Taipei 2020

Ximen (西門) Night Market

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and it is a city that I have visited a few times. The city has a number of night markets and it is always a delight to check them out. The Ximen (West Gate) Night Market is just a short walk form the Taipei Main Station.


Jiufen (九份)

Jiufen literally means nine portions. According to Wikipedia, during the first years of the Qing Dynasty, the isolated village housed nine families, thus the village would request “nine portions” every time shipments arrived from town. This hillside town became a populist tourist spot after a Taiwanese movie A City of Sadness that was set here. The movie dealt with the 228 tragedy which was a taboo subject in Taiwan until the late 1980s.
228 refers to an anti-government uprising by the native Taiwanese against the Nationalists Chinese who were fighting a civil war against the Communists on the mainland. On February 28, 1947, thousands of civilians, including some unarmed negotiators, were massacred by the army sent to the island by the Nationalists government.


Dihua ((迪化街)

Dihua Is the oldest street in Taipei with some sections dating back to the Dutch rule in the 1600s. The Dutch called the island Formosa.
Since that time and until the 19th century, this was a centre for commerce for dried goods, herbal medicine, teas, and fabrics.

You should spot a swastika sign on one of the photos. Before it was co-opted by the Nazis, the symbol has been used by Buddhism and Hinduism as a sign of harmony for thousands of years.


Taipei, Taiwan

A question that I ponder every time I visit Taiwan: When is a country not a country?  Taiwan has a population of 23 million people, a democratically elected government, a constitution, a currency, an independent judiciary, a functioning parliament, and a relatively free press.  Yet, out of the 196 member states at the UN, only about a dozen of them recognize Republic of China (Taiwan’s official name). The number will continue to dwindle as the Peoples’ Republic of China “persuades” these countries to switch allegiance.  

As I am writing this in early April, 2020, I wondered what the COVID-19 pandemic would look like if WHO had heeded Taiwan’s warning about the  emergence of a novel coronavirus as early as December, 2019.. However, since WHO refuses to acknowledge Taiwan as an independent entity, the report was ignored.