Sat, Aug 30, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Not just a game

Taiwan’s social movements are inspiring a crop of toys and other novelties meant to spark conversation

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

The Wonderful Island features 35 characters, all of whom are trying to get elected. Miaoli County Commissioner Liu is depicted as an ogre who turns the homes he destroys into gold bricks. On the side of the green camp, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) looks like Neo from the Matrix, catching two bullets — a reference to the shooting incident on March 19, 2004 — with his bare hands. Meanwhile, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) appears in the shape of a light bulb (Su’s nickname), looking awkwardly outdated under LED lighting.

“It’s not my intention to make political satire. I want to create villains with strong personalities ... So even if you get the card of Emperor Ma (President Ma Ying-jeou, 馬英九), you will be like, ‘Wow, he is powerful,’” says artist Rackat (搖滾貓, real name Chien Chen-chieh, 簡振傑), who designed and drew all the game’s characters.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Chen Wei-chung says creating a label comes with social responsibilities. As a designer, he often helps design and manufacture products to help raise funds for non-profit organizations such as the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (台灣人權促進會).

Radicalization also frequently holds charity sales and donates all their profits to social activist groups including Black Island Nation Youth Front (黑色島國青年聯盟), one of the central groups that took part in the Sunflower movement.

Occasionally, the philanthropic activists benefit from their own good deeds.

“I made a donation to the Black Island, and ... [later I was] arrested for blocking Zhang Zhijun (張志軍). Part of the donation was used to bail me out,” says Chen Wei-chung, referring to the incident in June when several activists tried and failed to block a convoy transporting Zhang, minister for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), to an Atayal village in Wulai District (烏來).

As for the dildo-makers, who have engaged in activist campaigns such as the preservation movement of Losheng (Happy Life) Sanatorium (樂生療養院) and sex worker rights campaign by the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (日日春關懷互助協會, COSWAS) since their college years, they decided to donate 30 percent of the profit earned by the Fei-fan and Wei-ting dildos to support sex rights groups including COSWAS and Hand Job TW (手天使), an organization advocating the right to sex for people with disabilities.

Business has been brisk as the dildos are used (presumably) in bedrooms not only across Taiwan, but in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Australia, France and the US. The two entrepreneurs have been considering making dildos in honor of activists Dennis Wei (魏揚) and Wang Yun-hsiang (王雲祥), though as of press time, it isn’t clear if they will take that leap. For now, the Fei-fan and the Wei-ting don’t seem to bother the student leaders on which the products are based. According to one of Exotica’s founders, who says he’s known the real-life Lin and Chen Wei-ting for a long time, the two are open to the idea of being the inspiration for something that gives pleasure.

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