Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Hear a big-cat rumble in the urban jungle of Nangang

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

Height of excitement: The tiger show generates the most cheers during the circus portion of the outdoor education day-camp in Nangang.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ASSOCIATION OF PROMOTION FOR STUDENT OUTDOOR

Before setting off on a journey to find the African fair and circus show in Nangang be forewarned -- it starts at 10am and doesn't end until 3pm. Perfect for a 10-year-old, torture for someone looking for a quirky way to spend a day off.

What began as a long haul to the Taipei suburb Nangang in search of the "African Cultures on Show" advertised in a local newspaper, ended at the arrival of a fenced-off park filled with hundreds of children being led around by once-famous kids entertainer Dai Nan Siang (戴南祥).

Dai, who is most remembered as TV personality Dai Laoshi (戴老師), hasn't lost his signature style of teaching that uses large-animated actions or his ability to turn every topic into a sing-a-long. It still entertains the kids.

The newspaper ad read, "An exhibition featuring the cultures of 40 African countries and a circus including various animals from Africa."

The reality was a day camp geared towards kindergarten and students that offers clowns, magic and dance routines, along with a few caged farm animals -- and six tigers from Thailand.

The events organizers, the Association of Promotion for Student Outdoor Education (中華民國學生戶外教學推廣協會), does however, provide anywhere form 500 to 1,200 kids with a day full of child-pleasing activities and semi-educational African-themed events.

The scheduled day of activities begins with a circus that includes a Mongolian acrobat routine followed by the most popular event, a tiger show. After lunch there's juggling, sing-a-longs and an Indian magic show.

Apart from the short Q-and-A section near the start of the day and a 20-minute Egyptian dance performance at the end of the show all other activities have little or no African content. To be fair, however, there is an "African Fair," pavilion with a collection of some 40 photos and artifacts from various countries in Africa.

A yearly summer event around the island, it's the first time the circus has made a stop in Taipei. Dai Laoshi, who doubles as the organization's program director said each year they choose a new theme with the purpose of introducing different cultures to young learners in Taiwan.

The entire exhibition is open to the public, but for a shorter version the weekday camp activities are condensed into a two hour circus on the weekend.

The event is disappointing for anyone expecting a full fledged circus complete with trapeze artists, but the general consensus among the swarms of young people at the show suggest it's a lot better than a day spent inside a classroom.

For your information:

What: African-themed student day-camp and fair

When: Now until Aug. 29. Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm, or Saturday and Sunday performances at 10am to 12pm, 1:30 to 3:30pm and 7:30 to 9:30pm

Where: In the field area adjacent to the Nangang Software Park, a 10 to 15 minute bus ride from Kunyang MRT Station (Blue Line) Bus: 51, 203, 281, 311, 620, 629, 645, 817.

Cost: NT$350 for the day camp, or NT$200 for the African Fair tent.

This story has been viewed 3683 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top