A happy new year

I wish everybody a happy new year. The first decade of the third millennium, which started as a bang and ended as a bust, is over. Welcome to a new day, a new life.

January 1st is one of the few occasions when slacking off is overlooked, or even encouraged, just because it happens to be the right timing. That includes taking a day off (it's a holiday anyhow), leaving cat poop in the cage (not overlooked by the cat – they poop on the bed as a revenge), leaving the toilet seat up (not overlooked by anybody with two Y chromosomes), and writing a blog post with a lame title and predictable content (as a proud writer I will graciously overlook this shortcoming).

Enough said, it's time for us to compile the new year's resolution.

For us Taiwan lovers:

1. Visit remote islands.

Taiwan has truly beautiful and exotic islands off the coast. They are almost unknown to tourists around the world, compared to places like Ko-Samui in Thailand or Bali in Indonesia. They include:

Taiwan hasn't put much energy on inviting tourists on these islands*, and fortunately it has worked for us who prefer beautiful nature and (relatively) calm environment over endless parties and ruined corals. I have only been to Green Island off the above three. A true shame considering the five years here. Green Island gave me one of the greatest scuba diving moments including the first sea turtle experience. The diving spots are literally walking distance from the beach. The whole saga can go on, but it should be written in another blog entry.

* They did consider building a casino on Penghu. That plan was rejected thanks to the locals who were wise enough to avoid ruining the beautiful environment and brave enough to refuse tons of (if somewhat dubious) monetary offerings from the authorities.

2. Eat more exotic fruit.

Taiwan has quite a range of tropical fruit, all delicious, if somewhat creepy-looking. If there is one thing I urge everybody to try, it is Buddha's head(佛頭果)*. Inside the rocky-curly hairdo, a creamy-white brain with a sweet aroma and rich taste awaits you. Buy one, crack it open, and scoop the inside.

Doesn't it look like a real human head?

* Somebody already named it Sugar apple. Sometimes English is so boring.

3. Learn Taiwanese.

Learning Mandarin Chinese is so tired. While everybody is rushing for Learn-Mandarin-in-24-hours books*, we can take one step ahead by learning the Taiwanese, Hokkinen, 閩南語, or Fujian dialect spoken daily in informal conversation, especially in the South.

The best place to start catching the Taiwanese (without taking formal lessons) is on the TV, the daytime soap opera. You might have a chance to watch them while riding on a taxi or inside a noodle stand.

* It is one of the most outrageously arrogant book title one can ever think of, regardless of the language. What are the Chinese 憤青 doing? Why aren't they protesting against these tyrannial ignorance, or even better, writing a "proper" language learning material on their own?)

Personal stuff:

Here are my resolutions.

  • Wake up at 6am (I made it on Dec 31st. Beat it!)
  • Flush negative thoughts down at first thought using an imaginative toilet (I might be catching imaginative diarrhea all day).
  • Keep one posting a day (+ at least one rewriting).
  • Transform the body. Into this.