Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) on Thursday night for the city government’s New Year’s Eve countdown party and to celebrate the new year.
The star-studded party was organized by the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism and a coalition of private enterprises, including Taipei 101, SET-TV media group and Union Bank of Taiwan.
Taiwanese techno diva Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕) appeared before the crowd on an elevator platform and began the event by performing one of her hits, sending the audience gathered in the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall into a frenzy.
Accompanied by a group of back-up dancers, Hsieh performed six songs while going through several very quick costume changes.
Other performers included singers Wilbur Pan (潘瑋柏) and Elva Hsiao (蕭亞軒), while hosts Jacky Wu (吳宗憲), Lin Yu-chih (林郁智, better known as Na-Dou) and Lulu (黃路梓茵) sang two covers of Western pop classics, including the Beatles’ Hey Jude.
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) was also called onstage, where he was asked to demonstrate his pitching skills by passing a baseball to Wu.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Chen later presented Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) with a baseball glove bearing the logo of the 2017 Summer Universiade, which Taipei will host, and said that he wish the city success in organizing the sporting event.
However, Ko declined to catch a ball thrown by Chen when the hosts suggested that he do so, saying that Chen did not seem to have good control of his pitching.
Chen agreed with the mayor, saying his jacket was too tight and impeded his movements.
Later on, Ko was back on stage to preside over an opening ceremony for the World Design Capital (WDC) 2016, during which he and WDC selection committee member Mugendi M’Rithaa placed miniatures of five iconic buildings on a map of Taipei to signify the launch of the event.
Ko also sang a Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) song by pop group Mayday (五月天), which his aides said he had been practicing for days.
However, he got off to a rocky start, missing his cue to start by two full verses, and beginning during what should have been the chorus, which led organizers to stop the backing track so that the mayor could finish the song a cappella.
Despite his less-than-ideal performance, the crowd cheered Ko for his effort.
“That scared me to death,” the mayor said afterward about his performance.
Before leaving, Ko told the crowd to “have fun and go back to work tomorrow,” before reminding the partygoers to “take your trash with you” to lessen the workload of Taipei Department of Environmental Protection personnel.
The countdown party culminated in an extravagant 238-second firework show designed by French pyrotechnic firm Groupe F, for which the Taipei 101 management said it spent about NT$50 million (US$1.51 million).
Pop superstar Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), better known as A-mei (阿妹), finished the show with a one-hour set that ended at about 1:30am.
The Taipei Department of Environmental Protection deployed 800 employees at the party — some of whom held up placards reading “Please hand me your garbage” — to collect trash, including cigarette butts.
The agency said it collected 12.35 tonnes of trash after the event, 670kg less than the amount collected after the 2014 New Year’s Eve event.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
GOOD INFLUENCE: Kwan said his mother tutored him at home for a few years, saying that she had to protect his ‘creativity’ as his writing had suffered Director and coproducer of the Oscar-winning absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once Daniel Kwan (關家永) on Sunday dedicated the movie to his Taiwanese mother, who he said supported his creativity growing up. “She is someone who sacrificed a lot for her kids,” Kwan, 35, said backstage at the Oscars. The movie, released early last year, received a commanding 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, with whom he also directed the 2016 fantasy film Swiss Army
A bipartisan US congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan yesterday on a two-day visit that is to include meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other senior government officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The delegation comprises Republican US representatives and Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ken Calvert, Tom Cole, Dave Joyce and Mike Garcia, as well as Democratic US Representative Ed Case, the ministry said in a news release. Upon their arrival at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), the five representatives were welcomed by North American Affairs Department Director-General Douglas Hsu (徐佑典), it said. During their visit, they are to meet
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number