I am curious as to how many foreigners participate in Dragon Boat Festival. The article mentions the putrid Keelung River. Boaters actually practice in that cesspool. I heard that Greenpeace ‘pulled out’ of Taibodia several years ago after a staff member fell out of a kayak and developed skin lesions on his whole body after frantically swimming through the chemical-laden, acidic sewer that is known as the Keelung River.
Hey Mr. Wispy, I practiced on the Keelung River and raced in the Dragon Boat races there about 7 years. Splashed around in the water and everything and I am still alive with no skin problems. I think someone is making up stories or exaggerating. There wasn’t even a smell, except the normal smell of fish and algae yo have in most mud bottom based rivers. All in all it was a nice time. Practice and the races were held between Dazhi and the Grand Hotel.
In all fairness maybe they cleaned it up right before the practice season. I have never been to the river any other time in the 9 years I have lived here, so maybe other parts are dirty. On those days on that part of the river, it seemed fine to me.
The river gets cleaned up shortly before the races, but during the early practice sessions, expect to see everything from floating fish to puffer-dogs. The dragon boats also have to bump their way through extraordinary amounts of floating plastic bottles, and the water filling up the bottom of the boat is often black even when it’s only about 1 cm deep. If anybody’s paddle splashes you in the face, you immediately get pinkeye and a deep craving for human brains.
mfgr: Your post is over the top. I am sure the water is dirty, but it isn’t like what you said. This is Taiwan, not India, China or Africa. I raced in 1998 and all was fine. When and where did you race? Maybe you were in another part of the river? Are you racing this year?
In the afternoon, the water simply appears as sludge, not a toxic stew. I cycle in that park at night sometimes, and it’s a whole different stories. The polluters, whoever they are, seem to have enough sense to wait till nightfall to unleash their chemicals and trash into the river. At night, you’d swear a giant had taken a watery shit in there. It’s putrid, obscene, indescribable. I’m not sure if the Greenpeace story is true -a colleague told me, and my students, upon hearing it, confirmed with the typical, solemn “maybe.” I guess that means it’s true.
I’m surprised it isn’t called “Taiwan Through A Foreinger’s ‘Eyes’, a Taiwanese script and financer.”
It’s hard enough getting Taiwanese to invest in legitimate film and tv and video projects, let alone an honest one (which would have to have some serious digs at corruption, pollution and traffic - not jut 5 minute, positive-twinged quips). I’ve yet to meet a local who will lay unsensored smackdown about what is fucked in this country. It’s there - lurking, but few get up and say, “hey, this is balls, people and if you love Taiwan we need to address these issues.”
Same goes for back home, save the fact it isn’t hard to find Americans who will say, “hey, we’re dying here if we don’t fix it.”
Dissent in Taiwan is simply done in silence (ala immigration elsewhere). :raspberry:
I rant about the Keelung River Park because, unfortunately -due to the deadly driving conditions on the streets of Taipei- this park is the only place where one can cycle for hours (crossing bridges and whatnot) without having to deal with traffic. That park is a safe-zone. However, I simply cannot ignore what I see. That river is dumped-upon and raped, and the result is disgusting. I’m there ALL THE TIME. I’m not a member of Greenpeace (well, they’ve pulled out) or WWF, but, clearly, it’s a cesspool. My complaints…are a form of love. Anyone who wants to gloss it over and say “oh, the sky is blue today (well, obviously not in Taipei), everything is great, Taiwan is sparkling clear…” Those people add to the problem. You should speak out loud and clear about the pollution and degredation you see, not cake it over with your warm contentment, which oozes thru your every pore because gorgeous honies are sweating you. Right?
Wispy: You don’t seem to be aware of how much cleaner the Keelung River is and how much improved Taipei’s traffic is. Yes, both have a long, long way to go, but back in the late 1980s there was a dead zone on both sides of the river where nothing grew. You used to have to leave an hour early for any appointment because huge traffic jams could strike anywhere.
You have every right to speak up about what you see. But the tone of your comments make you sound like another one of those foreigers who sit around and complain all the time. Why don’t you join one of the many civic groups that works on these issues? The Wilderness Society www.wildatheart.org.tw) would probably be a good source of information.
And you could join the “I want to Live” march by environmental groups on Sunday 5 June. Marchers will be gathering after 1:00 pm at CKS Memorial. This march has a permit and you will not be deported for participating. You can pm me if you are worried about this issue.
I’m sure you’d meet many like-minded people there, and there is also a fantastic exhibition in the middle of CKS called “Our Story, Our Land” which details Taiwan’s environmental destruction in stunning detail.
Anyway I hope all this can help you realize that many people here, both international residents and local people, feel the same way that you do.
What’s wrong with complaining? God. The sewer that runs right outside my back door gets diesel dumped in it quite regularly - should I just laugh and giggle when the fumes fill my house? When I go to a beautiful natural area and find garbage strewn everywhere should I accept it? Is it wrong to mention very politely to owner of such property that he has a wonderful place full of friendly staff which would be made all the more perfect if some of the garbage was picked up?
If people don’t say something nothing will ever change. Sometimes it might just take an outsider, a ‘foreigner’, to open the eyes of the people who live here, that exceptionally high levels of pollution all over this beautiful island are not normal or to be accepted. It’s not healthy - maybe you won’t grow horns from industrial waste but what about your grandkids?
Thanks for that info. I am out of here in 2 months. Even if I were staying, I don’t have it in me to spend my time -which I put a high premium on- volunteering for a cause that the locals don’t give a fig about. Honestlyl, I’ve started litering myself lately. I walk out into a busy intersection (say Fushing and Minsheng) at rush hour, cops and all, and empty my garbage onto the street, smile, wave the bird and walk on. Now I just need a shirt that says “I am Taiwanese” in Chinese, because Taiwanese people speak English about as well as Mongolians.
[quote=“kelake”]What’s wrong with complaining? God. The sewer that runs right outside my back door gets diesel dumped in it quite regularly - should I just laugh and giggle when the fumes fill my house? When I go to a beautiful natural area and find garbage strewn everywhere should I accept it? Is it wrong to mention very politely to owner of such property that he has a wonderful place full of friendly staff which would be made all the more perfect if some of the garbage was picked up?
If people don’t say something nothing will ever change. Sometimes it might just take an outsider, a ‘foreigner’, to open the eyes of the people who live here, that exceptionally high levels of pollution all over this beautiful island are not normal or to be accepted. It’s not healthy - maybe you won’t grow horns from industrial waste but what about your grandkids?[/quote]
Yes, we are ‘‘change agents’’. That’s our role here.
But back to the main topic, is there more t han one -do most foriegnres actually know when a holiday passes by? (well, I guess so, because they have a day off or two) holiday that ‘white monkeys’ (Taiwanese: bay-gahng) are aware of?. But do ‘white monkeys’ (please excuse me, blackies (if ‘blackies’ is un-pc, blame my racist grandfather, not me) …sheet, too many brackets, too many Ashahi’s…I’m out. Peace