Situated in Western Africa, the Republic of Benin is famed for its welcoming people, arts and crafts — especially masks, and its delicious foods. It is also the homeland of R&B singer Angelique Kidjo and the Voodoo religion.
A closer look 說古論今
The now democratic Benin was originally made-up of several kingdoms and states — the most well-known of these being the Kingdom of Dahomey which was dominant until the nineteenth century. Each Dahomey king built his own palace in the capital, Abomey, and after he died his palace was turned into his funeral temple. Unfortunately, many of the palaces were burnt down by the Dahomey in 1892 during a war with the French. The palaces that remain within the walled complex are being lovingly restored and are listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO.
Benin's most famous export is the Voodoun religion — the foundation of modern day Voodoo. Voodoun is a complex system of multiple deities which forms the basis of society. Even though other religions have been introduced to the country, most people still practice Voodoun alongside the newly introduced religions. A public holiday on Jan. 10 celebrates Voodoun and people from all over the world to attend. Some of the activities include dancing, offerings to ancestors and the inviting of spirits into the home. Many people also have their fortune told by the Voodoun chiefs.
Benin used to be the main supplier in the slave trade and was known as the Slave Coast. The local rulers sold off their prisoners of war as slaves to American and European countries in exchange for cannons and other military equipment. Ouidah city houses a huge monument to these people along the beach, which for them was their last glimpse of their homeland.
Size: 112,620km2, about three times the size of Taiwan
Language: French (official), Fon, Yoruba, plus several major tribal languages
Border countries: Nigeria, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso
Location: Western Africa
Capital: Porto-Novo. Cotonou is the seat of the government
Population: about eight million
Currency: 16 Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) are worth about NT$1
Veteran singer Tarcy Su staged a show at the Taipei Music Center on Saturday last week, becoming the first to hold a large solo concert at the venue since it opened in Taipei’s Nangang District on Aug. 27. After releasing her first album for 13 years in March, Su finally held the first paid concert in her music career spanning three decades since 1990. To celebrate the grand opening of the new multipurpose center, singer-songwriter Kay Huang, the center’s chairwoman, also launched an inaugural concert featuring various artists on Sept. 5. The lineup included Golden Melody Award-winning singer LaLa Hsu, singer
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (3/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（三） A: Whoa, we’re only staying for three nights. What are you doing bringing all that luggage? B: Well, I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like, so I packed for all eventualities. I can put one bag in the trunk and the other on the back seat. A: No can do: the trunk in a Mini is minuscule. The toolkit and the spare tire take up most of the space. You’ll just have to sling one bag on the back seat and keep the other between your feet in the front. B: OK, no problem. A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (4/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（四） A: So what do you think of my Mini? B: Well. . . apart from the fact it’s absolutely boiling inside without any air conditioning — and the wind noise is quite loud compared to a modern car — it’s actually pretty cool! It feels a bit like I’m in a go-kart. A: That’s because of the Mini’s ultra-wide wheelbase, which means it handles corners really well. Modified Mini Coopers won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. B: Wow! It feels like we’re driving in a piece of automobile history. A: 那麼，你覺得我的迷你車怎麼樣？ B: 嗯……除了車內沒有空調，感覺快被煮熟以外──而且風切聲跟現代汽車比起來有夠大聲──其實真的很酷！有一點感覺像是在卡丁車裡面。 A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (5/5)
坐我的新車去兜風吧（五） A: Can you hear a strange noise? B: Now you mention it, I can hear a faint whirring sound. Also, there’s a slight whiff of burnt rubber. A: Uh-oh! I’d better pull over and take a look... OK, sit tight. I’ll pop the hood and take a look at the engine. B: What’s the prognosis? A: I think the fan belt has worn out and caused the engine to overheat. I’d better call a mechanic... A: 你有聽到一種奇怪的噪音嗎？ B: 既然你說了，我確實有聽到微弱的低沉呼呼聲。另外，我還聞到一點點燒焦的橡膠味。 A: 哦哦！我最好停車檢查一下……。好，你坐穩，我要把引擎蓋打開，看看引擎有沒有問題。 B: 你推斷的病情是什麼？ A: 我想應該是風扇的皮帶破損了，導致引擎過熱。我最好打個電話給維修人員……。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文: