Taipei’s oldest rock club, Underworld, closed its rusty metal gate for the last time last Sunday just after midnight to avoid steep government fines. Several hundred people lingered outside in the nearby park for hours longer as part-owner Ho Tung-hung (何東洪) thanked the staff, DJs and others who had helped keep the club running for 16 years. Ho, a professor at Fujen Catholic University, has now expanded the club’s fight towards the creation of a bulletproof legal status for live houses in all of Taiwan. In press conferences and editorials, Ho and other supporters have made repeated calls for Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) to orchestrate a legal solution. So far, she has responded only through short press releases, expressing vague sympathies but promising no action. So Underworld supporters continue to organize, hold meetings and make creative Facebook posts. There are currently no plans to relocate or re-open.
Meanwhile, a protest concert is brewing in Taitung over a different controversy. The Fudafudak Concert — named after an expletive in the Amis language — will pit a group of Taiwan’s best singers, aboriginal rights activists and environmentalists against the local government and a hideous hotel construction scheme. Alas, it seems Live Wire is becoming a column about musicians against corrupt property developers. Well, here are the details.
Fudafudak will be held on Shanyuan Beach (杉原沙灘) next Saturday, July 28, though all are invited to come camp on the beach from July 21 to 29. In addition to being on one of the area’s prettiest, yellow-sand beaches, the event also draws from Taiwan’s most concentrated pool of aboriginal musicians, several of whom are famous recording artists who live in the area. The female singer Ilid Kaolo (以莉．高露), who used to perform under the name Hsiao Mei (小美), was awarded the Best New Singer in the most recent Golden Melody Awards. And just to be clear, her award was not for Best Aboriginal Singer (though she won that too), it was for best new singer, period. She’ll join a lineup of aboriginal-folk all-stars that includes Panai (巴奈), Kimbo Hu (胡德夫), Takanow (達卡鬧) and Long Ge (龍哥) as well as some very fun Taipei bands like Relax One (輕鬆玩) and the polymath, multicultural rap group Kao Chou Ching (拷秋勤). There will be about 20 acts in all. This will also be an extremely unique chance to see aboriginal musicians playing outdoors, in front of a sizable home crowd and on ground that they consider sacred. Last year’s first Fudafudak drew around 1,000 people, according to the organizer’s estimates. Given the huge aboriginal population in the area, this concert could achieve ritual-type dimensions. And no one would be surprised if singing broke out among the setup crew every night of the week. Best of all, it’s completely free, though donations are requested. It’s a very good cause.
Photo courtesy of Huang Fu-kwei
The concert’s goal is to keep the beach free and open to the public. That means ridding it of a sputtering construction project that has blocked the beach entrance since 2005. The construction of the Miramar Resort Village (美麗灣渡假村) was first approved by local authorities in 2004, and within two years, developers managed to build a five-storey, 250-meter-long hotel complex before ever bothering to apply for an environmental impact assessment. Activists consider the construction to be illegal and say it should be torn down. Aboriginal groups claim the beach to be sacred ground. Their actions have stalled the project, and the High Court has ordered construction to stop on several occasions, most recently in January. In June, however, the Taitung County Government gave developers a new permit to continue building, saying the problems were only “procedural.” Taiwan proper only has about a dozen beaches that are good for tourism. It has already built nuclear power plants on two of them (Fulong and Nanwan), and ten years ago it essentially sold a gorgeous beach inside a national park (Dawan in Kenting) to a sorry excuse for a luxury hotel owned by a steel company (The Chateau). Every person in Taiwan with a shred of conscience is against this Miramar Resort. When will the government figure this crap out?
Shanyuan Beach is located about 6km north of Taitung City on the coastal highway. For concert information, search “Taidong Protest Concert” on Facebook or check: www.gigguide.tw/event-5543.
The Blues Society on Taiwan will host its first ever Blues Cruise next Saturday, and the event features dinner, bands and drinks on a Mississippi-style riverboat on the Tamsui River .
Photo: Chen Hui-ling, Taipei Times
Now, if you get really drunk and try to say “booze cruise,” it may very well come out as “blues cruise.” As in, “I drank fishteen martinis on the blooze cruise, and boy was it aweshome.” We’re pretty sure this is exactly how they intended it, and it’s probably how they came up with the name too.
The performers are the Muddy Basin Ramblers, BoPoMoFo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ), Blues Vibrations, Shun Kikuta, Mike Mudd, Nick Brown and B.B. Cooky. The four-hour excursion includes a Cajun dinner by Capone’s head chef, W. Hunter DiLeo, and one drink. Tickets were $1,500, but the event is already sold out, begging the question, why are we teasing you with it? Sorry, we’ll try to let you know earlier next time, as this sounds like fun. They even want to people to dress like James T. West, Artemis Gordon and the various femme fatales of The Wild Wild West.
BSoT Blues Cruise, Saturday, July 28 from 5-9pm, at Guandu Wharf (關渡碼頭). Reservations: (02) 2858-5966, or through Capone’s or the Tavern.
Stephen King, the famed horror writer, once observed that post-apocalypse novels are essentially impossible. Nuclear plants would melt if human civilization disappeared, while chemical plants and pipelines and other infrastructure would poison the earth. Organized life would be impossible. Could it happen here? This year the Taiwan Climate Change Projection Information and Adaptation Knowledge Platform (TCCIP), which is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, produced its 10-year assessment of local climate research: The Taiwan Climate Change Projection Information and Adaptation Knowledge Platform: A Decade of Climate Research. The platform and numerous climate-related policies were spurred by the disastrous typhoon
Sept. 26 to Oct. 2 Members of the Japanese Diet were appalled at the ever-increasing costs to build Governor-General Gentaro Kodama’s residence in Taipei. Not only did the colonial government keep adding items to the grand complex, they also tapped into funds allocated for the Taiwan Shinto Shrine. That was blasphemy! “I can’t imagine how much they would have spent to build what kind of palace if Shimpei Goto had his way,” civil engineer Hampei Nagao recalls in Story of the Governor-General’s Office (總督府物語), a book by Huang Chun-ming (黃俊銘). Goto, the civil administrator of Taiwan, was summoned to Japan to
Anyone with the ambition to complete a cycle tour around Taiwan would do well to begin with a shorter trip to learn the ropes. Taitung County, with its pristine beaches, spectacular ocean views and mountain trails, is an ideal place to start. There is something of a magnetic draw to the glory of the Pacific Ocean. Just enjoying the sea breeze makes it worth the effort, but there are lots of other things to see and do to make a two or three-day trip a pleasure. I embarked on this adventure on an unusually hot August weekend with the mercury tipping
Danny Wen (溫士凱) had an eye-opening homecoming experience. First it was the township chief who went to school with his uncle. Then it was the trail builder who knew his mother. There was even a connection with an indigenous Saisiyat elder, who spoke Wen’s Hakka dialect fluently and once stayed at his grandfather’s hotel in Hsinchu County’s Jhudong Township (竹東). “That hotel closed in the 1970s and I can’t even find old photos of it,” Wen says. “I felt goosebumps all over when he told me that.” The travel writer and television host didn’t expect his journey through the 270km