Chinese play to rock Taipei
A rock musical based on a play by Chinese writer Gao Xingjian (高行健), the 2000 Nobel Laureate for Literature, will be staged in Taipei next month, one of the producers said on Sunday. The musical was adapted from A Tale of Shan Hai Jing (山海經傳), said National Taiwan Normal University. The play is based on ancient Chinese mythology and includes legends like that of Houyi (后羿), a hero who shot down nine suns; Kua Fu (夸父), a giant who tried to catch the sun; and Yu the Great (大禹), a ruler said to be able to control floods. Beijing opera star Chu Lu-hao (朱陸豪), soprano Ho Kang-ting (何康婷) and university students will be cast in the play, which is being co-produced by Gao and the university. The musical will be staged from June 28 to June 30 at the National Theater.
Arts show vows adventure
This year’s Taipei Arts Festival will take visitors on adventures through art, organizers said yesterday. The festival opens on Aug. 1 and is to be held until Sept. 8 in different venues around the city. Events include 10 dance, theater and circus performances from Taiwa and abroad, said the Taipei Culture Foundation, which is organizing the festival with the Taipei City Government. The festival aims to explore the adventurous nature of art, said Keng Yi-wei (耿一偉), the event’s artistic director. For example, one piece to be performed is a play featuring a robot and a humanoid robot among its actors, while another performance blends contemporary circus stunts with traditional Quebec music, Keng said. German actress Anne Tismer, German musician Moritz Gagern and Taiwanese novelist Jade Chen (陳玉慧) will also co-produce a contemporary opera inspired by Wagner.
No casualties in CPC fire
A fire broke out yesterday at a residue desulfurization unit operated by state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC) refinery in Greater Kaohsiung, but there were no casualties, the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau said. A preliminary report indicated that hydrogen gas had been emitted after the fire broke out, the bureau said. It said the fire was caused by a fracture in a pipe in the residue desulfurization unit II. Nearby residents reported hearing explosions and smelling a pungent odor coming from the refinery. The fire began at 12:33pm and was extinguished at about 1:05pm by a team of 52 firefighters and 22 fire trucks. Operations at the refinery have been suspended pending investigations by the city’s fire department and labor affairs department.
Changhua group tours Japan
Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) met with Gunma Prefecture Governor Masaaki Osawa during a visit to the prefecture in Japan on Friday. Heading a delegation of county officials and 70 elementary school students, Cho met with Osawa and a group of Japanese officials and schoolchildren at the prefecture government office as part of a mission to improve ties between the two areas. The children took pictures of each other and the mascots of Changhua County and Gunma Prefecture — a doll called Flying and a horse named Gunmachan, which stems from Gunma’s days as a horse breeding center. Cho said relations between Changhua and Gunma are close, as evidenced by Changhua’s exports of rice and grapes to Japan and the prefecture’s high-quality farm produce sold in Changhua County. The Changhua County group is on a five-day visit to Japan that began on Thursday last week.
Organ donations encouraged
More than 8,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, but too few people are willing to donate organs in the event of an accident, the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center said on Sunday. Only 198 people made organ donations last year, but those donations benefited 680 people, the center said. Although the survival rate for organ recipients in this nation is about the same as that in Europe and North America, medical institutions are facing a severe shortage of organs, the center said. It urged the public to register their willingness to donate organs on their national health insurance cards and help family members make decisions to donate at critical moments. The center was set up by the Department of Health in June 2002. It is dedicated to improving the rates of organ donation and transplantation success, building a fair, open and transparent sharing system, and shortening the organ transplantation waiting times for patients.
Children take health course
One hundred Aboriginal children from six townships in Taitung and Pingtong counties were invited to participate in a two-day training program on personal hygiene, disease prevention and disaster control in Aboriginal villages located in mountainous areas and on offshore islands. The Department of Health has been sponsoring the program since 2005 and has trained 668 elementary-school students from Aboriginal communities to deliver the message and the acquired health knowledge back to their communities, department official Lin Szu-hai (林四海) said.
Staff writer, with CNA