Thu, Oct 07, 2010 - Page 0 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

SOCIETY

‘Thriller’ in Changhua

A rice farmer is trying an off-the-wall way to get hungry birds to beat it at harvest time: scarecrows dressed like “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. One scarecrow wears white sequined gloves, a black fedora hat and black brogues, while the other is decked out in a red Thriller jacket and trousers. They are set in the fields in different poses copied from the singer’s signature dance moves. They are the idea of a 30-year old salesman and Jackson fan surnamed Lee (李), who is now making a third one for his father’s farm in Changhua County. “During harvest, my dad would go to the fields every day and chase the birds away,” Lee said. “And I thought, since Michael is good at ‘grabbing his bird,’ I’m inviting him to grab ours.” But not everyone in the family thinks the scarecrow idea is a thriller. “I was yelled at by my grandfather, who said Jackson’s spirit could come and haunt us,” Lee said. “But I think it would be nice if Michael could come over.”

EDUCATION

School eyes military dorms

A private university in Taipei is planning to lease and renovate 20 former US military dormitories on Yangmingshan as part of preparations to accommodate students from China. Chinese Culture University president Wu Wann-yih (吳萬益) said the school planned to rent the buildings from the state-run Bank of Taiwan at a cost of NT$50,000 per building per month. Each of the dormitories will be able to house about 20 students after renovation, Wu said, adding that Chinese students would be required to pay the same housing fee — about NT$2,500 per month — as their Taiwanese counterparts. The military dormitories, which were built during the Korean War in the 1950s, have been vacant for years. Local historical preservation groups have urged the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs to preserve them.

SOCIETY

Designer Wu returns home

A Taiwan-born fashion designer who rose to global fame last year after US first lady Michelle Obama wore one of his designs to her husband’s inaugural ball returned to Taipei early yesterday. “I’m very excited [to return home],” said Jason Wu (吳季剛), speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Though Wu returned mainly to attend his brother’s wedding, the designer said he would also meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the media to share his experiences as a designer. The one-­shouldered gown he designed for Michelle Obama has already become a museum piece. It was donated to the National Museum of American History, joining the museum’s collection of 24 other gowns worn by US first ladies.

POLITICS

Koo calls for Chen’s release

Former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday said he wanted to see President Ma serve 1,200 days in jail, saying Ma was responsible for former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) continued detention. “Chen’s case is not a legal issue, it is a political issue,” he said, together with other pro-­independence advocates and members of Chen’s legal team at a press conference in Taipei. With Chen’s detention nearing its second year, calls for his release have been mounting among supporters. On Saturday, up to 30 pro-­independence groups are expected to converge at the Taipei Detention Center to celebrate Chen’s 60th birthday. The groups are expected to continue lobbying for the lifting of Chen’s detention when his current term comes up for review on Oct. 18.

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