Mexican journalist writes of New Year’s in Taiwan

FIREWORKS, NOT GUNFIRE::The blogger and former newspaper reporter was struck by the safety of the celebrations in Taiwan and the friendliness of police

Staff Writer, with CNA

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 - Page 2

A Mexican blogger and former journalist who is studying Mandarin in Taiwan recently blogged about his life, highlighted by the New Year celebration.

Emmanuel Felix, a former journalist for El Siglo de Durango, a major newspaper in northern Mexico, wrote about his experience of bringing in the New Year in Taipei in a blog post on Wednesday titled “You can hear firing, but it is not shooting.”

Felix said that there was a stark contrast between how people in Mexico and Taiwan celebrate the countdown to the New Year.

“My fellow Mexicans have long been unexcited about New Year parties. Perhaps because of the insecurity in Mexican society, fewer and fewer people enjoy going out to have fun like they did in the past,” he wrote.

He said that when he first arrived in Taiwan, he was so nervous he would duck when he heard the sound of firecrackers exploding because he was more used to the sounds of gunfire from warring drug gangs in northern Mexico.

However, he said he enjoyed joining the crowd to watch the fireworks display at Taipei 101. Felix recalled walking around the city after watching the fireworks, the peak of Taipei’s countdown celebration.

He and his friends ended up wandering around a park because the streets were full of people and they could not get home.

He said they bumped into several policemen in the park, which immediately made him think of the police back home, who would be likely to shake them down.

“But my face relaxed with what happened next. The police offered us maps to get to those places where most expats gathered on New Year’s Day. In the most kind manner, they told us we don’t have to drink in a park, but if we want, we can find a table outside some bar or, more directly, somewhere with more light,” he wrote.

The police officers’ friendliness surprised him and left him moved.

Seeing Taiwan’s stability and progress, Felix said that he wished the social order in his country could one day be as comforting as here.

A student at the Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan, Felix received a scholarship from the Taiwanese government in July last year.