Chang Mei-Ling has been married before. She wanted children, he did not. He said that he wanted to earn a million first. They hardly saw each other. When she noticed he had a love affair with a colleague she divorced. 'Everything you do here is for the purpose of making a career' she says. 'Most Taiwanese men are like that. Some try to change for their woman, but after a while they get fed up by her because they have the feeling that the woman has taken away something from them.' Her parents were always out for business when she was a kid. Mostly the oldest daughter took the responsibility for the younger kids. 'That is why we are so clever and independent', says Chang Mei-Ling. 'Because we grew up alone'.
Chang Mei-Ling曾有過一次婚姻，她要小孩，但他不想要。他說要先賺到一百萬美金。他們很難得見到面，當她發現，他和女同事有曖昧的關係時，她便離婚了。 「這裡所有的事情都是為了事業。」她說，「大部份的台灣男人都如此，一些人為了女人試圖改變他們自己，但一段時間以後他們便放棄了，因為他們覺得，女人從 他們身上帶走了一些東西。」當她還在孩提時，她的父母總是力圖打拼事業，家裡通常是長女負責照顧弟弟妹妹們。「這就是為什麼我們這麼伶俐和獨立。」她說， 「因為我們是在沒有父母照應下長大的。」
When she goes out she only attends business dinners and karaoke nights with her customers. She does not care about shopping nor expensive brands of clothes; she spends her money on traveling – last year she went with her mother to a 5 star hotel on an island in the pacific ocean - and her collection of plushy pigs.
下週Chang Mei-Ling會參加一個「驅動旅行」。她的公司請最好的十二個員工去夏威夷。她還和家人住在一起，外出的活動就只是和客戶吃飯或去卡拉OK。她不像大 部份坐辦公室的女人去逛街或買高價的名牌衣服，而是把薪水花在小豬毛絨玩具的收集及旅行上。去年她和母親到一個太平洋上的小島去渡假，住在五星飯店裡。
She says 'you think that our society is so colorful and free but it looks like that because we don't have roots. Our parents were immigrants, they were lost when they came here and nowadays they don't understand anything anymore. We are all orphans, and our children will be like that as well.' She also says 'Many people don't work till 10 pm because they have to, but because of inner emptiness. They dream to have earned to retire at the age of 50, and when they reached it they die of boredom.'
有一次她說：「你以為我們的社 會是如此多彩多姿與自由？其實它只是看似如此，因為我們沒有根。我們的父母移民來台灣，卻沒有家的感覺，今天他們不再試圖去瞭解來由。我們都是孤兒，我們 的孩子也會一樣。」她也說：「許多人工作到晚上十點，他們必須如此，是因為內心空虛，他們夢想在五十歲時存夠錢以便退休，然後死於無聊。」
Compared to the hypermodern state of Taiwan, Europe looks ancient. Half of Taipei has a wireless Internet zone; even in the MRT you can check your email. The mayor of Taipei wants to make Taipei the first wireless city in the world. Many people have a GPS system on their mobile; they might feel lost but they can at least localise themselves geographically.
台灣社會的差距與不同時代面貌並存的情形 令人感到困惑。一種超現代，而讓歐洲顯得老態龍鍾的情形是，台北一半面積都已是無線區域網路的範圍，甚至在捷運裡也能收發電子郵件。台北市長要建造世界上 第一個無線網路城市。許多人的手機有GPS系統，即使迷路了也可以從手機中找到方位。過馬路時，綠燈裡一開始有個小小的人閒適地走著，在他上面是倒數計時 器，然後那小小人越走越快，直到最後像發瘋似地狂奔。
In many taxis you will find screens in the headrest of the front chairs, so you can follow the news during your trip. This efficiency you experience everywhere. A Taiwanese lady told me that she was once at a German wedding. She experienced it as awful, it took ages. Even a wedding is supposed to happen fast.
在許多計程車裡，你還可以在前座椅的頭靠上看電視，所 以才不會浪費時間，就是講求效率。一個台灣人告訴我，她曾在德國參加婚禮。「妳覺得怎麼樣呢？」「真可怕。好像永遠不會完！」對她來說，甚至連婚禮都要講 求快速。
There are restaurants where every table has a screen where you can watch hundreds of programs while eating, and in a lot of hotels there are rooms where the room and bathroom are split by a glass wall. Not to watch your spouse taking a shower but the other way around, so you can even watch television from the bath.
Another technical wonder is the 508-meter high skyscraper "Taipei 101"; it has the fastest elevator in the world; at 60 kilometers an hour you are taken up to the 80th floor in a few seconds. But you hardly notice it; the cabins are under regulated pressure.
The 'Taipei 101' is constructed according the Feng-Shui principles; that is the traditional knowledge of architecture that adjusts to the invisible flows and ghosts at a certain place. According to this knowledge it is forbidden to have the entrance exactly facing the exit; otherwise you take the risk that the visitor of the building will enter it and immediately will exit it. According to the Feng-Shui principles it is bad for the inhabitants of a building if a street directly points at your apartment block. To deflect these bad influences an 8-cornered mirror will avoid the bad influence. It will reflect back the negative.
台北101是依照風水理論建築而成的，那是以傳統原理避免無形沖煞的知識。根據這樣的知識，入口和 出口處不可相對，否則就會有訪客進入大樓後又立刻出門的風險。根據風水理論，居住在路沖的大樓中是很不好的，可是對一樓的商店卻有好處。轉化負面的影響是 把八卦鏡掛在窗上。台灣人很小心，儘量避免生活上不好的事情發生。街上到處是監視器和緊急紐，大部份的陽台裝設鐵欄杆，不過有個居民對我說，發生火災時， 這些鐵欄杆卻讓人無法逃走。這人還說，八卦鏡的作用就像光線，可以轉移不好的東西或反射回去。
'Taipei 101' is build up from 8 segments, and each of the consists of 8 floors; 8 is the lucky Chinese number. Four is the unlucky number that is why there is no 4th floor. The 101 looks like a piece of segmented bamboo. Bamboo – flexible and easy to bend, but still strong – is an old symbol for resistance and fortune. 'Taipei 101' is build with a 660 tons steel sphere as a damper within, so that in the case of an earthquake the building will not break but swing only, like a bamboo stick in the wind.
台北101由每節八層樓的節段所構成。八是中國人的吉祥數字，四是不吉祥 的，所以沒有四樓。台北101看起來像是一節節垂直重疊內插的竹子，中空而有彈性，卻仍然堅固，象徵堅毅與進步。內部有個660噸重的鋼球，地震時會晃動 卻不斷裂。就像在風中佇立的竹子。
Another surprise you can see in this hyper capitalistic society – more and more I hear 'Only the one who is to lazy or has to many children is poor' – is the burning of money. However it is not real money, but 'money papers' that are specially made for ritual offerings, produced and sold for that purpose. The owners burn it in metal cans in front of their stores and pray for good business. For environmental reasons nowadays there is also "money" available that does not smoke that much, but it is somewhat more expensive.
我不斷聽人說：「只有懶惰和孩子多的是窮人。」這個超資本主義社會裡，在店前燒錢的那些人也是個 驚奇點。這種錢不是真正的鈔票，而是看起來像錢的紙鈔。他們在商店前的鐵桶裡燒紙錢，祈求好財運。不久之前出現所謂的「環保紙錢」，烟較少，但賣價也就更 貴。
In the middle of the IT city of Taipei you can find an overload of Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist temples that serve as oracle places. For example there is the City of God temple; in large numbers, young women with Gucci or Louis Vuitton handbags put flowers and fiancée cookies on the altars on Saturday morning before shopping. Here the god of marriage is residing, and the young women use oracle sticks to ask questions about their upcoming spouse.
One night I visit a temple. In front of it there is a movable shrine on wheels. 'God can be placed in there and moved around, for example on someone's birthday', people tell me. 'Now God is in China, but tomorrow he will be back and there will be a procession.
The procession is a big spectacle with lots of firecrackers, red bangle torches, riding light organs, fireworks, drums and screeching loudspeakers. The 'God' is a colorful painted wooden figure in a chair with long bars that is carried around the neighborhood rocking up and down on the shoulders of the bearers.
And all this in an atmosphere of bright neon light. The stars in the procession are Hsie and Fan who are normally the guards of the temple annex statues. Hsie has a black face, Fan has a down hanging tongue as long as the man who wears the costume, and he looks through a hole in his shirt. Everything from the torso up the performer wears on his head.
The appearance can be explained by a legend. Hsie and Fan once wanted to meet on a bridge, Hsie was somewhat early and was watching the water below the bridge and fell over in the water when he lost his balance. When Fan arrived he found his friend dead and Fan strangled himself with his bare hands. That is why his tongue is so far out of his mouth, while Hsie became black in the water. In Taipei people say that the spirits of the two roam the Manka region with heavy chains and eat the tramps and thieves. And yes in the Manka neighborhood there is less crime than in the other regions of the city.
這兩人的外表可由民間傳說來解釋： 范、謝曾約好在橋上相見，謝早到了，在等候時，因看橋下的水身體失去平衡而跌入水中。當范抵達時，發現他的朋友早已死去。痛苦之餘，范用雙手勒死自己。這 是為何他的舌頭吐出這麼長來，而謝的臉在水中成了黑色。台北人說，這兩人夜裡帶著鐵鍊在艋舺附近巡邏，看到了小偷就把他們吞掉。艋舺一帶的犯罪率的確比其 他地區低。
Taipei has different monuments for their country heroes like Tsjang Kai-sjek and Sun Yat-sen. One of these places is a huge memorial hall with a more than living height statue, guards in official uniform and a lot of free space around the immortals mark the distance between them and every day life. It's amazing how the people of the city interact with these places.
If you go there at 5 in the morning, when the city is still silent, you will be surprised by a grotesque carnival. From many loudspeakers you will hear all kinds of music at the same time, marching music, hip-hop, Chinese classics, country, tango and new-age noise.
Hundreds of people are gathered. Some performing taichi, others do sword fighting, some dance in the morning mist. A man and a woman of age throw over a pink frisbee. There are people in kimono, in cheerleader look, a rapper with oversized trousers and a shirt with hood. Many people there are of age and ask, "how old do you think I am?". Mostly they are twice as old as they look.
有的團體練太極拳，有的練劍，有的就在晨曦中跳社交舞。一對銀髮夫婦互丟粉紅色飛 盤。這裡有幾百個人。有人穿和服，有人穿得像啦啦隊，也有人穿像唱饒舌歌的人，有特大的褲子和鴨舌帽，背後還印著「Gung Fu New Fashion very good」。好多人都已經上了年紀，他們對我說：「你猜猜我幾歲？」大多數人的年齡看起來比實際年輕一半。
You can also see younger people dancing Salsa. All this happens at the foot of the 'Taipei 101'. Businessmen in suit and tie hurry through the kungfu fighters and shadow boxers. Nothing of this is organized, a lot of people come regularly, but the groups change constantly.
At 7 o'clock the guards appear in parade marching steps. They raise the national flag and the national hymn starts. In a split second everybody stops with what he is doing and takes the formal pose when the national hymn is heard. It takes a few minutes and then everything goes on as nothing happened: Chinese ballet, aerobic, rock-n-roll and chi-gong. And meanwhile in the park Sun Yat-sen, 'the father of the nation', one time in bronze another pose in stone, looking straight forward to all the fuzz.
七點，衛兵踢著正步出現。 他們在國歌聲中升旗。霎那間每個人都停下來，做敬禮姿勢。幾分鐘後，紙傘舞、有氧舞蹈、搖滾、氣功等又再度開始。石雕的、青銅的孫逸仙（也就是「國父」） 正坐在公園四處，恬淡地看著這一切。
Peng Wu Chih is one of the most famous taichi- and kungfu masters in the country. He was the last apprentice of the famous martial arts master Liu Yun-Qiao (who was the head of security organization under Tsjang Kai-sjek). He took care of Yun-Qiao in his last months of his life, when he was so weak that he only could lecture using his chopsticks.
在一個下雨的午後，我去拜訪了Peng Wu Chih，他是台灣著名的太極和中國功夫教鍊之一。Andy Hug也曾經是他的學生。他原本是醫生，後來改學中醫，最後專注於亞洲各種武術。他是功夫大師Liu Yun-Qiao（蔣介石的首席護衛）的最後一個學生，在Liu Yun-Qiao生命中的最後幾個月照顧他，而Liu Yun-Qiao在最虛弱時也只能用筷子教他。
One of the specialities of Peng Wu Chih is 'rapid taichi'. He claims that taichi originally was not, as nowadays, done in a turtle slow movement but fast. In between the main course and desert at a restaurant he gives a small demonstration. It only takes a few seconds. Dr. Peng loves speed in general. Before we step into his car he says, "buckle up, because I drive like James Bond", and he does not exaggerate. He talks about 'chi', the life power and says: "meditation is not to withdraw from the world environment, but being present in it. Get to your opponent in half a second where others need two seconds. Never lose your midst, not even when you are busy.' One time he holds my wrist, not firm, but I feel an immense power. He could kill me in a split second.
快速太極是Peng Wu Chih的一個專長，他強調，原始太極並不像現在的龜速慢移，而是快速的。在餐廳中主菜和點心之間的空檔，他在桌子旁邊示範給我看。整套拳只花了幾秒鐘就 完成。Dr.Peng喜歡速度，也因此而成名。在我們上車之前，他說：「扣緊安全帶，我開車像007」。這當然是有那麼點誇張。他談到「氣」– 生命的力量，說：「冥想不是從世界撤回，而是留在那裡。對手需要兩秒，你必須在半秒內便完成。再忙，也不可失去中心點。」有次他握住我的手腕，不緊實，但 我感到那無窮的力量，就像是踩下法拉利的油門：只要願意，他可以在瞬間殺了我。
One of his apprentices says: 'during the first lesson he said to me: I will kill you, and he did. During the teachings I died inside; he destroyed my value scale. The most important in martial arts is awareness, and therefore you have to get rid of your past.'
Peng Wu Chih ends the meeting with a short anecdote: "two people die and god asks them what they wish in a next life. The first says, "I want to get lots of money", the other one says "I want to give lots of money", the first is reborn as a beggar, the second as an millionaire."
Peng Wu Chih 以一個小故事結束談話：「兩個人死了，上帝問他們，希望來世有什麼？第一個說：我要有許多錢！第二個說：我要給許多錢！第一位轉世成為一個乞丐，第二個成 了百萬富翁。」
On the 1st of May I am in search of demonstrating people, but in vain. Taiwan does not know of demonstrations of workers. Taiwan is the dream of every neo liberal: up to a short time ago there was nothing like income insurance (for that matter, officially there were no people out of a job), no sickness insurance, no pension insurance, no social service. Everything is insured from private arrangements or by family. Some workers even give holidays to their company as a gift. Furthermore it seems that there are no building regulations; Taipei is the dream of every architect but also a nightmare, everything is possible (highlight: a building formed like a woman's handbag).
我在五月一日尋找示威的群眾，卻徒勞無功，這裡沒有工人示威這回事。台灣是新 自由主義者的夢想，不久前都還沒有失業保險（因為幾乎沒有失業人口–至少官方是這麼說）、沒有健康保險、沒有退休保險、沒有社會福利。每件事都由家人自己 安排。有些人甚至把一部份休假「送」給公司。建築法規似乎也不太明確。對於建築師而言，台北既是夢想也是惡夢，因為什麼都可能（女人手提包形態的建築。業 界的高潮！）。
During the visit of the Chinese president Hu Jintao to the USA Falun Gong people in Taipei organised a demonstration. This spiritual movement is forbidden in China. Lately a doctor witnessed that he had been in a Chinese concentration camp. He says that tenth of thousands of Falun Gung people have to do hard labor. He also records that these people are operated on and taken away organs, while they are alive, and sold for transplantation purposes.
雖沒有工人示威，卻恰巧是中共國家主席胡錦濤在華盛頓期間，所以台北法輪功 有個遊行活動。這個亞洲最大的精神性組織，在中國是被禁止的。最近有個醫生公開說，他曾在中國的一個集中營裡工作，數萬名法輪功成員不但必須做苦役，有些 還被活生生地把器官取出來賣掉。
Anti-Chinese propaganda or not, such news remind the Taiwanese over and over again that their welfare is highly vulnerable; like a small garden on an overhanging rock. Up to 10 years ago Taiwan still had higher expenses on their military defense system than China, while nowadays China is spending triple the budget of Taiwan. 600 rockets are pointed towards Taiwan, and every year another 75 are added. A politician who mentions the taboo word "formal independence" in Taipei - and in some place in Peking someone might push the red button.
是反中國的宣傳嗎？無論如何，這樣的新聞 嚇壞台灣人，也讓他們記得，自己的富裕生活不時遭受威脅，就像是站立在懸岩上的小花園。直到十年前台灣仍有比中國還高的國防費用，但今天中國卻有台灣三倍 之多。600枚飛彈指向台灣，每年還要再加上75枚。只要台北在「正式獨立」的禁忌議題上有一個政治上錯誤的用字，或許在北京就會有人按下紅色按鈕。
Even lately China paid the small island nation of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean the amount of 150 million dollar to change their diplomatic affairs from Taipei to Peking. Taiwan can hardly cope with this process. Taiwan can only try, behind the political scene, to keep them indispensable in economical way. But that takes a lot of energy and is a lonely task.
最近中國付給太平洋的小島諾魯一億五 千萬美元，讓他們放棄台北而和北京建交。台灣很難跟得上，只能試著在正式關係之外，讓自己（特別在經濟上）無可取代。這就要花更多的精力並且也是寂寞的工 作。
On the last day we drive to a "children's recreational center". It looks like an Asian Walt Disney park. A luxurious place, however there were no children, not one. 'Nowadays they prefer to play at home on their computer', a supervisor tells us; another supervisor says "most kids have courses at night"; and the guard at the entrance says: 'The parents don't have time to come over here with kids.
最後一天我們開車去「兒童育樂中心」，那是種亞洲華德迪士奈樂園，是一個美麗的、花了 相當多錢建造的地方，卻看不到遊玩的兒童。一個都沒有！「現在的小孩喜歡在家玩電腦」，一個管理員告訴我們。另一個則說：「大部份的孩子晚上都還有課。」 門口守衛說：「父母沒時間帶孩子來。」
On the way back I see a scenery while driving: an empty playground where a man in suit is making a phone call while the rain starts dripping.