When Becky Liu (劉樾) visited the Plum Pavillion (梅亭) in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投), it reminded her of her great-grandfather, who, like the pavilion’s former resident, former Control Yuan president Yu You-jen (于右任), was an expert calligrapher.
“Through this connection, I can tell [tourists] about calligraphy in our culture and what it represents,” she says.
This is one of the personal experiences that local tour guides will relate during Sunday’s Beitou, Hundred Years a day walking tour, organized by Like It Formosa (來去福爾摩沙), formed by a group of twenty-something locals dedicated to a variety of walking tours all conducted in English.
Photo courtesy of Like It Formosa
“We want our guides to not read from a book but to incorporate their personal experiences and serve as storytellers and performers,” says founding member Julia Kao (高于晴). “We want to present to foreigners the perspective of local young people.”
She adds that visitors have joined the same tour multiple times just to hear different tour guides share their experiences.
Formed early last year, Like It Formosa started out last September and October with two pay-as-you-want weekly walking tours of Taipei — a historic one every Thursday that takes people through the old Taipei neighborhoods on the western end, and a modern one every Sunday that shuffles through the bustling East and Xinyi districts from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall to 44 South Village (四四南).
They launched their first paid tour in November — an LGBT Taipei one that took visitors to locations such as an LGBT bookstore and Rainbow Sauna (彩虹會館), a 24-hour gay establishment. Sunday’s Beitou tour is their first time taking people to northern Taipei, and they have more tours planned for later this year.
These young Taiwanese aren’t just looking to show foreigners what Taiwan is about. They say it’s also a self-exploration of what it means to be Taiwanese, which is a question local students especially struggle with when asked to present their culture while studying overseas.
“When I went on the tours myself, I felt pretty impacted,” Kao says. “To locals, it’s a chance to get to know Taiwan all over again.”
“When we pass by the Presidential Palace, we can discuss the protests and democracy in Taiwan,” Liu adds. “In Ximen, we can talk about Japanese influence on the city. Through exchanges with tourists, we can in turn ponder deeper questions about where we live.”
Food can reflect culture, but can food also reflect history? That was what Lee Chi-lin (李其霖), associate professor of history at Tamkang University (淡江大學) wanted to explore when he gathered historians, local officials and culinary enthusiasts at the Tamsui Red House (淡水紅樓), an exquisite red-brick Taiwanese cuisine restaurant built in 1899. Lee planned the menu to reflect the historic Qing victory over the French in the Battle of Tamsui, also known as the Battle of Hobe (滬尾, Tamsui’s old name). On Aug. 23, 1884 war had broken out due to a territorial dispute in Vietnam between the French and Taiwan’s Qing
What sort of science fiction does Xi Jinping (習近平) like? How can China’s weathermen use the president’s political philosophy to improve their forecasts? In what ways can “Xi Thought” help prepare the country for the next big earthquake? These are the sorts of questions Communist Party cadres are now pondering as they prepare for the next big milestone in the president’s effort to cement control: Elevating Xi Thought alongside Maoism. The esoteric concept is expected to be written into the five-year development blueprint that will be unveiled after party meetings later this month. Everyone from diplomats to executives to sci-fi writers
This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), which opened on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 29, is focused on music. Under the theme “Joy of Music,” a nod to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the program features performances by seven symphony orchestras as well as several Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) student and faculty shows, in addition to the annual film and animation festivals. However, there is still room for other performing arts, and two productions this weekend and next at the university in the hills of Taipei’s Guandu area (關渡) feature students from the
The prognosis for biodiversity on Earth is grim. According to a sobering report released by the UN last year, 1 million land and marine species across the globe are threatened with extinction — more than at any other period in human history. According to a recent study, about 20 percent of the countries in the world risk ecosystem collapse due to the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, a result of human activity in tandem with a warming climate. The US is the ninth most at risk. Despite this desperate outlook, the Trump administration, as part of its aggressive rollback of regulations designed