hotcakes. Cheers, good man REINHOLD!

PSS - by the way, what do you know of OZZIE girl murder? was it murder or accident. You must know something…

to BH: Yes, story about crazy taxi driver is in the book … send me your snailmail address and I will send book to you, see address in above post somewhere. – DAN BLOOM

I will open a Postal Remittance Account and you can send me the money.

(If you want taxi story in English, too, just ask and I will send it to you too from my files…]

No wonder he’s “sold” so many – he’s literally giving them away to pretty girls in the night markets!!!

Well, it probably consists of what, a few hundred pages of things that are actually worthwhile in lovely Formosa? After you’ve talked about dumplings, I mean - what else there, really? Oh… long holidays at CNY and the opportunity to e-s-c-a-p-e to various around-the-island vacation spots with some lovely ladies!!!

Since the author has been so kind to offer the book free to all Oriented/Segue readers I suggest everyone request a copy.
I work for the printer and because of the bad economy I didn’t get my New Years Bonus – so if the book becomes even more

quote[quote] the book qualifies as a success [/quote]then my boss will get another order and make more money. After he buys the villa in Kenting there might just be enough left over to stuff a few blue Chieksters into a red envelope for me.

Yours gratefully
The Printer’s Mate

This is about the death in Chiayi, not Dan’s book. Here in Tainan I’ve heard lots of rumors about the case, some from people who claim to know people “who knew her really well.” The foreigner community in south Taiwan is small - rumors always fly. Several years ago a friend of mine had a very serious accident - someone I know well, had seen the day before the accident, and visited in hospital a couple of days later. There were totally unfounded rumors that he’d tried to commit suicide, which he found extremely distressing. It’s odd that intelligent people who should know much better listen to and pass on total crap about other foreigners. Don’t believe half of what you hear…

Steven Crook

This is for the ‘death in Chiayi’ string which Dan started…can’t post it there cause my login is messing up (perhaps moderator can cut and paste)…

It seems very interesting that the supposed Aussie reporter wants to remain anonymous “for obvious reasons.” what are those reasons?, cause it’s not obvious to me. I find it hard to believe that any reporter worth a dime would get through investigating such a story only to ‘pass it on’ to you and want to keep it anonymous. If they believed in the story, then would file it to whichever publication they work for with their byline.
On the other hand, it could be a budding writer-cum-chiayi-based-foreign celebrity who has insterted the reporter part into the story to give it some gravitas, an unfortunate and unnecessary act that would muddy the whole issue.
In his later post, Crazy asks if it has been reported in any Aussie papers…well, Crazy, why don’t you ask your anonymous reporter friend? (if such person exists.) They (it seems) got the story and shelved it…that says something.
I wonder if the tactic about mentioning the Thailand-based reporter was also aimed at adding some weight to the story in the hope of getting more coverage. Did you merely email your gossip to him (we know who you are talking about), Crazy, or did he actually say he was interested in coming back to Taiwan to chase it up? (thus, a distinction between ‘might come to Taiwan and file a report’ and, ‘I implored him to come to taiwan and file a report’)
Whether or not the story is true is something I could not comment on, I don’t know the facts and haven’t followed it very closely. My concern is the tactic being used by Crazy to try to whip up a foreign media storm. We have all appreciated his love of Taiwan (as published in his book) and his one-man campaign to keep the media honest around the world, but I emplore him to use more ethical means to protect the welfare of all mankind.