Saturday, February 28, 2009


The Cold War was a pretty hairy time for most people in the world, especially if you lived in an area outside of Europe and its subsidiaries and the United States. Personal freedoms were quashed in many parts of the world in the name of stopping communism and (oddly enough) defending the free world. Human rights abuses occurred in nations ranging from Argentina to Zaire, all in the name of "freedom."

The beginning of a horrific and much too long chapter of the Republic of China's history during this time starts on February 28, 1947. The day previous, a riot had broken out after police apprehended a 40 year old widow for illegally selling cigarettes. The police had been less that civil in their handling of the situation, and the widow was pistol whipped. The surrounding crowd of Taiwanese were not so thrilled at the Chinese cops' show of force and made it clear that they didn't approve. They began to chase the cops and the cops fired back.

For a month afterward, the Taiwanese were able to seize control of the island. ROC officials declared a state of martial law to no avail at that point. On March 8, ROC troops landed on the island and began a nationwide crackdown on dissenters. It was not until 1987 that martial law and what became known as the White Terror ended.

It is still a subject that is not widely discussed in Taiwan. A reparation system has been set up by the government to set up funds for restitution for the victims or relatives of victims involved in the incident. Due to the fact that many Taiwanese have been fairly quiet on the subject, many people who were victimized are less than thrilled about coming forward about it and those relatives eligible might not even know about the involvement.

There is some openness about the incident now. A plaque commemorates the exact location of where the shooting took place. There is a memorial to the incident outside of the Presidential Office in Taipei. It's a fitting place to put it to remind the president about what happens when government steps too far for too long.

There is also a park in Taipei named 228 Memorial Park. The park, built as Taihoku Park by the Japanese and renamed Taipei New Park by the Chinese, was the center for broadcasting by the main authorities. The park recently had its name changed to commemorate the incident on February 28. Considering the fact that the park has had so much surrounding it that represented repression and restriction, it is sort of a dramatic irony that the park has become a spot where gay men meet. In fact, it was the starting point of the first and second Taiwan Gay Pride parades in 2003 and 2004.

Just to incident of oppression lent its name to a park where people start marching from in a display of their freedom and individuality. Now that's progress.

Monday, February 9, 2009


This weekend, due to a hangover, my Indian friend, my white friend, and I (I'm Asian, just to clarify) sauntered into a Vietnamese restaurant to score some beef noodle soup. Afterward, we went into a nearby Indian grocery because apparently they have some really awesome mango juice. I made the quip that we were a walking joke at the point ("So a white guy, an Indian, and an Asian walk into an Indian grocery...").

We go in (I pick up a guava juice, for the record) and we go to the register. When we get to the register, the cashier (an Indian guy, if you forgot it was an Indian grocery) asked us how much the juice was. We didn't know, so he asked the other cashier (also Indian) what the price was on the juice. The other cashier said it was 99 cents. My Indian friend immediately agreed. The cashier immediate did one of those Russell Peters examples of "typical Indian behavior" and immediately did a finger wag and said "No no no no no no. It is not 99 cents. No no no no." He eventually ran back himself and checked the price. For the record, the price was $1.40.

Later that same weekend, my friend and I go to some bar in Halethorpe. Now this should've sent bells going off in my head. isn't exactly going to be the Library Bar in LA or the Hudson Hotel Library Bar in NYC. But I thought "Hm...vaguely Irish name, must be an Irish bar. Can't be too bad, right?"

We show up to the place. There was a motorcycle outside what appeared to be a former residence that somehow scored a liquor license through some sort of coercion and rustling up of the local sheriff by some biker gang. I saw a motorcycle outside. Naturally, I thought to myself, "Hm...I wonder if there are any Asians in there" (I'm Asian, if you forgot already). My friend and I walked in and lo and behold there were no Asians. Instead, there were just several white people of the, um, upscale Appalachia variety looking at us. I don't know who they were staring at more: the young, clean cut college student or the Chinaman who was ruining their white haven. It didn't help that there was also some dude with a Confederate flag embroidered on his leather jacket. He probably owned the motorcycle outside. Thankfully, I was not the victim of a good ol' America Fuck Yeah moment gone wrong.

Monday, February 2, 2009


So according to one of my previous blog posts, I predicted that the Cardinals would win. It was looking good up until the last drive of the game. Guess that's a career path I shouldn't be taking.

Oh well. Life is not a feel good movie on Lifetime or the Disney Channel. This game reminds us that the underdog doesn't always win. There's a reason that they're the underdog. Sometimes the bad guys are victors. That's life, and we've all got to come to terms with it.

Spring training can't come soon enough.