The Sweet Spot
On software, engineering leadership, and anything shiny.

Taiwan Roundup II

After weeks of being stuck in a really deep rut, I’ve finally stumbled upon something that’s decently interesting with regards to the state of the Taiwanese blogsophere (this is an assignment for my International Media class). I’m finally following up on what I previously discussed with regards to the state of the Taiwanese blogosphere. I’ll be running a textual analysis.on Chinese and English blogs as they cover the controversy over the closing of the Losheng sanitorium.

The Losheng (�֥�) sanitorium, a structure built to house lepers during Japan’s occupation of Taiwan (still housing many today) is a memorial to Taiwan’s history (also serving as a reminder of suppressed human rights). In 1994, a plan was drafted to build a rail yard for the MRT transit system over the sanitorium, effectively demolishing and destroying it. The scheduled demolition date was April 15, 2007, but an extraordinary upswell of protest (largely coordinated and managed online) managed to raise money and awareness of the decision, pleading to preserve the sanitorium out of respect for remaining patients and preservation of a historical location. A day before the 4/15 deadline, the decision was delayed and reconsidered. Two things are significant about this:

  1. It is a testament to the power of the Internet as a new social space (think: Web 2.0). The activists banded together via each other’s blogs, posting Web banners, starting discussions on social bookmarking sites, talking in activist forums, posting online videos and took scads of photos to raise awareness. One dude even wrote up a UrMaps (think Google Maps) mashup that mapped social destinations and places of interest over the Losheng area to generate public interest. The momentum caught the interest of the mainstream media, giving momentum to several protests that were marched.
  2. It demonstrates the divide between the English and Chinese blogger cultures in Taiwan. I covered most of this in the previous post, but most of the significant English-speaking bloggers (mainly expats) gave either cursory coverage or no coverage to the issue, at all (a quick sweep of all Technorati bloggers blogging “losheng” returns hardly any expat blogs.) This isn’t to say that they aren’t sensitive to the issue, but there seems to be a very large divide, particularly due to language and cultural differences.

So that’s the theoretical start to a paper that gets harder to write the longer I do research. Dang, what a week.

Blog habits & evolution

Way back when I started blogging soph year of high school (it’s been five+ years!), I pointed out that the public act of blogging helped me “get my thoughts straight” and gave me a “lil sense of closure at the end of the day.”

Things have changed. Life’s been busy. It’s been hard finding time to pause, reflect and put metaphorical pen to paper.

I try to be as candid as possible but I have to be honest: it’s hard here. I might attribute it to the blinding lights of Xanga and its close-knit community that is both a blessing and a curse. Here I find an audience, but at times I know I must hold back. Maybe that’s okay.

Sensations

last night i dreamed

we were fishing together

(i've never been fishing)

Mixtaped

Found over at “Tiny Mix Tapes” – a mixtape suggestion/request service. Surprisingly poetic (well, most). Gives you a good glimpse into music uses & gratifications.

after you left i had nothing to come home to anymore
requested by: dee

I need a bank robbin� mix.
Requested By: Bonnie

And at once it came. Out of the darkness of the doorway.
Requested by: csl

A mix for that sunny Sunday late morning/early afternoon, when you�re sort of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling or out the window with lots of natural light pouring onto you, warming you with the feeling that you�ve got nothing to do today but think.
Requested by: Spencer

songs to put ikea furniture together to
requested by: allen wrench

I�m a high school drop out and she�s almost through her masters program.
Requested by: Joey

You make me morning poetry and fajitas, how could I not love you?
Requested by: ARE

sweetheart of the rodeo
Requested by: minimal

Sad songs for freckled girls.
Requested by: Kev Bot

Songs for that ugly period of time between winter and spring.
Requested by : Jill

(At the moment, I’m doing research into mix tape culture).

—EDIT

Dex Digital, over at the Mix Tape Show hip-hop podcast opens up his shows with “hey, what’s good” or “hey, what’s wonderful.” I really like that.

Sensations

Do you remember? We were freckle-faced high schoolers tumbling over China, our obnoxious American mannerisms betraying our origins despite our butter skin. We had agreed to stay in shape during that trip, so the first night one of us had the bright idea to do stairwell repeats up the fire escape. So we laced up our sneakers and bounded up the stairs two by two, laughing between breaths, running single file and breathing musty cigarette air. I remember losing count of the stairs we had climbed, unfocusing my eyes and watching each set of steps blur by in my field of vision, wondering when I would fall. I didn’t. By the twenty-fifth floor the stairs ended and we poured out onto the rooftop of Beijing, stars bright as our eyes, daring each other to look down at the maze of city streets below. Some of us pantomimed a fall. We didn’t.