Taiwanese show off culture with flash mob in Canada

By Chang Ling-chu and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 - Page 5

Fifty Taiwanese who are on working holidays in Canada demonstrated Taiwan’s multi-faceted culture by staging an eight-minute flash mob dance in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The performance on Saturday combined dance moves from top Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai’s (伍佰) You Are My Flower (你是我的花朵), Taiwanese singer Lotus Wang’s (王彩樺) Bo Peep Bo Peep (保庇) and a popular Hakka song.

A man dressed up as the Taoist folk deity the Third Prince (三太子哪吒) also joined in.

“The flash mob dance was inspired by a similar performance staged by Australia-based Taiwanese expatriates,” said Chou Yu-hsi (周禹希), organizer of the performance, who has been in Canada for three months.

“Since most Taiwanese holders of Canadian working holiday visas use Facebook as a communication platform, I organized the event through the site,” she said.

Chou said it took participants a month to practice and choreograph the dance before they showcased their “Taiwanese-style rave dance.”

“Some Taiwanese immigrants to Canada and even locals also attempted to learn how to do the dance, which was really touching,” Chou said.

An experienced nurse in Taiwan, Chou said that because of regulations she is unable to pursue her chosen career in Canada.

“My work here is not my main priority. I only signed up for a working holiday to experience a different country, make new friends, improve my English-language skills and broaden my horizons,” Chou said.

Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Youth Mobility between Taiwan and Canada in 2010, about 3,000 youngsters have embarked on working holidays in Canada through International Experience Canada.

At present, there are about 200 to 300 Taiwanese studying or on working holidays in British Columbia.

“Scores of Taiwanese youngsters who embark on working holidays in different countries around the world are organizing flash mob dances this year through the Internet,” said co-organizer William, an overseas-study consultant.

William said a flash mob dance similar to the one in Vancouver was also recently staged in Toronto.

While people on working holidays may not get their ideal job, many who sign up for the program regard it as an opportunity to experience a new way of life and think about what they want to do before deciding on, or changing, careers, William said.