Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (1926-2008) - R.I.P.


Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (1926-2008) - R.I.P.
Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam

JBJ, a Hero of the People of Singapore and fighter for freedom and democracy, passed away on 30 September 2008.
May he rest in peace.  I wish that a day would come when Singapore will honour all its heroes - not just those of the establishment who flew the flag of the ruling party, but also those who love this country and fight for its rights, despite being members of opposing sides.  In our short history, way too many people suffered because they have thought differently and have different ideas, be it rightfully or not, of how this country should be run.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finally back in Singapore! Emergency Evacuation from Taipei

Typhoon Jangmi starts to hammer Taiwan.  Heavy rain and howling winds across Taipei.  I was supposed to take the evening flight on 28 Sept but news report that all Taiwan have declared "不上班,不上课" which means "no work, no school" - i.e., everything shuts down.  I was worried about flights being cancelled as well, especially as I checked Taoyuan International Airport website that showed domestic flights being cancelled wholesale. 
I rang SIA 's airport office.  They said a plane was still on its way to Taipei in order to pick passengers out at 2:20pm, but they cannot guarantee the evening flight (on which I was booked on) would still take place.  They suggested that I changed to the 2:20pm flight so that I can get back to Singapore on time.  Yes, I needed to do that so as I might only get back on Tuesday if the evening flight is cancelled.  And I have NTU classes on Tuesday.  So I agreed and here I am - back in Singapore!
After I changed the flight, I rushed for breakfast and then back to hotel to check out.  Completely wet by the heavy rain... mad rush to the airport - almost like an emergency evacuation.  SIA's check in counters even advised the need to be punctual or even earlier at boarding gates, so that we could take off quickly ahead of the typhoon.  What a day!

Random Taipei 3

Cram schools...unique features in Taiwan, Japan and Korea.  Classes fo civil service exams too...

Taipei Biennial

Pity one is not allowed to take pictures as in the Biennale in Singapore. The exhibits are great but captions limited which prevents visitors from understanding what they see.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taipei Gay Pride 2008

My 2nd last day in Taipei coincided with the Taipei Gay Pride Parade.  Despite the heavy rain and approaching Typhoon Jangmi, 20,000 people marched through the streets of Taipei demanding for equal rights, gay emancipation, gay marriage and other issues.  Once again, this is the spirit of Taiwanese democracy at work, and of how Asia's most active and freest gay community struggle for equal rights for all.  Look at the diversity of gay and lesbian groups and special interests groups that marched, which points to the maturity of the movement in Taiwan.