Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 13 News List

[SOCIETY] Blast from the ’stache

Altruism is right under your nose this month with Marchstache, a benefit for the Formosa Cancer Foundation

By Alita Rickards  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

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C harlie Chaplin, Martin Luther King, Tom Selleck, Frank Zappa and Salvador Dali provide a different kind of inspiration than usual this month, along with fictional characters like Ron Burgundy (played by Will Ferrell in Anchorman).

It’s not comedy, human rights activism, manliness, music or art that needs to be emulated though: it’s the ability to grow facial hair — more specifically, a mustache — that is required.

Marchstache — a portmanteau of March and mustache — is a fundraising event being held throughout March nationwide in support of the Formosa Cancer Foundation. Organized by Kaohsiung-based Canadian expatriates Eric Lepp, Mark Stewart, Ryan Parsons and Kari Pasick, it takes its inspiration from Australia’s Movember charity drives.

By growing whiskers and soliciting pledges, or by sponsoring a ’stache, individuals can help to raise money for the foundation’s ongoing work improving the quality of medical care for cancer treatment and reduce the incidence of cancer through public education. Information focuses on encouraging a healthy diet and lifestyle and early detection. All of the proceeds from Marchstache will go to charity.

“Taiwan is a place that, as expats, we have been able to take a lot from, whether it be language, culture, opportunities or adventure,” Steward said. “Marchstache is one way we can give something back locally while at the same time supporting a cause that transcends where any of us might come from.”

Pledge sheets can be picked up at participating venues — called “home bases” — including Brass Monkey in Taipei and Foster Hewitts in Kaohsiung. Home bases in Taichung, Tainan, Taoyuan and Hsinchu are to be announced. Check marchstache.com for updates, a list of participating venues or to download a pledge sheet.

Among the suggestions for subnasal broom action: the arty Fu Manchu (Johnny Depp); the lip-swathing Walrus (Ron Burgundy); or Burt Reynolds’s signature Chevron, a toned-down version of the Walrus. Charlie Chaplin made the Toothbrush famous before Hitler ruined it, and Salvador Dali’s was so unique that the style is named after him. Martin Luther King Jr sported a tidy pencil mustache sometimes known as a “mouth brow,” bikers proudly ride with their Horseshoes blowing in the wind, and even Frida Kahlo is an inspiration to a brave few.

The faint-of-heart and follicularly challenged are welcome to make private donations or volunteer at one of the home bases. There will be a party at the end of the month at each home base, where mustaches can be compared. “We’re hoping the parties will give prizes for the best mustaches and best efforts for people who can’t grow more than a few hairs,” said Pasick.

Stewart has been “trying on and off for years to grow a mustache” but has been “quite unsuccessful.” “Maybe with a full month I will be able to have someone from across the room say ‘hey, that guy has a mustache,’” he said.

For more information about the Formosa Cancer Foundation, call (02) 8787-9907 or go to www.canceraway.org.tw.

EVENT NOTES:

WHAT: Marchstache

WHEN: March

WHERE: Foster Hewitts, 30 Wenjhong Rd, Kaohsiung City (高雄市文忠路30號), tel: (07) 555-0888; Brass Monkey, 166 Fuxing N Road, Taipei City (台北市復興北路166號), tel: (02) 2547-5050

ON THE NET: marchstache.com

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