Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Anpin Tree House and Old Tait & Co.Merchant House

I've been told that in Anping, there is an exotic tourist attraction where the aerial roots of banyan grow into the walls of the warehouse for salt. The atmosphere there makes you wonder if you were in one of the ruins of Angkor in Cambodia. Next to it is a 2 floor white house with a blue roof that keeps you wondering if you've just passed through a wormhole which connects Angkor and a European country. The following descriptions are excerpted from the back of the entrance ticket.

Anping Tree House, built in Janpanese Occupied Era, had been used as An-shun Saltern warehouse and abandoned due to the Anping salt industrial downgrade after the World War II. The existing area of Anping Tree House is covered by soils, red bricks and partial concrete and featured by fallen leaves and big trees with aerial roots.

The shop was set up by British merchants in 1867(the 6th year of the Tung Chi reign of the Ching dynasty). It's purpose was to serve as a base for the export of tea leaves, insurance and banking service. It is one of three British foreign shops that has survived to the present time. This shop now exists as a wax museum of Taiwan agricultural history.

Location: 108, Fort St., Anping District, Tainan, Taiwan.

Entrance fee: 50NT

Opening hours: 08:30-17:30, multiple entrance are permited.

Today I finally made it there and it looks just like the discriptions above: attractive. One thing that ruins the atmosphere is artificial decorations. Plastic balls hanging along with the aerial roots in the air; somehow a huge spider found its way to the top of a tree and left its web on the floor. Art exhibition? I'll say it's vandalism.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hanjie's Footsteps

What an easy typhoon holiday it is! It's not even raining! Yesterday, we were watching big waves on Tainan coast line from NCKU hospital on 12 Floor. That's right, we were watching waves from 20KM away! It always amazes me how big a difference it makes to the visual range because of the weather. Before and after being hit by a typhoon, the air circulation clears up the dust in the air and makes it a perfect time for photo shooting but I was too tired to leave the house for that. I came across the website, Google maps API, and spent a night on adopting the code to my website which is designated as a website for travelogues and photos. I call it Hanjie's Footsteps.

Based on Google maps API structure, you can move the world map and change its zoom factor by sliding the map and the control pane and the left-top corner respectively. The zoom in scale in some areas can reach to 1 cm on the map equals to 14m in reality, with that scale you can see the pope having an audience with the followers. On the right-top corner are controls that you can interchange map types(map, satellite, and hybrid).

So far, I have been to 11 countries, they are Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, and Austria. I have photos for 11 countries and 6 travelogues, in English: China, Vietnam, Macau and Italy; In Traditional Chinese: Malaysia and Italy, on line and keep updating.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

7th May Jam in AnPin

I've been trying to participate in the May Jam for a few years, this time is the first time I actually made it. I was told that the May Jam was held at Anpin last year(I forgot the date), but when I got there, it was empty, no stage or no studio set up, not even people doing BBQ there! This year, I got the information on the board at the Language center in NCKU and I think I am going to give it another try, so I went down the road and found the May Jam for the first time. It was fun! Lots of bands playing music, Tam Tam, fire spining etc. Here are some photos I took of the scence.

The last picture is a restaurant next to the scence called Wind and Moon(風月餐廳), beatiful decoration. Maybe Adelita can tell us more about this restaurant in her next entry.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday, Happy birthday to myself.
Except for the birthday song that everybody knows, I got a different kind of birthday song which is used in French Canada. Here are the lyrics:

Mon Cher Hanjie, C'est a ton tour de nous laisser parler d'amour
Mon Cher Hanjie, C'est a ton tour de nous laisser parler d'amour

My dear Hanjie, It's your turn to let us speak to you of love
My dear Hanjie, It's your turn to let us speak to you of love

Click to listen

There must be some other kinds of birthday songs that are sung by other groups of people in the world. If you know any of them please share with me by leaving a comment or you can simply sing me the song or sent me a message by clicking on the Odeo icon.

Send Me A Message

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Blogger Template failure

I adopted this template, Beckett, from blogger template because of its design. However the Cascading Style Sheets codes are not embeded in the template itself but are linked to a referal website which is having some kind of problems or something go wrong I don't know. As the result, the format of my blog is now unstable and it takes long time to open web pages. I am looking for other good looking and powerful templates for blogger, any suggestions?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese

Lots of Taiwanese laugh at this picture because when they see the romanised letters on a sign they have already assumed that these were designed for foreigners. However, foreigners won't understand what it means unless they know the transcription system, Hanyu Pinyin, and know how to translate the script into English which will be "electric shock hazard". So Taiwanese make fun of the translation ability across the ocean. But what Taiwanese don't know is that these letters are not designed for foreigners but for those Mandarin speaking people who can't read Chinese. Mandarin is the formal language used in China, however, there are many tribes scattered all over China, each of them have developed a unique vernacular and writing, thus a national trascription system is needed to convey information between tribes. Not knowing this background, Taiwanese set a bad example of accusation.

The United Nations has been using simplifed (and not traditional) Chinese characters since the 1970s. Despite the political issue, not knowing the evolution history of Traditional Chinese and appreciating its creation, people are making the same mistake as Taiwanese did on the sign above. Scripts are the most important tools to record languages, and the change of a written language is in favor of simplicity. However, a complication is the methology in creation of a written language. When a character isn't able to give a straight forward meaning even more cause for confusion, complication is the simplest way to solve the problem. Traditional Chinese is a product of thousands of years of creation. It's in a perfect dynamic balance between simplicity and complexity. Each character is complex enough to be traced back to its origin of creation yet have been trimmed as much as possible to be used in writting.

The simplified Chinese is a product of recent decades, and the purpose is to make Chinese easier for users in writting, reading and studying. However, in the process Simplified Chinese has lost its embeded information. For example:

The word Noodle in ChineseTraditional: 麵 = 麥 + 面 (wheat + surface); Simplified: 面 (surface/face/noodle)

The Traditional form has two parts which helps to identify it as noodles. Simplified character only provides the pronouciation so the reader would be unable to determine the meaning without it's context.

(quoted from Say NO to United Nations' abolishment of Traditional Chinese in 2008.)

The Clarification of the petition:

The UN has been using simplifed (and not traditional) Chinese characters since the 1970s. That's when the official Chinese representation here switched from Taipei to Beijing.

Since Beijing used simplified characters in its official communications, that's the form that was adopted by the UN.

The UN never used both forms simultaneously. So these reports about a switch to simplified characters that will happen in 2008 are not correct. We already use simplified characters.

If you have any further questions, feel free to call me.

Best regards,

Brenden Varma

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, New York

The existence of two systems have their own backgrounds and purposes. They have been coexisting for decades and both scripts are ongoing an inevatable process of blending: Taiwanese are using simplified characters in writing, on the other hand, linguists in China are proposing complication to clarify the confusion caused by simplification. It's better off keep politics away, eventually allowing the two systems to find their own balance in a Unified Chinese Script.